Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rafael Castillo- Week #9

Hey Everyone!

Umm...I did send an e-mail last week, I don´t know why you didn´t get it, but here it is in this one:

Help I can´t breathe! Just kidding, I think more has happened to me in the past 24 hours than the cumulative time between ages 9-12, or possibly my whole life. Yesterday was P-day, but there were some complications with transportation so things were a little behind schedule. So mi Papi(trainer) wanted to do e-mail today because he didn´t get to yesterday.

First thing is first though, we got off the plane and went through customs and the first people I see in the airport are two Argentine women kissing each other...welcome to Argentina! So we got our bags and things and got out to the lobby where the assistants and President y Hermana Benton were waiting. He is a firecracker...i love him. Then, the assistants all gave us some milk and candy to enjoy on the ride to...the temple! At the temple we took pictures and walked around. It was pretty neat. Then we went to the mission home, which is actually in the North mission, and let me tell you, it is SWEET! It reminded me a lot of Seal Beach because it is only about 10 blocks from the Rio de la Plata. So we spent about 4 hours there eating a nice meal and writing you letters...which will probably get there in a couple of weeks...and we had our interviews with the President. He said he liked my resume, by I don´t know what that means...

Anyways so after that we went to a chapel by the mission offices to meet our trainers and I´d have to say that I was nervous. All my buds from the MTC, the only familiar thing in this country were about to be ruthlessly taken from me. Haha but it wasn´t too bad. When we got there there were a bunch of American elders so I relaxed a little bit. Bad idea...the Americans all just worked in the office, and then President had us all stand up so our trainers could come in. In walks 13 natives...and 3 Americans...the trainers...my heart sank like a ton of bricks. All three Americans had been assigned by the time my name was called so it was kind of staggered whirlwind...but now, almost 24 hours later I am glad I got a native, and I will tell you why.

My trainer is Elder Torres. He is from Paraguay. He doesn´t speak English...let me rephrase...except for "What the freak!?!" he doesn´t speak English. haha it has been a hoot with him. He laughs at me so I laugh at him back, which makes him laugh more because we both know I don´t know why I am laughing. We serve in what the Assistants call the most humble place in the mission. aka "dirt poor" It is Rafael Castillo, in the Catán Stake. When we got to our apartment I didn´t think it was too bad, at least the roads are paved. By the way, there are two other Elders that live with us who are both American so that helps.

Anyways, this morning I found out why it is most humble. Turns out we live on the outskirts of the area....the rich outskirts...this morning we went around and almost every single road is just thick mud. It isn´t too bad though, I am having a good time. I am surprised how much I understand Elder Torres. This is his last transfer before he goes home. So he is my first companion, and I am his last. When we walk we talk about random things, and I teach him English. He can´t figure out why we say "I am hungry" instead of "I have hunger" but he is getting it. He contacts people like crazy, everyone we see he is walking up to, I am picking up tips all over the place. Most people say, "another day another day, i´ll call you" which is their way of saying get lost. We did talk to a lady about the restoration and made an appointment to go back tonight. I get nervous and freeze in front of other people haha so i am not much help to Elder Torres.

Also, there are dogs everywhere! just roaming around on the street. I kind of like it. I have literally seen more dogs today than in my whole life, and that is not an exaggeration. Also traffic is crazy...I have almost lost my life many times, that is a joke, don´t call the mission office. But seriously, there are no lanes except on the big highway, so people are all over the place. some places have four cars lined up driving where there is only supposed to be two, but I guess oncoming traffic doesn´t bother them. Anyway, I want to attach some pictures so I am going to go.

Love you, and keep praying! I need it now more than ever!

P.S. Spanish keyboards are weird.

Ok that was last Wednesday, and now this is Tuesday the 26th...

Ok so this has probably been the hardest week of my entire life I am not going to lie. I understand very very little. My main goal for my mission is never be discouraged, and I am happy to say the goal is on course for completion in 22 months, but that doesn´t mean it is easy. However, I find comfort in the words of Elder Holland, "Salvation is NOT a cheap experience! It was NEVER easy!" He is great...we don´t really see his personal side in General Conference, but in the MTC addresses he gets fired up.

