Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Seventh week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center October 13, 2009

Somente dois mais! Tal Vez...Ola novamente! I only have one more after this one gets sent, it's hard to believe! It has gone by so incredibly fast. It's still hard to believe that I'm even here, and now I am leaving! So crazy. I leave on the 23rd I believe. UPDATE: So on Wednesday we were told that Richard G. Scott might/may very likely make an appearance here at the CTM on Sunday the 25th, so we were all heartbroken BUT this afternoon (Friday) we were informed that the Porto Alegre missionaries will leave on the 21st, and we will leave to Londrina on the 27th! So, Elder Scott will be in Sao Paulo for a conference with the mission presidents the weekend of the 25th. So there is a good chance that he will stop and address us here at the CTM! (It would seem criminal not to!) And we will be able to see him! Everyone is stoked about it!
A bunch of Londrina-bound Brazilians (I think six) arrived on Thursday. They all seem like really nice dudes. I'm excited to get to know them a little more. So if there are six of them, we will be sending 17 missionaries to Londrina on our transfer! That will be so cool.
I have been working on my fitness so I don't add weight. I usually run either one or two miles per day. It actually is alright running, it is very good for releasing stress/pressure. Our track is 115 meters 14 laps is a mile. I'm so excited for Kenny! Russia...I bet he will do an excellent job. If it is possible, tell him congratulations from me.
Mom, I'm glad you wrote in Hungarian. The Hungarian elders were getting sad with nothing to translate haha. That blog idea sounds great! How the heck did the Olympic Committee say no to Oprah!? If she and Obama can't, no one can. It seems strange to give Brazil the Olympics two years after the World Cup. They should share the wealth of world events! Oh well, with any luck, America will be hosting in 2022. At which time I could easily have children who hate soccer! I would just disown them and adopt Brasilians, they like it a bit more.
Everyone's Portuguese is improving a ton. I can now talk with the Brazilians about more than just futebol, it's nice.
So our departure date is actually completely up in the air. The MTC President doesn't know, the guy who coordinates it all is just like never around. So we don't know when we leave. We might leave the 21st which would make this our last P-day. I hope this is false, because the next week will be very important and eventful. We are going proselyting in the city, like downtown, on Friday. I'm so excited for that! So I leave here in two weeks at the latest, eight days at the soonest.
Sounds like Charlotte is doing so much good at the orphanage, it would really be a shame if she got thrown in prison. But that would make for quite the experience!
Evan left this morning at 3 am so we talked a lot and made our last freestyle song/rap of the MTC. It is so funny. Our band is either Hard Boys, Ladrao de Coracao, or Heartless Moms. I think the last one is the most funny because all of our friends have very nice, loving mothers.
I get so excited when I think about my group of friends all being on missions, it's so cool! Spencer, I know it still seems like forever away, but I'm already so excited to find out where you are going. Just always have it in the back of your mind to be preparing for your mission.
Matisyahu has become quite the sensation on our floor, he will have at least 10 more fans when we return. I got a haircut, it is very short but I like it. I hope my hair still looks fantastic long when I get back or I will be so dang sad. I am writing this while balancing on one foot in my room with my friends. Elder Jensen and I were seeing who could balance on their left leg for the longest time. We both lasted about seven minutes.
Anyways, thanks for the letters. Love you all, thanks so much for all your love and support!
Ate lugo,
PS I just finished my pastel, it was phenomenal! Dad, you should make Doce de Leite for mom and Spencer. Mom, I hope your birthday is special, even with only one child to celebrate with! But me and Char will be partying in our hearts. Dad, make good frosting!
Muito Amor

Sixth week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center October 6, 2009

