The bike riding is really great! I enjoy it a lot. I get a ton of fresh air, which is an improvement from my pre-mission hermit life.
Well I’m kind of jealous that you guys have rain. It was cloudy and windy here for a few days, but it’s steadily been getting colder and colder, and apparently it’s the worst in Jan/Feb. I AM EXCITE. Not really, but at least I’m getting used to a different climate than humidity!
I am loving all this great food that the members are feeding us. My favorite so far are taquitos ( i think that’s how it’s spelled).
We street contacted this one guy and we asked him if he had a belief in God and he was like, ‘I came over here with 14 other people on a boat the size of a small car, of course I believe in God.’ So we asked him if we could have a prayer in his house with his family sometime and he just invited us in immediately. We walked in and after a few minutes we found ourselves surrounded by 6 people and it was really cool! We had a prayer and then we gave them a couple copies of the Book of Mormon and then set up a return appointment for this week. 6 new investigators in an hour?!?! But yeah, pretty much a miracle. Then when we were leaving I went to shake the hand of the grandmother and she grabs my arm and pulls me in for a kiss on the cheek!
Then there’s another couple who has a freaking beautiful husky. It’s eyes are SO BLUE. LIKE, ICE GLACIER BLUE. They were a really cool couple, though. They were very open to our message and they helped us with our Spanish.
Anyway, in personal study yesterday I read Mosiah 3, and verses 17 through 19 really stuck out to me. I had a thought, and I want to know what you all think. It talks about how infants who die perish not, but “men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children” and I was thinking, little children cannot sin, and when we are baptized, we are completely clean (like a child). Since we all sin, we can repent and return to that clean state and renew our baptismal covenants every Sunday with the Sacrament. So since we, as “men”, sin and are taken away from the presence of God, we can humble ourselves before God and repent and “become as little children”, who are sinless. So I guess my thought is that when we repent we could become little children again in the spiritual sense. What are your thoughts?
I love you all!
Well this first week has been rather interesting! I still have yet to actually teach my first lesson. Anyway, I’ve only met one of our 7 investigators I think, but we are contacting people on the street to try to add new people to our teaching pool and we have 3 potential investigators. I find contacting in Spanish to be a lot easier than in English, even though I can’t understand 1/2 of what’s being said just because everything it’s so fast. Although, tonight we have a lesson set up with someone and we are pretty excited!
Anyway, we got here in Vegas at 9 AM. One of the first adverts I saw was in the airport and it was for the Chippendales. That’s when I realized I was finally in Las Vegas. We met President and Sister Neider. They are so cool! One thing that stuck out to me when we first talked with them in the Mission Home was that they had a missionary come back through after he had gotten off his mission and he said “It feels so good to back on holy land”. They hoped that our missions would become holy land for us as well and I am excited to serve the people of Las Vegas! An interesting fact: the tap water comes from Lake Mead and since it’s full of minerals, a few missionaries have gotten kidney stones from it. So we drink only bottled or filtered water.
My trainer’s name is Elder Slik. When you get the chance, ask Jen and Rachel about Elder Slik. They were friends at BYU. He knows pretty much all the youth from Gayton that went out to BYU. He is really awesome and is helping me adjust really well to the field. One main thing he is teaching me, mainly through his actions, is to not have fear when talking.
I also got the package from Micki, the package from Sister Bleyl, and the package with the memory cards and other stuff. The bookmark is awesome! And thanks for the mountain of beef jerky. It’s the best! I have a few letters to send out later today so I will get to that soon.
The weather here has been fantastic! I’m glad I’m here at this time of the year so that I can get accustomed to the blistering heat in the summer!
Also, we get mail every week, every Monday! I just found that out, and apparently it’s usually the foreign missions that get mail once a month, especially since mail takes forever anyway.
SO WRITE ME, MAYBE?!?! NOTE: You can delete the MTC mailbox info from my contact info now since i’m not there anymore! Also, emphasize that if people want me to write them, they need to write me first so I can have an address to send my letters to! Muchas Gracias!
Anything exciting happen to anyone?
Okay, so I will email you all next week with some awesome stories! (Hopefully!)
