Friday, May 12, 2017

May 2-May 8

This was a really cool week. We had a thing called La Capilla Abierta this week which is basically where we open the church up and send invitations to all of Santa Elena to come and see how it is. In the chapel, there are posters where the sister missionaries explain the Restoration, BOM, and the plan that Heavenly Father has for us. Afterwards, they go to the baptismal font, where two elders explain baptism and how this covenant will clean them from their sins with the proper authority and start them on the path of everlasting happiness. Afterwards, they can see what the relief society does for activities and the things they bake and the bags and clothes that they make by hand just for fun. We had about twenty missionaries doing this with us from other areas in the mission. It was really fun to see other missionaries, especially the ones in our zone. The last transfer, there was only one change in the zone. Our zone is made up of 12 missionaries, six from Santa Elena and six from Hernandarias. I was with Elder Cubas that morning, the new elder in our zone, from Peru and we were passing out invitations in one of the areas in Santa Elena together and it was a lot of fun. I´m learning to understand people better and the native missionaries are really helpful, because they know quite a bit of English and when I have a question they can help me. Anyways, la Capilla Abierta was really cool and was an awesome experience and we received a lot of references for people to teach.

Cool experience: We taught a guy named Exequiel this week and he is 22 years old and used to play professional soccer for one of the teams in Argentina, but got in a motorcycle crash about a year ago and forgot everything. He was in a coma and had to re-learn how to walk and talk and do everything. Now he is okay, but he still is recuperating with walking and things like that. He shared a really cool experience with us. He said that when he was in his coma, he went up to heaven and saw Christ and everything was completely white. When he saw Christ, he came to him and gave him a big hug that was really strong. The next thing that happened was that he opened his eyes and was back on earth. He says he doesn´t know why, but now, when he sees people that are sad or need help or something bad happens, he goes up to them and touches their heads and afterwards, they feel better for some reason. He said that he was going to do it to us, but he felt like he didn`t need to because we were already okay and that there was something different about us. I don´t know what that is, because he technically doesn´t have the priesthood, but he has a strong testimony that it was Christ who he saw during his coma.

This is what happened this week with me. I don´t have too much time, but I am super excited to skype next week! Thanks for all of the stories Dad haha! I read them to my companion and he laughed a lot. You guys are the bomb dig and I hope that the weather warms up and that you all can have a great week! 

Love, Denver

April 25-May 1

Sorry if this email isn´t that exciting this week because I have a lot of stuff to do! But this week went by pretty quick and I learned a lot about who I am as a missionary. I´ve been trying so hard to be obedient and follow the mission rules and just do everything that I´m supposed to, but I don´t think I´ve been too patient with myself either. I´ve determined to just chill and really want to serve instead of worrying if I´m doing everything right. We have some great investigadors and families right now!

La familia Alegre: There are three daughters and the mother that we are teaching, but there are nine kids in total. They really want to follow Christ and came to church with us this past week!

La familia Centurión: There are certain investigators that you know are prepared by the Lord to receive his message and this family is one of them. We are teaching Damián, Lautardo, and Esmaralda. They are all siblings and Lautardo came to church last week for the first time! 

La familia Wienzetel: Kristina is the mom and she has three younger kids, but she is awesome! We had a cool experience with her the past week. We were praying Saturday night to help our investigators remember to go to church Sunday and right when we finished the prayer, we got a text from Kristina! She asked what time church was and it was way cool! And then she didn´t go the next day... darn it. But she told us that she was all ready to go but was too nervous so we´re going to walk with her next week.

These are just some of our families, but we have a bunch of really good investigators that we just need to take the next step with them and help them work towards baptism.

I´m excited to start winter soon and be able to wear sweaters. Right now since it´s fall, even though it´s still probably at least 70 degrees, the leaves are falling off of the trees. It rained a few days ago for like the whole day and we got soaked, but what are you going to do. At least I have plastic bags around my scriptures haha. 

Slowly but surely, the language is coming and I can understand people a little better. I´m starting to be able to have short conversations with people. When we teach, it´s not as hard, because I can understand what the investigators say based on what my companion says afterwards, and it´s easier for me to talk than understand.

Thanks so much for the emails mom and dad. There are six missionaries in Santa Elena. It sounds like the pet fence has been a pain in the rear!! But it makes me feel a little better that maybe I wasn´t the only one getting soaked this past week. Every once and a while I think about how fun it is to go to the AAU games and just be with our family. I hope your shoulder is okay Savannah : ( Hopefully nothing is wrong with it and that you will feel better soon. Austin, it sounds like you are the man and doing really well in basketball and that your team made Bob go crazy! I can´t wait to see you guys play when I get back even though I will probably be terrible haha! 

Dad I could download Life is a Game of Football, but it like played backwards for some reason and I couldn´t do the one from Bruce R. McConkie, so if you could maybe send them again that would be great!

Next week I will know when we skype!! I´m way excited for that, but you will know next week for the time. 

Sorry this email was kind of boring this week, I hope all of you keep doing great and have a great week! Love you all!!!


