Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Some answers to some questions. My companions are good guys. I think that we are really coming together. One is Anziano Craig. He is from Missouri and is twenty years old. He is kinda quiet but we are trying to help him get over that. The other is Anziano Nancollus. His parents are Mission Presidents of the Mexico City North Mission and so he is able to go on his mission early. He is only eighteen.
This past week we have learned so much. I can now bear my testimony, say prayers, meet and greet people, ask about their family and work, and various other things all in Italian. It is amazing how much the Lord helps you with the language cause we are learning things about sentence structure and tense that we didn't learn in Spanish till the third semester. The Lord is definitely driving this work.
Yesterday we taught at the TRC which is where volunteers come in and we get to teach them. They always have a scenario, like yesterday we were knocking doors and getting to know people. That part of it was all in Italian. Then, in Italian, we set up a return appointment for the "next day" (10 minutes later) and then taught the first lesson in English. That was our second time at the TRC, and we did pretty good. The beginning of the lesson was pretty choppy but when we calmed down and really applied our message to the investigator that is when we felt the spirit guide us to where we needed to go in the lesson. All in all it was pretty good.
We have only been here for two weeks and one of the guys in the zone that is about to leave asked my companions and me to bear our testimonies in Italian last night. He said that our Italian was better than his when he was two weeks in. So that was good news to hear and that really will help us stay motivated.
For gym time each day (except today and Sundays) we always go up to the field and play sand volleyball. The Italians are a step above the rest. Some of the Spanish kids challenged us to a game and we beat them with our first server. Then they didn't want to play us ever again. I must say that we are pretty good. The actual gym has been closed but it opens again tonight which will be good, cause on the days that we have gym in the middle of the day when it is blaring hot I will be able to go inside and tear people up on the basketball court. Haha That will be fun.
Our teachers are awesome. Ever though neither of the two served in the Rome mission they are still awesome. They know so much about the language and about the gospel and how to teach in a way that the investigator feels motivated and willing to test the promise in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. It is crazy to think that I will know that much Italian in the future. I can't even comprehend it.
Our days go like this (everyday is a little different) but morning is breakfast then class, then lunch, then class, then dinner, then study time. Everyday is different on where the study time is thrown in and where the gym time is. At 9:00 we plan out the next day. By 9:30 we are back at the dorms and maybe do a little work out and get ready for the next day. We have quiet time at 10:15 and we are in bed at 10:30. So that is what my days are like here at the MTC. I am always tired cause sleep doesn't come that easy on rock beds and aluminum foil-thick pillows. But that is ok cause when I am engrossed in the work, I never feel tired cause of the help of the Lord.
Dad when you said that you got to mow the lawn and spray for weeds I was so jealous. The grounds here are so beautiful but it is no fun that I don't get to work on them. I see people mowing the lawns and I say to myself, "I want to do that." But I guess I have more important work to do so I'll focus on that.
Thanks for the packages that you have sent me mom. I really appreicate them! I need to request a few more things. One, as you suggest, I do need my black compression shorts to work out in, and two, in my closet should be a box of exercise bands. My companion has one and I remembered that I have some at home that I could use if you could send them to me. The gym here (weights) are really wimpy and I can make up better exercises if I have those bands. So that would be awesome. I loved your letters and the card that you sent to me.
Justin and Ashley, I hope that the moving went well and that you are close to settling in at your new abode. Good luch with the studying and the work this summer, Justin, and as you start off know that I am thinking about you and praying for ya.
Kim and Chris, I love getting your letters. Kim's stories about Elliott are so funny. Keep them coming cause they are fun to read during lunch or something.
Jalayne and Julie, thanks for your letters and your prayers and love. Good luch at finding a job Jalayne, and Julie, finish the school year strong.
Well that is about all of the time that I have for this week. Keep the letters coming cause it is always fun to get mail. This is a great work that the Lord has going here and I wouldn't trade anything for it in my life right now. Talk to you next week.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I have so much to tell you it isn't even funny. First I will start by thanking those that have sent me letters. And I would ask that when you respond to this email that you use DearElder.com so that I don't have to use up the 30 minutes that I have to use the computer reading emails. That would be awesome.
