Tuesday, September 27, 2016

At the Mission Home!

I'm at the mission home! I dont have much time to email, so I'll try to make this fast. So I got on a plane and flew 1 hour to Ribeirão Preto, kind of funny they made us fly! So everything here is... a lot. It's probably just the whole real life mission thing hitting me for real. I learned yesterday that I am not good at portuguese. We had in field training and it was 8 hours long all in full speed portuguese and i got about 10% of what was said! Little bit of a wake up call. I have a lot of work to do.
I met my mission president and had lunch at his apartment. It was chicken fajitas, and the best meal I've had this whole time! I loved the american mexican food that sister Schulz cooked. I love my mission president and his wife too. They are the best! So nice and i can tell they totally care about me. This is definitely the best president for me! I cant wait to get to know him better over the next two years. We got to relax in his apartment, which is actually pretty nice, for about 3 hours which was great.

This morning, i woke up at 2:30 am to catch my 6:30 flight. I'm so tired right now. When we got here we got our new companions. When we saw all of the trainers lined up there was an american and i definitely wanted him! It came down to elder Cleverly and sister Maartin from my mtc district. So... I got the american comp! His name is elder O´neill, and he's been out a year. President Schulz and his wife both said how great he is. He seems like he's going to be a great trainer, I'm super glad i got him. 

So my first area is going to be a bit interesting. Tomorrow night, I'm taking a 7 hour bus ride through the night to the Aracatuba area. I'm in the same district as elder Cleverly, which is awesome! I'll see him at zone conferences. Tonight, I'm going on splits with the APs to the favelas, so that should be a good adventure. Once i get going, i think I'm going to really love it here. I'm about out of time. Talk to you next monday!

love, Spence

Last week in the MTC

So here i am in the last week of the CTM! time here is the weirdest thing ever. i have no idea how im already done with a transfer but it feels like I've been here for sooo long at the same time! Im going to miss all the friends I've made here, but I'm ready to start my real mission!

So something funny that elder meyer from my district showed me was watermelon with sugar..... It's so good, I'm addicted to it now! Every time they have watermelon for lunch or dinner we both get soooo much and chow down! As of right now, I'm still not sick of rice, beans, and meat for every meal but that might change after a few more months of it!

Last saturday was my busiest day on my mission so far! We had proselyting, splits 5 mins after, then TRC which is a 30 min lesson with a member, then 2 lessons with our investigators. I got a little taste of what the field will be like! So proselying was great. We went to downtown são paulo where all the buildings were huge!! My companion elder scowcroft said it reminded him a lot of his home back in new york city. We handed out 6 books of mormon, and one of them we had a cool experience. We saw a guy walking across the street and so we decided to talk to him. We went up and siad hi, and come to find out he was taking the missionary discussions and then he moved to São Paulo, now he didn't know where to go to church! It was so cool that we got to run into him, what a blessing! Heavenly Father looks after those who want to hear the truth.

Today i got to go to the temple for most likely the last time in 2 years, becuase i dont have a temple in my mission. I'm sad about that but i ended on a good note. We got the 2nd session today which means we have to wait 2 hours to start. So, they were nice enough to invite us to do baptisms and confermations! Half of the elders with us did baptisms, half did conformations, which i did. The font area is beautiful! So glad i got to go every week here in the CTM.

So this is it, here i go into the field! Thank you all so much for your support so far in my misson. Have a great week everyone!

-Elder Odom

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Apostles Pump Me Up!

Hey everybody! First full week in the brazil CTM! This place is a lot of fun. The past week has been good. Our last 2 devotionals we got to hear from two different apostles! Super cool, even though it was from the Provo MTC, it's still so cool to hear from them. Every time I do they get me so pumped up for the field!

