Tuesday, November 29, 2011

P Day 4

Bonjour tout la monde! Comment Cava?  Je Suis bein.  So here is the deal.  I wrote you guys a big ole long letter in my notebook, but I ended up leaving it in a supply closet (long story) and now it is locked in there, and I have to find someone to open it so I can get it and send it to you... sigh.  It honestly feels like I just emailed you a couple days ago.  Certanly not a whole week.  And everything that happened that was of any interest is in that letter, and i honestly do not want to write it all again. 
    Nothing much new has happened here... actually that is a lie, this will all be in the letter, but I want you to know now and not in a few days.  On Tuesday one week ago, our devotional speech was given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson!  How cool is that?  Then on Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Nelson.  Two of the Lord's appostels in one week.  It makes it even cooler when you realize that these people really do hold the same power and have the same responisbilities as Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.  They were both great and inspiring talks. 
    Je pense que Je parle Francais cava mantinent.  I think I am speaking French pretty well now.  I am understanding all of what the teachers are saying, or at least what they are trying to say if i don't understand every word.  Je comprend tout de quoi les prof me enseigne, ou a moin quoi ils essayent montre si Je ne comprende pas tout mot. 
    Thank you so much for the package mom!  The summer sausage was divine, and the nerf guns were really fun... at least until the party poopers took them.  They didn't get mad at us, they just quoted some corinthians scripture (something about putting away childish things) and asked for them.  Though I ligitimatly forgot to tell them about one, but we only use that to shoot Elder Tulley at night when he snores.  Do I want anything for Christmas?  Well, it would be cool if you sent me a couple of my blank journals.  Don't worry about the weight, I am probably going... no i am going to send home the black suit, and I think I am going to send the boots back as well.  They are huge and heavy, and everyone I have talked to-including some RMs who went to Touluse or Geneva-said that i would not need them if my shoes are semi-waterproof which they are.  Plus they just look bad, and if worst comes to worst, i am sure that ther are boots in Europe somewhere... maybe none that will fit my feet, but we'll see. 
    I know that the MTC is somthing that is good for me, and the better i study here the better i will be out in the field, but i really really really just want to get out there and start talking to real people, not just these roleplays.  Now don't think i'm getting all depressed family, because i am enjoying my time here, and the spirit is sooo incredibly strong.  Just it gets incredibly repetitive here.  Same quazi gross food, at the same time, same everything.  I do hear that there is a tree that smells just like cream soda here, I should try to find that, thought it is probably just a story to make missionaries go around sniffing trees.  I swear this place is going to make me bi-polar, because you just have the highest highs, you feel on top of the world and you want to just shout haleluia!  Then other times you go in low...long... boring...down times.  But the down times aren't too bad, they will probably be worse when you get in the field and real people aren't following there commitments, and real people just had a brother die and are begging you to know why. 
    that last paragraph was all over the place and oddly specific.  that's because our latest "investigator", albert, (yes he is really just my teacher)  "lost" his brother last week.  it is weird to write like this about a personality, but it is weird when you are in these roleplays because when you genuinly have the spirit with you, you genuinly care about the person you are teaching and his trials.  Albert is someone that my teacher is pretending to be, but he is a real person that my teacher taught on his mission, so what we are doing is pretty similar to what he actually went through with him. 
    Well, my time is up, so let me finish by saying that i love being a missionary, and it feels so good to help others.  That is why i want to get out there now, even thought my french is only decent, even though there is a lot more that i have to learn.  I believe that there are people in France being prepared for me now, I hope that I will be doing the right thing so i can help them when opportunity arises.  A quick shout out to those about to go on their mission, Kevin, Peter, Chase, etc...  i love you guys and I am sure you will love you mission experience, here is something that my teacher F. Howarth told me that i think is important for all missionaries... well a couple things.
1.  A good missionary is a bloody happy missionary! (bloody apparantly isn't a swear word according to my european teacher) Try to find the joy in sharing the gospel, it is there.
2.  A missionary who baptizes people is a missionary who asks people to be baptized.  Granted I know that i have not actually been in the field yet, but our teacher gave us a challenge that in our very first discussion that we teach we will invite our investigator to be baptized.  it is a scary thought, but he says he knows from experience that a large reason people are not getting baptized is because they are not being asked.  Our teacher was getting at least one baptism a month in Germany, so there is probably truth behind those words.
    Any way, I realy got to wrap this up.  i love you all and miss you.  write me letters? yes? please? ha ha , you don't have to, ... but you should.
I love you momma llama, papa san, and JJ!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

