Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015 - I'm A Missionary

Hey fambam,

this week flew by holy cow. Basically the coolest thing in the world happened and we got to go PROSELETYZING (how the heck do you spell that?) OUT IN REAL BRAZIL TO REAL PEOPLE AND GIVE OUT REAL BOOKS OF MORMON. it was amazing. we took this crazy bus ride comparable to the Knight Bus in harry potter 3, then they just dropped us off and we had 3 books of mormon each and they just told us to go find people. it was the greatest experience, everyone we talked to ACTUALLY talked to us and even sometimes UNDERSTOOD what we were saying. sis kinn was pretty nervous so i did most of the talking but it was good. the people are so friendly and receptive, they always, except one time, took the book of mormon and said theyd read and pray about it. i was astounded. it was the strangest thing too because as i was talking to these strangers about how they felt about jesus christ and how he had impacted in their life, and i testified to them that he is our savior and that we can go back to him after this life through the gospel, i really could feel the spirit witnessing to me that that was true. it was the best thing ever. i cant wait to have real people to teach. except one time a man i was talking to hugged me when i was done talking and it was super awk and apparently my teacher irma correa was watching us then cuhs after she said ´´sister walker no hugging strangers on the street!!´´ haha my b...

oh i got your guys´s letter this week! super awesome cuhs no one ever gets mail here so you get to parade it around like the cats pajamas. i got it on monday in case you were wondering. and mission ties is so awesome thank you so much!!! im going to pick up my treat after i email today. we went to the sao paulo temple again this morning and got to work in the laundry room (supes fun) and then the session was in ENGLISH HALLELUJAH even tho like everyone in there was hispanic or brazilian idk but i wasnt complainaing.

so language update: portuguese is still hard. i love love speaking it, but its so hard to understand all the different accents from around brazil here. also my vocabulary is pretty limited to only like church topics so unless someone wants to talk to me about the restoration of the gospel through joseph smith or tithing, im pretty much out of convo topics. its sometimes really frustrating because we get yelled at to speak portugeuse only allll the time. and its just exhausting speaking it all day, and i also can never express what i need or am feeling in portuguese so i just end up saying nothing. i also get frustrated because when im upset and stressed, i want to be alone, but i literally am never allowed to be alone. bummer. guess ill have to get used to that one. also its werid cuhs i feel like im being babysat here all the time. and i hate being micromanaged by the instructors so that really grinds my gears.

everyone here tries to fatten me up. not kidding. the lunch ladies that serve the food always try and make me take two desserts and im like uh no one questionable jello cup is enough for me thanks.... but its so weird, weight is like a huge deal here. theres a scale right outside the cafeteria that everyone uses after every meal. 3 different sisters have asked me how much i weigh here, fun fact.

oh i forgot to mention last week, but we got two new sisters in our district, sis lund and sis chandler! they were in provo for two weeks and then got their visas. its so great having sisters with us now. and they fit right in with our weird crazy hilarious district. all the instructors say that we´re a really good district (as far as americans go) (really though), and we´re good with the language and all that but idk why we seem average to me.

brother claudicosta (costa..?) from the 70 came and spoke to us but the english headphones werent working so idk if he said anything inspiring. oops.

american things to get for future packages if any: tide to go pens, big ole journal, american candy, mints.

other than that, being a missionary is getting so much better! i love teaching lessons and seeing my fake investigators progress in the gospel. i love seeing how much hope and love the gospel brings to people, even if its just strangers on the street. my motto of the week is `´i can do hard things.´´ the lord puts these trials in our life so that when we use faith to overcome them, we can in turn help other people along the way. thats what i keep telling myself right now so ill be able to help my real investigtors. i cant believe i only have 2 weeks left here. ahhh cant think about that right now. too scary.

i love you guys, thanks for keeping me in your prayers!!

sister walker

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm Just Worried About Your Salvation... And Stuff

                                                          Courtney and Sister Kinnamon

sup weenies!!!

