Monday, October 13, 2014


October 8th, 2014 I have just arrived in Birigui, my first area! Actually I left the MTC in São Paulo on Tuesday at 3:30, after waking up at 230. We took a 1 hour flight to Ribeirão Preto, and met th emission President and his wife, and the two assistants there. After meeting them at the airport we went straight to the mission office, in the middle of Ribeirão, where we got a series of trainings, yata yata yata. It was great. And the craziest thing about it, is that right as a I arrived, I recognized 3 different people who were all in the MTC with me in Provo. Including my first companion! It´s crazy how things ´work out´ but Elder Oelkers, who is my trainer, was in the MTC with me in Provo, along with like 7 other missionaries I know in this mission. The good news is that there exist many familiar faces here. The bad news is that it´s a bit discouraging to see everybody I started out with fluent, and loving life, while Im struggling to know what theyre all saying haha but Im grateful that Im here. Im happy for everybody who is fluent, and it gives me a vision of what I want to be also, hopefully sooner than later. But anyways, combining the two hours of sleep, the new experiences, new culture, the many trainings, and the deer in the headlights effect, the last few days have pretty much been a blur. When we got in to the mission office, tons of missionaries started to pile in and greet you, all excited and hyper while youre trying to not fall on the ground from exhaustion. Thats a bit dramatic it wasnt that bad but let´s just say I´m more than grateful that I was transferred to Birigui, which is a six hour bus ride from where we stayed last night in Ribeirão Preto. We just arrived a couple hours ago and the bus ride sleeptime was fantastic. I have to tell the story of my first lesson in the actual field. I went on divisions for some reason with one of the zone leaders in RP. Hes been out a while and is of course fluent (hes from Argentina). As we met up with these elders in their apartment, I could talk fairly well about where Im from and the CTM and whatnot, so I was feeling pretty good. Then we arrived at the house of someone who´s name I can´t pronounce or remember (this was before the bus ride...). When we got there she had us sit down and we started to talk. Well, she started to talk. I sat there and tried to concentrate on what she was saying, and I caught literally nothing. She found out that I was new, and she started to ask me questions, and then started to laugh because I couldn´t understand her thick accent, then I think she started to get annoyed haha so the progress is slow but hopefully somewhat sure. Elder Oelkers is American, so I can ask him questions in English, which I´m not sure if I like or not. Hes really good at he language, and we can talk pretty easily together, but I can´t seem to quite catch the overall idea of what people are saying yet. Ill pick out words here and there but connecting them is a challenge right now. I´m a little worried about learning without being in a classroom. Everyone always says oh just listen to everybody and speak as much as you can, but if you can´t catch much of what people are saying, it´s a bit tough to learn new words! Plus I´m a little bit timid in trying to speak as much as I can because I don´t want people to get annoyed at me not being able to communicate like a normal human being. But I know neither of these are good excuses, and I know that each day, especially as I pray really hard with real intent for the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues, that I´ll have it down in no time. Thank you for all the prayers, I know that I need them and that they are being heard. So many people dont have families who pray for them or who even care that theyre on a mission, and I know that Im blessed being on measure to have family and friends to support me and pray for me! Have a great week! back to Portuguese! Love, Elder Hirschi

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