Saturday, August 30, 2014

El Distrio Olivdado: The Forgotten District

My companions are Elder Stoker and Elder Lindstrom.  We're a trio, and Lindstrom is the district leader.  There are only 5 people in our district.  It's just us, and it's actually really funny because we have basically been forgotten this entire time.

Already a week and a half in and we still technically have no teachers assigned to our district.  Our district's classroom is like way far away from the rest of our zone's so we're just kind of out here and people have no clue where we are; it's really funny.  We nicknamed ourselves El Distrio Olivdado: The Forgotten District.

We do attend the temple every P-day...a lot of people think P-day is nice but here it's actually more stressful.  We wake up an hour and 10 minutes early (5:20) to run to the laundry place and get a head start on the crowds from our zone.  Then you technically have to sneak out of service for a little bit to swap the washer load to the dryer, but we have a huge zone (they're trying something new) so we've ended up having too many people at the service for assignments so 2 P-days and we have yet to do service haha.  We say it's because we're forgotten and our showing up throws off their count.

Spanish is going well.  We had a girl named Hermana Steward who was our first teacher but she has basically been useless to be honest.  She just flirts with our district leader which really ticks me off, but they're swapping all the teachers around.  Our second teacher was our investigator, Edilberto, his real name is R LeBron and he's a convert from like when he was 17.  He's REALLY cool.  He lived in Puerto Rico until he was 13 and his conversion story is really strong.  He took the discussions for a couple months, finally got baptized, slowly fell away because he didn't feel worthy of being a Mormon or something (he lived in a ghetto gang town; he had dreadlocks haha), and anyways he ran into missionaries who reactivated him again and he realized he wanted to be like them and do for others what they had done for him so he quickly took online classes to get his high school diploma cuz he was a drop out , and he got it and then went on a mission because you need it to go on a mission, and he went to Argentina like Hermana Steward.  We did a role play yesterday, and holy cow if he street contact into me I would let him baptize me right there and then.  He is so awesome and I learn so much from him. I'm basically praying that Hermana Steward is the one to get transferred instead of him, that way I can actually maybe progress here in the MTC.  So pray for it haha.

I saw Z at the first because our district actually had the wrong schedule for a week (forgotten), then on our own we managed to get 1 schedule that is correct for our district/zone...and so that changed our food times and I rarely see Z anymore unfortunately.  B I see everyday at meal time and for gym time but I don't think he's in my zone.  I don't' know how it works but I see him.  We don't eat together because he eats with our new zone leaders typically and I eat with my district.  Our zone is so huge that the row of tables they sit at fills up fast.

We are losing our zone leaders this Monday but the new ones are just as awesome.  I'm actually going to write the current zone leader after he leaves; his name is Elder Lords and he's really nice.  I have seen C.  I forgot his last name and technically his first name so when I saw him and recognized him I was like whatsup, because we hardly know each other and then I remembered his first name.  Ya, he seems pretty normal to me actually.  Sometimes I see him and he ain't even smiling, but it's possible he's crazy.  I very rarely see him walking around.

I feel like I'm at a stop in the language; I just need a ton of practice.  I basically only learn the language when Hermano LeBron is teaching us, which is like 1 time a day for 3 hours.  Other than that I need practice and my disctrict doesn't really want to talk in Spanish, which apparently is common because the zone leader said his district didn't start doing HSI (hable su idioma: speak your language) until their last week haha.  I wish we just spoke it, but it kills the conversation and it kind of hurts your mind to have to slowly process how to say everything you want to say.

Hermano LeBron had thought we were prepping and that is why we waited an HOUR to go to the backroom and talk to him and he was explaining this in Spanish and it was really funny and he said that he heard us making our Nacho Libre quotes and we just busted out laughing.  He's awesome.

THANKS FOR THE TREATS! But I feel like I have to share with my companions now, otherwise I will look fat...and get don't have to send anymore haha.  It's really hard enough trying not to over eat every single meal.  The food is mediocre here, but sometimes you get something really good and it's hard to not just eat a ton.  Plus, I've almost gone through the chex mix bag already on my own and I've only had 30 minutes near it haha.  I can't take it to my classroom so I can only eat it at night 9:30 or in the morning.
Elder Stoker, Elder Coombs, Elder Gomez, Elder Lohberg

Oh yeah, a story.  Elder Coombs bought a quart of ice cream (idk how much a container is worth; it's big) and he had a plastic spoon and it was his 3rd night eating it.  He takes 1 bite and then he goes for the second and his spoon snapped and he was so sad, he started crying haha.  It was hilarious; we all busted out laughing.  Then, Elder Stoker also bought an "indestructible" water bottle at Walmart and he was accidentally dropping it all the time and then it shattered his like 4th time, just falling off a short desk.  It was hilarious; he was mad too hahaha.  We invited Edilberto (Hermano LeBron) to baptism our last lesson (4th lesson I think) and he said he needed to think about it.  Elder Stoker invited him and I think he did it at a bad moment and it was a poor invitation but it's whatever haha.  Love ya!

