Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aug. 27, 2013

I will try and write more.  This week has been pretty good. Sunday has been the highlight except for today.  Sunday, we studied from 7am-8am and then went down to the cafeteria to get breakfast, which was just cereal on Sundays and muffins, it was pretty good.  We studied afterward till 10:40, when we had priesthood, which Brother Jackson, one of the counselors in my branch presidency taught about the atonement and why it matters to us. It was good, and I really liked. We now have a new District Leader, Elder Jensen from Washington.  We call him Cabelo de Fogo ( Head of Fire) because of his bright red hair. Hes a lot of fun and reminds me a lot of Uncle Spencer.  Hes a really good artist as well. I will try to include some of his artwork, just don't ask for the back story, its really long. We're having a lot of fun though. Sacrament was at 2:00pm-3:00. I don't know if you knew this, but they don't assign people to talks before the meeting. They send out a general notice about the topic of the meeting and then everybody rights a talk about it. Its usually something from preach my gospel.  Then one of the branch presidency will get up and read off three names of the people who have been selected and they have to come up and get to give a 4 minute talk about that topic in Portuguese.  Its kinda of cool, but really nerve racking especially if you didn't prepare a good talk. All the hymns we sing are in Portuguese, I even have my own small Portuguese hymnbook. Usually after that we have a Sunday walk up to the temple for about 45 minutes, come back down to dinner and then some of us go to choir practice.  A devotional is given that night,this time by the missionary department head, which was really cool! Then we watch a film put out by the church, there is usually a selection of about 4. We watched as a district this time the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. It was fantastic! I highly recommend it if you ever have an hour and a half to just sit and watch it. I think its on LDS.org.
Monday we got up and played volleyball as a district in the morning which is a lot of fun.  We do that every Monday morning and its just awesome.  We'll have our entire district playing and a few others and we have a blast. Nobody else has gotten their visa yet.  We're all waiting with baited breath, but we're all probably going to get reassigned. I'm hoping for the deep south or in the southwest, somewhere where it is warm, b/c all I have is Brazilian clothing. Today has been pretty good. We were able to go to the temple and do an endowment session there and I actually saw my Trek parents, Bishop Wentzel and wife there in that session, but I didn't have a chance to go talk to them.  It really is a small world. After that we came back, studied for a little bit and then went to lunch, did laundry and here I am typing out emails. Thanks for the addresses! I don't know if I want to do a general letter, b/c i like to personalize them to the person, even they are short.

Tomorrow we get to greet the hosting missionaries as they come in the MTC and we're really looking forward to that! Its kinda of funny to see them come to the MTC b/c it is a totally fish out of water look when they come to the MTC. When you get to the MTC you get an orange dot placed on your nametag so everybody knows that you are new and is saying welcome to the MTC, and it kinda of overwhelms people sometimes,but it will be fun. It was like that when I got here. Then tomorrow night, my companionship is helping with some of the greeting new missionaries as they get used to the MTC.  

Right now I don't really need anything.  Though if I do, I'll make sure that you know.   I have been taking a lot of pictures, its just mostly nature shots of the MTC if that makes any sense. I figured out how to send pictures, but its a bit difficult and I can only send a few at a time because the files are so large.  I will reset the settings on my camera to make them smaller file sizes. The only thing I think I could need would be some memory cards. One of the elders said that they were doing was just filling up a memory card and then sending it back to their family. They do sell memory cards here, but they are kinda of expensive.  Maybe if I have enough cash left over. I will try to send some with every email though. Jelly Belly jelly beans would be appreciated as well.  Thanks for the ties! If you ever need to send ties again, can they be polyester and not silk, b/c polyester are indestructible in comparison.  Thanks for the food!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 20, 2013

Thanks for the pictures!  The MTC is going okay right now. I am recovering from having a cold/flu this weekend which was pretty miserable, but I got through it. I lost my voice on Sunday and got it back Monday, but had other symptoms throughout the rest of yesterday. I did get your package! Thanks for the food and pants! I needed the pants b/c I went to put on a pair of pants last week and found out that they were way too small. i don't know how they got in there, but  they did. This last week has been pretty interesting. Last Tuesday night, Richard G. Scott gave a devotional about how to pray and it was really good. He was quite funny on the way out b/c you could tell he didn't want to leave the devotional. He turned around and stopped at 3 times at least to wave and say goodbye. It was funnier b/c the entire Marriot Center was silent until he did. It was a great talk though. Sunday night we had Via Sikahema,the first tongan on the BYU Football team and now a Sports Broadcaster and Emmy award winner come back to talk to us about his mission to the South Dakota mission (if you don't know who he is, you could probably ask president Kinard about him).  He was quite funny. He wouldn't let us take any notes b/c he just wanted us to listen. I really liked it. He had one of his converts there as well to bear his testimony about missionary work and the influence that it had on his life. Tonight there is a devo at the Marriot Center, and rumor has it another general authority is going to speak. Thats really cool that President Kinard  is the new Stake President, though I'm really not surprised. I wish I could have been there for President Hollands talk.
We are now half way through the MTC! I like it here, but I can't wait to leave to get out in the mission field. Thanks for all your letters, it really brightens my day whenver I get them. I did get a message from Regina, so I need to make sure to write her back when i get time to.  A lot of people emailed me so I'm trying to punch out emails as fast as I can. Thanks for the addresses, do you know if you could send me the facebook emails for Jake, Stirling,basically any of the young men you think I would want to write to,and Teresas and Bethany (Elis)? Do you know how to get those? You just go to their profile page, click on about at the top in the bar where its has their pictures and likes, usually right beneath their cover photo. Scroll down and on the right side it should have an email address, usually something like Stirling.Fordham24@facebook.com, something like that, I don't actually know stirlings though. Anybody else you think I should have would be great as well. Nobodys visas have come in yet, but everybody is still waiting with baited breath.

