Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

     So I can speak alright.... it's just a matter of all the vocabulary now. And all the slang people use. It's tough when people are supposed to say (Como é que você está?) and what they really say is (Como é ke cê tá?) It's just shorter like saying what's up rather than what is up, but it's what I’m trying to get used to hearing right now. My trainer thinks I’ll have the language almost fluent in just two more months. That's what I am hoping and praying for.
   Basically, no matter what, I'm gonna be hot and I'm gonna sweat. I've accepted that. My face is starting to break out from all the sweat lol, even though I wash it twice every day. I have a rag I keep with me to wipe my face and head because I don't want to look completely gross for the investigators. But it's all good because most of them have fans and stuff that they turn on for me. Another good thing is summer here is the rainy season I hear, so the rain every week or so will give me some cool days to enjoy. Oh.... and when it rains it usually goes on for days! We haven't had a huge torrential down pour yet, but I can't wait until we do. But, for example, the past three or four days have been rainy and cloudy. And it all started on a day that was 38 degrees celsius! By the night time it was only 20! In one day!
  My companion got Gripe (Portuguese for a cold) but I haven't gotten anything yet. And I eat a lot, it's just all at lunch with the members ;) they make really good food I’ll have to make some of this Brazilian food for you when I get the chance. For breakfast we will just have some bread or cookies. Store bought cookies here are very cheap and common and easy for mornings. Most mornings we don't eat much. We have a big lunch, and we get home and eat some little stuff for dinner again.
   So when I first got here to my house in my area, I almost freaked out. I almost started hyperventilating thinking that I had to live in a place like this for the next 2 years. You may want to cut this paragraph out if you want to share it with everyone else, especially the women, but there are ants everywhere in our kitchen. Everything is dirty, only one elder really does dishes. The bathroom is always dirty because the shower leaks, and so it is always wet. My feet look like I have chicken pox because of all the mosquito bites, I’ve just come to accept them now lol. And, the most overwhelming thing of all was how small this tiny house was. So yes, that first week I was praying a lot for comfort to just be able to do this, to accept this and move forward with the work I have to do. For the most part I have. I've just kind of accepted that I’ll probably be dirty and covered in germs all the time. It's kind of life in Brasil. I've accepted the mosquitoes, though I still kill them. I've accepted that I will sweat all the time. So yes, the Lord has blessed me so much, and I find when I concentrate on scripture or the language and not on home I do much better. The homesickness is almost gone completely. I feel, from the spirit, like it will be completely gone once I learn the language.
   But yeah everything is going fine. The heat actually isn't too bad once you get used to the humidity. It's almost the same temperature as Concord in the Summer to be honest. I just sweat all the time cuz we are constantly walking up hills and so far. But almost everyone has a fan so it's all good. Yes we visit inactive members and recent converts. We try to get one every day, and often we get more than one. We are really good with that goal. We do some service but not necessarily every week, just whenever people ask us to. We do not do much tracting. Almost all our investigators are from references or street contacting. Thomas S. Monson taught how to ask for references without actually saying (do you have a reference for us) because most members will say no when they think like that. But if you ask (do you know anyone who recently had a baby or who had a family member pass away) then you get more. Anyways, yes I bought a hymn book in Portuguese and my companion loves singing to ALL of our investigators, so we sing a lot.