another week gone. holy cow. i cant believe how fast i´m learning portuguese (sike) but how fast the time goes here. basically my entire life now is speak, write, read, teach, listen, sing, all in portuguese. we only have 45 minutes to email here (so lame) and we´re not allowed to send pics so sorry about my letter last week and every one in the future. last week a guy was yelling at me to turn my computer off since i guess i was on too long, at least i think thats what he was saying, he was speaking portuguese sooo...

p days here are amaaazing. today we went to the sao paulo temple which is tiny but mighty in spirit. we also get to walk around outside and last week me and sis kinn just walked around and saw the people. as soon as we got out of the gates she takes out this HUGE map and i was like okay how to look like a tourist 101.... haha.

everyone here asks me if im from salt lake city. one girl asked me if ive seen the prophet. im slowly starting to realize how different a world it is here from the states. im also so lucky and blessed to be able to have the family i do and to have your suport and sacrifices in letting me be here. a lot of the sisters here are from brazil or peru or bolivia, and most of them are 21, 22 or 23. they-ve all had to work a long time to be able to save up enough money to be here and i just kinda always expected i would go. so thank you mom and dad for giving me this amazing opportunity!!

my homesickness is getting better. i pray alot still. mostly cuhs thats like the only time i can speak english without anyone yelling at me. i have never felt so connected to my savior and father in heaven than i have here in just 2 and a half weeks. i asked 2 elders in my district to give me a blessing this week and that has helped immensely too. Its kinda crazy because i've never felt so overwhelmed, inadequate, far away from everything in my life, but ive also never felt so sure of my purpose here on earth. i am here to be a representative of the savior. and in order to do that i need to be seeing these people that im teaching (even tho theyre fake investigators right now), teaching them, and loving them as christ would love them. one of our instructors irma correa who is the best person on the planet, told us that if christ came to teach the people in maceio, he wouldnt teach them in english, he´d teach them in portuguese, which is why i need to learn how to teach in portuguese too. (even tho during most of my classes im like jared: ´´voce bebi leiche...?´´) but that makes a lot of sense to me now. speaking of irma correa she is our firey columibian teacher with the testimony the size of the grand canyon. she always teaches us to be the best we can be without being too strict or down your throat about the grammar or anything. but yeah i love portuguese, and always think im doing okay at it during class and can understand everything the teacher says, then i go to lunch and eat with the brazilians and realize that i literally know nothing so thats fun.

i love being the minority too ps if anyone was wondering. i cant believe how much you can love people that you can barely comunicate with!! they talk loud, sing loud (and off key), hug alot and are so kind. but the MTC prez wife likes me being here because i can actually play the piano so i play for lots of the devotionals. the MTC prez teaches the american gospel doctrine class on sundays too so thats pretty cool. sundays here are da best and so spiritual.

more to come next week, thank you guys so much for your letters and prayers!! they help me more than you can know. i love you all very much, and the lord loves you too! (He told me so in d and c 100)

sister walker

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015 - Ola Weenies!

  Fridays are my P-Day! As you probably noticed.
  i am so excited to write you guys you have no idea. I've been keeping a list of all the crazy/fun/spiritual/scary things happening so hopefully I'll get to them all.

   Here are 3 things I´ve learned so far from the LONGEST 10 DAYS OF MY LIFE:
   1. Missions are hard
   2. Portuguese is hard
   3. Brazilians are very nice but talk too fast.

