It's finally P-Day!!! I haven't written any real letters because the dearelder.com letters and the handwritten letters get here out of order, and replying to them all would get confusing. Also, we are busy all day and it's hard to find time to write letters. But now it's P-Day and I have an hour to tell you as much as I can!
I've gotten a lot of letters from my family and I love getting each and every one of them. They really make me smile. I miss you guys a lot, but I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be. The work here is absolutely incredible. I haven't gotten any letters from friends yet... But I'm hoping that will change soon. dearelder.com gets here the next day which is a lot faster, so use that if you can!
So a little about what's going on here. I share a dorm with 5 other elders, and we are all serving in the Panama mission. My companion is Elder Gibby. He's a cool guy and we get along pretty well, but he's struggling a bit with his Spanish. He's from Utah. Elder David is probably the most similar to me. He's from Colorado. His companion is Elder Broadhead from Georgia. My favorite elders though are Elder Barker and Elder Dastrup. Barker is seriously one of the funniest people I have met in my entire life! He has the greatest facial expressions that make every story a million times better. He is from Ogden. Dastrup is from Arizona, and he is something else... He is 6'10", 260 pounds, and has to slouch to walk in our hallways so he doesn't hit the lights with his head (which he has done 5 times already). He has a scolarship to play basketball at BYU after his mission, and he even gets to leave a couple weeks early so start training before the season. He has a tendency to talk with Barker in a very addicting and surprisingly convincing Russian accent.
The first day we got here we started learning Spanish. Our teacher speaks little to know english to us, so it was hard understanding everything at first, but in this short week I've learned more spanish than in the two years of high school I took. Our teacher is Hermana Ashby, and she is super cool!
On Friday, we taught our first lesson ENTIRELY IN SPANISH. It was really scary and really hard, but it was an amazing experience. The gift of tongues is real. I'm still far from perfect, but it's incredible to see how much I've grown already. There are teachers and volunteers around campus that pose as investigators that we get to teach several times, and occasionally one might actually be a real investigator. By teaching them lessons we learn planning and teaching skills, and also almost force ourselves to improve our spanish so we can effectively talk and teach to them.
The food here is ok. It doesn't settle super well all the time. P.S. NEVER EAT THE EGGS. It's really hit and miss, so the package with the candy was awesome and we have a creamerie with snacks that we go to sometimes to make up for the lack of nutrition we have. Tell Kylie that some Nutella cookies or cinnamon rolls would be amazing right now hahaha!!
My testimony grows stronger by the hour here. We have 6 other elders in our district that I love very much, one being a convert and the other being our district leader. The other 11 Elders in our district are amazing. I don't think that in such a short time I have laughed as hard as I have here or felt the spirit as much in one place. It is so incredible. Each one of these guys have such amazing testimonies, and they keep me smiling unceasingly with their ridiculous stories and humor.
That being said, that doesn't mean I miss you guys any less. It really only hits me before I go to bed at night. During the day I am so focused on where I'm at and what I'm doing, and it's amazing. At night, I think of my friends and family I've left behind and I miss you dearly. I cherish each letter I get from my family with all my heart. I still await for my friends to write to me, and I pray that certain ones of you do soon. I want to be able to share my happiness and experiences with you as well as with the new friends I have made here. As a side note, Elder Dastrup got 6 letters yesterday and he's gotten a total of 8 packages already I believe.
We have so many funny inside jokes already here, and it's kind of hard to explain them. One being the Russian accent that previals over the district. Another one is our made-up spanish word: 'Fricadores'. That's basically our spanish mormon slang not-quite-a-swear-word. We also have the "my pants feel amazing" dance and so many little sayings that just make us laugh constantly.
One of the Elders in our district is Avery, and he is from Canada. He has heard zero spanish in his life so he's having a hard time, but the more he talks to funnier I realize he is. He has embraced our teasing of his nationality and incorporates it into his jokes, such as:
"Canadians are always nice. We are just so much more Christ-like than you guys."
"Totes ma'moose." (totes ma'goats for canadians)
Wow, that is only a small portion of everything that has gone on here. I write everything in my journal though, so I'll have lots of more stories to tell when I get back!
Also, during devotionals we go to the main campus where all the other missionsaries are. The spanish speaking missionaries go to the west campus. At our last devotional I saw Jace Ericson, a girl from one of my BYS groups, and Sophia Wahlquist! Sophia was so happy to see me there that she started crying. The spirit here is just that strong. She wants to be on my email list, so stick her on there for me!
I love you guys and hope to hear from you soon! I know this church is true, otherwise I wouldn't be here right now. Always strive to come closer to Christ everyday. Hasta luego!!
|Pictures they drew on the white board|
|An oragami elephant and dragon Elder Barker made and put over our door. They're together|
|Hunter's room. His bed is made!! Spiderman pillowcase!!|
|Hunter with 6'10" Elder from Arizona|
|This Elder pulls the GREATEST faces!!|
|The bathroom is STINKY!!!|
|Hunter and 6'10" Elder!!|
|Hunter and his companion!|