Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27th, 2012

Hola todos!  So I've only got two and a half weeks left.  You'd think I'd be pretty antsy to go by now, but I'm actually not yet.  I'm going to miss this place and these people. 
The temple is open again!  We got to go this morning, and as we were walking up to the door, who should we see walking in but President Tyler (his MTC Branch President)!  Oh, the fountains of knowledge that were poured out upon us today!  That guy blows my mind when he's not in the temple.  So he was in the same session with us, taught us some awesome stuff in there and ate breakfast with us and told us more awesome stuff.  The only thing keeping that man out of the Quorum of the Twelve is that we need him so badly here. 
Also, it was just nice being back in there, remembering what heaven feels like and how badly I want to live there forever (heaven, not the temple).  So visit the temple soon if you haven't recently.
Wilmer got baptized last Saturday.  We invited Nicolas to his baptism and this was a good move.  He feels much better about baptism now and is completely committed to being baptized next Saturday.  We've been teaching him the commandments and so far so good.  We started teaching the Vasquez family this week, which consists of Gabriela and her twin 17-year-old sons, Mario and Luis.  We've taught them twice, and it was kind of weird getting used to teaching more than one person at a time, but our second lesson went really well.  We taught them about the restoration, recited the first vision from memory (in Spanish!), and gave them a Book of Mormon.  They're a lot of fun to teach. 
Some bad news:  my camera broke.  It was pretty lame.  It happened while we were chillin' at the temple on Sunday.  I handed it to someone to take a picture of our district and let go before they actually had control of it.  The stupid thing is, I was sitting down at the time, so it only fell about 1 1/2 feet down and landed in the grass.  So I'll send that home to you today and let you decide what to do about it. 
Good news:  Elder Rice went to Salt Lake yesterday to the Mexican Consolate to sign his visa! So he'll be leaving on time.  Elder Duncan is going today for his.   I don't really know how this all works or anything, so I can only keep praying mine and Elder Ringer's will come on time.  But to me this seems like a good sign. 
Believe it or not, there's not actually air conditioning in the MTC.  It has been mucho calor lately, but luckily, we've had a fan in our classroom that we took from a district who just left.  Wednesday, some teacher came in and asked if he could borrow it for his classroom, so we let him.  But they didn't return it the next day.  We were dying, so we decided to take it back.  Luckily, the district who stole it from us was dumb enough to plug it into the wall in the hallway and leave it in the door way blowing into their classroom, so Hermano Lee devised a plan to get it back.  We were all going to go into their classroom, crown around the front of the fan, and sing "Jesus es mi Luz" (The Lord is My Light), another one of those hymns that is way better in Spanish, while Elder Duncan stole their fan.  Yes, we have the best teachers in the MTC.  But our plan worked out way better than we ever could have imagined.  When we went over there, the other district was singing their opening hymn, so we decided to just steal it during their opening prayer.  Before the prayer, one of the members of their district moved the fan completely into the hallway and then shut the door.  Way too easy.  So we have our fan back. 
Speaking of Hermano Lee, we met his fiance this week through the gate around the MTC.  She's pretty awesome. 
Thank you very much for the bread with the honey butter.  Everyone loved it.  It got here on Elder Bonner's last day, so that was kind of a fun little goodbye party for hime.  Also, thanks for the pictures.  Pictures are great, because they remind me that you're actually real people, and that my life before the MTC isn't just some strange dream that didn't actually happen.  What a weird life I live...
So you're probably wondering if I've seen Breton and Andrew (close friends from high school who went into the MTC this week).  The answer is yes, and no.  I saw Breton at dinner on Wednesday and talked to him for a while.  He seems like he's doing great, and his companion seems cool too.  I haven't seen Andrew yet, but I've been looking.  I really hope he's doing ok and that he actually made it here and that I see him soon.    
Everything's going well.  The Spanish is really coming.  I feel like everything's really natural now and I don't have to think quite as hard to say what I want to say.  Thanks Granny, Erick and Liz (uncle & aunt), Teresa (aunt), and anyone else who's written me since I got here that I haven't thanked yet.  Thanks for your prayers and support--I can really feel them.  I couldn't be doing this if this wasn't the true church, but it is.  This is the Church of Jesus Christ.  He lives, and through him, we can live together forever.  Love you all!   See you soon!
Elder Pew

