Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MTC Week 6

Hey Everybody!

So my first order of business is a little rant, but not really. I just feel like asking sometimes if anyone ever gets sick of singing "Called to Serve". Don't get me wrong, it is THE missionary song, and I love singing it, but I think it is overkill when we sing it for every devotional and fireside...I LIKE TO SING OTHER HYMNS TOO!!! Haha it really doesn't bother me that much, but I did notice that it is the opening song for every devotional and fireside. I also love singing the hymns in Spanish. There are a few in the Spanish hymnbook that aren't in the English book and they are really fun to sing because they are new to me.

So I called Carolyn back in the RC on Friday. The missionaries still haven't contacted her, so that was kind of a bummer. Our RC instructor said that he was in an area in Florida once where they hadn't responded to a media referral for 15 months! WHY???? They are basically free investigators! You don't have to look for them! They called US! Oh well, hopefully they contact her this week, and if they don't I am going to re-submit the referral. While on the phone with her I read from the Book of Mormon, Alma 40 to try and comfort her about family members she has lost. She said she believed everything I read, and all I am thinking is, IF SOMEONE KNOCKED ON HER DOOR IT WOULD BE AN AUTOMATIC BAPTISM! We have been told over and over again that the Brethren have said our purpose is to baptize, and somehow missionaries and members have gotten it into their head that service, re-activation, and retention are more important. They said in our missions we are to teach the members that missionaries baptize, and it is the member's responsibility to serve, retain, and re-activate. I thought that was interesting because a lot of Elders here in the MTC thought differently before our lessons on that subject. Anyways, so I hope Carolyn is contacted soon.

We taught the first lesson in Spanish last Saturday. I was pretty nervous thinking it would only be like a five minute lesson with how much Spanish I know, but we took the whole 30 minutes. I could pretty much explain all the doctrine without having to think too much in my head how to say it. I need to work on asking questions though. I pretty much only asked questions that there was only one answer for because I didn't want to risk having no idea what the investigator was saying back to me. Our evaluation from Hermano Conde said that he felt a great spirit when he walked in, and said afterwards we "were on fire!" I think he was just trying to be nice to us. I did, however, relate the First Vision from memory without breaking eye-contact. It was pretty much the only thing I was 100% sure I didn't mess up. Also the next morning during our Sunday interviews with our Branch Presidency members, I was interviewed by Hermano Wright, the only Spanish speaker of the three, and in the middle of the interview said, "So you just met me on the street in Argentina and I ask about Joe Smith and angels. Teach me." I sat and stared at him for about 5 seconds thinking...what in the world? You are a crazy old man! Haha, anyways, I talked for about 5 minutes about Joseph and the First Vision again. Afterwards he asked how much Spanish I had before the MTC, and I said none. Then he said, "Well you went from nothing to a lot pretty quickly then!" It was encouraging.

On Tuesday we met with Visa agents from the travel office to do some fingerprints and stuff. Visas have been difficult to come by but I guess it is getting better. We meet with the Consul on August 12th and he should be able to answer a lot of questions. We were told not to ask anything offensive like, How big are the bugs, or if they have monkeys in Argentina. We were also told we are to stand when he walks in and say, ¨Buenos Dias, Señor Consul.¨ in unison. Then we are to sing Called to Serve in Spanish, but change some of the words because the Consul said they don´t exist in Spanish. When we told Hermano Conde that he just started laughing and said that the words do exist, but Argentina doesn´t use them as much as the rest of the Spanish speaking was kind of funny.

Anyways, 30 seconds...I am doing great. 6 weeks!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

MTC Week 5 - cont.

This is the letter we got today in the mail, dated 7/23/08:

Mom and Dad,

This letter isn't going to be long. The temple opened back up so I lost about 2 hours of letter writing time. I got my hair cut and it isn't that short. Everyone said they just shave your head basically, but mine looks decent.

Ok first, yeah you can send me some of the pictures. I don't care which ones, just your favorites. I went up and took pictures with Charlie, Connors, Avery, Duffin, and Kyle on Sunday but Brett was a no show. So I didn't get to see him before he left. The last I saw him was at the map picture. He left me a note in my mailbox though so we said our goodbyes. I still see Kyle like every day. The hand sign we did in front of the temple Hermana Engebretsen told us means "AWESOME!!!" or to emphasize what you are saying. You make the sign at your chest and then move it in a straight line to your navel. Ask if you need more instruction on the matter.

