Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MTC Week Five

Hello everyone! Today I'm emailing from the laundry room! Fun stuff right?!

I'll start with the traditional questions!

1. How is the MTC?
-It's great! I really do love it here. The schedule is different everyday. For the most part, the day consists of 1 hour of gym, 8 hours of language and 3-5 hours of gospel study. It's pretty crazy. Everyday feels like it takes a year, but the days go by really fast. Doesn't sound like it makes sense, but it does. Then we have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We also have planning time and then some days have time for Devotional or personal time. Personal time is pretty much just for showering after gym and stuff.

2. Have I done any of Karen Miller’s names?
-Yes. I think i have done 9 or 10? I haven't sent them back yet. I will continue to work on that.

3. How do I know I won't get scabies?
-Well scabies are crazy. They basically just eat whatever flesh they want haha. They leave scabs all over your body. It is pretty crazy stuff. I don't know for a fact I won't get them but I did take the medicine that makes it so I won't have it at least for a while haha.

4. Do I wash my clothes every week?
- Haha yes I do. I am actually doing that right now. I do it the way it's supposed to be done too haha. Darks and Lights. I am pretty awesome at laundry. All the new Elders always ask for my help. They think I'm pro. They are right.

5. How do I print my pictures?
-They have a printing thing here at the MTC. It isn't always working though. I will try to keep sending pictures. Do you like when I do that/ have you gotten my new pictures yet?

6. Would I ever want you to send me a tape?
-That would be awesome. If you send me a tape, I will record some stuff and send it back!

7. Am I pumped to get to Albania?
-Yes haha. Very. I keep hearing awesome things about it. The people there are so open to talking about personal things. They are a very prideful people, but in a good way haha. They love americans, and they love soccer. I have been playing some soccer here at the MTC. I am getting pretty good. Hopefully I will show those kids how it's done when I get out there. More than likely, they will be showing me how it's done. I guess it's inpolite to wear your seat belt in a taxi. The driver will get very offended. Also, I hear that crossing the street in Albania is like Real life "Frogger". I'm pretty excited for that. The language is super hard haha. I try to keep a positive attitude but it's hard sometimes. I have been doing pretty good but there are a lot of annoying things ha. They have a grammar principle called "clitics" I will give you an example. If i were to say "I pray to God." I would have to say "I (to him) pray to God". That is a very simple example. Alexis, you know how in spanish you conjugate verbs? Well in Albanian, we conjugate nouns, verbs, adverbs, clitics, adjectives. EVERYTHING! It's insane.

8. Do I have the same companion the whole time at the MTC?
-Yes! And I love my comp. HE is awesome. He is so funny and always willing to work hard.


I know I didn't answer all of the questions but that was most of them. I think I covered a few questions in each answer so hopefully I got to most of them. I just don't have a ton of time. So yeah, this week has been great. I had a very amazing opportunity to hear an Apostle of God speak last night (tuesday). Jeffrey R. Holland made a stop by the MTC to speak to us. It was incredible to hear what the Lord wanted us to know. So many of my questions that I had been praying about were answered. It really made me understand the exact reasons I am on a mission. It is not MY mission, it is the Lord's mission, and I need to do it His way. Jeffrey R. Holland said a ton of awesome stuff. He talked about how people ask themselves: "Why is life so hard? Why me? Why can't it be easier to do the right things? Why do bad things happen to good people?" He said: "The atonement was not easy for Jesus Christ, Why should anything be easy for us." He went more in depth but I don't have time to go into everything. I just think it's important to understand that salvation is not a cheap experience. He said: "The road of salvation always goes through gethsemane". Jesus Christ died for all of us. He died so that we can be saved from sin. He has already done it. He has given us his gift. It is up to us whether or not we open the gift and use it. It is not something as simple as to say "I believe" We need to show that we believe. We need to go through difficult times. We need to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. We can't assume that we are saved by grace without doing anything. That is simply not true. We need to follow God's commandments. Sorry if this is sounding really bold but that is simply how it is.

