Friday, September 27, 2013

Qualify - with an eye single to the glory of God

letter #5
Sept. 23, 2013

Well, word that Clif's father passed away unexpectedly, and that he really wasn't that old, has made for some extremely sad news.  Nicole, I will make sure I send a letter to you before I leave here.  I haven´t had much time for letters, but I made time to write one to Shannon (I got the letter on the 24th, so only about 16 days after it was sent :P) Hopefully it won't take that long to get to you.
I´m not the zone leader, probably partially because they don't want to have to call a new one every week :P The guy that was called is doing a good job.  Oh, he wants to do BYU marching band when he is back from his mission, so if we both make it into the band, we´ll have an even better friendship! :)
      So my district will be leaving on the 30th at about 2am because we have to be there 4 hours before the flight leaves and apparently there is traffic at 2... :\

     With only a few days left here at the MTC, the work is getting harder for us, too.  This week we have 5 "investigators" who we teach... of course we already had our last lesson with one of them (Hermano Cruz, our teacher in the morning), and then we have our last lesson with the other teacher, Hermano Valdez, this Saturday. We have 2 more lessons with 2 of our district members who we are supposed to teach this week.... but the blessings are coming too.  Like me getting a letter from Shannon, and another from Sister Erskine.  And I have had the opportunity to teach with the spirit so strongly that after the lessons the person we taught would tell us that we did a good job, and that they could feel the spirit the whole lesson :)  Something that I've been striving for for some time.  
      Also, we have the opportunity to go to the temple every other week, so I got to go again this morning and yeah, the rooms are really pretty.  They are different than any I´ve been in, but pretty. [here are a few pictures of the Mexico City LDS Temple and the surrounding grounds] 

Mexico City Temple Visitor's Center
Christus statue in the Visitor's Center of the Mexico City Temple
    Dad, I am doing my best to focus all the time, and I have been trying to help my district focus on studying and planning, but sometimes it is can be a challenge, but I'm trying to use my time well.  And, Wow, I can't believe that the church has been involved in scouting for 100 years!  That's a long time...
     Shannon, I appreciated all that you said... it is a good way to lighten up my mood after the sad news about Opa. That is nice to know that Brianna is loving school and is not as timid at soccer.  And that Chelsea..she is such a fun goof dressing as Cinderella, dancing around and singing made-up lyrics to classical piano music:)
    Okay, one of our exercises was trying to determine how to best help out our companion, so we tried to create a scripture chain that would help with this need.  Without knowing the 'need of the companion', but being led by the spirit, I came up with a scripture in the book of mormon to help them.  It was pretty cool how I thought of the scripture chain too, so I can explain it in the letter and you can share it with the family because I cant think of it right now...And, I have been reading my spanish book of mormon more and I actually understand almost everything it says now! I occasionally have to look up a word or two, but i understand it!  And most the time i don't even have to translate it into english to understand :)
    On a final note:  I am always trying to recognize the blessings that I'm receiving here and I have expressed so much thanks to the Lord.  I´m excited to be going to Houston, but I´m nervous because now I have real investigators that I have to teach and if I mess up, I mess up for real, so I will be relying on the Lord so much more. I feel pretty ready, but it´s intimidating. I have less than a week...6 weeks has gone by so quickly....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Going Strong and Steady

Letter #4
Sept. 16, 2013

Well, Mom to answer your question, my companion and I are getting better at teaching, but we have to teach in spanish, which is harder :P  
Also, I have been writing these things in my journal, but I'm mostly just writing the spiritual stuff because I don´t always have a lot of time to write. September 15th was the Mexico Day of Independence, which we watched on TV, but I really liked the Saturday night event better than the independence day video because they had youth members, from around the area, come and dance Mexican dances. And they had some guys doing dance things with machetes!
1) The MTC does serve its meals like a buffet-type thing, but they have the main course handed out to people who go up to the "hot food counter". My favorite meal is every tuesday night, when I can get my favorite food :) (you know what it is!)--[note, Scott's all time favorite food is PIZZA]... but other than that, i like the hamburger/cold-cut sandwich counter where they make burgers and sandwiches, then they decided to start putting the burgers in the sandwiches :)

