Thursday, February 12, 2015

First p-day e-mail!

Hi Mom!!!
My first P-Day has been awesome so far! We woke up really early like at 5:45 to go to the temple with my zone. It was such a special experience to do a session with our zone. We have grown so close and we are one big family away from home. We all have different stories and backgrounds and are so different its amazing how close we have become in just one week. But wow, where to start. The food is good, but not amazing. I think its just Cannon center food. The best part is the unlimited ice cream! :) There are orange creamsicles, rootbeer float ice cream popsicle things, ice cream sandwiches and other stuff and you can just grap whatever you want. The first few days I went crazy with that stuff but I started eating healthier and work out with the other elders every Gym period because it just makes you feel better physically. 
 Like I said in my hand written letter, I am in a trio companionship. Elder Holmes and Elder Stott are my two companions. They are so amazing and we've just become such great friends. Elder Holmes in serving in Guadalajara Mexico and Elder Stott is serving in San Jose, Costa Rica. We are the only foreign missionaries in our zone. Elder Stott is the white muscular one and Elder Holmes is the Spanish looking Elder. I know we took a picture with Josh on our service project morning but I have more pictures with us that other Elders took with their cameras. Hopefully they can send them to me and I can relay them to you at some point. 
 The language is coming along but it is really frustrating trying to teach lessons and having a language barrier. We've been teaching an "Investigator" almost every day all in spanish. She is actually a teacher here and already a member, I think, but they don't tell you that so the experience is as real as it can be. I have learned that as long as you focus on bringing the spirit into the lessons, it can still be a great lesson even with the language barrier. This has reaffirmed my testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. I will have an idea of what to say or how to answer her questions (Valeria is our Investigator) but I can't figure out how to say what I want to so many times and its really tough. I understand a lot more spanish and can pick up a lot of what she is saying to me though which is cool.  I heard from an RM here that Mexicans speak some of the fastest Spanish in the world and no matter what I learn here, I'm going to go into the field and not understand anything for a few weeks...great hahaha. I want to learn as much as I can here at the MTC though, and be as prepared as possible. It is pretty tough to stay diligent and focused crammed in a small room in class for 8 hours a day, especially cause everyone gets along with each other so much we get distracted. My companions have a bigger problem then me at staying focused and that't the only thing that I can say poorly about them. Its the Lord's time and it bothers me when its wasted at times throughout the day. 
 Its hard for me to not have any alone time and it overwhelmed me a bit in the first few days but I am getting used to it and the incredibly busy schedule. We almost have no down time from when I wake up until I lay my head down at night. I really needed this P-Day for some R&R. I also got to sing in the MTC choir for devotional this past tuesday! It was such a cool experience, I can't wait for a General authority to come speak one week so we can sing for him. 
 In this first week at the MTC we have had a couple meetings with the branch President Doman, which have really been more like testimony meetings. And both times everyone just weeps as the testimonies are being shared. The Spirit is so strong in those meetings it is tangible. What really got everyone was when Sister Doman started talking about our future sons and how they are going to rely on your experiences as a Missionary and look at you for answers and see you as the most incredible man they know. I can't really explain it very well but wow it was powerful. What she described was exactly how I look at Dad and exactly what I want to be to my children. I love the MTC so much, I know Christ walks these halls looking over his army. Where else in the world are you going to see 18-20 year old young men and women preparing to share the teachings with Christ all day everyday to preach the truth to the World? I know this is sacred ground and there is an explicable feeling here. 
 I love you all so much. I hope all is well.
 Love, Elder Smith

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