Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Funny Excerpt from a Karalee Letter

Things are going great here...my companion and I woke up at 4:30 this morning to try to get laundry done before it was crowded (it took three hours last week) and apparently everyone else had the same idea! It only took an hour and a half or so, so it wasn't as bad, but it was waaaaay too crowded for being that early. Anyhoo, I'm exhausted. Not that I'm not always--I was reading in Alma the other day and it talked about how Ammon labored both body and spirit, and then when they met up with Alma he was so happy "his joy overcame his strength". Now I know, it's because after 14 years of missionary work (well more, just 14 with the lamanites I guess) he was just SO TIRED and he didn't have any strength! Haha.

I am not that devoted to clean clothes like Rachael. 4:30?!?!? Is she crazy? Oh the joys of dorm-like living. 

Elder Scott and The Quote Book

     Wow, I can't believe it's already been another week! I'm having a hard time even thinking of what's happened since the last time I wrote...we follow pretty much the same schedule every week, so there's not too much deviation. The best thing that happened was last Tuesday's Devotional. Elder Richard G. Scott spoke, and it was AMAZING! First off, we don't know who it'll be ahead of time, so seeing him walk in made my heart stop for a second. A couple years ago, I found a talk he had given I think in the 80's called "Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer." It's been one of my favorite talks ever since then, and Tuesday's was almost the same thing, but missionary edition! It was SO WONDERFUL! All about recognizing the Spirit, trusting God, and the eternal significance of prayer. He gave us an apostolic blessing that as we remembered that the Lord had called us, we would become masters of the language--both the language of the Spirit and for those of us learning second languages. When he was finished speaking, he sat down and we sang a closing hymn. But just before the prayer, he got up again, kindly gesturing to the Sister who was coming up to the stage to wait for a minute. He powerfully reminded us that the Lord had called us to succeed, not to fail. He bore testimony that the Lord knows each of us perfectly and is aware of each of our fears and weaknesses, but that our loving Heavenly Father knows the person He wants each of us to become and has set us on that path. He said that we will find that our capacity to love and serve and grow will be far greater than we have ever known, and that the experiences we have now will benefit every aspect in the rest of our lives. And then, he looked straight ahead and I swear every person in the room thought he was looking right at them--he said, with emotion in his voice and pointing his finger at us to emphasise each point, "Remember. You have been called."
     Things have continued being great with my district and classes and everything. Learning another language (and knowing you don't have long to do so) continues to be stressful, but I have been so blessed in being able to retain so much, and stumble my way through the rest. Yesterday, Sister Garner and I committed our "investigator" Ernani to baptism!! (In Portuguese. Yippee!) It was neat. It was really, really neat! The thing about role plays is that you know you're not teaching a real investigator, but you are still teaching. The Spirit is still very much there, and you still care about these people. When we were teaching Ernani last night, it was an incredible experience, and that's why. We weren't "fake" teaching--we were actually bearing testimony of what we know to be true! I absolutely love that whenever you give Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision, the Spirit is there. It swoops right in and testifies, "This is right! God loves His children, and his Church and Priesthood authority has been restored!" Our message is so powerful, and I'm so excited to start sharing it with the people in Sao Paulo.
     Well, I don't have a lot of time left...funny stories time. Not really. We think we're funny, but probably no one else does! Umm let's see. Haha so last week, Sister Vaughn and I (Sister from my district) were talking about how the Elders always change their ties. Because they do. As in, three times a day....don't ask me why. Anyhoo, we thought they probably wouldn't even notice if we changed clothes, so the next day we decided to put it to the test! We filled our bags with extra clothes, and every time we went to the bathroom that day (which is A LOT), we changed our outfits! And not only did the Elders not notice, but the other Sisters sometimes didn't either--and they were in on it! We ended up being super drastic about it, and went from all black to bright colors, knee lenth to floor lenth skirts, and at one point I think Sister Vaughn may have even changed into a dress. NOTHING. We told them at the end of the day and no one had any idea. Haha we were so giggly all day long, we thought we were so funny! Anyway, good news! I never have to worry about what I wear on the mission ever, ever again, because no one notices anyway!  We have a running quote book, which we think is hilarious, but I honestly don't know if without context it would be funny at all! Teaser: we've made a whole list of why the Elders have it easy, so one day Elder Kelley came in super excited and said, "I know why you Sisters are lucky! You can dry your hands in your hair!"
...yeah. Like I said, we thought it was funny. :)
Well, I love you all, and miss you! Tell Grandma thank you SO MUCH for the scarf, I'm in love with it! Hopefully I'll get to write a little more next week, and I'll try to remember to actually take pictures. Oh, btw--my camera charger doesn't work. Sad.
Sister Fuller