Anyway, I realized about Thursday that I already love these people, which makes it 10 times more frustrating because I don´t feel like I can help them or teach them. Basically I teach the Joseph Smith story and bear testimony...or pray. Elder Torres volunteers me for prayers a lot. Actually though, yesterday was pretty funny. We taught about 7 or 8 lessons and in every one he would stop at a random place and say, "What IS the (random principle) Elder?" and then I stumble through about 3 sentences, and then he picks it back up again...and probably reteaches what I attempted to say. I don´t know what it is...but gospel doctrine is different in Spanish...i think they changed it all. That was a joke, referencing my lack of understanding of the language.

Ok, the one boss diggity thing in Argentina is the children. I LOVE talking to them. Especially the 2 and 3 year olds, and for one specific reason. THEY TALK LIKE I DO! I speak like a 3 year old in Spanish ahahahahahahaha. So I talk with them a lot while Elder Torres teaches the adults. Also, kids don´t look at me funny when I take a long time to say something. We were at one house that actually 3 families live in together and there were 8 children all under the age of 5, and let me tell you I was having a ball. I´ve never laughed so much. They would all start screaming at me, and I had no idea what they were saying, so I told them, "Ok, we are going to play a game...(they all get quiet and stare at me as if I am about to tell them the secret of life...which by the way, Elder Torres was telling their parents)...the game is, you have to say the magic word I am thinking." BAM! They start blurting out words like crazy. I just kept saying, "No entiendo, no entiendo" (I don't understand) until I heard a word I recognized...it kept them entertained, and me too.

Church was fun, it was the first familiar thing to happen to me since being here, so I enjoyed it. I bore my testimony at the bishop´s request, so that was good. Not much else happened at church. I am understanding more and more every day, but still am lost when people are talking to each other. People practice their English on me, which is fun sometimes...when it is appropriate. Most people just say Hi, or How are you? Some girls walked by us one time that we didn´t know and they said Hi, and I asked Elder Torres who they were, and he said he didn´t know, but, "Su cara dice USA." So my face says USA.

It is strange contacting people in the street because I don´t know what they are saying, but I keep talking about the church anyway...Elder Torres told me that one lady rejected me after my first sentence, but I just talked like she was interested...and so THE WORK ROLLS FORTH!!!!! Well, I am going to end here because I have to reattach all the photos from last week, these computers are slow so hopefully it works.

Love, Sean

(Sean attempted to send pictures in a separate e-mail, but it didn't work, so he has to figure something else out. He said technology in his area isn't that great - too bad! would have loved to see them!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MTC Week 8 - cont.

We received a letter from Sean today in the mail, dated 8/13/2008. This will be the last letter we receive from Sean from the MTC. He flies to Argentina on Monday!

Mom, Dad, How ya doin?

I have gotten responses from both Grandmas so just know they aren't neglecting me. Also, there is not a very good chance I can write Lacey this week so this is for her, too. Well, continuation of the Senor Consul story. No I lied... first, BERNIE MAC!?!?! Crazy! That is more random than Heath Ledger... by the way... everyone should know, with the passing of Bernie Mac, Heath Ledger jokes are now appropriate. Bernie Mac was a really funny guy too! That's too bad...

Ok now Senor Consul. In addition to death threats, he also gave us an hour of pronunciation lessons. It was torture. It didn't matter how we said it we were wrong haha. Pretty soon people stopped volunteering to try and say the words, and he got kind of frustrated. Basically someone would try, "NO! Again! Be Aggressive! I thought it was funny. He said "Be Aggressive" like 100 times. And there were some things that I guess he knew was weird and after he would say them he would just shrug his shoulders and say, "We are Argentine". I think I am going to like it. I can use that excuse for anything!

