Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hello from the Brazil CTM (missionary training center)!

{Mom note: This arrived in my inbox today}

Mae e Pai, (Mother and Father)

We arrived in Sao Paulo at 6 this morning. All went well en route, and Brazil is beautiful. It was also the easiest customs I went through. We just went through the line that said no items to declare and there was no customs. P-days are fridays so I`ll talk to you again then. The MTC here is amazing and we can see the city and the beds are more comfortable and the food is better. And it´s humid so my nose isn´t bleeding ever 5 minutes anymore. We don´t have much time today but i wanted you to know that igot here safe! Talk to you on friday. Sorry i didn´t get a chance to call you dad before i left.

Love you!!!!

Elder Seaman

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 2

Ola tudos!

This last week at the MTC has been exciting and strange all at the same time. They say the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days, and they aren't wrong. I got my visa and flight plans on thursday (i think it was thursday) so 3 elders from my district and I are flying out to the CTM in brazil tomorrow to finish our training. We leave at 11 and we won't arrive in Sao Paulo until 6am on wednesday. Super thrilled about that.

We finished teaching our investigator, Eduardo, this week. It was super difficult to teach, because we had no training really and had to figure it out on our own. We had 5 lessons total with him and it was always a struggle to figure out the language, figure out his needs, and have the spirit with us. The biggest thing we've learned and focused on this week is teaching people, not lessons. When we taught him, it was completely in portuguese, so hearing him (Irma Staples) speak english for the first time was super weird, but he's great at portuguese and I'm kind of bummed that i won't get to spend much time learning from him.

Our district has gotten pretty close this last week too. Sometimes we all decide that we just need a break from the work load of being a missionary, so as hippy dippy as it sounds, we just take 20 minutes and meditate. It's super refreshing though. We're always having fun and we get along well too. We've also gotten to know our zone pretty well too, so it's a shame that we're on our way out. There's an elder in another district from Argentina, Elder Zani, who plays soccer, so last night we invited him to play hackey sack with us. He didn't really understand the point of it though so after about 5 minutes he said "I no like," and left haha.

Something i really like about the MTC is the massive amount of people from everywhere, and how easy it is to talk to all of them. I've met people from all over the US, from New Zealand, Scotland, all over Asia, Brazil, russia, etc. It's super cool to talk to them and know that they're all here with the same goal. I've yet to meet someone who hasn't had something interesting about them.

Our sunday devotional was given by the Manager of Missionary something or other, Stephen B. Allen, who is also in charge of all the church ads and anything in visitors centers at temples around the world. He was pretty funny and showed us a lot of the old church ads from the "homefront campaign." It was really uplifting and inspiring and was just a good reminder of why we serve. After, we watched an old devo from Elder Holland about opening your mouth and following the spirit. He related to the first vision, how Joseph Smith's tongue was bound. Because he couldn't be killed, the next worst thing was for him to not speak, so the best thing for us to do is to speak and help people. We don't do any good being quiet about what we know and what makes us happy.

Portuguese has this phrase "Tudo Bem" (pronounced too-dough bang) that they use for everything. It's a question and a response so it gets thrown around all the time. I Americanized it though so now we just say toods bangs and our teachers think it's hilarious. or at least i do. But there's some fun portuguese for you.

I'm not sure when my P-days will be in the CTM so until then, Tudo Bem!

-Elder Seaman

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week 1

Oi tudo!

I'm just finishing my first week at the MTC (missionary training center) and so far it's definitely been an adventure. 3 people in my district got their visas about 2 days after we arrived, and they'll be shipping out to the MTC in Brazil on the 29th. If mine shows up somewhere in between now and then, i'll also be going then, but otherwise I'll be in Provo until the end of my 6 weeks of training.

About an hour after I got dropped off and ate lunch we went straight into Portuguese class, and have been doing that for about 10 hours a day since. Portuguese pretends to be like Italian, which I took 3 years of, so it seemed like it would be easy to pick up and go with, but there's definitely been a learning curve. The first couple of days were actually really frustrating because we've had to teach 3 lessons to an investigator since we've arrived in just portuguese, and I know that i'd know the word in italian but not in portuguese. It also didn't help that just about everyone I've met here has been going to Italy. honestly, i felt homesick for italian, which is a weird thing to think about because it's not even my first language. Monday i pretty much got around the learning curve though so things are going full speed now.

My companion, Elder Meldrum, is from Lancaster, PA so he lives about 30 minutes from where i was in PA. I thought that was kind of funny, especially since we're both going to Ribeirao Preto as well. My district has 3 sets of elders and 1 set of sisters, and we all get along pretty well considering we're from as diverse places as oregon, utah, PA, wyoming, New York, and Colorado. We're also kind of a last minute district because the only reason any of us are here is because we didn't have our visas on time. The rest of our zone (also portuguese speaking) is going to either Brazil, which means we speak the same portuguese, or they're going to Cape Verde, Mozambique, or Portugal which means the portuguese is a bit different but really screwy when you're trying to understand them.

Otherwise the MTC is pretty fun. I'm kind of amazed at the lack of supervision we have here. It's kind of a free for all except for our usual 3-4 hours of instruction and then our occasional 30 minute teaching session. It's pretty much up to us to make sure we're on track with where we need to be and what we need to be doing, which is super cool. That also means your experience here is what you make it. You can have fun or kind of waste away wishing you were at home or in Brazil or something. We typically have fun, and people get really creative with their resources in the residence halls (we're not allowed to call them dorms...). This week someone made the decision for the whole floor that it would be better to sacrifice a sink for 3 days for some glow in the dark grow in water animals. There was also a tie draft, a queso festo (which sounds way cooler in portuguese), i think a nerf war, i saw some military drills going on, and a bunch of other stuff you wouldn't think to do with things you got in the mail.

Sunday we had a devotional and Lloyd Newell (Music and the spoken word narrator) came and gave a talk. He's the guy who says the whole "This has been the 180th general conference..." thing at the beginning and end of general conference. He's the Morgan Freeman for Mormons. It was a pretty good talk and was the usual missionary motivator kind of thing, but after that we watched a talk that David A. Bednar gave at the MTC a while ago called "Character of Christ." Everyone we talked to said it was life changing and the one to see, so we did and it was super enlightening. Basically it talked about how we need to turn outward when we would usually turn inward, and how we won't become better by thinking about how we will better ourselves, but by losing ourselves in helping others. yea. If i had to sum up the hour long talk in a sentence that's probably how i'd do it.

My emails will probably get more interesting and better written as time goes on so bare with me. P-Days are tuesday and my mail address is the provo MTC mail box 300.


Elder Seaman

Monday, September 21, 2015

First letter home

Querido Familia,

I arrived at the MTC safe. Don't worry. James dropped me off after lunch I got dropped into Portuguese class with no English. Wasn't too bad though. My companion is from Lancaster, PA. He's also going to Ribeirao Preto. I thought it was kind of funny. By the way, for anyone trying to pronounce anything in Portuguese, you're saying it wrong. I guarantee it. It's the opposite of phonetic.

P-day is Tuesday. I find out if I leave next week tomorrow. The soonest I leave is Monday. Met my branch President today. He's an orthopedic surgeon, so we naturally had something to talk about. He told me he doesn't know why, but he's taken a liking to me. We'll see what that means.

I'll have more to say on Tuesday.


Elder Seaman

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Elder Seaman arrives at the MTC

Elder Seaman reported to the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah on Wednesday, Sept 16th. We are still awaiting his first email!