Wow this is great. My p-day [preparation day, the time missionaries have that is theirs to handle activities that support the work the rest of the week, like laundry, food shopping, etc.] is on Thursday so I will be trying to email on thursday mornings. We get our laundry and other stuff done in the morning and then have the afternoon for study and unwinding time.
I am glad to hear all is well at home and that a christmas tree has been located. Now as far as business goes [answering our questions and commenting on information we shared], everything thing works perfectly with dearelder.com. I have recieved two letters from you guys and it has been super easy. So if you want to keep doing that, there are no problems.
Congratulations are in order for Gideon [who received his Arrow of Light Award in Webelos]. Good work buddy.
Other than that I don’t really know where to begin. It is pretty busy here, I spend most of my time studying the gospel, teaching the gospel or trying to master the language. All are going very well. I have started studying the Book of Mormon verse by verse. So I take notes on each verse as I find it significant in my life, it is way interesting and keeps me very busy. Spanish is coming along nicely and I have a working knowledge of it at this point. I can give a lesson about the gospel with pretty much no trouble. There is a problem with teaching with my companion though, he is not confident. He likes to be exactly sure that what he is saying is grammatically correct so he will frequently space out and forget where we are as he thinks of what to say. However, he is working on it and is a great companion to have. We went through five lessons with our first “investigator” [members brought into the MTC to roll play as part of training] and committed him to baptism. Our first couple lessons were really rough but the last three I felt that we nailed. We should be starting with a new investigator pretty soon and I suspect that they will speak significantly faster and more complex spanish and that it will take a lot of effort. I find my biggest problem is grammar (no suprise there) just because I am not that great at conjugation yet.
The food is edible, but I have been spoiled with good food all my life, so in truth it isn’t that bad. In fact, I have discovered that the soups are really quite delicious and so I eat those pretty regularly. I am in zero need of more fattening substances. Cody [his cousin who left the MTC about a week after Elder Tonkinson entered] left me a bunch as he took off yesterday morning for San Antonio. Oh, I guess that is another thing, it was really nice to see him here and we got to talk several times which was nice.
Athletics are great here, it has been chilly but not snowy so we have been able to play soccer a lot of days, outside with goals. My shoes are are quickly getting trashed by it, and my shins are constantly reminding me that I should be more careful but it is fun and a good release for all the pent up energy that I have. Otherwise it is basketball indoors.
I like the MTC, which is good because I am here for a while, but it is a nice environment and it is easy to focus and get work done here. I think Mark’s [his brother who is five years older] experience may have been more because it was an English speaking group. [Mark was stir crazy even before his three weeks in the MTC were over]
I really can’t think of much else to say, my district [a group of 8 to 12 missionaries] is great, my teacher is a wonderful teacher and I am keeping busy and working harder then I ever have in my life. I love you guys and enjoyed the pictures a lot. There are two letters that should have made it to you guys by now, so hopefully those get there, and then I may very well write more later today. I will try and send some pictures next week if I can, I need to ask around and see what the easiest way to to do that is.
All of my love,
Elder Caleb Tonkinson