Monday, August 30, 2010

First assignment: Yerington

I arrived in Las Vegas on Monday, August 23, and was met by President and Sister Black (in the photo). After some training, I left for Yerington, Nevada. It took 8 hours to get up here from Las Vegas. We drove in a fleet of cars. I think one giant van with a trailer attached and 5 cars. About 25 missionaries came north. I was in a Corolla with two other guys, so not bad. Look up Yerington, NV and you'll probably find it. Google earth it. It’s a cool place, but it’ll take getting used to.

Spanish Americans are split between the North and the South as expected. More in Vegas but not way more. All of us new spanAms came north. There are only 3 small towns that have spanAms in the whole mission and my first area is one, which is fine. Its nice here. Like 70 today. My comp is Elder Bush. He’s been out for 9 months. He is from Maine, which is always fun. He’s a good guy and knows what he’s doing. He’s a solid teacher and knows the area really well. His Spanish is also way solid. Some of the Spanish-speaking people I was talking to spoke super highly of his Spanish but then again any white person that can speak get praise from natives, but seriously he’s good. His comp before me was from Mexico and they spoke all the time. It’s hard for us because everything here is in English.

I am working in the Yerington, NV ward. It is an English ward, but our assignment is to create a Spanish branch. We are teaching Al, who is a pretty interesting guy. He is American Indian that speaks both English and Spanish, but likes being taught in English while reading the scriptures in Spanish. We have la familia Soto who are supposed to be a great family. Their daughter came to mutual on Wednesday so I met her. We have a few others from Mexico we are trying to teach but it’s really busy right now with school starting up again today. Next week will be easier now that people are actually home.

We know there are well over 1000 Mexicans (they are really from Mexico) here. Our English class is really the best bet to get to talk with them. We have been finding new places to put posters for it, so I hope people see it. They are brought in from where they work to shop at very odd times, so we’re trying to figure that out too. We've got one sign on the very front door of one of the stores they frequent most now, so hopefully that will help. Most of our work right now is visiting with people who don’t come to church much (which there are tons of), working with recent converts, visiting with members, and giving service.

I have the bike and have used it. The secretary thought Jason (who brought the bike to the mission office) looked younger than all of us so he couldn’t have been my brother-in-law. I laughed at that. He should have said hey. My area is really big so we have to use bikes to preserve our miles some.

Send mail to the mission office. Everything goes to the mission home first and gets forwarded.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

End of the MTC experience!

I am waking up at 4am on Monday morning [8/23/2010]. I have to be at the travel office with all of my stuff by 5am. Should be at the airport between 7 something and 8 something. Then I fly to Vegas.

This last week in the MTC has been interesting. I hosted again which was way fun. This week I got to host 2 missionaries. That was way good though, over 500 new missionaries came in. Also this week we've had a lot of leaving seminars like about health and safety and about language study. I feel like they waited to tell us a lot of stuff that actually matters until now so that we'll actually remember it.

I would just like to let everybody know that I personally started a revolution at the MTC. Apparently I have the ability to influence. When I arrived here I was literally the only elder with a bouncy ball, but now I can’t walk anywhere without seeing others with them. So, I have officially started my first fad. It feels way good to be honest. I feel like I have all of these other missionaries that look up to my bouncy ball skill...not really, but I think its really funny that it has caught on so crazy. there are so many more elders that want them super badly too. Funny.

I saw Nick Pettit last week I think with his wife (Rebecca?)! That was sweet. I was walking to gym and they pulled up right next to me at the stop light. Super funny. Then yesterday I saw Nicole and Erica who I knew from BYU on MTC campus because they work there sometimes. That was new too.