Our Branch President's son went to BAW and he visited last Sunday. He didn't really tell us much, he just said we are going to love it. I was hoping he would tell us at least some little golden nugget, but I guess he figures we are about to experience it for ourselves anyway. He said there is one Zone in the Capital, but the rest is mostly mud roads and dirt floors. He came home 6 years ago though so some might have changed.

We had a health meeting Monday night. It was for no specific country, and the speakers served in Mexico, so I think it is going to be different in Argentina. All they did was get people scared because they used like 20 examples of Elders dying from food. Really? Not necessary. Basically their message could be summarized as "you could die by eating anything but fresh bread and bottled water". We will find all that out though when we get there.

As for Spanish, I feel semi-confident. Am I fluent? No. Am I going to understand everything? No. Can I teach someone the gospel? YES! I am fluent in Lesson 1-3 pretty much. I can teach the doctrines without difficulty. My only problem is when the investigator asks a question.... I have no idea what people are saying.. and those are just volunteers at the MTC, so I expect Argentina to be interesting. Also, William Joseph has a CD called Beyond that a bunch of eople have here and it is BOSS... maybe a good Christmas present for me.

Anyways, I would just like to say that D&C 84:85 is the most true scripture ever... even though they are all true. The Spirit is putting words into my mouth.. ALL the time! We taught Plan of Salvation in Spanish this week. There is a lot of doctrine to cover in it.. especially in Spanish. Side note: For some reason doctrine is different in Spanish, hahaha... just kidding. We were practicing with Hermano Rupper and I was dancing around with my words because I didn't know what to say. Finally the grammar principle clicked and I said the next sentence, then I looked at Hno. Rupper and asked if I was right. "Well, the grammar was perfect, but it was false doctrine." HAHAHAHAHA I said, "Christ was resurrected, completed the atonement, and became perfect." Which I would never say in English because everyone knows Christ was already perfect, but in Spanish it was a toss-up haha. So I have to watch out for false doctrine. It reminded me of Mom's flags for the 12 Tribes of Israel and how she was accused of teaching false doctrine. Hahaha.

Anyway, yeah we were teaching and my mind just went completely blank, not good timing at all. So Elder Stokes taught for a few minutes and nothing was coming to me at all, then he looked over at me, which is our signal for, "I have absolutely nothing left to say about this." Right then, so many things popped into my head and I was able to teach the whole rest of the lesson without hesitation. It's pretty cool.

Anyway, shorter letter because I will be talking with you soon. Alright, talk to you on Monday hopefully. If not, man the phones! It could be any random time. Also remember, the Dallas times are Central Time, and I think the Buenos Aires time is that time zone? I don't know. Anyway, talk to you soon!

Love, Sean

Friday, August 15, 2008

Elder Gilmore and his Companion

We got this picture from a missionary mom. Sean (in the back) and his MTC Companion, Elder Stokes. By the looks of things it is Preparation Day and they are writing letters home.
If you would like to write Sean a letter in Argentina, there is a way to do it online and it will not cost you any postage! Go to his website:

Once on his website look on top of page and click on "Write a Letter" Just type him a quick note and send it. That all there is to it. He should get it within 1-2 weeks. Ugh- that sounds slow, but Argentina is far away, I guess.

He would love a letter from you !!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MTC Week 8


I have a lot to say in this thirty minutes.

FLIGHT PLANS! We got flight plans this past Friday. I leave on Monday, and usually everybody has to report to the travel office at like 4 in the morning, but we don't have to until 10. So basically our plans are boss. So we report to the Travel Office and get all our paperwork, then head to the airport. I leave Salt Lake at 1:10 PM on American Airlines flight 2312 and arrive in Dallas at 4:50 PM. Then a layover and I leave Dallas at 7:35 PM on Oceanic 815...I mean American Airlines 997, and arrive in Buenos Aires at 8:05 AM Tuesday morning. So I might be able to call in Salt Lake, but if not, definitely in Dallas, because I have about 2 1/2 hours then. WHOO!