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20th, 2012

Hola todos!  Ojala que todos esten bien.  Solo tengo 3.5 semanas aqui!  Entonces, oren para que mi visa llegue a tiempo.
(Hi everyone!  I hope you are all well.  I only have 3-1/2 weeks here.  Therefore, pray so that I will receive my visa in time.)
It was a pretty good week.  As prophesied, our district is changing again.  Last Friday night, the two Elders living with Elder Plowman and Elder Woodward got a third companion, so those two moved in with us.  Holy party!  Also, Elder Bonner got his visa and he heads to the Peru MTC on Tuesday.  Obviously, he's super excited.  I'm going to miss that guy.  He'll be great, though.
Speaking of leaving, Elder Brimley left me this week.  For the first time since like 1st grade, we're not in the same ward.  But not to worry, we've started an ultimate tic-tac-toe game.  I'm sending him my first move today.  This will probably last our whole missions, so that'll be fun.  Yes, it is true, Austin's visa didn't come and he is still here.  I haven't heard from him since Wednesday, though, so maybe it has come since then.
The lessons have been going well.  We had an AWESOME lesson with Nicolas this week and learned a lot more about his testimony and what he needs.  He told us he really liked the story of Enos (the man's already read past Enos in the past two weeks!) so we used that to kind of segway into faith.  It was fantastic.  He wants to be baptized, he just wants to learn the commandments before he'll commit.  Understandable, right?  So we'll teach him those next week and hopefully he'll be ready to be baptized next Saturday.  Wilmer is getting baptized tomorrow if all goes according to plan.  He's completely off coffee and very excited to be baptized.  He has his interview tonight, so hopefully that goes well. 
We had an awesome fireside last Sunday with Jenny Oaks Baker, daughter of Dallin H. Oaks and professional violinist.  She pretty much just performed songs for us and talked a little bit in between.  She was pretty amazing.  Also, she had her children perform "I Am A Child Of God" for us.  She has 4 kids, all under the age of like 11.  The oldest two played cello and violin, the next youngest daughter, who was about 7, played piano and was just ridiculously good, and her 5 year old son played classical guitar.  He was just plucking one string at a time, but still, you've got to give the kid props.  It made me really miss playing music, which, surprisingly, is the first time I've really felt like that my whole mission. 
Elder Ringer is feeling much better.  Going to the doctor really does help.  Who would've thought?  I forgot how funny that guy is when he actually has energy.  Oh man. 
Speaking of Elder Ringer and funny, he made possibly the funniest Spanish mistake I've ever heard in my life.  We were practicing inviting someone to church, and Hermano Miller was pretending to be our investigator.  He told us that he has to work on Sundays and he wouldn't be able to come.  Elder Ringer was trying to explain the blessings of coming to church, and that God understands that he needs to work to feed his family, but instead of using the word for feed (alimentar), he used the word for eat (comer), so he really ended up saying "God understands that you need to eat your family."  The practice pretty much stopped there.  Hermano Miller and I couldn't hold it in.  Too funny. 
Yesterday was Hermano Lee's (teacher) birthday.  So obviously we wrote a rap for him (in Spanish) and performed it for him when he walked in the classroom, complete with drum solo from Elder Rice.  It was Hermano Miller's (teacher) idea.  Elder Ringer rapped, Elder Duncan, Bonner, and Rice laid down a beat, and I played triangle on a metal coat hanger while Elder Woodward danced in a rolly-chair.  Two other teachers heard us practicing it earlier, so they came in and watched too.  Everyone was dying laughing.  It was great.
Well, that's about it for this week.  Mom and Emily, I'm glad you had a good time at girl's camp and that you had a home to come back to when it was over.  It sounds like that Michael McLean fellow really made an impact on everyone's testimony.  Heavenly Father really does love you so much.  One of the best things about being a missionary is that he lets you see that and feel that for each person you talk to, no matter who they are or where they come from, you can really feel the love their Heavenly Father has for them.  He loves us SO much, regardless of what we've done, and that's why he sent His Son--so that we can become like Him and live with Him some day.  I know He lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that this is his true church.  I love you all!  See you in 22.5 months!
-Elder Pew
Quotes of the week:
"I hate it when I shoot my friend in the face on my birthday!" -Hermano Lee
"According to a recent study done by myself..." -Hermano Miller

Friday, July 13, 2012

Some more photos!


Elder R, Elder Pew's newest companion

Elder Averett, Elder Pew & Elder Brimley BYU roommates on Elder Bay's bed!

BYU Roommate Reunion!  Elder Bay, Elder Averett, Elder Brimley and Elder Pew

July 13th, 2012 (and some photos)

So I have officially reached the one month point.  Santa Vaca.  1 more and I'll be in Mexico.  Time is just flying.

It seems our district cannot seem to stay the same for longer than a week.  This Sunday, Elder Woodward and Elder Plowman got called to be the new Zone Leaders, so now Elder Ringer is our district leader.  I'm guessing Elder Bonner's visa will get here next week and he'll head off to Peru to keep us from getting too comfortable.