April 18-24

This week was greaaaat! I honestly cannot believe that it is already P-Day again. When you have a baptism coming up you are really busy and we had a lot of activities as well. On Tuesday, we had splits and I was with Elder Henriquez from Brazil. We had a lot of fun together and I learned a lot from him. Elder Kotter is from Jordan, Utah. He loves to play basketball. It´s his dream. I can tell that he is not the same person as when he left his mission and I´m excited for the time when I can notice a change in myself. This week, I tried to really want to do the things of the mission because I wanted to, not because I had to. I am learning that everybody starts at ground zero and little by little, they grow. It will be cool to see with time that I won´t be thinking too much to talk or understand people, and that I will be able to think of scriptures to relate to investigators. I am really appreciating my study times because I have realized that there is a lot about the gospel that I don´t know, and it has been fun to learn more.

The baptism of Nicolas and Estella was really spiritual! I had not been to a baptism in a long time, but it really is an act of saving souls. We had many members from the church come and support. Also, there was three other investigators by other Elders that were baptized and it was really cool. Nicolas is 19 and Estella is 20 and they have a son named Ian. They were married on Wednesday and baptized on Saturday. Nicolas never gives me a straight answer so it is really difficult to know the real answer when I don´t know Spanish very good. His full name is Rodrigo Nicolas Gonzalez and I was really nervous when I asked him for his full name in the baptismal font. He went on with Rodrigo Nicolas Ramon Sabatian ... etc. was... not... funny.... haha. But on Sunday when the five investigators received the spirit, it was just like wow! We had so many people in church too, like 111 I think! Usually I think we have like 40-50. It was a great weekend.

This week treated me good. We had a service project building a house of one of the sisters which was really fun and afterwards, we had hamburgers! Little things like that make me really happy, but to be honest, the food is really good here. I´m loving Argentina and I feel like I´m getting more used to things every week.

Savannah congrats on your ACT score! I´m glad that Travis´s family is doing good, I´m really excited for him because I think that he will really enjoy the MTC. In like two weeks he´s going to be in his mission! I really think he will do a good job. Hopefully the next week is a little more exciting, but thanks for writing me every week! I really enjoy receiving emails from the family and seeing how everybody is. I can´t wait to skype for Mother´s day, that will be so cool! Have a great week!!!

Love, Denver

April 11-17

Sounds like everybody had a great Easter! It was a little weird for me because everyday is kind of the same so I kind of forgot that it was a holiday because we were out walking around and teaching everyday. So I guess that helped with being homesick and things like that, but I feel okay. In Argentina, they call the week of Easter the Semana Santa and it´s kind of an all week thing. In Santa Elena, I didn´t notice too many celebrations, but it could be because they don´t have much here. There´s like no work in Santa Elena. Either you have a kiosco, (small store in the front room of your house so that people can look through the window and see what they want), or you fish everyday and eat and sell your fish, or wash people´s clothes etc... but yeah there´s like nothing for jobs here except for the very few stores. 

This week was really good and went by really fast! And just so you know, we have been followed by Hermana Dog for the past week. She sleeps outside of our apartment and everything. To be honest, we´re sick of her because she likes to jump on us and everything during lessons. Last Tuesday, we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Maria, who is with her boyfriend and two year old daughter. They used to have a little pet owl that could fit in your hand, but we came to find out that their daughter, Megan, picked it up, threw it down, and.... stomped on it. The owl is no longer 😭. Anyways, we were talking to her about the importance of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and invited her to do so again, because it´s something that she hasn´t been doing. She said she would if she had her book. Apparently, Megan ripped it up and ate it. I don´t know what is going on with her daughter, but she is like a little beast haha. Anyways we gave her a new one and told her to be careful.

Saturday, we had baptisms! One of the other sets of elders in our district had two baptisms on Saturday and so that was really great to see and it was fun for me, because I haven´t been to a baptism in a while. The baptisms were for two kids whose parents have been less active, but are coming back. It was really neat to watch them, and we had a lot of support from the branch.

We have two baptisms coming up this week for Nicolas and Estella. They are getting married on Wednesday and I'm excited for that. They have their interviews tonight and I feel like they are ready. They keep our commitments and they are just really cool. Also, they are about are same age, so we can relate to them in other ways too. They have a one year old baby Ian that almost died when he was born and he gets sick a lot. He is okay now, but sometimes the weather really gets to him, but I don´t think I've ever seen a happier baby. They really have a special family and it´s been great to talk about eternal families with them. 

It really sounds like you all have had a great week and I´m glad you guys could have some family time. Hopefully you can keep enjoying the weather and that school, sports, and work keeps going well. I really love our family and I appreciate our family more since I've been gone. It´s weird to think that I will skype home in like a month!!!

Love you all!!!

April 4-April 10

This week has been my best so far! I know that I only have three weeks in the field, but I feel like I´ve been the most happy, and I´ve really been praying to have excitement to go out everyday and I definitely have had more excitement this week. I´m just accepting the fact that I can´t understand anything haha, but the members are really helping me. 

The beginning of this week was really spiritual and the rest of the week was just kind of weird, but good. At the beginning of the week, we found some new investigators. There is something really special about them though. Jacqueline has a boyfriend and a little kid and we left her thinking about baptism. She says she wants to read the BOM first to see if it is true, which is awesome!! I would rather have investigators say this than say, ¨Yeah sure I´ll get baptized.¨ But never follow through with their comittments. We had several opportunities to share the Restoration which has been awesome. 