   District meetings are just the Elders that live with us. The District is 4 people, and I am the only American. The District meetings are every Tuesday at 2 and they are tough to do cuz we have to go to lunch first and then head back for the meeting, and then head to our area again. So, we have only had one district meeting. But the other reasons are also because we have had other stuff going on on Tuesdays like interviews with the president. Zone meetings have actually been taken out of the missionary program by the First Presidency I hear. They want to focus more on the districts. Every three months we will have a multi zone conference or something, and we almost always have something going on otherwise with our zones in those three months too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yesterday I had my first Baptism!!! It's the same lady I wrote about last week who didn't get baptized. We worked with her a lot this week and she got baptized yesterday! Here in our area we baptize on Sundays because it is the day that members are already here for church, so people can watch the baptism. Everyone has to pay for transportation to go to church every Sunday because the building is not in the Galeão area, so expecting them to come Saturday for baptism and Sunday for church is pretty much out of the question, cuz everyone is so poor.
   Count your blessings that it is getting cooler up there, cuz down here it's only getting hotter. Lately it's been raining so the real heat has been held off, but all the Brazilians I talk to say that it's not really summer until December, and then the heat lasts till February. Already I sweat all day every day, mostly because my area has a ton of hills and we walk all the time. I carry a little towel with me to wipe my face with, but it's bad.
   Don't worry, I always wear flip flops. I have two pairs with me just in case and I never go barefoot. Living conditions are... different than America lol. No one here has screens on the windows, even the rich people. I have no idea why. But it means mosquitoes and flies can have free reign of the house if they want. They are only really a problem if we don't clean the house (which no one does cuz I live with three Brazilians) but all is good. It was hard adjusting to living here but now that I have the hang of it I think I can make it ;). I hope Thanksgiving was good! Everyone is gearing up for Christmas though. It is weird seeing Christmas lights on houses, and it being like 90 degrees outside.
  Everyone in the wards here ask me for pictures of my family. It's funny, they all say I have hair of Gold and it's so pretty. I tell them they should see the rest of my family ;)
   If you send packages to the mission home it will get to me eventually. That's all I really know. Eventually is used for a reason. It sometimes takes 6 weeks to get to the mission home, and 6 weeks to get to me because the home will hold it until transfers or something. Don't feel like you need to speed it up to get to me. I will get it eventually. OH! And very very very important: do not use any other system to send stuff to me other than United States postal service. If you send a package by FedEx or something, customs will hold it until I pay them like 200 dollars or something.
   To be honest I'm not sure what the streets are called down here... we don't use the names too often. Or at least I don't. Signs are hard to find, they aren't like the signs in America. They are obscure and like stapled or something to the sides of buildings, rather than on the streets. So we kind of explore and look where to go. The church is not on the same street as us and it is an actual building, not an apartment.
   But we live in a house... sort of. It's ridiculously small. I'm taking pictures. We live behind the Bishop's house of the Ilha ward (the other ward we share a building with) so I'm not sure if you can even see where I live. It only takes about 30-45 min to get to my area. It just gets expensive after awhile, and if we have extra meetings to go to in the two weeks we get money then we often have to skimp on things. For example, in the past two weeks I have had to make three extra trips to places pretty far away, like when we had a conference with Elder Bednar. I won't get money until this Thursday, which means I won't be able to buy food to eat lol. I'll have to survive only on the lunches the members give me. But it's all good, and part of being a missionary, and I am starting to really love it.
   The ward is decently sized, but there a few that are inactive. As I said in a previous letter it is hard for them to go to church every week cuz it's so far and they don't have the money. When we eat lunch usually it's the wife and kids, but it all depends on if that dad works nights or days and stuff like that. Lately the people we have eaten with, the father's have been home. 
  Alright well have fun, and tell everyone I love them. Pray for me to get the language, it's coming slowly but surely. I love you all and pray for you every night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

