I have awesome news!! Last Tuesday, at like 8:30 PM, I got called into the MTC President´s office. he sat me down and told me that I will actually be leaving to Goiânia a whole week early!! I am leaving the MTC on January 24th! This is because, since I was scheduled to come here on the 23 of November, they scheduled me to leave to the field on January 24! My mission president called to confirm that I was coming and the MTC Pres. was planning on giving me the option of staying till the 30th or leaving on the 24th, but my mission pres. said that he needs me to come early because they are running low on American missionaries!! How cool!! so next tuesday, I probably wont be able to send emails, becuase it will be my first day in the mission field! Im really excited!
I talked to a couple Brazilians from Goiânia and they told me a lot about it. They said that it is easily one of the hottest places in Brazil. They said that the members are all so nice and that they will feed me a lot. The main city of Goiânia is really big and really new, so it is a lot cleaner than São Paulo (which is going to be a nice change, hahaha). They said that lots of people keep monkeys as pets, so you see the monkeys just running around the streets. The mission home is in a high-rise building and the mission president, Pres. Prieto is a really nice guy. They showed me some pictures and they said that the surrounding areas are pretty dusty, and it is a red dust (sort of like St George). So that is AWESOME! I am so excited!! So from this point on, start sending all your letters and stuff to my mission home address (which I hope is on the blog or I hope my parents have it, cause I dont have it on me right now!) :)
This week has been an exciting one! I´ve been very happy and learned a lot. Last Tuesday, I received a letter from one of my best friends and it made me SO HAPPY!! I love getting letters and it was so great to get this one. I went to the Policiá Federál on Thursday to get finger printed and basically declare that I am in Brazil. They also extended my visa there so I can be in the country for the whole two years :) It was a cool experience. It was the first time I really got to talk with Brazilians that were nowhere near the MTC. I talked to one guy about the church for almost a half hour and gave him a Book of Mormon too!
This week we got a new MTC President: Pres. Degn. He is from Utah (I cant remember where exactly). he is really nice. And so is his wife. It was sad to see Pres. and Sis. Clark leave, because they were two of the nicest and most amazing people I have ever met. Im glad I got to know them here! On Monday (yesterday) I got to go to Downtown São Paulo and have my first real experience with proselyting. We were given six copies of the Book of Mormon and were just turned loose to go out and try contacting people. My companion was a little shy and nervous about walking right up to people and talking to them, which is okay, because this gave me the opportunity to use my language skills! I would approach them, shake their hand, introduce us as missionaries, and get the conversation going. Then my companion would start talking about the Gospel and about the Book of Mormon. Then I would bear my testimony. At the end of the day, we were lucky to have been successful enough to give out all of our copies of the Book of Mormon!! So cool! It was a very spiritual experience, because, as we passed by people, I could very literally feel the Spirit telling me that I needed to talk to that person. And when I did, we found out that they were looking for more in life and we ended up givign them a Book of Mormon. It was a great experience.
We just found out today that Elder M Russel Ballard and Elder Neil L Anderson of the Quorum of the 12 will be coming to the MTC (along with Elder Jay E Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy) to speak to the missionaries on....January 25th! NOOOOO!! I miss them by ONE DAY! But it is okay because I will be in the mission field. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to hear from an apostle while in the field sometime :)
This week was good. I found out that I have lost about 10 pounds here....and mom, remember a few weeks ago when you asked how the mosquitos were and I said they hadnt really been bothering me? Well, I take that back. This past week I got destroyed by mosquitos. I counted today and I have a grand total of 32 mosquito bites, all over me. I dont even know when they got the chance to bite me!
I am a little nervous to get out to the field. I wont be able to talk to many people and it is a little scary and overwhelming. But on Sunday I was reading in the Doctrine and covenants and I found some comfort in Section 31. It felt like these verses were written specifically for me. I felt the Spirit comfort me when I read these words:
`Blessed are yuo because of your faith in my work...the hour of your mission has come...your tongue shall be loosed and you shall preach from this time forth...thrust in your sickle with all your soul...(You) will go from (your family and friends) for a little time and declare my word...I will prepare a place for them...I will open the hearts of the people of (Brazil) and they will receive you...You shall strengthen them...Go wherever I will and it shall be given you what you should do.. Pray always...be faithful until the end....I am with you.´
That was some of the most powerful scripture I have ever read. It hit me so hard. I testify that this Church is true. I know it is. I am out here to teach the people of Brazil the gospel and to change their lives. I already love them and cant wait to share with them this wonderful message of happiness.
Thanks for all the prayers in my behalf.
Love, Elder Spencer David Eastwood