Sunday, November 3, 2013

A wonderful week in the MTC

We have had a wonderful week at the MTC.  It has been pretty intense, but wonderful.  We haven't done a lot of sleeping.  But we did not come here to sleep, right?  There have been lots of spiritual experiences.  We have had to do a lot of role playing and teaching.  We have had practice with our district class members as well as with community volunteers (although some are paid).  Some are not members of the church.  Everyone plays their part well, so you don't know if you are really teaching a non-member or not.  There have been lots of tears and spiritual experiences.

A highlight of the week was a devotional.  Elder Carolos Godoy, a member of the Seventy, was the speaker.  He is from Porto Alegre, Brazil....the same city that we are going to.  He was a great speaker and funny too.  We were able to meet him afterwards.  He even knew Alceu, Elder Shirley's friend in Porto Alegre.  He told us what a great man Alceu was.  He kept patting my arm and telling me what a brave woman I was.  That worried me a little.  He gave Elder Shirley "um abraco forte" (a Brazilian hug).  It was an uplifting evening.

We finished the week of Preach My Gospel at the MTC and returned to our room anticipating a weekend of final preparations of packing and doing laundry, etc.  We were excited.  We were to leave to catch our flight to Brazil at 7:30 am Monday morning.  But you know how plans go.  Upon returning to our room, Elder Shirley began to have a kidney stone attack.  He thought he recognized the feeling from an attack about 20 years ago.  (Some things I guess you don't forget.)  After a great blessing by some fellow MTC friends, we were shuttled to the hospital here in Provo where they found he had several kidney stones, two of which were big ones on the move.  After spending the night in the hospital, Elder Shirley had surgery the next day.  They "blasted" the two large stones and scheduled him to return next Thursday to take care of the remaining smaller ones.  We will have a follow-up visit the Wednesday after that.  So our departure for Brazil will be delayed about two weeks.

We are disappointed.  It was no fun spending the night in the hospital without even a toothbrush.  But we are so grateful that we were not in Brazil and especially not on a long over-night flight to Brazil.  We have heard stories about lots of medical problems surfacing while in the MTC.  That is a blessing, I guess, to take care of potential problems before you are actually in the field.

Everyone here at the MTC has been so accommodating and good to us.  We will remain here until we leave for Brazil.  They will provide shuttle service back and forth to doctors and the hospital.  The doctor was so good as well.  At one point after surgery, the doctor, still in his scrubs, actually called the MTC to make arrangements for the shuttle and to be sure we would continue to have a place to stay.  That was both amazing and strange to us.  We are used to being independent.  I was grateful, but not sure I liked it either.  Mostly I was grateful!

It is amazing to me the reactions we get to the missionary badges that we wear.  We get a lot of attention.  People take a look and then begin to ask questions.  We explained our situation a lot.  One nurse that walked us out of the hospital to the waiting shuttle gave us a parting hug and said "Pray for Me!"  That surprised me as I had been focused on our own problems.  I was reminded that we all have our challenges.

We are ok!  We still have our testimonies!  We will get to Brazil (I am pretty sure).  Neal is feeling much much better.  We are grateful for the love and support of family and friends.   We have been greatly blessed!

Love you all,  
Elder & Sister Shirley

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