Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm in Mexico!

Hola Familia!

Well I am finally in Mexico and it is my Pday. Things have been going pretty good here but definitely has been taking some adjustment. We spent 7 hours in the Mexico City airport on the way here, which was definitely weird. Lots of people talking to us and me not understanding what they were saying.. We took this little plane to Culiacan afterwards too and didn´t end up getting there until 11 40 at night! When I got off the plane the it was so hot and humid too! But I was very excited to be there of course. Our Mission President, Presidente CantĂș, picked us up from the airport in culiacan and took us directly to one of the mission apartments in Culiacan to stay the night. There was a lot of missionaries in there that night too so it was pretty crowded.. Presdente Cantu gave us some good advice on the way to drop us off but I was kind of distracted by the crazy driving in Mexico too haha. The next day we had some interviews with him and then he assigned us our trainers and areas. I´m in a part of Mazatlan right now with Elder Ward. He´s from Utah and has been in Mexico for 4 months, so it´s just us 2 gringos ha. Some people like that and other people don´t. But he is good at Spanish so we are getting by. I definitely am struggling on the other hand. Everyday I´m learning some more but it is a lot harder than I thought.

We have been teaching some lessons to a couple of our investigators and to some less active members. Those have been going good but Elder Ward has been doing most of the talking right now because I have been a little afraid to talk. I´m slowly getting over that, but it is hard sometimes because I don´t know how to say something. Sometimes I understand what they are saying and other times I have no idea. So I have to ask Elder Ward what they are saying sometimes.. It seems like it is starting to get easier though. We do a LOT of walking also. We have two areas that we are covering so that is part of the reason. The other reason is because we only have 3 investigators right now so we are trying to find more people to teach. We did get some more people we´re going to try and teach this week though. So hopefully that goes well.. Church was good on Sunday. Everyone is friendly and most people assume you are from Utah but ask where you are from. So I tell them I´m from San Diego and talk a little bit more. Then I get pretty quiet because I don´t know what to say ha. But Elder Ward is really good at talking to them and everything.. I´ll get there eventually. I´m starting to talk more.

It´s definitely and adjustment being in Mexico though. Lots of people ride motorcyles and scooters since it is cheaper. I have seen some pretty interesting things like a family of 5 on one scooter ha. There are a lot of very poor people here, but they all seem to be very nice and friendly. A lot of them when we have been knocking on doors will tell us they are busy if they don´t feel like talking to the missionaries though.. Lots of people will invite us and in and give us water (purified water, so no worries) even if they aren´t really interested in the Church. It is awesome to see how the Gospel has changed some of the investigators lives that my companion has taught. Because he was here with a different companion for 3 months before this. I´m excited to help some more people learn about the gospel and see them change their lives too. I´m doing good and learning a lot everyday though. Definitely is different now being in the real world and in Mexico but I am enjoying myself.. It is very hot though! So we carry around these little towels to wipe are faces. It´s starting to cool down a little bit but it doesnt get to cold here.

I´ll have to attatch some pictures at some point. I´m doing well and I hope everyone is fine at home. Thank you for your letters, prayers, and support as always. I´ll try and tell some good stories soon!

Elder Carlson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Traveling to Mexico!

David found out Friday that he will actually be departing on his 'estimated departure date' of 10/24/11. He leaves Salt Lake City airport at 9am, arrives in Mexico City at about 3pm. He's there for a 6 hour lay-over and then arrives in Culiacan at 10:40pm. It will be a long travel day but he's excited. He will call home during the lay-over. The family is VERY excited about this!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Almost out of the MTC!

Hola Familia!

Well it looks like I have made it to my last week here at the MTC. It's seems like I have been here a lot longer than 2 months in some ways because it just sounds really weird going back out into the real world. It has been better than I thought it would be but I'm definitely ready to get out of here and go to Mexico!!, Unfortunately I haven't gotten my travel plans yet, but they always make sure to get you out of here with in a day or 2 of your original departure date (which is the 24th).. This is what happened to one of the other districts above us who went to Mexico too, they ended up not getting their travel plans till just a couple days before they left but everything worked out fine. There usually isn't a problem getting visa's to Mexico either, like some of the other hispanic countries so I'm not really worried. Just really hope I get them soon! It still could be today,so I'll try and send a short e-mail out if I get it today still.

