Wednesday, August 31, 2011

David's first email from the MTC

This is the email that David sent to his email group on 8/30/11:
Hey Everyone!!
I hope you all are doing well. I am using my e-mail time right now in a laundry room and it is my P-day :). Things have been going good. When I got dropped off a guy took my suitcase and I got an MTC card. He took me to my room which is on the fourth floor of this building (the top floor) so that was kind of funny haha, but I don't mind. The first few days felt really long! I am studying Spanish, Preach My Gospel, and the Scriptures all of the time. It is kind of frustrating learning Spanish sometimes but I feel like I am doing pretty well. I went to my class right after getting my card and getting checked in and I met some of the Elders in my district and my companion. He is kind of nerdy but has a good testimony and has helped me focus on doing the work.
Sunday was probably my favorite day besides today. On sunday we had Priesthood meeting and sacrament which were both awesome! Later on that night we also had a fireside and it taught me a lot about how I can be a more effective missionary. We sang Called to Serve in this really cool way where we progressively got louder and standed up at the last few verses. I was on these stands and when we stood up together the entire thing shook around so it was pretty crazy haha. You could feel the spirit a lot though and I loved it. Later that night we watched the Joseph Smith movie too! Definitely was a good day.
I love all the guys in my district. They are all pretty fun and know how to have a good time but definitely are focused on being good missionaries too. We all are going to Spanish speaking missions and my compainion Elder M is going to Mexico Cuciacan also. We are all on different levels of spanish knowledge but learning very fast. We go study spanish and the scriptures almost all day so it was hard to adjust to at first but I feel like I am getting a better grasp on things now. I definitely feel like I'm one of the ones better off with knowing spanish too.
The first couple days here we got to meach the Branch Presidency too and they interviewed each of us. It was a more of a get to know you interview so it wasn't bad and they just asked about us and what we want to do as missionaries. I'm learning about my purpose as a missionary and know that my main purpose is to bring others unto Christ. Through Christ the investigators are able to do just about everything else! We have memorized that and I am trying to memorize it in Spanish also.
I go to the gym each day and I try to run at least a mile and then do situps also. I'm determined to not gain weight while I am here and so far have been successful. I feel like I'm actually getting in better shape because I am watching what I am eating and avoiding the sweets. I can see how it is hard though because there is so much food and it is ridiculous.
I hope everyone is doing well! I love you guys and I appreciate your prayers. I'll try and tell you all more about what is going on but things on soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ready to go

On August 21, 2011 David gave his 'farewell' talk. He spoke about accountability and how our choices affect our lives. It was a great talk and he did a great job. His siblings and several friends were there to see him speak. After he spoke we all went in the Bishop's office where the Stake President, Richard Larson, set David apart as a Missionary.

The Carlson family (minus Derek).

David with 5 of his nieces and nephews. They adore him. He's a great uncle. We're going to take a similar picture when he returns so we can see how everyone has grown!

The entire Carlson group with spouses. David has a lot of family members that love him!

Tyler, David and I left right after church on 8/21/11. We drove to St George and spent the night. The next day we drove up to Provo where we spent most of the day shopping for final items that David needed for his mission.  On Tuesday we went to the Salt Lake Temple. We did more shopping and had a nice dinner. It was great having a few days together before David left. He was very excited, and ready to go. Tyler and I were happy to be able to have some individual time with him. And, him spending 3 days with his mom and dad made him REALLY ready to leave!  The above picture is of David and mom at the Provo Temple just before dropping him off at the MTC.

Tyler and David at the Provo Temple.

When we dropped him off we pulled up to the curb. There were many missionaries there cheering for him and welcoming him. We pulled his luggage out of the car, he gave Tyler a hug and me a hug and a kiss. His 'host' missionary introduced himself and helped with one of David's suitcases. And, off they went! David didn't look back. And, I didn't cry till he was walking away. He was very excited and ready to begin his mission!

And so it begins . . .

David's mission papers were submitted the beginning of May, 2011. He was hoping to receive the call 2 weeks after the papers went in. The calls usually come on a Thursday. So, when the Thursday 2 weeks after the papers were submitted arrived and David checked the mail he was disappointed to find nothing for him. We figured it would be another week until his call arrived. However, the next day (Friday, May 20th, 2011) when his dad checked the mail the call was there! We contacted family members and friends and arranged a 'big reveal'. People were on the phone and on skype and David opened the call. Imagine our surprise when he read "Mexico, Culiacan Mission". Nobody had guessed Mexico as the place he would be called. David was thrilled because he wanted to go to a foreign country and wanted to go someplace where they spoke Spanish.  I was a little nervous at first because Mexico can be scary. But, when I thought about how the Lord protects his missionaries I knew he would be ok. And, it's a wonderful place to serve. So many people are interested in the gospel.  David was to report to the MTC on August 24, 2011. So, he had about 3 months to prepare.