Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Email of September 27, 2011

Hola Familia!,
Well another week has gone by at the MTC and things are going pretty good still. I'm glad I am past the halfway point in the MTC and it seems like I have been here forever but that I just left also. Each day is pretty long and each week is fast. Today is a pretty normal P-day and I'm just getting my laundry done and don't know exactly what our devotional will be tonight. Sunday was good because it was testimony meeting again this week! Whether the testimony was in Espanglish or English they were all pretty good and I felt pretty inspired by them! Later that night we had a devotional and our speaker talked a lot about the different things missionaries have to go through. We all make different sacrafices to be there but it is for the Lord's work and to help teach people about him and how they can feel closer to him. He had different missionaries get up on the stage and tell something they sacraficed in order to go on their mission. He kept making jokes about different things though and had people stand up during different parts whether we have felt discouraged since we have been here and whether we have felt comforted since we have been there. Pretty much everyone in the building stood up for both.
We also got to go to a Mission Conference instead of our normal priesthood meeting during that time which was cool. One of the interesting things one of our speakers talked about was how Pride is pretty much Satan's biggest tool in people. Pride is often the root of people having contention with one another, using hostile words, spreading gossip, and so on. Pride is something we all pretty much have to deal with, their is a tendency for people to be self-centered and not to think about others. The cure to Pride is Humility. We must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit in order to feel the light of Christ in our lives and to feel that joy that comes with helping other people. I'm glad I have the opportunity to help out other people for this time I am a missionary even though it is hard it will bring joy to my life and to theirs. The President of the MTC, President Brown, spoke too and one of his investigators happened to stop by that he had taught some 50 years ago beforehand that week. They talked about how the gospel had changed their life and how having that peace of knowing that God loves us has helped their family out. President brown hadn't seen them in over 40 years before that week so he was really excited that they had come and stopped by to see him. It is really cool to know that you can have an effect on someone for their whole life and in turn it will effect their family's lives too.
I'm learning Spanish a lot more and things are going well with our fake investigators still. We got Eva to commit to a baptismal date and she is reading the scriptures a lot. We also got a new teacher named Hermano Carter. It was sad because he replaced Hermano Diaz but we still see him a lot. Hermano Carter also serves as our new investigator "Luis". He is someone who doesn't really know much about God or Christ so we are just teaching him about Christ's ministry right now and going to go from there. I can't wait to teach some real people in Spanish and each week I look forward to our thing we do called TRC, where we teach a random person at this building. They are usually members of the Church, but it is cool just meeting someone new and teaching them something right away. I hope everything is going well for everyone at home. Thanks for your support and your prayers. Love you all! Hasta lluego.
Elder Carlson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Letter & photos

