Friday, August 24, 2012
Not going to lie, a little rough of a week. Between difficult investigator, minor District conflict, and homesickness, i was super stressed. As of today, i believe, this is the longest i have been away from home. Big milestone for me, so it was hard not to think of you all, but dont worry, conflicts are resolved, I feel a lot better, and I am still focused on the work! :) Another big milestone I hit was my first MTC haircut! She totally butchered it, but I figure it's free and I can get one whenever...so can't complain. It's not noticeable if i comb my hair down missionary-style, but needless to say i missed my haircutters, Chelsea Moores and London Heywood, this week! ;) Tomorrow is going to a bit of a downer, we are getting new teachers. It's time for BYU to start here, schedules are changing, and new teachers are comin in, so Hosquito/Carlos and Hermana Ruiz/Jennifer/Mario are leaving! :( The whole District is really upsset about this, but it is what it is, we're sure the new teachers will be fun and we'll und up loving them, too. That'll be 6 people leaving now this week along with Elder Burgon and Hermana Butler to the Guatemala MTC, Elder Jarvis to Honduras, and Elder Contreras to my mission, but I'm sure I'll be seeing him again! Sad to see them go, but they're serving the Lord and they'll do great!
On the bright side, Carlos is getting baptized (not really, obviously, but we got him to commit) and he and his whole family love the Church and are super excited! I feel successful. :) Mario is another story, though, it's been a struggle to get through to him, and even though I think we're starting to get somewhere, we won't be able to finish before we are "transferred" again, and we get new investigators. :( Yesterday was our last day with Mario and tomorrow is our last day with Carlos, so we are going to finish strong! :)
Another WAY exciting event this week was a visit by none other than President Thomas S. Monson at the Tuesday Night Devotional! Not really ;) ha, even though that would be amazing, and we're were all convinced that was the case, we were still equally blessed to hear from Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! After we sang Happy Birthday to President Monson's picture because it was his 85th birthday on Tuesday, Elder Anderson shared a wonderful message about what President Monson would say if here were here. 9 points:
1. Follow the Prophet
2. Do Your Duty
3. Trust in the Lord: You Will Be an Instrument in His Hands
4. Let the Lord Shape Your Back
5. Smile, Enjoy Yourself
6. Love the People You Serve
7. Never Ignore a Prompting
8. Testify of the Prophet Joseph Smith
9. Witness the Power of the Savior
I wish i had time to go into depth on those, but all around the Spirit was so strong it was a blessing to hear from an Apostle of the Lord! Elder McMahon was super excited when we found out an Apostle was coming, because he had only seen one Apostle before. He still has only seen on Apostle, Elder Anderson spoke at his Stake Conference! ha :) We laughed, but he was still excited to see him and hear from him again.
Repentance was the topic of many of the lessons this week and I want to share what I learned through yet another wonderful story from Brother Caywood:
"There was a team practicing barefoot on a football field one summer. A play is called and one of the players goes for a pass, catches it, and bolts for the touchdown. The last ten meters are known to be full of thorns, but he isn't thinking about that, so for the ten meteres, he runs right through the thorns, scores, and spends some time pulling all the thorns out of his feet...
Fast forward, they are in a game, still barefoot and this same play is called. Just as before, the boy goes for the throw, catches it, and heads for what could be the final touchdown of the game. Remembering he is on his home field, he approaches the last ten meters and immediately jerks right, dodging the safety that he didn't even know was there, and scores the game-winning touchdown. His mind was strictly on avoiding the thorns and that is what he did."
Brother Caywood used this story to the moral that we need to remember that although the Savior will forgive and forget our sins, He won't let us forget our sins. Just as the boy learned and remembered the thorns, we need to learn from our sins, so we don't do them again. If you ever feel there is a time you are alone in your sins, I PROMISE you, the Lord can help you. You are never alone and if you need to repend of anything, don't hesitate, just do it. Just as it says in Isaiah 1:18, no matter how bad you may think it is, Jesus has felt your pain and through the repentance process you can be forgiven. We cannot just keep living in sin, repentance is a must. I have an interesting perspective changing activity we did in workshop. Write a letter to an investigator that is having trouble talking with God about repentance this week and hold onto it, and I'll tell you what to do with it next week. I guess you can take this as a sort of assignment, but i promise it is totally worth it. :)
I love you all, thank you for the letters, prayers, and for reading these. :) Miss you and hope you're all doing well!