So, I am not going to argue with you Dad about contacting the families of the other elders, because I know you are hyper like that. :) But Sabey's aren't answering because they are mission presidents in Ghana and barely have time for their son, let alone their son's roommate's parents. And if the others don't respond it is probably because their sons took the exact same pictures I did and sent them home just like I did.

So Hermana Engebretsen got a sub one night. Her name was Hermana Stevenson who just got back from Buenos Aires North in January. She spent like 30 minutes just showing us pictures and things like that. It was really cool. The whole city is in the North mission. So she had pictures of the Casa Rosada, and Eva Duarte's tomb, and la Boca, which is where the Tango dance originated. Also she had a picture of the first church building in South America, which is now a shoe factory, but the Church is trying to buy it back and restore it. Sadly, I won't get to see any of those, but I am excited anyway. Also she showed us her scripture covers, which were this awesome leather stuff with designs of Christ and Joseph Smith on them. It was AWESOME! She said the member who does them lives in my mission so I have to find him. But yes, Dad, I can get covers at the bookstore too. She also said you can pick pretty much any design you want. I want one.

Anyway this week we learned to command in Spanish. So it is time for another installment of Elder Gilmore's Spanish examples. This time I at least made an attempt to make them religious. Numero uno. !Arrepientase de sus pecados! (Repent of your sins!) !No me digan sobre sus pecados! (don't tell me about your sins!) And my personal favorite, !No seamos Catolicos! (Don't be Catholic!). I think they will be effective in the mission field, if used with the right tone of voice.

Also mention on the blog that in addition to Kasidy and Joseph, Emily Roskelley and Alex Greaves are also not forgotten. I KNOW THEY ARE ALIVE! It just is a matter of finding time to write to them. Anyways, I don't have much more time, but I feel I am forgetting something. Maybe you should send me a list of questions you need answered on Tuesdays in addition to all the letters, because I love getting the mail, but can never remember what was asked. Oh yeah, I didn't use my last 5 minutes of e-mail because Hno. Conde emailed me the wikipedia page for the official rules of 4 square, and I spent that time reading them, so now when someone argues with me in gym I will be able to do as the scriptures say and speak with, "Power and authority!"

OK, love you, thanks for everything! Diga me todas cosas de sus vidas por favor.

Love, Sean

translation: diga me todas cosas de sus vidas por favor, basically means: Tell me everything going on in your lives, please.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MTC Week 5

Hey Everyone,

First I want to award Kasidy and Joseph the award for still writing me even when I completely ignore them. Sorry guys, there is like no time at all to write, especially now this week with the temple being back open.

So I never got to follow-up with Carolyn in the RC on Friday, but its ok the instructor said that it is better to call two weeks after anyway, because it gives the missionaries I sent to her time to contact her. The reason I didn't is because the phones were flooded all day, and about 40 people were on hold, so they want every missionary in the RC to be taking calls. I talked to Magalie (ma-GAH-lee) for about 30 minutes. She is Haitian but now lives in
South Florida and let me tell you I didn't understand half of what she said. She had the thickest accent I have ever heard in my life. It was fun to talk to her though, she doesn't call Satan, the devil, instead she says, "The Demon trys to tempt me". It was way funny. I sent missionaries to her even though she said this past week a couple of people have died in front of her I think that the elders will be ok anyways.

Elder Stokes and I have been teaching a lot because we love the practice. I didn't know this, but the teachers we practice with give our classroom teachers feedback on our performances. We went to Sis. Gibson one day and this is what she said:

"I also worked with Elder Gilmore and Elder Stokes . They taught lesson two. WOW! They departed from their lesson plan on several occasions to apply to the lesson to my questions and needs and came up with things on the spot that they have not used before. They did a terrific job of working in unity and watching the investigator's responses. Elder Gilmore never broke eye contact and you could feel the Spirit pouring out of him. The same with Elder Stokes, he spoke with such clarity that I as an investigator couldn't misunderstand the principles he was teaching. We practiced giving a brief overview of the lesson (2 minutes) and I showed them what Bro. Ghram taught us in our all-zone meeting about sharing a lesson in 5-8 minutes and then using the rest of the time ask questions and have more of discussion with the investigator. THANKS for letting them teach me! It is rare to find a companionship like them"

I thought that was nice of her to say, also it proves that although I am a goof-off I am not a slacker. Its funny though, we have gotten a few of those kinds of reviews and it always seems like the next lesson we don't do as well. That is pride for you, but they really help Elder Stokes and I to gain confidence in our teaching.