We have a lot of baptisms coming up in our area. I think 8 this month! Nicolas and Estela Mariz are like our age and they are getting married next week and they are capos de capos. (Really cool) The other one is Camila which I think is Austin´s age and we are excited for her as well. The others are from the other missionaries in our district, but I´m really excited for the investigators in our area that are going to be baptized. 

The past couple of days, we had a lot of activities. I went on my first exchange with one of the zone leaders which was a blast! However, their area is really far from their apartment. It takes like 40 mins to walk to the area! Elder McCartt and I had a really fun time though. They live more kind of in the country and they have a sweet view of the river. Plus they have hot water!! Ours is cold :( Yesterday, we were looking for people to teach after church from 4-5 and we were about 20 mins away from the church. Anyways, we picked up one of our friends. There is a dog that for some reason only loves the missionaries and I don´t know why, but she decided to follow us to the church because we had to go to branch council and we had a family history activity afterwards. She loves to jump too! Ugh, I´m saving the other pair of pants for my suits for after my mission, because it also rained on Sunday and my suit is just a muddy mess thanks to this dog. Elder Kotter was also getting attacked. Anyways, this dog followed us to the church, waited for us for after branch council from 5-6 and from 6-9 we had a family history activity and she also waited for us then. I had to kick her out of the chapel like 6 times because she wouldn´t get out. Ugh, no dogs in the chapel! She followed us home and waited outside our apartment until this morning and followed us to the bank and went into the bank with us. Man we couldn´t loose her. We finally lost her when we went to do laundry but man it was rough. 

Today was the first day for sweaters and I am enjoying the weather today.

Dad thank you for your email, I love your humor. It´s kind of like having you with me a little bit. I miss you a lot and I think I kind of took for granted your friendship and how much I love you. You are a great example to me. I´m glad you and Pres. Garbig have been able to work on your callings better and I´m glad Travis´s family has had some great experiences. 

Family, it sounds like everybody has had a great week. I´m glad you could go to the play Berks and I hope you are still having fun at school. Austin, Dad told me about your AAU games and I think it is awesome that you had a really good game. Savannah, keep working hard in softball, I´m glad you could have a good time with that this week. Mom, I hope you have had fun with everybody and have been able to relax and just be happy.

I don´t have much time for pictures so I will probably only send a few per week, but I am taking pictures.

The mission is really tough, but it´s going good for me. I love you family, I couldn´t ask for a better one and I´m still trying not to miss you all so much.

You are all the best!!!

Love, Denver

Mar 28-Apr 3

Yeah I´m pretty sure that my wallet is gone gone gone. Inside was my debit card, credit card, and driver´s license. My passport is in the mission office though so I´m okay with that. I like my trainer. He´s a good missionary and we've been doing good at trying to follow the rules. We teach pretty well together and he has been helping me with the language. The past week has been stressful for me with the language. Yo no entiendo nada. I can speak better than I can understand. It was the other way around at the MTC. The people talk pretty fast and everything is just one long slurr. Oh boy... it´s been rough. Argentina has definitely been stretching me and I know that in a few months everything will be a lot better. The beginning is just rough though...its hard imagining my whole mission not being able to understand people. I have faith in God though that this is the place that is stretching me outside my comfort zone so that I can grow into who he wants me to be. 

I´ve just given up on everybody drinking out of my cups and stuff haha. I brought my waterbottle to Conference and I bet fifteen people drank out of it. Oh well :) Speaking of Conference, I was so excited because they told me that I would be able to watch it in English in a separate room so we started watching President Eyring´s talk and then the Branch President said we had to watch it in the other room because the wifi couldn´t have both computers. So I saw four sessions of conference and the priesthood session in Spanish and didn´t understand a thing. So that was no bueno because I was really looking forward to conference. 

I hope Minnie´s leg gets better and that she will be excited to get her cone off. I don´t think I knew dogs could get cancer, but I´m glad you guys caught it when you did. I hope she is happy.

I think I might have already said this, but Santa Elena is like half paved and half not. We don´t have bikes only our feet. My feet are looking gnarly! Not to bad, but blisters and such. After conference yesterday, we were in the pouring rain for like 2.5 hours and nobody was coming outside, because here, we clap outside the house for them to come and nobody was coming. I don´t know why I didn´t wear my hood, I think I liked the rain at first, but my hood was filling up with water by the end of the day. And, we couldn´t see anything because it was completely dark. Most of our area is in the barrios (the houses on the dirt roads, kind of like villages) so we were tromping through mud and everything. We finally had one of our families let us in and we had a lesson with them. Half way through, all the power in Santa Elena went out. We finished the lesson by candlelight. Living conditions in the US are the bomb! I can´t say how much everyday life sounds fun to me right now because I can´t imagine having a hot shower, AC, gas for the stove all the time and just things like that. 

The food here is great though! Milenessa is good and we usually have that with the First Counselor´s family every week. Torta fritas are like scones and they are also really good. Mom you should make dulce de leche! I really like it and you can pretty much put it on anything, like Nutella, but it´s better.

We have about 70 people at church a week I think. The branch here is bigger than Greenville. The members are awesome, the deacons like to talk to me because they know I can´t understand squat, but I still have fun with them because then I start talking in English and they just stare at me like huhhhhh.... the members are really good to me though. Karla Lopez is a member that is like 25. She served a mission in Chile and wants to be an English teacher. Every week we teach English at the church for an hour and she helps me with Spanish and I help her with English.

