Our efforts at learning Portuguese were interesting. We had been tutored over the phone a couple of days a week for a couple of months prior to leaving for Brazil. President U. arranged for Claudia, an English-speaking Brazilian to tutor me, my husband and his wife. We had all the lessons in a book and a computer program as well. But since our brains are older they are not quite as pliable as they used to be, and the learning came slow for us—especially for my dear husband. I caught on to the pronunciation of the language, however, and could read it quite well. I didn’t know the meaning of the words, but I could read it.
I remember the Sunday the first month we were there, someone handed me a scripture to read for the class—I was excited because I could do that. So when it came time, I read the scripture from my Portuguese scriptures quite competently. Oh the Relief Society sisters got so excited, they exclaimed to the Elders that they could easily communicate with me by writing notes. They were so disappointed when the Elders had to explain that it wouldn’t help.
I finally learned enough Portuguese to communicate in a limited way in the mission office. When the Elders were gone, if my husband answered the phone and the person at the other end of the line spoke in Portuguese, he’d thrust the phone at me. I could convey to the caller that the Elders were out and tell them when they’d be back. I could take their name and number if they would take the time to give it to me. Because the office elders spoke both languages, my dear husband was able to complete his office assignments without learning the language.
I'll write more as we had many adventures with the language in Brazil.