- Another thing he said was how he knows It's hard for us as missionaries. He very quickly said that he is not sorry about that. He says that the church has given us everything. They gave us the Temple. The temple has EVERYTHING that the church has to offer. Once we are given the gift of the temple, the church has nothing left to give us. All of the substance is there. I just want to let you know how important I think it is to take every opportunity you have to go to the temple. It is such a wonderful blessing.
(okay back to the email)!


Mom- Hello mother! I just want to let you know I love you! I love coming back to the room at night and to look at our family picture and think "wow, my mom rocks. She is the bomb digity haha" But for real. You are awesome. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. So yeah, I met a sister here at the MTC who was super excited to see me. I don't know who she was but she said her mom and you taught together at the womens conference? I don't know ha. She told me to tell you I saw her. I'm glad to hear you had fun in PA. I wish I could have been there.

Dad- HAHAHAHA! I love how you continue to document about long boarding. I laugh so hard everytime. Everyone in my district says: "man, your dad must be so sweet!" haha they have no Idea. Thank you for all of you insights, I can't go into detail cause I'm running out of time. I really appreciate how you have sent me mail every day. It's awesome to know that there will always be at least one thing in the mailbox for me. Whether it's long or not, it is awesome.

Ashley- You have an official new name! Nice! Ashley Eckel Rasmussen! That's pretty exciting. I'm excited for you to be in provo even though we won't get to see eachother! I miss you ash bash! tell JD I love him too! I wish I could have been there with the whole family. Thanks for you letters. Sorry that This is so short, one of these days, i'm going to write you a real letter! You are an awesome sister! I love you!

Alexis- I love you Lexie lou! I'm glad you jam to my music haha. Keep it up! I am so excited for you to start your senior year! I remember how fun it was for me. Make the best of it even though you are taking real classes. I mean it was way awesome to not take real classes haha. But I'm sure you will still manage to have fun. Tell Dayna I say hi! And C-Mil! I love that little man! I answered some of your questions in the question section. I am going to send you a real letter too one of theses days. I have a present for you. I will send it tomorrow. You will like it. IT's pretty awesome. YOu can brag about me to your friends when you get it. Good luck this week at school! Tell Hauge I say Chkemy! That's not how you spell it but that is how you would say it in english! He will know what it means if he lived in albania!

Baker Family- I am writing you a letter! Mrs. Baker I have some answers to your questions I will be mailing you. I love your letters that you send!

Sister Fowler- I love you! ahh It was so good to hear from you. I miss seeing you at church!

Abi Tucker- Thanks again for the Dear Elder. IT's so encouraging to get mail from you!

Bro Lenahan- I'm glad the Product is treating you well! I love that thing! It is such a beast. It sounds like Michael is having a blas this summer! I have missionaries in my zone going to Brents mission! I can't wait for him to get my hellos from them!

Well I gotta go! Bye! I love you all!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

MTC Week Four

(Austin has already been in the MTC for a month! It's crazy! He seems to be doing well and has luckily escaped the Scabies scare! :) As always, he loves when he gets letters... so send him some!)

Hello Everyone! How is life?! ha

Let's start out with the normal questions!

1.Did I like the krispie kreme donuts?
-What a silly question! haha Of course I liked them! They were awesome and we do have a microwave which is nice.

2. Where am I in the Book of Mormon?
- I am almost through 2nd Nephi. I have been taking it very slow. Some days during personal study, I only get through a chapter or two. I have been "feasting" upon the word of the Lord. It is awesome to disect each and every verse.

3. Have I already learned the basic Albanian/ Now are you just learning gospel stuff?
- Heck no! haha I have a lot to learn of Albanian. Most of the day is spent learning Albanian. It is a very difficult language. I can read Albanian perfectly now which is great (I can pronounce all the words and sounds). Now I just need to be able to comprehend it haha. There are hundreds and hundreds of grammer rules and tons of exceptions to the rules which gets frustrating sometimes but I know that everyone's prayers have been helping. I have been getting extra help from God learning the language.

4. Is it hard to pronounce the language?
-It was tough at first but I am pretty good at it now. Sometimes I practice reading English words the way an Albanian would read them. It sounds hilarious. While learning Albanian, I have realized how crazy English is. English makes zero sense haha. None the less, I love english. It is funny though because the sister missionary we have is from Denmark and she was talking about learning english and she always talks about how our alphabet is pointless because the letters don't sound like the name of the letters which is true haha.