  It's weird to think almost three months have passed since I left. A missionary who was coming home in the airport said he saw someone with a "big ipod." We assumed he meant an Ipad cuz he left before they had come out and had never seen them. It was pretty funny. I wonder what will come out while I am gone. 
 On Sundays we work. After church is over we go to our lunch appointment and after that, we proselyte for the rest of the day. I don't remember if I told you in the last letter but on Sundays we make the trip twice to our proselyting area. First to pick up our investigators and take them with us back to the church (because the church is not in our area either it is right next to our house) and again after church to proselyte. It is really taxing on our funds; even with the extra 60 reais they give us a month. It isn't enough to cover the trips we take every day. I haven't needed to delve into personal money yet though, for which I am thankful. 
   So every day we get up at 6:30 and we go to bed at 10:30 like normal. We work out a little, eat breakfast, and get ready. Then we have personal study at 8, companion study at 9, and language study at 10. At 11 we are supposed to go start proselyting, we go to our lunch appointment, and then we prosleyte to the end of the day. We are supposed to get home at 9 or 9:30 plan for the next day, update the area book, and go to bed.
   My trainer is a great missionary and knows how to teach. Also, he is very good at helping me learn different things in Portuguese. He is from Curitiba in Brasil but thankfully knows English pretty good. If nothing else he can help me learn Portuguese. He is also very good about making me teach parts of the lessons and sharing messages with the members. This lets me practice a lot. We also do a lot of practicing teaching the lessons and different situations. All is good we will learn everything together and do the things we have to.
   Well, I would have had an amazing spiritual experience this past week but no luck. We invited and committed one of our investigators to Baptism, an older woman. She was interviewed and we met with her everyday this past week and we were so excited, and she said she was too... but yesterday when we went to pick her up for church she wasn't home. She didn't come home all day. We are not sure what happened, we are going to go talk to her today. Well... I think that's about it for now. I love you all! Pray for me to have success. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

