Aghhh! Is this real?!? I'm lovin' it here. Soaking everything in, well, trying to at least... I look at my nametag all the time. Haha I sometimes take it off during class and just look at it. I almost feel like I'm looking at Dustin's or Dad's, but now I'm starting to be like, "Yeah baby, that's me!"Okay, so I love it here. I don't know where to start and I only have 50 minutes left! Agh! Haha okay that might seem like a lot of time but it takes me about 45 minutes every night to write in my journal. So these letters home are a very small portion of what life is like for "Elder Welch".
All right, so Dustin dropped me off last Wednesday afternoon and I walked in to the MTC. (I'm not going to lie, that was pretty tough saying bye to Dustin. I've always looked up to him.) Memories came flooding back of when we dropped Dustin off at the MTC as a family. I thought of the Joseph Smith statue we took the family picture by and the videos we kept watching - "Family... Isn't it about... time?" Haha Matt and I used to always joke about that. Anyway, so then I went to a couple rooms to pick up everything I needed for the next six weeks, for teaching the Gospel and learning the language. The last thing I got was my nametag tho.... Oooooohhhhh baby was that awesome. It didn't seem real. This lady approached me with it about to put it on and I was like, "ohhh, I wish Mom could put this on me like she did for Dustin." I almost asked if I could put it on myself but I decided not to. Haha so I walked to class touching it every few steps being like, "Yeah baby. Who's a missionary? I'm a missionary." Haha it probably looked like I was way in to myself because I was smiling huge walking down the hall looking at myself, beating my chest every few steps. I just couldn't believe I was actually wearing one now... I finally found my room where I'll be learning Portuguese for the next six weeks and it turns out I was a little late. Almost everyone in my district was there when I opened the door to the teacher talking. "Tudo bem Elder! forignognwerqifhq[0fgh[g" Haha I stood in front of the class for like a full minute trying to understand him. I should of just sat down right away, instead I tried talking back to him. Hahaha, it was so bad. I finally in my head was like, "Yo teach! I clearly don't know Portuguese yet. Stop that right now before I mess you up." Haha I finally just sat down in my seat and took out a notebook. He didn't speak in English that entire lesson but he's way cool. He served his mission in southern Sao Paulo.
We then went to a big meeting with a group of probably about 500ish new missionaries where they talked to us about everything we needed to know. A lot of good stuff was said and they taught some awesome lessons. The coolest thing was singing "Army of Helaman" with all of the new missionaries at the end of the meeting. They changed the last line of that song from "And we will be..." to "And we are now the Lord's Missionaries, to bring the World His truth." Ugh! I felt like standing up on top of my chair and shouting my testimony. It was awesome. One thing they stress here though, which I think is awesome, is the way you speak to each other. Since we're missionaries now, they want everyone to elevate everything they do- including speech. So they told us to call each other "Sisters and Elders" instead of using, "guys, man, dude, etc." That means no more calling people I like "broseph or bro-dawg-millionarie..." Haha but seriously, I never realized how much I use the words, "dude or man!" Agh! They told us to do ten pushups for everytime we accidently say "What's up dude" or "it's okay man." I'm seriously JACKED now! You wouldn't even recognize me. I have muscles, on muscles, on my mahhhhsclleesss now. I'm not kidding, I've easily done a couple hundred pushups in just one week. (oh and Dustin told me to say out loud, "And then it begins..." as I entered the MTC. Haha I felt so lame saying it but I did anyway just because I told him I would... Probably won't be funny to anyone but Dustin, but I'm just returning and reporting what you asked me to do. Haha I said it so soft I felt like a creep)I really wish I could tell you everything that happened this week, I'm having the time of my life. Above is just the first few hours of the first day! So I'll try to highlight a few things some of you have wrote me asking.
So my district is the BOMB-dig! I love them all. We have 14 people crammed in this tiny little room with these tiny desks. I'm not kidding, I have to take turns with my companion on sitting down in our seats for language study. Haha I always make a big scene before sitting down and suck in as much air as I can before shimming in to my seat (there's a desk attached to it so you have to make your body in to an "L" shape to get in.) I honestly feel like "Buddy the Elf" when I'm in class. Haha but I love it.
We have six sisters and eight elders in our class, a little over half of them going to Campinas which is pretty cool. There's over a hundred missionaries here waiting on Visa's many of them getting reassigned as there six week MTC journey ends. I never knew how they did reassignments though. I'll tell you all more about it when I have more time in the future weeks. It's pretty cool.My compainon's name is Elder Lundquist. Haha he cracks me up. He doesn't ever say much, especially in our lessons with our "investigator". Oh btw, we had to teach a lesson in Portuguese... That was the most awkward 20 minutes of my life. Haha he didn't understand anything from us. I love Elder Lundquist though. I pray for him every night. I think he's having a tough time with the language because he always just smiles at me when I look at him for help during our lessons. He's a good Elder and I'm excited for the next five weeks I have with him. He's from Pennsylvania, so not too far away from home, sweet home.
Last comment, I hate to say this but I know Mom well enough that she would get mad at me if I didn't say anything about it. If they didn't tell the parents I probably wouldn't say anything because there's more qualified Elders in my district to be District Leader. Anyway, so my Branch President called me to be District Leadernight and I was taken back a little bit. I didn't expect it especially since I'm the second youngest in my entire district. Everyone here has done a year of college except for one other elder in my district. But I'm definitely humbled by it and have learned so much- more than any leadership position I've ever had in school, clubs, or sports. I think the hardest thing is interviewing the Elders about how their companionships are going, homesickness, etc. because I'm younger than all of them. I constantly think of D&C 121 though.Anyway, my time is up. I'm going to attach some pics below. Sure I've had some discouraging moments here this week but I'm not going to ever talk about that stuff. I'm on a MISSION BABY! (op! ten pushups...) I'm so happy. I'm finally livin' the dream. All day everyday.Btw, I LOVE your letters, keep them coming. Dustin wasn't kidding, letters are like gold here. I love you all!
Sounds lame but I really wish I could sleep in my clothes. I'm giving it everything I have and feel like I have no time to change... I would be lying to you though if I said I haven't slept with my nametag at night in bball shorts and a tshirt (yep, Dustin and Matt will make fun of me for that)