Okay! Those were the only questions I got this week. Try thinking of some more because that really helps me know what to say in the emails! It gets a lot more information out of me than me just rambling on about who knows what haha. So yeah it has been a good week here in the MTC. A very stressful, yet fulfilling week. The language is getting crazy. Crazy awesome. It is really hard but it's fun. Some days I leave class thinking I will never learn Albanian, and then the next day, all of the concepts we were taught the day before just make sense! (Coincidence? I think not!) Oh, here is the Albanian phrase of the week: Mos ia fut kot -- don't you lie to me. haha we have been saying this to eachother as a joke lately and it is pretty funny. Here is how you say it. (I will type it how we would speak it in english) Mose (most without the "t") E (the letter sound) + u (up without the "p") Fute (flute without the "L") Coat. ---- Mos ia fut kot. anyways, I hope that made sense? But yes, the classes we have been having are awesome. I learn so many gospel principles in them. Our zone leaders left this past week. I am going to miss them so much. They were great examples. Our zone is down to 7 people right now. Smallest zone in the MTC. most have over 50. It is just us (albanians) and the Hungarians. It's awesome. I love our zone! I will be sending more pictures home soon. Speaking of which, I would love more pictures! They are great to have in the room. But yes, we get 22 new missionaries in our zone this week. Some are going to Pocotella Idaho! I can't wait for them to tell brent I say hello! I have trouble remembering all of what happens during the week without looking at my journal because the days all just blend together. I feel like it was yesterday that I was being dropped off, yet it's already been a month! Crazy! Oh here is a cool little fact. In my planner I have been keeping track of how many times teachers here in my meetings/ classes have said "Make A Difference". So far, It has been 46 times. And a speaker i heard in the large group meeting said this exact phrase: "We all just need to give ourselves up, and Make a Difference." How awesome is that?! It's kind of cool considering I wrote that song about the Mission. I got to play come thou fount for our sacrament meeting this past week onthe piano. It was very beautiful and the spirit was so strong. Anyways. I don't have much else to say about this w

Mom- There is nothing to worry about from that last email about the thing I said you would worry about haha. But what you said is true. If you would have called Kendy, she could have told you haha. Basically my companion got Scabies which is a parasite and we were basically quarunteened (that's spelled wrong hah) and we had to move to a new room. This week we moved back to our old room. I didn't get the worm ha so we are all good! I am free of Scabies! It is highly contagious though and we needed to take medicine for it and get all of our stuff washed and dry cleaned. EVERYTHING! haha. But you should call Kend because I gave her the whole story. She will read it to you, I'm Sure. What is going on with the whole Debit card thing? can you make sure you do all the calling in and getting the pin number and stuff so that when I get the card it just works? Cause I don't have a phone haha. Oh, I was laughing pretty hard about the Code of Conduct meeting. That is totally something mr. Pohlman would do! I love that old man! I love you mom!

Dad- I cannot get over the fact that you are long boarding! hhaha I told Matt Johnson about that and he was laughing too. I think it's awesome! and don't worry about the wheels. Longboards can handle anything! that is what is so awesome about them! Smooth riding even over curbs and bumps and rocks. I seriously laugh every time you write about long boarding. I am jealous that you are able to watch football. I can't wait for the Ohio State updates! Go BUCKS!!! I think it's great that the sister from Temple Square actually gave you my message. I dind't think she actually would. Hopefully all goes well with that!

Alexis- You are the bomb digity. I miss you and love you so much! I laugh everytime you write me. If you have time to write me more, I would love that. I would write you if you went on a mission! ;) I heard you were rocking out to my music the other night! You better keep that up. I miss music haha but it's all good. I get to play piano every now and again. Keep living it up! Peace out girl scout.

Ashley/JD- That is awesome that Jd had that missionary experience! Keep the good work up. Ash, THanks for all of the letters you send me! It's awesome when I get things from you. I haven't been getting as many letters as i was getting before but you always do a good job of sending me stuff! Tell JD I have been praying for him! I love you ashley! I'm jealous the family gets to go out and visit you! (minus me of course)

Baker Family- I love you guys! I loved the Update on Washington DC. IT really is a beautiful place and you can just tell that this country is so special and such a great blessing! I love you all!

