Elder Sanders

Elder Sanders

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elders SANDERS first LETTER !!!! Week #2 !

Hola amigos y familia! 
First off, I'd like to thank everyone (especially Mom & Dad) for the letters sent this week, they were great!  And an extra thank-you to Tony & Paul Coffaro, Silvia, Eli, and all other cousins and famila who have me in thier thoughts, I'm praying for you guys also.  And I did get the package, and I shall say: ¡bastante gracias!  The peachie-o's were great!
Ok, I'm going to hurry, because we only have 30 min to write e-mails, and I only have 27:30 min left!
Before experiences, here are answers to your questions: 1- I'm very good (tired half the time)   2-Elder Tempest is from Draper, UT, and Elder Blackwelder is from Orange County California 3- I do have a locker so my personal stuff is safe 4- I usually pray at 10:30 every night (right as I go to sleep) 5- at this point I'm not worried about traveling to Peru/Ecuador, now I'm super worried about learning the language in time!  Cause as soon as I get off the plane, 100% español.  6-Yes, I get the DearElder letters every day, so keep 'em coming!  (My Preperation days are on Thursdays, so that's the only time I can write to you guys) 7- I haven't seen any general authorites yet, but we've had 2 firesides so far: Sunday and Tuesday, and they magnificently great!  8- To Mom, yes, sister Ghent remembered you, and she is President Ghent's wife's sister.  9- Spiritual experiences?  Yes.  All this time I've been learning that the most important thing to do while teaching discussions to others is the sheer power of the Holy Ghost.  It is by far more important to have the spirit than to have a lesson ready, and it is the REAL teacher when spreading the gospel.  While doing discussions in Spanish in our class, there have been about 2 times when someone will be teaching in Spanish, and I have some difficulty in understanding what they are saying, but when they testify, and the spirit overwhelms the room, everyone could feel it, and it was strong.  Although it was in a foreign language, I could still strongly feel the spirit.  10- Yes, I do need something.  Just some more while ankle socks, I only brought 2 pairs but turns out I need one every day for GYM.  So.. I'd say about 4-5 extra pairs would be enough, they usually don't get dirty enough to wear once then wash. 
Essentially, the MTC is just stupendous.  I've finally overcame apadtion to my classes and schedule.  Personal study is always a great time to think, and classes with our District are great for learning to teach as a group. During language study, everyone pitches in by helping each other out with the language and flash cards, and our teachers know the right things to say to us.  
-And cool story: on Saturday, all of our District went to choir practice (very optional, about 200-300 out the 2600 missionaries here attended it,  I think)  and Elder Tempest and I were the only ones left.  So, we were eating dinner in a less than busy lunchroom because most of everyone was still at choir practice, and an old couple came and joined our empty table with cookies and milk.  Who were they?  The MTC president and his wife!  They are both extremly kind and caring, and while everyone else was busy singing, the 2 of us had a very neat experience having dinner with the leader of the Training Center.  (I guess they do that kind of thing alot,  the other day the Devotional Pianist and her husband joined our table)
And I will say.. Sunday was the longest day of the week,  not in a bad way, but just literally.  The day consisted of meetings, study time, and interviews, but for some reason, it just stretching time to a screetching halt, after lunch was over, I seriously thought it was time for bed, and in my mind it truly felt like 7pm, but it was only 1!  Crazy EH!  And the fireside in the evening was a sight to behold, about a thousand missionaries singing their soul out to the Song, "Called To Serve"
At the MTC, we do it very differently.  The song is altered to be longer with an extra chorus, but we start the first verse extremely quiet, almost under our breath, growing louder with each verse as if we were "an army slowly marching from behind a hill onward" and at the start of the last verse, every stands up and exerts all their self to sing as powerfully as possible.  (Quick note to Erik, the most goose-bumps ever, you're gonna love it!)  And I guess it's pretty rare, because they only do that about every 2 months, and my I wish you could've been there.   And not only that, but the talks themselves were pure inspiration, I was stunned!  (and eventually drew pictures of all the speakers later :)    
So, it looks as if I'm almost outta time, but I'll send an additional letter with photos in it for everyone (I can't do it through the computer, so far as I know yet, and they gave us a set of Spanish scriptures, a Spanish 'preach my gospel', and a water purification water-bottle!) 
¡Adios!       (which if you break it down,  A-Dios,  'A' means to, and 'Dios' means God.  So Adios sorta means, 'With God' , neat huh?)
-Elder Sanders

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Elders SANDERS first LETTER !!!! Week #1 !