Monday, August 20, 2012
Okay, again there is a lot to be said this week in a little amount of time, so I will be scattered, but hopefully you can keep up ;). Thank you to everyone who sent me letters again this week, i hope you got my response letters! I continue to love hearing from everyone! so remember that investigator Jennifer from my first letter? Well we are no longer teaching her, she went on vacation to Mexico and we were "tranferred" and now "Jennifer" is our teacher Hermana Ruiz...as we expected! But not only is she an awesome teacher, she is now one of our progressive investigators, Mario, too! Hosquito is a progressive investigator named Mario and they will both be our investigators for the rest of the stay here! Mario is an atheist, so that's kind of tough, but at least Carlos has a religious background.
Mormon Messages! If you haven't already, you should check out the Mormom Messages on LDS.org...my favorite ones so far are "Sanctify Yourselves," by Elder Holland for Priesthood holders, "Dare to Stand Alone," by President Monson for everyone, "Stay Within the Lines," by Holland again for Pre-Missionaries, and "Create," by President Uchtdorf for Young Women. They are all great to watch, but those are the main audience genres. :) watch them and I promise you'll love them!
On Sunday we watched the new version of the movie Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration that was remade last year...it is aimed more towards investigators now rather than the life of Joseph Smith. I miss the old one, but this one is till way good! What was ironic was that Joseph Smith was sitting in front of me during the movie! You heard it right, i met the missionary that played the young Joseph Smith in the movie and is now off serving in North Carolina, cool huh? I took a picture with him, like everyone else did ha
So the reason why i titled this email "Music" is because outside of continuing to study and learn the language, this week was MUSIC! Elder McMahon, Elder Burgon, and I participated in an the Mo Tab rendition of Redeemer of Israel in our Tuesday night devotional MTC choir, it was AWESOME! So powerful and spiritually, i loved it. Not only that, but Tuesday during study time, an Elder came to my room and asked me if i would like to sing to an arrangment he had of Savior, Redeemer of My Soul....at first i was a little nervous, but Elder McMahon wanted to pracitce some music, too...so we worked on it together! the Elder played the violin and wanted me to sing a solo, and have a piano accompanist, so we practiced with the violin because he couldn't find an accompanist at first. The next day we were supposed to meet, he didn't show up and I found an accompanist! So i practiced with the pianist, who was amazingly talented! First time seeing the music and he played it with perfection, i was amazed. So we planned on trying out for a devotional or for mission conference and at the last second the violinist showed up and wanted to join in. I didn't want to do it because we hadn't all practiced together...only separate, but I felt bad because he came up with the idea himself and everyone convinced me to let him...not that it was up to me ha So we tried out...and he messed up a bunch, so the performance was kinda shot. Sister Nally, the one in charge told him thank you but no (in a nice way ha) beause he was leaving on Tuesday anyways , but that she wants me to come back with just a piano accompaniment, so wish me luck next week! Not to mention my voice wasn't at its best because i was still kind of sick :( I love music!
Mom, I need Matthew's address to write him! I dont have time to email him :(
Elder Russo has turned out to be JUST like you Chandler! He is skinny like you, funny, knows the quotes to EVERYTHING, knows every word to a rap song (we have had to work on not letting him bust out in rapping ;)), talks superfast and laughs a lot. It's crazy how much alike you guys are. Congrats on doing great in running, he runs, too ;)
Thank you so much for the CTR ring! I LOVE it, and it is the perfect size to where i could barely get it over my knuckle with soap, so that it won't ever fall off :)
We have new district leaders now, Elder Glasset and Elder Jarvis are leaving Monday for the field! The new ones are Elder Tengberg and Elder Watt, they are super funny. Elder Tengberg tries to get everyone to sing the "7am the usual morning line up.." song from Tangled every morning in the shower exactly at 7, we all crack up ha.
Still having a great time here, but I'm so tired of how bad the food is for you. Still tastes good, but it is so unhealthy! :(
Yesterday, I made a goal to memorize Joseph Smith's vision, and this is it from memory:
Vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol directamente arriba de me cabeza, y esta luz gradualmente descendio hasta descansar sobre mi. Al reposar sobre mi la luz, vi en el aire arriba de mi a dos personajes cuyo fulgor y gloria no admiten descripcion. Uno de ellos me hablo llamandome por me nombre, senalando al otro: "Este es mi hijo amado. Escuchalo!" :)
What a blessing it is to have the gospel in my life, i love it to death, and I can't wait to get out into the mission field to teach :) More to come for next there is never enough time! Love you all, thanks for the support!
