Excerpts from 8/19/2010 letter -
"HELLO! I'm so super excited to finally be able to write you all! So much has happened in the past week + one day that I expect this letter to be quite long. First things first, I just need to tell you all that I'm alright. I was not ready for the shock of the first day, here's a metaphor: I was dropped into the middle of an ice cold lake, floundering about, missing you guys & anxious and all sorts of bad. I couldn't even eat very much. HOWEVER, I have since escaped from that lake-y anxiousness and have warmed up by the fire. The MTC is wunderbahr (wonderful.) The Spirit is so strong and almost always present, my teachers are great and I'm learning so much.
Sheesh! So much to write! I live in the Dan Jones residence hall with my two companeros, Elder Chris Reed and Elder Leonard Snyder. Elder Reed is from Memphis TN, talks with his hands, and likes flip-flops (which we can't wear outside the dorm/residence hall, unfortunately.) He's kind of my build. Elder Snyder, however, is a beast, er, muscular guy! Born and raised in St. George (just off of Main Street) he's a 2-time football all-stater, wrestler of similar renown, though he lost a football scholarship with a bad knee injury. he's pretty funny, has a girlfriend, and did roofing and insulation before his mission. Both of my companions have been a great help, as they have had more experience than I with teaching and Spanish which I am grateful for.
I have also seen pretty much ALL of the MTC Katy clan! Mike Johnson I saw the first day I was here (he just left for St. George Spanish) and I saw him a few times after that along with his brother Matt, who still has a few weeks to go. I didn't, however, find Chris Frame for the longest time until a chance and joyful meeting at gym last Thursday. He's got about a week left.
Spanish is coming along quite well. Though this may sound odd outside of the MTC, I believe the gift of tongues is all throughout this place! I can pray, meet someone, talk a little about our message, and share a testimony, all in Spanish. It's still somewhat basic, but I'm really impressed how far I've come in only one week! Another neat consequence of being here is that alot of my German is coming back! I haven't used it since CRHS junior year but now I have words and phrases coming to mind. Really neat.
Its kind of hard sometimes to walk the hallways and see pictures of people all over the world, or read other missionaries nametags and read Mandarin, Japanese, German, Greek, Russian, Dutch and I kind of wish I was there. However, the Lord called me to Mexico for a reason, and to go there, I need to learn Spanish. I'm liking it and am excited.
By the way, I love being in Utah! The mountains are awesome and the temperature is just right. I'm trying to adjust t the dryness - its not too bad. My nose is stuffed up/running right now but I don't think its a cold.
We are quite busy. Every hour from 6:30am to 10:30pm is fulled (and planned to be that way!) with personal study, class, and meals and gym. Personal study is kind of tough, as I have to take my own initiative on what to study and how. There is a weekly task assignment we do each week called TRC, where we have to communicate in Spanish and teach lessons by role play (there's a TON of role play in the MTC) so can study for that.
Thanks so much for your letters. They're a real source of strength to me! I'm really grateful too for my photo albums. I'm grateful for all the love I have, especially for all of you. Please tell my grandparents and relatives I love them and appreciate their notes greatly. I'm already excited for my next letter!
I wish I could write more by my hand has had enough. Love you again, and God be with you!