OMG this day is honestly better than Christmas!!! I have been looking forward to writing home since I wrote my first letter, haha! I and all the other Elders and Sisters were so ecstatic to get on their email and see what their family wrote. I'm so happy I get this opportunity; there is so much to say.
A couple things first…I cant send or view photos in the MTC because their internet is slow and there's not much bandwidth to send stuff. I'll send tons of photos when I can.
First off, the language is going pretty well. I along with Elder McGary and Sister Phelps are the best speakers in our class and in our companionships, share most of the teaching load. I feel I'm getting pretty good at organizing my thoughts and memorizing phrases. Spanish is coming along great and it's only the first week! Our roommates are Elder Piñel and Elder Gonzalez. Awesome guys who are fun and with great testimonies. They talk to us a whole lot, though they don't know English. I'll send photos of everyone later. My companions, Elder Holsclaw and Elder Lee... both are good guys and they're pretty cool to be with. The schedule here is tough…we wake up, do personal study for an hour, then exercise for a while. We then prepare for the day and work until 9:30 pm. It's a tough schedule and learning the gospel just makes me all the more tired. Sometimes I'm so exhausted I can barely write in my journal but I gotta so I'll remember everything.
Last Wednesday I broke down. I missed home and I wanted to see my family and friends. I missed everything … since then I've prayed for strength and received lots from the scriptures, prayer, and other district members. Haha, it's also WAY tough to fall asleep because Elder Lee snores like the Dickens!! Good night, it's insane. I feel like Bro. Bishop when he would bang pots together to wake up his comp so he could fall asleep again before his companion snored again, haha! It's really weird calling everyone Elder and Sister…I've gotten used to it now and when I get other people's real first name, I only think of them as Sister Sommerfeld or Elder Rice, etc. Haha!!! I love it!
The food here in the MTC is making me sick though. I have to put Digestzen on my stomach every night (thanks Stephen and Jenny)! Were having tons of fun here too! We talk to everyone in Spanish and everyone is making jokes. All of the district members have their own little things. Elder Nelson is the FUNNIEST story teller ever, hahahahaha! It's awesome. I love Elder Rice. He and I are way close. We have very similar situations and we talk about it and buoy each other up all the time! Elder McGary and I love tons of the same things and are way good friends. Elder Paxman is way good at sports and we always play. And it goes on and on for everyone in our district. OHHHH, which reminds me. I was called to be the district leader of my district. There are 5 districts and one zone here at the MTC. All of the districts have latino district leaders and all of the zone leaders are latino. I am the only white guy in the meetings and I preside over my district. It's intimidating but my whole district is very supportive and loving, they respect me a lot. It reminds me of my patriarchal blessing that said I would hold leadership positions. It's a really good experience. I FEEL SO MUCH JOY AND LOVE FOR EVERYONE WHO IS READING MY LETTERS NOW!!!
Anyways, we are also the first North American missionaries to ever come to and learn here in the Santiago MTC. We are literally making history! Last night Elder Rice asked me for a blessing, not his companion, not his roommates, me. I was super humbled. The blessing was one of strength and it taught me a whole lot and gave me lots of strength. Oh and mom, haha, I have been playing the piano a ton. Once they found out I play the piano, people want me to play for sacrament meeting, FHE, priesthood, everything. It's been spreading like crazy. I played I am a child of God, as a musical number for some latino sisters down here while they sang. I also did a spontaneous arrangement of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief for a musical number! I didn't do a bunch of fancy stuff, just played it three times with different octaves, repeated some parts, and played it loud and soft. Everyone loved it and the spirit was soooo strong. I gotta go but I love you all and I miss every single one of you! Be sure to post this letter on the blog!
From the Chile!
From Mom: I didn't realize they were the first North American missionaries to be at the Chile MTC. Exciting! He sounds so much better than last week. Wonderful to hear that the piano skills are being put to good use! What a blessing to hear such great news this week! Love this boy... Oh, and he told me in a separate email that he will be in the MTC for 6 Weeks.
"It follows that if we have more missionaries, there will be more converts. It also follows that if missionaries are better prepared, they will be more effective."
- Gordon B. Hinckley