it really is amazing- at first the ctm seemed like a really great-mormon prison. sure we were learning all day long and we had great teachers and lessons and stuff, but it was really tough at first to be inside ALL DAY LONG! sometimes we would run out to the "track" after lunch so that we could "touch" the sunlight! AND now i think that i will be a little sad to leave. we have such great teachers and have made so many great friends that i really love it here. (i also think that i will miss b-ball three times a week!) but at the same time i am so excited about going to rio! an elder in my district, elder wilson from oregon, his parents sent him a really encouraging article about rio. the article included stats like how someone is murdered there every 3.5 hours and how it has the highest murder rate out of any place not at war. it had a lot of other fun facts in it that i am not really inclined to send you. the most important stat was that ... never has a missionary been murdered there! mom- relax, we thought that is was funny! anyway, we joked with elder wilson that his family probably doesn’t like him much (a couple weeks ago his family sent him a "spoiler" for the last harry potter book!).
well today we went to the temple for the last time in 22 months, it was really great. but since the bus ride is REALLY bumpy there and back, and i have a whole grip of other things that i have to do today, i didn’t get any other letters off... so please spread my apologies!
[This is his response to, “Have they given you any training on places to stay away from, how to handle the scary people, etc.] don’t worry mom, this saturday we have some special classes- a health seminar and a safety meeting. there we learn what the church says to do if we get mugged or held up! pretty cool huh! from what we have heard the policy is pretty much- give them everything you’ve got... so not much in the way of new or exiting there. i will try to get a pic with the mission pres., but he is hard to find during the few hours that we are allowed to tirar fotos! so i'll try... about the keys... we went and got a new one, as well as a lecture on responsibility, and now I AM the key master. i am in charge of the key and things are going better (elder harmon is only slightly better than me at losing things…). funny that you mention my fav. seminary teacher. at first, he kind of reminded me of her. but now i think that i have a very real respect for him, his work ethic and faith. And, although we are not "best" friends, we work together well and cooperate. it is like the Savior said: if ye serve me, ye are my friends. and he serves the Savior with all his heart, mind, might, and strength, and since i want to be the Savior’s friend too, WE (me and harmon) are great friends.
actually, we sang our musical number yesterday, and it went pretty good. as for whether we are allowed to eat in class, well i am not sure, that is why we keep it hidden. but our teachers partake of the goodness, so at least we are all in the same boat. oh, my haircut!, sorry, i don’t have any pic to send today, i will try and send some next time i get to a computer (2 weeks?) the haircut is very good. and to mom’s everlasting credit, HE DID cut around my ears! he used like a 4 on the sides and the rest with scissors and a straight razor. the razor was a little scary, because he was singing and talking to other people the whole time and totally not paying attention to what he was doing, but i guess he does this everyday, so he is pretty good at it. as far as the mono-brow goes... i shaved it... i know it was dumb but i just threw caution to the wind and just did it. i will wax it when i get to an apartment and a stove to heat water on. yep, there are not many microwaves here i guess. nope i have not received a second package yet... i hope it gets here soon! i will tell you the new mailing instructions next week. don’t worry about the gas “situation”... i will just grin and bare it! :) hey sorry about the election, Alyce, we were all pulling for you... well at least you get to be mascot (send me pictures of you in your gettup!). thanks for the "first part of an email"...? dad- take it easy on the poor kid! [a student who threw a major fit during a game in PE] clearly he has a deep and terrible fear of being de-flagged... screaming and crying is perfectly normal when you get your flag ripped off. good luck with him. oh and thanks for the golf clubs...ummm, i don’t know how much use i will get out of them during the next two years though.... will you take care of them for me? thx. well you can tell grandma that i carry that little bear in my pocket everywhere, in fact, i have it right now!
it is sad to here about mike... i don’t know, but the more that i see what kind of guys we have here, the more i see what that whole "bar " thing is all about. you really have to be committed to serving the Lord to make it. i was talking with a Brazilian the other day at almoso (lunch) and he told me about how hard it was for him to leave his girlfriend and family, but that he knows this is where he is supposed to be. it seems like most people had a homesick stage (not ME), but they had to learn what it meant to be a missionary, and then they got over that. all the guys that couldn’t, wound up going home. it is sad to hear about guys who don’t make it through the mtc.
well, last friday we went proselyting,.... it was our third and last time. we went to this metro/bus station place. there weren’t quite as many people as there had been at the other places but at least all the people were just standing or sitting waiting for their bus. we talked to a fair amount of people, too. we would have talked to more but we talked to this one man for close to 45 min! the whole time I wasn’t real sure if he was interested because he kept asking us weird questions about the “spirit world.” he also asked us a lot of questions about our mission. we answered as best as we could for as good as we could understand the questions. eventually, we gave him a BOM. he didn’t want it at first; he made us write his name in the front cover before he would take it. our instructor came over and talked to him for a while and he told us the guy was kind of weird (still, my comp thinks he should have committed him to baptism…). we gave our next BOM to this guy sitting on a bench. he listened to our message, asked 1 or 2 questions, and then committed to call the number inside the book to learn more. the cool part was after we had talked to him, and were talking to someone else, we looked back and he was reading the BOM. my favorite was one of the first people we talked with – this guy by a sign post. he was about our age. at first he didn’t really listen or care, but by the end he said he would call the number to learn more about the BOM and Joseph Smith!
well i got to go... love you guys-
Note from Jill -FYI - If you click on any of the pictures embedded in the blog - you can see a bigger version - it's kinda cool! :-)