Elder Colton

Elder Colton

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life at the the MTC

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
While it probably seems like yesterday to most of ya´ll when I left, it seems much longer than a week to me. We spend each day studying more than I ever have my entire life, including my semester at college.  Our average day goes something like this...
6.30 to 7.00-Wake up, shower, and get dressed
7.00 to 7.30-Breakfast (either a brown paper bag breakfast or we eat in the cafeteria)
7.30 to 10.30-Classroom time and teaching time.  We spend most of that time in the classroom practicing spanish and teaching with each other.  For somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour of that time we go into another room and teach someone who acts like they aren´t a member of our church (they almost always actually are, but I do know people from BYU who aren´t members of our church who also have gone as volunteers.  And if anyone reads this who knows Chloe, make surey you tell her I am completely referring to her right here).  All of that teaching is in spanish so it´s challenging but very rewarding. 
10.30 to 11.30-Personal study time where we read from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel (which is a book that the LDS church uses to teach missionaries).  This is one of my favorite times because all ten of us in our district are quiet and I can study in peace (although you´d be surprised at how quiet a group of 10 nineteen year old missionaries are most of the day considering we spent a tremendous amount of time in a classroom)
11.30 to 12.15-Lunch
12.15 to 3.15-More classroom time.  This is when our teacher (Hermano Sagers-in our church we refer to men and women as Brother ____ or Sister _____ instead of Mr. and Mrs., and Hermano is Brother in spanish) comes in and we spent almost the entire time practicing spanish.  In just a week I went from hardly remembering any of my spanish to comfortably talking with people in spanish (if they talk slow).  I still need to work on a few tenses but overall it has gone very well. 
3.15 to 4.15-Language study.  I spend about half of this time working on grammar and the other half doing our pre-class work for the next day´s classroom lesson from Hermano Sagers
4.30 to 5.25-Dinner.  And dinner is the same food as the BYU cafeteria food, which thankfully I liked, so I enjoy the meals.
5.25 to 6.15-Gym time.  I play volleyball most days (and Jessica Fleck would be proud, I finally learned how to set)
6.50 to 7.50-More personal study time. 
8.00 to 9.00-TALL.  TALL is our computer program that we use to practice spanish.  It´s basically a mormonized version of Rosetta Stone (from what I´ve heard from other people).  Some of the missionaries are obsessed with it because it´s the closest they can get to playing a video game.
9.00 to 9.30-Planning our lessons for the next day
9.30 to 10.00-Personal study time
10.15-Quiet time
Basically we spend most of the time studying.  I hope all is well with everyone reading this and I´ll be able to write more in the future once the computers I choose stop deciding to break (we have 30 minutes of email time each week.  There are 2,000 missionaries in the MTC so we don´t get a lot of time).
-Elder Colton

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why I Am a Missionary

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
Despite the fact that I'll be in the United States (and in Utah at that) for the next two years, spanish is now my primay language.  My companion (my entire mission is spent with various other missionaries by my side 24/7/365, which is not an exaggeration except for the bathroom), Elder Buchmiller, and I try to speak spanish as much as possible with each other.  At least half of time we already know enough to communicate fairly easily (with a few english words thrown in).  Spanish-English dictionaries are a life-saver.  I'll give a brief summary of what has happened in the last week.  On monday Dad and I flew out to Utah and spent the night in Provo (which is where BYU and the Missionary Training Center are).  Monday morning we went to the LDS (a shortended version of our church's name) temple in Provo and then did a little last minute shopping.  Then we picked up Mom from the airport and went to BYU so they could meet my BYU friends and I could say bye to them (and I have to add that all of them are amazing and I'm glad I got to see most of them for one last time before my mission).  Then we had dinner with the extended family plus a few other "friends" of theirs.  Mauri (my cousin) and three of her four kids were able to join us so I was able to play with little kids before my mission, and some of my favorite little kids at that (we aren't allowed to play with kids for various legal reasons, one of the only downsides to being an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  Then we spent a few hours at my cousin Jane's apartment playing a few games.  Wednesday morning I ate a lunch with Mom, Dad, and Jared and then we drove over to the MTC and said goodbye (Jared and Dad didn't even cry-a huge disappointment-obviously I'm not going to be missed much).  Within an hour we had our companion and began our first gospel lesson in spanish.  Our teacher talks with us in spanish for nearly entire time.  My spanish in school gives me a huge advantage over everyone else.  One of my roommates, Elder Frost, only knew one word in spanish before he got here: hola.  Thursday was spent like pretty much every other day in the MTC: studying the scriptures and spanish.  The only difference was we didn't teach an investigators (a term we use to describe anyone interested in the church and meeting with missionaries).  But they didn't give us long to wait: yesterday we gave an entire discussion in spanish to Diego, which is an absolute miracle for some of the guys.  We aren't sure whether Diego is someone already a member of our church who is acting or whether he is actually interested, but for the purpose of learning how to teach in spanish it doesn't matter. Elder Buchmiller and I both know more spanish than anyone else, but even with our previous experience we still had to rely on the Lord's kindness to help out.  We taught again this morning and the lesson lasted for nearly 30 minutes.  In both lessons we testified and taught of what we knew to be true and I could feel the Holy Ghost (ask my brother Kevin if you don't know what that means, he'll be glad to tell you).  I absolutely love it here and there is no place I would rather be.  If you have any questions send me a letter.
-Elder Colton