Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Vacuum Called Frank

October 29, 2010


Wow! Can you believe how long I've been here!? It's gone so fast. So...I don't really know what to say. Basically, we do the same thing every day: study.

Well, I guess I'll just start with the obvious: Tuesday Devotional! Yes, there will be general authorities coming. Apparently a general authority comes almost every Tuesday. And apparently, for some reason there are supposed to be APOSTLES the next couple of weeks. The week before I arrived Elder Nelson spoke and on Tuesday...Elder Scott! I love Elder Scott. I should have known it was going to be him because they hinted an apostle would be there and I noticed there were no teleprompters/cues -- whatever you call them. It was amazing. Basically, he gave us advice, learned throughout his life, on how to hear, record and heed the promptings of the Spirit -- and what better advice for missionaries is there? He also gave us THREE apostolic blessings (I know: AMAZING). First, he blessed the Sisters with a 'protective shield' and told us to be very careful about our health and to know that sometimes we won't be able to put in as many hours as the Elders. Second, he blessed us with the gift of tongues!! Um...I don't even have anything to add to that. Third, that we would retain the things we learn here; not just the lessons and the language, but our testimonies. He closed his talk with a powerful testimony about the Savior; everything he believes and knows about Jesus Christ stems from the fact "THAT HE KNOWS HIM." Wow. How incredibly blessed we are to have direct revelation from our Heavenly Father through these wonderful apostles and prophets.

Also this week, we went to our first TRC -- Teaching Resource Center or something. We had to 'contact' an investigator for 10-15 minutes in Portuguese and then teach them the first lesson (in English). I had a scary surprise last minute because, since there weren't enough volunteers, Sister Laimana and I had to split up and go with a pair of Elders. I was lucky to teach with Elders Cuestas and Gunter, who are wonderful, but I hadn't learned enough vocab about the things they brought up in the contact so I wasn't very vocal. The lesson was really good, however, I thought. It was excellent practice at least and I know my testimony was strengthened. Funnily enough, our 'investigator' is in Lisa and Stasia's FHE group and I met him the weekend before I entered the MTC. Kind of funny.

Unsurprisingly, we've heard a lot about obedience. I don't really think I've had a problem with it at all, but it's so true that it's not the rules themselves that you have to agree with, but the authority they come from. I know that every rule was established for a reason by someone who was inspired. So even though I hate that we can no longer take Sunday Temple walks, I'll obey.

Speaking of the Temple, we went today. It was wonderful. And SO cool to hear some of the things that are said while I'm called as a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. Keep up your temple attendance.

I was surprised to receive a heavy, full package from the 17th ward with cookies and candy and a sweet note signed by several of them. (I noticed Paul did not sign it. I'll try not to be offended. Joke.) We have, like, six packages in our room and SO much junk food. So, yes, I'm going to be fat.

During my first interview with my teacher Irmão Owen, he told me my Portuguese was good. Hopefully that's true and he didn't just say that to be nice, but he probably did.

I've noticed several times in my studies the reference to "isles of the sea" in the Book of Mormon and it makes me think of Cape Verde. It's so awesome to know that even in a teeny, tiny country the work is going forth because Heavenly Father cares about His children in Cape Verde.

Vacuums: We had our first service hour, which is sweet! We clean the senior missionary building and it's really easy and in the morning. The greatest part is that the vacuums are named. I worked with Frank and Dewey. Then we cleaned our dorm with Chantell. So...yeah. I found it amusing.

Well, I think that's about it. I plan on breaking the "wall-sit" record in the gym (though I wish I was in shape enough to beat a 6:30 mile). I only have to do it for eight minutes...

Keep me in your prayers and the also the people in Cape Verde. I love you all!


Sister Brooks

Curly Fries & Spiritual Giants

October 25, 2010

Let's see. Sunday was sweet! Except that I played the piano for Sacrament meeting, which was terrifying. But it was all right. For Relief Society, Sister Denise Doxey spoke, and Brother Allen, the management director of the MTC, spoke at the fireside. Brother Allen was hilarious! I can't even begin to explain how great it was and totally perfect for me. But Sunday was good. There was an amazing musical number, too.

Classes are great. Language and gospel sort of alternate and we have hours scattered throughout the day with teachers - Irmão Matheson and Owens. Some days it's at 7, some at 8:45.

It's so great. I about have nosso proposito and the 'first vision' memorized in Portuguese.

I love Sister Laimana! We are a sweet companionship! We have identical cameras and alarm clocks!

Oh! And I have my bunk bed again! I love it. And I'm slowly accepting the pillows.

I'm going to get fat. I had curly fries for lunch. They were delicious. And Sunday we had amazing broccoli cheese soup! Seriously. It was amazing.

My p-day will be on Fridays. I'm excited. And I broke 8 minutes this morning on my mile. I'm so slow! Ugh. :)

I love my District! Irma Thayer and Michaels are awesome sisters! And the Elders are super motivated and such spiritual giants! We're already planning an MTC District reunion. :)

Love you all!

Sister Brooks

Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Letter

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Well, there should be an accent on that, but you get the idea.

Happy Birthday, Miranda!! Oh, I'm so sorry I couldn't come to your birthday party!

Okay, now I will try to tell you all about my first few days here.