   Hey, I get an hour to email you guys now, but part of that is eaten up by a letter to the mission president.
   Well, I guess I’ll start with the beginning. We had to wake up at like three in the morning to leave or something ridiculous like that, from the MTC. All of our travels went fine, and everything went ok. Rio is not much more humid than São Paulo was, just a tiny bit more. The mission home was really nice looking all decorated for Christmas already. We ate there and stuff but did not stay there. The mission President and his wife are nice but they don't speak any English!! It's really hard to communicate right now. I'm doing my best though to learn.
   Alright so after we ate and had interviews with the President we left for the church building to get our companions and watch this video or whatever on training missionaries. My first companions name is Elder Ferreira. He has only been on his mission for 7 months and I am only his third companion! It was a little scary to learn that fact but he seems to know what he is doing. He speaks English pretty good, but when he is tired or something he has a hard time understanding so I need to learn Portuguese fast. Our first day was mostly travel. It took three hours to get to our area. The name of my first area is Galeão. The main part of Galeão where we proselyte is a favela called Vila Juniza, and it looks very much like the favelas look in Fast Five Lol. The houses are crazy and the streets are all broken and trash and dog feces are everywhere. But there are quite a few members here and almost all of our investigators are in there.
   So.... my apartment... if you can call it that. We do not live in our area, unfortunately. This means we have to take a bus every day to and from our area. This costs about 35 reais a week, and we only get 260 for the month. Over half our money is spent on travel to our area. We also have to pay for our utilities and house payments. We get reimbursed but it takes like 10 days so we have to have enough money saved to pay the utilities first, so not much money is left for food and things. I basically buy a few snacks and some cereal for the morning. The main meal in Brasil is lunch, not dinner, so the members feed the missionaries lunch. We have a lunch appointment everyday so don't think I'm starving or anything. My apartment is really small. We live next to the bishop of the Ilhã ward, which is the ward that meets in the same building as us. We also live with our district leader and his companion, so four of us in a tiny place. A lot like The Best Two Years. We have a small fridge and very small stove and sink. Our washing machine is very small and hooked up to the sink to get water from. It's very humble place to live in. We do not have a dryer so we need to hang our stuff up to dry. The bathroom is small. The shower is basically a spigot from the wall. There is not curtain and no walls, other than the corner it is in so water is always everywhere on the floor. We never go anywhere barefoot.
   The second night I think, my feet were almost completely eaten by mosquitoes. They itch all the time now. It was partly my fault because i had my feet uncovered, but that’s because it's so darn hot. I spray with bug spray now every night before I sleep.
   OK, a have little time left so I will tell you the things I think you need to know. No, you cannot send letters to me at my address. I don't know why but that is what my companion said. You must send them to the mission office, not the mission home. This is where packages are sent as well. Unfortunately this also means I won't get letters very often. I only get real letters every six weeks, at transfers. It's lame and sucks, i know. I also have not heard anything about using the pouch mail system. None of the elders in my district are American and only my companion speaks any kind of English. Also, for me to send a package to you is very expensive.... like 50 reais or so. I'm not sure how many times I can send my camera memory cards.
   We have a meeting with Elder Bednar this week. It's pretty exciting. I can't wait to hear from him.
   Well, I'm out of time. I love you all and will write again next week. Send all your questions again!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear Family,
   Yesterday was the first time I got to go proselyting! Two times here in the MTC we get to go proselyting... once yesterday which was just around the MTC and in MTC boundaries. All we did was try and place copies of the Book of Mormon. And next week we will be bussed into the heart of São Paulo and we will proselyte in the big busy areas, again placing copies of the good Book. But yesterday was so amazing.... we placed all 4 of our books in just 2 hours, and for the next hour since we didn't have any more books we just talked with our teachers. It was amazing because 3 out of the 4 people we talked to really seemed like they would read it, especially this one lady in particular. She said she was Evangelical but we asked her to read it and promised it would bring her peace and happiness in her life. She wanted to know a little more about our church so I gave her an Articles of Faith card I had bought here in Brasil. It was in Portuguese don't worry ;). Yesterday was huge in it being the first time we really placed copies of the Book of Mormon to real people. Some of the people who took them looked so grateful and happy to have them, and started flipping through them even before we left. Hopefully at least one of them will call and want to know more. Also, sometimes when we teach our teachers and members who come in to be taught the Spirit is so strong. One of my teachers, a guy, even started crying because he felt it so strong. It was awesome.  Also, next Monday we will have two general authorities visit the CTM and give us training. This is the day right before I leave for the field so we just barely get to do it! It will be a member of the Area presidency of Brasil and a member of the Presidency of the Quorum of the 70. It's pretty cool because we rarely get authorities of any kind down here.

