Saturday, July 20, 2013

We received this letter on 7/19/13. He sounds good and that makes me happy. We also learned that he will make his way to Porto Alegre on August 6th. 

Well another week has flown by at the CTM (Acronym for missionary training center in portuguese). I am loving it here. Oh, i got a new nickname this week from some Brasileiros, Elder Edward Cullen. I guess I just look like a pale vampire to some people, its cool haha. Well this week, was extremely humbling. My companion and I tried to drop an "investigator(Ellen)" we had because she hasn't progressed in about 12 lessons, and afterwards we were chastized. We were getting offended that she was falling asleep on us, and basically I was told my pride and unwillingness to love my investigators has led me to this point. I was mad, frustrated, and upset. But my teacher was right. I accepted what she said and now I'm really trying to learn from it. fast forward 3 days after my most humbling experience at the CTM to when my companion and I were able to commit our investigator(Igor) to baptism. I don't think myself and my companion could've done what we did with our second investigator without being broken down by our first. I hope I can take this lesson to the field and I hope that my pesquisador Ellen sees this change.
My companion and I are getting much closer. When you see everyone as a child of God, you really can't help but love them.
Also, with zero distractions and some scriptures, I am learning so much. I have found the deepest love I have ever felt for the Book of Mormon. Can't explain why it has affected me the way it has out here, but its truly an amazing book. 2nd Nephi is easily my favorite book now. I used to hate it as a kid, but it is truly inspired of God.
Elder Holloway

This letter came to us on 7/12/13. We've been singing "this is Holloway, this is Holloway" ever since.

Before I talk about this week I want to quickly talk about somethings I missed from last week. I was called to be District Leader my first week here. In some ways it was an answer to my prayers. Also, here at the CTM we have 3 main groups of ethnicities. The Norte Americanos, the Hispanicos, and the Brasilieros. My district and I have some Hispanico friends who for some reason they love my last name. Every time they see me they sing "This is Holloway, This is Holloway, Holloway, Holloway" Remember the movie the nightmare before christmas? They changed the words from the song, This is halloween to this is Holloway and It makes me crack up everytime.
The food here ranges from super delicious, and recognizable to I have never seen this before and don't want to see it ever again haha. The food is good, and I guess I'm still just getting used to Brazilian food. They also have a Guarana soda fountain. Guarana is quickly becoming my favorite soda.
I make friends everyday, usually because the Brasilieros get cycled out every 12 days. You always see new faces here and I am definitely enjoying my time.
I was able to go to the temple again today. It was really awesome as usual and now I'm about to go out into the town. Sao Paulo is huge. I mean HUGE. Skyscrapers in every direction. I literally don't know where the middle of the city is because wherever you are you feel like you're in the middle.
Also, being here is very interesting. We get no information about the outside world. Including the protests. I haven't seen any protests while here in Brazil, and all the info I get is from a couple instructors.
Speaking of instructors, my "investigators" are both bad and good. Ellen, is not progressing and its quite frustrating. We're still trying to find out how we can help her completely. My other investigator or Pesquiador is Igor. Igor is progressing so much! We found out his problem(The real reason of why he wanted to meet with us), and now are building lessons around what he needs. He really trusts my companion and I. I know these lessons are fake, but you can still feel the spirit so strong. Let's just say I pulled a Mike Holloway during one of my lessons, and it wasn't allergies haha.
I am still progessing in Portuges and the other day my entire district of four people went all day without English, only portuges. We didn't get it 100 percent but we tried hard. It's amazing how you can do something difficult if you put your mind to it.
This is to Dawson, I wish you were here. There are so many times when I say "Dude" in kyle's voice and no one is here to laugh. It's kind of depressing. Oh and I have also forgotten almost the entire Daft Punk album lyrics. I literally cannot remember it :(
The work is progressing and its amazing to be apart of it.
Elder Holloway

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We recieved these photos today
from the CTM President.
They made us smile.

It was so lovely to FINALLY hear from him and really get a sense of how he is doing. Also I understand it takes some practice getting used to using Portuguese keyboard, so please pardon the punctuation errors.
Well I made it to the CTM. I had a long flight from Atlanta and arrived here at around 8"30am. I only met up with one other missionary, Elder Booren. He's a good guy and we had a fun time driving from the airport to the CTM. As soon as you get off the plane, no one speaks english anymore and it is kinda confusing. Someone should look up the distance between the airport in Sao Paulo and the CTM, because it only felt like it should've been 30 min, but it took two hours haha. The traffic was so bad, it was raining (it rains almost everyday, because it's winter here) and there are motorcycles flying everywhere. Definitely haven't seen anything like it in the states.
Hm.. So the CTM is a pretty interesting place. 90% of everyone here is a Brasiliero or a Hispanico. There are about 10ish English speakers and about 600 waiting to get their VISAS in the states. Everyone here is super friendly. Everyone wants to talk with you, oh thats another thing. Brazilians just want to hang out and party. Which is totally fine except for when you can't get to bed on time.
I study portugese for about 8 hours everyday. It is pretty intensive. I am slowly replacing some english words with portugese. Like, como vai, entende, nao sei, Deus, etc. I have 3 "pesquiadores" i'm teaching right now. Ellen, Mario, and Igor. Although they are only my instructors, my companion and I are required to teach them anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes all in Portugese. It's insane. One week ago, myself and my fellow Americans could harldy speak portuguese, now we can teach lessons for 30 minutes. I think that just adds to my testimony of the Spirit and how blessed we are to be in the CTM.
My companion...where do I start...haha
Well he is... not like me at all. We are very different and to save time, I will say that he is just teaching me a lot. Anyone on a mission can tell you that you get pretty tired of spending 24 hours a day with the same person staring at you in the face. He is teaching me a lot and I consider that a blessing.
Another interesting thing about the Brasilieros is that many of them are desperately trying to learn english. It makes me sad because I want to teach them English but we literally have no time. If they speak English their job prospects go WAY up. So I have definitely seen how even just speaking english blesses us in so many ways. I feel so blessed to be here and experiencing everything I'm experiencing. Love you all!
Elder Holloway
We recieved this letter shortly after he arrived to the MTC or better know in Brazil as the CTM. After a long night of worrying, it came as a welcome relief.

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Wednesdayor Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".

Please accept our love,

President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn
The Call.