Also, we checked about our visas, and we aren't on the delayed list, but that doesn't mean anything I guess. They said they will know for sure on Friday, but I won't be able to communicate so that doesn't help. Anyways, expect the call on Monday, and if I don't man the phone, because they don't give delayed Elders much notice of when they leave. The last district here was told Tuesday night they were leaving Wednesday morning at 6:30, so it is just a toss up if I am delayed. Also there are some other snags. Airports are now only letting you check one bag for free, and the other is $25, so i will be paying that, but also they don't count a backpack as a personal item anymore, and you can only have one carry-on, so i either have to check my carry-on for another 25 bucks or something. I don't quite know what I am going to do yet. Also, I got my 2nd Hep A shot today and it cost 66 bucks, so I am taking money out of the ATM and if you could, would you please put about $2,000 dollars in my account so that whatever else comes up it can be handled? haha well not that much, but American Airlines charges up to 315 dollars for overweight fees, so basically I have no idea what I am doing, but hey, está bien, I'm going to Argentina!

Ok, I don't know what mail is going to be like in Argentina, but I do know you can still DEARELDER me and the Church will send it, but I don't know how long it takes to get to me. So that is probably a pretty reliable way to communicate. I don't remember the address to the mission, but Dad can put it up for everyone, and it is on my facebook, too. Also, mail closes at 2 on Saturdays so the last chance to receive a DEARELDER will be Friday night for me. I don't know when the cutoff time during the day is, but if it isn't going to get to me on Friday, I probably wont get it. um...I think that is it for travel plans.

I am pretty excited to go. We met Señor Consul yesterday, so that was cool. Meeting with him is only one of the requirements to getting your visa so just because we met him doesn't really mean anything. He told us a lot about the food and culture. He said that everything is safe to eat without washing, unless you buy it from a street vendor, but he usually buys bottled water while down there. He threatened us with our lives many times. It was kind of funny. Oh yeah you bet he was proud, but I was digging it. He said that meat down there costs nothing, and if he caught us buying a Big Mac instead of a Sirloin Steak, which costs the same, he would kill us. He also said if he saw us put any sauce on the steak he would kill us, even if we were already dead, he would find us and kill us again...creepy...but coming from a middle-aged foreign man...I didn't mind. He didn't sound Hispanic at all, he sounded way Italian when he spoke English...and then his Spanish...sounded Spanish. He didn't seem to like us very much haha, but then I told him I was going to Buenos Aires, and his whole disposition changed. SOY UN PORTEÑO! he was born in Buenos Aires and so he got really excited and smiled a lot more. It was a riot.

I will write more in my written letter. If Señor Consul is anything like the people of Argentina I am about to spend the next two years laughing.

Love you bye.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

MTC Week 7- cont.

We received Sean's letter in the mail today, dated 8/6/08:

Mama... just killed a man (Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody)
Papa... can you hear me? (Barbara Streisand- Yentel)

!Hola mi familia! ?Como estan sus vidas? No tengo mucho tiempo, pero escribo para que ustedes sepan mas sobre mis experiencias.

(translation: Hi my family! How are your lives? I don't have much time, but I'm writing so you know more about my experiences.)

Whatever that is wroth. First, the Titanic lyrics I wrote. This could be totally wrong because I didn't have Hermano Conde check them.

"Proximo, lejo, dondequiera esta
Esta seguro en mi corazon,
y mi corazon ire a y a"

More or less. You have to say a couple syllables for one note sometimes. I had a good time with it anyways. Dad, if it is totally wrong and doesn't make sense, just forget I wrote it and don't put it in the blog. I'm glad to hear Uncle John is having a success with Auntie Anne. I can just imagine him, and Grandpa for that matter, saying "no... no thank you" hahaha, it puts a smile on my face. We have sung "Have I done any good?" in Spanish a few times. It is kind of cool. I mostly like singing the Christmas songs, which our District does on a regular basis. No reason.

