Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

Dear Family,

I really don't have a whole lot of time to write and read e-mails...  Thanks for sending me DearElders when you do.  I would love to read the forwards that Dad sends me, but they're just too long! 
I got all of the stuff that you sent!  Thanks so much for the package :)  Those Rice Krispie treats were delicious.  I ate them all in like 3 days.  It was nice having regular food again for the first time in a couple weeks!  Also those ties were perfect :)  I really like the purple/pink checkered one.  I've worn it twice already.  Thanks! 

So last week was awesome as usual.  My favorite part of the whole week was the Devotional that Sister Wixom (The Primary General President) gave last Tuesday.  She related her experience in the primary to missionary work and we sang a couple of children's primary songs.  She changed the words of I Hope They Call Me on a Mission to:  "I'm glad they called me on a mission, now that I've grown a foot or two.  I'm glad that now I can be ready to teach and preach and work as missionaries do!"  It was just such a great talk.  She is such an amazing person.  I got to sit on the front row for it because we always go for the seats that open up after all of the Senior couples are seated!  I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful blessings that I get for being in the MTC. 

Starting on the 22nd, all of the new mission presidents will be here getting trained on how to fulfill their callings and everything.  The First Presidency apparently will be here along with a lot of the Apostles all throughout the week.  There are going to be 3 devotionals this week instead of just one, so I'm hoping that we get to hear from one of them!  I'm sure that whoever gives them though will be great.  It's just so cool to think about all of those church leaders being in the same general area as me I guess..  Haha

I went to the consulate like 3 or 4 weeks ago in Salt Lake to sign the papers for my Visa, which I'm pretty sure means that I'm set to go.  I will be getting my travel plans sometime next week and by then I'll know for sure whether or not I have my Visa.  I am so close and yet so far from being done in the MTC.  It's great, but I couldn't possibly stand being here any longer than 9 weeks.  I feel bad for Bryce and his 12-week language course.  I'm just ready to go out there and learn from my trainer and my own experience.  I'm not sure if I'll leave on the 12th.  It's possible, but usually people leave on Monday from what I've seen, so it could be more like the 11th, which isn't much of a difference, so whatever.  It all just depends on the travel plans that work best for you.  I'll probably fly out with 4 Elders from my district and some other people that I met at the consulate, but I'll let you know when I get my plans most likely two weeks from now.

Yesterday I set a goal that I basically achieved..  I wanted to go the entire day without saying a word in English.  It was hard, but I know that it helped me that night when I taught my "investigator" completely in Spanish.  The progressing investigators that we teach are actually our teachers and he made us feel pretty great last night after when he told us that he felt the spirit really strongly in our lesson.  We just felt that our investigator didn't know the importance of the book of mormon, so we made up an entire lesson just based on that one need, since it's a pretty important thing to know if you're gonna believe in the Gospel.  It's just really cool seeing the progress of people that you teach, even if they aren't actually real investigators.  I hear that the people that volunteer in the TRC to be investigators really love the experience of being taught themselves, not just as the investigator.  It's hard, but definitely uplifting. 

I'll definitely read that chapter in Matthew.  It sounds like you're quite the awesome teacher.  I'm sad I don't get to sit in on your classes anymore! 

I've been kinda putting off taking pictures, since I know that I have a lot of time before I leave, but I'll definitely do that.  Too bad I'm getting a haircut today, so I'll probably look like a convict in them, but at least you'll have them.  I might have to wait until I get into the field to send you pictures, but we'll see.  It sounds like you guys are doing awesome...  I miss you and love you and hope you are having an awesome summer.. 

Love you guys!  Have another great week :)


Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 14, 2011

Dear Family,

This week was awesome again :)  Except that everyone is getting sick.  Apparently there is this thing called the Nova virus (I think it's a strain of Swine Flu) going around BYU campus, so we're not allowed to shake hands with anybody or anything.  One of the Elders in my District has been in the hospital three times this week, but not for the virus.  They think he has a stomach ulcer from all of the stress from the work...  You can't blame him!  It's tough, but so worth it!  This week Elder Rampton was having some pretty nasty feelings in his stomach and it sounded like appendicitis, but thankfully it wasn't.  It turned out he just had severe constipation XD  haha we all got a pretty good laugh out of it.  Dad was warning me about the food in Mexico in his letter, but really I think the food at the MTC is sometimes probably worse on your disgestive system.  So Todd was right about the French Toast Sticks.  I always get 2 or 3 plates of them because they are what I think God must eat for breakfast...  But anyway, when we went to the hospital to get Elder Rampton's cat scan done, guess who I saw??  Tessa Bartlett!!  It was really weird, but really nice to see a familiar face.  We probably talked for about 30 minutes just about life and everything that's going on...  It was cool :) 

