Missionary Training Center, Week 4, 1 December 2011

[ 30 November] Tomorrow I will be emailing around 7:15 in the morning your time. Also,I am going to try and print pics manana para enviare a ustedes. I am sorry I am in the middle of language practice and it just came out.

[1 December]  Alrighty, I love the pics. It would appear everything is going well at home which I am certainly happy to see. The tentative departure date is January 2. The only thing that would change that is if suddenly my Spanish exploded super good and they moved me out early or if it was a lot cheaper to send me out a day or two before. There are zero visa troubles with Chile, so I will most definitely be leaving on time.  A lot of the district is headed to Chile, Elder McPherson and I to Vina del Mar. Elder Attridge and Hermana Wright to Concepcion sur, but Elder McCallum is going to Costa Rica and Elder Flake to Philadelphia, Elder Hamilton to Provo, Utah and Elder Cardenaz to Dallas, tx.

As far as sleeping, yeah I am sleeping but I go to bed at about 11:45 (with permission from my branch President) and then my eyes open at about 6:13, 2 minutes before the alarm. I have only once so far been anywhere close to falling asleep in class. Plus the night time is one of the greatest parts of my day. It is almost silent, and I can write in my journal (which I do daily) and study in the scriptures without any distractions whatsoever. So yes I do sleep, but not a whole lot; I am sure that will change when I get to the field. Right now, I am actually far more worried about getting sick.  Four people in the district have been sick so far, and to be perfectly honest I really really don’t want any sicknesses.  They just aren’t pleasent and I have work to do.

Best thing about the MTC?  That is hard. I don’t loathe the MTC like a lot of people do. It has been a pleasent place so far, and I would have to say the best thing about it is that almost every aspect of it can be spiritually edifying. That is a really great blessing. When we choose to, even our meals can be, because everyone has spent the day thinking about the gospel and conversations just happen. So that is one of the great things about the MTC.

Alright so this week. My Spanish continues to improve.  There are days where I don’t feel it does, but for the most part it is getting much better. The hardest part for me is actually the simple stuff. I can’t seem to conjugate in the present tense correctly. Mostly because I feel comfortable and then I will just totally lose track of what my subject is and spit a verb out in the usted(you) form instead of in the yo(I) form. So that has been bothersome, but I am figuring it out and hopefully that just goes away eventually. Tuesday Devotional was Kazuhiko Yamashita of the Seventy [member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  Men who are called to preach the gospel in all the world until they reach emeritus status at around 70 years of age]. His talk was great as was his wife although she spoke very broken english, her love for us and her desire to communicate that love was very apparent. She talked alot about how greatful she was for the missionaries that baptized her. Elder Yamashita said all sorts of stuff, in mostly better english, but I will just quickly run over the ideas that I really loved. First, we go on missions to serve; it is a call to serve, not a call to go. That is super important.  There is a massive difference between going and serving. So like Ammon [a missionary in the Book of Mormon, see Alma 17] he said, we must have a desire to go serve among the Lamanites [The Book of Mormon group of people who were without a knowledge of the true teachings of Jesus Christ] which I thought was a great point. Then I loved a phrase from his testimony as he was closing, “Through your love you are imparting the love of God.” I just thought it was incredibly well put and in essence the service that we are providing. The only other thing from that was more just the idea that while clearly the Lord works through all missionaries, to truly make a mission worth it, it is necessary to be an exceptional missionary.

Other interesting notes from the week. The field has continued to be open sometimes and we have been able to play soccer. I finally came up with a system for marking my English scriptures so that I can keep track of what I like, that is super nice becuase before I was worried about marking in my scriptures becuase there wasn’t any rhyme or reason.

I don’t know, for the most part the days go on it a certain monotonous rythym. I have stopped memorizing scriptures because for the most part it hasn’t done any good for me. I am however, able to be helpful when other people are memorizing because it is relativly easy for me.

Question, can you send me my mission presidents email or email him about what his music playback device requirement is? I want to figure that out.  Also, depending on what he, or the secretary says, there is a new CD called “The Men of the Tabernacle Choir.”  We heard a couple songs from it; it is super good. I can’t think of anything else to say and I only have two minutes left. I love you guys, keep up all the good things at home, I love hearing from you guys.

Elder Caleb Tonkinson

Super quick.  Dad, do you remember much of the elders that converted you? Same question for Skeeter [maternal Grandmother] and Grandpa [maternal Grandfather]. 10 seconds, love you bye

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