Elder Stoker, Elder Gomez (back), Elder Lohberg

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mi familia, se amo, Aaron

Dear Family (mom :o)

My companions are Elder Lindstrom from Washington (Everett) and Elder Stoker from Boise, Idaho.  They're pretty cool; it's hard to have fair unity with three companions, so sometimes it's awkward and one person gets partially left out.

Our first lesson with Edilberto went pretty well.  The Spirit was there and we covered most of the restoration of the gospel, but he didn't participate much and he has only kept a few commitments. Our second discussion was best.  We totally dropped the plan we'd had and talked about faith and prayer and taught him how to pray.  Then our third discussion, this evening, went really badly; he stumped us by saying he didn't believe we were God's literal children, so we tried to explain it to him and basically our lesson fell apart.  He is actually going to be our second teacher though; we got our first teacher to tell us, haha.

I'm on the top bunk because I got second pick and I didn't want to carry a third mattress from a nearby room into the one we sleep in.  Yeah, Wyview.  Sorry, I only have a few minutes to write. Chex mix sounds great, but I might have to share with my companions :( and maybe funfetti cookies?

We actually did get to do some sealings. I'm going to try and get this in the mail tomorrow so I need to get it in a envelope.  This is all I have time for this evening :(

Adios, mi familia.  Se amo, (I love you) Aaron

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I HOPE your email is Hotmail, I can't remember...

Okay so I can't remember Mom's email, I think it is _____ so I'm going to send one there too but for now this is all I know so I'm sending you the first email so I don't waste my time.

These first few days have been crazy haha. The second I left you guys, I got escorted and shuffled around grabbing books and getting my name tag, confirming my name on certain things and then eventually carrying a huge bag of books I got onto the bus that would take me to the west campus, which is the Spanish campus where I stay.  Once we finally arrived (I met one of my companions on the bus - I'm in a trio), ZF was there haha helping people grab their stuff but he had already been helping someone so he didn't help me.  I got someone else who took my companion and I to our apartment where we just put our suitcases and then went straight out to other meetings or something, I can't remember.  Finally, we ended up getting to our apartment at like 10:12 and it's supposed to be quiet time from 10:14 and lights out at 10:30 but we were supposed to get to our apartment at 9:00 to start unpacking, but since we didn't we ended up staying up till 11:00 just unpacking what we needed and getting settled down for bed.  My companions alarm went of early, 6:00 instead of 6:30 and I ended up getting the top bunk so I hit my head on the roof because I forgot how low it was when I sat up.

The second day was hard because we had like no sleep and we were falling asleep during class and our meetings. We had a sort of shock impression of investigators on day 1 before we went to our last meeting where all the new elders kind of got to ask the investigators questions or try and teach them (it went terribly, too many thoughts). I didn't say anything though.

To answer your curiosity, it was Spanish right off the bat on day 1; we had a sub that day because our actual teacher wasn't there.  I got your DearElder the second day, and I have't received one for today. I'm not sure if it's a daily thing or what?  I'm not sure if I need a carry on or not, my books weigh a ton. I can't fit them all in my satchel bag, which has been useful but we don't use it all that much; mostly just when we initially moved all our books into the classroom.  I'm not sure what to do if my suitcases are overweight and I have nowhere to put my books and stuff. It's kind of a bummer that I brought my own Preach My Gospel because they would've given me a brand new one with a plastic cover. I also got Spanish scriptures that are actually pretty nice, so I don't know what to do with my hardcover one; it's just kind of extra weight.  Saturday is my P-day in the MTC by the way; I don't think it changes.

Yesterday (Friday), we taught our actual first investigator in Spanish, my two companions and I.  His name is E. He is from Puerto Rico (he's an actor but he's really from Puerto Rico); we taught him most of what is in the first pamphlet: The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He seemed to kind of be pondering what we were saying.  Our Spanish wasn't amazing but we made it through. Our lesson was 45 minutes; I didn't get to say as much as my other companions because I didn't want to just interrupt the flow but it's whatever.
Elder Stoker, Elder Lohberg, Elder Lindstrom
So I'm in a small district; there's 5 elders only, Elder Lindstrom, Elder Gomez, Elder Coombs, and Elder Stoker.  Stoker is from Boise Idaho; he's cool.  Lindstrom is from Washington as well: Everett; he's our district leader now and he's cool as well.  Gomez is super funny and does Nacho Libre impressions well (which reminds me of a story with the investigator).   And Elder Coombs is really nice and just kind of easy to get along with.

