"As for me, I am loving it here. I´ve been here only 2 weeks, but it feels like so much longer, and I can carry on full conversations in Portuguese. I´m really learning the language and culture fast, and we´ve been teaching lessons in Portuguese since day 2. I´m nowhere near fluent yet, but I´m getting better and better. I bought a pair of the sweetest shoes of all time last week too. They are made for indoor soccer, and they fit perfectly. They are blue with pink and white highlights. I´ll send a pic once I can. Shoe shopping in Brazil was a crazy experience. I barely knew enough Portuguese, but it all worked out. They cost 100 reals, like 30 bucks, so a pretty sweet deal. I also saw the coolest snakeskin shoes of all time. Maybe the coolest thing I have ever seen.
Luckily, I got a sweet district, and everyone here is super friendly. We said goodbye to the set of Brazileiros (Brazilians) that entered the MTC at the same time as we did, and it was bittersweet. Among them were Elder Arujo, our roomate, Elder Tobias, the most competent man ever, Elder L Silva, our English translator for a lot of conversations, and Elder Leite, the absolute worst volleyball player that the world has ever seen. I´ve still got my whole district of English speakers, 36A, though, and we get a new trio of elders from Provo this week whose visas finally got in. Additionally, I got a really good companion in Elder McGladrie. He´s from Cincinatti, Ohio and he´s a great guy. Really on top of everything. This week, Elder Westenhaver made himself a splint out of part of his binder and and ace bandage. It worked, but eventually he just went and got a real one from medical. We also sing all the time, Dave would be proud. Just about any song you can think of.
In other news, it´s been really, really hot in our room, and we´ve taken to calling it the oven. I´ve been sleeping in just shorts and my g´s, with no covers on and no blankets even on the bed. I basically wake up sticky from sweat every morning, but I´ve been drinking a lot of water and I´m slowly but surely adapting. We´ve also had to fight the sisters in our district for control of the AC unit in our classroom, as all the elders want it to be way colder, but all the sisters want it hotter. Slowly but surely we are figuring it out. . . At least the food is really good here. It seems that each time I eat, it´s the best meal I´ve ever had. Sometimes it´s sketchy, but the good food is so good, it´s hard to beat.
As far as the gospel goes, it´s been super enriching here. All of the instructors are awesome, especially our two main instructors/teachers, Irmao Facinetto and Irma Correa. They´re mercy and justice, respectively. Facinetto is more laid-back and funny, and I beat him in a push up contest the other day, and Correa is extremely focused and almost violent in her teaching, which is funny, because she´s like 5 foot 1. We also have a whole other host of teachers, from our branch presidency to just the general instructors, like Mario Dias, the manager of training for the whole MTC, or classic Alan, the general manager of something. When we asked him how to conjugate a verb one time, he just looked at us, spread his hands, and said "Magico". One of the best of all is President Swensen, the President of the whole MTC. He´s a really firey speaker, and gospel doctrine with him on Sundays is awesome. Also, did you hear that Richard G Scott died? Looks like we get three new apostles at conference in 2 weeks. I´ve really had some chances to dive into the scriptures, especially the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the Spirit. I´ve gained a newfound love for Ether 12 while I´ve been here. It´s truly an epic chapter. Read it some time this week. I´ve also got some choice quotes. "Don´t accept things as they are. The grass is always greener on the other side, because you are the gardener. You can change the world." That one was just from Elder Westenhaver. I don´t have my notebook with me or I´d send more. Also, read the missionary purpose together as a family. All of that stuff that we invite investigators to do, I invite you guys to do too. Learn more about the gospel, come unto Christ, have faith in him, think about the covenants that you have made, repent, and use the spirit a little more. It will be worth it. I´ve already seen it in my own life."
His emails are really getting spiritual! But that's to be expected from where he is, and we love it. Ben would love to hear from all of you, including his friends, so be sure to stay in touch!