Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MTC Photos

Today we received Sam's SD card in the mail with MTC photos and thought we would share a few, including this video of the missionaries enjoying the snow:

This explains the earlier picture that has all of the missionaries covered in snow. There were several missionaries from warmer climates who weren't used to this much snow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Travel Day


January 25

Sam called us Monday afternoon from the Salt Lake Airport.  They had left the MTC at 8:30 am to take the Front Runner train to the airport for a 2:30 pm Delta flight.  As we were talking, we pulled up the flight information and found there was a one-hour delay - which would cause them to miss their connection to Buenos Aires in Atlanta.  Sam said there were 40 to 50 Argentina-bound missionaries on that flight.

We later called the church travel office and learned that the plane departing Salt Lake had to be swapped out with a smaller plane.  There would be 30 fewer seats than tickets sold.  They said some missionaries would make the flight and others would fly out on a redeye flight and join the group in Atlanta.  They weren't sure which group Sam would be in.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

MTC Week 6 - 48 hours and 3 minutes

Holy cow, I'm almost there. I leave the MTC and the United States in 48 hours! Honestly though I'm so ready to leave the MTC. It's been great to be here, and I've really learned a lot, But at the same time, I've put on 10 pounds and learned almost all of the grammar lessons. There isn't much here for me anymore. So good bye Utah, Good bye snowy mornings and terrible drivers, and Hello tropical jungles and humid days. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

MTC Week 5 - T Minus 10

I'm within the last 10 days of my stay at the MTC! which means that Travel plans came yesterday! I will be leaving on January 25th at 8:30 from the MTC. My flight takes off from SLC atn2:20 pm, and from Atlanta at 9:00 pm. I will be arriving in Buenos Aires at around 9:00 in the morning local time. from there I have no idea how I'm getting to Posadas, but I imagine it will be by several busses. I'm flying Delta, flight 1117 to Atlanta, and 101 to Argentina for those of you who want to track the flight. It feels really strange to know that I am within 10 days of leaving the country for nearly 2 years. The MTC has been really great, and I've learned a lot because of my stay here, but I am SO ready to leave. Argentina is going to be a blast. I can't wait to get out into the field and start helping actual people. Plus having a trainer who already has some idea of how to teach lessons is going to be great, because the learning curve when neither of you understand is rather steep.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

MTC Week 4

Hola amigos!

This week has been a really crazy week due to the new year. Every time the semester changes, our teachers schedules change, and so they need to rearrange what times they can teach us. Occasionally their teaching assignments will change. This year however, while all of this was going on, Someone decided to change all of the branch assignments and student schedules as well. Unfortunately for the missionaries, none of this was conveyed to us... or even between departments apparently. Our teacher waited 3 hours for us to show up to class because we thought we had a service assignment and gym time. Then our TRC member and investigator appointments were all scheduled for different times than we were told to show up. So our poor teachers had to completely rewrite their schedules around their BYU classes, in order to match things up. But finally at the end of the week things are back on track.

Also this week we had a devotional about trials, where we learned that God will never give you a trial simply to impede your progress. Every outcome will help you to progress. And if you are aligned with the Lord, and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? (name that song). The devotional review that followed was really cool because several people bore their personal conversion stories, and we talked a lot about times when we were all helped through trials. Devotionals at the MTC are so cool.

Also within the past 7 days, I made it into a special performance choir. They sent out a survey to the MTC choir and selected 20 people who had choir experience outside of high school. So now I get to perform a medley of primary songs about missionary work in front of ALL the new MTC presidents and Temple Site Coordinators. Also at that meeting, President Nielson will be speeking. That'll be TuesdayOn Wednesday we are performing More Holiness Give Me for the same group with different speakers. I'm so glad that the Lord has prepared me for these opportunities, because this choir is freaking sweet. 

I love the MTC, and while my lessons have their ups and downs, I've grown really close to the Elders and Sisters in my district. We had an activity where we got to put on an investigator persona, and then teach each other lessons. It was so much fun, and I love my district. I testify that the Lord will prepare a way for the work he needs done. If you go to him humbly, he will make your weaknesses a strength to you.

Love you all, and thanks for the support!

Reflections of the Provo Temple

Provo Temple in Winter

Sam showing where he is and where he is going.

Sam's companion crashed in the classroom.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Week 3 - New Year's Eve

So I've been here long enough that days and weeks are starting to blend together. I'm pretty sure this marks the end of week 3. Anyways, this week has been a huge learning experience for me. I've had several more lessons with the TRC investigators, and with teachers pretending to be investigators,and on Thursday we started something new. We get to teach two 20 minute lessons to members, in Spanish. It's safe to say, I think I'm getting the hang of this "teach by the spirit" thing.

Happy New Year everybody! Hope you all did something fun to ring in the new year, because missionaries really don't get to. Holidays in the MTC really just mean something to write your family about, and a day or two where we won't get mail delivery. The most we got to do was throw a party at 10:00 when the ball dropped in New York. We were told we could stay up as long as we wanted provided we didn't wake anyone else up. Unfortunately 6:30 doesn't come any later on New Year's Day, so everyone was asleep by 11:30. Yep, we party hard here in Mormon Central.

I've been asked about the others in my district, so I'll tell you a little more about them. Elder Noble is from the Houston Texas Area. My district leader, Elder Bezzant, is from an unincorporated county near Denver, Colorado. His companion, Elder Horton, is from Simi Valley, California. Elder Cassel is originally from La Quinta, California, but has recently been living in Downtown Salt Lake. His companion, Elder Meek, is from Cache Valley, Utah, and he is cousins with Stephen Meek from Studio C. Hermana Sanchez is from Lake Havisouz? City, Arizona, and her companion, Hermana Kingsford, is from Gilbert, Arizona. The two of them were recently called as Sister Training Leaders for our branch. Hermana Foutz is from the San Francisco area, and her companion, Hermana Schickedanz, is from Portland, Oregon.

I'm running out of time, so I need to wrap this up, but I'm so glad to be in the MTC! I got to host the incoming missionaries Wednesday, which was a lot of fun, but more importantly, My group is no longer the new ones! I did run into Sister Nipko already, and we marveled over the number of people going to Argentina in the next month. The Lord truly is hastening the work down there. I'm excited to get to the point where I feel fluent in the language. Thanks for the emails, and everything you guys have done to support me!

I want to end with the spiritual thought of the week. During our lessons we learned a lot about what it means to have a real conversation with God during prayer. For example, if you say you're thankful for the day, and move on, you aren't really talking to God, you are reciting at him. A real conversation means you would explain the same way you would to a friend. Don't generalize to God or assume he knows what you're talking about. Gratitude means a lot more when you specify exactly what it was you liked. It works the same way with God.

I want you all to know that God means it when he says, "I will make weak things become strong", because I've had numerous opportunities to make terrible mistakes, and to learn from it. My weeks here in the MTC have taught me a lot about how Christ taught, and how he wants us to teach. It's really amazing to be here. Also if you haven't seen the Church's new videos on their 12 step recovery program, you should go watch them. They are really heavy, but they are also very real, and very powerful. When the church puts a discretion advisory on a video, you know it's going to be good.

I've got to go, but I love you all, and pray for you. God is there, and he does love you. Remember, being accepted as you are, is the worlds way. Changing, learning, and improving is God's way of saying he wants the best for you.

Buenos Tardes!