Ok, so I have to tell you a funny story. Here in the MTC we really don't get a lot of drama, so we make up our own. Our two MTC soap operas are really heating up. Ok so the first one involves an Elder that Elder Sabey and I have been watching for a few weeks. He is tall, dark, handsome, Spanish-speaking, and has a certain confident swagger that most Elders would give up gym time for. What could this Elder's name be? No, it isn't Elder Gilmore... but thank you for the compliment. It is Elder Finch.... um... are you kidding me? Elder Sabey and I were all over that, and now both of us aspire to be, as we now respectfully call him, Atticus. Let's just say somehow we always spot Atticus in a crowd. It is actually starting to get a little creepy. So basically the soap opera is whatever we happen to see him doing.

Number two involves two sister missionaries, which Elder Sabey and I have labeled "The Sirens", which, for those who don't know, is a reference to Homer's, The Odyssey. Ok, background: On Odysseus' way home from Troy he hit a few snags along the way to say the least. One of these potential snags was when he and his crew sailed by the island on which the Sirens dwelt. The Sirens were female creatures with voices so beautiful any man who heard them fell under their spell, more or less, so Odysseus tied himself to the mast so he wouldn't be tempted to jump overboard when he head the Sirens.

Ok... so these Sisters have gotten the reputation of flirting with Elders SHAMELESSLY ! This is not an exaggeration. They will approach a poor unsuspecting Elder and lull him into a false sense of security with small talk, and then take it a little further, for example, "Wow Elder, I really like your tie!" in the most fake voice that has fallen on human ears, and then they grab the tie and look at it, and turn it over to see who made it, things like this. In "the real world" this might not be a big deal, but in the MTC it is border-line ex-communication.... ok that is a lie... anyways, THEN they strike.... "Oh by the way, can you drop off my letter at the mailbox?" or "I'm thirsty, can you get me some milk?" The poor Elder is powerless to stop it. He is under their spell.

Anyways, I tell you that to tell you this... two days ago (Monday) both worlds collided! We were in the bookstore and we saw Atticus... and then the Sirens attacked !!!! We were captivated at what took place. Who was going to come out victor? Who? The HERO of To Kill a Mockingbird, symbolizing racial tolerance, moral compass, man of the people, and ALL THINGS GOOD, or the ancient mythological forces of feminine charm? It was juicy. So the Sirens work their magic and ask Elder Finch where a few things are in the store. He responds politely to the best of his ability. He is browsing around the whole time, so his attention was elsewhere. They asked about something else and he told them, and they left, but then came back and said they couldn't find it. He then said, "maybe you should ask a worker..." Atticus 1, Sirens 0. So about three minutes went by and I guess they found it and they come back over to him and say that it costs more than expected and could he help pay for it... How ridiculous is that! Things cost like $2 in the bookstore. The Sirens just got ridiculous. Anyway, Elder Finch just keeps browsing on the shelf and says, "No, I have to buy some deodorant." and walks away. Atticus 2, Sirens 0 ! It was a lot funnier in person... looking back on what I just wrote sounds retarded....

Well Mom, I think you have the right idea about putting Grandma in the Lord's hands, and your Big 3 sounds like a good goal to have. The best way to remember and reflect on your blessings is to keep a journal. I know it is hard at first, but I'm sure your grandchildren would be very interested to read it. Plus, if you write about blessing you see, it not only helps them know you better, but they are spiritually edified. Plus, I would like it down the road.

Dad, that is awesome you already started an Argentina fund. I really want to travel for about a week after my mission. I don't think Called to Serve is a Primary song... you are thinking of I Hope They Call Me on a Mission. Also, media referrals like Carolyn are only in the States so I won't have any experiences like that. I don't know all the rules about calling home at the airport. I can call you for sure, but SLC will probably be at 5 or 6 in the morning, but I will let you know when I get travel plans. Also, I want to keep those videos I sent home so hopefully you figure something out, maybe try with Lacey's camera. I got the thermals and umbrella. Sorry I forgot to say which laundry bag in the e-mail. Either one is fine though. Whatever is cheapest. I just want straps.

