Dear Family and Friends,
The exciting news for today is that today is my 3 week mark. Exactly three weeks from right now should be in Phoenix. I'm pretty excited. Actually, more than excited. I really can't wait to get to Phoenix and start using everything that I'm learning here. Other news of interest is that now I am in a threesome. Well, sort of. There is a new Hna in our room who is a solo sister, which means she is with Elders for classes, but then for gym time, and p-day and Sunday she is with us. She's from Toronto Canada, but her parents are from Peru, so she's a native Spanish speaker. I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing that is for me. I've really been working on speaking Spanish as much as possible, and I learn so much when I practice with her. It's pretty great. It's also interesting because she has grown up within the Latin culture, so I'm getting a chance to get used to how Latino culture works and I'm learning more about the people I'll be working with from her than I had ever expected to learn in the MTC.
Now for an amusing story. We were practicing teaching the other day in class and we were talking about the baptizing of infants. Well, in Spanish there are two words, one is infante, meaning baby, the other is Infanta, meaning princess of Spain. Yours truly taught that Spanish princesses didn't need baptism. *grin*. Better here than out in Phoenix. The winner this week was in the TRC when one of our Elders had a discussion on the forgiving of fish (pecado= sins, pescado=fish... don't mix them up).
This week I also got new insight into what that little green dot on your name tag (signifying that you are an international arrival) will and wont get you. I got all the joys of being yanked out of class, but come to find out I missed out on the cool part. One day part of the native class next door was missing and upon asking we were informed that all the international missionaries get invited for a day on Temple Square. So apparently that green dot will get you parasite pills but not a trip to temple square. I wouldn't have minded too much, but some of the people who got invited were Americans who also happened to report from elsewhere. Alas. No worries though, I've been there before, so I wasn't really upset, but I did make sure to whine a little about the indignity.
I'm currently putting my musical training to good use here. No really, I am. And I haven't touched a flute. (Mostly because the flute here wins the award for the nastiest flute I've ever set eyes on. One look at it and I was convinced it could give me rabies. So I politely declined and decided I'd wait to get to Phoenix to try and get my hands on a flute). I've played piano for tons of things. Once they find out you play piano here you play for everything. I've actually enjoyed it, and have everyone fooled into thinking that I know what I'm doing. I feel pretty sneaky. The other way I am using my music is I'm working on helping our Elders get ready for our farewell hymn for Sacrament Meeting. Each leaving district traditionally sings a hymn in sacrament meeting the week they leave. After multiple sub par weeks of farewell songs (Latinos and 19 year old boys are not known apparently for their understanding of intonation) the Elders informed me that they want to sound good for our song. So we're singing Lead Kindly Light, and I'm working on them to help them learn the parts. It's an interesting experience, and I was surprised to discover that they aren't as tone-deaf as I thought.
Also, another cool note from the week, Elder Nelson came for our Tuesday Night Devotional. It was amazing. I really really enjoyed it and just about lit my paper on fire trying to take notes as fast as I could. He had so many good thoughts on teaching and working and how to be a good missionary. It was so cool.
Okay, now to respond quickly to peoples notes.
I'm glad to hear Grandpa Messinger is doing better. I hope you keep feeling and getting better!
Grandma and Grandpa Okeson, CONGRATS ON YOUR MISSION CALL!!! I would send you a letter, but it won't arrive until after you leave, and then I didn't know where you will be when you get back. Also, enjoy Israel. That sounds so cool! Also thanks for the President Monson quote, it was really timely and I really enjoyed it. And Grandpa, sorry you didn't get to run your race, but it does sound like not running it was probably better...
Tanner - I'm glad you enjoyed your camp out, and that you had so much fun playing capture the flag.
Morgan - I'm still super jealous of all these naps you keep taking. Take one for me some time!
Todd - Well, there's always next year for Volleyball. That spike you told me about sounds pretty sweet, I wish I could have been there to see it. did you get any good pictures for me? Also I thought your story about Ollie was really cool, I'm so proud of what a good example you are. Some day you will be an amazing missionary.
Mom - I'm glad things are going well for you with everything for Relief Society. I certainly know how you feel wishing you had someone to speak for you. I feel like that so often when I try to teach in Spanish. I'm learning though that when we act in faith and just open our mouths then the Lord will bless us and put the words that we need in our mouths. It's pretty cool, but scary too, opening your mouth when you don't know what will come out is hard to do, atleast for me. Also, I can't hear the football games, but I do hear the bell tower.
Trent - I sent you a letter, so you should get it soon. I sent it to Preston, so here's to hoping you don't get transferred. Also, I've run into tons of people who know you here. And your old roommate, Elder Hatch, says hi. He said he loved reading your e-mails.
I'm learning so much right now. The days go by in a blur, and by the time I get done in the evening I can barely believe that it's only been one day. My Spanish is slowly improving, and this week I practiced talking with a sister from South America and she told me my Spanish was really good. It pretty much made my week. As you can probably tell from my letter, the better my Spanish gets the more I forget how English works, it's pretty amusing. I don't even know what language I'm speaking in anymore.
My time is almost up, so I guess I'll finish up. Missionary work is amazing. This week has been such a roller coaster (Hna Cannon got hurt this week so we spent more time, again, in the clinic) but things always work out. I know that. Thank you all for the letters you send and the support you are to me, it really makes a difference. Also, just so everyone knows, we have been encouraged only to write on P-days, so if I get a letter after dinner on Tuesdays then you won't hear back until the next week.
I love you all and pray for you.
Have a wonderful week!