Friday, November 27, 2015

T-Minus 4 Days

O Campo!!!

This is it people!!! I leave in T-minus 4 days for the actual São
Paulo Sul Mission!!! I feel pretty ready to leave the CTM but not
exactly ready to teach real life people, but I'm super excited (and a
little nervy) nonetheless! Since our district is leaving soon, last
Sunday a bunch of us got picked to give surprise talks (in Portuguese
of course) during sacrament meeting. Since I have zero luck in
anything, I knew that I would get picked, but I had come prepared and
wasn't nervous to do it. That is until the President of the CTM walked
in and sat down in the front of the room right beside the pulpit. I was
of course called up very first to give my talk on the power of prayer,
and so I got up and did my best and felt reasonably happy with the
outcome. When I sat back down, I glanced over at Presidente Swenson and
he gave me a thumbs up and a big smile. After the meeting finished,
President Swenson (followed by each member of the branch presidency)
came over and shook my hand and told me how good my Portuguese was and
that I had nothing to worry about. I'm very aware that I'm still a ways
off from fluent, but it was still really nice to hear. Also, we had a
super awesome Thanksgiving lunch and a special devotional on Thursday,
and my district all sat together and went around the table and said
nice things about each other. It was nice to have my Brazilian
family with me when I couldn't be with my real one. I'm grateful for the
opportunity I have to be in São Paulo and for the many MANY things Ive
been blessed with in my life. I love you all and Im so grateful to
have each of you in my life! I'm sure this week will be a whirlwind, but
I cant wait to fill you in on it next week! - Looovvveee, Sister

Friday, November 20, 2015

One week left, what the heck?!

November 20, 2015

One week left, what the heck?!
Hello world! This week was pretty uneventful, except yesterday Sister
Hansen was laughing super hard and leaned against a window for support; the window was actually open and she almost fell out of the 3rd
story window, but I grabbed her and pulled her back in; so that was
pretty exciting! Now back to the continuation of last weeks adventure
that I didn't have time to finish telling you about.

So last Wednesday my district and the Hispanic girls, that are my bff´s
from another district, walked a mile to a bus stop and loaded onto a
crowded, sweaty bus and rode it for 30 minutes into the heart of Sao
Paulo. We stood the whole time, and it was a lot like a roller coaster
ride except less safety equipment. I had fun. After we got there all
the companionships split up, and each had 6 copies of the Book of
Mormon to give away to interested passersby.

There were some nice people and some not so nice people, and Sister
Hansen and I had given three away and were just starting to get into
the groove of things when we spotted this old man walking down the
side of the road. We walked over to him and had scarcely introduced
ourselves before he launched into a rant about the Bible and was
telling us all the ways our beliefs are wrong. He was going a mile a
minute; and we couldn't even get a single word in. Every time we tried
to say anything or even answer one of his questions, he would just cut
us off in rapid fire Portuguese.

We stood there waiting for him to stop for at least 15 minutes before
another old man came up. We thought we were saved, but he turned out to
be a preacher and just joined in with the other guy (except he was
trying to tell us about how he saw Jesus one time too and Jesus told
him that he was perfect in every way). I was getting very overwhelmed
at the whole situation and basically just started to stand there and
cry as these men fought over us.

Finally, I just couldn't take any more and cut them both off, asking If I
could say something to them. They both stopped and looked at me
expectantly. Honestly, I had only understood about 60% of what they had
been saying. I knew they didn't want to listen to anything that was
going to come out of my mouth, and I didn't have enough Portuguese to
say all that I wanted to tell them; so I did the only thing I knew to
do, and through snot and tears and a couple of  hiccups, I bore the most
heartfelt testimony I ever have in my life. I told them I hadn't
understood everything they were saying, but one thing that I did know
was that the book I held in my hands was true and that it testified of
Jesus Christ and His love for us.

The preacher asked me if I could prove to him that it was true. I
told him that I couldn't prove anything to him, but that if he read it
and prayed to know that it was true that God would testify of the
truth of it but through the Holy Ghost. I know that for myself. In
that moment I realized what it means to testify of something with the
whole energy of your soul, and let me tell you it's exhausting, but also
the most wonderful feeling. The preacher didn't really like my answer,
and they continued to quarrel; but after that I didn't have anything more
to say. But just a moment later, almost out of nowhere, the bottom
fell out of the clouds above us and it started pouring like you
wouldn't believe.

I know that it was a tender mercy for me. Literally the second after
I had done all I could do and reached my breaking point, the Lord
offered me a tender mercy and a way out of the situation. I pretty
much cried for like an hour after that, first from being overwhelmed,
and then later from all of the kindness the other sisters showed us
after they found out what happened, and then from realization that
that situation was actually one to be grateful for because it showed me
what I'm really capable of.

I know that I´ll face experiences like this (and harder ones) again
after I leave the CTM in a week and a half, but I know that the Lord
always provides a way. I love you all and hope you have a great

Sister Curtis

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What the heck is Kenzie doing in Brazil?

November 6, 2015

In this weeks issue of What the heck is Kenzie doing in Brazil:

I have a special section entitled "Things dad would love/hate about
Brazil." *applause*

Love- They have the best Orange Juice ever, all we eat is meat and
cheese (and a lot of it) intermingled with either bread or rice,
Brazilians are super clean and shower like twice a day and brush their
teeth all the time, and there are tons of little shops everywhere and
everything is super cheap.
Hate- The toilet paper is dispensed in precut half-kleenex like sheets
from what looks like a giant tissue container, no nap times in the
CTM, nothing is EVER pronounced phonetically, and everyone is super
touchy and very friendly and loves to talk (I've spoken every language
I know and a couple that I don´t since being here, and no one seems to
mind that the effectiveness of your communication is like 13 percent.)
Spanish has helped my Portuguese comprehension so much, but Portuguese
has completely wrecked my Spanish. Even if I can think it in Spanish,
it just comes out in Portuguese now, which I guess is a good thing.

This week a girl asked me where I was from and I told her Tennessee.
She said, ´´Oh! Like Hannah Montana!´´ I laughed forever and
was just like yes, you're exactly right. Also we got two new sisters
from the Provo MTC and wow does their Portuguese suck. Is that mean? I
can´t tell, but it just makes me grateful to have been able to come
straight to Brazil and be fully immersed in the language and culture.
They were a little surprised when Irma Majory (one of our instructors)
came in on their first day and greeted them with a hug and a kiss, lol.
Gotta love Brazilians, cause they´ll definitely love you!

The people here are so happy and wonderful and I thought I´d share a
quick story about my roommate. We have a hard time talking to our
Brazilian roommates because they´re from Northern Brazil and have pretty
thick accents and talk super fast; but the other night I asked one of
them how her day was? She told me her day was hard, but it
was still a good day, and that in the CTM even the bad days were good
days because we´re here learning and preparing and feeling the spirit. She
told me how before she came to Sao Paulo she didn't really know how to
write; but after being here for just a week she´s been able to write
better than she ever has before, and that it´s coming to her so easily.
Her faith and understanding that this was assuredly a gift from God
was incredible. It was such an unexpected, and humbling experience for
me, and I hope that as I continue to grow and learn that I can emulate
the same goodness, faith, gratitude and humility that my sweet
roommate does.

I´m up to teaching 2-3 lessons a day and next week we´re going
proselyting in downtown São Paulo, so that should be fun and
interesting. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Sister Curtis