(We got our first email from Austin today! Apparently Wednesdays are his P-day. ALSO, he mentioned it in the email, but he has been loving the Dear Elder letters. Sooo, send him one! You know you want to!)
Hello family! ha
I'll just start by saying the MTC is freaking awesome. I'm going to try and answer the questions you had for me in the "Dear Elder" letters (which are amazing ((keep them coming :) ))
1. How many Elders are in my district?
- There are 5 of us in our district all heading for Albania. My companion, Elder Anderson. Elder Owens, and Elder Holmes. We have a sister in our district too. Her name is Motra Leit. (motra means sister in Albanian).
2. Do I have the same teacher all the time?
- We started out with a teacher named Brother Peço. He is a Native Albanian! He was so awesome to learn from and answered a lot of my questions. Unfortunately, his english was sub-par at best. Nonetheless, he was an incredible teacher. He taught us Albanian and the gospel principles we have been learning/ how to teach people. He just left to go back home to Albania. Now we have a new teacher named Brother Herd. He is from Utah and served his mission in Albania. It is much easier to learn Albanian from him because he speaks good english ha.
3. Teachers taught us any cool things about Albania?
- I have learned a lot about Albania. It actually has a lot of people who are wanting to hear the gospel which is great. There are quite a few baptisms there. They are just starting to get laws there but from what I hear, they don't inforce them very well. Brother Peço said: "If you have gun in Albania, you can kill anyone!" hahahaha. I was dying when he said that. I don't know if that is the best thing to tell a bunch of missionaries who just got to the MTC. The other really funny thing Brother Peço said was when I asked him what communism was like in Albania. He said: "Communism... is like the Honor code at BYU." hahaha. He was a funny guy. Sad to see him go.
4. Do we spend all time on language or do we learn PMG too?
- We spend time on language and PMG. It's about even.
5. Have I seen any friends at the MTC?
- Of course! My whole ward is here haha! My companion Elder Anderson must think I'm the most popular person in the world ha. Matt Johnson, Logan Greenburg, Tyler Hatch (my EQ pres from BYU), Nathaniel Smith (I made sure to remind him that i've hugged his dad more recently than he has), and then a bunch more people from BYU but I don't think you would know their names. I probably know about 50 people here from school. It's great!
6. When is my P-day?
- Preparation day is every wednesday! I love the Dear Elder thing though. I think that is much better than email. Thanks!
7. Does the food taste better in the MTC than it did in the Cannon Center?
- hahaha. (no) But hey, food is food here at the MTC and i'll take what I can get.
8. How many roomates do I have?
- 3. (4 including myself)
9. Do they have pianos in the MTC?
- Yes, many. Unfortunately, a lot of them have signs on them saying no Missionaries are allowed to play this piano. I have gotten to play twice for about 2 minutes each time here so far. It's killing me haha.
10. Did I get the Cinnamon rolls?
- Yes I did! thank you so much! They were very good, but don't worry about sending more. There is plenty of food to go around here at the MTC.
11. When do I start learning Albanian (Alexis asked)
- Oh we have started haha. That is for sure. It is the craziest language of all time. I just sit there and wonder how it's going to work but I know eventually I will understand. It has been getting better. It is nothing like spanish. The language is from it's own roots so there aren't many similarities at all. There are hundreds of verb conjugations and none of them make sense haha. I will explain more about it later.
12. What is church like at the MTC?
- Great question. Church is kind of weird here ha. We have branch counsel meetings in the morning and then personal study. Then we have priesthood meeting. Then lunch, and then after lunch we have sacrament meeting. It is kind of confusing. It is cool though. The lessons are taught by amazing teachers. We have district meetings at night as well and then a Missionary fireside.
13. Are there weekly devotionals at the MTC?
- Yes there are. We had one last night from Gene R. Cook from the 70 and it was amazing. I would go into it but my timer is already down to 9 minutes!! ahhh!
14. Karen Miller names?
- Yes that would be awesome! Went to the Temple today. It would be nice to have some names. Thanks!!
Okay so now I can talk more about the MTC and what I've been up to!
When we got there things were crazy! I kept bumping into people I knew and they were all giving me a hard time because I had the little red sticker on my name tag saying i'm a new nerdy missionary haha. The days went by very slow at first but they are getting faster. Even though the days go slow, they are awesome. I have just never been this physically, mentally, and spiritually tired at the same time! It's awesome! I was called as District Leader last week. I have been working hard to be a great example and to do everything right. I am still yet to break a rule (Odd I know). I haven't been late to anything yet either-- Sometimes we have to run to make sure we get there on time ha. My companion Elder Anderson is great. He is from Utah and went to University of Utah last year...... At least it's not Michigan. haha So yeah, he is great. We both work very hard and keep each other on top of things. I want to thank you for your prayers. I know that i've been blessed a lot since i've been here. I would not know nearly as much Albanian as I already do if it weren't for your prayers and the Lord's help. The spirit here at the MTC is very strong. I love it so much. I love when we sing hymns here because the spirit is incredibly powerful through music--Especially when a couple hundred 19 year old guys who are all in the same boat about to serve missions in far away countries are all singing together. My district is awesome. I miss you all so much though. I love all of you guys. Ashley, thanks for the pioneer talk you sent me. Lex, I miss you so much. We need to hang out asap when i get back of course! haha. Mom and Dad, thank you so much for everything. You have prepared me so well for my mission. I am so blessed to have you as my parents. I hope someday I can be as good to my children as you were to me. My time is running out! 1 Minute!! I Love you all. The church is true! keep praying for me! I'm praying for you! Keep the dear elders coming! They are great pick me ups at the end of a hard day.. It stinks to pick up the mail for my distrct since i'm, DL and not have any for me haha. Anyways please Forward this email out. (Carter fam, baker fam, Steve Sobanski, and you know the rest!) I just don't want you to forget anyone! THanks for everything! I Love you!!!