To close, Keep writing me! haha every mail I get is treasure! I Love you all. Keep me in your prayers! Bye!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MTC Week Three

Hello everyone! The time has come once again to send the email! I never get down everything I want to say in the 30 minute time period! I'll try and hurry. I will start again with people's questions. Do you like the way I am formatting these emails? Should I do it differently?

1. What is pday like?

We wake up and have scripture study, then breakfast, then comp. study, then we go to the temple. It is a great way to start the day. Then, I come back, eat lunch, and then check the mail. After that, I come email you guys. We don't have time to play sports on pday. We don't have to stay together as a district. We have to stay with our companions though. The sister missionary is in a companionship with some Hungarian sisters. Well, they are going to hungary. They are American haha. After emails, I write letters and go to dinner. P-day ends at 6. At 6 we go to class and then go to bed. It's a never ending cycle of craziness ha.

2. When I said there were 46 missionaries in my mission, does it include sisters?

Yes it does. There are 6 sisters there I believe.

3. Do I excericise every day?

Yes I do. Everyday we have gym time (except p-day). I run for at least 2 miles every day and then I either play soccer or 4 square. You won't believe me, but 4 square is so intense. I have seen more blood in 4 square than I did in football.

4. Do I get letters everyday?

Yes! It is great. Some days I only get 1 or 2 but other days I get even more! It is so awesome to come to the mail and see that people are thinking about me.

5. Do I still see Shawn Kebker?

I do! I actually just took a picture with him a few days ago. I'll be sending some more pictures in the next week or two. He is doing great!

6. What building do I live in?

I live in 5M (Snow Building)

7. How do they find people who speak Albanian to help us teach?

All of the people who come have served missions in Albania. There are a good chunk of them here at BYU and so they just volunteer to come talk with us and show us how much Albanian we don't know! haha

I Think that covers most of the questions. Sorry if I didn't get to all of them. I am kind of in a time crunch. I have a very interesting story to tell you but for the sake of time and the fact that I don't want you to freak out, I will probably just write it in a letter and send it home haha.

Albanian Phrase of the week: Si Je (see yay) - It means how are you?

The MTC is great! I have been learning so much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I Can't wait to get to Albania and help the people there. I heard a good quote this week. "You leave your family for 2 years so that other people can live with their families for eternity." How true is that!? The Albanian is coming slowly but surely. I feel like a 3rd grader again or something but it's fun. Albanian is such a crazy language. I am excited to speak it to you all in 2 years! Then I can tell you what I really think of you, and you won't know what I'm saying ;) haha. But for real, I know that God loves us all. We are all spirit children of God. He knows us like we are his children, and that is because we are his children. He wants the best for all of us.

Dad- hahahahahahahahaha I was laughing so so so hard when I read your letter about riding my Longboard. I can just picture it so perfectly. I think you should keep riding it. It is way fun once you get the hang of it. Also, thank you for sending so many letters. They are so awesome to get every night. I enjoyed seeing the rankings! I keep telling everyone Ohio State is taking it this year. They don't believe me. I hope I don't have to eat my words haha. Fringo Fare is just a slang Albanian term that means Totally Fresh. I am told that if I say that to the Albanians they will love me and laugh at me because they will know I'm new to the area. Does my zone/district like certain care packages? -- Um, Not anything specifically but I do love getting packages. IT's the best. I think I might even just start mailing my self packages just so I can look cool. I enjoyed reading about your drive down river road. I miss how green Ohio is. River Road is so awesome.
I love you Dad!

Mom- I'm glad the women's conference went well! Sounds like you had a blast! I don't think i have heard Brad Wilcox speak before but I'm sure he is an amazing speaker. I think it's funny that you listen to my music! It's pretty cool though ha. Yeah, Broken is about that situation. I think that song had some awesome potential. Hopefully I will have the oppertunity to re-record that one someday. Anyways, I think I answered most of your questions in the top part of the email! I love you mom! You were seriously the greatest mother ever. I miss you so much and think about you tons!