Saturday, August 11, 2012
"There was a man riding a bus in New York City when a father with 4 or 5 young children boarded. Immediately, the father sat down and the children started running and jumping all over the place and bothering the other passengers. the man was getting extremely frustrated with the father and wondering how he could let his children do such a thing. Finally, after the steam had built up, he made his way to the seat next to the father. As he was getting ready to let him have it, he noticed that the father's eyes were filled with tears. the man's emotions suddenly chifted from anger to sympathy. 'What can I help you with?' the man asked. 'We are on our way back from the hospital where their mother just passed away, and I dont know how to tell them,' the father said. 'I will help in any way that you need,' said the man." Brother Caywood of our Branch Presidency told this story to us Sunday night when he was explaining to us the importance of companion unity. It relates to the topic because he told us that no matter what the circumstances, if we don't seem to be getting along or agreeing on something, we need to put ourselves in the other person's shows like that man did with the father. We never know what is going on in their life. It's the idea of changing perspective. This lesson could not have come at a better time for me. I was struggling with my companion. His happy optimistic mood had changed to negative and rude, and I couldn't figure out why. So I put myself in his shoes and tried to talk to him about it to make things right. Since he didn't want to talk about it, he would just say he was tired. It stressed me out and I prayed to find a way to get through to him. Once a week we have something called Companion Inventory, where it is basically a tell-all between companions to make sure all is smoothe sailing. I was really looking forward to this and hoping maybe we could figure it out that day. However, in the next couple days, he decided that he deserved to be in the Advanced Class, so we worked on talking to the correct authorities and soon enough, he was scheduled for Advanced. Before he left, however, he apologized and told me it was not anythign that I was doing, that he was tired all the time, homesick and stressed because he couldn't decide whether to stay for the whole 9 weeks or leave in 3 with the Advanced. He told me it was awesome working with me and he appreciated me making sure he was alright. We had a mini tell all and he asked me how he could improve, I shared optimism :). He agreed, and we had a "bro-hug" as he left. Problem solved!! This made me feel SO much better! Although his attitude shifted, we did have some great times teaching Jennifer and bunking together for a week, so I wish him luck in the mission field, he's a hard worker and has promised himself to stay optimistic, he's going to be a wonderful missionary! So as Elder Duff left to his Advanced Class, my new companion, Elder Russo, changed his mind and decided to change to Intermediate where I am. He orginally started in Beginner, but decided it was too easy, jumped to Advanced, thought it was a little too hard, and is now in Intermediate, but still isn't sure whether he is staying here. Brother Pickering of the Branch Presidency and I gave him a blessing, my first time actually saying the blessing! And we went to the temple (which is extremely beautiful!) today for the first time here, so he is working on figuring it out :). I pray for him, he is a great guy, too and is headed to Honduras! He is a hardworker, too, from what I was told by his old companion, who is now Elder Duff's companion, we switched! Besides the companion roller coaster, so many exciting and amazing spiritual experiences have happened. I wish I had enough time and space to write it all, so sorry this is already so long! First, thank you to everyone who wrote me this week, it was really nice to feel the love and support. Second, the MTC is amazing! The constant spritual "high" is so cool! All the teachers are amazing, all the stories, talks, devotionals, QUOTES! I must admit I am creating a quote book, since there are so many amazing ones up here! Not as extravagant and decorative as your's, Meagan Spencer, but thank you for the idea. ;) This letter is going to be all over the place because I have a bunch of little things to talk about...so sorry again! I have started to even THINK in Spanish and I speak it all the tima and it is so much fun! I now know how to bear my testimony, pray, teach lessons, I memorized the missionary purpose in Spanish, hymns, the baptismal challenge, and so much more! And I must say, Tyler Farr, my Spanish teacher, Brother Hoskossin (Hosquito) reminds me SO much of you for some reason! He went on his mission to Pueblo, Mexico and speaks Spanish just like you and even kind of looks like you. It makes me laugh, but it's a good thing, he is awesome! So this past Sunday was my FAVORITE day! We had a mission conference and President McIff, a counselor in the MTC Presidency gave an AMAZING talk on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. If you have the time, you should look up the report by Hugh Nibley (I believe he is a BYU professor) about people attempting to disprove the Book of Mormon. it is so well written and knowledgeable. Sorry i dont know the title or more information. I hope you can find it! So after reading a large part of that report, he finishes by saying that although those are great facts and a testimony builder, too, we dont need it to know that the Book of Mormon is true. read it and do as Moroni Chapter 10 says and ask of god to see if it is true, and the Holy Ghost will testify of it. I've never felt more happy in my life. I love the feeling of being here and feeling the Spirit so much! I have more to say, but I am out of time for this week, I'll finish by bearing my testimony is Spanish! Yo se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es verdadera. So se esta sin duda. eld libro de Mormon gue traducido por Jose Smith y el es un profeta de Dios. Yo se que Dios nos envio al la tierra para aprender y progresar. Yo se que El preparo un plan para ayudarnos a regresar para vivir con El. Se amo y tambien se amo so hijo Jesucristo. Estoy muy agradecido por todo hacen para mi vida, el don de lenguas, y mi familia eterna. Estoy agradecido a mi Padre Celestial por la oportunidad a servir un mision, y recordare todo que aprendo. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. -Elder Gallego "The miracle of the Book of Mormon is not that over 150 million copies have sold in over 100 languages, but rather the substance and miraculous history is the miracle." President McIff
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Alright it is the first week of the MTC and although it is only the fourth day being here, it feels like i have been here forever! There is so much to do when we are here. The language is actually going pretty well and I love my companions. Well, i only have one companion, but the other two that share the room with us are really cool, too. My companion's name is Elder Duff, he is from Orlando, Florida. He is going to the Mesa, Arizona mission! How ironic is that? It makes sense why they made us companions though. We both speak pretty well and do our best to talk as often as possible en Espanol. The other elders in our room are Elder McMahon (pronounced McMan) and Elder Shumway. They are going to Spain...lucky dogs. They are super entertaining and we have a fun time. Elder McMahon and i have a LOT in common and we laugh when we find something new. I love the MTC!