I think a huge thing that we’ve learned this week is to let your personality show through when you’re teaching. Especially since we are speaking a different language, we can get caught up in how we want to say something and we get serious and boring. Hermano Campbell told us that when he was in the MTC, one of the devotional speakers had said, “We need missionaries that match the message”. Basically, it means that because our message is one of happiness, we need happy missionaries. We can’t be happy if we are preoccupied with trying to speak a language, planning what we are going to say next. We just need to stop pre-thinking and follow the spirit that is so essential for both the missionaries and the investigators. We also need to be listening to what’s being said by other people, especially the investigators. We need to be engaged. If we go into a lesson, monotone, bored, and uninterested in helping the other person, they’d probably think, “Well geez, the missionaries don’t seem too thrilled to be here. Is it me, or is it their message that is boring them to death?” We need to know for ourselves, whether as members or as missionaries, that this gospel is true, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that everything happens for a reason, and we need to put our trust in the Lord. There is a reason that I was called to a Spanish-speaking mission. I don’t know that reason yet, but God knows, and I need to trust that He knows what He is doing with my life. I trust the Lord, and I will receive my witness after the trial of my faith in him (name that scripture reference!).
Halloween was super fun! I got A LOT of candy and stuff, so I am sharing with other people. I had only eaten half of each of my Frankenberry and Count Chocula when I got the Cheryl’s cookies from Aunt Wendy and the Halloween care package, so I gave the rest of my cereal to Hno. Campbell since he is, well, let’s just say “budgeting his diet” LOL anyway, I have SO MUCH FOOD/CANDY and everyone loves me because I share! And that’s how I will work my way into mainstream media after my mission: Candy. It’s not bribing, it’s righteous exchange; D (reference to an MTC address where Elder Bednar talked about Boyd K. Packer gave his “20 mark note” address in which Elder Bednar told us the story from his point of view (he was the missionary with the 20 mark note))
I love you all so much and will see you in two years!
P.S. I’m not sure, but I might be getting my travel plans by the end of this week! I AM SO EXCITE.
Larry Echo Hawk came and spoke to us last Tuesday, and he spoke about his conversion story. It was so great, but basically he wasn’t a member when he was younger, but his quorum advisor helped him train to play on the high school football team. He trained and on his senior year tried out and was placed on QB. He later had an accident where a football hat hit him square in the eye, and he had to wear bandages over both eyes. The doctors said he might never regain his sight in his one side, but he prayed to God and promised that if he got his sight back, he would read the Book of Mormon. Eventually, after a few months, he fully regained his sight. They were about halfway through the season when he was finally able to play again, and he was QB for the rest of the season. He then spoke about how he had followed up on his promise with the Lord and had read the Book of Mormon. It was a powerful experience.
So I have learned SO. MUCH. Yesterday about planning a lesson because we had the opportunity to teach the teachers as their progressing investigators and they would time out every once and a while and evaluate us and what we’re doing. So when we taught Hermano Campbell as Ricardo, he gave us a 3 min. personal study to study about the law of the fast, and then we all talked about the What, the How, and the Why. Then, from that information, we created an extremely simple outline that was focused on trying to get Ricardo to fast with greater faith. We had an extremely simple explanation for what the law of the fast was, which was not eating for a period of time, usually 2 meals, then we had the steps of the how to observe the fast, which were come up with a question, or a purpose, for which you would like an answer. Then on fast Sunday, pray, study the scriptures, go to church, and then end with a prayer. Then, the why, which was so that we can show our faith by being willing to not eat for two meals to receive an answer for our question. When we implemented this plan into teaching him about it, whenever he had a question, we were able to answer it with more confidence, and we knew what we wanted him to learn and we knew what step we wanted him to take with his faith. He asked a question about when we receive answers and I shared that it’s on the Lord’s time, and that I had fasted about something a long time ago and it wasn’t until a week later that I was talking to someone and just one thing that they had said stuck out to me as the answer to my question, and that answers come to our minds, or hearts, or through other people.
Anyway, I’m going on and on and I’m over by 15 minutes and Elder Hiatt is singing Come, Come, Ye Saints. Oh, no. he’s saying, ‘come at me bro’. I should really go. Wehhhhhh. Okay, I love you all, and remember, faith isn’t just believing, it’s ACTING ON THAT BELIEF. So just do it!