Yes Mom, I remember what my patriarchal blessing says about eternal associations. I noticed that too. I read my blessing once every night before I go to sleep. I quote it a lot in my journal. I have been reading a lot in the beginning when it mentions reflecting on my childhood. It applies so well as a missionary because we talk a lot about being prepared here, and I feel like my childhood was the best preparation I could have had.

Anyway, this week starts week 8! That is crazy. I feel like I have been at summer camp... on spiritual steroids. 22 months left.

Love, Sean

p.s. Remember, as glad as I am you have an Argentina fund, I don't want you to forget about Sean's car fund :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MTC Week 7

Hey Everyone!

First of all, sorry for the short e-mails. I spend all thirty minutes on this one e-mail. The reason they are so short is that it is hard to write new things when we do the same thing everyday, all day, for seven weeks now. I figure I won't repeat myself over and over again.

This week has been really busy! We are steadily realizing that we have less than two weeks left until we are thrown to the wolves. Um...i don't know spanish...haha no but seriously we are really excited but nervous too. I have found that when my brain is fried from learning Spanish, there is still a way to be productive, and that way is translating songs into Spanish so you can sing them for your district. A few weeks ago we learned how to sing Scripture Power in Spanish...it ROCKS!!! I sing it all the time.

"Escrituras me protegerán
Con su poder el mal yo venceré
Escrituras poder me darán
Poder que solo tengo al leer"

Anyway, another example, we are going over giving directions in Spanish, and so in the vocab we happened to come across the words "Near" and "Far"...you know where I am going with this? Yes, this was all I needed to break out My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. It got a pretty big laugh out of Hermano Conde. I might send the lyrics in my hand-written letter, but not now, for the sake of time.

Also, this week has been the week of ended relationships for Elder Stokes and I in the MTC. We had our last appointment with Pedro, and got our feedback for Bro. Valladares. "Pedro" accepted a committment to me baptized. It was a pretty good experience. He said in the feedback that Pedro was a convert from his mission, and was the hardest investigator to teach that actually got baptized. He congratulated us on being diligent in helping him understand, because he was trying to be difficult in some instances just like the real Pedro was. He ended by saying we are very prepared missionaries and knows we will do great things in the mission field. We were kind of surprised because we thought he was going to rip us apart.

So the second relationship ending was Carolyn. I called her again for the third time and the missionaries had still not contacted her. Needless to say I was very frustrated. Can somebody tell me what is so hard about going to a person's house who WANTS to learn about the church. We had a nice talk about God and Christ, and how we recieve joy in bringing others to Christ. It got kind of emotional when we had to say goodbye, because we both knew we probably won't talk to eachother again. There is nothing left to follow-up on so there isn't a reason to keep calling, and I won't be able to call forever. Anyways, at the end, she thanked me for being an inspiration to her and for counseling her (which I didn't really think I did...I don't think she knew I was only 19 haha) and wished me well in my life. She has had cancer for 3 years and doesn't think she is long for this life, so I told her about the Plan of Salvation, and she said she believed thats what happens after we die. So she said, "Well, Sean, I'm sure we will see each other again. I will be up there waiting for you. Let's find each other so we can meet in person." I told her I would like that very much, and we both agreed it wasn't a coincidence that I picked up the phone last month. It just overall was a great experience this last month.

I have seen Kenny Fawcett walking around and we talked for a couple minutes in passing. He said "Guten Tag!" and I told him I didn't know German anymore because Spanish devoured it, which is somewhat true. I have to really think now to get something out in German, whereas it is easier and easier to just blurt something our in Spanish.

I have accomplished my goal to become Elder Nacho Libre here with my outrageous accent. I haven't told anyone about this goal, but this past Friday, I went to a younger district and said "Hola mis amigos" to which Elder Strang replied, "Hola Nacho" YES!!!!!! NAILED IT!!!!!! It made me really happy, also my mission is now complete. Everything else is just frosting on the cake.

20 seconds...we should be getting flight plans on Friday!!!! woo hoo!!!