Ok...update on Pedro, our progressive investigator. As I mentioned last time, it was very awkward and frustrating. Well the next two visits have been way better. He is keeping his commitments and although it takes a while for him to understand something, it is really neat to see when it clicks for him. Granted it is really Bro. Valladares pretending to be an investigator, but still. Anyway, yesterday we expected to teach the plan of salvation to him, but instead ended up teaching what praying with real intent means and all about baptism. It was PERFECT! Elder Stokes was dominating...spiritually of course, and I was having things pop into my head out of nowhere, and then with about 5 minutes left I started to commit him to baptism. Seriously 3 seconds before I asked the question his phone goes off...WHAT!!!! Teachers aren't supposed to have cell phones while working with MISSIONARIES!!! He took the call because it was "very important" and talked the whole five minutes. Very important? Pedro's Soul is at stake!!!!!! So we had to close without finishing the lesson, and it was frustrating. Then in our feedback he went on and on about how wonderful we were as teachers but we didn't take advantage of the opportunities to commit the investigator to mean when you were on the phone...haha I just had to laugh it off because it was ridiculous. I still have time left but have to change my laundry so I might send another short email later

love you bye

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Photos from the MTC

Sean sent some pictures home today with his letter. We have posted a few of them for you to enjoy. Doesn't he look great?!?

Sean and his MTC Companion, Elder Stokes

Elder Sean Michael Gilmore- going to the Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission

BYU Friends
L to R: Trevor Stephens (Korea), Kyle Anderson (Philippines), Luke Christensen (Portland, OR), Cameron Hodson (Tucson, AZ), Sean Gilmore (Argentina), and Brett Anderson (Spain)

Elder Stokes, Elder Maxwell, Elder Gilmore and Elder Sabey- going to Buenos Aires!!! These four room together at the MTC

Sean's District with their teacher, Hna. Engebretsen

Sean's District with their teacher, Hno. Conde

Sean's desk is nice and neat, unlike his desk at BYU. Maybe there is hope for him yet!

Sean's District found a Christmas Tree and decided to have Christmas in July

Sean and his MTC District having a gift exchange for Christmas in July

Elder Gilmore at the MTC

Sean with his MTC Companion, Elder Stokes

Elder Stokes, Elder Sabey, Elder Gilmore and Elder Maxwell, obviously doing some sort of Argentine hand gesture at the Provo Temple. These Elders are all going to Buenos Aires together, and share a dorm room at the MTC

Sean with this MTC District at the Provo Temple

MTC Week 4 - cont.

We received a letter from Sean in the mail today, written last Wed. It also included a memory card from his camera, so we will be posting some pictures too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Panda y Papi,

OK I absolutely LOATHE the 30 minute e-mail thing. I am typing along and I look up and there is 23 seconds left so I just abruptly end my thoughts. Oh well, you got the main idea of the Pedro story, but Elder Stokes and I are excited to see him again on Saturday, because we take it as a personal challenge to get him interested in anything.

Yes, Panda, I get your dearelder letters. I have also noticed that more are being sent, and it is much appreciated. Also you win the game at knowing if your son is serious about injuries or not. Haha. I laugh now, but I really did feel badly that Dad was worried about me. Yes I got Spanish scriptures on the first day, along with Preach My Gospel in Spanish and a bunch of grammar and verb books to study. They do free engravings here too! so I did "Elder Sean M. Gilmore" in the cursive writing.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in Spanish was really cool. Except there seemed to be too many syllables for the amount of notes there are, unless we totally messed it up. It was fun anyway. I use my German a little bit. Mostly playing jokes on the new elders who are told by their teacher to go bear their testimonies to the older districts. It is funny to see their eyes shoot to my name tag when I start talking back in German to them. Then I get stern looks from the teachers before their faces crack into a smile.

Jared left today. I had my camera all day Tuesday at meals and stuff to get a picture but never found him. Then the ONE time I saw him, I didn't have the camera. Go figure, but at least I got to say goodbye, and he got the cookies, Dad, he was pretty excited. I never got temple pictures with the twins because of conflicting Sacrament schedules, but we did get Big Map pictures. Thanks for the memory cards. Now you will see all the things I have done at the MTC... well the ones documented with the camera anyway.