   I don~t even know where to start, I feel like I´ve been here a month already. The CTM is so fun!!      But homesickness is a real thing. I´ve been struggling with that a lot this past week and a half but I      keep praying to be able to push through it and lemme tell you, the Lord is aware of each one of us    and has helped me with so much already. Okay for starters, everyone here speaks Portuguese allll the  time. There is my district and then 2 other districts from the States but they´re not supposed to speak  to us in English. My district is legit, its me and Sister Kinnaman, Elder Baker, Elder Battan, Elder  Hughes and Elder Merrill. We´re known as ´´The Americans´´.... not sure how i feel about that one  yet. We make fun of each other a lot and make the 10 HOURS A DAY WE SPEND IN CLASS  TOGETHER actually enjoyable. Yeah you heard me right, we spend 10 hours a day in this one  classroom together. It gets hot and sticky and spiritual all up in there. The Elders think i´m a handful  because i have lots of varying opinions on world issues but they still like me. they also make fun of  me and say i make a lot of weird faces, (not untrue), but i think they´re just mad because they´re  usually at them. We like to incorporate tiny pieces of song lyrics into our conversations to remind us  that there is a world that exists outside of the CTM. But yeah our days are super long because every  single second is planned out for us from 6:30 to 10:30. Everyone that came here from the Provo  MTC says here theyre way more strict on everything. except that we can wear maxi skirts here like  whyyy was i not informed of that??

  waking up at 6:30 isnt as horrible as anticipated, and by 10:30 i am so ready to pass out. (no, not  drunk julia, jared and uncle tim)

  oh also for julia and jared, someone was talking about their bishop back home named bishop hart and  i said under my breath ´´bishop fart´´ and only my companion heard me and i think she thinks i have  terets now. oops.

  I have a Brazilian roommate named Sister Fernandes and a Peruvian one named Sister Bonfild. I  love them. They´re crazy and animated. We speak a really funny mix of spanish and Portuguese and  english. sis fer. tried talking to me in port really fast and i try and lean on my spanish but she makes  me practice. Shes like the typical brazilian woman idk how to describe her. Sometimes it ends up  being her speaking Portuguese then sis bonfild translating it into spanish for me and then i translate it  into english for sis kinn. They love american singers like bruno mars and beyonce its super cute.

  fun fact: everyone here says ´´sheem´´ for sim which means yes, which means dad was actually right  about something. #firsttimeforeverything. also, i dont like all of these tedious little rules that they  have here, or the fact that they make you use arbitrary goal sheets and plan in time for planning,  because i already have my own goals in my head and i already plan out all my time by myself so i  dont get the point. Also we have this lame computer program to help us learn portuguese called  TALL which i hate because id rather practice face to face not just memorize vocab. but i guess dad  was right again because sometimes you have to do things you dont wanna do. #lifelessonsbypdaddy

  Speaking of portuguese, it is pretty dang difficult lemme tell you. But I~m picking it up. it is a    blessing and a curse to know spanish, its easier for me to pick up on vocab and alot of the phrases  but then pronunciation of portuguese kills me. i speak in a combination of 3/4 portuguese 1/4 spanish  and just kinda hope for the best haha. when the natives here me speak they ask if i know spanish so i  guess my secrets out. but i´m getting better. i can talk about lots of church stuff fine, its just my real  life vocab that struggles. its hard when i want to teach by the spirit and adapt my lesson plans to fit  an ´´investigator´´ we have, but i dont know  how to say all the stuff i know they need to hear, in  portuguese yet.

  The people here are amazing!!! sooo so nice and sweet and all the sisters give you hugs and air  kisses on the cheek when you see them. and everyone in the halls always says hi to each other and  good morning (bom dia) and good night (boa noiche). i cant count the number of times a day i say  ´ói!´(oye) which means hi. theyre just all so nice and inviting even though i can barely communicate  with them. a lot of them like to try little english phrases on me and its so cute. oh and its probably the  best thing ever here that since we´re in latin america, everyone pronounces sister like ´seeester´ like  on nacho libre, so im seester walk-hair.