Sounds like things at home are doing good with sports and activities and everything like that. Good luck in track and softball Austin and Savannah! Thanks for the picture Berkeley and Savannah! I miss you Berkeley I´ll see you in 22 months! I´ve really started to miss each of you and right now it kind of seems like forever until I get to see you all again. I know that´s not how I´m supposed to look at things, but I´m really appreciating everything about my family right now because I love each of you and I couldn´t do this without the support you have all given me. I should be able to add pictures this week. If you can, you can take pictures off to make more room to add more things. I love you guys, have a great week!!!!!!

Love, Denver

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mar 20-27

I apologize in advance because this is going to be short a short email.

Please don´t freak out when I say this, but I´m pretty sure I got pick-pocketed on the bus. I was getting ready to use my passport holder, and I just kind of have a lump in my stomach because I don´t know where it is. Please just help me cancel my accounts or stop them or something because I don´t know what to do about that. I have the emergency money, but I also want to be able to buy stuff here so if you can please find a way to give me money that would be awesome! I know Elder Sandler brought someone a credit card in our mission so maybe you could have the MTC send it with a new missionary. Anyways, yeah I´m still looking for it, but I don't know where it is.

Sorry about that, anyways, I hope I can figure out how to get pictures to you, because I am sending letters in a garage right now and the computer does not recognize my sd card. The traveling was longggg, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Argentina´s landscape honestly looks a lot like Ohio. It´s pretty hot and humid here though right now, but it will start to cool off soon, I think. Like you said mom, I don´t think I really understand the schedule of a missionary quite yet because the days seem pretty long, but I think it also has some to do with not knowing Spanish as well as everybody else. However, I am getting better. My area is Santa Elena in Entre Rios and we are right along the river. Santa Elena is not very big and I actually feel pretty safe here. The people are all really nice and we say hi to everyone we pass and they all are willing to talk. The living conditions are so much different though. Their houses are concrete structures with maybe two rooms. Lots of people are missing teeth and a lot of the old people, if they even have any, only have two bottom teeth. The food is pretty good though so far, but they don´t have many manners! We had lunch the other day with a member and her family and one of her kids just picked up my glass and drank out of it! Then another one did.... and another one. I decided to get water back at the apartment. I love the members though. Santa Elena has paved roads, but the streets for peoples houses do not. They are just dirt roads. Oh and everybody has a scooter, motorcycle, or something like that and the people that do drive.... let´s just say there´s no traffic laws.

I know there´s more, but i don´t have much time. I hope I can get my pictures to you. Sorry again for my cards. I hope we can figure it out. I miss you guys and love you all. Argentina is great and I hope the next weeks will keep getting better.

MTC Week 6: Mar 12-18

Sunday was really good and our topic was on Christ's Atonement. There is a really good mormon message in our district meeting that I liked called, "The Will of God." It's about a currant bush and how we need to have the understanding to thank Heavenly Father for loving us enough to cut us down- It's a comparison to when we have trials. Anyways, the rest of Sunday was also good. However, I was really sad that Brother St. Clair and his wife got transferred to a Japanese Branch last Sunday. He was our second counselor and he was just a really nice man. I could tell that they really care about us. His wife was crying a lot last Sunday so she said that we had to tell her jokes to make her feel better, but we can still see them during devotionals which is good. Sundays are one of my favorites at the MTC because you get a break from class, but church is usually pretty spiritual.

I had some cool experiences on Monday. So Sunday night I decided in my prayer to ask for more specific blessings instead of generic things like peace, happiness, health, etc.. so I asked to be able to see miracles in the next day. So Monday came around and it helped because I was actually looking for miracles. I found two! Both of them included Elder Bailey, one of my best friends here and one of our Zone Leaders. Background information, Elder Faragher in my district has been really struggling and it has been extremely difficult for him to get through day to day. We've talked to him and there was nothing we could say so I talked to our Zone Leaders. Sunday night, Elder Bailey had a dream that he was supposed to share Joshua 1:9 with everybody but Elder Faragher was specifically in his dream. Monday, Elder Faragher was pretty much done and was doubting that he would even get to Argentina. Elder Bailey shared his dream with him and the scripture that says, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." That was sweet! Elder Faragher really needed that great boost of confidence. We know he's not going home and that he is putting his trust in God to take care of him in Argentina. 

The second one didn't happen Monday, but I heard about it. The MTC president and his wife sat next to us at dinner and were just having conversation with us. They are wayyyy cool by the way! I don't even know how we got on to this topic. I think they asked us if we had any cool spiritual experiences in the past few weeks so Elder Bailey shared this story with them. First of all, Elder Bailey is also a Type I diabetic and he says he's only fasted like three times in his life. The day before was P-day and he got a letter from his mom saying that his little brother is struggling with him being gone. Elder Bailey decided to fast on Sunday and his blood sugar range is from like 70-100 something. He does have access to food since he's diabetic, but the MTC doesn't offer normal meals on fast Sunday except for dinner. He checked his blood sugar because he was feeling low around 1:00 pm and he was at 63. He decided to keep going and he hadn't had food since the night before. About a half hour later he checked again; it said 100. He kept going until dinner and he said that he was so surprised because he knew that it was a blessing of the Lord to be able to keep fasting. It was a really cool experience.