I am having a severe writer's block right now. I am reading through all your letters and I think I answered everyone's questions. It sounds like your Livingston trip went well. Yeah, Sant told me Ron would be going to Bahrain, but I think I would try to get reassigned to Spain, too.

Well I guess I will share a scripture because nothing is coming to mind to write. I was reading in Acts the other day, Chapter 5 versus 40-42 and I got a kick out of it. Peter and John get arrested, and in their trial they told them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, then Peter and John were beaten and let go. So in 41-42 it says, "And they departed from the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ". They rejoiced after being BEATEN because they suffered for Christ's name, and then I laugh when I think they just went back and kept preaching. That is dedication!

I'm glad to hear my plaque is on TOP! where the primary kids can't knock it down. 3-D Journey sounded good, but I wanted to see Hancock, Get Smart, and Space Chimps. Also Dark Knight comes out this weekend I think and everyone here wants to see it. It is crazy I have been here a month. It is half over. My Spanish is not ready at all to have to communicate with natives. Also we have been informed by our Zone Leaders that we can call people at the airport. Supposedly everyone does it. I am going to look more into it, but maybe I will be calling next month from wherever my layover is. Well, enjoy and am sorry this wasn't as long as last week, although still three pages.

Love, Sean

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MTC Week 4

Hello people of the outside world!

This week has been pretty busy, and I have gotten discouraged a lot with the language and just with teaching in general. En las palabras de Bilbo Baggins: Me siento como mantequillera, extendada sobre mucho pan. (In the words of Biblo Baggins, i feel like butter, scraped across too much bread.) That was as close as I could get in Spanish to the English quote. On Monday we were working in Spanish and did a review of the five tenses we have learned so far, and I wasn't understanding anything. I was trying and praying and trying and praying and it was just not coming at all. I got so frustrated and bitter that I just sat there and didn't say a word the rest of the review, which my teacher noticed because my mouth is constantly going. But that is just me, I shut down when I am angry. I know it was just a phase and that I will understand it sooner or later, but at that exact moment i willfully shut of my brain in silent protest of the Spanish language, and nothing was going to get me to try. You will be happy to know that Spanish and I have reconciled and we are on better terms now.

So this week I feel like I actually had a missionary experience, not just an MTC simulated one. Every Friday we go to the RC and answer the phone calls that come in. I always wondered where the calls from all those commercials went. Well we don't get a lot of calls on Friday's at 11 because everyone is working, but I finally got one for the first time from Carolyn from Ohio. Her son married a member but the family is putting a lot of pressure on him to join the church, and Carolyn wants to find out more about the church because she wants to be able to talk about it with her son. She had a lot of questions that I answered for her, and I sent the missionaries in her area to her with a copy of the Restoration DVD. We talked for about 30 minutes and I told her I would call her back next Friday to see how it went. She seemed comforted knowing she would be talking to the same person when she talked to the Church again. So Friday should be interesting.

So every week our Branch President gives out two topics for talks in Sacrament meeting and every elder is supposed to write a 5 minute talk in Spanish. Well, our district's topic was the Atonement. So I wrote the talk like everyone else, and then nobody knows who will be speaking until the meeting starts and President Busath announces the program. So he gets up after sacrament and says, "And now we will be pleased to hear a talk on the Atonement by Elder Gilmore." and he sits down...COMO!!!! haha it really wasn't that bad. I had written enough to speak for about 4 1/2 minutes. Only one of the branch presidency members speaks Spanish, and afterwards he said he was pleased with my progress in the language. So I gave my first Spanish Sacrament meeting talk. Count it!

Also for dinner on Sunday, they had authentic BYU Cannon Center Chicken Cordon Bleu. I was very excited to say the least. Also my video card will be sent home today so pictures are on the way finally.

So Elder Stokes and I started appointments with a "progressive investigator" yesterday, which is when you sign up with a teacher and the teacher acts like a real investigator while you are teaching. No feedback is given. He is in character the entire time. We have 4 scheduled meetings with him. So we go in and he goes through his little orientation thing. He told us he had picked an investigator from his mission and was going to do everything like that person would do. EVERYTHING! It was difficult. Bro. Valladares turned into Pedro...and Pedro is a piece of work. He was apathetic towards every single thing we tried to teach him. At first I didn't mind because we always learn to try and teach according to the needs of the investigator. So we learn he has two kids. So we taught about eternal families. We asked, "How devastating would it be if you lost one of your kids?" he said, "Well I already lost my wife so it probably wouldn't kill me." which was a weird answer but we went with it. so "how would you feel if you could see you wife again?" "that's alright i guess" WHAT!!! i signed up to teach human beings with real feelings!