P Day 3 at the MTC

I know my travel plans kind of ish, they were with my San Fran travel plans, but I don't have them now.  What I remember is I am leaving January 2nd at the beautiful hour of 4:00am.  the other frenchies and I will fly to San Antonio, have like an hour or two layover, then we fly to London where we have a six hour layover!  How cool is that?  LONDON!!!!  Then we fly to either Lyon and take a train to Geneva, or fly directly to Geneva, I can't remember.  So it will be a good solid, 28 hours of traveling.  Elder Graham is also leaving Jan 2nd, and I think he is coming with us to San Antonio, but then we part ways.
    By the way, this letter will be all over the place.  What did we do at the consolate?  They just took yet another picture of us, and took our fingerprints, and that was it.  Now about our investigators.  I thought I told you this, but maybe i didn't.  Our "investigators" are actually just our teachers playing a role of someone they taught on their mission.  However, we do go to this plalce called the TRC once or twice a week where we get to teach real people who just be themselves.  Sometimes they are not members, and sometimes they are.  I've only done it twice so far, and they are all BYU baptized members just looking to practice their french, but it is still fun, and cool to teach real people.
    You may have heard of this thing called "ThanksGiving" coming up this thursday.  Well at the MTC, it means basically a second P-day, only we are doing some service projects throughout the day.  We also end the day with a nice, sack-dinner... no joke... hovever we do get a good 2 hour lunch. 
    Here is some news that you will like mother.  I have lost about 12-15lbs since coming here.  My suitpants are loose on me now, and i ran 4 miles straight in the gym yesterday!  It feels so good to be healthy, and I know that that is just one of the blessings the Lord has and will give me for serving him full-time for the next two years.  yes my suits look good, and yes the ties look good.  My goal is to loose at least 20 lbs by the time I leave here, but i think i could safely up that to 35.  Depending on how much weight i loose, I'll just have to get new ones when I get to France, which leads me to some other awesome news.  My teacher Frere Howarth is from Luxiomburg ... [sp] originally, so all his suits are European, and they look so much nicer then the suits we get here.  Mainly because the pants are more form fitting, and not as baggy or "parachute like" (to use frere howarth's words) as American suit pants.  What is also cool, is he says you can buy a really really nice suit over there for about 80 euro, that's around $120.
    I have noticed something that seemes to be more true day by day... i think that the MTC is alot like the TV series MASH if MASH was all religeous.  Seriously, we are confined to a small area (only we chose to be here), the people who are in you class area are the people you go to gym and lunch with, so it feels like you know everyone.  Things get very repetetive here, and the only way to stay sane is to go slightly insane.  My district have taken up the hobby of trying to put bananas in other people's pockets without them knowing.  We all gather for lunch and complain about the food (though some days like today, it is really good), and we make random holidays such as candy day (everybody buys a peice of candy and gives it to someone else) mail day (which isn't exciting at all) and ice cream sunday (which i don't participate in for religeous reasons). 
    Now for the part where i ask you for stuff, it is great to get letters and all that so everyone who reads this on my blog, send me a letter if you want, i would appreaciate it.    Also send more pictures if you can, maybe some that are more recent?  i love getting pictures, and everyone is putting them up on the wall by our desks in our classroom.  we made our window a stain glass window of the statue Moroni out of post-it notes.  we have the coolest room in the MTC. 
   Je vous touts aime!  Et Je te manque aussi.  Je sais que l'eglise de Jesus-Christ est vrai.  J'aime cet eglise, et ce traviller!  AU REVOIR!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Second P Day


