Monday, July 16, 2012

P-Day is Monday!

Hi Mom!
Well first things first, you aren't allowed to put the pictures on the computer, so I will have to wait until I get into the mission field to upload pictures and send you guys them!  Another thing is I only have a half an hour to write this, so sorry if my thoughts are a little jumbled.  I don't know if you have gotten my letters yet, but I'll just sum up what's happened here so far.  Well as soon as you guys dropped me off, I was already missing you, but I didn't have much time to think about it, because I was rushed into doing everything that I had to.  One of the first things I did when I got dropped off is I got my nametag.  I can't even explain how much joy I had as soon as I put that on my jacket pocket.  I can now say that I am officialy a representative of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It feels like such an honor to have His name so close to mine, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I have felt the spirit here so much and so often, that I can honestly say that I love it here!  So then I went and got pretty much thrown into a classroom, where all the teacher did was speak in Spanish.  Stating the obvious here, but I was pretty much lost.  But I learned to really focus and pay attention so that I can get the gist of what he is saying.  Then I met my companion, Elder Ashcroft from Colorado.  Also in my district were Elder Cone and Elder Lundberg, who are rooming with me, Elder Barton and Elder Huff, Elder Whited and Elder Reeve, Elder Reed and Elder Eliason, and Elder Titus and Elder Mataia.  Elder Mataia is our district leader, and I couldn't ask for anyone else to be our leader, because he has really kept us on task and really lets us invite the spirit whenever we are studying.  And he is Samoan, which makes it that much better. 
The MTC here is a really good place to prepare.  I mean, the very first night we were here, about 40 of us missionaries sat in a room and watched a simulation of the beginning of an investigator's lesson.  Then they opened up and let us ask questions, so it felt like we were part of the discussion.  It was such an amazing experience and I felt the spirit so much, because you could feel that what they were learning about the church had hit them on such an emotional level and had really touched their hearts, that I couldn't ask for anything else to do for the next two years than to spread the Gospel and the happiness that I have felt all my life to the people of Guatemala. 
Everything after that has really set my mind in a place so that I can learn as much as I can, so that I can be as knowledgeable as I can.  I feel like I know the lessons and the doctorine pretty well, but the language is still really hard to pick up!  Our third day here, they set us up with an "investigator" named Veronica from Paraguay, and me and my companion had to teach her a lesson in Spanish.  On our third day!  We struggled a bit, no a lot, because we didn't know the language well enough to answer her questions and to share with her the doctrine.  Looking back on it though, I am thankful that they are throwing us into the mix so early, becuase it serves as a reality check and it just makes you want to do better learning the language and the doctrine.  We have already taught her two lessons so far, and our third one is set for today, so we shall see how that goes!  I feel like I could do so much better if I could teach her in English, but we have to learn Spanish eventually, so why not start now?!
We met our branch presidency this week.  Our president is President Stone, the first counselor is Brother Bulloch, and our second counselor is Brother Goodman.  I don't really know the others, but President Stone is awesome!  He is from South Carolina, and he just has a really good sense of humor, and I feel like I can be really personable with him.  I'm sad that he isn't going to be my President for my whole stay at the MTC, because I'm packing up and leaving here for Guatemala in 3 weeks, but I'm thankful to have him here for as long as I can.
We had our first Sunday yesterday, and I'm confident enough to say that has been my favorite day so far.  Our sacrament meeting was kind of in Spanglish.  The talks, singing, prayers and musical numbers were all done in Spanish, but the announcements and the conducting took place in English.  I was really surprised, because I understood most of the Spanish that was spoken!  I just don't know a few words here and there, but I know enough to get along here, but I have a feeling that will all change once I get to Guatemala!  As a district, we all participated in the MTC choir, which was a good thing becuase I was going to do it anyway! We had an MTC Fireside also on Sunday Night, and our speaker was Jenny Oaks Baker, daughter of Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  She was a concert pianist and her devotional was set up so that she would talk to us for a while about a certain subject, and then play songs on her violin about what she had just talked about.  I really really loved it, because music is such a big part of my life, and to hear her testimony come out through music, I was really feeling the spirit.
I can't explain how much I love it here, I know that I am doing the right thing being here.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Redeemer, and I can't be more thankful for him in my life.  I know the Atonement is true and helpful.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I believe it with all my heart.  I love you all and I can't wait to see you again.  Look for my letter!!

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