Mom, that's one thing I think I may miss is your cooking around holiday time. But it's all good I'm sure the members of the wards I will serve in will take care of me.
The language is coming along pretty good. I can talk a lot about the gospel and if I really try pretty much about everything I want to. Understanding is coming. Slowly I can understand them even when they speak super fast. I think once I am in the field I will accelerate though, because it will be 100% portuguese all the time.

Today I had a cookie milkshake from that cookie store I told you about. It was kind of expensive... but it was my last P-Day here so I don't regret it too much. I will try and keep my expenses down though, until I get to the field and will receive money every month for my monthly allowance. My branch president is a really cool guy. He has been the officiator in the Temple because he is here on a mission too. It's been really cool being able to see him twice a week.
Relaxation? haha, we get none. Sometimes we don't study too hard and talk in class... but that's about it. Sleeping at night is really the only relaxation I get. And toilet breaks Lol.

Hey grandma i just wanted to let you know I got your letter and love hearing from you and about grandpa's experiences as a missionary. Please keep writing me and read my blog so you can know what is going on with me! Lots of love!
Well, have a good week everyone! Lots of Love from Brasil! Next time I write you I will be in Rio de Janeiro. Hopefully ;).

        Elder Baldwin

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hi family:  
   Today was the second to last time I go to the temple, with next Tuesday being the last time. It's kinda weird.... I only have two weeks left. I sometimes forget to pray Daily for a good first companion but I do pray for one. My teacher told me about a companion he had who had 2 lazy missionaries in a row, and so when my teacher got to him he had to reteach him the missionary purpose, how to use preach my gospel, all the lessons, and everything. Then the companion he had right after him was an american out 8 months who, because of laziness and lazy companions, still could not speak Portuguese! I really hope that doesn't happen to me. It's getting better but I don't think I'll get really good until I'm out in the field. Some brasiliens compliment me on my accent though. They say sometimes I sound like I'm really from Brazil! That makes me happy when I can do that.
   Weather here is starting to get hotter. The past few weeks it has been nice and cool, just under or around 20 Celsius. Today though was more like 25 and I think it will just get hotter. Also, it's starting to get more humid which just makes things worse. But I’ll get through it. I'm not sure really what I want in my Christmas package. It's weird, before the mission I never really cared much for ties but here I really want to by some but do not want to waste my money on them. So yeah, ties. Not silk ones though.... apparently the sun here ruins silk ties so send me polyester. Its really too bad because almost all my ties are silk. They said it's fine as long as I only where them like once a week though, but I still want to be safe and have some polyester too. So yeah, that’s all I can really think of. 
   Today I bought a notepad and two cheap pens and I'm starting to practice drawing when I have free time. Just practicing drawing people and different things. An Elder in my district named Elder Swinney can draw really well and has started teaching me a few techniques. It's weird being out here on the mission made me really think about all the talents and skills I really want to develop, but never "had the time to" because I was playing video games and what not. Like drawing and painting, playing the piano and other musical instruments, and other things like that. Also all the books I want to read like Jesus the Christ and the Bible,. I know it sounds weird but those are the kinds of things I want to start doing now... but can't because now I'm busy with actual important things. 
      Yeah the choir directing went pretty good, but I chose a song that was a 6/8 so I'm sure my arms look like I was windmilling, but everyone told me I did good. This past week our district sang the special musical number. We sang I know that my redeemer lives in Portuguese. It went really well. Also, tonight for the devotional we will be singing about 4 songs for prelude music, so taking choir really helped me out on my mission too in helping me learn to sing. Brasilians here do not recieve music classes in school, so many do not know how to sing, follow sheet music, or play any instruments. Even the LDS ones, so many times missionaries have to play every week for sacrament. This one elder told me he knew three songs and he was in a branch where he was the only one who knew how to play, so they sang the same three songs every single week.
      I wanna check out the blog but won’t get the chance until maybe the field, and maybe not even then. Keep it updated though and I will see it for sure when I get back ;) No, they have not given us any culture training here at all yet, and I don't think they really will, so... I don’t know. When I get out in the field I'll start walking around with less stuff, especially in the shady areas, but around the CTM it's pretty chill and in the CTM no one is going to pick pocket me. But yeah I’m sure if I get transferred to a bad area the President or my companion will warn me first.
   I love you and will try to think of more things to put in the package, but If you were gonna send it this week go ahead and send it. Oh, and you will get an email with a letter scanned to you, hopefully you can read it. I only have two more weeks in here so don't pay for that and use it. I just did it to get the free cookie and send you guys another letter. Well, Tchau!
   Lots of Love,
                      Elder Baldwin