Boa Tarde familia!
It's been a more eventful week, so I think this letter might be a little long lol. I hope you don't mind LOL!
So most of the week was spent preparing for proselytizing on Friday. We did like 50 practice lessons and crammed info for three or so days. We also had to learn how to approach people on the street and stuff. I found that the best way is just to ask them if they believe in God, then move it from there. So then Friday was proselytizing. We had class in the morning, had lunch, then got ready to go. Each companionship received only two books to give out, so that was pretty disappointing. But it still was a little nerve-wracking to go out there. So we prayed as a group then headed out. Then me and Titus prayed that we could know what direction to go. So then we headed out and started searching. I was super scared at first but then we were walking up this hill and I saw this guy leaning up against/sitting on a wall. So I was like “JACKPOT!”- so I went up and was like “Ola Senhor, como vai?” He said muito bem. I said, “voce acredita em Deus?”
“Certo, muito”
“Entao acredita em Jesus e sua Expiacao?”
“Sim, certo”
“Jesus Cristo foi um profeta durante sen ministerio na terra”
“Sim. Deus Sempre da profetas para ensinar as coisas que as pessoas precisam em cada tempo. Depues de Jesus Cristo e seus apostolos morreram, o autoridade para ensinar e falar com deus foi tirada da terra. Mas, porque Deus nos ama muito, O Evangelho verdadeiro foi restaurado a terra novamente.”
“Verdade! O Evangelho de Cristo foi restorado atraves de um reapaz nos Estados Unidos. Ele traduziu, com revelacao de Deus, O Livro de Mormon.”
“Que e isso?”
“O Livro de Mormon e um otro testemunho de Cristo. Depues da morte de Jesus, ele foi ressurretado. Na Biblia, diz que Ele teve otras pessoas a visitar. Estas pessoas foram os Americanos. Ele foi as Americas para ensinar as pessoas aqui.”
“Serio! Este e um presente de graca. Eu sei que quando voce lera e orara com fe, voce podera recibar respostas a suas perguntas.”
“E eu sei que esto livro e verdadeiro proque eu li o livro, e eu orei para saber a verdade destas coisas. Eu recibi um resposta atraves do esparito santo, que da um testemunha de paz, amor, e felizidade. Eu sei que pode recibar estas coisas tambem, para voce e sua familia. E um grande abencoe.”
“Voce ira ler e orar?”
“Si, eu vou.”
“Marvelhoso! Aqui em 3 Nefi 11 e o capitulo sobre o ministerio de Cristo nas Americas.”
“Muito bom. Obrigado!”
“Obrigado! Meu coracao e muito feliz para voce.”
“Obrigado. Boa tarde.”
I hope he really reads it, I think he probably will. We kept walking around for about 20 minutes before Titus found someone to teach. He did pretty well too, he talked a lot about the restoration. Most people were done around the same time as us. I was amazed at how willing people were to listen to us and accept the books. Very cool stuff.
Then we had conference. I learned a lot. It was weird to start watching the first session after having 1 hour of personal study, 3 hours of class, breakfast, and lunch. At home you usually had to wake me up for it. Holland is like the hero of the month here. Session 1 started at 1 o'clock, 2 stared at 5 o'clock, and priesthood was Sunday morning at 9. It was strange to break the ages-old tradition of eating after priesthood, enjoy that while you can!
I can't believe how fast time has gone by! We have like 2.5 weeks left in the CTM, it's unbelievable! We have a ton of stuff we still need to learn, but I think I will be fine. There is a widespread idea in our district that we will really learn the lessons and language in the field. We will learn a lot there, but honestly we have a TRAINING center for a reason, so we can be useful and prepared to teach when we arrive in our mission. They say, “Eat, drink, and be merry for in the field we will learn these things.” I think some might be in for a rough time.
We went to the temple again today, it was very nice. I think today will be a pretty relaxing P-day. Our Brazilian roommates left this morning for Recife. I'm pretty much out of information and time. This week will probably be a ton of studying, yipee! My goal is to have all of the lessons learned so it's just practice after this week.
Love you all, take care!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fifth week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center September 29, 2009

