Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 2 MTC

Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 7:45 AM

Hello family and friends!

Once again thank you so much for your letters and support! It's amazing the difference one letter can make! I enjoyed getting a letter from Bro. Oldroyd this week, he gave me a lot of good suggestions for life as well as being a missionary. I hope all is going well with school and work and that everyone enjoyed the Temple dedication on Sunday! Happy Birthday to Kyle today! Is he all set to be driving my car? Thanks for keeping me updated on what's been going on at home! I think I can print some pictures off here to send home, but it probably won't be till next week. They keep us very busy (and very full) here so it's difficult to find time to do stuff like that. Kristine, congratulations on your triathlon! Dad, thanks for the information about getting those slacks fixed, also, do you think you could send me some labels with my MTC address information on to save me that little bit of time writing letters? Thank you!

All the missionaries at the MTC got to attend the Temple dedication this week, and the Spirit was so strong! Having been through the temple now, things stood out to me that never have before as Elder Eyering gave the Dedicatory prayer in our session. I love the temple and I can't wait to go in just a couple of hours with my district for p-day!

I'll start off with sharing my highlight of the week, which was actually just last night. Tuesday nights are devotional night for us here at the MTC which means we get to have a general authority come speak to us. This week that speaker happened to be Elder Richard G. Scott. I didn't know he served a mission in Uruguay? Anyways from the moment he walked in while we were singing "True to the Faith" and everyone stood up, I can't even express how strong the spirit was. As the MTC president, President Smith stood up and started to introduce Elder Scott, He quickly stood up and ran (i was suprised too) up to the microphone and said, just tell them I love the missionaries and let's get on with it. He is a very humble man and it was very apparent how in tune he is with the Spirit. The most amazing thing to me as he spoke, was he used his authority as an apostle to "confer upon us the gift of tongues" and also by the same authority he blessed us with "protection and safety as you are obedient, make smart choices, and follow the promptings of the spirit." That was such an amazing thing to me and really strengthened my testimony that these men are called of God. He also shared the most personal testimony I have ever heard in my life, he told us "I know that Jesus Christ lives because I Know Him." What a powerful statement! I hope that I can someday say that with the same power and conviction that he did.

This past Saturday was our first teaching appointment. Elder Hinton and I have had several opportunities to teach other people in our district, but this was our first chance to teach a lesson to someone that was not a missionary. Our first task was to greet them and spend about 5 minutes getting to know them in Spanish. Both our minds went blank as we walked in the room, but we made it through just fine with the Spanish. We then proceded to teach the restoration of the gospel to 2 young ladies, one from peru, and one from north carolina (in english thankfully). It was such an awesome experience being able to teach real people with real needs, even though they were members of the church and were playing a specific role, we still felt the promptings of the spirit to say things a little differently than we are used to that hopefully strengthened their testimonies of this gospel.

It's amazing how quickly the Elder's in my district have bonded. It really feels like we have all been best friends for years. Everyone is open with each other and they all have such strong testimonies. Elder Hinton and I have always gotten along, but it seems like the past couple days we have just clicked and started having some good conversations. 8 of the Elder's in my district are going to the same mission as Elder Hinton and I, and the other 4 are leaving for the Dominican Republic MTC, Santiago mission next week! We are definately going to miss them, but it will be nice to have the extra room in our very crowded classroom where we spend 5-9 hours a day.

This past Sunday we also had a couple of changes in our Zone. Elder McClurg and Elder Day (in my room) are going to be our new Zone Leaders, and my companion Elder Hinton is the new District Leader. I feel pretty left out, but they will do a great job! Our Branch President shared an awesome message about how we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, which helped me a lot and I think that's so important for everyone to remember! There's so much to learn here, and there's no way we could learn as much as we do without the Spirit of the Lord.

Anyawys, I'm about out of time now. It's amazing how quickly a half hour can fly by, I wish I had my journal here to share some more experiences with you, but then again I need to leave something to talk about in my letters.;) I love you all and hope you have a great week! The church is true!

Love Elder Wheelhouse

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One Week Down!

Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 8:10 AM

Hola Familia!

I survived my first week here at the MTC! It's amazing how quickly this place starts to feel like home. The spirit is so strong and everyone here is so friendly and helpful! I can't complain about the food either. They keep us very full as we generally eat every four or five hours. I have the feeling i'm going to gain some weight here! Anyways save this address because this will be my email address for my whole mission. Our p-day is on wednesdays for my district here at the MTC, so you can expect an email every week on wednesdays.

Thank you for your letters! Getting letters is seriously like Christmas day here! Kristine, all the guys in my room loved the package you sent me, and they all want to hear "the good stuff" everytime I get a letter! We've had some fun with the stuff, and we have that expanding Alligator growing in the bathtub on our floor ;). Also the air freshner has been put to good use as staying in a room with 3 other guys gets pretty stinky! I haven't taken a whole lot of pictures but i'm sure you'll be seeing some pretty soon!

Anyways I think I already talked about the guys in my room in my last letter, but I'm pretty sure there was some wrong information! My companion is Elder Hinton from Hurricane, Utah. He just graduated high school this year, and he's an awesome basketball player. He actually reminds me of Jordan Fisher in a lot of ways! Also in our room is Elder McClurg from New Jersey (our district leader), and his companion Elder Day from Ogden, Utah. We all get along great, which keeps us from getting to sleep by 10:30 because we are always up talking about things.

We have probably the best teacher at the whole MTC. His name is Hermano Cragun, and he just got back from his mission in Texas 6 weeks ago! It is so obvious to all of us how much he loves missionary work and he has really brought "bromancia" or so he calls it, to our district. We love singing the Himnos in class.

Our first or second day here we were taught how to bear our testimonies and pray in Espanol. We've gotten lots of practice in and i'm pretty confident doing it, but I have still got A LOT to learn. Me and my companion have started reading "El Libro de Mormon" in our companionship study to help us with pronunciation and it's suprising how many words we can pick up on! I am definately going to need the gift of tongues to learn this language! We have our first teaching apointment this Saturday, which thankfully is in English. (By the way dad, I found out what TRC is... Teaching Resource Center) We do have to contact people in Spanish prior to teaching the first lesson however. It's pretty ridiculous how nerve racking it is to approach people to have a conversation in a language i dont' know yet! But I've learned there is nothing to be afraid of as we are all here on the same team!

Our schedule was pretty crazy the first week through Sunday, but we are on a schedule now so things should get a lot better! We get an hour of gym time each day which has really made me realize how out of shape I am! I usually play basketball or run/bike/lift. Most of our time is spent in Class. Sundays are pretty laid back which is a nice break from our day to day routines! P-days are nice for lots of reasons, but more than anything i'm excited to go to the temple today with my district!

Last night we had our first Devotional which was by Spencer V Jones of the second quorom of the seventy. Apparently he is going to be speaking at the Oquirrh Mountain temple dedication this Sunday, so you can see who he is! He gave an awesome talk about teaching by the spirit! One thing he talked about was "looking up and listening for what comes down". Although this was a little different, it reminded me of what Bishop Oviatt used to always tell us about taking time to ponder to become more receptive to the spirit! I know this will help me a lot as a missionary as my schedule is so busy that a lot of times we dont' have time to think! He also said, "If you don't teach by the Spirit, you're not teaching the way God intended you to teach." I challenge all of you to take time to think about spiritual things so that you may have the Spirit with you more fully throughout each day!

WE finally met our Branch President last night as he was out of town last week when we got here as well as on Sunday. His name is President Nelson and he seems like an amazing man! I can't wait to learn more from him! Our sacrament meetings are pretty nerve racking because we are all asked to prepare a talk (in spanish) and they randomly call 2 elders from our branch of about 50 to speak for 3-5 min.

Well i'm about out of time! I just got on to set up my account and use my 30 min to send an email while I wait for my laundry to be done in the washing machine! Thank you for your love and prayers! I love and miss you guys and I hope all is going well back home! Happy birthday to Kevin and Keri and happy back to school week!

Love, Elder Wheelhouse