Here's most of the most recent letter we received from Lauren...

"I love being at the MTC! I'm getting used to waking up at 6:30 and the days are still super long, but they are so worth it. I learning and realizing more and more how important it is that I work hard and I love it! My mission isn't about me and how well I do but about the people in Brasil. The language is getting better and I'm reading the scriptures out loud in Portuguese everyday still have a little Spanish accent but no worries it'll come :)

So for a couple days I was the only sister in the whole branch! But I just had to look after myself so it wasn't too bad. haha. But we got 2 new sisters! They are very nice and now I have somebody to share the room with. One is from Nauvoo Illinois the other from Utah.

We went to the Temple today and it was great! Had a great experience and I got to go with the Elders in my district this time so it was nice.

I sang in the Choir! It was really cool and we sounded great. Not to brag, but well it's true ;) and it was pretty fun as well.

I went to the RC (referral Center) twice this week and called people back that have called into the church to learn more or receive a free video. It was kind of scary but I did talk to one man and he wanted another movie called together forever. He was really nice, but the only person after 45 min of calls. Maybe it will be better this week.

My companions Elder Quigley and Elder Nielson and I also did a practice lesson this week on Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. It went really well! I've been out with the missionaries a few times and the practice was pretty much real. We are learning a ton and study the scriptures a lot so we were doing better and explaining things through the Bible and the Book of Mormon. As well as teaching what we know to be true. It is going to be so great when we get to help the people in Brasil.

Our district leader got his visa today! He leaves next Thursday and like 30 other missionaries too. One of my friends, elder Rodriguez, was here 13 weeks and had to get temporarily assigned to Billings Montana. He was super bummed but I hope he finds out why he went there soon.

Gym time is awesome! We all play volleyball or run but since people are leaving for visa we get more space.... YES!!! haha The Elders tease me cuz I talk to everyone. :) Yup that’s what I do and I love it. It's so great cuz you can just smile and say hi to everyone and learn all about them. I learned Chinese in the bathroom yesterday brushing my teeth. haha. I can say "hi" "how are you" I love you" and I’m doing good " Pretty sweet. I decided I'm going to learn mandarin Chinese when I get back.

We also did a language fast a couple times this week. That means NO ENGLISH. Just attempts at Portuguese and your face in the dictionary! We are getting better and I think the more we talk the faster we learn.

Everyday I'm studying about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how much He did for us. I am just astounded at the fact that He could and would do that for all the people and all of our sins that we would ever commit. And He suffered at the same time. He knows what it's like to lose a family member, to be betrayed, to feel discouraged and left out. He felt everything and He was perfect and He loved us soooooo much. It's a pretty big responsibility to wear his name on my tag everyday and do my best to represent Him. I love Him so much I want to try my hardest. I know that He loves each of us and can heal us if we go to Him. He's waiting with arms wide open we just have to turn and look.

This is the best work ever and I know it will get harder but only means that the victory will be that much sweeter. I love you and pray for you!"

Looks like Lauren might be getting closer to going to Brasil. We dont know for sure but this article appeared today "Brazilian MTC is filling up with missionaries again". Read to see what it's like for a missionary in the MTC in Sao Paulo.

We received the first letter from Lauren! She is having a great time in the MTC. She says she is a "solo" sister meaning that she does not have her own sister companion - instead she has two Elders as companions! There are no other sisters going to Brasil from her group. She spends all day with 10 Elders in class, lunch and gym. At night she rooms with 3 sisters going to different missions. She says "All of the elders in my district are awesome there are 11 of us altogether. Every time I walk in the room they all stand up for respect and take my trays at lunch! Ahha they treat me like a queen and pretty much do anything I say haha but don't worry I don't have too much fun with that haha. Also I have 3 other girls that I live with Sister Marshall, Davis and Harper."

She also says "I am learning Portuguese! It is easy to understand and i comprehend about 90% but still have to work on the pronunciation. But it is good because I help out the elders and they help me with my grammar which I'm not so good at.."

About her schedule she says; "Well I have a crazy schedule! I get up at 6 or 6:30 am everyday and then have breakfast for about 30 or 45 min at like 7:30 or something. We also study for an hour on our own in the scriptures anything personal. Then we have companion study for an hour and we share with comps what we learned and work on other things together. Then we have language study for an hour. Then another hour of study time for whatever we need and then lunch at 1pm. Then class at 2 till 6 and a teacher teaches us language and some scriptural or lesson planning. Then dinner at 6. Then at 7 till 9 class and then planning till 9:30. Then we have to be in bed by 10:30. I think that is like 9 hours studying. I am actually able to concentrate! Miracle! But we have tons of fun too. "

She is still waiting for her visa; "There are about 200 missionaries waiting on visas for brasil! And they are starting to trickle in! So it could be any day now that I fly or it could be weeks some missionaries have been waiting 13 weeks... " When she does get her visa she will probably fly out the next morning, leaving the MTC by 5am! We'll let all of you know as soon as we know - which might not be till she lands in Brasil - but that could be months. [Brazilians spell it with an s]

We haven't heard from Lauren yet. Her preparation day ("P-Day") must have been at the end of the week. Missionaries are only allowed to write letters one day a week. We figure we'll get her first letter any day now. Since there's nothing to tell you about her first week I'll just call this week #0. Below are some pictures of Lauren's first time through the temple. These were taken on January 8th. We got there late in the day so it was getting dark by the time we took these.

This is a photo she didn't want to use for her mission picture - but now that she's not in control of this blog I'll take the liberty of showing it to you.

All cold and bundled up in front of the San Antonio Temple. If you want to see real nice pictures of this temple click here.

Lauren with Mom and Dad. The reason we build temples is right here in this photo. Know why mormons build temples? Everything we do in the temple is centered around Jesus Christ. It is a house of learning and anyone is welcome who prepares well.