2) pues, nosotros estamos aprendiendo muy bien, pero algunas personas en mi distrito tienen problemas con cosas en la idioma :P
translated: well, we are learning really well, but some people in my district have problems with things in the language.  (Note: I had asked Scott how their district was faring with the language, since he had some in his district that had struggle last week.  I also asked if the native Latinos were used in helping them learn the language--which his answer is below).
We haven´t been doing very good about actually talking to the natives since the other native Latinos left, but my dormmates and I liked our latinos who arrived last week, but one spoke english/spanish (the one that we helped stay on his mission) and the other basically learned english while here.  Also, our newest set of elders got here tuesday evening.  we spoke with them that night, but they usually stick to themselves....
                                                           My Dormmates
3) we have taught our 'investigators' every day this past week, but when you are down to the last 2 weeks in the MTC, the routine changes some.  They have you pretend to be an investigator for another companionship (along with having the 2 other investigators). So some days we teach 2 lessons, other day we only teach 1, and on p-day or on Sunday, we don't teach any.

4) The weather is still great. We do get rain, and we hear awesome thunder because when it hits somewhere in the valley, it echoes all over :) but, apparently there´s a hurricane headed towards my teacher´s family (they live near the coast).

 Dad, i´ve been here 4 full weeks, not 3 :P Yeah, time is flying... it´s sunday, then before I know it, it´s tuesday (pizza night), then the next day is Christmas Eve (day before p-day), then it is Christmas (p-day), then it´s sunday again before i know it...
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning)died... it just doesn't launch anymore...(note--not sure if Scott is excited about this or not).

Boy, I'm just thinking of how it will be for me to see how big all of my nieces and nephews are when I get back :P  (Scott is uncle to 4 who really don't communicate because they are 18 months and younger, so in 2 years they'll be walking and talking).

Well, recently my district has been doing stuff other than soccer because some people were lame and took the balls back to their dorms and/or houses, so there were none left... so we played a little tennis, which is hard because, though i´m not really good, I am better than the rest because they don't really know how to play well... and we played Ultimate frisbee with other districts in our zone. So there is this tradition that is pretty cool...The district that currently has the frisbee (that we use for Ultimate frisbee) had gotten it from another district, and this frisbee-owning district will be leaving this next monday, so as a "Christmas Eve" tradition the frisbee gets passed on to another district.  But before passing it on, they sign it. So they gave us the frisbee yesterday, and we plan on playing ultimate frisbee a little later:)      until next week...

Elder Dye

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another week of learning completed!

letter #3
September 9, 2013

I'm getting used to the language thing...but the four hermanas in my district are getting discouraged because they can´t understand what the investigators are saying, so I´ve been trying to reinforce their faith in themselves..

Family's questions: 1) Is the Mexico City Temple close to the MTC- walking distance or bus? we take the old Benemerito High School buses there (they have the name changed to CCM MĂ©xico though) it takes anywhere from 30ish minutes to 1.5hrs to get to the temple because the traffic is crazy here... put it this way, I would literally never be able to know how to drive here because half of the time people don´t even use "lanes." Our MTC president said that he loves driving here because it gets his adrenaline rushing every time...  

2) Do they have you give talks in church?   well, we do have talks, but they have the district leader assign the talk from their district, and we had a testimony meeting, so we have only had 2 people give talks. The 1st one I assigned and somebody from the district offered for the 2nd one. But I think you would be impressed to hear that I was assigned by my zone leader to conduct the Sacrament meeting (in spanish). a side note: I can't believe that I've been here 4 weeks!

Oh, well this last friday/saturday (sept. 6/7th) I had an amazing experience! We got home from our studying time in the evening, and Elder Rivera (one of our Hispanic dormmates) asked us to help give a blessing to his companion (the district leader of their district). When we went into the room and he said he did not want a blessing, but he was super sad, and really discouraged because he felt that he did not have a testimony of this work... I knew he had a testimony before because I could see and feel it before. I stayed and talked with him.  I told him a lot of things, and I said that the Lord qualifies those whom He calls and there was a reason for him to be here or else God would not have called him. I kept talking to him, being led by the spirit, and I got him to accept a blessing. I went into the other room to get the others, and I saw the others praying for God to help this elder and to help me say the words that were needed. The next day, Saturday, when we were going back to our dorm, Elder Decker and I saw that elder, and he looked completely different-- he looked happy. When we got in the dorm, he told me that when he woke up that morning, he could not even remember why he felt so bad and he said that he was sure that he would stay on his mission :)  I know it was mostly the Lord who helped him and I was just the Lord's spokesperson. That elder even had the opportunity to participate in blessing one of the sisters in his district because she felt the same way as he had the day before. He said that I not only saved his mission, but that I saved hers too, and I will have had an influence on everyone that they teach as well. :) You never know how much of an effect that you can have by just talking to someone who is sad.  So, be alert and take the time to try to change a sad heart into a happy one-- Until next week.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Savior, Redeemer of my Soul"