Oh, I taught a lesson in the TE yesterday that went probably the best ever for us. That was really sweet to feel, and my Spanish was much better. I could actually convey what I wanted to instead of just conveying what I could. Cartas con Kirk was another hit this week. Best part of my day, other than possibly gym. Oh I’ve started to pick up playing zapatos de cabellos (horse shoes) a couple days a week. What a great game. The times I play that are by far my most chill times in the CCM. I’m speaking Spanish more and I found out that I’m officially functionable. There is a scale of 2-7 (ya, no idea why that scale) of how good your language is and me and elder Bullock are 4s, which is good to know. I’ve just got to really, really push in the field to make it to 7 though...which is fully functional. Most missionaries cap out between 6 and 6.5. I need to make it past that. Especially with a vocabulary that allows me to show those I’m teaching how hard I’m working on their language. Hopefully it’s good. I think that’s about all. Love everybody always.

PS: You can still send dear elders if you want, just not for free, and they’ll take longer than to the MTC, but regular mail is good too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 12 - penultimate message from the MTC

Writing in English is weird. Entonces, I’ve been speaking a lot of Spanish lately, and I’ve been taking a lot of notes in Spanish lately too. Things are good but it is time to leave. I am starting to feel like I have been at the MTC too long. Fortunately they know that and give me new things to do and look forward to now.

This week I got to host the new elders, which was fun. This means that when the new elders come we meet them at the curb grab their bags and start taking them around. We get to be their guide for their first 30 mins in the MTC which is actually way fun. All of the moms crying and often elders and dads just not really caring is pretty funny to watch. Our job is to make them feel more chill about being here, which I feel I did a pretty good job of. Me and another elder got to escort a sister who speaks Spanish natively for a little while. That was sweet because I basically understood everything she said and talked back to her pretty well overall. She was really nervous but tried to slow down her Spanish a little I think so it equaled out to be about regular speed. There was some stuff I missed but nothing that really hurt the conversation. So that was really sweet.

Also me and my friends have started a fantastic tradition where one of my friends reads letters from girls to my other friends out loud...before the person its to reads them. They are really funny. His voice is hilarious. It’s so sweet. We have so much fun with it. I will be getting ready to leave very soon.

Travel plans arrive on Saturday and hopefully I get to be in the airport with Isaac. I’ve just been having a lot of fun with Corey here whenever I can. With our bouncy balls. It’s the best.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 5, 2010

This week was pretty average. Not much different or different at all really. Just tons of studying and work. Just getting bored a little now. We are starting to speak more Spanish as a district now which is nice, because I need to speak to get better at this point. We only have past subjunctive left to learn. It’s just applying from here on out. Teaching is pretty easy and listening is ok, but I get really slow with complex sentences and I still have so much vocab to learn. It'll come, but the rumor is that most missionary’s don’t become fluent until 6 months out when they are stateside. I plan on cutting that down to 4 months. Hopefully, I need to do some work

I got a dearelder from logy today!!! I was super excited. I really wish I could have seen him. I brag about him to my friends sometimes, haha. I’m like, ya, I have a friend who’s fluent and going to Johns Hopkins, that’s right. Hahaha, just kidding, but seriously.
All of your letters and packages are so sweet. Special message to Erin, Kaylyn, and River. You 3 are so funny. That package was fantastic and everybody was sooooooooooooo jealous of my squeeze its lololololololololoolololzzzz. I miss everybody. Pictures of all of you would be nice to have. Just your favorites, send me some. I miss seeing people some times. Also, keep it chill. It’s the life. the chill bump is being spread to the world right now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mission week of 7-29-10

Ben answered the following questions this week:
How were things this week?
It was an ok week. At times really long, at times pretty quick. I was lazier than I should have been this week, but it’s hard to find some stuff to do sometimes when you don’t go over any Spanish in class that you don’t know. That makes things go really slow. Other than that though, still learning good things. I had a couple hours where I felt sooo good about speaking Spanish. It’s all fun though. Spanish is coming well overall. I just need to talk more. I think some people can finally understand me. That’s way nice, but we've been slacking a bit.
What are you doing for exercise? I play soccer everyday and run on my day off. Also pullups at night. I run around the fields about 3 miles.
Say Hi to everyone for me! Tell them to write to me! I love letters!