Sorry to be rambling about this, but it was a really cool answer to my prayers because it shows that if we ask for specific things, we can identify more clearly when our prayers are answered.

Tuesday I decided to get over my fear of eating gross things. I am willing to try a lot of things, but if it isn't prepared right, I have a problem with that. Anyhoo it's been getting warm here and we were in the classroom and I found an ant on my pant leg so I... picked it up and ate it. I didn't tell anyone I was dong this and they all freaked out when it happened and it was kind of funny, but I didn't taste anything. I'm still alive and I hope that's how Argentina goes! But seriously, I'm getting nervous about getting worms. Like REAL NERVOUS!!! I've heard way to many stories already about it. I've found out that we can't even drink the water there because it's bad... great. So here's my choices: Just drink pop- (no I'm not getting gordo), boil all my water and store it- (hassle, but probably what I have to do), and use the water filter you gave me. Ugh not looking forward to that.

Nothing happened Wednesday.

Thursday we had infield orientation- thank GOODNESS that's over! That was a bunch of stuff I already learned. It was from 8:00-5:30 that was the longest stinking day. I thought it would be more technical things, but it was more like how to teach people which we've been doing in class so I was kind of disappointed in that because I was looking forward to that. The only good thing about it though was that we had like an hour long play that we got to watch that was pretty funny. It was very hard for me to keep my eyes open.

Friday was a normal class day, but it was sad that we had our last class with Hermano Cook. He's been a really cool teacher and it was sad that we had to say goodbye to him. He told us some funny stories though, he served in Chile Concepcion by the way. One time there were some missionaries in his area that were teaching a really old lady that was pretty much crazy. She stormed into the sacrament meeting and started yelling at them and accused them of stealing one of her chickens and her Book of Mormon! Another time, he said that it was April Fools Day and a lady that was like 50, who was a member, brought a squirt gun to sacrament meeting and started shooting people during the sacrament meeting. Anyways, I'm sure I'll have some crazy experiences.

So far that's how my week has gone. Thanks so much though for the speaker and the St. Patrick's package. I'll have something to eat on the plane now-that was really nice. I'm looking forward to getting out into the field. I know my Spanish is going to be really slow when I get there, but I'm confident that I will catch on. The MTC has been good, but I'm starting to get stir crazy. I'm really going to miss my district though! 


MTC Week 5: Mar 5-11

Okay, updates on my week...

Sunday was Fast Sunday and the MTC doesn't even have food in the cafeteria until dinner. One of our zone leaders is diabetic and he said that was like the third time he ever fasted. But he did it and we all had a huge feast afterwards. Also, we had another one of those videos I've told you about. We watched one from Elder Bednar and it was way good! It was about recognizing the Spirit and he shared some really cool stories about how the Spirit works. He was pretty blunt again. He said, "Often times we wonder if it's the Spirit talking to us or if it is our own thoughts. Forget about it. Who cares. As long as you are being a good person, keeping your covenants, and following the commandments, the Lord will put you where you need to be in your life." I thought that was pretty cool. The apostles are sooo blunt but it's sooo awesome because they tell you how it is. I wish you guys could see the talks that I get to see because they don't release them to the public.

On Tuesday Elder Costa of the 70 and his wife came to talk to us for our Tuesday Devotional and he is actually from Argentina. Best Devotional yet. He is really funny and he showed his personality. He actually roasted one of the counselors in the MTC presidency that was conducting the meeting. The counselor went up to say Elder Costa's name which is Joaquin and Elder Costa went up and was like, "Try again." So he did and then Elder Costa was like, "one more time." Anyways we were all laughing and it was funny. Elder Costa is from around the Buenos Aires area I think. They have a university there where he attended, and I think his wife is from the Cordoba area, but don't count me on that. Elder Costa is actually a convert to the church and he shared with us his really cool conversion story which involved the example that the missionaries were to him which was really cool to me. But the really cool part about Tuesday was that he wanted to meet with all of the missionaries serving in Argentina after the devotional. There is like 23 missionaries going to Argentina and all of them and their districts got to have like a Q&A after the devo with him. It was in a smaller room with only about 50 of us and we just got to talk to them. It was awesome. He answered a lot of questions about how to teach and how to live in a different country than the US.

The rest of the week has been pretty normal. Nothing crazy in particular, but last night was super awesome. I think I've told you about our TRC investigator, Patricia. If not, she's from Uruguay, she's studying at BYU, she speaks with Castellano, and she doesn't have any religious background. She is way cool and we love her, but she just seemed to be going through the motions with everything and it has been really hard to help her understand the Spirit. She would keep all of our commitments, but she when we would ask how she felt or how we thought they would help her, she would just say things like "good" or something like that. Anyways, in class the past few days, we have been really learning how to teach investigators to their needs. We finally found out that we had been teaching her all wrong. Yesterday was our last TRC lesson (we have been teaching her like 3 days a week the past 3 or 4 weeks) and we wanted it to be really good. We planned this lesson a lot different and our main focus was to help her understand that the church is true. We wrote down a list of her needs and then we wrote a list of questions according to her needs and they were questions that really dig information out of you so that we have some quality stuff to work with. We weren't really even thinking that committing to baptism was in the options, but with the questions we asked her, we finally got her to say that there is a God and that Joseph Smith restored the church and that baptism is a commandment of God. Anyways, she said that she wanted to follow God and we committed her to baptism yesterday. We ended on a really good lesson and it is a major confidence booster for when I go to Argentina.

