I don't have quite as much time today, but I'll try to write down as much as I possibly can in these short minutes. First off I want to talk about the spiritual experiences I had this week:
The primary one occurred over the weekend. My companion got really sick on Saturday-- a ton of coughing, a fever, a migraine and all that nasty stuff. It was getting worse throughout the day to the point where he had to just go to our room and sleep from five o'clock until the next day - which meant, of course, that I had to sit in there with him, studying away at my desk with just a lamp on. I admit I actually enjoyed this, it was kind of relaxing -- but still not worth his sickness, of course! Anyway, I got to give my first blessing to administer to the sick that afternoon. I blessed him to recover quickly, along with some other words of comfort, trying to follow the Spirit, I guess. In any case, the next morning when we woke up he was like 90% better! All he had left was a slight cough which disappeared over the course of the day. He was still pretty tired for the next day, but all in all it was a very faith-promoting experience for me. Priesthood power really works, guys!
Also, at one of the devotionals this week the speaker said something that stuck with me. He said that at this point in history "the Spirit of God is over Brazil," meaning that these are the years when missionary work is truly flourishing here. I guess everyone already knows this, but the way he phrased it seemed really awesome to me. This work, no matter where you are in the world, is so important! I know that's true.
I've also had some great experiences with music this last week. I truly believe that while words communicate meaning to the mind, music speaks to the soul. I have felt the Spirit strongly while listening to choirs and singing myself. I was chosen this last week to sing a solo for the MTC of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," just one of the verses. I feel like that's how I bear my testimony best, through singing.
Now I only have three minutes left and I haven't talked about the cultural stuff yet...but here goes. Last P-Day we went to this restaurant called a Rodizio. They bring around giant cuts of meat and let you pick what and how much you want. I don't think I've ever had so much meat in my life, and I had no idea what any of it was. So so so delicious.
The language is continuing to progress. I'd say the biggest change I've seen in myself this last week is increased confidence. I know how to express what I'm feeling without sounding silly with constant "ums" and "uhs." I can't say a lot, but I can say it marginally well. And I am learning how to say a lot more--vocab continues to zoom along. My weakest point is definitely listening comprehension. I can understand my teachers perfectly, but when I get out in the streets I still feel pretty lost. But I'll get there!
So I've got to go. Thanks to all of you who are supporting me back home. I love you, and I know I'm in the right place. Goodbye!
Elder Alex Burt