Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LAST WEEK OF THE "EMPTY SEA"! (MTC)

Hello family, friends, and everyone else bored enough to read my blog! I hope you are enjoying life, carefully spending every second exactly how you would want to have spent your life-blood when you are on your death bed some years in the future.

Life at the MTC has been mostly the same. We do have basically the same schedule every day, so finding different things to write about can be difficult. But not for me, because I am above the difficulties that plague you mortals! 

We woke up at 4:45 again today to do laundry, so we're a bit tired.  There are several P-Days that different zones have. I know WednesdayThursday, and Friday act as other optional P-Days throughout the week. The laundry lines get very long in the afternoon, and we like having extra time to write letters during the day, so we get up early!

I did get the notification that I would be playing my violin duet with Sister Crofts the following Monday for a Senior-Missionary Orientation meeting that day. I was hoping to possibly play for the Sunday Devotional, but that didn't end up happening, and I can understand why. There are an unbelievable number of fantastic musical numbers trying out every week at the MTC from a group of 3 to 4 thousand missionaries, so it is very difficult to even get a "Yes" from Sister Nally, and very improbable to actually play a musical number unless it is one of the best. 

However, we did play! It went very well. The presider of the meeting was President Hacking. We were able to talk to him beforehand, and he mentioned that he had been a Mission President of the Independence, Missouri Mission! I asked if he knew Paul Gale from LDS Family Services, and he said he recognized the name. Everything went very well during the actual performance. The other musical number was a Sister who had a fantastic classical piano solo. It was wonderful to hear a virtuoso in the MTC!

The SND, Sunday Night Devotional, was very cool!  My companion said the opening prayer, so we were able to sit with the speakers and MTC president. It was such an awesome experience!

Elder Teela & Elder Gale
Before I forget, I want to mention the people I know here. Of course I know Elder Teela, who I saw the first day he came in. He is in my Residency building! I did not get to host him (about 650 missionaries came in the same day, and I couldn't see him anywhere) but I did happen to see him in the cafeteria later that day. It was awesome to see him again!


I met Elder Gale, and we took pictures and played soccer. 

One of my friends from BYU Music Camp, Ali Olsen, is working at the MTC Cafeteria, so we talk every now and then. 

I've met several people that know Ben Jensen. One of them is an Elder that my companion knew before the MTC, Elder Gariety. He said that his older brother is really good friends with Ben. 

The other person is one of the teachers, Irmao Belshoir (sp?). He served in Ben's same mission. He's from Mozambique, and served California, Spanish Speaking. He teaches one of the districts around us and substituted for one of our teachers once. 

I think we will be hosting again tomorrow. You're right, it is definitely a diversion from regular missionary life. It is fun to watch other missionaries take that life-changing step away from their families and try to soften the blow. It brings back lots of memories. The moms are always crying. 

I cant believe how quickly the time has gone. I feel like I just arrived at the MTC! At the same time, I feel like I've been here for way too long. Time's super weird at the MTC. I feel as ready as I think I will ever be as a MTC missionary. I am doing well in Gospel and Portuguese studies, so I feel pretty confident.  I'm excited to go. I have loved the influence the MTC has made on the way I think, work, plan, and teach. 

I don't know exactly how the stateside re-assignment is made, but I have faith that all mission calls are assigned with a purpose. If I am re-assigned, I was meant to be. I will likely get my re-assignment this Friday, and I have no idea when I'll leave after that. It's different for everyone. I think I will be able to call you, so I appreciate the calling card! 

Thank you so much for the packages you have sent this past week!  May I tell you a story?  I am in the classroom and get a notice from our District Leader that I have an urgent package to pick up. It is marked at the bottom of the note that the package is leaking. I go to the post office to pick up my package, and I see a cardboard box stained/dripping with an unknown sticky red substance. I pick it up hesitantly, and take it to my room. Naturally, I assume it was the dead and bloody corpse of Bosco that you chose to send to me, and so I disobeyed the rules and opened the package to see what it really was (so it wouldn't drip more). Needless to say, we feasted on Jam and Bread that night.  My room loves you <3

The cupcakes were also put to good use! The chocolate ones were pretty badly melted and pasty, but we had a district cupcake party with the salvaged chocolate and all of the vanilla ones! They were delicious, thank you so much!

As for the balloons, yesterday was an Elder in our district's birthday, and he got a balloon animal! He enjoyed it tremendously and says thank you for sending it :D

I will write her individually about this, but send my appreciation to Grammie, who has sent delicious packages of doughnuts to me over my stay at the MTC. My room says their thanks as well!

 I could use several of the ties I put in the "possibly send later box". There's a lot of tie trading that goes on here, and it would help to have ties to barter with. 

Another highlight of my week was the creative letter contests! I was very impressed by your creativity and wit. 

Father, (crossword puzzle letter) I will be needing those answers :D We figured out about 5 of the words, but our room is stuck on the others. 

Mother, (letter written on a roll of toilet paper) wow...just wow. So clever. So punny. So...wrong.

Austin, (Swag letter) I expected nothing less, but maybe a bit more ;)

Josh, (letter written in catsup) You only did well with that letter if it was written in the blood of Bosco. 

Benjamin, (letter written in code) I still haven't had time to decode it. But I'm excited to read its message. 

Brindi, (written on a blown up balloon that was deflated to send) That was such a fun idea! I had fun blowing it up and reading it! I still have it hanging on my bed :)

Tanner, (written in our family's "Dog" language)  I don't think I understood most of your letter, but I felt like you and Bosco wrote it together. I could picture you saying it as I read it!

Stay classy San Diego, 

Called to Serve, 

Elder Gale

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