I’m halfway through the CTM experience! I’m not sure how to feel; I’m excited to leave the [CTM] and teach people, but teaching people in Portuguese is still scary. On Saturday we’re venturing out into the real world for real-life “street contacting” where we’ll share short messages about Christ (in Portuguese!) and get contact information. The prospect of using 22 days of Portuguese study to stop random people on the street is fairly terrifying! But I learn more words every day, and the other missionaries who did it all survived, so I’m sure it will turn out fine.
My mom asked if I can tell I’m in Brazil inside the confines of the CTM. I definitely can! We have a great view from our window of the city. The water taps are separate, the plugs are different, everything has signs in Portuguese, and the water fountains have buttons for “natural water” (room temp) and “cold water.” The computer keyboards are very confusing. Typically, breakfast is fruit (papaya, melon, banana), ham & cheese paninis, baguette rolls (delicious but I miss whole wheat bread) and extremely sweet porridge made with sweetened condensed milk.
[for illustration only–no photos from the CTM yet]
For lunch, we have beans, white and brown rice, various kinds of meat, grated vegetables (beets, zucchini, carrots, etc.), lettuce, and one or two other vegetables — often one I can’t recognize. Dinner is similar. Sometimes we have something different like pasta, hot dogs, or soup. They have dessert which is usually some kind of jello or pudding. It’s usually quite sweet and not flavours I recognize. The food is good, if not what I would choose to make myself. It’s not very flavorful, but they have good hot sauce. I think I use more hot sauce here than at home which is saying a lot! There are no labels so some foods are a surprise. Once I got something I thought was roasted carrots but turned out to be strangely-colored hot dogs! I also had fun explaining to some Brazilians that US sweet potatoes are orange or purple, not greenish-white.
[Stock photos of the CTM cafeteria from LDS.org]
I felt the spirit a lot this week. Some elders in my group got priesthood blessings, where an elder puts their hands on the person’s head and says whatever the holy spirit tells them to bless the person with. I felt the spirit so strongly when they got blessings. I just felt so clearly that the blessings were from God. I’ve also memorized some great scriptures recently — Mark 9:23 about how everything is possible through faith, and Moroni 10:3-5 in the Book of Mormon, which says that if you pray about the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent, God will help you feel that it is true through the holy spirit. They are both great!