So this week I had the oportunity to give Elder Rampton a blessing and it was a wonderful experience.  I have given a couple before, but with this Spirit that I feel here in the MTC, I know that these blessings have a lot of power.  So I just said it and I felt like it was just any other blessing, but then later Elder Rampton mentioned a few of the things that I had said, and I couldn't even remember what I had said.  It's amazing!  I gave a blessing and spoke the words that just completely came to me and they really helped and comforted Elder Rampton.  Knowing that I am a clean enough vessel for the spirit to dwell in is the most wonderful feeling.  The experience was very humbling and I learned a lot from it. 

The temple, of course, is still awesome, but I don't really have anything to share about it.  I finished the book of Mormon in the Celestial Room two or three weeks ago, I guess you could say that's "pretty cool!"  Thanks for all of your love and support! 

It's crazy that Marriah's married!!  Ah!  I just can't even believe it...  I'll bet she is so happy.  It seems like I just met her like a few months ago and she's already happily married in the temple :)  Oh yeah, I don't really have a whole lot of people's addresses, so would you mind sending me a list with some addresses on them, like Marriah's and our family member's for example?  Also I want my priesthood line of authority if it wouldn't be too much to ask.  Muchas gracias. 

Let me know about Russell!  Im' curious as to when and where he'll be serving his mission.  It's so fun to hear about people you've known and been friends with for such a long time heading out on missions...  Too bad we couldn't be in the MTC at the same time!  Every Saturday I meet up at the top of the stairs with one of my roommates from BYU, Bryce, and talk to him about his experience and we reminisce (spelled wrong probably :)) and it's just a fun time to remember all of the awesome experiences that we had at BYU..  I actually see quite a few people from BYU around here pretty often.  It's cool!

So I don't really have a whole lot of time left.  I guess I'll just tell you that this week has been awesome and we're really learning a lot about how important teaching by the power of the spirit is.  After all, when conversion comes it is only through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We are just the guides on our investigators' (or whoever we are teaching's) spiritual journey and we should always strive to both teach and learn by the power of the Holy Ghost.  Yo se que el poder de Dios es mas important que todas las cosas en el mundo.  El evangelio bendice a las familias y a través del poder del Espiritu Santo, podemos convertir al Evangelio de Jesucristo y tener felicidad siempre.  I'll write you a letter if I think of anything important that I forgot to include in this letter, but for now, Cíao!



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011

Dear Family,
I'm just so jealous of you getting to hear all of the good news about the babies in our family!  They are all so precious and I love that I can see them in that little photo album you sent me...  Thanks again for that!  That's awesome that Sophie took her first few steps...  I would say that I'm sad that I didn't get to see her walk around before leaving on my mission, but she'll be an Olympic athlete when I get back so no worries there.  It sounds like Ellie is turning into quite the adorable little tyke and Sadie and Maggie are cute as ever :)  Ryan was telling me about how she was already walking around and talking so you might want to stay a little more updated on that...  I just got a letter from Glen and Kendi and fam last night, but haven't gotten a chance to read it yet.  That was really nice of them :)  I love my family!
I thought that was so funny what you did with your Sunday School class!  I'm sure that they'll always love you as long as you keep giving them candy haha
Elder Solomon is from a little town in Indiana called Winchester.  It sounds a lot like Wellsville from what he's told me.  Apparently he was the first counselor in the Branch Presidency before he left and there were something like 20 people in his ward on a good day.  He got his endowments taken out in the Nauvoo Temple.  On Sunday an Emeritus member of the quorum of the Seventy talked to us about his experience being the Nauvoo Temple President and it was amazing.  You need to look up the history of that building and everything that happened leading up to the reconstruction of it.  There is no doubt in my mind that God knew that it would be rebuilt that it was built during the right time by the right person.  It's just crazy!  For example...  The stone quarry that the original sandstone came from is now underwater due to the construction of a dam somewhere near Nauvoo, so the church was worried about where to get stone to make an exact replica.  Sometime in the 20th century a project involving a lot of sandstone being transported to Chicago was cancelled and all of the stone was just dumped in a field somewhere near Nauvoo.  That stone is the stone that the church bought and used to make the temple.  It's just crazy!  There are cooler parts to the story..  Just look it up!  I really think that Dad in particular would like to read about that if he doesn't already know. 
Elder Rampton is from another little town but in Central Missouri called Moberly.  Both of my companions are really fun and hilarious to be around. 
So this week was awesome.  I learn so much that I find it hard to recall specifics.  But yesterday the resource teach, Hermana Keller, came into our classroom during language study and told us about her mission.  She told us that we needed to use every second that we were given.  It was really crazy how she talked about SO MUCH for an hour and a half straight and it all meant so much to me.  I might have to abruptly end soon, because I only have 3 minutes left just so you know...  Apparently there was this "secret combination" among some of the missionaries in her mission (in South Florida) that would wear beads under their shrits representing the awful things that they had done...  For example one of them apparently flew home and took a picture in front of his house and then flew back to his mission without the President knowing...  Well eventually he found out and they were all sent home, but I just thought that was crazy!  She just told us a lot about how we really need to "read the manual" and not take our missions lightly.  Preach My Gospel and the language books come from the prophets...  They really are scripture and I need to study them thouroughly!!
Love you a lot and hope you're all doing great!  I know I am!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May 30, 2011

