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.


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