September 5, 2013
letter #2

Small world-- you wouldn't believe it, but I ran into one of Chase´s best friends here at the MTC. (note-Chase is Scott's cousin from Idaho). He had said he was from Idaho, so I asked him where in Idaho, and he said from Firth. I asked him if he knew a Chase Bolinder, and he told me that they were the best of friends! So crazy!

I still don't even understand the District Leader responsibilities completely yet...but I have been praying for personal guidance and for my district :) I want to pray more specifically for each person´s needs in my district because I feel like that is something that I could do to help them.  And, this week I have actually had many opportunities within my district to serve others because some of them have felt discouraged and overwhelmed by trying to learn the language (and being away from their family). I felt impress to encourage them in having more faith in Christ´s ability to help them with anything. Which brings me to thank you, dad, for the quote-- it is really true.(The quote Stan shared with Scott was something that his mom always quoted to him “pray as though everything depended on the Lord, and work as though everything depends on you.”  I will even share it with my district because I know that some of them need to hear it too. 

Scott's the District Leader to these 11 missionaries.

Scott's missionary badge.
Mom, our studies are nothing like High School!   We have personal study in the morning for an hour, then we have breakfast, then Language study with a teacher.  Next, personal/companionship study with a teacher present, then we teach our teacher (as if our teacher were an investigator). Afterward we have gym time, which has been playing fĂștbol(soccer), and we are all getting better. This is followed by lunch, then computerized instruction called TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning).  Then we have more personal study after TALL, and then another language class with our other teacher, followed by us teaching him as though he were an investigator. Then dinner, and either personal study and/or group spanish study without a teacher and after an hour of that we have personal study. By then the day is done, and we welcome it all the next day.
Scott and his companion (not sure of name) attending the temple
 Our classes are just with our district, but everyone in our branch (more than our district) has the same schedule as us, just at different levels of spanish knowledge and stuff.   This week we were supposed to be teaching one lesson a day, but my companion and I have never been able to go for our first teacher on the day we are supposed to because the others go for too long, so we have had two lessons a day, but every other day....

 Our Sundays aren´t really like anything like a typical church Sunday, but at the same time they are... I have to go to a leadership meeting, then I'm suppose to take 30mins for personal study, then we have Priesthood followed by a District Devotional. After the devotional we have Sacrament meeting (which I am Conducting this Sunday... I have no idea what I´m supposed to do though...) Then there´s lunch and more study time. We have a Devotional from a guy in the afternoon, then more study time, followed by another devotional, then dinner, more studying, and then we end each Sunday watching a Church sponsored movie.  

 Well, today is our p-day, so we did our laundry, went to the store and checked out their new tie shipment and we walked around the MTC to see more of it. I get to write to you (my family) and then later today I´m going to get my hair cut because my hair grew really fast...but we are going to go play soccer for a little while and yeah, I´m pretty sure we don´t have much left to do...I can´t wait to really run again because we have only been doing soccer in a small area and we played ultimate frisbee yesterday on a high school size soccer field, which was a fun, but tiring workout because I was sprinting most of the time...

 I have learned so much about myself and the Savior while I have been here :) I listened to "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" because it is the favorite song of one of my teachers, and I have a personal connection with it. It reminds me of what Mom prayed for when she found out that I could have had down syndrome and and was reassured that 'all would be well, and to have peace.'  I feel the spirit really strongly when I listen to it :)   (link to "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul"-- I encourage you to take the time to listen when you've got a quiet moment, so that you can feel within your heart what Scott so feels about his Savior, Jesus Christ, and the life that He has given to each of us.)