 might have already told you this, but my p-day is Tuesday here, they don't have everyone take the same day off.  Tuesday is actually the best day for it because P-day ends at 6:00pm, but all we do after then on Tuesday is go to a devotional.  Basically all we do on P-day is laundry, temple, and write letters.  there isn't much time for anything else.  In the temple, we can only do endowments or initiatories (I did those today, it was really cool)  or we can be a witness at a ceiling session.  We only go to the temple on P-dauy, but we go on a temple walk on sundays.  That is really nice, because you are inside here all day, and even the sidewalks are covered, so it feels like you're inside then too.  It is refreshing to see the sky...the tops of trees... clouds... and get a little sunlight. 
So the trip to San Francisco was AMAZING!!!  We had to get up at 4:30am which was pretty awful.  We got to the Salt Lake airport just before six, even though our flight departed at like 8:40.  it was 20 F ... so cold... that woke us up.  We landed in San Fran at 9:45an where we learned that we had to be at the consolate at 10:00.  Long story short, we got there around 10:30 and they still took us, and we were done before 11:00.  We had about 4.5 hours to kill afterward, so we went to Lumbard street, and took pictures.  We talked to this nice woman from Australia.  Legally we can only preach in our mission area, unless someone asks us about the church.  We didn't have a real spiritually based talk, but we told her a little about why we were there, and why we all had these funny nametags with Jesus Christ on them.  She seemed impressed that we would go on a mission.
After we went to Pier 39 and had lunch at this famous sour dough bread place, which name escapes me.  I had the clam chowder in a bread bowl.  It was really good.  yes mother, I did eat some of the bowl, I'm sorry.  Just a little though, and I have been eathing very well here.  I am actually down 7 pounds since I entered.  Anyway, while we were waiting for our food, some people recognized us as missionaries and offered to buy us lunch.  It was neat to talk to them as well.
Next we walked over to Ghiradelli square and got free peppermint half white, half milk chocolate...chocolates.  they were really good, and the sisters bought a huge peanutbutter...chocolate...icecream... ... thing.  The server sung "I left my heart in San Francisco" to them.  We left him a pass along card.
Then our driver, Edgar, took us to the Golden Gate Bridge.  We walked almost halfway down and back.  It was clear, sunny, warm, and amazing.  That bridge is really something.
However, the best part of the trip was someone we ran into and talked to while on our way to Ghiradelli square.  Guess who it was?  OK, I'll just tell you.  Casey Clyde!!! The guy who plays Elder Rogers on Best Two Years.  We talked to him and his girlfriend for quite a while.  Judging by his girlfriends apperance, they didn't look very active or Mormon, but a couple of the Elders said they saw him wearing his G's... who knows.  The are in San Francisco, they could have just been dressing for4 the weather.  we flew back and arrived back here at the good ole' MTC around 9:15 at night.  It was weird not having Elder Graham with me.  He didn't go since he is going to Africa and not France.
What else is new... we have a "new investigator"  it is really just our teachers playing a role as an investigator, but like I said before, when you are in there, the spirit makes it real.  his name is Albert, he is originally from Armenia, he loves to talk, and he is a devout orthodox Armenian Catholic.  We have only met him once, and he is really fun to talk to, but he is hard to teach, because he doesn't stop talking.