Love Sean

Saturday, August 2, 2008

MTC Week 6 - cont

We received Sean's letter in the mail today, dated 7/30/2008:

Dear Bushka y Papi,

Very good job at sending a list of questions! Now I will be able to focus my thoughts. First off, can you send me Gatorades? Haha you don't have to, they have Powerade here so it doesn't matter. But it would be nice to have something to drink in the room. Haha ok I know that is a stupid request, but it was on my mind. My camera is fine for me, unless you don't like the quality, but I don't think it is necessary to get a new camera. Oh yeah something else... PLEASE look online for a laundry bag that has some kind of a shoulder strap on it. Everybody has one so they have to be somewhere.

The blog pages were cool from President and Sister Benton. All of us here going to BAW were pretty excited to read them. Yeah, Drake comes in today, but he won't be in our Zone. They don't keep missions together. There are 14 Elders and Sisters going to BAW that came in on the same day I did, but obviously not all are in our Zone. We did get a new District today, but most are going to Puerto Rico, and a few other places. One is going to Buenos Aires South I think though.

Kyle left on Monday. We said our goodbyes on Sunday but I didn't know he wasn't leaving until Monday afternoon so I kept running into him on Monday, and it was turning into one of those prolonged awkward goodbyes, so I finally yelled at him, "Will you just leave already! You are making it very awkward!" We exchanged e-mails so it will be cheaper to keep in touch.

Sorry to hear about Grandma. I got one card from her about the same time I sent her something so she didn't respond to the first letter, but I wrote her today, and Grandma Wilma, so hopefully it will help a little. Anyway, I keep the situation in my prayers daily.

OK, question (answers) time.

1. The stuffed animals are just toys we had in our classroom, except the duck is called the Pato de Feliz which is awarded by vote to the District who spoke the most Spanish, but mostly it is a popularity contest. We happened to win the week we took pictures.

2. Preach My Gospel is pretty much the textbook of missionary work. All the lessons come out of it, and our teachers usually mention parts of it throughout the day. It is basically what a lot of our Large Group Meetings (LGMs) focus on. LGMs are basically seminars we have once a week. It is about the same size as the meeting we were in the first day when missionaries went one way and families went the other. They usually focus on a certain chapter of Preach My Gospel.

3. My clothes fit fine. My shoes are fine. If you want y0u can send some different ties, because I will probably send some home before I leave. The conservative tie rule is very flexible around here I have found out. Basically, no pink. Other than that I have seen everything.

4. My daily schedule is very structured Mom. 6:30 wake up. 7:00 Personal Study in the classroom in missionary attire. 8:15 Breakfast. 8:45 Class. 1:00 Lunch. 1:45 Class. 6:00 Dinner. 6:45 Class. 9:00 Plan 9:30 Residence Halls 10:30 Bed. That is the basic structure. During the day, gym is thrown in at different times for each day. Tuesday nights are Devotionals. Monday Mornings are LGMs. Saturdays at 11:30 is always our Teaching Appointment, which is the big official lesson that we teach volunteers in. So during those huge chunks of class, our two teachers rotate who teaches. They have set hours, and then there is always a few hours a day called MDT (Missionary Determined Time). That is when we teach Pedro (Tuesdays and Saturdays) or go to the Teaching Evaluation Center and practice like with Sister Gibson who gave that feedback I sent last week. So basically we are in class, or teaching.

It is getting harder to remember what happened during the day because it seems like the same thing happens every day. It is great though. I can't wait to get out into the field but at the same time I wouldn't mind staying in the safety of the MTC. Every day I think to myself, "Wow, I can't wait to get to Argentina and start working!" Which is usually followed by, "Wow, how in the world am I going to be able to do any of this in Argentina!?!" Don't worry, I know the answer, but for some reason that doesn't stop my mind from asking. Anyways, time is up yet again. And yes Dad, I do spend the whole 30 minutes writing you on the email. Only last week I didn't. OK, I LOVE YOU !!!!

Love , Sean