Love, Elder Merrill
Okay, I totally copied Natalie, but it's true.
To explain the title, I will use an analogy to explain the transition from the MTC to the mission field:
You are placed into a wading pool, the water at your ankles. It's a little shocking at first, but you get used to it real fast. You have floaties, noodles, life jacket, the whole shabang. Over the course of 6 weeks, you are coaxed gradually to wade up to your knees. Occasionaly you get splashed with water, exposed slightly to more and more, but nothing much. Then, one day, someone picks you up, takes away your floaties, and chucks you into a swift, deep, cold, river, saying "good luck, remember what you learned in the wading pool!"
Seriously. my life turned completely over. I'm in Brazil. I finally had that thought in full face-slapping fruition this week. My companion doesn't speak a word of English, and that has presented some interesting challenges, but I'll learn pretty soon.
But it's been good. The hardest week of my life, yes, but good. I would honestly be nothing without the support of God, and the power of prayer.
The food here is amazing! The members that feed us never let us leave without stuffing us first. It's great that we walk for about 6 hours every day, because I would gain 50 kilos in the next 2 years if we didn't!
I hate to be cliche, but I was at our first lesson and legitamately thought "this ain't the language they taught me in the MTC"
We have some amazing people that we're teaching! I want to share one experience that I had this last week. We were teaching a couple that needs to be married, and the lesson was about Eternal Marriage. I was able to share with them my testimony of how important very important it is, so important that I would miss my own sister's wedding to come here and teach THEM. My Portuguese was terrible, and I couldn't say much, but I just tried to put my heart into those few words. I looked into their eyes, and I felt so sure and peaceful as I spoke my simple testimony, and I know that the Spirit carried the feelings of my heart to theirs.
I love and miss you all!