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!