This week has been pretty awesome! I'll start on Saturday then work back and forth.
We had TRC on Saturday, which is where we get recorded teaching an “investigator” family who are actually members. It went very well. I got the “mom” to cry because of the restoration. It was cool.
It was a tumultuous week for the district. A few elders have been struggling with the rules and obedience. Our leaders talked to us, then we were interviewed individually about problems within the district. It is possible that we might get comp changes on Monday to help out those who are struggling.
As you know, this Sunday was Fast Sunday. It was awesome. Nine of the 12 members of our district bore our testimonies, it was great.
We went to the temple in Sao Paulo today, it was wicked ill. It's in a kinda crappy neighborhood, but the inside was sooo awesome.
There is one huge problem in the mission; we are not allowed to play soccer! So my two years in Brazil will be free of the only reason I knew about this country! GREAT!!! Well, maybe our mission president that is coming in July will change that rule. But, even if not, I can't do more than throw down my classic coping strategy: ok whatever.
Spencer, keep paying attention in seminary, and keep learning hymns. The people you serve will love you if you can play!
I'm on the bus on the way back from the temple and our driver took a scenic route so we could see some more variety. We drove through a more wealthy area and it was so cool. We proselytize on on Friday! I'm so so so so psyched for it! A little nervous, but less than most. I hope we can plant some seeds.
Most Brazilians speak little or no English, but some speak very well. The ones we teach have not spoken any English. The one I was talking soccer with was talking pretty fast, but clearly. I still claim USA as my team, it makes them crazy lol.
Anyways, glad things are going well. Obrigado por todas coisas! En Amo voces!
Elder Burt

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fourth week in Sao Paulo Mission Training Center Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We got two Brazilian roommates on Thursday! One, Elder Rodriguez is from Curitiba. The other, Elder M. Santos, is from the Amazon region. They are really quiet, but nice.
This week, week four, is considered the most difficult. We learned like three new verb conjunctions and got the first lesson down in Portuguese with questions and scriptures and stuff. It's pretty cool to teach in Portuguese, it flows pretty well now.
Knowing about soccer is soo nice! I can talk to almost any Brazilian. We have something we both know about. After we practiced teaching with a Brazilian district, I talked with the elders we were working with about world soccer for about 15 minutes. (Quite an achievement, speaking Portuguese for that long and not about the gospel) I gave Elder Titus recognized the importance of my knowledge, so I gave him a little lesson on soccer around the world. It really will be helpful.
We went to the Federal Police Station on Wednesday to become legal. We got fingerprinted and filled out forms. It was not super fun, but interesting to see.
I'm starting to pick words up and add them to my vocabulary subconsciously. So I can string sentences together pretty quickly without having to translate a lot in my head. As I use Spanish here and there, I notice the same thing; I don't know how I learned so much from so little formal training. I think the same happens for most people once they leave the MTC.
I hope I get a Brazilian trainer when I got to Londrina. I think there would be nothing better for learning quickly.
I was thinking the other day, and I can't even visualize using a phone anymore. I thought it would be tough to get used to not having one, but I didn't even think about it till yesterday! So crazy how things change here.
The gift certificate at Cheney's has been DELICIOUS, thank you muito!
Spencer, pay close attention in seminary. Really try to master Scripture Mastery, it's probably the most important part of seminary.
Everything is good, hope all is well there too.
Love you all

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Third week in Sao Paulo at the Mission Training Center Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things have basically been the same here. We still go to class and study all the time. We can now teach the first lesson in Portuguese for about 15 minutes. Well, me and Elder Titus can.
I got sick on Wednesday with the same cold that gets everyone. I still have a pretty congested nose and I cough, but it's going away slowly. The doctor here has like one remedy for everything! We are instructed to snort salt water up our nose til we gag. I tried it once, then never again because it did not even work.
My Portuguese is starting to fit together better now. Our class time seems super inefficient, but everyone still seems to be learning, so that's good.
I am getting pretty good at volleyball, it's kinda hard not to be good with so much practice. I never imagined that one one of the few things I would miss from the United States is soccer. I still can't believe they don't even have a ball.
The food here is still fine. I have not had any kind of indigestion from it, so that is a plus. I have now lost two pounds since my arrival, that's pretty dang exciting I guess. But really I just think is is my muscles gelatinousizing lol.
This week 63 new Americans are coming in and 17 Brazilians. It's going to be be so crowded at meals and stuff. Most people get to move in with the Brazilians about this stage of their MTC stay. I really, really hope I get to move in with some. That would be so prime for learning. All of the Brazilians that arrived a day after us are leaving this week. I made friends with a couple on our floor, they were definitely cool.
The guys in my district all get along really well. No arguments or anything. Anyways, just keep doing right.
Love you all.
Elder Joey