Anyways this week has been pretty hecktic but still good. We had to move our buildings like I talked about. It was crazy because Elder Morrise and I had to take apart our bunkbed and then move it to another building near us! It ended up working out fine but was crazy having everyone in that building moving beds and what not out of the building at the same time. You think they would of planned that out a little better but it still worked out fine.. The room we are in now though has 6 Elders, including myself, so it is really packed! 3 bunkbeds in one room, and Elder Morrise and I are splitting a closet. Luckily we wont be here for much longer so that's good. And we got 2 Elders from our district in our room with us (Elder Preece and Later). The other 2 random missionaries are going to Germany. So it is kind of funny how we just have a big variety of missionaries. They have been really nice though and it's nice to have some company, just crowded. I'm showering at night before I go to bed now because it's pretty crazy in the morning having so many missionaries on each floor. 

Besides that Elder Morrise and I taught a lesson on Sunday to our district on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went well and we were prepared so that was good! Luckily I didn't get called on to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting, but I still have one more chance for that to happen next week. We got a new branch president on Sunday also which was kind of fun. The new branch president seems nice and he served a mission in Argentina like 35 years ago or something. He speaks some spanish then, but he acts like he knows hardly anything. Only got a few more days with him but he seems nice. We also get a new district tomorrow and I'm pretty sure we are hosting new missionaries again? Not completely positive though!.. Hosting missionaries last wednesday was really fun. It was nice being able to show them where their room and class is and what not. They had a lot of questions too and it reminded of me when I first got to the MTC and had no idea what was going on either. The only part that was interesting was carrying one of the missionaries suitcases up a ton of stairs! I managed alright though haha. 

I can't wait to get to Mexico! I have learned so much while I have been here. Spanish and about the Gospel. I enjoy reading the scriptures now more than I ever have. Elder Morrise and I get to do this little thing where we teach a lesson to another "investigator person" but in front of like 50 of the new missionaries on Wednesday. It's a little practice thing the day you arrive at the MTC to show you kind of what it will be like and what you need to know to start teaching people. We had a training meeting yesterday too where we met with the other missionaries who got selected to do this... I can't wait to teach some lessons in Spanish to the people in Culiacan! Hopefully everything works out well, but I'm sure it will. I'm not worried. I hope everything is going good with people at home. Thank you always for your support and prayers.

Adios MTC!

Hasta Lluego Familia,
Elder Carlson

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Semana Siete

Hola Familia!
  Well this week has been pretty good so far! I enjoyed Sunday again and I was surprised that in Church nobody in our district got called on to give a talk. The district above us left this morning, including my roommates at like 5am! So I was woken up while they were finishing packing a couple things and told them goodbye. One person from their district and someone from the district under us got called to give talks though. So I'm sure we will get called on next. It's weird being the oldest district in the Zone now because I don't feel like we have been here that long, however it seems like a really long time when I think about that first week I got here. As I had mentioned before the people who get called on to give talks are called randomly that day in sacrament, so you are supposed to have a little talk prepared in Spanish beforehand on whatever the weekly subject is. Maybe I'll get lucky and not get called on however, if I do a lot of the Elders just talk a little bit about the subject in, share a few scriptures, and then bear their testimony about it.
  There are a few things different things going on this week! Which is great because anytime there is something different here it is exciting :).. The building that our zone moves in is going to begin getting renovated this week so we are going to get moved into a new building on Thursday. I haven't mentioned it very much but there has been a lot of construction going on at the MTC the entire time I have been here. It seems like kind of a funny time to do it, but the buildings definitely needed some updates so that is good! The bummer is that we are going to probably be stuck into a room with 4 other Elders, so there will be 6 Elders to a room possibly! And I don't know if we will stay with our District, and if we do, it's even more unlikely that we will stay with our Zone. So that kind of isn't fun because I don't want to have to pack twice, but I'm just going to leave one of my suitcases packed this time. It might be nice to have some new roommates too as long as they are nice and not super messy (specially with 6 of us!!).. Now that it is finally getting colder here too they told us on Sunday we have to always wear our Suit jackets around the MTC now. You can take them off in class, but everywhere else we are pretty much wearing them now. It was pretty weird because there was one day where it all of the sudden dropped like 20 degrees and was raining quite a bit. Ever since then the weather has been a little colder, but today is a really nice day outside. I like the rain too! It only rained in the morning and a little bit in the afternoon for about 2 days... The best thing happening this week though is I'm supposed to be getting my travel plans!! We usually get them on Thursdays so I'm really excited for that to happen! I should be leaving in less than 2 weeks now, crazy! I'm getting ancy to leave but still learning a lot.
 We have finished our grammar activity book in Spanish now, so I know most of the common spanish verb forms now (including present and past subjunctive, for those who know any spanish). The hard thing is remember how to conjucate each individual verb because there are so many irregular verbs, and then remembering to speak it is another task too. I feel like I'm getting better at it each day. Our district each week resets the goal to speak Spanish from 8am- 9pm, and we aren't always sucessful but we have been doing a better job about it. Yesterday we spoke Spanish pretty much all day except for gym time. Besides that things are about the same. Our roleplay investigators are doing pretty well. We were talking to Luis about baptism however and he said that his Esposa (which means wife in Spanish, but she is his girlfriend) who he has a little daughter with want to get married to eachother, but she is having a hard time getting the divorice papers processed from her previous husband. I guess in a lot of other countries getting legally divoriced can take years sometimes too. So we haven't figured out exactly what to do about that, but we encouraged them to pray and fast. We have been encouraging him however we can and teaching him more about the Gospel. Eva is doing well too and we have taught her a lot more of the lessons about the Gospel. She reads her scriptures and prays with her family every night so that is great. Her husband might be interested in learning from us also.... We're doing some more practice teaching in our classes now too, because we aren't going over the grammar book as much in Spanish. Each day we still learn something new in Spanish, but a lot more time is being spent just practicing. I hope that my Spanish is good enough for people to understand what I'm trying to say when I need to by the time I get to Mexico! I'm sure it will come a lot faster once I'm living there too.
Look forward to writing everyone again, hopefully with my travel plans here when I do too! Thanks again for all your letters, support, prayers, and love. Hasta lluego!
Elder David Carlson

