Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week before leaving!!!

I have to admit, I'm glad that I'm here for only 9 weeks instead of 12 weeks. I'm so ready to get out of here. My whole district is trying to learn the best way to contact, because in a email it said the first thing we do once we get to Bulgaria is "Preaching the gospel in the street." Just that saying alone makes my heart skip a beat. Talking to actual people in a different language scares me. On average they say it takes a missionary about 6 months to get the language down for everything to feel comfortable. I'm looking forward to going to Bulgaria, but I'm not looking forward for the next 6 months until I get the language down, but I'll probably start learning Bulgarian even faster having to depend on it a lot more than the MTC.

Yesterday, for some reason our teacher gave us another "investigator." I think he just wanted us to teach him because he was the investigator. We have 5 investigators that we are teaching in Bulgarian now. We teach a lesson everyday and to be honest, it's hard to manage it because we are trying to learn the language at the same time so we try to talk about things we know how to explain and learn more things about the things we want to say. 

A thing I thought that was funny was in class. Sometimes we ask questions about certain things in the language and usually it's on things that are exceptions to rules that we have learned. They say после which is later. We joked around saying that we don't have that much more после left. The day of после is almost here because the MTC is ending and we'll really have to know it. It was a class joke so it was fun. The group that I'm with likes to joke around a lot and it helps with keeping a positive attitude here at the MTC. 

The group that was learning Bulgarian before us were 2 people. I guess Elder ... (Don't know how to spell his name) is really smart so he had the Bulgarian language well. I don't think anyone in our class has it down like he did when he left several weeks ago. Sister M... I think was average and my class is average so probably the same level. Well.. I would like to think our class is average, we all feel like we stink at the language ha ha. 

I can't believe that Lexie got another stress fracture on a bone that doesn't really heal itself. It seems like everyone at home is breaking their feet. Hopefully Kaylie's foot has healed and that she can start running soon. Lexie, I don't know about you because it sounds like either surgery or sticky pad. I don't know what your planning but I hope it turns out well. I guess it's a good thing to be able to take that speed reading class. Your a lot smarter than me and that will help you become even better. 

Allie, dissecting a frog sounds fun and gross. I remember doing that in science or at least for other animals. Yea, it still grosses me out thinking of it, but it's fun to be able to  do that.

The airport I'm going to have to pay $75 for baggage fees if everything goes well and the church well reimburse me. I plan on just using my debit card to pay it. They said cash is the best I think but I think it works the same so hopefully that turns out good. I'm not sure if I could use that card I got from grandpa to help pay for it so I'll ask around. If I can I might as well use it on that before leaving country, but if not I'll just send it home like I planned to originally. I really hope that nothing goes wrong at the airport, I just don't like the process of having baggage and having to worry about it. I've never really flown with luggage before so it'll be different.

 This is my last email before leaving the country. It's weird weird to think of it like that. Well I'll try to send another email before the end of today with some pictures. I'm excited to do that phone call. I'll be a long time after that that I'll be able to hear your voices again. 7 more days including this day. Love you all. 

обечам стареишина грийн (Love Elder Green)

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Here are some photos of my Travel Plan. Chicago, England, Bulgaria. With the time change it's going to be over hours of travel which is weird and without the time change it's close to 24 hours. 18 hours on plan and about 3-4 hours in airports. I calculated all of the time on the photo, I can zoom in with my camera and read it all so I hope you can do the same. I'll be calling around 9:00-10:30 this Tuesday. Excited to call the family and to leave the MTC :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Time is getting Closer...

Here at the MTC, is getting really old. I'm so ready to be out, but when I think of that I think about how much I know the language, then think, I need to be here longer to learn the language. I've gotten to the point that I tell myself as long as I'm making process, it'll be fine and I won't have to talk to Bulgarian people. It helps me keep relaxed because thinking the opposite of having to have real conversations in another language just freaks me out. I'm so excited to go and can't wait until a few months pass and I'll actually be for the most part fluent in it. 

With every week, we teach our "investigators" or teachers/each other. The lessons are getting more comfortable but even if I was speaking English I feel like I would still have a hard time trying to find the needs of an investigator and how to meet them in those needs. I just know that as long as I'm doing my best, the spirit of the lord will take me the rest of the way.

