Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spencer's Christmas 2011 email!

So I know you are all wondering what my Christmas was like! It was
actually very fun! On Christmas Eve, we got to sleep in till 8am,
which doesnt sound like much, but it was actually very nice! A great
break from getting up at 630 every day and working all day! After
that, we got to have pancakes and cinnamon rolls for breakfast! That
was really nice! Then, we had free time all day. I wrote some letters
and stuff. Did you guys ever get the package full of pictures I sent?
I Hope so. After that, we went and played basketball. About an hour
into the game, President Clark and his wife came down to say hi. Pres.
Clark was watching us play basketball and he came over to my friend
and I and said, `Im going to go put my shorts on and show you boys how
this game is played!` Sure enough, he came back and played basketball
with us! It was really cool. He is a very nice person. He and his wife
are ending their mission in the middle of January and then we will be
getting a new MTC President. Christmas Eve night we had a devotional.
No apostles came this christmas, which was unfortunate. It was all
because of the visa situation! That stinks! But Christmas was still
good. The brazilians really celebrate Christmas eve more than the
actual day. There was TONS of fireworks that night. Like, we couldnt
go to sleep till like 2am. On Christmas morning, we woke up and opened
presents. My present was just great mom! So much good candy! I was
very happy to have that! Then we went to church and then we just had
free time all day. Christmas night we got to watch the First
Presidency christmas devotional. Pres. Monson said `When we keep the
spirit of christmas with us, we keep the spirit of christ. That is so
true and I especially felt that this christmas. It was hard to be away
from home. But this Christmas was the first one I had that wasnt all
about presents, Santa Claus, and other traditions. This christmas was
all about the Savior. And it was really good.

The best gift I got this christmas? I
gained the strongest testimony of the book of mormon. I had a goal to
finish it by the end of December and I actually did it! I know that it
is a True book. Without it, we would not be members of this church.
The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. If the book of
mormon is ture, and it is, then Joseph Smith was a prophet of god, and
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on
earth today. I know this is true because I have learned for myself. It
is my hope and my prayer that anyone who is reading this who does not
have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon do that which is
necessary to gain one. Read it faithfully. Pray to god to know if it
is true. And I can promise you as a representative of the Lord Jesus
Christ that you will get an answer. I promise you. And I testify that
these things are true. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, Amen.

Hope your Christmas was good! I feel your thoughts and prayers every
day. Thank you all so much for everything! Hope you have a good week!
Love, Elder Spencer Eastwood.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 20th 2011

Bom dia everybody!!! Tudo bem!? I hope everything is going well for
you all up there in America. Things are very well here in Brazil. The
weather is hot, the food is still beans and rice, and the language is
still coming along. We have now officially learned all the tenses.
Past, present, and future! So now, I can tell stories and talk a lot
better than I used to be able to.

Im really getting used to the weather here. Its
going to be so weird having Christmas in 95 degree weather with 100%
humidity! The first day of summer here is tomorrow, so Im
reaaaaaaaaaaaaally looking forward to that, haha :)

The MTC is great. Ive made
lots of good friends. Our district leader, Elder Goodrich, is
hilarious. He and I have become very close. He likes to do a George W
Bush impression and I do a Bill Clinton and Barack Obama impression
and we just ´debate´ with each other all the time.

Sometimes, I get discouraged
though. The language is HARD. Its very hard. There are so many
different sounds and pronounciations and words and stuff like that. In
Portuguese, asking a question is the same as saying a statement. There
are no words for ´Will you´ or `do you` or ´are you`. So thats pretty
fun. Some days are better than others. But the greatest thing is
looking outside. The city of São Paulo is so beautiful. You know how
awesome it is to see a huge park in New York City (Central Park)? Well
here, its one HUGE city and tons of little parks and trees and
forests. Its like they built the city around the jungle. Its really
morning we drove to the temple and it was interesting to see more of
the city. On the left side of the freeway was the `wealthy`part of the
city. All the big buildings, businesses, nice apartments, shopping,
and etertainment and stuff like that. On the right side of the
freeway, however, was the favelas. It was sad to see. They are so
crowded and the `houses` are made out of trash, wood, cardboard, and
metal scraps from off the side of the road. Its interesting to see
that contrast.
temple was really good this morning. Probably the best experience Ive
had at the temple. I went in with a heavy heart. This past week has
been a real struggle for me. Ive been very homesick, very discouraged,
and very stressed. I went into the temple with a prayer in my heart
asking Heavenly Father to help me. I came out with the knowledge that
Heavenly Father is aware of my struggles. He knows what Im going
through. He is here for me.