So far we have been focusing mostly on the first lesson in Predicad Mi Evangelio (Preach My Gospel). We had our first investigator, Jennifer, yesterday and she wouldn't let us inside because "her family was sick." They are actually just members from the church that live in Provo that come to volunteer investigate. The scenario was that she had ordered a Bible from Mormon.org and we were delivering it to her. It was a pretty entertaining experience because although we know a lot of Spanish between the two of us, it doesn't nearly compare to the native speakers. So it was kind of a game to see who could last longer with Jennifer at the door. We were dying laughing at one point because the practically native speaker in the class, Elder Romero lasted the least amount of time and returned in only about 4 minutes, including the time it took to walk there. You could see disappointment in their eyes when they returned, and his companion Elder Conley said he wanted to die he was so embarrassed. HA! My companion and I lasted 20 minutes and we set up an appointment to come back today to share a message with her. So wish us luck as we return, with more preparation this time!
Our teacher's name is Elder Hosskins, but we call him Hosquito. It is a blend between Hosskins and mosquito because he is really small, so the elders before us called him that. He is a pretty good teacher, but i dont feel like we have really worked much on the Spanish yet. We have mainly just been working on the gospel words in Spanish. Not the whole study of the language. However, tonight we are supposed to do some more of the language study, so hopefully we will get the chance to learn more tenses and such so our sentences will flow better. I was put in the intermediate class, so we can all carry on conversations, but aren't fluent. Yesterday it kind of hit me how cool it was when we were all sitting around in a circle talking in Spanish and everyone knew what everyone was saying! What a blessing it is to have the gift of tongues!
So much has happened during my stay here in the MTC, but i only have 12 more minutes to share, so I'm going to tell you as much as I can! The first day was surprisingly long even though we were only there half a day! We got settled in and had an orientation meeting. Something that was really cool and stuck out to me was when we were singing the "we are as the armies of helaman" song, when it usually says "we will be the Lord's missionaries," the words on the screen and what we sand changed to "we are NOW the Lord's missionaries," and although it seems like something little, it brought the Spirit and opened my eyes that I was at the MTC! :) Sister Danley (if i remember correctly, that's her name) challenged us to do something when we get out into the field. When we stand up to bear our testimony, we need to say that our mission will be a WOW. Now the significance of this is that we expect only the best out of our mission. Whatever we put into it is what we will receive blessings from.
After the orientation, we had dinner, which by the way is SUPER early! At 4:45! So i have to get used to eating early, even though i had just gotten used to eating later. The food is not as bad as people talk about, but it is not as great either. I do the best i can to avoid the crappy food and i have been exercising a lot, so i feel a lot better when i am living off of 8 hours of sleep, which after a long day's work at the MTC still doesn't feel like enough...
One more thing that i would like to share before i get booted off of here in 4 minutes!
On our way back to our room two nights ago we were stopped by two Elders headed to Taiwan. They asked us if they could bear their testimony to us in Mandarin as practice and they did a marvelous job! I was super jealous, but they had been there for 4 weeks, so they had the hang of it! The Spirit was so strong and it was awesome when they asked us to bear our testimonies, too. I swear i had the gift of tongues then because i said some things i had never said before, but i knew exactly what to say. We all attested to the strength of the Spirit and that point, and i will always remember that moment! Can't wait to get out in the field, but for right now, i am going to soak up what i can in the MTC.
I love you all and i thank you for the support, and feel free to send me some letter through DearElder.com. We all love hearing from our friends and family back home every day :)
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Our sweet missionary has finally left on his two year mission to Anaheim, California Spanish speaking.
We will miss him so much, but know that what he is doing is so great. We love him so much for dedicating two years of his life to our heavenly father. We love you buddy and cannot wait until we get to see you again. Stay safe and know that we are always thinking of you and praying for you!!