Friday, August 28, 2015

Second P-Day in the CTM!

Elder Olivier is doing well!  Every Friday I sit and wait for his emails (sad..I know...).  He always sends me one first:)..then he sends his big email to everyone else.  He told me that he received the most snail mail letters in his mailbox out of all the Elders in his district.  I was so worried that he wasn't getting written mail, but now I can relax... and thanks so much to everyone who has emailed or written him!  He thanks you too!!

Here is his email from this week:

Tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo
bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem tudo bem! That is 99% of the
conversation you hear in the hallways here at the CTM. It is so
awesome being here and learning portuguese, but it´s kind of scary to
know that in three and a half weeks I´ll be on a plane to Manaus. I
always joke with everyone in my district that we all sound like idiots
to the Brasileiros, because we do. The americans in the cafeteria
always say "maçã" (apple) over and over again. Go on google translate
and listen to how it´s pronounced. It´s the best word in the
portuguese language.
This week has been awesome. Every day we wake up, do personal
scripture/gospel study, eat desjejum, come back to the classroom, do
language study with our instructors, teach lessons, eat almoço, do
more language study, more instructor time, more lessons, more gospel
study, eat jantar, play basqetebol, do more language study, companion
planning, and go back to sleep x1,000,000. It´s so mentally and
physically draining but it´s so rewarding. We are all being
strengthened so much by prayers and by the spirit.
Every friday (preparation day) we have the chance to go to the temple
(either São paulo or Campinas) and we get to walk around São paulo.
It´s so awesome. 

Today we went the the São paulo temple. It´s so
beautiful! I took a ton of pictures but I can´t send them while I´m
here so I´ll have to wait until I´m in my mission. Walking around São
paulo is so fun. We go the all the shops around the CTM. They have a
lot of american stuff like coca cola and cheetos but they have mostly
brazilian stuff like guaraná and weird brazilian candy. The city looks
so cool. It is freaking massive. If you can, go look on Google earth
how big it is. There are skyscrapers for like millions of miles in
every direction. Also everything here is covered in graffiti
(proabably except the temples and the CTM). It is crazy. There are
also tons of motorcyclists and they are insane. They drive really fast
in between cars and stuff. We say one guy who was on his phone on his
motorcycle and he was still swerving between cars. People are crazy.
This week we had two devotionals. Every devotional the "choir" (every
single missionary) sings. One of the devotionals was yesterday and it
was by an area general authority (I didn´t catch his name bc
portuguese). He talked about the importance of families and how we as
missionaries have the responsibiliy to bring the gospel and the
opportunity for eternal families to families all over brasil. It was
really good. The other one was a recording of a
devotional Jeffery R. Holland gave at the Provo MTC in January 2013.
It was so good. He talked about our role as missionaries in the last
dispensation and how because we are in the last dispensation, we will
not fail. We are bringing the gospel to more of the world than ever
before. He also talked about conversion. He said that we all better
come home from our missions with at least one convert, and it better
be ourselves. After the devotional we had a district meeting/testimony
meeting/cry sesh. It was so spiritual. The spirit is so strong here.
It has only been two weeks and it feels like everyone in my district
has become 54339392 times better being missionaries. But we still have
0986803478234763287945843 kilometers to go (they use kilometers here).
Eu amo vocês! Stay awesome!
Elder Olivier

(written 8/28/2015)

Friday, August 21, 2015

First Missionary P-Day! (Preparation Day)

Nine days after his first short little arrival email, we finally received a longer email from Elder Olivier!.....

So last wednesday I landed in Brazil. I met up with a ton of other missionaries in Atlanta and we all went on a ten hour flight to São Paulo. It was soooo boring. I only got around 30 minutes of sleep on the plane so when we landed I felt like a zombie. Not to mention that when they bussed us over to the CTM we had to get started right away. I ended up staying awake for like 36 hours.

