Saturday, January 9, 2016

Week One

So, I guess I can start at the beginning - in the MTC missionaries are split up into districts, which are the people that you will be spending the next six weeks with essentially in all your classes, gym time, etc. My district has nine people including myself (7 Elders and 2 Hermanas), and almost all of us are going to Argentina:

Elder McCollum (myself, obviously): Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
Elder Casablanca (my companion): Argentina Buenos Aires East Mission
Elder Rawle (rooming in the same dorm): Argentina Mendoza Mission
Elder Williams (companion to Elder Rawle, same dorm): Argentina Mendoza Mission
     The next three are in a trio and share a room together:
Elder Littlefield (district leader): Argentina Comodoro Rivadavia Mission (just above Antarctica)
Elder Clarke: San Bernadino California Mission
Elder Sueldo: Bolivia Cahabama Mission
Hermana Henrie: Argentina Mendoza Mission
Hermana Ramirez: Argentina Cordova Mission

Sister Ramirez, Sister Henrie, Elder Williams, Elder Rawle, Elder Sueldo, Elder Clarke, Elder Littlefield, Elder McCollum, and Elder Casablanca
We all get along really well and have a great time together, which is a good thing since we have to spend 9-11 hours together each day haha. My companion also cracks me up; he's from Florida and since he is not used to the cold weather at all he wears multiple layers of thermals, a sweater, and a heavy coat each day despite as well as hardcore winter boots despite the fact we're inside most of the day while I wear just a sweater and regular dress shoes, but I guess going to school in Provo for a year and a half gets you used to the weather. The Spanish is going really well as well; we had to start teaching investigators in nothing but Spanish on just the second day and by this point (day 10) I have already had to teach two investigators a total of 7+ lessons so far. It's really getting to the point where I feel like I'm teaching with the spirit though as I'm starting to be able to create parables on the spot in Spanish to help teach a gospel concept or pull out scripture references that I didn't even know I knew and its really awesome. A point that they really drilled into us as well is that we are teaching people and not lessons (you really have to take interest in and care for the people and not just spit out information at them), and also our missionary purpose to: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." and that we are to do just that; we want to convert people to Christ and not just to our church, and that baptism rate isn't as important as building up people's personal connection and faith, as baptism will then follow naturally.
This is Squaw peak, which is the same mountain that Matt opened his call at the very top of--at the very point!

Other than that there hasn't been too much that has been too crazy; the hour of gym time that we get each week is a godsend (no pun intended) and they just reset the records and so by the time I leave the MTC I want to try and set a sub 5 minute mile to get put up on the board (in peak shape, I could get a 5:30 in the middle of a 10K, I just need to get my cardio back in better shape). Our Zone (combination of 3 districts) has also been chosen to test out using iPads as a teaching resource in the MTC so that we can pull up talks and gospel videos as well as using the scriptures and lesson books that we already have and my district will be getting them tomorrow (you have to be there for ~2 weeks before they give them to you). The other two districts in the zone already have them but they are all leaving (mostly to Argentina as well) on Monday and so this next Wednesday we will be getting 10 new elders and 8 new sisters (mixed together in two districts) into our zone and our district gets to be hosts to help new missionaries arrive, so that will be a whole lot of fun. 

Missionary Matt at the airport before he had his name tag.

Dad and Matt at the airport on his way to the MTC.

Mom and Matt at the airport on his way to the MTC.

Matt and Tyler on the way to the MTC.

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