I know that Im here in Brazil for a reason.
It becomes clearer and clearer everyday. The Spirit is so strong with
me. I have a real testimony of the Church. I know that it is true. Im
beginning to love the Brazilian people already. I cant wait to get out
and share the Gospel with them and help change their lives. I know
that Brazil is where Im supposed to be right now, because this is
where the Lord needs me to be.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas!
Hopefully you get some awesome stuff from Santa Claus. Christmas
should be good here at the MTC. The President of the First Quorum of
the Seventy is coming to speak to us on Friday. And it is rumored that
a member of the Twelve Apostles is coming on Sunday night to speak
with us. Exciting! I love you all so much. Thanks for your prayers and
your thoughts. I feel them everyday. Talk to you next week :)

Love, Elder Spencer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13th, 2011. First email from the Brazil MTC

Hi Everyone! Greetings from Brazil! Sao Paulo is really cool! Its like
a cross between New York City and Newport Beach. There are buildings
everywhere. You would not believe how many people are here. It is
packed. So many people. But the city is really green too. Like, you´ll
see lots of buildings and stuff, but then there are tons of trees too.
I found a picture printing place up the street here and am gonna try
to get some printed later today. Then I´ll mail them to you guys so
you can all see all this cool stuff here in Brazil!
The food is pretty
good, literally beans and rice every day! And its always the same
kinds of beans and rice. So that gets boring. And for lunch and dinner
we get a different kind of meat, that is always pretty good. They dont
season their meet with anything but salt. But the best part is just
all the awesome fresh fruit we have!!!! Seriously!!! Watermelon and
pineapple and mangoes and passion fruit and guava every day!!! Its so
amazing. I LOVE IT. Although, the watermelon we are recommended to not
eat....because they pump it full of their own water to make them
bigger...and the water here is NOT purified. So if you eat the
watermelon, you get diarrhea till Easter ;) The pineapple is amazing
here, though. Its the best thing Ive ever had!

The Portuguese is coming along well. Its
only my third week learning it, so its still pretty difficult. But it
is fun to learn it! There are some similarities to English, but for
the most part, everything I know about the English language gets
thrown out the window. Portuguese is cool. Tomorrow, we are having a
English Fast. We will not be using any English all day. Its going to
be one of our quieter days, hahaha :) To be honest, I feel like I
learned more at the Provo MTC. The teachers there always showed up on
time. here, they often don´t come, and we end up studying and teaching

weather was SO HOT the day that we landed. It was hot and humid. The
first few days I was sweating like a pig and I had to take two showers
and change my clothes a lot. But now, Im used to the weather. Its
really, really, REALLY nice. There´s always a cool breeze blowing
through. Its so nice and sunny. Except when it rains. Let me tell you,
you´ve never seen rain until you´ve seen it in Brazil. It just comes
down and down. Once it starts, it doesnt stop till like 10 at night.
Its crazy. And it´ll go from a awesomely bright day, to just straight
pouring rain in seconds!

Well, we went to the Sao Paulo Temple today and it
is the coolest temple! Everything is in portuguese, which was kinda
hard, but overall, I felt the Spirit in this temple moreso than in any
other temple Ive ever visited! Going to the temple as a missionary is
such a blessing. I can literally feel the Lord in there with me,
comforting me, lifting me up, and letting me know that He is proud of
me. It is such a good feeling.

Well, I hope everything is going okay
back home! I miss you all like crazy! Dad, I am trying to find out
where the Harley store is in São Paulo, but I don´t know if it is
close enough for me to visit. I may just have to get you guys shirts
and the jacket pins when I get to Goiânia! Oh, after the temple we
went to a WalMart here. It was crazy! Everything is in Reals, and they
dont have tax here so if it says its 10 Reals, its exactly 10! Pretty
cool. I got some American candy that I have been craving ;)

I love you
all so much! I miss you a ton too. I think about you every day and
always keep you in my prayers! Have a great week! Write me a lot! I
love you! :)

Love, Elder Spencer David Eastwood

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brazil MTC

Elder Eastwood landed in Brazil this morning. Here is a picture of him with his district at the MTC in Brazil.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Elder Eastwood's First Email!