10 seconds

love you


Sunday, July 13, 2008

MTC Week 3 - cont.

We received Sean's written letter on Saturday July 12th, (dated July 9, 2008)- a continuation of his email that he sent last Wednesday. Page also received a sweet card that arrived on her birthday, Saturday, but it's not posted here on Sean's blog.

Dear Mom and Dad,

This new paper is great! I already wrote Grandma Sherry a letter and am satisfied with the results. So, week three has come and gone. How are you holding up? I personally am devastated at the news Nadal beat Federer in Wimbledon, but I am slowly getting over it. That reminds me, Elder Holland is by far the funniest Apostle I have seen speak other than at Conference. We are always watching a devotional of his from past years. He always gets so hyper about missionary work, that it always fires all the Elders up. We watched one one about following up on commitments and he said the first thing you do when you find out the investigator didn't read the Book of Mormon is be devastated! Be crushed! If there was some dignified way of doing it, which there probably isn't, you will THROW A FIT! It was really funny.

Anyways, we didn't really get anything special for the 4th of July until at night. It was regular class all day until about 9:00 p.m. when there was a special fireside where they had chimes underneath the seats and we played patriotic songs and hymns and such on chimes. Whoever thought of it was creative, but also not smart. Every single Elder with a chime thought it was funny to just bang on them instead of playing it when they were supposed to. It got really rowdy, and I was grumpy because I was tired and it was the end of the day, but afterwards we did get to watch the fireworks. They told us in year's past they usually let Elders go to the field for a better view, but this year we had to stay on campus. So basically we could only see the really high ones over the trees and could hear the other ones. Also, when they say it is a treat to stay up past bedtime, just remember they still expect you to wake up at the same time. Everyone was groggy the next morning. It was still fun though.

As far as senior companion responsibilities go, there aren't many while in the MTC. I have a weekly interview with the district leader to discuss how my companionship is going, and other than that I "conduct" while Elder Stokes and I have our planning sessions.

Yes, Dad, the food is still good. It is exactly the same as he Cannon Center at BYU. Yeah this P-day is way long because the Temple is closed for cleaning. No one else I know outside my zone has my P-day, but if they did, I would be able to spend time with them. I usually would be going to the Temple around 3 p.m., but since I don't have to go I don't know what I will be doing. Most of my mail this week was from you two so I don't have very many people to answer. Here is something I wrote in Grandma's letter that pretty much sums up the MTC experience. If the MTC teaches you anything, it is that the gospel is so real. You learn so much when you have to teach it simply so an investigator will understand it. Some of the most basic principles I learned in Primary are taking on a new meaning. For example, I have always known Christ to be our Saviour and that he suffered for my personal sins, but it has really hit me since being here that He was a man on this earth! He walked on this earth! He died and rose again in three days and is now still living at this very instant! He knows what I am thinking, and what I am feeling. He smiles when I smile. He cries when I cry. He can smile! Do you realize that !?! He has the ability to smile just like I do. Something as simple as that brings me so much closer to my Redeemer and to Father. Knowing that they smile just like me just fills me with the spirit. It is the simple things in the gospel I love. They tell us here not to try to study deep doctrines like Dinosaurs or Kolob, or Heavenly Mother, because that isn't what the people need to know, and I completely understand it. The glory and hope of the gospel comes through its simplicity. People need to know that their Father in Heaven is happy when they are happy. It's as simple as that.

I will go check and see if I can make a picture CD, if not I will just send home the memory card. Everyone takes videos here so I joined in. There are two on there. One is of a Tongan missionary in our zone doing the Haka. It is kind of awkward because Elder Tu'ifua is legit, but everyone else doing it looks like weird white boys trying to be cool. The second is a video of our district having a 4th of July Christmas. We found a small tree and lights and decided to have a white elephant gift exchange. I got some cookies and gave away a bag of chips I bought at the bookstore.