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tres Semanas Mas - MTC 10/4/11

Hola Familia!
Como estan Ustedes? Things are going good here! Time feels like it is starting to go by faster again. It's crazy to think that I only have a few more weeks until I will finally be heading to Mexico. This weekend was good because we got to switch up our schedules and watch General Conference. We watch it in the gym where we watch our devotionals each Tuesday. Also we had a lot more time for studying and didn't have class on Saturday like we usually do. It was awesome to hear all the talks about Christ and missionary work. I thought there was a lot of powerful testimonies and some good information. Boyd K Packer's talk about following the Holy Ghost was really awesome and I always like Uchtdorf's talks. I think it is good information for everyone to know that the worth of souls is great in the eyes of the Lord and that we shouldn't ever feel discouraged and think we are worthless. We all have a very important purpose here.
My Spanish seems to be coming along good still but it's not as good as I want it to be. It's a little frustrating sometimes to know exactly what is being said to you in Spanish but not knowing how to reply back. I'm getting a lot better at it though and it is coming with time and practice. Hermano Carter and Hermana Scott help us learn a lot more about the language each week too and how to be more effective missionaries.. Besides Conference being different there are some new things going on my district. Elder Patrick (Elder in my district) finally got his Visa and travel plans. So they are transfering him to the Peru MTC for his last 3 weeks before he goes to Bolivia. It's a little sad to see people go but I'm always way always way excited for them and a little jealous at the same time. He leaves tomorrow though. Also a week from today Elder Chadwick and Elder Perry (my roommates) are leaving to the Arcadia, California (spanish speaking) mission. So it will be weird having them gone! I'll have to take some pictures with them before they go. The one other new thing I can think of that is going on is that tomorrow we are getting a new district in our zone. Which will make us older than 2 other districts now. Then next week we will be the oldest district in our Zone! So weird, but good at the same time. It's an interesting phenomenon how you always look at the people who have been here longer than you as older though, because a lot of times that's not the case.
We are making more progress with our "investigators" in our lessons. We have been teaching Luis (Hermano Carter) about the Plan of Salvation and answering some of his questions for what our purpose here is. We taught him how to pray, so it was good to see him be able to make a stronger connection with God. Eva (Hermana Scott) also is doing well and we are trying to get her "husband" to come to one of our lessons. We think that it would be really helpful to bring him a long and teach them both about things... One of the things we learned this week is how to listen to our investigators better. They always tell us to "teach people, not lessons". Everything flows a lot better that way and it allows the Spirit to guide the lesson more. We try and answer the questions they have as best as we can and are learning that there needs to be silence in the our lessons sometimes to give them time to think about what is being said. I look forward to going to TRC each week and teaching random people lessons too. Next week we are going to teach our first 40 min lesson there. Most lessons are around 10-20 minutes, which actualy goes by really fast especially when you are trying to explain everything as best as you can in Spanish.
Thank you for you prayers and all the support you guys are to me. I hope your week is going well and I hear from you again soon.
Elder Carlson