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Friday, March 9, 2012

March 8, 2012-MTC Week 1

Hey Mom!!!!!!!

It's finally my P-day (we had a half P-day) last Saturday but we weren't allowed to email.  I sent a letter my very first night though.... so I'm kind of surprised that you haven't gotten that yet.  Thanks so much for all of you letters!  It's so good to hear from home every night. 

Life at the MTC is very different than I expected.  I guess I really didn't pay all that much attention when people told me my mission would be hard.  I assumed the MTC would just be a breeze and nothing but amazing because we're feeling the Spirit all day every day.  I've learned that  although the MTC is an incredibly spiritual place, we still need to work to be worthy of having the Spirit with us.  We do A LOT of sitting in class and just sitting in general, so sometimes it's really hard to stay focused.  Gym time is an amazing break when it comes (50 minutes a day).  I usually run a mile or two and then play some pretty intense non-competetive 4-square. 

Even though it's hard, life here is incredible.  The tender mercies of the Lord are so obvious and so abundant.  The power of the spirit here really is comparable to the temple.  Spanish is so much more difficult than I ever imagined it being, but it's incredible how much we're blessed with the gift of tongues.  The third day we were here (last Friday) we taught our first investigator lesson to a man named Edgar Juarez (who is actually just a teacher we don't know... definitely all role-play at this point)--all in Spanish.  Elder Rhodes (who I will talk about in a second, he is an awesome companion) and I were pretty nervous, but once we relaxed and allowed the Spirit to be with us, it didn't matter.  We've since taught Edgar four times, and yesterday he committed to baptism.  Even though it was just role-play, it was still an awesome experience.  Our Spanish is still nowhere near what it needs to be to teach investigators, but we've been working hard.  What I've been trying to work on is understanding Spanish, since I can communicate close to what I want (although that doesn't mean it's in any way, shape, or form gramatically correct, it just means I can get my point accross).

Now for the people.  My companion, Elder Rhodes, is from the Salt Lake Valley (Alpine).  He's serving in Veracruz, Mexico (a couple missions north of me).  He played football in high school too, and we've definitely bonded over talking sports (haha).  More importantly, he's a really great missionary, and his testimony is a huge strength to me.  He hasn't taken Spanish for a couple years, so he's having kind of a tough time with the language, but he's improving very quickly.  We're working hard to learn how we can teach better with each other (the biggest challenge is that we're doing it in a language that we just don't know :p), and we're getting much better. 

My district is really awesome as well.  We've got a couple of guys from Utah, one from Illinois (Elder Turner, who is the only other missionary in my district going to Tuxtla, and we're actually the only two in the district going to the same mission), another elder from South Carolina (I actually played lacrosse against him without knowing it... funny coincidence), one from L.A., one from Phoenix, and one from Texas.  Two going to Cali (bay area), four of us going to Mexico, two to Peru, and two to Colombia.  All awesome guys.  We're going to be really close by the time we're done here. 

I'm just about out of time.  And I don't think I'll be able to send pictures until I get to Mexico... And on that not I forgot to bring a card reader for my camera... and on THAT note I forgot to bring tweezers.  I'll tell you more about the card reader next week once I mess with my camera some.

Anyway, I reallllllllllllllly miss you guys.  And love you so much.  Vaya con Dios hasta la semana proxima.

Con amor,
Elder Nickerl

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