Friday, November 21, 2008

Goodbye MTC, Hellooo Portugal!

Hey there everybody!

Ok, so last week's warning was a false alarm. Lo and behold, my last P-day is normal, so I get to email ya'll one last time in the MTC! Aah!! I'm soo excited! I start my journey to Portugal early Tuesday morning, and Wednesday morning I'll be in Lisboa, Portugal!

This has been a great last week. Our Tuesday night devotional speaker was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and that was a great talk! He spoke about how we should never be discouraged for being asked to suffer but a very small amount of what Jesus Christ actually suffered for all of us. And he also talked about how we need to do the best we can, because many people look up to us as representatives of the Lord - the people we teach and baptize, our families, and the future missionaries that we are the examples to. That made me really appreciate all the great examples I have - all of my older siblings currently serving or having served honorable full time missions, Dad for all the work he has done and continues to do, and then Emily and Warren as the next missionaries - Emily if she so chooses and Warren as the next carrier of the Priesthood. Lots of great stuff.

What else... Life is just great! I'm ready to get to Portugal! I'm really grateful to have had Elder Shenefelt as such a great companion - we technically shouldn't have even been companions to begin with - and other great missionaries in my district and zone, and great returned missionary teachers!

Well, I love ya'll and am grateful for your news, love, and prayers. The next email ya'll get will be from Portugal!!! Love,

Elder Ellis V

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Last Stretch

Hey hey hey familia querida!

Life is great in the MTC! I've got 11 days to go until I finally head off to Portugal!! I got my flight plans today, so I'm vrey excited. Life really is great - practicing teaching in Portuguese, trying to improve in whatever way I can, tuesday night devotionals, picking the hymns - everything!

Normally I get to go to the Temple on Friday (pday) mornings, but today I had a different treat. Since I sent my mission papers from Brazil, the administration peoples think I'm Brazilian - on paper, at least. So there's a thing where the international missionaries get to go on a tour of Temple Square and the surrounding buildings and stuff. And following Grandpa Big Dad's great advice, I didn't pass up this watering hole! I was the Lone Ranger amidst a lot of Canadians, a few hispanics, 2 Brazilians, a Portuguese, and some others, including a sister from Wales. It was fun. We went to the Joseph Smith Memorial building, stopped by the Lion House, went to the Beehive House, Tabernacle (Rachel -- I met a Sister McKay who is a friend of yours there, she says hi), the rest of Temple Square, the Church Office building, the Conference Center, and that museum nearby the Conference Center, I can't remember it's name. Anyways, good stuff!

Well it's great to hear from all of you! Love ya'll tons!

--Elder Ellis V

PS -- I think this might be my last normal P-day, which means next week I might not have internet access to check and respond to ya'll's emails. Just to let you know. tchau!

Friday, November 7, 2008

MTC Countdown: 18 days ate Portugal!!

Hello hello!

Another great week in the MTC!! It's great to hear from ya'll! I'm so grateful for such a loving and supportive family!!

This week has been great! More studying in Portuguese, and Preach My Gospel. Elder Shenefelt (meu companheiro) and I have had a great time and have learned a lot together on how to teach effectively and in unity and with the Spirit. Our devotional speaker this week was Sister Julie B. Beck, and she gave a great talk. The point I liked most from her message was how we as missionaries really need to work with the members - and it's true! I remember the great times I had going out with the missionaries in Sao Paulo before I left to sell books, and Monday night Elder Shenefelt had a member with us while we were teaching our role-playing 'investigator', and the 'member' really did help with teaching and getting our investigator to go to church.

Anyways. As the subject says, I've only got about 18 more days to go until I fly out to Europe's Lighthouse on November 25th!! I'm very excited!! Well I love ya'll, and I hope ya'll are having the best times ever!

-- Elder Ellis V

PS - Sister Ellis III, CM signifies "Consecrated Missionary" from Elder Callister's devotional talk some weeks ago. Consecrated Missionaries have given up their disobedience, pride, romantic passions, fear, and negativity to consecrate themselves to God's work and be better-than-the-best missionaries. Tchau!