The CTM (Missionary training center) is awesome! The food is so good! We have meat, beans, rice, and fruit for lunch and dinner everyday. Everything has been super good so far, even the tongue. We drink soooooo much juice and it´s amazing (that´s right, I can finally drink juice at every meal, Mom >:( It´s good for you, I swear, haha). My favorite so far is the goiaba juice.  Lunch is bigger than their dinner here, so it was kind of weird at first. The dinner is super big too though, so I just feel full all the time. Whoever said I would lose weight in Brazil lied, big time.

So on day two of being here, our teacher told us to prepare to teach our first lesson the next day. All in portuguese.  They kind of just throw you into the portuguese thing. They call it baptism by fire.  They expect us to do almost everything the brasilian elders and sisters do so we just kind of learn portuguese by speaking it all the time. I have a constant headache, but at this rate I´ll be fluent really quick. Our teacher only speaks portuguese to us and when we speak english he either acts like he doesn´t understand or he shoots us with the portuguese gun (bangue bangue portugues). The CTM is crazy. We are always doing something. We either have class or we´re doing personal gospel study or language study or companion study or teaching lessons or planning to teach or eating or playing basquetebol or sleeping.

My companion´s name is Elder Wong, and he is from Washington state. His dad his from Hong Kong (but no Dad, he wasn´t there when you were there). He is going to João Pessoa. He is probably the best at portuguese in my district, and he bails me out all the time when I can´t figure out how to say something. Everyone in my district is super funny and by now it seems like we´ve known each other for a really long time. We have 5 sets of missionaries, and three of us are going to Manaus. Two of them are sister missionaries.

Anyway, I have one week down in the CTM, so I´m one week closer to killing spiders with a machete on a canoe in the amazon river. The other Manaus missionaries in my district and I always talk about the crazy stuff we´re going to do with machetes. It´s going to be so sweet, haha. The CTM is so awesome, even though it can feel like a prison sometimes. The CTM president asked us what the difference between the CTM and prison is, and he said the difference is that you can get visitors in prison. Haha. But anyway, I´m super stoked to be able to serve a mission and I can´t wait to actually get out into the field. I know this is where I need to be at this time in my life, 100%. 

Today we went to the Campinas temple and did a session and it was so awesome with all of the missionaries there. The spirit was so strong. This whole first week has been so awesome and so crazy and so fun and so spiritual. I can´t wait for the rest of it.


Elder Olivier

P.S. I love you all!!!!!!

P.P.S. Feel free to write me emails guys! I would love to hear from all of you!!!

(written 8/21/2015)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

These Missionaries All Arrived Today!

We received this photo from the MTC President today!

Elder Olivier is middle row, 4th from the right.  He will be serving in one 
of the hot missions where they are no longer required to bring a suit.  

There are 27 missions in Brazil, 242 stakes and 6 temples.  Brazil has the third-largest Church population in the world, after the United States and Mexico.  With more than 35,000 converts joining each year, the Church in Brazil is growing stronger and stronger.

Elder Olivier Arrived Safely to the Sao Paulo MTC (CTM)!

Finally after 21 hours of waiting and wondering if Elder Olivier made it safely to the MTC (CTM) in Brazil, we received a short email from him:

Hi mom and dad! Just emailing to let you know that I made my flights
and now I´m at the MTC! The flight to Sao Paulo was really long, and I
only got about 30 minutes of actual sleep, but now I´m here and it´s
awesome! I am actually in a district with Elder E. Actually, When
I first got to the gate in the Atlanta airport, there were tons of
missionaries and I randomly sat next to elder E and another elder
going to Manaus! We haven´t done anything else at the MTC yet besides
eat, shower, and change. The president said that our next p-day would
be either Wednesday or Friday, so I´ll email everyone then. The mtc
computers have no sd card slot..... So no pictures until after! I´ll
try to take a bunch though! Love, Elder Olivier

At the airport before saying goodbye.