Speaking of Sunday, the way sacrament meeting works here is that every missionary prepares a talk (in Spanish) on whatever the topic is for that week, and then President Tyler announces who the speakers will be during Sacrament meeting, right before they go up to talk.  Guess who got chosen this week?  Yep, me.  The topic was "recognizing the Holy Ghost."  I wrote it the week before, so I couldn't really remember exactly what I had written, but I think it went well.  So that was fun.

Taylor (BYU roommate) and Jeff (BYU co-worker who also went to his high school) both left this week, and Scott and Austin (BYU roommates) leave Monday.  Don't worry Mom, I got a picture with Taylor.  People who got here after me are already leaving.  I feel so old.

The lessons are going pretty well.  We found out last Friday night that Wilmer is a coffee drinker, so we've been trying to help him get over that.  It's going really well.  We gave him a pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom and helped him set some goals, and he's only relapsed once since then, and he felt really bad about it.  He's trying really hard, so I think he'll be fine.  He's been coming to church and he's getting baptized on the 21st--a week from tomorrow!  What a man.  Nicolas is still iffy.  He's reading the Book of Mormon--in fact, between last Tuesday's visit and our visit this Tuesday he'd read all the way from the beginning to 1 Nephi 13--and he knows its right, he just is a little worried about what his family and friends will think about him changing his religion.  So we're going to try and figure out how to help him with that. 

So poor Elder Ringer (companion) has been very sick this week.  It started last Friday and seemed like the same cold that I had a few weeks ago, but then it got worse and wouldn't go away.  And he said he had a lot of pain and congestion in his chest.  So I thought it was probably bronchitis.  Wednesday we went to the doctor and sure enough, it was bronchitis, and the doctor said it's a good thing we came in because it was about to become pneumonia.  We ended up having to walk down to the BYU Health Center in the outside world to get some medicine for him.  That was kind of weird.  It made me realize how important this calling is as a representative of Christ and how I need to act to do that.  Anyways, Elder Ringer is feeling a little better now.  Hopefully the medicine will keep working.

Thanks for the letters!  I hope mom and Emily are having/had fun at girls camp.  Sounds like you all had a good 4th of July at the BYU soccer game.  Micah-Keep it up with the lacrosse.  I wish I could see you play.  Also, I really enjoy your fancily-folded/rolled-up letters.  Izak-Awesome talk! Sounds like you did a good job!  And be glad you got that stinky merit badge done.  Booger-nose--I mean Zane--I'm glad you had a fun time at 7 peaks and the BYU soccer game, and that you're still a pompeeface (a family word his grandpa made up-yeah I know).  Gwen--sounds like you've been having fun with Granny this week.  How is it being the only girl?  Thanks for the drawing!  Timo-thanks for the update on the NBA.  Sounds like it's been a super-eventful offseason so far.  Keep me posted.  Also, what's the roster for the US Olympic basketball team? 

Give Matt Hammer and Alex Hansen my congratulations.  Good for them.  I did see pictures of the fire--Elder (Jordan) Turner's (BYU friend who went to his high school and family lives near fire in Alpine) parents sent him some pictures and he showed Elder Brimley and I.  Crazy.  Sounds like watching Da Vinci (niece's turtle) has been an adventure.  Crazy turtle.  Also, what exactly happened to Andrew (his buddy)?  He fell off his motorcycle?  Is he doing okay?  Let me know.  Tell him good luck on his talk this Sunday (his mission farewell)!  I'll be there in spirit! 

Well, everything's going well.  I'm already to the point where I feel like I want to do this forever and never come home.  It's just so great to be doing the work of the Lord!  He lives, Jesus is our Savior, and this church is true!  I love you all!  Have a good week.!
-Elder Pew

Quotes for the week:
"A fat kid in my neighborhood broke my pogo stick in 4th grade." -Elder Plowman
"For the second lesson, we're going to break the law of Chastity to him." -Elder Rice

My district doing Abbey Road
Red tie day at the temple Elder Pew, Elder Bonner and Elder Duncan

Elder Pew on his bed

Elder Brimley, Elder Pew & Elder Bay (BYU Roommates at the MTC)

Elder Bonner sitting on Elder Duncan (Elder Pew's first companions)