So, funny story. Elder ... (from Finland) doesn't mind spending a lot of US money here because he doesn't want to pay the fee for converting it back into Euros which I think Finland has. Anyway, he has been telling people if you do this crazy thing I'll pay you this much. The funniest thing that has happened was trying to eat a banana with the peel on it. Elder ... and ... failed. In class it was brought up and then we asked the teacher to do it. 3 Elders pitched in $20 dollars each so $60 dollars were on the line. Well.... he ate the whole thing. It was so funny. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. I love my district and sometimes I think we are in the most unusual situations or different than most groups. 

I've been running everyday or mostly everyday and I can right now run a 5:20 mile in a inside 1/10 of a mile track. They have records and the record it at 6:00 but I feel like my time is to slow personally to actually have someone time me to get on. I'll probably break it officially before leaving, but it's hard when you have dinner right before gym time. 

I love seeing all of the photos. Last night I had a dream that instead of calling home at the airport I got 1 day to visit home. For some reason we all watched Star Trek, and I did have the thought that yes I shouldn't be watching movies as a missionary, but I didn't care. It was a really weird dream but the benefit of it was I got to see the family again in the closest way I can I guess. 

I miss seeing everyone doing there thing. It sounds like Allie is going to start track soon. That'll be exciting to see what happens there. Hopefully there are a lot of friends that you can make in Track. I remember having a lot of friends in running. Lexie - It looks fun to be able to be at races, they are the best part of running in my opinion and how is the varsity team. Hopefully it's a good team and I don't know if it's that different from when I left. Whats the qualifying time for girls again?  Kaylie - It looks like your being a social butterfly ha ha and your toe is looking a lot better. It sounds hard not able to run with everyone and just biking for a long period of time. Do you bike just at the gym at the high school or do you bike everywhere? I think it's awesome that your counting down the days until we get to talk on the phone.

I wouldn't mind getting Alex Hess email address if you ever see him you should tell him to email me or get the address for me :)

Hopefully everyone schedule for high school is good with the new term which was sometime (I forgot when you said it ended.) It sounded like there was a lot of schedule change and I did that to. It's hard to know what to do with each activity. 

обечам стареишина грийн (Love Elder Green)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

P-day eve, district leader, choir

Hey Everyone!
It seems like so much has happened since I last wrote on P-day. One of my companion says that the day before P-day is P-day eve to get everyone excited. It's kind of funny. Last Sunday I was changed to district leader. I now have a lot of meetings to go to on Sundays and have to send a more detailed letter to the branch president, along with other responsibilities. I had to teach again to the Croatia/Bulgarian districts with my 2 companions.

The language is still coming a long. My class this last week finished learning all of the major grammer in Bulgarian. I feel like I know so much Bulgarian, but at other times I feel like I don't know anything. Attached to this letter is a picture of my flashcards, and yes I do have them memorized but sometimes I still can't remember any words I memorized in a lesson and I'm stumped. I can't wait until I can talk normally in the language. It's still going to be a while before that happens. On average I think they say it takes a few months in country to finally get the language down.
I love getting the photos of just everyone at home doing regular life. I know how it feels like doing homework all the time. Except, I don't really have homework but have the same class for 6-7 hours a day. It get exhausting especially since I don't sleep to well at night. Yea, the past week has been rough with sleeping, my mind is just thinking to much during night I guess.
Today we went to the temple and did an Endowment and Inititories. It's fun to do thinks that I usually don't do in the temple or haven't done for other people.
We have walks to the temple once a week and there was some protesters about being Mormon. It felt like going to general conference and seeing protesters there. It was really weird. What they were saying didn't even make sense. They got attention from some missionaries, but my group just ignored them. I could tell that some missionaries were really uncomfortable from that situation. It didn't bother me to well but for others it really startle them. I know that when I get to the field I'll be rejected a lot, but it's still doing the work so it doesn't bother me to much which I'm thankful for because If it did, it would make the mission more hard. I won't really know what it'll be like until I'm out in the field. Sometimes I don't feel like a missionary here at the MTC, but I know I have to make the most of it because it's preparing to do the real work in the field if that makes sense.
Yesterday we have Elder Bednar come talk to us again. It was so powerful. I actually joined the choir here and was singing the lowest part just to be with my companion so my throat wasn't feeling the best after practice and actually singing. The choir leader guy is hilarious, it makes it fun. Anything so I sang with a group for Elder Bednar :). I remember Christmas time, a lot of people got kicked out of choir because they wanted to sing for the apostle coming that day (Elder Bednar). He talked about some of the questions he received from Christmas time (with the phone texting process, if you remember me describing the Christmas time talk). It was better than Christmas time talk in my opinion because the questions that he answered were selected out of over 1000 questions asked that day.
He only had time to answer 15 questions so he joked about how he has another 985 questions to go after he was done talking. He is such a funny speaker. He testified of the Book of Mormon. I have to tell you that I've never ever in my life have felt the spirit testify to me that the Book of Mormon is true. I knew it was true before but that comfrimation about the Book of Mormon again with that strong of spirit makes me have no doubts. It's hard to explain but I truly do know that God did answer my prayer that day. He also talked about the original manuscript that was translated by Joseph Smith that he saw in the church archives. It's just amazing how strong the testimony he gave was.
He also answered a question that was asked by a sister. The sister asked in a question if she was going to be as an effective missionary as an Elder because she didn't have the priesthood. It just left me thinking that being a missionary doesn't exclude us from having any doubts about certain things about the gospel.  I've have had a few questions about things that honestly doesn't make sense about the church to me but I know that just having faith is part of it. Anyway the way he described the priesthood made perfect sense. He said priesthood isn't male, it is Gods authority. He did a analogy (if that is what it is called) of the priesthood being an umbrella. It covers anyone that is under it and protects them from the rain or other things. The men is the one that is holding the umbrella for everyone to be under. It's meant to benefit everyone, not just the one holding it.
There are a lot more things that he talked about but those where some of the biggest points I liked about it. It's really hard for me to keep up with my journal because of all of the great devotionals we have here.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

