Friday, November 25, 2011

Week 2

Hey guys! This week was a little less crazy. I'm slowly getting used to how stuff works here haha. Thanks to everyone that sent me a letter! They were awesome! Speaking of which, I guess I need to talk a little bit about the mailing situation here. I only get 30 minutes for e-mail, so if I get a bunch of e-mails, it cuts into the time I have to write back. So the best way to get in touch is either DearElder or a hand-written letter. We get those during the week and can read them whenever. And then I can send a letter back on my P-day. If you do want to e-mail though, include your address so I can write a letter back. Oh, one other plus of DearElder is that we get them as a district every day. So I'll look really popular if I get a bunch of DearElders. So far, my companion is dominating- he got like 10 last week! Although most were from this crazy girl that is obsessed with him haha. Anyway, I guess I'll steal Rory's idea and do a bullet list cuz it's easier to include everything I want to say.

- Sunday was weird! It was pretty much a normal day other than having a sacrament meeting.

- We have to write a talk (in Spanish) for every Sacrament meeting. Then the Presidency calls on two people to give talks. Thank goodness I didn't get called on this week cuz my Spanish is still a little sketchy.

- We had a few more lessons with our progressive investigator. One of them was so awkward and uncomfortable! My companion and I think that she was making it harder on us since our first two lessons went pretty well. But the fourth lesson, we got a baptismal commitment, which was obviously awesome! The downside is that every companionship got her to agree to be baptized, so it was obviously planned for that to happen haha

- We've had two apostles come this week! Elder Christofferson came for the Tuesday Devotional and Elder Nelson came for the special Thanksgiving Devotional! I guess that's how they do it at the MTC.

- Elder Underwood had his birthday on Tuesday, so Elder Hebert and I decided to get him a present! Since we're so poor though, we got a rock and got our whole district to sign it. I wrote "You rock!" I know it's a terrible joke, but I still think it's funny... and he did too!

- Elder Hebert and I tried our first "language fast" on Wednesday. Technically, you're supposed to go a whole day without speaking English, but we started out by going for one hour. It was so much harder than I thought it would be, and it felt like that hour lasted forever! Haha but it helped a lot- we're gonna keep going longer until we can make it for a whole day.

- The Spanish lessons are super easy. We just learned ser and estar yesterday. Yes, that's right... I said ser and estar... like the first thing you learn in Spanish. Yet they expect us to teach whole lessons in Spanish to investigators. I don't really think that makes sense. Unless they're building our confidence with the lessons after we struggle through teaching a lesson haha

- I've eaten two PB&Js this week! For those who don't know, I pretty much hate sandwiches and haven't had a PB&J in like ten years. It still didn't taste good, but I figure it's good practice for when I have to eat cow brain or something crazy in Honduras.

- Oh, I didn't explain this last week. There are nine guys in our district now (one left on like the third day). And then there are three districts in our zone. There are no girls in our district and only like three in our zone.

- Gym is awesome! It's the time that everyone looks forward to. It's just great cuz we study ALL DAY and then get a chance to exercise and relax for a while. I've made a lot of friends playing basketball since it's pretty much the same guys every time. Oh, and I played volleyball once and got to see Elder Cannon play. He played in high school and then for a year at UC Irvine, so he's a total beast! I've never played with anyone as good as him.

- Some of the companionships in our district don't get along very well. Luckily, Elder Hebert and I are still getting along really well. But there's been some tension in the other companionships- especially the threesome (since we have an odd number in our district). I hope I'm never in a threesome.

- It's been another great week spiritually. Like I said, it just feels awesome all the time being here. It's tough work, but definitely worth it.

Ok, I'm almost out of time. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Have fun, stay safe, and send letters! Letters are like gold here, so it's always awesome to get them haha. And I promise I'll write back :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week 1

Hola! These first three days have been crazy! The days are so long here that it feels like I've been here for three weeks. Anyway, we have a special half P-day today, which is kinda weird. But over the next few weeks, my P-day will be on Friday. Ok, I guess I'll just start from the beginning and work my way to Saturday. Hopefully I can talk about everything!

The first day actually wasn't as stressful as I thought it would be. They have hosts for all the new missionaries, and everything is really well-organized. I met my companion, Elder Hebert, like 20 minutes after I got here. He's from southern Indiana and just finished high school this past year. We got along right away too! I'll keep my fingers crossed that I have companions like this for the rest of my mission. It's also been a big adjustment having a companion. We basically have to be attached at the hip, and we didn't even know each other last week haha. The most annoying part is when one of us has to go to the bathroom and the other has to wait outside. But it's all good. Elder Hebert and I also share a room with Elder Cannon and Elder Underwood. They're both from California and are some of the funniest guys I've ever met! Anyway, I met the rest of my district that night. There are ten of us, eight going to San Pedro Sula and two going to Guatemala. Our teacher also sprung the bad news on us that we aren't going to the Guatemala MTC! So I guess we're stuck here for the whole nine weeks, which kinda sucks. I was looking forward to Christmas in Guatemala...

So our teacher is Hermano Davis. He just finished his mission in Argentina five months ago, and he is a total beast! He told us this one story of how he and his companion baptized a family of 22! And apparently they just went to the temple for the first time last week! Anyway, he has a pretty sweet accent. Our district makes fun of him for the way he says "ahead" because it sounds like he just learned English. But he is one of the best teachers I've ever had. Not only does he teach Spanish really well, he really knows the gospel.

Ok, I'm already getting a little low on time. It's weird to have a timer going while I write letters- I feel like there is a lot of pressure. So I guess I'll tell you guys about my favorite experience of the week. We taught our first lesson yesterday to Adriana, our first "investigator." Hermano Davis told us she knew broken English, but she didn't understand a single English word we said (or she acted like it anyway). We had to teach the whole lesson in Spanish, which was a little frustrating. None of us know very much Spanish, so it would take us a few tries to get our point across. For example, Elder Hebert and I were inviting her to come to church with us on Sunday, but we both forgot the word for Sunday. We remembered Saturday though, so I just said "el dia despues de sabado." Haha we had to use a few creative things like that just to communicate with her. But in the end, we had a pretty successful lesson! We committed her to read one of the missionary pamphlets and come to church, which was pretty sweet! The other elders had really funny stories though. The first companionship said they had an eight-minute silence while they tried to think of something to say haha. The coolest story was from Elder Cannon though. I heard their lesson went well, and they committed Adriana to read the Book of Mormon. Elder Cannon said he had no idea what he was saying for most of the lesson though. That's just proof that the spirit can do miraculous things and can help us learn Spanish.

My other favorite moment was the testimony meeting we had with our new Branch Presidency. Everyone just poured their hearts out during the meeting. There were lots of tears, some laughter, and I felt we got a lot closer as a district. It was the most powerful testimony meeting I've ever been a part of. It's almost like that all the time here though. The spirit is just constantly there, and I feel amazing all day, even though I'm super tired sometimes. It's a hard feeling to describe.

Anyway, I hope all of you are having a great week! It's definitely been a great week for me! I even know how to say prayers and bear testimony in Spanish now, which is cool. Ok I gotta go. Nos vemos!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Drop Off

We dropped Cam off at the MTC yesterday. It was pretty emotional. Two years is a long time and we will miss him like crazy! But it did help that when we pulled around the corner along the curb of the MTC hundreds of missionaries were standing on the sidewalk waving and cheering at the new ones being dropped off. There is something powerful about so many young men with one purpose. I know it made Cam feel better immediately too. There wasn't much time except to hug and hand him his luggage but I did manage to take these two awkward pictures just to document the moment.