Monday, July 26, 2010

July 22

Well this week was not particularly new until yesterday. We learned lots of Spanish and stuff. Here’s my exact Monday schedule.
Wake up at 6:20, get ready
Personal Study---7:00-8:00
Large Group meeting...kind of motivational speaker every week---8:35-10:15
Class with Hermano Jimenez (native from Mexico)---10:15-1:00
Gym (Mondays are the best cuz we get a little longer...this includes prep to get ready and shower and prep after)---1:45-3:20
Class with Jensen (Utah native but widely considered one of the best non-native speakers here...speaks 2 other languages too)--- 3:20-6:00
Companion study---6:45-8:00
Language Study---8:00-9:00
Yesterday was a big day. It was our first day completely in Spanish for class, but one of our teachers had to switch to English to teach us direct/inderect object pronouns. I needed that review. So far we have learned 1 thing that I had not learned before, passive voice. So, not too hard for me, but speaking is a whole notha ball game. The 8 week guys and above tend to be super solid. I think I can at least make it to as good as them by then. I’m starting to try to speak more and more often
We study sooooo much. We work hard. I’m getting along really well with a few guys in my district and well with everyone else. This week we got another new district, but we don’t really know any of them yet. We get another new one next week, so its unlikely ill learn all of the names. It’s all pretty tough on our brains because its so much, but were learning work ethic and Spanish like crazy. I should be semi-fluent by the time I actually go to Vegas. Slow, but not bad. We are officially half we through as of tomorrow! It’ll be so nice to get out of here. I am not the kind of man who likes to sit in a class room for 6 hours a day. the good teachers do help though. Oh, we taught in all Spanish for the first time this morning. It went ok overall. I had to do almost all of the talking but the other 2 are getting there. I’m slow, but understandable. I’ll be better soon. Keep things interesting. That’s about it this week.
Oh ya, got letters from Matt and Natalie this week. They were sweet. You can post in my blog that they are obviously the best friends that I have....right after Alicia and that nobody can join their status until they equal the letters/package from Alicia. The competition will be stiff, but we'll see who will come out on top.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 11-15 Report on Ben's Birthday

Hi everyone:
I got packages from you Sarah Alicia and Tim you all are seriously the best. They were such sweet packages. I was pretty happy. There was so much food/still is so much food. My room is like party central. Haha. And thank you grandma and grandpa Hepp for the birthday card. I will write next week - out of time today.

Yes, the popcorn is sooooo good. Oh my goodness, it is perfect for me. I was also very happy to have some things to unwrap. I saved them for my birthday and unwrapped them then. Thank you so much.

Did you get a package from Alisha and Natalie?
Yes, what great girls. They are the best for sure. So much food

It wasn't a bad week. It went pretty quick. Spanish is starting to come better now that others in my district can actually talk to me and understand what I'm saying. That's a big help. We've done a couple of English fasts and we have another one this weekend. Hopefully we can all do well
We had Jenny Oaks Baker come on Sunday. She played violin for us. It was pretty sweet
Oh wait, I got to go to the outside! One of my companion's retainers came loose so we got to go to the orthodontist...
That's about it for this week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 4 through 7

The 4th was a pretty good day. We talked a little about history and what it meant for the restoration in our classes, and then had a media presentation where they pretty much did the same thing. The fireworks were sweet though.
I got to meet my mission President. He and Sister Black are both super nice, but of course they are. It was a good meeting.
Elder Oaks came and talked to us. It was good and pretty invigorating.

Spanish is coming along fine. I'm way ahead of everybody else in the district. So much so that it is boring. It's hard to keep myself paying attention and awake. I need to start speaking it more with the couple of guys who actually can.

Right now one of my teachers thinks my name is Elder Taylor and we've kind of been having fun with that. We hear some funny stories from our teachers and stuff, but not a lot of funny stuff happens. Oh, we got a new district in our zone yesterday so we are no longer the young ones. It's really hard to say elder all the time. Oh, that's a funny story. I thought I wasn't going to see Travis again before he left, but then I saw him, and yelled "TRAVIS!!!" across a really crowded courtyard full of elders and sisters going into a devotional, they all turned and looked at me and then I realized and quickly shouted, "I MEAN ELDER SELLAND!!!" It was a little embarrassing. Oh, wait, there's another one. I was sitting at a table I always sit at the other day and it was really crowded in the cafeteria when a few other elders come sit by us. One of them sat next to me and I asked where he was from, he said Iowa, I asked where in, he said north of Des Moines, I said where north of Des Moines, He said Ankaney. Turns out he's from Uncle Ray's ward. Uncle Ray saw him when he dropped me off and told him to look for me. That was a surprise. I'm meeting tons of people who know similar people to me though.
Time's up. Must go. See you next week.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

June 23 Pictures

At about 1:15pm on June 23, Ben arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Here he is with his bags and the missionary who helped him get everything to his room. We love that smile!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Post from the MTC 7-1-10

Hi everyone! My P-day (my day off)is today, thursdays. It has been a long time coming. On P-day we have lunch at 1:00, class after dinner at 6 and some stuff until like 9 am, but other than that we have pretty much nothing. I have two companions. They are Elders Andrews and Feldman. Elder Andrews is from Seattle and Elder Feldman is from Lexington, VA. I like our district a lot, and there are some pretty cool people. There are lots of great Elders that like to have fun. I guess our zone has a bit of a tradition of being pretty chill. We just got new zone leaders today and they are just as cool as the old ones. The other guys in my district are all going stateside. AZ, FL, MS, and a couple other places. Its pretty sweet. So far we have learned tons and are moving super fast. Its crazy, but I'm way ahead in Spanish. I'm just in with like all of the regular people except one or two others that really know it. We are starting from the beginning so its kind of boring a lot of the time. Really easy right now. Im just trying to expand my vocab and brush up on the other tenses that we're not to yet. We are supposed to memorize 25 words and 3 phrases everyday, and I think we're pretty close to that on a lot of days. Its hard to get that many though. Im getting a lot better with that expanded vocab though.I still cant understand anything a native says when they speak quickly even though I know most of the words that they are using. Everday I wake up at 6:15 ish. Then I go to my classroom for personal study followed by breakfast than back to the room for comp study. Then usually about 3-4 hours of spanish and Preach my Gospel training. Then Lunch and then gym. Gym is the best part of the day without a doubt. I love playing soccer. I play everyday that I can. I feel so good when I get to play, then we shower and go back to class for another few hours followed by language study. Thats pretty much my day everyday. Its fun here, and Im advancing a lot, but its really hard too and Im always tired. Im asleep by 10:30 every night. Well, thats about it.
Elder Layton