Holy smokes I forgot to tell you. I finally got my travel itinerary!!! My flight for Argentina is at like 2:15 in the afternoon on the 20th. We fly to Atlanta, get in at like 8ish, then at around 10 pm we fly to Buenos Aires and we don't get in until like 9 or 10! After that we have a flight to Santa Fe, but we don't have the travel arrangements for that yet. Anyways, it's going to be an exciting, but loooong day. 

Other than that, thank you for the packages, I forgot to thank you for the ties I think they are muy swanky! It helps to have a few more. I'm doing really good, the language is coming along. I'm excited to be in Argentina, but I'm still working hard in the MTC. I hope everything continues to go good at home!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

MTC Week 4: Feb 26-Mar 4

Glad to hear everyone is doing good. I just sent an email to Dad. I hope he had a lot of fun in Boise, but it is weird to think that he is so close. This is what he said to me, "I should have flown into SLC and then driven down to Provo and thrown a pizza and other contraband over the prison walls =)." I though that was really funny and so did Elder Jensen. Hopefully Dad has fun at his trade shows and can be home. 

Mom, I like that talk by Steve Young. Ether 12:27 is one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon. It's been cool to be in lessons and learn how to teach by the Spirit. Besides Spanish, I'm also learning how to better recognize the Spirit in our lessons and how to teach by having a conversation instead of just teaching a lesson. I've learned that it's important to listen to the investigator's needs instead of just teaching what you prepared. Probably one of my favorite times of the day is personal study, because I get like an hour to just read. My favorite reading source is The Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel. The last week has been really good because Elder Sandler and I have been going somewhere else to do personal study so it is quiet and that has been really helpful. I'm beginning to put personalities with characters in the scriptures. 

I think I've told you, but Sunday nights, we get to watch a film about something and they are really good! Some of them are talks that General Authorities have given at the MTC that you can't look up anywhere else. I thought this was really cool because our Branch President was talking to us one time and he said that the General Authorities that they have speak to us are there for us personally and they can talk to us in an informal way and it is really special because they can talk in a certain way that they can't talk to the public. At General Conference, they speak like they are giving a talk and are usually pretty serious. At the MTC, they can make a joke without feeling weird, and the reason for this is because anyone can access General Conference so the topics that they speak on and how they speak are pretty direct and their mannerisms are very formal. However, at the MTC, they can get pretty intense. Last Sunday, I saw probably my favorite talk by Elder Holland. He had came to the MTC at some time to speak to them and they showed it as one of the films. Let me tell you, he is definitely one of my favorites, but that man is scary! He is very direct and passionate about what he believes, but the best way I can describe him is like a really intense football coach. He really gets in your face and gets a little unhinged at times where he is raising his voice, but it is so awesome. Anyways, even though it is just a recording, the way that the apostles speak to missionaries is so awesome. It's very direct and meaningful. Anyways, that was a little of a ramble, but I love Elder Holland. 

Monday was tough because the other districts were heading off for their missions in Bolivia, Florida, and Panama. We really had an awesome zone full of really cool missionaries. I miss them, but I have their emails. It's weird to think that they are actually doing it now. Some of them it's like, "Oh boy I hope he's okay." Like with their Spanish and stuff, but I know they'll pick up on it. It's the same for all of us. I really miss Elder Call and Elder Dalley. They were just fun. They definitely showed me how to treat people and to just be fun. I hope I can continue to be relaxed. I want to be a fun missionary that isn't uptight. Anyways, I had a lot of fun with them. They're both going to Panama. Exercise time has been boring without the other missionaries because there is only like half of us now. It's hard to find enough people to get a basketball game together, but we got a new district yesterday and they're really cool! There is four new elders. One of them was also in mine and Elder Jensen's mission prep class. And one of the other ones, I actually hung out with at a single's ward activity in Rupert. I think I have told you about Skyler Snook. He was someone at the shop and we worked together a lot. Anyways, he has an apartment in Rupert, and he invited me to go boating at a single's ward activity. I went with him and we went tubing on the Snake River and one of the other guys there was named Peter. He was way cool. He says he's only six foot seven, but I'm sure he's like two inches taller than dad. His name is Peter and he lives on a farm in Rupert and he went tubing with me and Skyler. Peter is now Elder Bingham and he is in our Zone now. He is also going to Panama. It's been fun to relate to him because we have a lot of the same interests, but he beats the crap out of me in basketball because I'm short playing against him. I think Austin is going to be his size.

That's pretty much all that is going on though. This week has flown by and there hasn't been too many super exciting things except for getting our new elders and some of the talks I've been able to hear. Oh, on Wednesday, we got to be host missionaries again which was fun. It's cool to see people that aren't missionaries. Another thing that popped into my head is that Elder Sandler had to get some fingerprints done so went to the travel office. Another companionship also had an elder that needed the same thing so the policeman took Elder Sandler and the other elder in the car to the police station so I had to stay at the travel office with the other elder's companion. I just wanted to go for a ride in the car. I asked them but they told me no and that I had to stay with the other elder. I was sad. I'm so excited to go in the van to the airport and ride on a plane as weird as that sounds. Okay, that is all of my events. 

Thanks for emailing me and keeping me up to date. I love you all! Have awesome weeks.