Today's letter along with some photos of the MTC
Hola Familia!!
This week has been very good! Our district is no longer the youngest district in our Branch. We got the new district on Wednesday and that was very exciting for some reason! Haha, you start looking forward to all kinds of stuff like that here. We haven't gotten to talk to them very much yet so hopefully they will open up. It is interesting though seeing them go through the same adjustment phase I went through about a month ago now. I can't believe I have already been in the MTC for 4 weeks now. We are going to be here about 9 weeks techinically so this week will be my half-way point, I don't know which day exactly though. We get our travel plans with the specific date that we leave 1 to 2 weeks before we head out of the MTC.
My Spanish is still coming along. I think I am improving each week because it seems like it is getting easier however there is so much I still don't know how to say. Our teacher Hermano Diaz started a new thing a couple days ago where 8am to 9pm we are supposed to speak only in Spanish throughout the day (except for P-days, on Tuesday). Our district has done pretty well with that but there are times outside of class where we forget and start speaking English. However in class he only allows us to say 15 words in English and marks one down each time we say one. We have to be pretty creative with how we say things sometimes because of our very limited Spanish vocabulary still. However, I'm glad we are doing this because it definitely makes learning Spanish a lot faster.
We study out of Preach My Gospel and in the scriptures everyday! I'm learning a lot about how to be an effective teacher and understanding a lot more in the scriptures too. During personal study time we read out of English scriptures and at other points of the day we prepare lessons to teach to our "investigators". We taught Eva about how families can be together forever through the Plan of Salvation and she really enjoyed that. She has been very open to praying with us now and seems interested in what we are teaching. David is doing pretty well too (pronounce it as Dah-ved haha). However it is a lot harder to teach him about things because he hasn't been praying with us. I know that prayer is very important in teaching people about how to be able to communicate with our Heavenly Father.
This week we were also given the Ensign magazine for October and told to read it before our devotional tonight! I'm excited and it sounds like we have gotten really lucky being able to hear from 2 apostles already! Usually there is one general authority a month, but not always an apostle. But tonight some people think it might actually be President Monson which would be really awesome because he hasn't spoken here in at least 3 years! Quite possibly longer (he has never spoken since our Branch President has been here). The Ensign talks a lot about the Book of Mormon this month and how it is similar to the Bible. I think there is going to be a special message for the missionaries about it tonight too so we will see. Either way it will be good.
Each week is getting closer to the date I head to Mexico so that is exciting. I still have a lot to learn but I'm itching to get out there! It's crazy how fast these first 4 weeks have gone by but at the same time it also seems like I have been at the MTC a lot longer. Almost like I am forgetting what is like to be out in the real world, but that isn't quite a bad thing because there is so many good things we get to learn here. Time just doesn't make sense while you are here and what day of the week it is doesn't really matter unless it is today (P-day) or Sunday haha.
It's great to hear from everyone and I love your Dear Elders and notes I am getting! I'm glad the family is doing well and I pray for you guys also. Thank you for your prayers and I look forward to talking to you all again soon!
Con Amor,
Elder David Carlson
With his MTC Companion

His MTC district at the Provo temple

The missionary purpose.

Trying to look prophetic.

That's where he's going!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

David's first photo from the MTC

I don't know the exact date of this photo but it's the first one we have received from David as he's been on his mission. Studying hard! Looking good!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Semana Tres

David's email received today:
Hola Mi Familia!
This week has gone very well! We are making more progress with our fake investigators and have had a lot of cool experiences. On Sunday there was a devotional in memory of the 9/11 attacks. We got to watch the broadcast of the Mromon Tabernacle choir and hear a special musical number beforehand. Sundays are one of my favorite days before P-days because of how relaxing they are. Sacrament was really good this week. We listened to a spanish talk by one of the Hermanas (sister missionaries) in the branch on baptism and then Brother McLay and his wife spoke about freedom and liberty. I didn't realize we were going to talk about the 9/11 stuff so much but it was very good to remember how important freedom and our country is. I love having our meetings in spanish. We sing the hymns in Spanish, the prayers are in Spanish, and missionaries are called upon that day to give talks in Spanish (so you have to have the prepared beforehand). However, they generally leave the people alone who have only been in the MTC for about 2 weeks since we know hardly any spanish. My spanish is coming along a lot though. I just wish I was learning even faster.
The mail room is being moved this week so I wont get any Dear Elders from the weekend and days this week until Thursday. Which is lame but oh well. It is also sad because 3 guys in my district are leaving tomorrow for the Peru MTC. I am going to miss having them in our district. It is strange how well I have already gotten to know them in 3 weeks just because we are with eachother practically all the time. I am a little jealous that they get to leave the country already but at the same time would be scared to go somewhere where they are speaking spanish all the time already! I can understand people speaking Spanish pretty good but it is hard to figure out how to respond in Spanish sometimes. Much easier to comprehend what they are saying and just respond in English haha. We got new Zone Leaders this week too because the oldest district left to Mexico and some states (2 of the guys were going to Culiacan Mexico so that was kind of neat to meet them while I was here too). Tomorrow I guess we are getting a new distirict in our branch too. Which is good because we wont be the youngest district in the branch anymore! Each week on Wednesday there are new Elders who enter the MTC but these are going to be the first ones I get to really see much of.
Thanks again for all the letters and Dear Elders you guys are sending me. I'm learning a lot about the gospel and I love my teachers. Hermano Diaz is probably my favorite because he just has a way of teaching things that makes everyhing make more sense than I have ever understood. This is with him only speaking in Spanish too, so he must be a really good teacher for me to understand it better in Spanish than I did in English haha. I hope everything is going well at home. The weeks are going by faster but there are still moments in the day that seem long. I love the spirit I feel here and have a lot of work to do still.
Hasta Lluego,
Elder David Carlson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 2 post from September 6, 2011

