Derrik arrived safely in Provo, Utah & has begun to learn Portuguese. His visa from Brazil is STILL not approved. He did write an actual, snail mail, letter on his first night (2/19/14) in the MTC to the family which arrived today, 2/27/14. Some interesting quotes include:
"It was different to always introduce myself as Elder Conrad. My companion is Elder Phelps, and he seems like an awesome guy."
"We had orientation with our teacher, Elder Barlow, and he only spoke Portuguese. I could usually get the gist of what he was saying, but it was hard."
"Oh! Funny story. As I was getting my bags (from carrousel 6) there was a family waiting for a return missionary. After the initial celebration, the father came to where I was to get the basf for his son. I talked to him and his son was returning from the Indianapolis mission. I told him I was entering the MTC today, and the returning Elder, Elder Newell, just gave me a huge hug and told me to work hard. I was jut another confirmation that I am where I need to be."
From his letter we have to assume that "awesome" in Portuguese must be "otimo-o-chimo".