Ashley/JD- Okay, I was DYING when i read about your encounter at the grocery store. One of the funniest stories ever. I can just picture it all in my head. I wish I could have been there with you. One of my teachers here is seriously a spitting image of JD. He has all of his same expressions too! It reminds me of home. Good stuff! Also, thanks for all of the quotes and scriptures you send me. They really help. You are an awesome sister! I love you! Oh, and I couldn't help but laugh when you said you watched the ski masks video. I was immature.. Okay fine, I still am. But still that was a pretty funny night.

Alexis- HAHAHAHA You hit Renee's car?! You are hilarious. Did you leave a note on it that said you accidentally broke it? haha Just kidding. That was kinda mean to say but that's probably what she would have done. Anyways, You didn't write me this week you freak! And you haven't sent me family pictures yet! You gotta remember that I don't have facebook here and I can't see any of your faces anymore! IT's craziness! Alexis, You rock. Keep the burg awesome with Eckel"ness" and tell all of your friends who are my friends I say hello, and that they should "Dear Elder" me. I would love to hear from Lucas and John, or maybe even my best friend EVAN! hahaha.

Brian/Michael Martin- THanks for the letters! I enjoyed reading your letter Michael! It was a good pick me up. Brian, I am so pumped for you to go to BYU. It is what you make it, so make the best of it! You will love it there. Make sure you go to all of the things you can (orientation, devotionals on tuesdays, and FHE) Oh, and pay attention in Book of Mormon class. IT is LEGIT! haha. Yeah you and Steve should make a video. Also, is the Static stuff on iTunes? Just curious. Anyways, I hope to hear from you soon! Listen to Andrew and Bryce for me!

Betsy Lathrop- Hey Betsy! Thanks for the letter! I was not expecting you to actually write me! haha Is that bad? I knew you said you were going to but i thought it was one of those "hey we haven't hung out in forever, we should hangout sometime" things that you say to people from school when you see them in the summer! hahaha. Anyways, If you find any good Albanian Facts let me know! I am glad you are doing well, and that you are still cooking! Cooking rice isn't easy haha. I miss that class

Grandpa/ Grandpa Martin- Thanks for the letter! It sounds like you are having some awesome Missionary experiences! I wish I could be there with you when you are teaching him and talking to him. Your advice to him was awesome. JUst take it a day at a time. I have found that it is a very crucial thing to do when you are learning a new language. One day at a time. Do your best and forget the rest!

Baker Family- I love you guys!!!! I got your letter and loved it. I am writing you a hand written letter today! You should get it sometime this or next week! I loved the newspaper clippings!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

MTC Week Two

Hello everyone!!!

How is life going?! It's been an awesome day here in Provo Utah and i'm so excited to send this email.

To answer some questions:

1. (Ashley) Am I writing in my journal every day?
-Yes I am! It's been nice to evaluate each day and record it in a notebook. (If Steve or Brian or anyone else cares haha, there will be some awesome lyrics coming out of that journal in 2 years! ha!)

2. How do you say Elder in Albanian?
-Elder. haha yeah it's the same. The different part is my last name. I need to get a new nametag when I get into Albania because they will pronounce my name wrong. I am getting it changed to "Ekël". Crazy huh?! ANd you also add an "i" at the end of names when there is a title in front of it. so they will say Eckeli. Yeah at least I'm not going to hungary. It's so confusing. Their nametags say their last name first ex) Eckel Elder.

3. How is the MTC?
- The missionary training center is great! I am learning so much every day and becoming more familiar with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The language is coming along incredibly quickly. I am already constructing sentences, can pray, and bare my testimony in Albanian. I can kind of street contact. The hardest part is getting the whole shaking the head no to mean yes and vise versa. It is way confusing.

4. Will I have the same companion here the entire stay at the MTC?
- Yes! And i'm so glad haha I can only compare my companion to one person, and it is the one and only Brent Lenahan. Just look at the picture I sent of him to you all! He may not look exactly like him, but it's close, and he acts just like brent!

5. Do I see Ashley Viola?
- No yet. Maybe once school starts?

6. Have I Seen Shawn Kebker yet?
- I have! I saw him the first day he got here, and pretty much every day since. He lives in my building. Every night I go down and check on him and on how he's doing with the language. He is a funny dude.