So the first day here we met our branch presidency and they interviewed all of us and taught a lesson and then they asked me if I would serve as district leader! I was like ya I will. Kinda chuckling to myself because I am fresh off of being Elder's quorum president. So I am in charge of my district which is seven elders and a sister. (Anziani and Sorella)
So I have two companions and they are good guys. Anziano Craig and Anziano Nancollus. We taught our first lesson yesterday. The scenario was to meet someone in the "park" and ask if we could make an appointment and talk to them later. That part was all in Italian. It was pretty rough but we did it. Then we taught the lesson in English. We did pretty well with that but we definitely have room for improvement.
Other things to report on is the pillows are not so great but I just fold it in half and it is like sleeping on a backpacking pillow. Haha not that bad. I'll get over it. The food is decent. It is better than the Cannon Center but still no home cooking. I have two great teachers Fratello (brother) Macdonell and Fratello Tarwater. They are awesome teachers. They both know the gospel very well and know Italian very well. They know exactly what we need.
The spirit here is so easy to feel. Like when we are teaching it is awesome cause you can feel it testify of what you are teaching or back up your testimony. It is so great.
Well I need to go. I am sure that I'll think of things that I need to tell you that I have forgotten, but that is ok. But if you could send a couple of things like fruit snacks, some forever stamps so my postage doesn't go out of date, and some of my white athletic socks that would be awesome. Oh and there are a few things that I need to buy that I have used some money on my debit card so if you could keep that recharged that would be good. Remember to write back on DearElder.com Thanks.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We left Idaho Falls at 7 o'clock this morning for our southern trek to the MTC in Provo. The first half of the ride was rather quiet - a combination of sleepiness and anxiety. But by the time we met up with Jalayne near Logan, we were all rather excited and talkative. We reached Kaysville in time for Clark to have an early lunch at Kim's and to say farewell to his nephews.
Elliott, missionary uncle, and Quinn
Kim took the boys to a sitter and then joined us for the rest of our journey. The closer we got to Provo, the more excited Clark seemed to get. We arrived a little early, so Dan drove around the MTC campus and the temple and then to the apartments he and I were living in when we first met. We arrived at the MTC just before noon and joined hundreds of other families and new missionaries for our grand adventure.
Julie with her big brother
Clark checked in his luggage, received his mission tag and mailing address, and joined us in the foyer. We were then led to a chapel and, in fine Hatch tradition, were the first to enter so we, of course, sat on the first row. While we waited for the chapel to fill, we watched a combination of Church advertisements mixed in with some MTC trivia. (Did you know it takes 300 cows to provide the MTC with enough milk for the missionaries every day?)
Jalayne with her handsome missionary brother
A counselor in the MTC Presidency led a short program. We all sang "Called to Serve," (I learned that if I over-enunciated the words, it prevented my lips from quivering and kept my tear ducts from leaking), the counselor's wife shared some words of counsel, we watched a short video, and then prepared to say farewell. On the right side of the room was a sign reading "Missionaries Exit" and on the left, "Families Exit."
Kim's little brother - large in stature
We were reminded that saying "goodbye" is a lot like removing a band-aid. The quicker you do it, the less painful it is. And so we each gave Clark one last hug. He looked at the doorway for missionaries. No one had entered yet. He didn't want to be the first one, so he lingered for just a moment and then said, "I guess I'll be first." He gave us all a big smile and disappeared through the door.
Proud Mom and Dad with Clark
Since Clark's departure, I have reflected on the many people who have helped him to prepare him for this day - from his good bishop and dedicated youth leaders and seminary teachers to his amazing circle of friends and family members. And I am grateful to the hundreds of volunteers at the MTC who will teach, lead, feed, and direct my son and to his mission president who is waiting "with open arms" to welcome him to Italy. "With blessings unmeasured, my cup runneth o'er."