Tuesday, 29 June 2010

6 More Days in the MTC

Dear Family,

Like I told you it was going to be last week, this was an insane week at the MTC... We got to hear Elder Dallin H. Oaks speak, which brings my total up to 5 Apostles I got to hear speak at the MTC. But that's not all, while the new Mission President training was going on, for the last day, 10 out of the twelve Apostles were here, including the ENTIRE First Presidency.

The MTC was on such crazy lockdown. I've never seen so many Police Officers in suits before. It was amazing. A lot of new plans were unveiled for the very near future of Missionary work.. Near, as in July 7th. The new Mormon.org will launch that day, and it will feature Facebook style profiles. Here's the kicker though...... We all know social networking has been a no no, but they want all of the missionaries to create accounts, which will have our pictures, life story, and testimonies. People can come read the accounts, and if the investigator wants to learn more, they can click a button which will take them to a chat.. On the other side of that chat is a missionary!!!! Missionaries being TOLD to use chat rooms! Missionary work is evolving with the times, it's so great! There is also a simplified "Preach My Gospel" coming out as well.

I'm sad to hear the Todds moved out of 2nd ward, but the Glendale Apts could no longer contain the growing Todd clan... I remember when KK was no taller than my knee. Now, soon enough there will be 2 Todd boys wreaking havoc...... I can't wait!

I've been so happy with my awesome pocket watch, the Elders in my Zone are pretty jealous. The thing is as sweet as the huge bag of gummies I got along with it! Thanks James and Hill!!!!

I can't believe Issa got to hang out with horses and shoot a rifle...... "those are my favorite things to do.... EVERY DAY!"

The language is unfolding in my mind, and my ability to understand it is finally catching up to how fast I can mimic and speak it. I know you are praying for me, and I can feel and see the effects of it every minute of everyday. I wish I knew prayer was this powerful before! Thank you, and I love you all!!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Week 9

Dear Family,

First of all, HAPPY FATHERS DAY, Dad! I hope the family did something fun. If there wasn't some epic battle over where/or what to eat this past weekend, I will be a little disappointed... Thai food?

This week is going to be a hectic week at the MTC. They are training the new Mission Presidents this week, so the First Presidency is here and so are most (maybe all) of the Twelve Apostles. They are canceling class this Friday night for a "Special Fireside"...... coincidence....? I think not.

I've been a bit under the weather the last few days, so I've been taking it a bit easy (frequent napping.) I'll probably spend the rest of today in bed. I've been scarfing down those multivitamin gummies as if, well, as if they were real gummies. I only have 13 more days here at the MTC....

I've had the sudden urge to get everything I own laminated, or buy a new cover for it. (my toothbrush cover could use a cover, right?) So long cafeteria food, hello Kim Chi.

Anyway, I'll have a lot more news for you next week when I get my flight plans. I'll also develop the photos I've taken, and send them your way. MTC photos all look the same though.

We've been doing exercises in class in order to learn to teach simpler - explaining principles in 32 words or less... Then, 16 words or less... Then, 8... When it gets down to 4 words, it goes like this: The Gospel is true. I love my family. I talk like a robot.

-Elder Reyes

P.S. This keyboard is lame, the enter button doesn't work, and anytime
I type a period 2 or 3 pop up.. weird....

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Week 8

Dear Family,

My Stay here at the MTC is nearing its end. I leave for Korea in 21 days!!!! I leave the morning of July 5th. So the night before, when you are blowing stuff up, or watching things get blown up in the sky, I'll be stuffing Korean textbooks into my luggage. Happy Independence Day to me....

This past Saturday there weren't enough Korean speaking volunteers for the TA (Teaching Assessment, where missionaries role play teaching Lessons and performing everyday scenarios ). So the Older Districts (our district) were asked to fill in. It was the first time these new missionaries had to teach in the TA. They only have to teach a 3 minute "getting to know you"/ short message in Korean. And the lesson is in English. Since our 6th week, we've been teaching full 35-40 minute lessons entirely in Korean!!! So it was pretty amazing to see how far we've progressed, as the new Elders struggled to just introduce themselves, and butchered every pronunciation imaginable.... I thought, " that was us not too long ago."

This week we also learned some Korean games from a Native teacher. All Korean games are mean, and involve some type of physical torture. If you lose or mess up in a game, you get "Indian Pop!" (Spicy Rice). But there is no food involved. Just everyone in a circle around you as you gets on all fours, and they start SLAPPING your back like a Conga drum, while yelling " Indiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan", and throwing their elbows into your back, "POP!"