So I just went to the picture place and the machine is out of order. So here is the commentary on the pictures.

(Here Sean lists what each picture is on his memory card and who is in the picture- no need to post it now- will post this part with the photos once we receive them....)

We are doing big map pictures tonight so I probably wont send this until tomorrow. Send back the card because I won't be able to take pictures without it.

I think that pretty much covers it. My hand hurts, and you are only my second letter I have written. I hope all is well at home. This past week has been the most uneventful so far, so it was hard to remember things that happened. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, here at the MTC they use the speak your language program or (SYL), which is Habla Su Idioma (HSI) in our class. It basically means you use Spanish until you don't know how to say it, then you try, then you fail, then you ask your teacher, then they help you. Anyways, little English is involved, and the point I am trying to make is we did not really use it at all up until now. Elder Stokes and I decided to try and be better at it and set an example for the District. With that goal in mind, the next day I spoke almost no English, and sounded like an idiot but that isn't the point. I really struggled to say simple things, but Hno. Conde really helped me. Finally he stopped me one time and said, "Do you see what Elder Gilmore is doing!" "He is speaking his best with what he knows." I really think you learn faster that way. I have been progressing a lot faster since then. OK my hand has officially fallen off. I love you. Have a good week.

Love, Sean

P.S. Tell Lacey to text Natalie and tell her 2-3 letters will be waiting in Rochester to cheer her up.

P.S.S. Alright I added a whole bunch of stuff on my camera. We went picture crazy tonight. I took a picture of me and all the Dominicans plus Elder Klein and mi companero.

(Sean continues here describing who are in the pictures, again we will post this part with the photos once we get them....)

Also I just remembered I am supposed to take pictures with Brett and Kyle at the Temple Sunday so I can't send the card this week, so keep this letter as a reference for when the pictures come next week. Love you, also send another card please that way I can rotate them. It is a Lexar media 256mb card. Also, tell Lacey to text Nat and tell her there won't actually be pictures like I said in the letter.

OK! Love you so much.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

MTC Week 3

Hola todas personas!

Well first I would like to say mom and dad that as soon as I sent off your letter asking for grandma's address I realized I had Grandpa's old pocket hymnal with his address in the front of it. Haha, but I appreciate you giving it to me anyways.

Happy three week anniversary! It is crazy that three weeks have gone by. Do you realize that my next e-mail will be one whole month on my mission, and then there will only be 23 left. Four of the elders in our district are leaving tomorrow at 4 AM to the Dominican Republic to finish their MTC training there. It seems like we are still newbies though. There are two districts below us now so we are pretty much in the middle of the pack. I didn't think I would get very close with the Dominican elders but spending 12 hours in a classroom seven days a week with somebody really allows bonding to take place. I am going to miss them, but we have all come to the realization this may very well be the last time we see eachother. So Elder Fannin was the district leader, but now that he is leaving they called a new one, and that new one is Elder Gilmor...i mean Elder Sabey. Gotcha! He is doing a great job for having to catch up on three weeks of information.

So the newest district that arrived in our zone last week were all supposed to go to Russia, but Russia has currently suspended visas or something like that so they were all informed of new calls the DAY they walked into the MTC. How insane is that! Elder Cameron Hodson from my floor at BYU is one of them. They are now all going stateside spanish speaking. Anywhere from San Jose, California, to Chicago north, to Dallas Texas, and Cameron is going to Tuscon all bought thermal clothing...and now will be serving in Tuscon...really? They are all handling it really well though so props to them.

(Mom and Dad this next paragraph is a secret code for Joseph he wanted me to add so just humor him...also he sends me all his e-mails so you dont have to anymore) So on the subject of heat, we heard some stories that sometimes you can get so dehydrated that when you look at your socks at the end of the day there are salt crystals stuck in the socks because your sweat is salty but the water evaporated. I wonder if my socks will get salted in Argentina...

The Spanish is coming well. This week we learned past tense and such. I can pray, bear testimony, recite the missionary purpose, and just for kicks i memorized Joseph Smith's first vision so i don't have to read it when i am teaching in spanish. We also learned the Hay que rule, or "there is" rule. So everyone for there example sentence did something gospel oriented except me...i guess i didn't get the memo. So i said "Hay que un serpiente en mi bota!", which is the classic line from children's classic Toy Story, Theres a snake in my boot! I don't know who thought to have Tim Allen and Tom Hanks in the same movie but they were a genius. I have also learned boss children's songs like Elefante Loco! It has hand gestures and everything.