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

   So, thanks to the time change you all moved back an hour, and I moved forward an hour, meaning we are now 6 hours apart!!! Which means it is barely 8 in the morning there. I hope all is well back home.
   Ok so I freaked out a little when I heard I could send letters by pouch when I get in the field, but then they told me that it doesn't matter I still need Brazilian stamps (I don't know why) so don't worry too much about it.
   Yes I did get two of your dear elders. They come slow but they come. I still have three weeks left in the CTM (name for it down here in Brazil) I really am getting tired of it. I'm ready to get out into the field, but I still need this time for the language. The language is starting to come, but really slowly. Since coming here my understanding has gone way up, but my speaking even though it's improving is way behind.  
   The CTM is about to get a lot more people. Apparently the visa office in L.A. (which is the big one for almost everyone to use) is sending out like 100 visas. That’s good, but only about 40 are coming to the CTM because the rest were already in the field.
    Oh! Report time. So one thing I forgot to tell you last week was last Sunday (not two days ago) I gave a talk in sacrament meeting! It was on virtue and only 5 min. The scary thing was that Pres. and Sis Clark, mission presidents of the MTC, attended our sacrament meeting. But afterward Sister Clark told me I did really well, and I have a really sweet spirit about me when I give talks. I thought that was nice. This past Sunday (just two days ago) I played the piano for sacrament meeting. That was scary... especially because I didn't know any sacrament songs. So I learned one. I can't remember the hymn number in English since the hymn books are different but I learned a whole hymn in one week, finding 10 min here and there to practice in between classes. OH! And tonight I direct the Missionary choir for devotional. That is gonna be scary....
   Anyways things are going pretty good. Yeah it really is weird that Elder Sherrill isn't here yet but he will come eventually, especially now that visas are coming out fast again. I can't believe I only have 3 weeks left at the MTC but at the same time I can't believe it is taking so long. I want to get out in the field so bad....
   Well, I am out of time. Until next week I suppose... I am gonna go out today and try a Pastel from a bakery.
Lots and lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alright! Another P-Day down. Today I was able to go into the city before my email, so I can tell you all about it!! I wrote some letters to people but I haven't sent some to you yet. The reason being is it costs me 2.10 a letter to send, which in American money is about 1.40. The Brazil MTC doesn't give me any money so I will wait to send alot of letters for when I am out in the field and recieving money. Maybe I can use that money more. So today Elder Smith and I went to Barbecue! It was all you can eat and they cut it off the stake for you onto your plate. It was really cool and really good. For the meal and a Sprite it was R$22.00 or around 15 american dollars, which isn't too bad for an all you can eat pork and steak place. Right now my companions are two Americans named Elder Smith and Elder Gleason. We have Brazilian roommates but in general they don't pair up Americans and Brazilians because the Brazilians leave after only 3 weeks.
   I have only 4 more weeks in the MTC!! It's weird to think I'll be leaving for Rio in a month. The Elder that came from my home district last week was Elder Lamb, tall with really short buzz cut who I roomed with in Provo. Tomorrow we are getting four more elders, three of whom are from my old District. Elders Swinney, Heath, and Cornwell. Still no word from Elder Sherrill yet I think.
   Oh, try not to send any letters or packages to me here at the Brazil CTM. It takes the postal service a week to get to me and right now the post office is on strike, so they delay all mail by at least another week. I'm afriad you will send me mail and I will leave before it gets delivered. If you send it to my mission office in about two weeks, then I should be able to get it from them. Also, no matter what you do do not send packages to me here. It takes 4-6 weeks to get here, and the CTM can NOT send it to me in the field if I am not here to recieve it. Just send those straight to my mission home. Thank you so much I love you!
   I don't know exactly how to use the pouch system but when I do I'll let you know. Oh, did you get the stamps I sent home with that first post card letter thing? Because if not I need to hunt down the lady and ask her where she put them.... Well time is up. Which is really lame... I hope you get this and all is well. Love you all lots!!
   Elder Daniel Baldwin

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

pictures from the MTC

Tuesday, October 4

Tuesday's are Elder Baldwin's P-day, so that is most likely the day where new information and updates will be available. Here is his email from this week:

Dear mom and dad:
I am sorry I did not call you in the airport, I was not aware I was allowed to until it was too late. But I'm here safe and sound, and it sounds like you got the picture emailed by my MTC president. He seems really nice. oh! Another miracle happened while I was checking my bags. Both weighed exactly 50 pounds each!! I didn't have to pay for anything extra and was able to take all my stuff, books and everything included. The small backpack survived the trip somehow and I am still using it.

So the MTC down here allows us outside of the MTC within a few block of it on P-Day. Today (tuesday) is my P-Day so I will be able to go outside and see how my Portuguese is in the real world ;). I'm also going to buy a few things like a scripture bag for my Portuguese set of scriptures. There is a lady here who can embroider the name of my mission and my name on the front of the bag so that is pretty cool. I am really loving it here now. I'm starting to love my companions as well. Oh! Tomorrow we get a new Elder in our district from Provo. I'm hoping it is Elder Sherrill but I’m not sure if it will be since there are 200 some odd elders waiting for visas back there. Because of that, this MTC has about 100 if not less missionaries in it, and only about 30-40 from America. It’s weird but nice at the same time. We have Brazilian roommates since it is 6 to a room here. They don't speak any english at all and their portuguese is very difficult to understand, but I find every day it gets a little easier.

The food down here is much better in everyone's opinion than in Provo. Some food in Provo we miss, but the freshness and organic-ness and other things of the food here more than makes up for it in my opinion. Yes I loved Conference! And you will be happy to know that I was awake for every single session this time, all 5. It's weird though because we were watching it three hours ahead of Utah and 4 hours ahead of you guys. I was eating dinner when I'm sure you were all still in your pajamas!