Thank you so much for the decorations!!! we are putting them up today.  you don't need to send more, what you did was pleanty.  Thank you.  Yes my turkey is special, I'll send pictures soon of my district and our room.  Travis is here, and I usually see him at lunch because we have it at the same time.  It is good to see him, and we have not done anything illegal yet... ha ha.  Dad, tell grandpa I say Hi.  Mother, thanks for picking that scripture, I really like it, and thank you for putting in the sport scores, the Elders and i like to hear them.  Finally thanks for the letters in general, it is really fun and good to hear what is going on over there.
Ok, I think I have answered all the questions.  I'll write you next Tuesday, and hopefully I'll have some time to send you pictures, and write a hand written letter.  Love you guys soo very much, and i know that I am in the right place and doing the Lord's work.  I really am happy here, and learning so much.  My French is actually pretty good.  Our teachers only speak French now and I understand what they are saying!  And I can usually say what I want to in some form or another.    Once again, Je vous aime! Bon chance avec la toutes choses, Je suis tres hereux a qui dans le MTC.  Je sais que cet eglise est vrais, et le livre de Mormon est la parole de Dieu.
Adieu, Je suis parle avec vous plus en ces semains.

The First P Day


This is honestly a little weird typing in english, I am so used to spelling things the french way, i might make a mistake or two.  We have no access to TV or anything really.  The closest we got was in class yesterday we watched some videos on lds.org.  Oh, and Sunday after the fireside, we got to watch the Joseph Smith Movie.  That was my night on the town! 
The first few days here felt like a couple months.  However, yesterday and today have been whizzing by pretty fast. 
On Daylight savings, we forgot to set our clocks back, so we ended up waking up at 5:30 in the morning, and didn't figure out what happened until we were all ready to go ha ha.  We got about an extra half hour of sleep in our suits.  Hopefully you have got my written letter by now, if not, it will come probably tomorrow. 
Answering Mom's questions:  Mon Colleague is Great!  In French you say Colleague because if you say companion, and you are living together...they might get the wrong idea.  His name is Elder Graham as in graham cracker.  He is from Layton, and he is going to the Congo.  We are getting along wonderfully.  Yes I have my robe still. Yes I am avoiding carbs, Elder Graham has actually been helping me a lot with eating the right things.  I cannot speak French fluently, but I have given three lessons to a girl in all french so far.  She really is feeling the spirit when we teach her, but she says that while she believes the book of mormon has true principe in it, she believes that Joseph Smith wrote it.  We are planning to do a first vision lesson and have her pray about the book of mormon.  She has already said she would read it and pray about it.
I went to the temple today.  It's my first P-day, and so far it has been pretty good, nothing much to do wich makes me feel uncomfortable, because you are usually doing something all day.  I have been getting 8 hours of sleep but I am sooooooo so tired, but I have never been happier!  I love being here, and while it is really quite difficult, you get so many blessings.  During our lessons with Nathalie (our "investigator") I sometimes really struggle with the language, and Elder Graham told me just recently when that happened once, he said a quick prayer to bless me with the gift of tongues and right after I was like, "Oh Est-ce que vous avez questions quel que choses?"  ...something like that. 
I Miss you guys a lot, and it really feels good to get letters from you guys, so keep them coming!  JJ, that's great that you are so close to graduation, I am proud of you!  When my district when on our temple walk on Sunday, I saw lots of couples holding hands and walking together etc, and it made me wish that I could still go out with girls, so take advantage of that freedom you have Brother!!! ha ha ha... but really.  Tell Monte and Max that they are special for me.  Oh right, one thing that I wanted to ask you guys, is could you send me a few pictures?  Of anything really, you guys, the dogs, hawaii, just a couple... and I need tape, and they don't sell it here.  
What else to say... How are you guys doing?  OH YEAH I guess you would like to know that I am going to San Francisco on Thursday to the French Consolate.  I am supposed to report at the travel office at like 5 in the morning, so that will be fun.  I don't know if I spend the night there or not.  From what the paper says, it sounds like we'll come back either late that night or early the next morning.  I'll be sure to tell you.  Travis gets here tomorrow, maybe I'll see him at lunch or something.  I have run into a bunch of other missionaries I know.  Well I only have a few seconds left, so I better send this Love you BYE!!!