This week has been pretty amazing.  I love being here as always and yesterday was just really hilarious.  Everything that happened just made me laugh so much.  As for the companion situation, I'm with Elder Hokanson from Star Valley, WY until tomorrow, when he goes to the Peru MTC.  (He's going to Lima on his mission and they stay here for three weeks.  All Spanish...  I am so scared for him!)  So I'm with one Elder until tomorrow when I'll be put into a trio with the two Elders that I share a room with.  Their names are Elder Solomon and Rampton and they are way funny.  I'm glad to be with them of all the people in my district :)

I got the photo album and I love it.  I can't believe that I forgot to bring any pictures out on my mission.  It brings back a lot of fun memories and I'm sure that it will put me in as great of a mood everytime that I look at it.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing family.  I also did get the pens and the twizzlers.  Thanks a lot :)

Thanks so much for that quote from Hugh B. Brown's mother.  I really do more often than not find myself relying on my heavenly father.  This week I wouldn't have been able to make it through my companion going home without prayer.  Because of Heavenly Father I know that I can be happy forever.  Like it says in 2 Nephi 25:2 or something haha that "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy." 

So this week was kind of a blur.  Russell M. Nelson spoke at the devotional last week about the love that all of the general authorities have for missionaries and I came to realize that we really are kind of in the spotlight.  So many people are praying for missionaries and their safety and success, I wouldn't want to let them down.  I just live each day to the best of my ability so that I cannot come home with any regrets.  My teachers were out of town, so we had substitutes for most of this week.  One of them went to Spain on her mission and she talks with a lisp because that's how they do it.  It's really weird.  Also one of the "investigators" in the TRC had gone to Argentina where they have a weird accent too.  They say stuff like COMO SHAY SHAMA instead of como se llama..  I don't know haha it was a pretty fun week though.  All of the substitutes we had were awesome!

I can't wait to get out into the mission field.  The MTC is great and everything, but the best experiences that I have are always when we're teaching the mock investigators in the TRC.  It feels so real, and I just am so tired of sitting around studying.  I just want to go!  The people of Mexico are waiting for me, and I'm just stuck in spirit prison.  Haha

Yesterday when I realized that it was the day of the Bolder Boulder, I got really sad.  That was so much fun last year with Paul and Joni and then the year before with Glen and Kendi.  So many memories...  Haha last year there was a smashed packet of powerbar liquid stuff on the ground and someone dared Joni to lick it up off the nasty 50,000 foot-trodden pavement for 5 bucks and, of course, she did it :) 

I miss my family and I love you guys a lot.  I hope that you are happy, and please don't get flooded!  Keep me updated on all of the happenings out there in the world.  I'm kinda unaware of everything that's going on, so it'd be cool to be told some stuff!  DearElder doesn't deliver on weekends or holidays, so I haven't gotten anything for 4 days.  Hopefully I get a lot tonight, but if not whatever.  :)  I can't wait to get Hannah's letter and tell her thanks and that I'll write her back in a few days when I get it! 

I'm running low on time.  I got kind of a crappy keyboard to type this e-mail on, so sorry this one wasn't too fun or exciting.  I'll talk to you in a week :)

Love you lots,