Dear Family, Friends, and whoever else my mom sends this too.I'm loving it here! this has been one of the hardest things of my life but I have learned so much in just one week of being here! I'm sorry I wasn't able to write until now. They told us to write when we got the chance, but I never got the chance. Every single minute of the day is scheduled with so much stuff. The only time I would have to write is the last hour to 30 minutes of the day, and I'm usually writing in my journal or getting ready for bed or talking with my district or others from my zone. Today is P-day, and it's my only P-day at the MTC. I love my zone and district! We are all really close and everyone is just awesome. My companion is great as well. His name is Elder Forsyth and he's from Denver. At first I thought he was a little different, but we're all different in one way or another. He's a little pudgy, but he's funny and a real spiritual guy. I'll post pictures. We have one other companionship in my room, Elder Smith and Elder Hankins. Smith is from Draper. He's one of the funniest black guys I've ever met. Elder Hankins is from Lehi. He's probably the most different of all the Elders, but like I said, everyone is different in some way. Smith and Hankins are the only two Elders in my district going to San Fernando with me and Forsyth. All of the Elders in the other district in our zone are going to San Fernando, but the rest of the Elders and Sisters are going to the San Francisco/Oakland mission. I wish they were all going to San Fernando because we've all gotten so close and everyone is just so cool. The other Elders in our district are Elder Hong, Elder Boakye-yiadom, Elder Gillie, and Elder Hunter. Hong is from Idaho Falls and he's our district leader. He's a real cool guy. Boakye-yiadom (pronounced Bo-achie-ya-dom, or Elder Bo for short) is from originally from Ghana and speaks Akan. He's super funny but has a very strong testimony. His family moved to Houston a couple of months ago and he has been going to BYU for a year. Elder Gillie and Hunter are our zone leaders. Like the rest, I like 'em. My branch president is President Wenn. He is the most loving and powerful guy. He has helped me out so much as I've been here. The schedule here at the MTC is so crazy. We have class and study time for 10-12 hours a day. It's really tiring but I've grown so much from everything that I've learned. Everything centers around the missionary purpose and it all comes down to loving the investigator and teaching according to their needs. I'm so glad that I had Dad as a hometeaching companion. He really taught me how to love other people and get to know them. We also teach here through this program called TRC which stands for Teaching Resource Center. Everyone that we teach is either a convert to the church playing the role of themselves before they were converted, or a real investigator. They don't tell you because everyone acts like an investigator. We taught this Korean lady named K-min and she was really accepting and the spirit was so real. She came from Korea about a year ago because her husband wanted to study at BYU. Her cousins are members and asked her to meet with the missionaries and she said yes. We got there and she was so excited to see us. She seemed like the golden investigator that missionaries talk about. She just asked the right questions and was so open to us. We taught so in sync with each other and we addressed her concerns and questions. That was really the first time I taught by the spirit and it was one of the coolest experiences. We taught her about the restoration and how to pray, and we gave her a Book of Mormon. We invited her to read and pray about it. We taught her again yesterday and we followed up with our invitation. She said she had read some of it and prayed about it like we told her too, but that she didn't get a very strong answer. The lesson still went really good though. It was basically just a big question and answer session and we taught her about the priesthood, faith and Christ. At the end of the lesson I invited her to be baptized and she said she would! It was so cool. My spirits this week are so much better than they were when I first got here. I felt so good the first day I got here, but every day after that my spirits started failing me more and more. Just because the I'm at the MTC doesn't mean that I don't have opposition and that the Adversary can't work against me. I started to feel like I couldn't do this mission by Saturday, but Sunday saved me. It was so spiritual. I fasted and we had a mission conferance in the gym that morning after study time. It was so awesome. Singing with all the missionaries is just such a cool feeling and the talks were so good. We had a sacrament/testimony meeting with the zone and branch presidency and then we had study time, dinner, and then another devotional which was really cool. The former president of the Phillipines MTC and his wife spoke about missionary work and lifting up an ensign and how we were the army of god and stuff like that. We then sang the Battle hymn of the Republic for the closing song. Let's just say that is probably my new favorite song. It was awesome. To end the day we got to watch a talk that Elder Bednar gave to the MTC a couple of years ago. It is literally the best talk I have ever heard may be my new favorite. It's too bad they only show it at the MTC. You might be able to get the text online. The talk is called Character of Christ and it is mind blowing. It was exactly what i needed to hear and has changed my view on things dramatically. I want you guys to look it up, although I don't know if you will be able to find it. If you do, send me the text because I want it! We also had a temple walk on Sunday which was fun. We all took pictures and it was good to get away from campus. To answer Dad's question about the Calisthenic fitness class, they don't have in anymore haha. Gym time is really fun. We usually go to the field and play soccer, kickball, softball or volleyball. If it's too late we go to the gym and play basketball or volleyball. It's way fun. On Monday night we said goodbye to part of the district that was leaving on tuesday. They had already been here for over a week and they were going to San Diego. The rest of that district left on Wednesday for Omaha Nebraska. We got a new district on Wednesday and they are all going to Baton-Rouge Louisiana. I actually know one of them. His name is elder Bennet and he played Trombone with me in the Sould Research Foundation. It was a good to see him. I hadn't talked to him in a long time. The food here is alight, but it's nothing like mom's food! It's just cafeteria food and its kind of bland but i'm ok with it. We get Ice Cream on Wednesday and Sundays so that's good. Our teachers here are so cool! They are so spiritual and are really helpful. My teaching skills have increased a ton and I really feel like I teach by the spirit when I do. We're going to the temple later on today and I'm really excited about that. Mom i still have that name that I'm going to go through for. I'll send it to you once i've gone through. I heard about the BYU game. That stinks. I have in field orientation all day tomorow and Saturday is just like any other scheduled day. I leave on Monday and I can't wait. Thank you all for your letters! I can't get enough of them so keep writing! I'll try to send personalized letters when I have time, I just haven't found it yet. Sorry that you had to waitso long o this e-mail. They didn't give me any time to write and unlike language speaking Elders, we don't get our first P-day until a week goes by.
I Love you All!