So this is my 2nd to last P day until I hit the real missionary experience in Ribierão Preto. I´m a bit nervous, but at the same time I'm looking forward to it. It is going to be nice to get a change of scenery and get going! P days here are really cool. We get to go outside the CTM and go to the different shops in the area. There's a cookie place right across the street called Mr. Cheney´s cookies (shout out to the Cheney family!). They're so good! They also have a store and a barbershop and a bakery, and lots of other places so that's something I really have been looking forward to.

My district is the best. I have only been here for a little over a week, but l get along with them all so good! There's 3 other elders in a trio, then a companionship of sisters. Elder Torgerson's (an elder in my district) dad and my dad served in the same mission! How cool! And another Elder named Elder Meyer and I met before we came here. We ran into each other on our senior trips in California at a church in Newport!

The language is coming better every week. When I talk to my teachers and other Americans in Portuguese, I can do pretty good. But, the second I listen to two Brazilians talking to each other I barely understand anything! I have a ways to go, but I know I will get it eventually! 

Thanks for all the support back home, you are the best! have a good week!

Elder Odom

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wow, so a lot has happened since last time I sent out an email! So, not sure if my mom already said something, but I got my visa and now I am in the Brazil CTM (MTC)! Funny story how i figured out. So my district and i went down to the travel office in the Provo MTC because my companion got his visa and nobody was going with him. We were wondering if he was going to travel by himself, and when we got down there they told me that my visa came and that i was going to be leaving with him! For the last week in the Provo MTC i was in a trio with an elder that came a week after me, Elder Evans. He´s from Mesa, AZ and is such a cool guy! He also got his visa, so it was us three that came to São Paulo together. 

We left on monday morning, and our zone was there at the bus to send us off. I´m going to miss those guys, so blessed to get such a good zone in Provo! On the way to the airport, we drove by Jordan High, and it was kind of a bittersweet moment to know that i wouldnt see my home town for another 2 years. Even though it was a bit sad I'm so excited to finally be here in Brazil!

On the way there, I went from SLC airport to Atlanta, then straight so São Paulo. From the time I left the MTC in provo to when i got the the CTM in Brazil, it was almost 20 hours straight of traveling! The flight from Atlanta to Brazil was about 10 hours through the night, and I´m the worst at sleeping on planes. I only slept for 3 or 4 hours, and when we got to the CTM they didn´t let us sleep... needless to say I´m still tired from the plane! Something that was super fun while traveling was I got to talk to my family in the airports. Because I had a bunch of layovers, I got to spend 4 and a half hours talking to them, it was awesome!

So here I am in brazil. A few things that I've noticed so far are: 1. the drivers are crazy. traffic laws don't really apply here. I have no idea how the buses don't crash every time they take a turn. The motorcyclists are so risky too! They are always going double the speed of normal cars, and what they do is just give a little honk as they come and the cars know to move over for them. 2. The food here is way better than the Provo MTC food. Not that the food in Provo was gross or anything, it just wasn't nearly as good as it is here! For every meal we mostly have rice and beans with some kind of meat. The meat is sooo good though. Every other meal they´ll throw in some pasta or something, and then they have pizza or other things sometimes too. 3. The favelas. Favelas are those buildings/houses that are stacked on top of each other. There are sooo many of them here in São Paulo. You could get on top of a tall building and look in any direction and just see buildings as far as you can see. It´s pretty weird to see coming from Utah, but at the same time I like it! It´s also super dirty here, which I bet you could guess.

So the CTM here actually has a lot of American missionaries. there are about 300 missionaries here and just a little under half are from the US. There are actually a lot of Brazilians learning Spanish here, and a lot of Hispanics learning Portuguese. We also have missionaries from other places, like South Africa and the UK. Cool to see people from all over! This Tuesday we had an awesome opprotunity to have Elder Anderson come and speak to us, so lucky! he spoke half in Portuguese and half in English. He talked a lot about relying on the spirit and being patient with yourself. So glad i got here in time to see him.

Well thats about it for now, I´m sure I´ll have more cool things to talk about next week as i get adjusted. Have an awesome week!!

-Elder Odom