P-day Switch, language connection, temple

Hey everyone. With the new years here there is a new schedule change. I now have P-days on Wednesdays and it will probably change again once I leave for Bulgaria. This morning started out really well. We got to go to the temple to do a session. I love watching the video that they show. It's amazing. After my companions and I did sealings. All of the other groups an hour before we did because of that. It was fun, since it's my first time ever doing it. Apparently Elder ... is really into family history. He had a ton of names that he wants to get done while we're here. Instead of just giving everyone names he made a list so he makes sure each one is done. 

The sealing rooms I've seen before but never done anything in them. There was an older couples that were doing it. They were so sweet and they told us how much they appreciated missionaries because if it wasn't for missionaries they wouldn't be part of this church. It's amazing to think of the work that is done in the temples. Sister ... (I think that was her name) was one of the older couple. When we were sealing kids to their parents she looked to me and said something like it's good to be together son. It just made me think of what is happening on the other side and how happy they are to get things done in the temple for them like baptisms, sealings and even endowments. We spent around 3 hours at the temple and It was a really fun experience.

I don't know if I mentioned that there was a painting in the chapel of the temple that I really like. It's with Christ in the middle with everyone looking towards him. It's unlike any painting I've seen of Christ. He looks a little younger than usual or at least to me he does. There is a little kid that has his finger pointing at him, not a hard point but a curve finger point. His eyes look up past his head into the sky and the lady that gave us a tour the day we cleaned the temple before it opened said that the kid was looking up to the heaven opening above him. It just makes me think how close kids are to the spirit or veil than adults/older people.

It was really weird seeing new people coming in on wednesdays. We had 2 rooms by our room that just got filled today. The weirder thing is seeing them leave before us. The two groups that moved in by us are going to Idaho, and California. They leave in 12 days, or at least one of the groups and the other in a week. We just smile and say that we're here for another 4  weeks :). 

I'll be sending photos of some things that have happened here, but of course sometimes the computer doesn't agree with letting us send photos because of the restrictions that they have on them. I'll try to use another computer to send some photos. 

Another thing that I was also wondering was, what to do with the mini christmas tree that I have? I don't plan on taking it with me and I don't know if you want me to try to send it back or just toss it. I figured that I should try to find out what to do sooner than later.

It's interesting to know how much european languages are connected. Apparently with Russian, I'll be able to understand them around 70-80% if I understood correctly. My Bulgarian teacher (Brother ...) said that if he studied like we did with Bulgarian for a week on Russian he could get by in Russia with the speaking. He served a mission to Bulgaria and is pretty much fluent in the language just for a note. I'll be able to understand Macedonia about 95% which is really similar. Sister ... (sister learning Bulgaria with us, in our district) is actually heading to Macedonia instead of Bulgaria but there's no Macedonian class so she is learning the closest thing to it. I can't wait until I can speak fluent in Bulgarian but It's still going to be a while before that happens.

