Missionary Training Center, Week 2, 17 November 2011

First of all I was supposed to copy Whitney to this but I didn’t because I didn’t bring the letters with me. So, I am sorry I will take care of that next week. Nathan that is one heck of a good looking pizza. Really, quite a bit better than the pizza that I have had here.

Sending a picture should be pretty easy and I can get prints of any that I take. I just don’t know if I can send any over email. We found that the computers were open, but neither I nor my companion have our cameras with us, so we aren’t going to try it as we only have 30 minutes [the computers have timers and when the 30 minutes is over, it is over.  So, the missionaries need to finish posting in that time or they lose what they are working on]. Also sorry this is kind of disjointed, I can’t help it when I am just trying to let things fly off my fingers. So here comes the news of the work and such.

So on Friday we got another district joined with us. Or maybe it was saturday, I honestly don’t remember. So now we have 4 new elders in our district and a total of one sister.  The new ones are Elder Eversole (district leader), Elder Attridge, Elder Cardenaz, Elder Hamiliton, and Hermana Wright. The first couple days were a little bit of a readjustment but it is all good, it doesn’t take long when every waking moment is spent with the same people. Elder McPherson (companion)

Elder Tonkinson and Elder McPherson

Elder Tonkinson and Elder McPherson, his companion at the MTC, in front of the Provo Utah Temple

[During a mission, the missionary is assigned a companion, who is to be with them at all times.  These companions change throughout the mission, but a missionary is never without one] and I are getting significantly better at teaching; we our on our second and third investigators currently and both are progressing reasonably well. Our biggest problem is staying on track and speaking the language. Mostly because he speaks the language with perfect grammar but takes his time, and often forgets where we are and skips parts. While I struggle to get the message that I want across with anything approaching proper spanish but have zero trouble knowing where to go. It is fine though, we know the problems and we are working super hard on it.

Precluded from building a fort, Elder Tonkinson finds other ways to relieve stress

So for P-day we have so much time that we were going to build a fort today as a stress reliever and were unfortunately admonished not do so by the administrative director of the MTC during the MTC fireside on sunday night. He talked about it because a lot of elders have extra bunk beds in their rooms right now because one of the buildings is being renovated. So it wasn’t targeted at us but it felt like it.  The rest of his talk was on tithing and was really rather good. The field is only sporadically open now, so I am playing more basketball now then I am soccer, which is fine but I miss being able to really inhale the fresh air.

Tuesday we had a devotional. The speaker was Elder Tad R. Callister, the same guy that spoke so well about El Libro de Mormon, whoops sorry for the spanish, during general conference [excellent talk, available for reading, listen or watching here] He gave a scriptural and historical fact based talk on the apostasy, it was well done, and I could clearly see his lawyer roots in it. He laid out ten points that I will write into a letter I guess, because it would take a lot of time to type and I don’t have it or remember it all.

I am sleeping a little more. I had for a while been waking up about once an hour every night, but it is all good now. I got permission from my branch president to stay up later. So, because it doesn’t bother my companions I am generally up till about 11:30 instead of 10:30, and it is honestly the best hour of study that I get in the day, because all of my roomates are super quiet sleepers. So I am thoroughly enjoying that ability. Both of my teachers are RM’s who served in argentina, and they both do a super good job of teaching us how to teach and how to speak spanish. As a part of learning Spanish, we speak Spanish all the time with just a couple exceptions like p-day, meals, and in the residence hall. So probably 75% of my time now is speaking Spanish. It is certainly helping but it is super hard some days.

Spanish Scriptures

I have marked my spanish scriptures for teaching. They have color coded markings for every scripture, for every subset of every lesson of preach my gospel. It is pretty great for studying and teaching. I am however working on memorizing different things in spanish. I have the first vision, the missionary purpose, Amos 3:7, Santiago (James) 1:5, Moroni 10:4-5, Ether 12:6 and then I am about to start working on Doctrine & Covenants section 4 [the Doctrine & Covenants is a compilation of modern revelations, most of which were delivered to Joseph Smith.  This one is about the missionary work].

Other study projects I have going on are reading the Book of Mormon and writing about every verse that I end up thinking about. So I currently have 5 pages and am only 11 chapters in. It is truly fascinating. I am using a missonary copy of the Book of Mormon and marking every single reference about faith and believing. This I started last night and am about two hundred pages into the book. Reading the Book of Mormon so much, it is hard to imagine that it could possibly have been falsified, but I guess people still do [think that].

I love it here, I am learning, I am progressing and I am working my tail off. I feel blessed to be in a place where it is so common to just have the spirit [the Holy Ghost] there. I hope you guy at home are doing well and I will write more in my snail mail letters home later today.

Also, I have to get my second hep A shot. Today. Oh well.


Elder Caleb Tonkinson

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