I guess I kind of wanted to share a bit of an experience I’ve been having for the past few weeks. About 2 1/2 weeks ago, I decided to start STUDYING the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. I’ve read it before, but I’ve never actually studied it. I’m only in 1 Nephi Chapter 17, but what I’ve learned and what I’ve discovered by studying, using footnotes, pondering, and trying to apply the principles learned in the passages to my own life, has been more than I ever learned in the past 19 years from just reading the Book of Mormon. (I’ve already make three scripture connections to the word “probation”, which is in reference to what our lives here on earth basically are. The analogy is pretty simple, in that we are the “probationers’” (I think I might have made that word up) and Heavenly Father is our probation officer). Also, my scriptures are REALLY colorful now, so that’s a plus. Marking our scriptures shows God that we are listening to His words, and that we are willing to hear more. So, when STUDYING the scriptures, ALWAYS have a scripture marker, a pen, and a study journal open. Then you can also record how you feel and your thoughts and promptings from the Holy Ghost.
I’ve been having a rough couple of past days. We read in Enos as a district last night with Hermano Wald (Hermana Arroyo’s substitute until Wednesday) and we read about how he had such great faith. We also read, I think it was in verse 15 or 16, that God answers Enos after he asks for the records of his people to be preserved and says basically (not an exact quote), whatever you ask in faith, believing ye shall receive it in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. I think sometimes we forget that anything is possible if we have the faith. We put limits on ourselves, and we forget that God is all-powerful. I came to the conclusion that I probably am not doing/studying as much as I can be doing/studying, but I can’t forget to have fun on my mission.
I have also come to the conclusion that English is confusing and Spanish is makes sense. VIVA ESPAÑOL!
I still don’t know how to do an upside down exclamation mark.
Okay I’m way over today, GOODBAII
Anyway, Elder Bednar came and spoke to us last Tuesday for the devotional. He taught about the importance of studying the words of the living prophets and showed us he studies them. He then encouraged us to find for ourselves a way that works for us to study the words, but for him it was 1) Identify doctrinal points/principles of the gospel that are being stated, 2) What are they inviting us to do, and 3) What are the promised blessings.
This past week has been pretty busy, though. I rent the violin here occasionally and practice, but I saw that a couple other people had their instruments here, so I am going to ask to see if maybe I could get my Viola sent here? I auditioned for a special musical number last Thursday for a violin solo of “O My Father” and they said I had a really good sound, but they would like an accompanist to help “feature my sound”. They have a list of accompanist’s so I will get someone from there and try to practice with them. Elder Hiatt and I also just got called as the Music Coordinators for Sacrament Meeting for our zone, and all we do is assign someone to play the piano, conduct, and choose the hymns. Also, we try to get people/districts to do special musical numbers.
My language is going pretty well, but I am going through a phase where I beginning to think half in Spanish and half in English, and this letter has been pretty hard to write because I keep misspelling words because now I am unsure of how the English language works and spells anymore. The main thing I like about Spanish better than English is that EVERY letter has specific pronunciation to it, (except for c and g, depending on the vowel after it, are either hard or soft) and it will always sound the same. You also pronounce every letter in each word, which makes spelling a ton easier. This week I’m going to start something that Hermana Campbell told us to do a while ago, which was conjugate 5 new verbs every day in every tense. That should make it a lot easier to use the endings and to be more familiar with regular and irregular endings. Hermana Arroyo is getting married on Wednesday, so she will be honeymooning till next week. We will have a sub, though. It will be so weird to have to call her Hermana Fletcher after then. SO. WIERD.
Anyway, I hope this has been an interesting letter. I hope my letters are actually interesting. Let me know if there’s something about MTC life or anything you guys want to know.
I have one of those missionary planners, but it doesn’t have a year calendar, and because every day so similar in the fact that I’m always doing SOMETHING I keep forgetting what day of the week it is except for PDAY I LOVE PDAY IT’S ON TUESDAY YAYYY but I also forget when pday is happening. So it’s like Christmas every week in that I’m always surprised when the next day is pday. Also, I just want a water bottle for class because I get really thirsty sometimes during class.
So General Conference. ajsdfkl;jaklpfkdsajkfdswan. Words cannot express how awesome it was. My favorite talks were
1) Elder Holland. I took notes the entire time during conference, but I only wrote down one quote down for his talk, but it was, “The crowning characteristic of loyalty is love.” I just love that!
2) Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s Saturday Morning Session address. My favorite parts were, “Let us resolve to spend more time with those we love, to be more of the person God wants us to be, and to be happy regardless of the situation.” and “We must not wait until the day we die to learn how to live.” That last one. Just. uughh. So good.
3) Russell M. Nelson. I don’t have my notes with me right now, but I remember that it was really great at basically explaining who we are as a church and what we believe. I also remember that he said if anyone ever has a question about anything, that we should “ask the missionaries.” No pressure for me, except that I have to learn to respond to everything in Spanish. It’ll be great thought! I AM EXCITE.
We all were in the gym for the entire time, and when President Monson made the announcement about the age limit being lowered, the entire gym just lit up and we were all like, “What?! That’s awesome!” We sat there for probably the next hour and we were all just amazed at what happened. It was really cool to actually be in the MTC when that announcement was made. Sunday night we still had a fireside and Chad Lewis (football player for BYU and the Philly Eagles, now the NFL ambassador to China because he went to Taiwan, mandarin speaking on his mission.) He said to try as hard as we can, and that the mission will be difficult, but it will be one of the most beneficial experiences of our lives. He told us about when he went to hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer with about four or five wounded soldiers (they all had a leg missing) and he was relating their struggles to how our missions will be difficult, but they will be worth it. If you can find it online, I would encourage you to watch it, it’s really fantastic.
Brian Week 2!
The package from Sister Hoffmann’s mom had brownies in it, so I enjoyed those very much. I shared some of them too! We have a drawer here that we can lock and they provide us with those locks. I mainly keep my food that I get locked up in there. I treasure my valuables.
Anyway, I have been really enjoying the food here. They have BYU Creamery milk, the chocolate milk, too, basically on tap here. I have at least one glass practically every meal. Sometimes two. They also have Cholula here, so? I have that at almost every meal, too.
I have gone over my time limit, so I will leave with this. This past Sunday we had Mission Conference and President McIff spoke. He said two things that stuck out to me
1) Christ changes men, and changed men change the world.
2) He quoted Sister Nelson who said, “Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles.”
I will let those simmer in your minds this week and let y’all take them as you will. They are very powerful statements.
I also encourage everyone to come up with questions this week as this weekend is General Conference. I know I will! I encourage everyone, member or not, to do that, and to watch General Conference. At least a little bit!
Here is a message from Brian:
I am doing really great! Glad to hear you guys are great! It seems that we are all great. That is great.
So after I said goodbye to Mom and Claire, I did the usual hub-bub of air travel, I read the ticket for the gate number, and I went to security, although when I got to the counter, the man handed me back my ticket and was like, “Sir, You need to go to the other concourse. This is B. You flight leaves from A.” So I tried my best to not get tackled by the TSA and went to the right gate. got on all my flights, talked to NO ONE because everyone else was plugged in, hahaha. You see people from a totally different point of view when you are not “plugged in” to many of the distractions of the world (ipads, iphones, iwhatevers). People either ignore you, or at least say a friendly, Hi, how are you?” and move on. It’s really nice, though, when you do get a “Hi”.
So I got to SLC, got on the shuttle, and I was one of three people. One was a pilot on his way home, and the other was a really nice Asian lady who was going on vacation to Pocatello. I’m pretty sure she had family there. I met Alex, then we went to Rexburg to meet up with David, then we went to Big Judd’s and had the Big Judd’s special. A burger the size of a regular dinner plate and a FULL basket of fries. I didn’t finish the entire thing that night, but I heated it up for breakfast the next day.
We travelled to Salt Lake City on Tuesday afternoon. Four hours in the car!
Wednesday morning, we got ready, and went to the Salt Lake Temple. WOW. Just. wow. No wonder it took them 40 years to build it. CARVE ALL THE DETAILS!! Then we went to the Gateway and ate at Z’tejas and saw the Union Pacific building. That was cool. Then we drove to Provo and did the ol’ Tuck N’ Roll.
So far, honestly, my brain hurts really badly right now. But the teacher has been speaking in Spanish the entire time, so it’s kind of like shock therapy mixed with language emersion.
Keep in touch to read about the next update!