Sorry I told you Friday instead of today. Today's actually our p-day. Sorry!!
I'll just start off by saying, the CTM is THE BEST place to learn Portuguese, way better than in Provo. I'm completely immersed here!!! We're pretty much forbidden to speak English to anyone - the only ones who understand it are the other americans. My roommates are Brazilians, my teachers are Brazilians, we eat meals with the Brazilians, and all the workers are Brazilian. It's all sink-or-swim here. And it's awesome!! I've learned/relearned a ton, and the best way of practicing is just speaking it. Our teachers don't spend a lot of time on the Fundamentals of being a missionary. We're pretty much just practicing a ton. Teaching, speaking, playing games, everything's in Portuguese. You know what's weird? After speaking Portuguese nearly for a straight week, it feels weird speaking in English haha. I'm super grateful that I get to spend a little time here just to step back, reevaluate stuff, and just jump into the language. The gift of tongues is real!!! I mean, after seven months of hardly speaking full sentences in Portuguese, and then after a week of full immersion, I'm surprised the natives understand me! I'm nowhere near fluent, but the CTM has given me a great foundation.
So lemme tell ya a little about how things work here. It's waaaaay smaller here than at Provo. We just got a bunch of new missionaries today, and we capped at 300 or so. The whole facility is like one of the big buildings in Utah. So you get to know people here pretty easy, which is nice. My roommates are really cool (and patient). We have three meals a day (Desjejum, Almoço, and Jantar), and then at 9:30 we have a Lanche. It's like a late snack: piece of fruit, a little croissant roll, and juice box. For breakfasts it's the same thing: a roll that we put meat and cheese in and then toast it - tastes pretty good. And, you called it, beans and rice are available at for lunch and dinner every day. Besides the Gospel, I'm also converted to one more thing: Guaraná. I had it my first meal here, and I don't know how to describe it. It's got a hint of cream soda, but fruity. SUPER good! I think one of my American roommates is addicted to it because he drinks like 10 glasses a day. Another thing, we have to drink a ton of water here - at least 10 glasses a day. The nights get pretty humid, and the mornings cool off. We have a big fan right over our door that we leave on all night. I was BAKING my first night!
My companion is Elder W. from South Carolina. He served in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for 6 months before coming here, and his MTC companion was Elder B. - small world! He's really cool and picked up a little Creole in Florida, so he likes speaking that when he can. He's going to Goianya. So far I haven't met a single missionary going to Sao Paulo West yet, but I'll probably run into a few later.
My district is cool too. Sister B. and Sister A. are in it, and they're companions again too! My Branch President assigned me to be the Zone Leader on Sunday. In the MTC it just means that I welcome the new ones in my zone and set a good example by being obedient.
Last week we got to go out to the heart of the city and proselyte. Elder W. and I were given 6 Book of Mormons to hand out, and then to just go talk with people! It was probably the funnest thing! The people here are super humble and receptive. The problem here is that near everyone will accept a copy, but there're people who will just do it to be nice and not read it. Kinda the opposite problem I had in California. Within an hour we easily had them handed out. The area we proselyted looked like New York Town Square - soooo many people in just one little area. It just felt great being back out.
The language is going great, I'm really excited to get back in the field. I've been really blessed this last week. Heavenly Father has helped me out a lot.
Sorry these computers won't let me send pictures. And there's a rule here to where you can only take pictures on p-day and your last day here. And we can't take our cameras outside the CTM too for p-day. But this morning when I went to the Sao Paulo temple (btw, BEAUTIFUL!), our driver took a picture of our district and will send it to you.
They have the hour time-limit for emailing here too. I still have 20 minutes by the time you get this email, so maybe we can chat.
Thanks!! Sorry again if you were expecting an email on Friday. I love you all a lot!!!