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6th, 2012

This has been a really crazy week.  I probably won't get to say everything in this email, so I'll write you individual letters later to respond to your letters.  I'm just going to talk about what's been going on down here.
First of all, we had an awesome fireside Sunday night.  The speaker was Ted Gibbons, but instead of giving a talk, he dressed up and acted as Willard Richards and told us about his relationship with Joseph Smith and the story of his martyrdom.  It was super cool, and then for the closing hymn we all stood up and sang "Praise to the Man."  Tears were falling--and not just mine.  It was incredible. 
We taught maybe the best lesson so far on Monday to Nicolas.  Mom, we were going to take your advice and read with him from the Book of Mormon, but we only ended up getting to two scriptures.  We ended up just talking about the Spirit--I don't even remember exactly what we said--but it went really well, and not at all the way we planned.  Then, I felt like I should challenge him to be baptized--which also wasn't part of the plans.  But, much to my surprise, I did it anyways, and even more to my surprise, he said yes!  Miracles.  Our next visit with him wasn't as amazing, but still good.  He told us he wants to make sure he knows for himself, independent of anyone else, that this is true before he gets baptized, which is good I guess.  Wilmer is also doing pretty well.  He told us last time that he was concerned that he was too bad of a person to be baptized and that he wants to be a man of God like us, but he doesn't feel like he can.  We're going to try and help him with that tonight. 
So we found out some really bad news Monday night.  Our district leader, Elder Plowman, came into our room and told us that Elder Mathis would be going home the next day.  He'd been struggling with some health issues for quite some time, and we all knew that, and after talking to the Branch President and the MTC President, they decided it would be best for him to go back home.  It was really rough for all of us.  But I guess it's the right thing.  Life goes on.  He is still planning on serving a mission as soon as he gets his condition stable.  So pray for him.
So now with him gone, Elder Duncan and Elder Bonner moved into his room and are now in a trio with Elder Rice, so I guess those two will just be together when Elder Bonner gets his visa and leaves for Peru.  Now it's just Elder Ringer and I in our room, which is kind of nice because now I get to sleep on the bottom bunk instead of the top. 
The devotional Tuesday night was from Elder Kikuchi.  He was awesome.  Favorite quote from his talk: "If you knock on a door and the dog is barking you, wave to him and say 'Hi doggie.  I love you!'  and sometimes dogs can feel the Spirit too."
So the fourth of July was great.  I probably wouldn't have remembered it if y'all didn't send me that package. Thanks for that by the way--everyone is enjoying the food, and we'll probably be set for the next few weeks.  Anyways, we had a little 4th of July program that night.  All the missionaries got there earlier than they thought we would, so President Brown decided to entertain us a little bit.  First, we sang happy birthday to his wife and everyone else who had a 4th of July b-day.  Then, we sang "We Wish You a Happy Birthday" (to the tune of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas) to everyone who had a Christmas birthday.  Then, he called up all the  Elders who had already received Dear John letters, (there were about 8 of them), and we sang "Love One Another" to them.  It was hilarious.  We then proceeded to sing "Popcorn Popping" and "Once There Was a Snowman."  Then the program actually started.  A former Judge gave a short talk, which was pretty cool.  Then, later, this Elder started walking down the aisles playing the bagpipes, while missionaries from all different countries followed behind him carrying the flag of their homeland.  It was so freaking sweet!  Then we all sang Praise to the Man.  After the program, they brought us out the front doors where President Brown was handing out Magnum Ice Cream bars--Santa Vaca those are good!--and then told us to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks and not to go back to the residence halls until it was over.  So we got to stay up till like 11:30.  4th of July at the MTC:  Highly recommended.
Once again, thanks for all the packages and letters.  I made everybody jealous this week.  You guys are the best!  I'll try to write indidual letters to everyone who wrote me, but it looks like I'll have some time right now to respond a little bit.
Izak-I'm glad you're enjoying the bass, and that you and Micah got to play soccer with Andrew and Steph and her family.  Good luck on your talk!
Micah--I am having fun, and I'm glad you are too.  Sounds like your lacrosse team is pretty awesome!  And tell the Woodall's chickens hi for me.
Gwen and Zane--Thanks for the drawings.  And Gwen, I hope you had fun with Rolo.  She's such a good, fat dog, isn't she?
Everyone:  Yes, Austin and I tried the Orange Juice, and yes, it's disgusting.  Like, really gross.  And it has a really bad aftertaste, and gives you really bad gas.  But so does everything else here.  Our teacher, Hermano Lee, made a new rule this week:  No tiren pedos.  I'll let you look that one up.  Speaking of my teacher, I don't think I ever told you we got our second teacher.  His name is Hermano Miller; he's from Sandy, he served in Barranquilla, Colombia, and he's very, very tall.  (probably 6'4 ish.)  He's awesome.  Yes, we have been going to the temple on P-Days and eating in the cafeteria for breakfast, which is incredible.  Real food is so good.  Unfortunately, the Provo Temple will be closed for the next three weeks. 
I met an Armenian elder one day.  I don't remember his name, and he didn't remember either Anna or Buck, but still, I thought it'd be cool to share.
Timo: Dad told me a little about the NBA draft, but go ahead and fill me in on the rest.  Also, I've heard of some nutsy trades going on (Steve Nash to the Lakers?  What?), so yeah, let me know what's up.
Well, I am out of time.  Thanks again for all the packages and letters!  I love you all! the church is true! 
-Elder Pew