I love it. I really do. My companion is Sister Laimana, from Hawaii and she is amazing!! (She hasn't touched my brush, yet, Paul.) And Sister Tirrell (17th ward) is in our Zone, but not in our District. But she is in our room. She is the only Sister in her District, so she is a solo sister and often we have a little trio which is a lot of fun. We have two wonderful Sisters who share our room. They've been here about five weeks and are going to Brazil. They're so helpful and we're really lucky to have them.

Our District is AMAZING! There are eight Elders and four Sisters (which is apparently unusual to have that many Sisters). Everyone is going to Portugal Lisbon except for me, Sister Laimana (!) and one Elder, Elder Questas. The Elders are so impressive. They seem so little, but they're great. Our District Leader is my favorite! He's always smiling and is such a sweet little Elder. It's great. And we have some amazing teachers.

Classes: incredible. We've been studying and discussing our purpose and how important it is to care about the people we teach. My favorite quote thus far: "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

We've also learned what I feel is quite a bit of Portuguese in such a short time. I can pray and bear my testimony (simply). I absolutely love Portuguese! I'm sorry, but it's so much cooler than Spanish. There are some funky accents and tildes and parts of it really sounds like Chinese. There are lots of 'm's where 'n's should go and 'i's that really are unnessary and a LOT of ''sh" sounds. I feel like I sound like I have a lisp (which would be fine if I was going to Lisbon--haha, get it Cheryl?). But it's beautiful and so much fun to learn.

I'll be honest. I have felt overwhelmed several times, but it passes quickly. There's so much to do and I have to keep telling myself that I do have eight weeks to do it.

Ah! I don't know what else to tell you! Basically we think about three things here: The Gospel, Portuguese and Food. I haven't been too impressed with the food here, but it's all right. I did have some delicious tomato basil soup.

Here's a cool story that Bro. Matheson told us. There's a school in Portugal that was founded around 1170 and the students there wear capes, it's basically a castle and the library looks enchanted. Guess who attended this school? Yes. That's right. J.K. Rowling.

Here are a few interesting things I've heard about Cape Verde (CABOO VERD-uh):

In some areas we will be washing our clothes by hand.

We cannot drink the water and may have to wait in line every day to receive water.

It's really hot.

That's about it.

Oh. And it's definitely the coolest mission here.

The only things I really don't like here are the showers and the pillows.

Well, that's about it.

Thanks to all who have sent me letters! I feel so loved!

There are so many other things I should say, but I can't really think. This is probably very disconnected, but hopefully it makes sense.

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I love it here. It's hard and wonderful and crazy and sweet and totally, totally the right place for me to be.

Eu sei que Jesus Cristo e nosso Salvador. Eu sei que Ele vive! Eu testifico que Deus e nosso Pai Celestial e Ele nos ama. Eu sei que somos as crincas de Deus. Eu sei que o evangelho e verdadeiro e O Livro de Mormon e verdadeiro. Eu sei que Joseph Smith foi um profeta e Presidente Monson e o profeta. Em nome de Jesus Cristo, amem.

I love you all and miss you! Be good!


Sister (Irma) Brooks

Oh! The subject. [Emma’s e-mail subject line read, “The Good Little Runner.”] It's false, but refers to me. I had another Sister refer to me as that during gym -- which is fun and I've been able to run a little bit on the track.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Address

The count-down continues! I enter the MTC in less than six days and I'm still so excited! I think I finally have everything I need, so the next task is to try and fit it all into my suitcase!

I would love to hear from any and all of you while I'm serving my mission. I will be in the MTC until December 22 (approx.) and then I'll leave for Cabo Verde! Two months is plenty time for me to get some quality letters from all of you, so, if you would like to write me in the MTC, here is my address:

Sister Emma Brooks
MTC Mailbox #83
CAP-VDP 1220
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

I am only allowed to communicate via email with family members, so please dig up some antiquated stamps and envelopes and write me a good, old-fashioned letter! It will make my day.

The mail service in Cabo Verde is fairly slow, but feel free to send me letters in the mission field as well. The pouch address for my mission is:

Sister Emma Brooks
Cape Verde Praia Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Here are the instructions for Pouch Mail:
"To prevent possible fines, only postcards and letters that are single sheet, folded into three-panels, and taped at the top only (NO envelopes) may be sent through the pouch."

For packages and such, the mission office address is as follows:

Sister Emma Brooks
Cape Verde Praia Mission
Caixa Postal 420
Ihla de Santiago, Sao Tiago
Phone: 238 262-9403

My family will be updating this blog when I send emails each week and will post my more immediate and current addresses in the field.

Thanks in advance for all your love and support!

Since this will probably be the last blog post directly from yours truly, let me just say a few things. I know that missionary work is one of the most important duties we, as members of this Church, have. Please, please, please do whatever is in your power to assist this great work. Just be an example by doing what you know what is right! It's so easy to know something, but then not do it! Don't give in! No matter the pressures or the temptations, continue to be faithful! That is exactly what I am going to be striving to do and, hopefully, I will be blessed on my mission because of it!

Be an active participant in this life. Don't get bogged down with virtual experiences like facebook, twitter--this blog :). Go out and do something worthwhile!

And don't let anything, anything get in the way of your eternal salvation. Don't be offended, don't be proud, don't be lazy or complacent! Just choose to move forward in faith. Heavenly Father has prepared a way and He does know best--Really, He does!--so just do what He's asked of us. We can do it!

Okay, hopefully this doesn't sound like a soap box spiel (but if it does, I'm just practicing for my mission), but it applies to me as much (or more) as anyone. I love you all and I'll see you in eighteen months!

-Sister Emma Brooks