Five minutes left... Well, Elder Anderson has been teaching me some Tagalog so I can small talk with him. Also, I was given my answer on why I did not go Mandarin speaking. I have learned how to say "Thankyou" and "I don't know" in Mandarin and even those small phrases i cannot do with a straight face. I am laughing whenever i try to say them. Wo Bu zhu dao...or something to that effect puts a smile on my face whenever i say it. The Spanish speakers play a game where we say random asian language phrases to any missionary with unknown characters on there tag. Its funniest when I say "Domo arrigato" to someone who then responds...I am going to Armenia...oh sorry...

18 seconds!!!!!!

I love you all bye

Monday, July 7, 2008

MTC Week 2 - cont.

This was a continuation of his Wednesday e-mail letter and just arrived in our mailbox today because of the Independence Day holiday....

Dear Mom and Dad,

I need Grandma Sherry's address! I haven't heard from her, but I wrote Grandma Wilma for her birthday and probably should write Grandma Sherry too, I know everything but the zip code.

Anyways, the night before P-day I always have a ton of things I want to write to everyone, but then forget when I actually have to write. I found out I can not upload pictures and email them, so I have to either send you my memory card, or I have to print off all the pictures in the bookstore and mail them to you, but I promise those will come next week. Hey mom, I think Dad is is beating you in who corresponds more with their son :) I'm just teasing. I already saw Brett! He came in today, and I went to the copy center for a Spanish conjugation chart and he was there for immunization processing. I talked to him for about 10 minutes, he seemed to be doing well., He had just said goodbye to his Dad. Actually, this morning I went prying in the bookstore to find his packet because it has his zone info on it. He isn't in my zone, but I think he has the same mealtime and gym time! so I will be seeing him a lot.

As far as I know there are no plans for 4th of July celebrations other than they let us watch the fireworks they set off at the stadium. They don't do culture classes, but Hermana Engebretsen went to Argentina so she mentions stuff here and there. Hmo. Conde told us that the one Spanish rule we have to remember is never use 'su Madre', because Spanish speakers are not afraid to kill you for it. Even in asking how their mothers are doing we use 'su Mama', because 'Como esta su Madre' is offensive, Spanish is coming really well though. Sometimes I can't get German out of my head, like I say Das ist bien. Also I just got called over the intercom to report to the health clinic immediately. I don't know what for or if I will get to write more, but I will try later, if not I love you. Ok that was stupid, they said a little bird told them I was having nosebleeds and they gave me Vaseline to stick up my nose, I asked everyone in the district and no one told... thanks Mom... just for that I am stopping the letters immediately... seriously if you called over some nosebleeds I can't write you anymore. The doctor said to write nice things home, so thanks for getting me in trouble. Just kidding I bet It was Dad and his hyperness. But really, everything is fine, it is because of the dry air and the cold put together, they said if I don't improve by Monday go and make an appointment. So if we can all agree not to overact when I send my letters, I will continue to inform you of my MTC experience. Another thing I have realized is my Pee Wee Soccer experience doesn't transfer to the MTC field. There are crazy good soccer players here. I can hold my own in basketball and volleyball, but where I truly dominate where elders and sisters alike fall to my deadly skill is the four square court. We have been informed that in the past month there has been a broken ankle, broken wrist, torn ACL, and split chin all on the four square court, and I can see why. Everyone is good at it because it is so easy, so it just gets out of control competitive, which is what I like to participate in.

Just last week we were playing basketball, and Elder Klein was guarding his companion Elder Mills, and they collided which resulted in a bloody nose for Elder Mills. Elder Klein denied any pre-meditation accusations. Elder Mills has kind of emerged as the Elder everyone practices and develops their patience with. He tends to correct everyone... all the time. Oh well, he means well.

So obviously we have three old men for our Branch Presidency, and I guess they have taken it upon themselves to make up for the lack of physical affection we get because seriously every time we see them they are hugging us. Some Elders make fun of it, some feel awkward, I personally am loving it! "What was that President Busath? Oh you want another hug? Come here osito grande!" It is seriously the best part of the day, especially right after Sacrament meeting he stands by the door and hugs each person on his way out.

