Elder Colton

Elder Colton

Friday, March 30, 2012

First Week in the Field

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
  Well, here I am in Salt Lake City.  And it is fantastic.  My first area is Rose Park, which is in northern Salt Lake.  I'm in the Rose Park North Stake and we have a spanish ward that we cover.  My companion and trainer is Elder Torres from Tampico, Mexico (I don't know if I spelled the city correctly).  He's fluent is both spanish and english, so my spanish is getting better each day.  During the lessons I can only understand the overall message of what people are saying, nothing specific.  But it works out because my companion translates if I need to understand anything more specific.  Unfortunately, when it comes to normal conversations with people, I can hardly understand unless they slow down their speech so that the words don't slur together.  Give me a few more weeks/months and I'll be able to understand it all (hopefully).  We teach an average of 4 lessons each day but that number is going to increase.  As of right now, there are eight people who we are teaching who plan to be baptized this month.  There's one amazing family of 8 who all plan to on being baptized on April 28 (all of them that are over eight years old, which is the age that people can be baptized in our church).  And just so everyone knows, we aren't supposed to use names in our emails of the people we're teaching, so you won't be able to learn any of there names (we might be allowed to use last names, so I'll find that out and give last names next week if I'm allowed).  We're also working with a man who has a baptismal date for the 14 of April. 
  One of them most special families for me is a family of three, a father who isn't a member of our church, his wife, who is a member, and their two year old son.  The father initially seemed very against listening to us and has met with missionaries for many years.  In our first lesson we spent much of the time talking about why there is suffering in the world, which is always a hard topic to discuss.  But it was a powerful, powerful lesson.  We can't tell what, but something has happened in his life to make him a little bitter against God, but his attitude is changing a little each day.
  I would definitely like to give a shoutout to each of my teachers in the MTC right now, because each of them have directly impacted what I've done so far.  Hermano Sagers: I literally used the exact same scriptures with the father of this family that we shared with you when you acted as your investigator.  It fit perfectly with his question.  Hermano Wassom: Unfortunately the father doesn't want to put much effort in, so we're using some of the same ideas that we used to show Francisco that he wants to work.  And Hermano Zenger: We haven't directly used anything from Fernando (mostly because we only taught him three times) but I have been told be almost every member that my accent sounds fairly good, which I totally attribute to you working with me.  And Hermano Irrizary: your ideas about getting to people to church are going to be tested this sunday.  Ten of our investigators came on Sunday, but four or five didn't, so we're going to use your idea this Sunday to help them out.
   And by the way, we actually did end up performing last Sunday during the devotional.  I'll be honest: I was freaking out.  There are very few things on this planet that scare me, but performing piano in front of people is one of them.  But, it went almost flawless.  The mics made some funky noises in the first 30 seconds or so, but it actually relieved all of our nerves a little.  The four singers sounded fantastic and shockingly enough, I hardly messed up. 
-Elder Colton

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Final Letter from the MTC

Hola mis amigos y mi familia
Greetings from the MTC for the final time.  On Wednesday I pack up and take the whooping hour  bus ride to Salt Lake City.  I leave early in the morning and am going to have breakfast at the mission home in Salt Lake City.   So Salt Lake City here I come.  I don't know what day with be my P-day so I don't know when I'll be writing next week.  And on that note, don't send any packages or letters that won't get here before Tuesday or else I'll probably not get them.
And speaking of packages, I want to give a shout out to the world's greatest cousin Mauri Brewer and her kids.  (This is not meant to lessen my appreciation for those others who have sent letters and packages...I really do appreciate all of those).  But, when you combine a half dozen boxes of girl scout cookies with drawings from Katelyn (my 8 year old cousin who is the coolest little girl on the planet) and me holding hands, it suddenly blows away any other gifts.
Many of you have asked when we will be performing our song: "Praise to the Man."  And the answer: it looks like we've fallen through the cracks.  We were told we would receive an invitation in the mail a few days before we would perform, and seeing as Sunday is our last chance and we still haven't received a letter, it looks like it's not going to happen.  Kind of a bummer because we practiced a lot and were really excited, but at least I won't have to face my fear of playing piano in front of more than 3 people.  There is still a slight chance we will on Sunday, but it would surprise all of us at this point. 
Last night Elder Buchmiller and I had a very cool experience.   The night that missionaries come into the MTC (Wednesday) they go through a  "lesson" where two missionaries who have been in the MTC a few weeks start teaching someone (almost always someone who is a member but acting as someone else).  After the first ten minutes or so, the two missionaries leave and then the 30 or so missionaries in the room continue trying to teach.  It always ends up being a very special experience because it's most of the missionaries first time every being part of a lesson.  Elder Buchmiller and I were two of the missionaries who started the lessons.  We accidently started talking in spanish during one of them (opps) but it went well aside from that.
Love you all
-Elder Colton

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Piano is important"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
Greetings from the MTC.  Despite what most people say, it's a great place to be.  We had a new district move into our zone this week again.  So right now the district I'm in has as much time in the MTC than all three of the other districts in our zone combined.  (We have 8 weeks, the others districts have 4, 2, and 1).  It's a little odd to be the "oldest" district now (after one left on Tuesday).  And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a district is made up of 6 to 12 missionaries (in the MTC at least, I think out in missions it's fairly similar also) and a zone is made up of 3-6 districts (once again, that is how it is in the MTC, I'm not sure about in missions). 
Some of you might have heard that the Salt Lake City Mission has been changed and that they are adding one or two new missions to Salt Lake City.  I don't know many details at all other than the mission boundaries won't change until July.  So I'll still be reporting to my assigned mission (Salt Lake City Utah) but that could change in July. 
And speaking of my mission, today we received our travel plans (which I think excited my district member's more than me, considering my consists of an hour bus ride).  I leave the MTC on Wednesday, January 21st in the evening.
So for those of you who know my older brother Jared, you may or may not remember he had an obnoxious habit of talking about piano a lot while he was on his mission in his letters home.  Something which annoyed the 16 year old me immensely.  We (meaning Meredith and somewhat Keviv) even threatened to go on strike with writing him letters if he kept talking about piano in his letters home.  He didn't.  Whether that shows he didn't care about our letters, or whether he knew Mom would ensure we still wrote them, I don't know.  But I will make this a public announcement (or semi public) so I only have to do it once more. Jared was right. I was wrong. Piano is important on a mission. Happy? (But on that note, butterflies are not important still) :)
Hasta Luego
-Elder Colton

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Elder Holland Speaks

Hola mi familia y mis amigos
Another great week gone by in the Provo MTC.  Highlight of this week: Elder Holland coming to speak again.  For those of you who are reading this and are not members of our church, to us missionaries, listening to Elder Holland speak is on par with Mike Ditka giving a pump up speech to a high school football team.  He spoke about two main things: the power of the Book of Mormon and the importance of not going back to idiot college kids about our missions (don't take offense at that college kids: it's almost always true and you know it).  He obviously used different language, but that was the gist of it. 
A new district came into our zone yesterday so tonight Elder Buchmiller and I get to give a tour to them.  They are awesome but I now remember how big everyone's eyes are on the first day.  And I wanted to mention that I see Elder Carrol and Sister Schwartz (hopefully I spelled both their names right). 
That's all for today because I don't have much time.
-Elder Colton