MTC Week 3: Feb. 19-25

I can hardly remember what has happened this past week. I can't believe it's already P-Day again. I get so excited for P-Day because i just like to get to go to the temple. I think over this past week I finally got my Spanish out of first gear and into second gear. I'm having more fun teaching now that I can actually say something. I'm still slow, but my vocabulary is slowly getting bigger I think- or I'm remembering words that I forgot from Spanish class. Either way, I've had a good week with my Spanish. Last Sunday was really great. Elder Sandler and I had to teach Priesthood and it went really good. We taught about how we can feel the Spirit and receive revelation. I really love Sunday's here though because you can kind of just relax and you don't have to worry about classes or having to teach anybody. Also on Sundays, we have choir where we learn the song we are going to sing for the Tuesday Devotional and even though I'm stinky at singing, it's kind of fun. However, the seats are so hard. After sitting on them for like two hours you really start squirming. Or falling asleep. We have a fireside Sunday night which is usually pretty good and we get to watch a movie afterwards. They usually have about six of them and they're really good! They're things like Meet the Mormons, The Restoration, or really good talks by General Authorities. So far I've really enjoyed those. We saw The Restoration last week and that was really fun to watch. Joseph Smith is probably my favorite prophet. 

One thing that has been cool is that at the MTC, you will see people that you either know, or you know you have seen them before. I've seen a bunch of people that I've recognized from school and at least like 4 people from my mission prep class. I'm pretty sure I even saw somebody from one of the Rupert singles ward activities I went to. At Neil's shop, I became friends with a kid named Skyler. He invited me to a singles ward activity and we went tubing on the Snake River. We had a lot of fun. Anyways, I was getting lunch one day and as one of the people was dishing up the food and putting it on the counter for us they were like, "Elder Toner?" I was confused and I was like, "Yeah?" he asked if I remembered him and I realized he was one of my friends at EFY! It was from the first time I went. I remembered his name was Brayden and he was really cool. He was quiet but fun. Anyways we talked for a bit and he's been at BYU and he's just been working at the MTC in the cafeteria. He put his mission papers in I think last Sunday. I gave him my email and I think it would be cool to keep in touch with him. Also, you'll have to tell Grandma Connie that I found Elder Broadbent. I can't remember if he's from Oakley or not, but she told me to look out for him. He ran the laser cutter at Neil's shop when I was there and I've talked to him before but he didn't remember me. He was a BYU-I intern. 

I don't really have anything else. I'm a little sad though that two of the districts in our zone are leaving. We have such an awesome fun zone. I think I've mentioned Elder Call and Elder Dalley before, but they were so fun and crazy. They're both going to Panama. I'm going to miss our zone leaders too. They've been lots of fun. Anyways, they all leave at 3:00 Monday morning and it's weird to think that I'm already almost half-way through the MTC. It will be fun to get new districts though. Hopefully they're lots of fun too. 

I think I'm going to sign off for this P-Day. Hope everyone has a great week. Let me know what's going on.

MTC Week 2: February 12-18, 2017

Thanks for encouraging me to keep a journal. So far I haven't missed a day and there have been some pretty exciting, funny, and spiritual things that have happened that I'm glad I've recorded. I've never kept a journal before, but it's not hard! It only takes like 5 minutes before I go to bed every night so everybody start one! Also, thanks so much for the Valentines Box it was so cool! It is nice to have pictures from home to look at every once in a while. I don't get homesick, but I miss all of you so I'm really glad to have those pictures. Also, I didn't realize that the red Pringle's can was full of those dessert things until last night, but they were still good! Nice packaging. I can't remember if I told you guys this or not, but one of my zone leaders is like a wizard with a yo-yo. He has like 12 yo-yo's back home, but he didn't bring any so he wouldn't get distracted. He was so good that he almost got sponsored by a yo-yo company! Anyways, he knows like 300 some tricks and when I found that in the mail we were so excited to see some tricks, but he couldn't do his "really cool" tricks because it doesn't have bearings inside, but they were still freaking awesome to all of us. It's okay though, because his yo-yo's cost like $100 or something, but it was still really cool to see the tricks he did show us. 

So I play basketball everyday during exercise time and yesterday I was playing against a Polynesian kid who had arrived at the MTC a few days ago and I was asking him if he played any other sports because he was really good. Anyways, I came to find out that his dad plays rugby for the New Zealand All-Blacks! That was really cool. He's also going to Argentina, but he's not in my same mission. So far I only know of Elder Sandler and I going to Santa Fe.

A funny teaching experience happened with Elder Jensen and Elder Faragher the other day. They were teaching our investigator, Angel, for the last time and Elder Faragher said something like this, "Mediante la fe en Jesucristo, podemos liberados de nuestros pescados." Elder Jensen was like... You idiot! Pescado means fish! Elder Faragher was trying to say, "Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be free from our sins." Pecado is sin, pescado is fish. So that was funny. We were all pretty sure this was a fake investigator and yesterday he came into our class dressed in church clothes... with a nametag that said Brother Simonsen........... He's one of our teachers now. We were all like what the heck! Now we have come to find out that we have to teach our other teacher, Brother Cook, as he acts as an investigator named Pablo. That one's going to be different, because he is also going to be teaching us when he's not an investigator. So that will be fun. Pretty soon, we'll start doing TRC's, which are people that get paid to come in and listen to us talk to them, but they are like native spanish speakers and they are real people, so hopefully that goes well.