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The First Week

Wow, I don't even know where to begin! I feel like I've been at the MTC my whole life....wait, what? It's only been a week? Haha it doesn't take too long to get used to life here.
Ok, I'm so scatter  brained right now, so I'm sorry if none of this makes sense!
Well, the MTC is great. There's such a special spirit here, and it's incredible to see this many missionaries. Slightly crazy at times, (like in the cafeteria, or trying to do laundry, or the gym, or showers. Oh goodness. Let's talk about showers.)  but it is SO incredible and inspiring too. But they keep having to make more room for Sisters--I'm on the top floor of a building that used to be just Elders, and it is NOT built for Sisters. Besides the urinals and little curtains in the showers, anytime more than one blow dryer is plugged inot the same general area, all of the power goes out. We've had three blackouts so far. It's so funny, we all just whip out our flashlights and carry on like nothing happened! On Sunday, all of the Sisters were combined for our RS meeting, and we filled the entire 19M gym. We started off singing all the verses of "As Sisters In Zion" and it was so incredibly powerful--I couldn't sing any farther than the second verse thanks to the tears streaming down my face. Seriously, look at those lyrics. I've always loved it, but it's never been more aplicable than now. Actually, that's true for all of the hymns we've been singing. We can't listen to music in our residence halls (that's ok, we're never there anyway. All we do in there is sleep) and so it makes it even more special when we get the chance to. Like when we got to watch the Music and the Spoken Word Broadcast. Oooooh my goodness. So good.
SPEAKING OF WHICH. We went to the MTC choir rehearsal, and our director told us about the history/story behind "Nearer, My God to Thee"--COOLEST THING EVER. Seriously. Not enough time to share it all, but it's the story of Jacob, and Jacob's vision (jacob's ladder) and so, so cool. I can't believe I've never seen that before.
Sunday was all around amazing, actually. We had a great Sacrament Meeting--we all are supposed to prepare a 4-5 minute talk each week, and then the Branch President picks 3 or so of us to come speak. I got to prepare in English this week, but it's Portuguese next Sunday.  But I understood all of the talks, so that was cool! Portuguese is actually going really well. I'm remembering way more Spanish than I have any right too, and it helps so much. Hahaha the first couple of days, I would just start speaking Spanish when I didn't know Portuguese, and so it sounded like I knew what I was talking about. I don't. :) But I really am doing well, and I'm grateful for how blessed I've been in learning the language. My theory is that I just talk a lot, and if you tell me I can't speak in English, I'll still talk a lot...so I get a lot of practice!
Back to Sunday. We had a guest speaker named Mary Edmunds, and she was so incredible! Her talk was so inspiring and encouraging. Really, the whole day was great. It was such a day of rest mentally--like Heavenly Father gave us all an extra boost so we wouldn't worry about anything on His Sabbath day. We sang "Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning" and it was just that--"now we rest from every care".
Before I forget to tell you--the biggest tender mercy today! I was in the laundry room and one of the workers came up to me. 
"Sister Fuller? What's your first name?"
"Uhh...Rachael?" (I am so finicky about telling people my first name. My companion thinks I'm ridiculous.)
"Rachael Fuller...Are your grandparents Bob and Dixie?"
(Me: what?!)
"Oh good, mine are Ann and Heber!"
Yes, Mom and Dad. It's another chance to mock Rachael for not knowing someone she totally should have. Maybe. So it's Cousin Chris...and he's my new favorite person on the MTC campus! I can't even explain how good it was to see someone that was family, even if I didn't originally recognize him. So we talked for a minute, and then I had to snag a laundry machine. But I saw him later too, and he says he'll be at the family reunion this summer. I told him to give you a big hug for me, so make sure you cash in on that! I was so impressed with how kind and awesome he was, really. Such a great guy.
Speaking of favorite people, I have the same lunch and dinner time as Sister Larson, so I get to see her quite a bit! It's always so fun. :) And the Elder I met in the St. Louis airport ended up being in my branch, so it's kind of fun.
My companion is so great! She's a super sweet girl, and our relationship logically doesn't make any sense. As far as I know, the only things we have in common are that we love the Gospel and we both laugh when I fall down the stairs on a regular basis. Or walk into poles. Or doors. Seriously, it's starting to be a problem. But her name is Sister Garner, and she and I, two Elders from my district, and one other sister are going to Sao Paulo North, and we're all so excited! Sister Garner's from Mesa Arizona...she likes to run marathons, comes from a huge family, and is 20. She really is great. Our whole district is great! It's 6 Elders and 6 Sisters, and we've kind of formed a nice little family unit. Oh, Mom, everyone really, really appreciated all the candy you sent. And the lolly pops, so tell Sister Sanders we said thank you!
Also, please give the Hemmings a BIG hug for me. Those CDs really kept me afloat the first couple of days, which was so so nice! The first few days were so funny--Sister Garner and I were so confused, so we just kept laughing. Seriously, we laughed so much. No one tells you where to go or what to do, and it's the weirdest thing to get used to! But then I made best friends with my daily planner, and now I just check it every five minutes and everything's great.
Every SINGLE minute here is accounted for. I can't believe how busy we are, or how exhausted! Oh, by the way--my marathon runner companion has me running with her every day. Lemme tell you. I am so sore. Hahaha this morning, I was so tired I put both contacts in the same eye, and it took me a good five minutes to realize why it felt so weird (or why I still couldn't see!).
Ok, so pictures:
On Sunday, we get to walk around the temple, so there's pictures from that. And then we got a picture with most of our district the first day that it snowed (but after most of it melted), and it was supposed to be a "we're going to Brazil, and we don't know what to do with snow!" picture, but somehow half of us missed the memo. And then there's Sister Garner and I in our cute matching coats. :)

Thank you so much for all of you letters! The DearElders are the best, because I get them that night, so do lots of those if you can! 
Well, most of all, I just love it here! I have so much to learn, but this is the best place to do it. The Gospel has never felt more real or tangible as it does now, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've had that have prepared me for this!
I love you all!!
Sister Fuller
Sister Fuller and Sister Garner in front of the Provo Temple

Matching coats in the rain!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Aaaand we're off!

Tomorrow's the big day, and I am SO EXCITED!!! And yeah, I'm using Disney. Listen to the soundtrack of my heart, folks! 

Até logo!