Hey everybody! it's your favorite son/brother, Spencer!
Everything is going very good here! I have everything packed and ready to go for tomorrow. Going to be a long day of flying! Four hour lay-over in Atlanta, Georgia will not be fun, especially followed by a 9 and a half hour flight to Brazil. And today I found out that the brazil MTC does not have AIR CONDITIONING!!!! WHAT IS THIS! WHO SIGNED ME UP FOR THIS!?!?! Oh right. I did ;)
Ummm lets see. On wednesday after you guys dropped me off, I went through the office and got my missionary tags. It's so cool to wear them! All your life you see the missionaries and you're like, "I can't wait to just wear that name tag!" It's such a nice feeling to have my name, "Elder Eastwood" on the same badge that has the Savior's name. Well, after that on Wed. we went to our first language class, which was really difficult. The teachers here are only allowed to speak in Portuguese. But we learned how to say basic greetings and that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thursday was our first full day at the MTC and let me just say it was THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE. We wake up at like 6:20 and then we literally are working or studying or walking all day, for like 16 hours, until we finally get to bed around 10:30. It went by so slow. My companion and I were falling asleep in class, which was not good because the next day (friday, our third day here) we had to teach an investigator in PORTUGUESE! We barely know any of the language and they made us teach an investigator! OH MY GOSH I WAS SO SCARED! But, more on that later! I'll tell you about my companion now! His name is Elder Moses, he is from the Tri-City area in Washington State. He is pretty cool. He reminds me a lot of Taylor Almond, so that could be either good or bad. Hahaha just kidding! We are getting along really well. I will try to send pictures in another email later today!
On friday, we spent the day studying the language and making a lesson plan because at 1:00 we had to teach an investigator named Henrique together. When we first went into the room to teach him we were really nervous. All we really knew how to do was say a couple prayers, read the short phrases of the lesson plan we had written and then bear a simple testimony. before we went in, we said a prayer that henrique would understand us and that the Lord would bless us with the gift of tongues. Let me just say, the gift of tongues is real! Elder Moses and I struggled through the lesson and towards the end, we were really stressed out, the Spirit prompted me to bear my testimony. I had no idea what I was going to say, but I opened my mouth, started the first part of the testimony (Eu sou que...) and it all just came out. The Spirit was so strong. my companion later told me that I bore my testimony in almost perfect Portuguese and that I sounded just like our teacher, who has been speaking the language all her life. Henrique was visibly touched as the Spirit confirmed to him of the truthfulness of my testimony. he invited us back to teach him the next day! SO COOL!
Saturday we went back to teach Henrique and we taught him about Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon! He accepted our challenge to read it and to pray, asking God if Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God! So that is good. I actually won't get to teach him again because I'm leaving on Tuesday, but hopefully I will have the chance to teach some investigators in Brazil! The language is coming along pretty well actually, especially for only being here for five days! I can now say a whole prayer, bear an entire testimony, and have some pretty decent conversations too!
Sunday was Fast sunday, and it was really cool! It was actually kinda good to have a break from the food. Not that the food's bad. It's actually pretty okay. it just makes you really....umm....i don't know how to say it appropriately as a missionary. let's just say you a lot of noises that people normally laugh at. On Sunday we also had Mission Conference where the whole MTC Presidency speaks. The MTC President is really nice and he is really hilarious. He is very loving. he bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and then challenged us all to read from it at least 30 minutes a day! i would like to challenge everyone who reads this to read the Book of Mormon at least 30 minutes a day as well! It is an incredible book. I've realized that even more here in the MTC. It's so good. It can answer any questions you have and can comfort you in your time of need.
this morning we went to the Provo Temple, which doesn't look that great on the outside, at least I think so. It looks like a beautiful box haha. Cause all temples are beautiful! But the inside is really cool and they have this HUGE chandelier that looks like its so heavy it will fall down!
Anyway, I'm doing very good here. yes, I miss you guys a lot. I miss everyone in my family and all my friends. But whenever i get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story. just kidding! Actually, whenever I get sad, I pray to Heavenly father for comfort and I instantly feel the holy ghost there with me. I've never felt it like that before. If you ever need comfort, the Holy Ghost will be there for you, if you ask for it. The Spirit is the most comforting thing in the world! i know that this Church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a real prophet of God, and I especially know now that the book of Mormon is a true book. It is the word of God. I love it very much. I can't wait to get to Brazil! Everyone write me!!!!
i love you Mom! thanks for the pictures! that one of you and me looking at each other and smiling before I walked away on Wednesday was really awesome! It's my favorite picture ever!!!!
I love all you guys very much. Miss you all too! I will have a different P-Day next week, but look forward to my email and I look forward to hearing from you guys and all my friends!
Also, I will try to send some pictures later today...if I have time left....
Anyway, love you guys....
love, Elder Spencer Eastwood!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flying out to Brazil

Elder Eastwood called letting us know he is enjoying the MTC. His roommate is from Washington, which is as close to Canada as he can handle! He also informed us that his visa came, and he will be flying out to Brazil on Tuesday, December 6th, at 9:47 AM.