So the story: We knew we were supposed to teach E Friday and that he would arrive between 7:30 and 8:00 so we came to our classroom. The door had been closed and the lights were off so we just assumed that he wasn't there yet, so we just sat down and started studying from our lesson and then every time someone came near our classroom we kept kind of mini-panicking because we thought that would be him.  After like 20-30 minutes of studying we started kind of making jokes and Elder Gomez was quoting lines form Nacho Libre when we heard a cough after someone walked by our door; we thought that might be him but it wasn't.  After like 45 minutes or an hour we heard another REALLY loud cough, and instantly we all panicked and Elder Gomez is like "OH MY GOSH DID WE CHECK THE BACK ROOM" and we had almost all gone down the hall way in our classroom to use the restroom and so Elder Stoker walks down the hallway and goes to the room where the door was closed, (it has couches in it) and so he opens the door and is like "uhh, hello" and we just freak out and then kind of barely apologize in Spanish and my companions and I walk in and started our lesson with him.  So yeah, he was there waiting for an hour and didn't say anything; we thought it was so funny that he was trying to give us hints.

Anyways, today we woke up even earlier at 5:30 and we got ready quickly for our service assignment. It was pouring rain because there was a storm that had moved in during the night with super loud thunder and tons of rain (the Columbia jacket rocks by the way) and then we ended up not having to do service, and just listened to the orientation because the schedule was messed up and everyone in our zone came so the people who weren't new had to do it while we went home.  Then we kind of lollygagged too long and had to rush to get our sack lunch breakfast and race back to our apartment to get our suits and such for the temple because our zone changed their minds and we were going to catch the 8:07 bus instead of the 8:30 one; half of them missed it anyways (the ones that made the decision) and most of us had to run to get on it.  We did sealings at the temple which ended up being like 2-3 hours because they didn't have any proxies so we sat talking to a temple worker for an hour and a half. We were all falling asleep; we're almost always tired.  We thought the food here was decent but then we went to lunch at the main campus after the temple and the food there was like amazing and there were way more options.  My companions are ahead of me in Spanish; I'm having a really hard time remembering stuff that I learned a long time ago and it's really frustrating me.  We don't learn Spanish really so much as we learn the gospel in Spanish.  I'm not sure if I have anything more to say, which means I probably just can't remember; in any case I will bear my testimony in Spanish, bear in mind it will be weak because I only know parts of the restoration, and when I say know it's a weak know.  Also, last thought, we're the only intermediate Spanish class so we kind of are set apart from everyone else and everyone seems to know that we're intermediate; it's weird. Oh also I got my leg caught in a revolving door leaving the volleyball court; It didn't hurt that much initially but it swelled up a bit and it's pretty bruised now...but it's whatever.

Testigo: No puedo usar los accentos, lo siento.) Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama y que envio un plan para nosotros que podemos aprender y progresar.  Tenemos tentacion y disibilidades porque los necesitamos para aprender y progresar.  Yo se que Jesucristo es el Salvador de esta tierra y que La Expiacion puede ayudarnos a regresar con Dios y Su hijo, Jesucristo.  Soy un misionero para La Inglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias y mi proposito es a invitar los otros a venir a Jesuscristo por medio de les ayudando a recibir el Evangelio restorado...I didn't memorize the missionary purpose in Spanish yet...I was trying to just think it through and translate it but I think it's off, purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  (I memorized it in English.) It's pretty hard here.  Not much sleep.  But I can pray in Spanish now, and kind of teach people. We have another lesson with E tonight.  We have one like every night except Sunday.  I just want to get my 6 weeks in the MTC over with; learn as much Spanish as I can and go to Costa Rica.

I will translate what I put up there, or what I intended to say up there: "I can't use accents (on the letters), sorry.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and that He made a plan for us so that we can learn and grow.  We have temptations and weaknesses because we need them in order to learn and grow.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of this earth and that the Atonement can help us to return to God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and my purpose is to invite others to come to Jesus Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel.."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The GREAT and DREADFUL day ( :

It was August 20tu at 1:15pm in Provo Utah.
That was the GREAT and DREADFUL day when Elder Lohberg entered the Provo MTC leaving behind the life he once knew to embrace a new life serving as a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A day that was long awaited with much anticipation by not only him but those who know and love him.  It was GREAT day as Elder Lohberg embarked in the service of God, yet a DREADFUL day as we his family had to turn him over to the Lord - entrusting him to HIS care, knowing full well that the young man we were sending off would not be returning the same. He will return a man. He will grow up these next 2 years as he serves the people in Costa Rica.  You could say it was the best of times it was the worst of times.  Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  We had Aaron's "last meal" at In-N-Out Burger (YUM!) and then drove to the MTC.  You get a total of 2 1/2 minutes to unload your luggage and say your goodbyes.  We did it in like 30 seconds and then Aaron turned and head off as Elder Lohberg.