I love all of you so much! I just wanted to start off my letter by making sure you all know that! Also, thank you for all of the packages and letters that I've received this week! I know I say this every week, but it truly makes my day!
Exciting news: one of the Elders in my district got his visa, and is already at the Brazilian MTC. There is still hope for me!
Anyways, I learned about a holiday here at the MTC that missionaries celebrate on the DL. It's called "peve" (or P-day eve). Curious as to what this holiday entails, I asked some of the elders in my district what they did to observe this holiday. They were very secretive of their plans, so I assumed it was some crazy and exciting and rule breaking adventure, but later I found out that during the half hour personal time from 9:30 to 10 before bed, they get a bunch of food, pray over it and then eat it. #missionarylife #wetotallycelebratedthatlastnight #doritosandreeces
Sister Pennington's district in front of the Provo Temple during their temple walk
Sister Pennington and her companion Sister Spencer during their temple walk
So I mentioned last week that I was preparing a musical number with Sister Guyn. We are singing Jesus Savior Pilot Me to the tune of For the Beauty of the Earth. It's really pretty, and we're singing it in sacrament meeting on Sunday. I'm singing soprano and Sister Guyn is singing alto. We were originally planning on singing it acapella, but after we practiced, we thought it sounded kind of boring without the piano. We asked one of the elders in our district (Elder Kettlewell) to accompany us. I didn't realize how much Elder Kettlewell loved the piano and how good he was at it. If he could do anything in the world for eternity, it would be to play the piano. He came into our first practice with an original memorized/ improvised arrangement of the hymn. I wish you could hear it! It is so good! He is so jazzed to be a part of the show! Anyways, we sound really good!
Speaking of music, this Sunday's devotional was Jenny Oaks Baker. She's the daughter of the General Authority Dallin H. Oaks and a very respected violinist. She studied music at Julliard (I don't know how to spell it) and she was amazing! For her devotional, she would talk for a bit, then she would play a few songs, then talk then play. It was such a treat! She had her four kids play I am a child of God and they were all amazing! (keep in mind that they were all under the age of 12!) It was such a nice break!
Sister Spencer and I gave a few really good lessons this week. We gave a really good lesson to one of our investigators (Irmao Gessel acting as one of his investigators Maria) that was really organized, really well thought out, and our Portuguese was so good! After the lesson, Irmao Gessel came up to us and told us that our lesson was really good and our Portuguese was almost perfect, but that it was too much. From his experience teaching Maria, he said that they would have to focus an entire lesson on one principle of the gospel because she couldn't understand more at one time. It was a really important thing to learn, and something I hadn't thought a lot about. We very prayerfully considered the lesson before we gave it, and designed it especially for Maria, but it was too much for her at that time. It was a good to learn that in lessons with our investigators we really have to be receptive to what they're thinking and feeling as we're giving our lesson. In our missionary teaching manual "Preach My Gospel", it says repeatedly to "teach people, not lessons", and I think that I'm starting to understand what that means.
We started teaching at the Teaching Resource Center (TRC) which is really cool. We teach lessons to random everyday people that we've never met before, who may or may not even be members of our church. We don't prepare a lesson, and the only things we can bring with us are our scriptures. So we have to teach this lesson to people we don't know with no preparation. In Portuguese. Tudo Bem (it's all good). It was so awesome last week! We taught two 20 minute lessons. The first was a little rough, but the second lesson was awesome! TRC is a really great opportunity to really be able to practice teaching by the spirit because we certainly don't have the talent or ability to pull it off on our own.
One of our teachers talked about doing um jejum de ingles (an English Fast- which means saying no words in English for an entire day). Sister Spencer and I tried it yesterday. It was super cool. We didn't do an exact jejum de ingles, but we spoke Portuguese most of the day, even when we were doing important planning for our lessons. It was so cool to see how much Portuguese we actually know, and how the Lord will meet us halfway when we have faith and try our very best. I know that this is true not only with learning a language, but with whatever righteous endeavor we pursue.
Also, I finished the Book of Mormon today. We were challenged to read it during our MTC stay, and I finished it in 3 weeks! That's the fastest I've ever read the Book of Mormon. (531 is a lot of pages of scripture!) I never cease to amaze at the absolute truth and beauty found in the pages of that book. I think this was my 5th time reading the book cover to cover, and the more I read it and study it, the more I am able to understand how important it is to our message as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is the cornerstone of our religion, and it is the foundation of our faith. I want you all to know how much I love the Book of Mormon, and how strong my testimony is of its validity. I challenge all of you to read it. Don't read it casually, or lightly, but really read it and ponder it. I testify to all of you that if you do this, you will receive your own witness of its divinity. The Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ, so any testimony that I have of the Book of Mormon, only points me to the Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God and came to this earth as part of a plan to return to our Father in Heaven. I know that Jesus Christ knows who I am, and he knows the trials I face. I know that if I just ask Him for help, He will give it.
With all the love in my heart,
With Sister Reeve from her Freshman ward