Second week in Sao Paulo at the Mission Training Center Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our second week was just as action-packed as the first. We are in class for about 10 hours per day, sometimes more! It gets so hard to sit still. Most elders fall asleep a lot, but I have only fallen asleep once during instruction.
Fasting here is so militant! They disconnect all of the drinking fountains and shut down the cafeteria, so you really can't not fast. But Sunday is nice and relaxing. We get to hear from good speakers and testimony meeting is nice. I am starting to adjust to the schedule here a lot better. I go to sleep on time and I wake up on time, and it makes for much more productive days.
One of the elders in our district left the MTC today. It was a pretty big shock and blow to all of us. But I really think he will come back.
One of the elders in our district has been struggling with his faith, so I gave him a blessing tonight. It was a super spiritual experience. Today was a pretty intense roller coaster.
Things have pretty much stayed the same as last week, just a lot of learning. The food is still good. Today was Independence Day, so we had the national dish of Brasil. I thought it was good but as usual nobody else did.
Our mission apparently got split! Londrina no longer has the northern part that would have all the wildlife in it, so most of us are pretty bummed about that, but we don't know any concrete details.
The letters have been pouring in from across the globe. NOT! Just the one from you guys, thank you!
The weather here is crazy. It is hot from about 1 p.m. to bedtime. The air conditioning does not work, so we rely on fans and windows all the time. It has rained a couple times. When it rains here it really comes down hard! On the way home from the temple, the street flooded and our bus was like the only car that could make it.
You should all listen to the Brasilian national anthem. It is super cool. We sing it every week (or attempt to). Brasilieros are bad singers, but they really love to sing with force!
I am getting a lot better at scripture study. I am excited about the things in the Book of Mormon. It is hard to learn chapter by chapter like I used to read, but reading for an hour at a time is the best.
It is very safe here, I love you all, talk to you soon!
Elder Joey Burt

First week in Sao Paulo at the Mission Training Center Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hello family!
Today is my first P-day, and its been a dooope week. We got here on Wednesday after a two hour delay to our flight. We spent that day getting unpacked and stuff, settling into our rooms. We ate and relaxed mostly. On the second day, we started class in the afternoon after orientation lectures all morning. Portugues is coming pretty easily for me, not so for most of my district. Having Spanish for a while really helped a ton.
My teachers' names are Irma Elias and Irma Aline. Elias doesn't speak a ton of English, but Aline does. My companion is the coolest one in the group. His name is Elder Titus and he is from Seattle. Had he skipped the mission, he would have become a professional Cyclist! He is quiet, but he is cool.
Some of our neighbors are ill. They tell me a lot of good advice, as well as some interesting activities for P-Day. Such as the light game and removing the wood that holds up the mattresses up on the beds. The Brasileiros tend to like me because I can understand them pretty well compared to most fifth day students. Soccer is banned here!! No soccer balls are even available to juggle. We played just a little with a volleyball, but its not the same at all. We saw like 15 soccer fields and courts on the way from the airport though, so i am sure I'll get my chance.
We went to the temple in Campinas this morning, then we came back and walked around a bit. Of course we all bought some interesting candies and drinks to keep in our rooms. I gained three pounds in the first four days here, so me and Titus are cutting back at meals. It's weird to not have music and internet and tv around all the time, but it's nice. It gives everyone a chance to actually focus and think about important things. All of my supplies have been working very well so far. I am used to wearing a shirt and tie now, but I still don't like it.
We start on our goal accomplishment milestones tomorrow in class. We have to pray and testify from memory in Portugues. It should be fairly easy. Pronunciations in this dang language are such a joke!!! Whoever decided to make the D make a GEE sound should be hung.
The females here are generally very good looking. But nothing worth moving here or dropping out of the mission for lol.
I was expecting to have like 1000 letters by now, but have only gotten 500 :( jaja, kidding I have zero. One of the elders in our district, Elder Castillanos, is fluent in Spanish, so he is the top dogg in Portugues, but I am most def number two. I just need to pound the lessons at this point. Spencer, the most important thing you can do before you leave is to learn chapter three of PMG backwards and front. If you do that you will be soooo far ahead and won't have to learn the lessons as much as the language of the lessons. Then you can focus on the intricacies of the language.
I need to head out now, we have companionship study. I love you guys, don't do anything silly!
Elder Joseph P Burt

