Thanks again for you emails and letters. This will probably be a short letter since the past week has been somewhat uneventful. This week we got a new teacher for our morning classes instead of Irmao Viana and this new guy is really, really strict. I think he's supposed to whip us in to shape for the field. He is a really big guy and doesn't put up with anything. At first it was a little bit annoying but I actually kind of like him now because we learn a lot more with him teaching us and I think he will prepare us for the field a lot better. I did like Irmao viana a lot though so it's too bad that he's gone. Also another set of Brazilian roommates has been sent to the field so right now it's just the four Americans in my room until tomorrrow when new Brazilians arrive. I don't think I'm going to miss this set of roommates a whole lot. They both had really weird sleeping schedules and would usually wake the rest of us up really early in the morning. Anyhow I think they will both do well in the field and wished them the best before they left. This morning we went to the Sao Paulo Temple again except this morning we had so many Elders going that we weren't all going to fit in one session. They asked if there was anyone who would volunteer to do sealings so me and a couple other Elders in my district volunteered. It was a good experience and my portuguese is good enough to understand pretty much everything that was going on. Not a whole lot else happened this week so I think I'll just use the rest of the email time to answer some questions that have been asked.
How is my Portuguese coming? I'm pleased with my progress with portuguese. I'm definitely nowhere near fluent yet but I've come a long way since I arrived. I remember when I was on the flight over here and I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying. Now I feel like I can say a few things and could at least communicate with people. The main problem is that the vocabulary we learn here at the CTM has a lot to do with church stuff so when I try to talk to the Brazilians about non-church stuff it is really difficult. Also I think it's frustrating for the Brazilians because they have to speak really slowly and explain a lot of words. But every week we have teaching workshops where 2 or 3 Americans team up with 2 or 3 Brazilians and we all teach a fake investigator. My first week I couldn't understand a single word but this last week I was contributing quite a bit to the lessons and even talked more than some of the Brazilians. I still don't understand every word but I understand to piece together what they're trying to say.
Am I still playing basketball? Lately I've started playing a lot more volleyball and I like it a lot. I'm getting a lot better and it's really fun when you actually play volleyball with/against people who know how to play. It would be fun to take a class at BYU and learn how to play really well. But yes I still play basketball every once in a while. Most of the Brazilians are awful and basketball but there was a new one that came in this week who is pretty good. It was pretty funny because the hoops here at the CTM aren't too great and the other day this Brazilian dunked the ball and brought the rim down! Hahaha it was great.
Have I had any spiritual experiences yet? Yes I feel ver close to the spirit and have had some spiritual experiences. One memorable one was when we watched Elder Holland speaking at the Provo MTC and he talked about missionary work and how this mission is more for us than anything else. One quote that I really liked was he said "in order for your mission to be a success you need to have a least one convert, and that convert had better be you". It was a really powerful talk and I felt the Spirit very strongly. Also fast Sundays here are really awesome. We fast from Lunch on Saturday to Lunch on Sunday and the Spirit in the CTM is really strong, especially during the fast and testimony meetings. My testimony has really grown since I got here and I attribute a lot of that to fast Sundays. Another cool spiritual experience was when Elder Jensen sprained his ankle and it got really black and blue and swollen. That night me and my other american roommates gave him a priesthood blessing, I don't remember a lot about the blessing but I remember blessing him that the injury would not slow him down at all and that he would be able to continue his studies as normal. Throughout the rest of the week his ankle and the rest of his foot was huge and was one of the worst sprains I've seen but he was able to walk on it just fine. In fact during gym time he was still able to play volleyball and spike the ball on people! He said it hurt him during lunch and free time but when he started studying the pain would always go away. Maybe it was a miracle maybe not but I believe that the Priesthood blessing definitely helped.
Well that's all I have time for.
Love you all and thanks again for you letters,
Elder Caleb Anderson