I have been really good about taking my vitamins so far, but I hear the field is much worse than the MTC so I’m going to try and save them until I get to Rio. I only have 5 more weeks here before I ship out to the field. It’s weird. The saying here is the days pass by like weeks, but the weeks pass by like days. This is very true, because each day feels like an eternity but I blink and it is P-Day again and I get to write you all again :)

Oh did you see the new Joseph Smith movie, which is narrated by the mother of Joseph Smith? I don't know, I kind of like the other one about him better. They are virtually the same movie but they took out a couple scenes and stuff.
They told me my stamps would not work because they were american stamps. They work in america going out but not from other countries going in. but idk... I'm just gonna send letter out from the post office, and it will be awhile I think before I send home more pictures, like after I get to the field or so. But I’m glad you got them ok :). I love you very much!

Love your son, Elder Baldwin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 28, 2011 - Letter from the Mission President

Dear Parents,
We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.
They now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting.  These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.
The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.
Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.
Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.  We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children.”
Please accept our love,
President Donald L Clark and Sister Zaza Clark

September 27, 2011

Dear Family,
Yes, Elder Sherrill is pretty sad I'm leaving but he has a cool new companion from our District named Elder Heath. And Elder Sherrill keeps saying he believes we get our visas based on our readiness so he thinks i am ready or something to go to Brazil. I don't know if I am language wise but hopefully I will learn faster when I get there. I sent you my first sim card from my camera. There aren't too many pics on it but I figured you would want some before I left and it would be cheaper to send to you while I was still in America.
   They actually took the sign down that was in front of the MTC... I'm not sure why and my whole district was pretty bummed. But I think I have some in there in front of the Provo Temple that may work. 
  Well I said all my good-bye's to my teachers and to Shawna. It was pretty sad but I have all their addresses and stuff so I can write to them.
  I don't think I have 12 pounds of books lol, and that may be because I didn't get all the books I was supposed to. They run out of Portuguese books here all the time. But also I am trying to put most of the heavy stuff in my carry on. oh, I'm still using that tiny backpack that is like falling apart. I borrowed some duct tape from one of the Elders in my District (Elder Heath I think, or Elder Cornwell) and taped up all the places that were starting to rip. I think it would be fun to try and take it with me on my whole mission and see how long it will last and how many repairs I will need to make to it. Of course, I still don't want to look like a Bum walking around with a backpack falling apart so I'm sure eventually I'll need to replace it.
  From now on I think it will be cheaper just to send me emails and dear elders cuz just a normal letter to Brazil takes like $0.98 which is three stamps. And that is just 1oz. Or I hear you can buy international stamps but those would cost the same I'm sure. Once I get down there I will figure out if I can send mine through the church for cheaper or if it's the same for me and let you know.
   Well, my time on the computer is about up. Tell everyone I love them all!! And thanks Mom and Dad, for everything you have done for me in helping me get ready for my mission, and all the time and money you have put into this. Until next time I can email you.
             Love Always,
                                 Elder Daniel Bent Baldwin

Daniel's MTC Experience

We have someone known as a progressive investigator who is really a teacher but she pretends to be an investigator with different needs and such. Elder Sherrill (my companion, Jesse) and I have to teach her entirely in Portuguese, so it is very difficult. We had our third lesson with her last night, and taught her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. We were the third group to go and pretty much everyone before us had challenged her to baptism and she had accepted.So Elder Sherrill and I were pretty confidant when we challenged her to baptism...until she said no. We challenged her as the last part of our lesson, so we were completely done. We had prepared nothing else to say to her or anything, and with what little we know of the language if you don't prepare what you are gonna say then you don't say it.It wasn't until she said no, however, that I began to feel the Spirit. The Spirit told me not to give up, not to accept no for an answer, so I had to call upon all of my Portuguese that I knew to teach her. So for the next 15 minutes I talked with her in Portuguese that I had to pull out of my brain somewhere. The Spirit definitely helped me find things to say because I am pretty sure i did not know how to say half the stuff that was coming out of my mouth. But I bore my testimony to her about my baptism and explained to her a little more about what Baptism was. When I bore my testimony the Spirit entered so strong that she actually began to tear up.I felt prompted again to ask her to be prepared to be baptized and she accepted the second time. This has been the first time Elder Sherrill and I really felt like missionaries,and it felt amazing.