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We had new years party this is our zone and we got German chocolate for TRC or return missionaries from Bulgaria, and yes they have better chocolate than here that I decided

Friday, January 3, 2014

Temple, life as normal here in the MTC

Hey everyone. It's weird to think that I'm almost half way through the MTC. The Bulgarian group has been counting down to the half way through the MTC. Sure the MTC is good and all, but.... getting out into the mission field sounds really nice right now. Our schedule is pretty consistent and its getting old. With the new year and everything we are going to get new schedules but it's probably just going to be the same with a few changes.

If there are any questions that I haven't answered just send the questions again. It's hard to keep track of what I said and haven't especially since so much happens here at the MTC. The temple here isn't opened yet but opens this Monday I believe. We just got done helping cleaning it. We got a tour right after so it felt like we were doing the walk through before the dedication again. We got to go to the Celestial room and also seeing the air conditioning room. They had the biggest pipes I have ever seen, they could literally be tunnels for people. My favorite part was the chapel with a huge painting with Christ in the middle and everyone looking at him. I really wish I could take a picture with my camera of it. I can't wait until we can start going to the temple. 

For the new years it was pretty fun. Our schedules were the same as any other day but when we got to our dorms it was really fun. We collect all of our stuff from packages/christmas and put it on the ironing bar. Apparently someone had 5 full size bags of chips and around 4 big glass containers with salsa. We had the Zone leaders give a inspirational speech that was awesome. We socialized/pigged out  and had fun. The morning after my stomach didn't feel to good but it was worth it.

I just barely received a letter from the bishop with a lot of christmas cards in it. It was fun to read each one of them. It's fun to be able to hear from people from the ward. That reminds me, when they get the missionary plaque for the church I would like to see a picture. I've always wanted to see one with me on it :)

The language is coming along. Every thursday night we do TRC. It's where volunteers come in to talk to you in the language that your learning. I've never seen so much returned Bulgarian missionaries all at once. During Christmas time there wasn't that much volunteers because well its Christmas time and usually theres only 2-3 volunteers but yesterday was 6 volunteers. It was fun talking to them and it was weird because even though I know so little of Bulgarian I was actually able to bear testimony on the book of mormon and pray from memory. We got a note after talking about how we did which never happened before. We been doing TRC once a week since week 3, so this is the 3rd time doing it. Anyway we never got notes and it was just general for our group but they mentioned me individually. They liked how I said "I testify" about the BOM. I actually meant to say that the BOM testifies about Christ but thats the message I said apparently. It's funny because that simple mistake I'm sure was the spirit. It just reminds of a talk or scripture that talks about how God will fill our mouths with the words that the people need to hear. 

I'm good about everything that I have here. I haven't used the boots at all and have no idea if I ever will. I guess I won't know until I go to the country. I do actually need a couple of shirts. Three would probably be best and just regular shirts I have that I don't really care for would work to because I don't have enough shirts for exercise. I've been meaning to ask but keep forgetting during emails. Also, if I could get the BOM and the hymn book in Bulgarian that would be nice to, since we have 2 copies of both and the last thing is the scripture pencils I have at home. That would be nice and I would think that they are in my old scripture bag but not sure. I could buy them here but if you manage to find them I might as well use them if I already have it. If you can't find them I can just buy them here with the $6 dollars I get every week. 

It sounds like it was fun going to Idaho in one of the letters. From the sound of it, it sounded like you were writing it in the car the way up. I also loved hearing about the stats on finances. It gets me excited just like always ha ha. I also really wanted to see that goal zero bike on KSL. I would be like dad and would be "drooling over it." 

It was kind of fun sending the letter with my name in Bulgarian. I've learned how to switch the computer language, but it's hard typing in it because I have to guess the letters to get it right. There's one word I wanted to teach everyone that we love to say. its добре (dobre) it means good or ok based off have you say it with your expression. 

аз знам че бог обеча нас и отгобаря молитба ни. (I know that God loves us and answers our prayers). It's not that much Bulgarian but this is based off memory so I tried :). I can't wait to be fluent in the language. I also need to work on writing in Bulgarian because it's a lot easier to speak it than it is to understand it/writing it. Anyway I love all of you, and glad I have this time to email. I love hearing what is happening at home whether it be good or bad. Just looking back knowing that almost 1 month has passed with me being on the mission, before I know it I'll be going to Bulgaria itself. It sure seems like time has a different meaning being on the mission, because theres times were it feels like I've been here for months but then other times it feels like I just arrived here yesterday. 

обечам стареишина греен  (love Elder Green)