A Missionaries Ideal Day

When I thought of being a missionary I had many preconceived notions of what it would be like and how I might be different than the norm.  I knew that my day would never mirror the day that I describe below but it didn’t keep me from dreaming that this day might actually happen.

The ideal day would begin with getting up and having a wonderful 1 hour devotional time studying the scriptures and praying.  Following the studying of the scriptures and prayer I would go and get about an hour of exercise during which I would be able to continue to pray.

Ideal Day 2

Portuguese Class

After this I would prepare to go to Portuguese class.  While in class I would instantaneously understand all of the material for the day and be able to clearly articulate these things to my teacher.  Following class I would go to the local supermarket and pick up the exact food that I am wanting to eat for the day.  I would run into a neighbor who want to talk.  We would have a great conversation about life that would end with me inviting them to come to church and them saying that they would come next Sunday.

Ideal Day

Quality Conversations

On my way home I ran into the lady who cleans the common space in the apartment building.  We have a great conversation that began with the current weather and ended with a great conversation about how she is Roman Catholic and how that is different than being Christian.

Following this conversation I was able to study and understand all that I was trying to learn in my Portuguese class.  After about 5 hours of quality study time I feel very accomplished and ready for my guests to arrive.

Ideal Day 1

Fellowship with Church Friends

That evening I have a family from the local church come over to my house for dinner.  We have a great time over food and I am able to clearly communicate with them in Portuguese.  We play games until midnight and then I get some quality sleep until I wake up the next morning.  Thus ends my ideal day.

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Bonsai Trees and Language Learning

I have a special ability to kill plants but against all odds my Bonsai tree has been able to continue to grow and thrive.  I was told that I needed to keep the soil moist and give it at least 3 hours of sunlight each day.  I have kept the soil moist by watering the tree at least once a day and it sits in the window of my apartment getting at least 4 hours of Sunlight each day.

Bonzi 2

Bonsai when it arrived

I was scared that I was killing the tree when I saw the leaves folding up each night.  I did some research and found out that the tree is actually supposed to do this.  One of my friends, who is a gardener,  called the tree “Dormi Dormi”  meaning the sleep sleep tree. Over the last few weeks that I have owned this tree it has grown lots.

Bonsai

Bonsai with some growth

As I have been watching the Bonsai tree I have been able to think of the tree as a parallel to my language learning.  Language learning requires time and effort but you will not always see the growth.  One day you might wake up and think that you are growing because you can speak freely.  Later that same day you will feel like you lost all of the progress that you have made because you can’t hold any conversation.

Bonsai 1

Bonsai with leaves closed

Language learning is not a linear process and there will always be growth if you continue to put in the work.  However,  I need to remember not to be discouraged when it seems like all of my language skills fold up and go away just like the leaves on this the tree close each night.  I look forward to seeing not only the growth of my Bonsai tree but also the growth of my ability to speak Portuguese.

 

Bonsai 2

Lots of New Growth

 

Church Membership and Preaching

This past Sunday was a big day in my life as a missionary.  I became a member of the local church in Ivoti that I have been attending and I also preached at the evening service.

membership

Membership Testimony

It was great to be able to begin the day with seeing about 20 people become a member of Ministerio Biblico Ivoti (MBI).  I enjoyed being able to listen to all of the testimonies of the others.  Many of the testimonies were very emotional.  My testimony, in Portuguese, was short and sweet but it was well received.

 

Preaching

Reading the Sermon Introduction in Portuguese

 

Later in the same day I preached at MBI.  This was a difficult sermon not only because of the topic (giving) but also I began the sermon in Portuguese before switching to a translator.  I was very nervous to begin the sermon in Portuguese.  I think that it was well received even with all of the miss pronounced words, miss conjugated verbs, failed gender assignments for the nouns, and the poor reading tempo.  I look forward to peaching a whole sermon in Portuguese in the future but for now only the introduction will have to do.

Preaching 1

Full Church listening to me speak and understanding what I am saying.