7. Am I Okay with Ashley doing the blog?
- Of course! I think that's an awesome Idea. Try and scan the pictures I send and post those too! Thanks Ash! Oh ps. How is the computer? (Ashley)

8. How many branches in Albania?
-There are 11 branches in albania.

9. How many missionaries in albania?

Okay so I hope I answered everyone's questions! Send more questions! I really enjoy them. Thank you to everyone who has been sending me letters over dear elder! Uncle Justen and Aunt Susan: Thanks so so so so much for the package! It was awesome to get that. Everyone in my district were really jealous of me! Uncle David and Aunt Laurie, Thanks for sending me dear elders! They are great pick me ups after long days. The language can get discouraging at times but once I remember the reason I'm learning the language (to teach the Albanian people about Jesus Christ and God's love for us), it makes things a lot easier and worth while. Abi tucker: Thanks for the letter! It was so awesome to hear from you! Thanks for thinking of me! Adrienne Gery- THanks for the cinnamon rolls! You must work at an awesome bakery. Those were delicious!

Mom: The polo shirt fits great! thanks for sending it! All the packages I have recieved from you have been great. The candy makes my whole zone love you haha. The zone always asks if momma and daddy eckel sent "the goods" every night haha. I have been sharing the love (candy) with everyone haha. I hope the woman conference thing went well! I really think that's awesome that you ware doing that! It is so weird that we are so close, yet we can't see eachother. Oh well.

Dad: Thank you so much for the pen. It was a little bigger than i'm used to, but I have already gotten used to it. I love writing with it and it looks "fringo fare" (totally fresh) in my pocket! haha. Time has been going by so fast at the MTC. I can't even believe I've been here for 2 weeks!? Glad to hear that the priesthood session was good. I'm sure the talks were MUCH better this year ha! Did you eat at Wilsons burger?! I laughed pretty hard cause mom sent me a letter saying that you were home alone and you would be fine cause you were probably eating pizza. I then opened the letter from you and you talked about how you keep eating tons of pizza. It was sad to hear about poor little blizzy. I saw the cloudy eyes before i left. That's kinda sad. Oh and 89 in a 65. I forgot how impressive that was.

Alexis: Congrats at cheer camp! 7 trophies?! Tell all of the girls that i know on your team congrats! You say you are gonna write me once a week?! You better! hahaha Just kidding..... But seriously. ha. Anyways, yeah I was laughing pretty hard about the message carter sent you. I love that kid. Oh, and send those efy quotes, those would be awesome.

Ashley: Thanks for the blog! I'm so happy you are doing that for me. How is the MacBook Pro treating you? Lovely? Good! haha. THanks for the Dear Elder with the thoughts from the scriptures. I really enjoyed that. I'm glad you finished the Book of Mormon again. I am actually trying to finish it while i'm here in the MTC. I'm still onnly in 1Nephi, but I'm taking my time through it.

JD: Hey congratulations on doing well with sales! I've heard you are doing a lot better! I love you brother! haha

So this past week we did TRC. TRC is where we teach people who speak Albanian. It was absolutely insane. This language is nuts! haha It was a lot of fun though, and I am becoming a much better teacher. I have heard that Albanians are very open people, which is great because you can ask them super personal questions off of the street which will help me understand their needs and how the Gospel can best helpt them. Something that I have come to understand since i've been here is that between the Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon, Every life question can be answered! It is so incredible! It's like google.... but better! haha. The Bible and the Book of Mormon compliment eachother so well and both testify of Jesus Christ. It is so easy to tell that they are meant to go together. Craziness I tell you! Alright, I only have 5 minutes left before it kicks me off! This week I heard a quote that was really awesome and made me think a lot about some stuff. I just thought i'd share it with you. "If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten." Anways I think that's an awesome quote. Just something to think about. Oh I also decided I would do a "word of the week" in Albanian for you all! haha The word of the week is Mirë Pafshim. It means Goodbye! Learn it! Albanian is such an awesome language!

Okay so I'm down to 2 minutes left! I would just like to say that I love you all and I miss you so much. I know that i'm here for a purpose and that I'm doing the right thing by dedicating the next two years to the Lord. Keep the letters coming please! They help so much. You all are awesome. The church is true!

-Elder Ekël