Hola Otros!
These past few days have been quite busy.  Actually, very very busy.  (!Trabajar bastante!)   But thanks for everyone who sent a letter, they were like getting presents on Christmas Eve.  (and I got a notice that someone sent a package, but every time I try to go down to pick it up the mail-room is closed! So I'll have to get it Monday. )
An average day for me so far is awaking at 6:00 am, and until 9:30 I'm either in personal study time, group study time, language classes, eating, at gym or in a district meeting. And then we go to bed at 10:30.  In my spanish class, I have 2 teachers: Bro. Urquhart and Hermana Alvarez, they are both very great teachers, and the Spanish is as difficult as ever.  For our District (which consists of about 12 people) they are trying a different way of teaching by using about 90% Spanish while they are talking.  I'm sure I'll get it eventually, but for now, it's quite overwhelming, but we're learning tons every hour! 
I also have 2 mission companions (which is very rare):  Elder Blackwelder, and Elder Tempest.  Both great, and we're having a great time throughout the day.  They both are going to the Peru MTC in 3 weeks along with 2 other sisters and one other elder in our district.  One funny thing about the campus is that all the buildings are nearly identical, and nearly all the walkways outside are covered with a big metal canopy.  So, it feels as we are inside 24/7, and can only see the sky/mountains if we head out into the pavilons or in the GYM playing field. 
And while I have time to type (which is only 30 minutes) let me answer all the question everyone asked before I continue talking about the day:
-The food is good, and I heard that the chocolate milk contains laxative (and after 4 days, I believe it 100%)
-I'm speaking spanish TONS
-Yes I'll have an extra ticket to Harry Potter
Whew, ok, probably best way to learn about how to proselyte is by practicing with actor investigators.  (In class our teachers act as individual characters, and on day 1 they had these 'pro' guys ask questions to the audience)  In our spanish class, each one of our teachers act an investigator, only with Hermana Alvarez we teach her in English, and with Bro. Urquhart we have to teach him in Spanish (those discussions have alot of pauses).  But it really pricks your brain and really tries to get you to think about how to teach each person individually with thier problems and beliefs.  It's very engaging and even quite difficult, but for me it's the best way to learn and teach.  And I've found that preparing short lessons is rather like building with LEGOS.  First, you pick out some really important pieces to use, such as bits of doctrine or scriptures that pertain to the lesson we need to give to the investigator that day.  Then, we organize the big pieces, and using lots of small filler pieces build a spiritual creation.  And it seems alot of the time you need to say what feels right rather than say what you have planned previously.
So, overall, the MTC is completely abounding with the spirit.  From the way people act to how the facility is run, a spiritual presence is always present, and although it's not constantly a super strong beam filling the building, you can tell there is something different here. 

(Before I sign out, if anyone wishes to write to me, use either DearElder.com or hand-written letters, writing to me on here restricts my time and is a pain to print out, plus I can only read them on P-day, which is going to be Thursday, but the DearElder letters can be grabbed anyday and they are pre-printed, so... thanks!)
I've written this once, but one of the most important things they taught us here is:
-Obedience brings blessings, but Exact obedience brings miracles. 
I've written this once, but one of the most important things they taught us here is:
-Obedience brings blessings, but Exact obedience brings miracles. 
Thanks to all to have written, I hope you write to me more, and I'll strive to do likewise.    
So to all family, friends, and anyone who visits the blog:  I truly do care for you.  Every single one of you, even if I didn't know you.
Ciao y adios!
-Elder Sanders