I have been trying to broaden my Spanish vocabulary, for example, I live in my chair "Yo vivo en mi silla." I read the Book of Mormon. "Yo leo el Libro de Mormon." I see a drug dealer. "Yo veo un narcotraficante!" Hmo. Conde got a kick out of that last one when I wrote it on the board for my example sentence. By the way, Hmo is short for Hermano which means brother in case you were wondering. So when I say Hmo. Conde it means Bro. Conde. The same rule applies with Hma. Engebretsen...except Sis. not Bro.

They are closing the temple for the next two weeks for cleaning, so the next two P-Days should be pretty wide-open for letter writing and such. OK, I have only been gone two weeks and it has gone by fast, but also it has been forever. I still have a long long long way to go.

Did I mention that everyone here who has been here longer looks older, but the new elders look like they are 13. It is strange... Also Dad, thanks for the poster but I am afraid it is contraband. No decorations are allowed in the rooms, so I didn't open it and plan to tote it around Argentina and then put it up in my BYU apartment.

You are all lucky I can't take naps on Wednesday, or else this letter would have been over long long ago. Well I guess it is time to say goodbye. My nostrils are a little dry and I can feel the petroleum jelly calling. Thank you everyone for the prayers and support. It is much appreciated. I love you, and stop calling the MTC.

With love, Sean

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

MTC Week 2

Hey Everybody!

First of all parents, before i start the blog post, i could use some t-shirts, just one or two, because i go through all of them and then only have my blue henley for p-day and it is disgustingly hot. Also, sorry to anyone who didn't get a personal letter last week. We literally got about five hours of P-day, two were at the temple, one was lunch and one was laundry, so i had about an hour to e-mail and write. This week i have smartened up though and brought paper with me to laundry to write while i waited. Anyways, I brought my journal with my to the computer because I literally have no idea what has happened since last week. Everything is one huge blur. Today is the 9th day in a row that I have been sick. It has seriously been ridiculous. I have had a cough, congestion, and sore throat for forever. Monday and Tuesday morning both I woke up with blood everywhere, my nose had been bleeding in the night but i didn't wake up so it got everywhere. Luckily this morning was linen exchange so I got to change the red sheets. I don't know what the bloody nose was from but it sufficeth me to say I was scared and confused. Don't worry though, this morning was blood free. I have come to the conclusion that medicine is pointless here, because your body isn't getting the rest it needs to recover. I take medicine everyday, but exert so much energy my body cant take it. Oh well, I'm not dead. Last Saturday we had our first "teaching appointment". It is when we teach a volunteer investigator a lesson. So our scenario was meeting someone in the park and setting up an appointment for later. We had to do that in Spanish and it was hard. My companion and I totally tanked in that part. It is one thing to practice Spanish in class, but then when you are with a real Spanish speaker and they say something back to you that you have no way of understanding, it stinks. So we just stood there and continued our practiced lines and it probably didn't make sense. Our volunteer didn't look happy to be there, she had signed up for the time slot before us and had somewhere to be but got stuck with us so she was frustrated, but when we actually taught the lesson in English it went much better. She said we were the best elders she had all day, and it was only our first week so we felt better about that. I have seen Jared Hardy almost everyday since he has been here. We have the same meal schedule so we talk a little here and there. Brett Anderson comes in today and there might be a chance he is in my zone. Our top district all left for the field this past week so a classroom opened up nextdoor for a new Spanish speaking district. Granted about half of all the classrooms are Spanish speaking so the chances are slim, but still there is a chance. We watched an old devotional on Monday morning by Elder Holland called Don't You Dare Go Home. It was awesome! He is just giving his talk, and then stops mid sentence and says he had an impression that someone in the room was thinking of going home, and told them dont they dare. haha if you can find it somehow, watch it because it is really good. Last nights devotional was really good too. It was Elder Clark, and Emeritus member of the Seventy. There were a lot of good things he said about a sucessful formula for missionary work. Keep sending letters please. It is great to hear from everyone. I feel like i have been here for six months...but alas only two weeks. It is almost too busy, but not. Everyone in the district waits for my letters to come because dad gives me sports updates. They want to know who the Jazz got in the NBA draft if you could figure that out for them. 6 of our 10 district members are from Utah so they are dying being here. It is kind of hard, because right outside of our window I can see BYU campus. I don't look out the window a lot, but other than that it really is a great experience here. Fifty seconds left, i will hand write more to add to the news.

Love you, Sean