Since I am district leader, I check the mailbox for our district and bring it back to the classroom. There's either letters or little package slips that mean you get a package. This is pretty much how it goes when I pass out the mail every day, "Elder Faragher, Elder Faragher, Hermana Krutzkamp, Elder Faragher, Hermana Goodrich, Hermana Cramer, Hermana Krutzkamp, Hermana Krutzkamp, Elder Faragher, Elder Faragher, Elder Faragher." Every day. His girlfriend sends him so much stuff. It's pretty cool to be his roommate because he has so much food that he doesn't know what to do with it so we help him out with that. 

So this is what was really cool this week, on Valentine's Day, we got to hear from M. Russel Ballard! It was so cool to hear from an apostle! He talked to us about missionary work and it was broadcast to all of the other MTC's around the world. I took lot's of notes in one of my notebooks, but it was just so cool to hear from an apostle in person. We sang in the choir and it was just really spiritual, although my singing probably sucked the spirit out of the room, but I tried hard. I don't have my notes from that Devotional on me so I can't really share anything specific, but what he shared with us was really inspirational and made me want to not waste a second and to be a really productive missionary.

I think that's it for the most part this week, but I'm doing okay. Spanish is difficult, but it's coming slowly but surely. I hope everybody's doing okay. Tell Berkeley I enjoyed her heart. Keep being awesome!!!

Floral Fridays-our district with Hermano Cook

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MTC Week 1: Feb 8-11, 2017

Hola! The first day of the MTC was kind of a blur, but I was really excited. However, I slept like crap that night. I think I got a grand total of four hours of sleep that night which made no sense because I was ready to drop, but I'm caught up on the sleep now. I live on the MTC campus and there are four people in our room (two companionships). The other elders are definitely... something. I'll just let you use your imagination when I tell you about them. My companion's name is Elder Sandler and he's from Virginia. He likes to write and do poetry.  He knows Spanish better than I so it's kind of difficult when teaching because it's hard for me to say what I want but I told him about it and I hope today goes better. We get along fine...I am learning to be more tolerant. Oh and he is also going to Santa Fe. We are the only ones in our district going there. A lot of the other missionaries are going to the Salta mission in Argentina.

So, the next elders... I really like Elder Jensen. He's really funny and not annoying. He has ADD and so he's always flying off the handle, but he controls himself pretty well. He just has a funny sense of humor. As of this morning, he has found a total of 36 notes from his family hidden in his luggage. They are very spicy too with big hearts and letters all over them. He had no idea about them and he keeps finding more. His mom went to the effort to unpackage one of his shirts, hid a package inside, and then repackage the shirt. So it's really funny when he keeps finding them. The first day he looked so familiar to me and I was so confused. I heard him mention something about him going to BYU-I for a semester and I realized that he was in my mission prep class at school! There was only like twenty people in there! But he is going to the jungles of Nicaragua. He doesn't need suits for his mission. 

Elder Faragher is pretty cool too. He's been anticipating packages like crazy the past few days, but he just got a load of them yesterday, so he's doing pretty good. None of the elders in our room are trying to push the limits on rules so that's good.

So as of yesterday and today we have had normal days. We have two classes a day for I think 2.5-3 hours each. We started teaching an investigator yesterday. After two days. Not cool. Anyways that went terrible and we see him again tonight so I hope I'm better prepared. I feel like I'm okay with the language based on where we are in class right now. Elder Sandler has a larger vocabulary so it's easier for him to talk even if all the words are not perfect or pronunciated correctly. Also, it seems like all the sisters know what they're doing. They seem so much smarter, one of them is from Italy and she understands spanish better than english. One of them spoke spanish in their house growing up. Another one just seems really smart. I'm trying hard and I hope I can notice an improvement in a few days. Our teacher's name is Hermano Cook. He is a student at BYU and he is very cool. He doesn't speak any english in the lessons, but he is a good teacher. He is a business strategy major and to get into his department he needs a very high ACT score. He told us the average is a 30.5 and so he had to take that this morning. We hope he did well.

Two nights ago, we had a meeting with our branch presidency and got to meet all of them. They seem really awesome! I'm excited to go to church tomorrow. In that meeting, there was just the two new districts and each of us bore our testimony and shared interesting facts about ourselves. We have some pretty cool people in our zone. Basketball is pretty fun during exercise time. Pretty much everyone on our floor is insane and you can't trust any of them haha. Just kidding that's an exaggeration, but you do have to look around the corners before walking so you don't get hit with something.. like food. So far I've been lucky. Anyways that was a ramble, at our branch meeting the other night, I was selected to be the district leader for the first three weeks at the MTC for my district so I'm excited for the leadership opportunity. Basically all I have to do is conduct district meetings on Sunday's and get the mail everyday. Which is a big deal!!!!! There was sisters SCREAMING during there study time the other day because they were waiting on packages, but it's fun to bring the mail back to everyone.

So far everything is going good, but I can see how the schedule could get You aren't allowed to leave, you stay in a room all day, they give you meals and a little exercise time and then you repeat. But so far I'm still having a good time. I really like everybody in our zone so that helps. I think that's all for now. Hope everyone's doing good and I love you all!

Me, Elder Sandler, Elder Faragher, Elder Jensen