Sunday, January 27, 2008

Letters and Laundry

Hello family! i can't tell you how nice it is to be at a computer again. wow. things are going so so so well here at the mtc. I truly am blessed. My district is incredible! I love them all so much and am so sad that we aren't all going to the same mission. Elder Paull is visa waiting to go to Brasil and Sister Skinn and Elder Schwendamen (no relation to the ones in Plano) go to Cabo Verde. My love for my district and my zone grows tremendously with each passing day.

I had written a list of things to remember to write home, but unfortunately I left my planner in my coat, which I'm not wearing because I want a break from it and it's not terribly cold today. I'll just have to remember as best I can.

First off, thank you SOOOOOOOO much for the letters and packages. I had only heard from Jen until this morning and I was hoping to hear from you all soon. It felt like Christmas. I got letters from Mom, Dad, Kat and one of my friends from school, as well as a package. By the way, the cookies are amazing! Thank you so much. I'm glad to hear that you are all doing so well. I was so sad to hear that Kat and Jeremy's heat went out. That would've been so awful!

I'll just go to answer all of Mom's questions. She was pretty thorough. I LOVE my companion, Sister Skinn. She is an amazing example to me of patience and love. I'm sure I am not an easy companion to have. I tend to get really impatient and want to do things my way, but as time goes on, I am learning to be more patient. (Yes, that is my Christ-like characteristic I'm working on this week. :)) She graduated from Y-Daho with a degree in graphic design and has really cute clothes. She and I get along really well, but it can be a little difficult being the only sisters in a zone of fifty. The elders are good to us, some are amazing to me. My district is fantastic. We are a really chatty bunch and we've bonded so much. I can see now why Jen is so close to her district. You spend literally every minute with them, except sleep and shower time. The elders can be...a little immature at times, but for the most part, they are wonderful and I am so blessed to have them in my life. I couldn't imagine being with a different district in the zone. They are a perfect fit for me.

My teachers are absolutely incredible. Every day they impress me more and more. Irmao Harmon is like a little warm fuzzy every day. He is a really sweet guy and has a good time joking around with us. He is a little more open to us joking with him and I think he's glad that I'm in his class. Irmao Schlappi always says exactly what I need to hear. His love for the people of Cape Verde is so apparent. He is so enthusiastic that I have a hard time trying to do my own thing, as I do during language study. Two nights ago we had a BLAST in class. We were all teasing eachother and laughing and laughing. I was afraid one of the teachers would come in and tell us to quiet down (since they've already done that before. Whoops!), but they didn't. The teachers give me a hard time about my accent, but I know they aren't worried about it. Yesterday Irmao Schlappi told us about his last week on his mission. He read us the email he sent to his family and it was such a powerful letter and lesson for our whole district. It made me want to be the best missionary I can be and to love the people and the work with all of my heart. My teachers are incredible and I hope that I'm not too much of a nuisance for them. I tend to get a little bored during language time, but I've found that I should never be bored because I have way too much to do before I leave. There is never enough time to study here. That was so surprising to me. I am never going to learn enough, but I know that if I do my best, the Lord will make up for the rest.

Gym time is FANTASTIC. I wish that we could go outside, but there's about a foot of snow out here, so I odn' tknow how fun that would be anyways. I play volleyball every day and four square. don't worry. I dominate four-square. I bring the sisters pride to the gym. there are usually only six sisters during gym and they all run or play basketball most of the time. P.S. I am HORRIBLE at basketball. Wow. We're planning on doing district volleyball or basketball sometime this coming week. That will be a blast.

My schedule is BUSY! We have breakfast at 8:15, lunch at 1:00 and dinner at 6:00. We have to shovel food down, and I'm ususally done in 15 minutes. Then we have class twice a day with teachers and another block of time without a teacher where we do personal, companion and language study. An hour each, respectively.

My branch president is great. They all served in Brasil and are wonderful men. Irmao Schlappi has been working so hard to see when I can go do Portugal. Every day he has been working to get the ball rolling. Yesterday he left a note on the chalkboard saying that he and the other teachers had sent in to get approval to the Branch President to see if I can leave in two weeks, pending on my visa coming in time. I have mixed feelings about this because I don't know if I'll have had enough time in Preach My Gospel and teaching in Portuguese. I don't really expect that my visa will come in time, but we'll see.

That's about it from here! I love you all and hope that you're doing well. Thank you again for everything.

Laura's Mission begins...

Laura has asked me (her mother) to update her mission blog while she is gone. She will be able to email her family every week and I will paste her letters to this site. Now, let's just hope I listened carefully when she explained all of this and that I'll be able to make it work. Well, here goes.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome to the Journey

Hello readers!

As you may or may not know, I am going to be serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will have the great opportunity of serving in Portugal for 18 months.

First, though, I will be heading to the Missionary Training Center (MTC)in Provo, Utah. As I already have an adequate grasp on the Portuguese language, I don't know what they're going to do with me for two months. It will be a great blessing if I get my visa before I leave the MTC, but who knows? I could have the opportunity to serve in the States for a while if it does not arrive, which would be a great adventure as well. I'd be able to practice my teaching skills in English first, which would be wonderful. During these two months in the MTC, I will not be able to email my family, so this blog will probably not be updated. However, once I leave the MTC, I will be able to email my family and so they will update this blog with my progress and stories from my mission.

During my time in Portugal I will be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all those who will hear me. (Hopefully, they'll be able to understand me too!) I consider it a great privilege to be able to do this work. I know that I have been called to be a representative of Jesus Christ and I hope that I will be able to influence the lives of those I meet for good.

To all of you who read this I wish you the best of luck and I would love to hear from you!


MTC (until about March 18th):
Sister Laura Thomas
MTC Mailbox #298
POR-LIS 0318
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Letters to Portugal (after MTC time):
Sister Laura Thomas
Portugal Lisbon Mission
Apartado 40054
P - 1500 Lisbon
(US postage 90 cents)

Packages in Portugal:
Sister Laura Thomas
Portugal Lisbon Mission
Rua Jorge Barradas 14C
P - 1500 Lisboa