Hello family and those that read my emails,
I'm emailing earlier today because our district got smart and we woke up at 6 to do our laundry. We put the loads in the washer then changed to get ready for the temple then went back and put it in the dryer. While it's in the dryer we go to breakfast and then we take the clothes back to the room and go to the temple. We don't have much time to get to the temple so I just lay out my clothes on my bed to avoid major wrinkles (but Ill probably have to iron today anyway). Today we did Initiatories because Elder Raban got a bunch of family names and next week we'll do a session for them. It was really cool to do Initiatories again and remember what is said. Since we have so much extra time from doing laundry early I'm also emailing early and you can probably expect that for the rest of my MTC stay.
Thank you family and Katie for pulling through with the candy:) You did a marvelous job and I'll be set for several weeks probably. Seriously thank you. It made my week. Also thank you to everyone who sends letters.
So my week.... Was very interesting.
On Sunday the devotional was the Nashville Tribute Band and it was as spiritual as anything in the MTC thus far. Seriously I love (and miss) music so much. I'd recommend looking up the Nashville Tribute band. I really like the songs from the restoration and missionary albums. One of the missionary songs even made me cry (sorry I forget which one, something about an airplane maybe idk). The real craziness was on Tuesday. Elder Echo Hawk of the 70 spoke (I'm pretty sure he spoke in conference recently) but after his wife spoke, when he was coming up he stopped and invited his wife to join him at the pulpit. He said he had an impression to talk a little bit about eternal marriage. He said the day he was married in the temple was the best day of his life (and the mission was the best 2 years...). It turns out one of the sisters in my district had been thinking of going home to marry her RM boyfriend but didn't have support from her family. She decided to go home but was kind of second guessing herself. What Elder Echo Hawk said confirmed to her that she was making the right decision and I imagine it saved her from second guessing herself. So ya, if the spirit tells you to do something do it. Just do it. So now there's only two of us left going to Nicaragua Managua South (Me and Elder Diaz).
Our two new investigators are Rafaela and Jhonatan (sp?) Who are actually Hermana Folsom and Hermano Rockwood. They're really good at taking on the character of the investigator though. They're tough. Rafaela is 62 and works all the time and has a bunch of grown kids living with her and leaching off of her and she divorced her husband and they have a terrible relationship. At least she's mostly willing to keep commitments. We've basically only gotten to know her and told her that through Jesus Christ she can be happy.
Jonathan is a 21 yr old illegal immigrant from mexico who is lazy and basically does nothing everyday and let us in only to please his mom who's a member. He looks half asleep to start but you can tell when the spirit is there because he sits up and leans forward. It's a pretty effective way to gauge how the lesson is going actually. We've only taught him once but he's exercising faith by reading the BoM.
Hermano Rockwood (haha dad hermano Piedramadera) has been really influential to me thus far. He teaches us some good Spanish but he really has taught me that Spanish is merely a tool to help our investigators feel the spirit. I think in 1 Corinthians 2 or somewhere Paul talks about that. Haha that's really vague but whatever. Paul was like, Im just going to go around and all that matters is that Jesus is the Christ and was crucified for us
We taught our TRC (ask delaney if you don't understand TRC) investigator, Jorge, 2 more times. He doesn't like praying because, "it's weird and I'm angry at God for taking my son". He did say he'd pray more though. Yesterday he had just been to a friend's son's funeral and it reminded him of his son who died of cancer so he was really emotional. We saw that and switched our lesson plan on the spot and talked about the atonement and plan of salvation some more. He really wants to know how he can apply the atonement to himself so we were like "Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo y ser bautizado!!!!!!!!!! but he wouldn't because he has to talk to his wife and pray more. We need to do a better job of helping him realize that our message is for everyone, including his wife.
Now I'll attempt to answer some questions I've received.
I feel great about my Spanish at this point. I can basically figure out a way to say whatever I need to (though sometimes it's pretty crude). I don't have to plan out everything I want to say anymore. I actually think way more about what I need to say during lessons than how I need to say it in Spanish. Hermana Folsom went to Spain on her mission and talks really fast with a thick accent and I understand her fairly well too.
The biggest surprise during my first two weeks is probably how we are doing something every second of every day. There's always just barely enough time to get from place to place but that's about it. Elder Roberts is struggling with having enough time to get ready to go everyday so we've been late to some meals and such but I'm trying to help him.
I've only seen a couple new recruits that I knew this week but most of the kids I knew on the first day are still here. I might be a host, it depends on if Elder Raban submits the request for our district anytime soon. Hopefully.
For church we meet in the big building by the gym in a largish room with our zone. The Sacrament is just on a folding table. After Sacrament meeting we have lunch then have priesthood right after lunch. No sunday school. After priesthood we go for the temple walk. I took a ton of pics of the temple walk last week. In my room it's usually fairly noisy. Everyone eats a lot of mine and Elder Day's food. I need to do a better job of hiding it. Katie, everyone LOVED your cookies. Mom, the brownies were great but I didn't tell anyone else about them because I was selfish. Did you make the brownies the same day? Because I could've sworn they were still warm... Everyone talks very openly about their home lives and such. We know about Elder Beckey's GF because he has an album of a ton of their pictures and he showed us.
It doesn't sound like the visa is a big worry because I'll just be there as a tourist before they get the visa. I haven't heard anything from the lady at the church though, just Pres. Russel.
Sorry about the dryer mom. I'm excited to see a pic of Delaney's antelope. Hang in there with mountain biking peyton. Good luck for school to start, let me know how that goes. Sorry about getting pepper sprayed Matt, that sucks.
Well, Thanks for the goodies, love, letters, prayers and support.
Love, Elder Smith