Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I am here in Brazil!!!

 I made it!!! I am here in Brazil!! So hard to believe! :)  Guess what though!!!!!!?!!! Elder Cook came to the CTM yesterday!!! I was able to shake the hand of an apostle of God! How cool is that?!
It's been wonderful so far! We went to the temple this morning!!!! It is GORGEOUS!  I think its my favorite that I've ever been to.   I leave for Rio in five more weeks!  It seems so strange that I've already/ only been here for a week so far!My companion is Sister C - I LOVE her.  She is standing next to me in that picture that they sent earlier.  She is from Boston and her dad is actually Brazilian and her mom is Mexican and so she understands what everyone says in any of the three languages, because in her house they would speak to her in their languages and she would respond in English.  Way cool though!  She is super nice and we get along great! My district is GREAT! I love them all! Everyone is so hilarious and we all get along great! I love it! The food is actually really good - they serve a lot of meat at every meal and they always have rice and beans - which are delicious!!  We also went to this Brazilian barbeque place  today and it was super good! If you have ever been to Tucanos, it was exactly like that - they had this salad bar type thing and then brought around the meat - like Braza Dancante.  It was delicious!
The living arrangements are pretty much like any dorm. There is space for four girls in each room with two bunk beds, but it is only me and Sis C in ours right now. We really want to get some Brazilian sisters when they come this week though!~ Mary Ann

Above, are some excerpts from Mary Ann's first e-mail home. She asked me to keep up her mission blog for her while she is on her mission. I'll try to be clear about whether comments are from me (her mom) or from her on the blog. Below is the photo that the CTM sent to us on her first day in Brazil. Seeing it made me know that she had made it safe. I said goodbye to her last Tuesday at the airport, it was harder than I had imagined. We've sent off 3 children to be missionaries before but this was the first one who was leaving the country.   I was sad when she left and it sunk in that she is gone. I am so happy she can be a missionary. I'm excited for her to have lots of wonderful experiences.  It was great to get this first e-mail and learn about what she is experiencing. Feel free to leave comments on the blog. I will forward uplifting comments to her in Brazil. Please invite your friends to join. Anyone is welcome to read it. She hadn't had a chance to invite most of her friends before she left. We will make sure that the blog stays positive and try to make it worth reading ~Mary Ann's mom

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

two week mark.

Well... it's official - exactly two weeks until I leave.  How crazy is that?  It's always been four months/ two months away, etc.  And when I finally saw it getting somewhat close, it moved further away again.  But now it's almost here.  And its for real this time.  I called the Missionary Department the other day and they said they had a visa for me (they're gonna ship it sometime this week!! :), which means....... I'M GOING TO BRAZIL!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been waiting for this moment for about the last six months now and, can you believe it?  It's almost here.  I think, though, having SO much time to prepare has allowed me to procrastinate a little TOO much.  Now I'm attempting to catch up on all that in the midst of preparing for a reception.  Talk about fun.  Guess what else though?  I'm getting nervous.  Ahhhh!  Really nervous. Right now I am mostly scared for my farewell talk - well, more like terrified.  I am NOT a big fan of giving talks and I always get nervous.  And I'll be speaking next to my amazing sister, Sarah who will be recently returned from her mission and giving her homecoming talk that same day - and she is a spiritual giant (seriously - you'll be able to see the difference!).  But getting on that plane and flying to a foreign country is also a little bit daunting.  and maybe more than a little bit.  A lot of it has to do with the language barrier.  I'm just have to pick up Portuguese FAST!! :)  It's just funny though because the last six months or so, I've been nothing but excited.  I still am, of course, but there's just a couple other emotions mixed in there.  Can I just say though that I am so entirely grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  And I am so grateful for the testimony that I have gained over the years - I am SO excited to be able to share this gospel of Jesus Christ, that I love so much, to those waiting to hear in Brazil!  I can't wait!!! :)  Also, I can't wait to wear the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, over my heart and to be a representative for Him!!

Saying goodbyes is another one of those things that I'll never get used to.  I've decided that I really hate them; they're awful!  and I've had to say some of the hardest goodbyes as I left Utah to come home, but I still have more to say!!  Well.  It really isn't even goodbye, it is just see you later because I'll be sure to see them again - it'll just be in a little over a year and a half.  but still... it makes me sad :(

But lets dwell on the positive, because I have had SO MANY good times the past several months.  Like going to Color-Me-Mine and eating the one of a kind blue bell ice cream with two of my favorite people!  Like going to Denny's at three in the morning while wearing footie pajamas.  Like being able to become scuba certified.  Like trying on ugly clothes at DI with Shanette :).   Like chillin' with the coolest people at Brick Oven.  Like always locking my new roommates out of the apartment.... sorry!  Like being able to go to my sister's sealing!  Like having the opportunity to get ahead for my mission and learn Portuguese.  Like watching my beastly sister own at her basketball games.  Like being able to hang out with my wonderful family who I love so much.  Well... like a lot of things! :)  Even though I would have been happy to leave six months ago if I had the chance, I am really grateful for the opportunity to stay in the states and to learn the things I've learned, do the things I've done and spend time with the people I love!

I love you all and I'm going to miss you - like a lot a lot.  But don't get too excited, because I've still got two more weeks :)  I'm not gone yet!