Last Tuesday we got to hear from another one of the 12 Apostles. Robert D. Hales spoke about Light and Darkness. The Light, or truth that we have, and how we need to help those in the dark, or in other words, those who don't know where to find the truth.

Everyday I realize more and more how blessed I've been to have been raised in the church. To know, since the age of 4 or 5, maybe younger, the simple truths that people spend lifetimes looking for. That God is our Heavenly Father, we are made in his image. Jesus Christ is his Son, our brother, and our Redeemer. And what we need to do in order to return to live with them.

I would love it if the family could write out their conversion stories and send them to me. Nothing extravagant, just your testimonies... then again those might be long stories. But I'd especially like to hear, and get all the dates and names, of where we were living when Mom and Dad first met with the missionaries, what their initial thoughts were, and what convinced them that this is indeed the true and restored Church of Jesus Christ.

My prayers are with you, I'll email you when I get my flight itinerary, because I'll be able to call you from the airport.

Elder Reyes

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Week 7

Dear family,

This has literally been the busiest week of my life!!!!! My companion and I have more than twice the amount of missionaries to look after than the previous Zone Leaders.

Wednesday night, the first night the 34 new elders arrived, 2 of them were lost for close to 2 hours. The next day, 2 missionaries locked themselves out of the room, and that night 6 of them got lost on a way to a meeting that was just across the hall from where we just had dinner! But by day 3 it was smooth sailing. The glazed over, confused, overwhelmed and homesick eyes have been replaced by the eyes of spiritually uplifted Elders who are confident in the Lord.

Saturday night, my companion and I had a 2 hour meeting with them, and I challenged them to gain a testimony of their calling to Korea/CA/NY (all Korean Speaking), and to gain a testimony of their companion, and their District. I told them that without these things, their experience at the MTC would be miserable. This past Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and many of them bore some amazing testimonies that they knew why they were with their particular companions, and how strengthened they've been by their Districts. Everyone is really getting along great! It's quite strange for so many missionaries to be asking you so many questions, and it's amazing that I'm able to answer them.

It has been such a role reversal being accountable for so many people, when all of my life before, I was always the youngest or one of the youngest -- every job I've had, the band, and of course in the family.

I've really been blessed though, even with all the new responsibilities, and the 4 extra meetings on Sundays, I am able to keep up with my studies. This past Saturday, we taught the first lesson again entirely in Korean. It was amazing, it flowed so well, not one awkward silence, or stupor of thought. And we were able to ask 3 times as many questions this time around, share more scriptures, and elaborate on the doctrine.

One of the new districts watched us teach the lesson (the role playing rooms are hooked up with cameras and mics so the teachers can evaluate), and their "minds were blown." I feel that seeing that we were able to teach so smoothly, that it has really built up their confidence... even though they were still struggling with the alphabet when they watched us. It's amazing how much you can learn in 6 weeks, with the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and faith in the Lord.

I am so grateful that I get to share the restored gospel with the people of Korea!

DearElder.com me to have your emails sent to me through the week.

Elder Reyes

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Week 6

Last Tuesday Elder Chistofferson spoke at the Devotional. That's 3 Apostles in less than 5 weeks!!!!! And we'll at least get two more, since there is new Mission President training later this month. Hearing an Apostle of the Lord speak is quite the Spiritual treat. I wish I was faster at writing notes, but the impressions the Holy Ghost leave on me, stay with me forever.

The language is coming along great. Our branch President's wife, Sister Shin, is amazed at the fact that our District actually sounds Korean... (unlike the older District that left last week). We truly do have the cream of the crop speakers here as teachers. I taught my first lesson last Saturday ENTIRELY in Korean. It wasn't perfect by any means, but we can teach important truths in another language... that's a blessing from God in and of itself.

Next week, we'll be getting some ACTUAL Korean investigators coming in. So one of the companionships in our District will get a chance to share the gospel with someone who is seeking out for the fullness of Christ's Gospel (though they may not realize that is what they have been searching for).

Wish I could have seen Joey when he was up here, I was sorry to hear the Paur family was sick. But it's best that I've only seen other missionaries that are familiar faces.

Elder Jamison, who went to Glendale 7th, is leaving tomorrow for Tulsa, OK, and I got to show him a picture of Conrad on his Mission there. I got to say goodbye to Elder Holbrook, the Elder from Colorado who was is TA fan, and sign a Time Again t-shirt he had before he left. He kept yelling out "Best punk band in 10 years" while I was signing it. I gave him a TA beanie that I had, too.
I signed his shirt, "The [Book of Mormon] Stories Are True."

My love and prayers go out to all of you. Get along please, take care of each other.

-Elder Reyes