May 3, 2013

I got all of the packages, thank you for the flag! It came yesterday, and I have a thing where everytime I get a package from home, I put on my christmas tie. Livens things up a little. When I opened it, the entire district was screaming for joy! We didn't have one yet. It's perfect. Thank everyone for all of the things they've sent me. The Grant cookie was as hard as a rock, but I still have it displayed up on my shelf, along with Dad's nametag. I am learning this language extremely quickly, evet though spanish is messing me up TERRIBLY :/   I loved to hear about Grant barfing, so thanks for that.
So it's finally P-day, and IM SO EXITED TO GO TO THE TEMPLE! We're gonna take the flag and get some pictures outside. We only get 50 minutes of gym time a day, with nearly 16 hours of class, but it's ok. My companion and I excersize(?) every day, and I am sleeping like a baby. Haven't even brought out the camera yet, but I will today. The schedule here is so jam packed, it's hard to do anything extra. We can't even go out to the fields on P-day to play sports:/ I'm still having a blast though.
I have one more request from home; get the family together, as soon as you can, and go to Watch some of the short bible videos. I know that they will bring a sweet, loving spirit into the home, and increase the love you feel for our savior. It has for me. I love him more than I can explain. He is my best friend.
My schedule every day varies, but usually looks something like this...
6:30-7:00   Wake up / prepare
7:15 - 7:45  Breakfast
7:45 - 9:00  Personal study
9:00 - 12:00 classroom
12:15 - 12:45  lunch
1:00 - 2:00 Additional study
2:00 - 3:00  Companionship study
3:00 - 3:15  Prepare for next activity
3:20 - 4:10  Gym
4:15 - 4:30  Prepare for next activity
4:45 - 5:15  Dinner
5:30 - 8:30  classroom
8:30 - 9:00  Additional study
9:00 - 9:30  Daily planning
9:30 - 10:00 prepare for bed
10:00 - 10:15  Companionship study (door shut)
10:15 - 10:30 silent time/personal study
10:30  Lights out
Well, that's a little taste of my days here! iT NEVER SLOWS DOWN. By far the most draining thing is the spirit. When you feel it this much every day, it takes a lot out of you.
I had a revelation the other day while I was talking to my companion. My district thought it was hilarious (even the sisters) so you will too. We are like dogs here at the MTC. The feed us (dog food), walk us, let us run around outside for a while, we live in a cage, if we pee inside we get kicked out, and they spade(?) and neuter us the first day. It's very true, but it's never been more fun to be a dog. I understand now when people say that this is the hardest, yet most fun thing of their lives. It's difficult, It's tiring, and my brain is about to explode, but through unwaivering faith in my loving Father in Heaven, I will be just fine.
Eu sei que o evangelio e verdadeiro.
Eu sei que Jesus Cristo e nosso salvador.
Eu sei que O Livro de Mormon e verdadeiro.
Eu sei que Deus e nosso amado Pai Celestial.
Eu sei que nos ama.
Em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amem.
(By the way, Portugal portuguese and Brazilian portuguese are WAY different, sorry bro. J :)  )
Anyway, things are still great. One of the things I'm known for in my district is bringing us all together. I love to start random testimony meetings, sing hymns, and pray as a district. It has brought us all so close. They are my family, and I love them all dearly. I know that by also doing so at home, It will bring our family closer together. There might be murmuring, whining, and even gnashing of teeth at first, but in the end there will be an increase of love in the home. It has definitelty happened here. I am as far as I know, the youngest person here at the MTC, and there's 4,000 of us. It's pretty amazing. I run into Xan all of the time. She always goes "Sammy! .... or, Elder Smith!" Hahaha it's great. I love being here, feeling the spirit, and being part of such a huge family.
Funny story, so for my Portuguese class, we were given an "investigator" last wednesday. His name was Carlos. We started by watching a video of him, and then teaching him face to face. He didn't understand english, so we had to teach him in Potruguese, from day 2. We grew to love him, and most of our daily focus was towards teaching him. Yesterday, during our 1st class period, we had our last discussion with him. We committed him to baptism. It was a great feeling. During our 2nd class period, we got introduced to our new investigator, who, to our suprise, is Sister Petitta (our classroom teacher) Since she is now our investigator, we were wondering for the rest of the day who our new teacher would be. When our 2nd class period came, we all sat silently watching the door. And guess who walked in. CARLOS. He (who's real name is Brother James), is an employee here. Some of us literally thought he was legitimately portuguese. He's from Sandy, Utah. AND HE SPEAKS ENGLISH. Pretty amazing, Huh? My compainion and I just taught him the gospel a week ago, and he's already a teacher at the MTC! Hahaha anyway, that was just the strangest thing to ever happen to me.
I'm seriously LOVING the packages. Everytime mail comes, and I get a package, I feel so happy. It's my only contact with the outside world (dog). Just a sidenote, I love flags, soccer jerseys, and candy. We arent allowed to listen to any sort of music, or chew gum. Just a heads up.
Also, look up the Dear Elder program online. That's what Aunt Karen, Chelsea, and Sister Marcucci use to send me letters. They'll be able to tell you all about it.
I just feel prompted to share with you how much companionship study has brought Elder Childs and I together. We are by far the tightest companionship in the district, because we spend so much time bonding, both spiritually and through just talking. I know that this same pattern will strengthen and uplift the home. I'm not gonna lie, I haven't been thinking about home a ton, only because there isn't enough time to think here. But when I do, I think about how much closer we can be as a family, if we just read every night before bed, watch some bible videos, or simply share testimonies.
Well, my time is about up. I love you guys! I'll send pictures soon if I can figure out how to. Tell Dad, Madi, and epecially Grant that I love them. Also, give Katy a bath for me. She totally shafted me when I left, and I'm pretty sure she needs one.
I'll just close with my testimony (in English this time)
I know that God lives.
I know that he is our Father in Heaven.
I know that Jesus Christ is our savior, our Redeemer, and the bread of Life.
I know the Book of Mormon is true.
I know that Joseph Smith restored the true church upon the Earth.
I know that Thomas. S. Monson is an ordained Prophet of God.
I know that if we love ALL of our neighbors, speaking ill of no one, we WILL feel the savior's love in our lives more abundantly.
Know that all children, even the ones we dislike, chose to side with God, truth and light before coming to Earth,
and that all of them are our Heavenly Father's beloved, valiant children.
We truly make him sad when we choose not to forgive and forget. I know the Gospel is true
I say these things in the name of my beloved Savior, amem.
<3 <3 <3 <3

Got more comp time.
I kinda neglected to say how much I miss you guys! I miss being home, and I definitely miss your food (MTC food isn't terrible, but it's not great). I couldn't go to the bathroom for 4 days. Yeah. So I just wanted to say that I'm so grateful for all of the prayers, and for the packages. They always make my day! We get to go to the Provo temple today, so thatll be fun, and then it's just basically free time. I hung the Flag up in our room, and it's awesome. We put it on the ceiling, and it's awesome. I feel so much love for this country that I've never been to, it's unreal. Just found out that I'll be getting there right around Carnival, and they usually don't let the missionaries out during that time. Great. 
So I've been hearing that Visas take 5-6 months to come in, and I turned mine in earlier than anyone else in my district. I might get mine while I'm still here. That's rare, but I might. And I'm not sure if that's a good thing! I'd hate to leave my district. I've come to love these elders and sisters so much.
Anyway, tell everyone I love them again for me, and I'm thinking of you guys!
Elder Smith