Hola Famila!
Gracias for your e-mails and letters. This week has been pretty good! Last P-day for our devotional we had a talk by Jeffery R Holland. It was very inspirational and you could feel the spirit a lot! I know that he is an apostle of the Lord. He taught us about our importance as missionaries and told us about how we are the most prayed for individuals in the Church next to the Prophet. It is a pretty comforting statment to think about and helps me out when things are feeling a little hard.
Learning Spanish is going well and I feel like I am making a lot of good improvements. I can bear my testimony and pray in spanish and each day my vocabulary is getting better. I understand spanish (listening) to it pretty good but speaking it is a bit hard. I love the guys in my district! They are all going through the same stuff as I am so it is nice to be able to talk to them and they are pretty funny too. My companion Elder M is really nice and helps me remember to do things to be a good missionary. The only problem with him is how slow he is sometimes! I wish he would just be faster, but I guess it's good to have someone to be able to tell what to do :). Just kidding. I'm getting along with everyone and love my teachers. We are teaching some new fake investigators. Our investigator "Juan" is now our teacher "Hermano Diaz". Hermano Diaz and Hermana Scott are both great teachers. We have a few hours of instruction from them in class each day. They mainly practice teaching us different skills we can use to teach people in spanish. They are our new investigators. David and Eva and we just started teaching them yesterday.
It was kind of weird for me at first to be doing the whole role-playing scenario but it really does help you practice being a missionary. People say that the MTC is the place where you are allowed to make mistakes, but nobody expects you to have anything perfect either. Haha. Thank you guys for the Dear Elders and for your thoughts and prayers.
I can't wait til I can go to Mexico! But being at the MTC is definitely needed and I am enjoying my time here. I have a lot to learn but I know I can do this and am very grateful for all the support I have from you guys and the people here.
I'm looking forward to going to the Temple later today and having devotional again. I know it wont be a general authority this time but they are always fun.
Hasta Lluego,
Elder David Carlson

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another update

David sent a 'real' letter on his P-day as well as the email post. Here's an excerpt from the letter:
"Hola familia!  Como esta mi familia?
This week has been crazy! Right away you are busy at the MTC when you get here. The first few days seem like weeks. I seriously can't believe I have only been here a week. But time is already starting to fly by faster and that is what the Elders who have been here longer told me. Like I mentioned they said if you can survive till Sunday everything starts going faster and getting easier. Besides adjusting though things have been great.  The Elders in my district are all fun and nice. We get along well and it is fun learning Spanish with them!  Two other Elders besides my companion are going to Mexico but different parts (Tijuana and Chihuahua), everyone else is going to Peru (4 Elders), Bolivia (1 Elder), and the United States (2 or 3 Elders).

We are teaching a 'fake' investigator named Juan in Spanglish.  Elder M is pretty smart but more awkward with how he says things. Our 'investigator' isn't willing to pray right now though because he is uncomfortable with it and doesn't feel close to God right now. His 'mother' was catholic and died not long ago. Tomorrow is our last lesson with him though and we are going to try to explain the plan of salvation better.

I am learning so much here but it is hard to get a grasp on the Spanish sometimes. Our leaders and teachers are all very helpful and have taught us a lot about our purpose and how to be effective missionaries. I'm trying to grow and set goals to be a better missionary. Today is P-day but we still have quite a bit going on. I'm about to go to the temple. That should be pretty fun! And tonight we have a devotional.

I love you all! . . don't forget about Dear Elder. It is free and I get it that day!   "