There really is no need for summary or cutting stuff out of this email form her, it is long but you need to just read it from her, in her words.
HI FAM FAM.
so there were a few things that i forgot to say in the last email home. As always, a quick disclaimer to apologize in advance for pretty poor grammar/spelling/punctuation because of these tricky keyboards and my lack of time to proofread or anything.
k, so last week i wanted to have dress-up days. spirit days spirit days, who needs an excuse to get dressed up and match with people? so to kick things off we had JUMPER DAY. it was the bessssst. everyone who had a jumper wore it, and then if girls had extra ones they loaned them to other people, and we had all the sisters wearing jumpers. the elders thought we were weird. Then it kind of started to catch on, and someone else wanted to have a dress up day, so the next one was all black skirts and white tops (this one was pretty boring because then we all looked just like the elders, and you really need the girls to wear color to off-set how they look all the time.) then 4th of july came around, and we got everybody - including the elders - to wear red white and blue. It was super fun.
4th of july was great. in addition to patriotic dress up, the cafeteria place had american style burgers and fries and a huge ice cream bar. except the fries were completely undercooked... whatever throw on some salt and microwave it and you're back in business. so the 4th was good. i definitely didnt miss having to work at the beach on the craziest beach holiday of the year, but i did miss the ward breakfast and primary kids parade. oh well.
I got a huge gash in my forehead this week. i accidentally smashed my forehead on the corner of an open closet door. I stepped up on a chair to put something on the top shelf and the door was open, so i didnt just walk into it, i stepped up into it REALLY hard. it bled all over the place (typical head wound) and then we went down to the doctor to get some sympathy and a band-aid but instead he made fun of me. he's the funniest old man. then i got to enjoy 50 people a day asking me what happened and why i had a huge cut on my face, so i just started telling people that sister hill beats me. but thanks to my trusty neosporin, the forehead is back on the mend. what can i say, i'm just a harry potter fanatic who wanted to have a matching scar on my forehead. sweet.
in other news, we live in a war-zone. Every night when we're winding down or trying to fall asleep. we hear a noise like gunfire/machine guns/and bombs going off. i didnt know what it was for the longest time, but i just found out last week that its fireworks. there is a soccer stadium not far from here, and whenever the team wins they have fireworks that are SO loud. but from where our building is next to other buildings in the way we cant see them. we just live with the gunshots and hope that we dont get bombed.
Also, mom and dad, thanks a bunch for 8 years of piano lessons. and thank you sisters for playing the piano and singing virtually every day i've been home in the last 3 years. i'm really glad to be able to play the hymns and do some little accompanying. the funny thing is...i never know what i'm playing until i'm a line or two into the song. the hymns are in p o r t u g u ê s. so they say, 'sister wardle, can you play hino 133?" and i say suuuuure. but i never know what it is and the numbers are different and sometimes the songs are a little tweaked in portuguese. anyways it usually works out, but there have been a few times where i totally butcher it. one night i was playing the opening song of a devotional, and in the portuguese hymnbook there are 3 verses, but the rest of the congregation of 200 people were singing from the lyrics that were put up on a big projector screen, and they only had 2 verses up. the chorister had a portuguese book, so he lead for 3 and i played for 3. i'm retarded. whatevvvvs.
i lOVE the brazilians. these people are so great. we became really good friends with a district of brazilians who are also going to the same mission in brasilia. they are so fun/funny. My favorite one is elder ribeiro because: 1) he is adorable and honestly looks like he is 12 years old. 2) he's ridiculously enthusiastic and whenever we see him he throws a fist up in air and shouts "just baptize!" #3) He is THE BEST beat-boxer. he can throw down a beat like no other. he drums on his chest plus these claps and snaps and he has perfect rhythm. plus then he'll sing american songs with totally different syncopation (-sp?).
Anyways, we spent a few days during meals learning how to do elder ribeiro's beat and then trying to rap with it. He always starts singing that one song, "eh baby..." but i didnt think it was appropriate to sing american rap songs because we're only supposed to listen to spiritually uplifting music right? but it just so happens that whenever we testify, we say "I know that..." which is "Eu sei que..." in portuguese. maybe you can guess where this is going. i decided to write my testimony in a rap. it was SO HARD. knowing enough words to say it wasn't hard, but being able to rhyme in portuguese and then get it to sound good with a beat was just funny. brazilians and americans alike got a pretty good kick out of it. here are two of my favorite couplets:
O Evangelho - sim, é muito bom
Eu amo ler O Livro de Mórmon
Thomas S. Monson é o profeta atual
Ele foi chamou de Pai Celestial.
(Paul you can read it for the fam. it sounds dumb in english though)
Anyways... in other news, we love every moment we can steal outside of the buliding to sit in the glorious sunshine of são paulo. a few days ago sister hill and sister lasley and I were sitting outside in the front by the gate to the outside world. We were studying grammar or something when this car drove by and we could hear the music being blasted out of the windows. At EXACTLY the same time we all acknowledged what we were hearing and we all looked up and our faces were pure joy. the one phrase of the song we heard was, "apple bottom jeans and the boots with the fur." we were so happy. just a little taste of the outside world. it was great great great.
K, but all outside world things aside, I'm loving being in the CTM. we have incredible experiences every day and I know that this is exactly where I need to be right now. I'm learning so much so fast - its awesome. and I know its not at all because of me. God helps us so much and all we do is lean on him for help and we receive it.
Today sister hill and I had an awesome experience. Being P-day, we went on a walk and found this little psuedo park to sit and write letters. this man walked up and immediately recognized us as missionaries, and so he came over and started talking with us. We talked for over an hour. i think i used just about every single word of portuguese i've learned. he was really religious, and had a lot of knowledge about the bible, but he didnt believe in joseph smith. it was so cool because we have spent the first 3 weeks studying the first lesson about joseph smith, and the restoration of the true gospel of christ through him. plus, i just finished preparing my first lesson in portuguese, so miraculously i knew how to explain dispensations, and how God has established this pattern of calling prophets throughout time, and all this stuff. then we talked about the book of mormon and how joseph smith translated it by the power of God, and how the book of mormon testifies of Christ. it was SO cool. and it wasn't me. I wasnt scared or nervous, or tripping over my portuguese, it was just perfect. it was totally all just the spirit working through me. And since i had just finished writing my lesson in portuguese, i was able to extend the invitations to read the book of mormon and pray to ask God if its true, with a sincere heart, and then promised him that he would receive an answer. the Then these elders were walking by and they have been here for 7 weeks and one of them knew a bunch more portuguese, so it was so helpful having him there, compared to my 3 weeks. We sat around this little park table for over an hour and we touched on points from all the lessons. We talked about the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the doctrine of christ exactly as outlined in 3 nephi11. It was incredible. Every thing he said was just opening up doors perfectly for us to talk about things. It was like he had all the questions the lessons teach and he just opened the door for us to talk about them. he kept asking why we are out here on the streets, and we go walking around the streets in pairs... what are we doing out here? and i said, Let us tell you why we are here. Then we went through our purpose as missionaries. and the other elder who didnt know conversational portuguese quite as well was able to recite our purpose exactly as stated in preach my gospel. We told him that we are here to invite all people to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was SO cool. Anyways, we just kept testifying and testifying "Eu sei que, ..." and I could just feel the spirit. it was legal demais people. so I loved it. and it totally lit a fire under me to hurry up and learn portuguese better so I can get out into the field and really start doing this every day. I loooove it.
So I love you guys, and I hope all is well at home, because let me tell ya, things are great here.