August 16, 2014 Getting to know you

Hola, Familia.

So today's P day (Saturday) for the MTC. Sorry it took so long and for the lack of pictures, it's been a hectic week.

Most of our time has been spent in class or in the gym so there's not much to tell. We spend all morning in class trying to understand our teachers who are only allowed to talk to us in espanol, and then go to gym right before lunch. After lunch it's right back to class. Mostly it's studying the Gospel, but there is an hour set a side for pure language study. Then we have dinner followed by more class time. By 10:30 we are all mostly so wiped out that we collapse into bed and don't have much trouble getting to sleep.

So my District is all from the pilot program. We have ocho Elders y tres Hemanas (eight elders and three sisters.) at 19 I'm the oldest Elder. They're all the best. My companion, Elder Pudil, is already pretty fluent in espanol, so he can be hard to understand sometimes. He's the best. He is just like me, and I'm not joking. He loves to be hyper and have a good time. He jokes and messes around all the time. He's also going to San Fernando.

Our district leader is Elder Guymon. He's cool. He's going to Tempe, Arizona, like most everyone else in our district. He and his companion are in the same apartment as us. He also is a joker and loves to sing, yesterday he wrote a song to help us remember verbs. It was hilarious. He put it to the tune of Cups, (You're gana' miss me when I'm gone.) I don't think it actually helped, but it was fun.

His companion is Elder Gamble-Thompson. He's pretty cool to. The only other elder who's going to San Fernando. He has a Identical twin in Mexico that is going to serve in Salt Lake City. He's really into the idea of rapping in order to learn espanol, but other then that he's cool.

Next there's Elder Clifford. He's fun. He's going to Arizona, Tempe as well and lives in the apartment next to us, so I don't know him all that well.

His companion is Elder Hoyt (I think that's spelled right.) He's really tall and is also going to Arizona. All the missionaries that are going to Arizona are going to Tempe. I don't know him all that well either, but I still have six weeks to get to know them.

The last companionship is Elder Reice and Elder Goodrich. There cool, but like the last two I haven't had much interaction with them outside of Class and meetings. They are both going to Arizona.

I saved the best for last, Las Hermanas. All three are going to Arizona. Hermana Tew is nice. She's fun to talk to, but the restrictions on Elder y Hermana interactions make it hard to get to know the Hermanas, so I don't know to much about her.

Then there's Hermana Mello. She attended BYU last year and roomed with Janelle and Mandi, so it was nice to have that immediate connection and conversation piece. Her and Elder Reice already have received care packages. She got six cupcakes!

Last, but certainly not least is Hemana Keil. She plays the piano, and, I'll be honest, I only know that because she's going to accompany me in a audition for a solo this Thursday. I'm going to be singing "Come Thou Fount" so wish me luck.

I also met Hermama Burton, and if Scott’s kids think that name sounds familiar it's because she knows them. She's from the Tri- Cities and when I asked her if she knew the Ostlers she couldn't believe that I was related. She's companions with our zone Hermana training leader.

So we already have the biggest zone in the MTC. the zone can't do their laundry all at the same time we're so big, and next week we're adding three new districts to the zone. That means we will have six districts, which is unheard of and will make any zone activities impossible. Our branch president and zone leaders are trying to get us special privileges because we are so big. We already were allowed to do our laundry early and still we didn't get done on time.

For P day I've just been to the temple, done laundry and cleaned up the campus (Yes mom I did all that, you can't stop being shocked.) After the temple we all went to Main Campus to have lunch and I ran into Sister Stolp (Julia) she got a picture of us but I was running late for the bus and forgot my camera in the apartment, so ask Mark for the photo.

The Pilot program has been a fantastic head start. We are apparently ahead of missionaries that have been here for three weeks. My host in west had been here for five weeks and had apparently just learned how to testify in espanol and we've been given access to online programs that most missionaries didn't get until week three and might not ever get. We are the first pilot district in the MTC, so we are kind of the pilot of the pilot.

Oh, before I run out of time, on the first night we got to take part in a role play/real teaching moment. I learned so much about teaching by the spirit. The first investigator we taught we failed miserably. We tried to teach too much and didn't try to figure out the root of his problem. After that It was much better and the spirit was so strong in the room that I knew the investigators had to be able to feel it.

I'm actually getting a handle on espanol and learning new words and how they work.

Things that are different.

1. The water is awful.
2. I'm actually studying
3. I'm enjoying the work

Love Elder Michael Blanding.