Thanks for writing!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

13 August, 2013

Thanks for writing and emailing me while in the MTC. It means a lot to get mail here.  Sounds like everything its going pretty good. I got an email from Caroline and she said that marching is going really well.  So far in the MTC, we have a pretty regular routine, so it gets kinda of boring at times. At night, I'm trying to read from Jesus the Christ in German so help keep that sharp.  My Portuguese is coming along all right, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Its so weird not to be going to school right now.  It feels like we've been in the MTC for a lot longer than 2 weeks. My companions and I are getting along great right now! We got to go the Provo temple this morning and watch the new film and that was a lot of fun!  I don't know if you caught this in my last letter, but Jennie Oaks Baker played at our Sunday night Devotional not this last Sunday, but the Sunday before and it was amazing. Even her kids can play really well!  We have devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday night and they have all been really good. Tonight, we're having a devo that is being broadcast to all of the MTCs world wide, but we never know who is speaking until we get there. I'm in the choir and its a lot of fun.
Not much out of the ordinary goes on here. Mostly its the same thing over and over and over. We've taught 4 lessons in Portuguese so far and we have a new investigator tomorrow as well. That will be fun! I've taken a lot of pictures, but I can't really send them. I got 3 pictures on the computer and I'll try and forward them to you.  The other elder in the picture is Elder landro, but I didn't get one of Elder Carolson. The other one is of my district.

Thanks for all the letters! It really helps a lot. They do have document pouches here so I'll get on of those. I need to get 1-2 more pairs of garments, but those i can also get here.  The only thing I really want/kinda need but not essential is more black pants and 1-2 more ties. The pants I have right now are Dockers black 32/32. Those work  really well.  Thanks for the package of food, we've eaten through it all already. It was really good. Can you tell Bishop thanks for the email?  Thanks for writing me and I'll try to send letters if I can!

Love Ben.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

1st Letter

Hey Mom!
This is my first p-day at the MTC. I only get p-days on Tuesday so thats why its been so long. The MTC is so much fun here. We wake up at 6am, get dressed and go to breakfast to be at class by 7:00.  We're already teaching our first "investigator" named Joam in portuguese, but we are by no means fluent.  Turns out most people here took some Spanish and are getting the language much faster, but it is coming along. Most of our day is spending studying either portuguese or preparing our next lesson in portuguese, its crazy.  We taught our first lesson in our language on Friday, and that was really difficult. My companion, Elder Landro, took AP Spanish so he has a pretty good grasp on the language already for how much time we've been learning it, so he is the one who mostly talks, but our lessons are still mostly scripts, though we are trying to get away from those. Here at the MTC we don't get to back to residence until 9:30pm after a full day of teaching so by then we are exaushted. Sundays and p-days are the best, b/c we don't have to work as hard and have some time to relax.   My district had 13 people in it on Wednesday, but we're already down to 11, and two are walking injured. Two people left early today for the Brazil MTC b/c their visas cleared and everybody can't wait to get one. One person has a concussion and the other dislocated his shoulder on Friday in gym. Makes for an exciting day.
There is a lot of food here, though not all of it good. I've learned to beware the waffles b/c they are like cardboard, no joke. But on the whole, it is pretty good and you can eat as much as you want. I've been trying to watch how much I've eaten so I don't gain a lot of weight here b/c we  only get to exercise for 50 minutes a day. Tell Tom when he gets to the MTC, he NEEDS to exercise b/c most of the day is spent in a chair. 
I've seen a few ward members around the MTC which is a little weird at times. I've seen Austin Gorge, Brenna Donnelly, Seth and Katie Percival from first ward. I've only seen them really in passing when we're hurrying from one place to the other. Thanks for all the mail and packages.  Its so cool to get something in the mail.  I did get your package and a package from Uncle Michael so if you could tell him thank you for me. I've been sharing all the goodies with the people from my district b/c I'm really the only one getting food and I've have quite a bit of it. Could you send me address both email and house address for people in the ward and friends that I have on facebook, b/c most of the time I can only get a physical letter sent during the regular week and can only email on Tuesdays for max 1 hr.  Its been a lot of fun here though! I hopefully will be able to see Joshua when he gets here tomorrow! Obrigado!
Love Ben
P.S. I can't email pictures right now b/c the MTC computers won't let me, so I 'll try to find a way, but it may have to wait. Sorry.