June 8, 2013Hello everyone :D :D :D
There is SO MUCH for me to say and only about 20 minutes to type it all, so these sentences may seem jumbled together to get the most information in.
Where to start....... My district has 6 hermanas and 4 elders, who all arrived yesterday, but the rest of our zone has been here at least 2 weeks. All the hermanas are going to the Chile Osorno Mission, but 2 of the elders are going to Kuzco Peru (which has Machu Pichu). My companion is Elder M from West Valley, Utah. I wish I had a picture to show you, but there's so little time here! Elder M is very hard working and diligent. I really appreciate that about him.
Oh, and I’m the district leader. I already started feeling overwhelmed before I was given the assignment, and especially stressed immediately after. The district always goes to me now when they have questions, and I need to have answers and be ready to lead. Although I was stressed at first, I realized that the Lord qualifies those he calls to serve. He’ll give me strength to do everything I need to do. It also helps that I have a great companion who reminds me what to do.
I love the MTC, much much more than I thought I would. I had no idea how much I would learn and grow in just the first few days. I've heard that my mission would be the most difficult years of my life, but I could not have imagined how much work there is to be done. We were given a schedule on the first day that gave a general layout of how the next six weeks would go, but we learned that much of that time is flexible. Don't get me wrong, that is not free time. We study constantly.
We've already taught our first investigator on Friday morning, which was super scary, because I could only understand half of what he said. He's not a real investigator (he's probably an RM here to help) but we treat him like an investigator. He will only speak Spanish and we only see him when we go to teach him. We're preparing our second lesson with Santiago tonight.
One thing that couldn't be emphasized more in the MTC is that everything we do is about others. Our planning, personal study, companion study, and language study are all centered on preparing to teach Santiago. Also, it's more important to deeply care about the investigator. If we don't listen to what he says and what he needs (even if we can't understand what he's saying) we can't bring the Spirit into the lesson. Making sure that the Spirit is present is more important than learning the language, but learning the language is still very important.
We do something called SYL (speak your language), which means we try to use Spanish first, always. Whether we're in the dorm, in class, or personal study, we do everything we can to use Spanish words before trying to speak in English. As a result, I keep trying to type things en Espanol only to realize that you probably can't understand that.
Only a few minutes left... what else is important to say? Many of the facilities here are similar to those at BYU, including the food, but the food is noticeably better here.
The MTC is a sacred place. I've worked harder this week than ever before. I can't believe it's only been about three days. It feels like it could have been two weeks. All of our time here and in the field is dedicated to the Lord. It's very difficult, and I feel absolutely exhausted, but looking back to Wednesday, I've grown so much.
I know that this is the Lord's work. I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I'm so excited to share it with the world.I'm sorry I couldn't talk more about the details of my time here. As I said, I could probably spend a few hours trying to tell you everything that's happened, but that time just isn't available. I love you all!!!
Love,Elder Connor Christopherson