  I´m learning alot about patience and the power of prayer here. My companion is pretty different from  me, because although i love her, she likes to take things slow, and is pretty quiet and passive. as you  know, i am not. especially when it comes to the gospel. But its okay, shes teaching me to slow down  and im teaching her to speak up. i pray a lot to be able to see the other elders here as christ would see  them, and its amazing at the capacity of love that im able to have during the day. but by the night i  think my prayers wear off so i have to just read more scriptures.

  the food here is alright, its all brazilian food so pretty much every day is mystery meat in the  cafeteria. oh and theres every flavor guarana under the sun, uncle kenny would love it. the foods  sometimes good, sometimes great, sometimes bad, and sometimes tastes like its from parts of the  animal that no human being should ever ingest. but mostly its decent. i miss mcdonalds.

  theres one elder in my district going to maceio (we were right, its mahh-say-o!), and one other elder  on my plane ride that i know of so far. whenever i tell a native im going there all they say is, ohhh its  so hot there! awesome.....

  oh and we went to the police station this week so we~re officially brazileros!

  okay so what ive learned this week is that the lord is on our side. and that whatever knowledge we  have, we have to share. we went to the temple capinas today, it was like i finally felt at home.

 love you all

 sister walker

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015 - 1st Official Letter

                                      Courtney's District with the MTC President and his wife.

July 8, 2015
8:04 am


Sao paulo so good (hopefully you get the joke there...)
Well I´m here at the CTM! The flight was long and horrible as expected, but i met up with about 10 other missionaries outside the gate at Atlanta. I thought i was gonna miss my connecting flight cuhs my first one boarded like 30 minutes late but i ran and pushed and shoved just like you taught me mom. On the flight to Brazil there was this huge youth travel or service group or something with us with matching tshirts. down side: there was a tweener couple makin out in front of me the whole time. also, delta is way sweet and every seat has a mini tv in front of it with all these frree movies to watch...... mission temptation numero 1. I tried out the 3 sentences of portuguese i know on the girl next to me named camille, but either she couldnt understand anything i was saying or she just really didnt want to talk to me haha #strikeout.

Okay Sao Paulo is so awesome, for one thing driving around is so crazy, we took a big sketchy white van from the airport to the mtc and pretty much everyone on the freeway merges whenever the heck they feel like it, even if theres no space in the lane, 2 cars will just share the lane for a little bit, no biggie. oh and theres a zillion little motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic, and drive on the white lines in between 2 lanes and all the cars just make room for them. sao paulo looks a lot like downtown kent mixed with tacoma, lots of old buildings and really intruiging but pretty sketchy. so far all the houses ive seen are sandwiched together, and they all have big gates across their garages or their entire front property and their windows. the CTM is like that big black door that mary kate and ashley open (except its brown) from billboard dad, right on the side of the road and then the big gates open and its like this huge business/hotel looking building.

My companion is Sister Kinnamon, (cinnamon with a K) and she is from Mesa and is super sweet and thoughtful. I like her. She laughs at all my jokes. there are 2 other sisters that came with us but they think they~re hot stuff cuhs they were in the provo mtc for 2 weeks already waiting for visas. whatevs i still have to be nice to them. We all walked into the cafeteria and everyone stared at us çike we were zoo animals so that was cool... We moved into our room so far today and then they let us take a nap which was DA BEST. literally only slept 2 1/2 hours last night cuhs the plane was  so uncomfortable even after i took those dopamine pills or whatever mom gave me for motion sickness. there will be 2 native brazilians sharing our room but we havent met them yet.

I HAVE MY NAMETAG TOO. that is my favorite part. even if it does have a dork dot on it. later today we just have welcome meetings and going over rules and stuff, then personal study and yeah idk. they have us on a pretty tight schedule i hear, but also they give us an hour for each meal so theyve got their priorities in check.

They only give us 15 minutes to write this so more to come. I didn~t realize how far away brazil would feel, i think thatll be one of my challenges is to not feel sorry for myself and feel all lonely. but theres a vball bball and track here that we get to use on pdays and walk around the city so im excited for that!!
I miss you guys already, the people talking to me at the airport were astounded that i was leaving for 18 months, he said ´´no wonder your moms over there crying´´ haha. this portuguese keyboard is super weird. too many symbols i dont know how to use yet. k gotta go, thanks for my notes. LOVE YOU ALL

Sister Walker