Nov 8, 2011

11/3/11 Email home

Dear parents and sister!
Hey, I'm having a fantastic time down here!  It's hard work, but it's definitely worth it!  I love being obedient and succeeding at the things that I do.  Spanish is coming well.  Four tips for you:
1) Don't talk to France-bound missionaries.  They're dumb.
2) Room with latinos.  They're hilarious.
3) Don't say anything too loudly.  People are EVERYWHERE!
4) Listen to the Spirit.  It's real.
France:  So, generally when I'm sitting down near people I don't know, I try to start a conversation (surprised, anyone?).  Well, today at lunch, I was doing the same thing, and all these guys were going to France.  Personally, I thought I was quite charming, but they disagreed, apparently.  Everything I said, they had a very clear "buzz off" sort of mentality.  Whatever.  It must be a France thing (Sorry, Brother Staheli!)
Latinos:  First of all, we got new roommates, cuz all the old ones left.  The new ones are all latinos, very great guys.  Oh!  Someone tell Elder Bennion and Elder Bird in Montana that I know Elder Murillo... they should know what I'm talking about.  Anyway, So our old guys, they didn't speak perfect English.  Saldana, from Mexico, couldn't tell the difference between "sheet" and the smelly stuff.  We woke up one morning (the morning of sheet exchange) and he says, "Where do I put this sheet?"  We tried to explain the difference between the two, but no matter how many times he said it, it still sounded vulgar.  Good morning.  One night, one of the Elders and I were  fake arguing, and another Elder said something that sounded like, "que quizas!"  We later informed him that "butt" was a better, more MTC appropriate word.  Besides the hilarity, they're great with helping my Spanish.  Loove it. I don't know if I'm getting a new native companion next week, but at any rate, I don't want to be left behind by the Dominicans.  Or, get left behind as little as possible :)
Loud:  Another Trent-offending-someone-because-he-spoke-too-loudly story :)  I have a friend from St. George/YASE named Kile Allen, who's really short.  Yesterday, I hugged him, then when he was out of earshot, I said, "he's so SHORT!"  Unfortunately, the guy in front of Elder Barrus and I thought we were talking about him, then gave me a really dirty look.  It was sad.
Spirit:  So many good experiences this week.  I started to fall into a bit of a mental trap: I'd sometimes wonder if the Spirit was actually an outside influence or simply ourselves, feeling happy.  This week, I've had so many confirmations, so many guiding moments, so many fantastic experiences, that I can't deny that it's an outside influence. I had the opportunity to take part in a blessing for one of the Elders the other day, and I totally felt the spirit.  I think I even saw little bits and pieces of his mission while the blesser was talking about the people he would help. 

I've been paying really close attention: the Spirit of the Lord comes to our hearts to testify of truthful things, to bring us comfort and inspiration, and to help us through all our trials.  I know the things I've felt have been directly related to my repentance and obedience, and the influence of the Spirit has made me so happy.  Don't forget to say your prayers night and day, family, because it's easy to forget how important this Gospel is.  Don't forget the REAL reason I'm out here for two years: to bring people unto Christ :)
So, I should've told you last week, but I forgot to mention it.  I have my travel plans, we're travelling with eight other elders (And I believe there are more) who are all going to Santiago.  We're leaving next Thursday, and it's basically an all day thing.  Show up at the travel office at 3:00 AM, be in the DR around 9:30 PM.  Layovers in like, Dallas and Florida or something like that.  And, I'm 90% sure I'll be able to call you guys during one of the layovers, but I don't think I'll be able to write til NEXT week.  Elder Barrus and I are so excited to get to a different culture, where we apparently have 90 min per meal.  It's going to be so beautiful.  I sure hope I can play music there, they don't let us play it here.  Also, my district is kind of slacking lately, I hope it gets better out there.  Maybe someone will kick us into shape cuz it'll be a smaller MTC.
I think I'm going to mail my SD card home before I leave so you can see all the pictures I've gotten here.  I'm glad you liked the other one!
Becca, i'm sorry you've had a crazy week!  I love you, keep having a blast, keep being tough, and keep working hard in school, okay?  It's totally worth ANY effort you put into it, I promise.  Oh, and I am seeing Parker a lot.  We play basketball together at gym time, he comes and visits me, it's very fun.
Mom, I'm glad you're going to the temple!  I went for the second time today, and it's starting to make more sense than ever.  I like it, it's very, very uplifting.  The MTC in Santo Domingo is also adjacent to the temple, so I'll probably get to go each preparation day there, as well.  I'm sorry they switched you... Tough luck, I guess. Thank you for your love and support, and all the wonderful things you sent me :) They definitely put a smile on my face :)
Dad, what's up with you, man?  Where's your emails?  I love you, I hope you're having fun in Vegas and with your new calling :)  It's really funny to me, you teaching 13 year olds.  Don't mess em up too bad.  Just so you know, I really was wishing you were in the temple with me today to ask all my strange doctrinal questions.  There are lots of details that are fuzzy to me about the temple ordinance, and you're pretty smart about those things.
Thank you for taking care of all my financial things, and for checking my grades and so forth!  I'm so set for everything I need, except I might need that small suitcase again!  I think my bag's going to be overweight with all the things I've added to it here in the MTC.  I don't know if you'll be coming up here anyway, and you can have it sent to the MTC for $1 at the BYU bookstore... it might be cheaper to have Courtney buy me one and send it to me than to pay postage for something so bulky.  I only need a small one, but I have to pay, like, $130 if my bag is overweight. Sorry I didn't prepare better :(  I love you all very much.  I'm having a good time.  Attitude is everything, just like always, and I haven't done anything really crazy lately, like reprimanding my roommates in the Lords name or anything (Apparently, some guy did that once... Lots of psychos in this world).  There are lots of fun things to keep me entertained, but the best part is being fully immersed in teaching the gospel.  I love it.  Teaching is going okay, we still have a lot to learn, but that's why we're here! 
I know that I'm doing the right thing.  I know that I have your support, and I'm not worried about the little things.  Thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive family.  I pray for you every day.  Love you!

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