Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Happens Before You Get Fluent in a Language

Hey everyone!

I have received one letter from you, Mom, and another from Grandma Campbell.  Both were sent to Cali. I was really excited to get your letters.  I'm really happy for all of you.  Emma, keep working hard and having fun.  Eliza, I love getting your letters even if I don´t have time to respond.  I'll try to write some more thoughts for all of you in paper letters, but I am not supposed to write letters during the week, only on p-day.  I miss you all a lot!  Dan are you still going to do karate?

I don't really know how to write with Mission Ties.  I'll try to work it out in this next week, but I don't have much time.  My companion has a bit of a weird perspective of schedules.  We don't start p-day at 10:30, or he´ll try to switch study to the afternoon. I will be spending the rest of my day doing laundry.

Portuguese is coming along pretty well, but it's still tough to understand what is going on and I have a hard time keeping really focused on understanding when people aren't talking directly with me.  Sometimes a lot of time I really don't enjoy walking around and not being able to understand, but it gets a lot better during lessons.  I have a hard time talking a lot though mostly because I don't understand much that is not church-related.  It's getting better though slowly.  I'm in one of those spots where I don't know what to study language-wise because I have too much as an option.

This week has been interesting.  At the beginning, I was about ready to strangle my companion, but I didn't because (1) I'm a nice guy,  and (2) it wasn't really his fault.  I just have a hard time communicating with him.  He talks to me about things that I'm already working on or things I already know.  But I have a hard time saying, "no, that's not my problem, I need to work on this," or "I think you misunderstood because that has nothing to do with what I'm saying!"

Well, it got a lot better as the week went on.  I got the whole walking-like-a-mad-man thing worked out mostly.  I told Elder Silva in very broken Portuguese that people will think we are crazy and not want to talk to us if we walk super fast all the time and especially if we aren't walking together.  He would walk fast and I wouldn't be able to keep up right next to him without jogging sporadically (it was ridiculous).  Moral of the story: someone is watching all the time even if you don't think they are and your actions are leaving an impression on them.  If I look like I don't have enough time to talk to someone they are not going to be as inclined to talk.  Or, if we don't look unified it is very hard to teach unity in a family, church, or community.  I think it helped.  There was a cool quote in Preach my Gospel about this (at least I applied it to walking fast), something about it not being needful for missionaries to journey with much speed because we lose people on the way, opportunities to talk.

And then yesterday my companion set up splits, apparently without me knowing until a few minutes before.  I ended up teaching a family the plan of salvation (before birth, after birth, purpose of this life, judgment, Adam and Eve, creation, and three kingdoms of glory) with the help of a member named Bob.  He is about to put in his papers for a mission.

Well, I got my hair cut today and it's nice.  A lot less hot.  Great news: my feet are not hurting much anymore.

Well, I'm out of time but I love you guys a lot!  I  hope you are all doing well.

Love you guys!
Elder Clark

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