First day and first letter home -- Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yooo! It's the first night here, it's super cool! Our flight from Dallas to Sao Paulo got delayed about two hours, it was super boring. But most of the elders were pretty cool. Thirteen of us flew out of Salt Lake. Then we met up with a bunch more in Dallas. I think out total was 29. It was a pretty cool sight. We got to the CTM around noon. We went straight to lunch, which was pretty good. We learned a bit about the MTC. We got our immunizations checked, then we walked around the area a little bit. It's a little bit weird. It's just like Peru was but a little cleaner, but I can't talk to anyone yet! If only I can get them to switch to Spanish...
My comp is Elder Titus. He is from Seattle. He is pretty quiet but he is also cool. He could have become a professional cyclist or gone on a mission, so he decided on the mish.
We start classes tomorrow after walking up at 6:30! Sao Paulo is beautiful, we have a killer view. Love you guys, don't die or anything. Pray and read! Joey

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flying to Brazil! Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh my! This was sure a wonderful and emotional day! At 6:30 am Joey (and family) met with one of our local church leaders (Stake President) and Joey was set apart as a full time missionary of the LDS church. It was a sweet and spiritual way to start the day.
We then drove from our home in Logan to the Salt Lake City airport, where Joey would fly to Dallas and then to Brazil.

Joey (Elder Burt) and his brother, Spencer, heading into the airport terminal from the parking structure. Spencer will be 18 and a high school graduate when they see each other again.

Joey putting on his official missionary name badge. He will be wearing this all of the time from here on out. It says his name (Elder Burt) and the name of our church in Portuguese.

Ready to go! Boarding pass in hand, Passport and visa in pocket, Yellow Fever immunization in body, Scriptures and essentials in backpack, Proud family (including tearful mom) standing nearby.

A final wave from the other side of security. See you in two years! We love you!

Joey's farewell talk and luncheon Sunday, August 16, 2009

The missionaries in our church speak in their congregations on a Sunday before they leave. Often, the families host a little get-together after so that friends and family can visit, say goodbye, and give their best wishes to the missionary.

Joey's Aunt Darci took this photo of him sitting in the rostrum area in our chapel. This was before church had started--still--it was a very bold move on her part! He spoke for about 20-25 minutes and did a fantastic job and seemed ready and prepared to serve the Lord. (Totally biased here!)

We were so fortunate that the weather cooperated and we could hold the luncheon in our backyard. Thanks to so many family members (bottom photo) and friends who pitched in, we enjoyed some yummy tacos, salads, salsa, cupcakes, and Turner slush.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The mission call arrives! Thursday, April 30, 2009

It came! Joey was living in the dorms and I (mom) checked the mail on Wednesday--the day these usually arrive--and found...nothing! Joey's sister was here from Salt Lake for the big opening but had to go to work on Thursday. So, even a day later than we expected it to arrive, and with his sister listening on the phone instead of being with us, it was thrilling to open the mailbox and see this big envelope. It was actually a little overwhelming knowing that once opened, everything in our family would change. Good change, but still change.

The missionaries in our church do not get to choose where they serve their missions. It is not until this big white envelope arrives in the mail that the future missionary finds out where they will be living, teaching, and what language they will be speaking for two years. It is a very exciting time!

Each missionary receives a letter from the president of our church, President Thomas S. Monson "Dear Elder Burt: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Brazil Londrina Mission...You should report to the Brazil Mission Training Center on Wednesday, August 26, 2009. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Portuguese language."
In addition to the assignment, the mission call letter contains some wonderful advice and encouragement and some clear direction, "Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ..."