Sunday, August 4, 2013

One More Week!

Aug. 3, 2013

Chad’s Letter

Dear Family,
Hola!  I want you to know that I found the ice cream.  The store sells it.  They have ice cream cones and sandwiches and magnum bars and popsicles flavored like strange and foreign fruit.  It is good.  Do you still like Frosted Flakes?  I have a story that will make you proud.  2 weeks ago they installed breakfast cereal dispensers in the cafeteria.  I was the first person in the history of this MTC to crank Frosted Flakes out of that machine.  They were Grrreat! 

You would not believe the food here.  It ranges from Costco pizza on Tuesdays (to trick the new arrivals… I fell for it too), to the most questionable salad bar I have ever seen.  There is this one red fruit that I could hardly swallow.  The spicy salsa is bueno.  The Elders from Mexico say that the salsa is okay for them to eat, but gringos shouldn’t try it.  I handle it better than they do.  It was really spicy at first, but now I am used to it.  I had no problem with putting jalapenos in with my fruit loops. 

I hope you’re having a fun summer.  I am glad to hear that you are having fun at the lake.  I have only a couple weeks left of summer.  It is crazy to think about.  I will be heading down south into winter.

I am making great headway in learning Español.  I’ve figured out how to decide when to use por and when to use para.  We had a member of the 1st quorum of the seventy come and speak last night, and I’ve been told that during August, an Apostle will come.  Thanks so much for all the dear elders and the letters.  Thanks for those Ensign talks in Spanish. 

I can’t believe how fast time is flying.  I am 2/3 of the way through with the MTC,  and then I will be in Chile.  It isn’t the same narrow strip of land by the sea that Moroni talked about, but I like to think it is.  I am so happy to be here. 

I love you very much,
-Elder Withers


Rebecca’s Letter

Dear Family,
It's been another terrific week!  Last Sunday during Relief Society, they mentioned that there were 1300 sisters gathering together each Sunday here at the MTC.  Cool huh?!  Each time we meet we always sing As Sisters in Zion, and it’s always so incredible to sing with that many sister missionaries...it brings such a powerful and lasting Spirit. 

Crazy thing happened earlier this week, I ran into an Elder Withers......and it wasn't Chad.  Apparently Dad's Uncle Russell has a grandkid named James Withers headed for Australia on his mission.  Ha, it was so weird.  I was eating dinner with  my zone, and this Elder just kept staring at my tag....and I was like, "uh do I know you?"  And then a whole conversation ensued as we tried to figure out if we are related.  He knows Grandma Withers very well, and says that she is his great Aunt, so that makes him my second cousin.  Small world. 

Last Sunday, the cafeteria got so full that they had to block the doors shut to hungry missionaries because there literally wasn't a single spot to sit.  It was the first time I had seen that, and I haven't seen it since...which is good because those missionaries had to wait about 15 minutes until it cleared out a bit.  Good thing I was already in!

It really feels like I have been in the MTC for ages...and it’s only been a month (to the day actually!).  A person's sense of time is sort of warped here, but somehow the weeks are flying by. 

On Monday we had a TRC lesson, and our investigator was an immigrant from Chile Concepcion!  And......her Spanish was also lightning fast.  I did my best to understand but all I could pick up was the basic point of her comments each time she spoke.  She dropped all of her "s" but was also the kindest lady ever. 

Every Tuesday morning we play volleyball as a district and it is so fun.  We go out to the field and play in the volleyball pits and it feels like we are all at a beach digging our feet into the sand.  It's so fun!  Tuesday night, we all (everyone in the MTC) walk to the Marriott center for the devotional, and it is hilarious.  People come out of their office buildings, from Campus, and the parking lot...and all stare at the thousands of missionaries marching like Helaman's army.  A lot of them wave, in one particular window is a group of people who wheel over a white board and write messages and put it against the window.  As missionaries we all just laugh, wave back, and under our breath say how it makes us feel like social aliens.  If we were anyone else, no one would care; but because we are missionaries (!) people get excited.  It’s fun to feel like we are the star of some parade each week.  In the devotional this week, the speaker said that as of July 25th, there are 73,522 missionaries.  AWESOME.

On Wednesday I got to host!  And it was SO MUCH FUN.  I hosted one sister from Minneapolis going to Brazil, a sister from Provo going to Chile Concepcion (Chad's mission), and another sister from California going to Mississippi.  It was fun to welcome each of them and be one of their first friends here.  You would meet them at the curb, wait for them to quickly say goodbye, ask if they had any keys or a cell phone they needed to get rid of, make sure they had their immunizations record, take their luggage, and take them all over campus...to drop off their stuff, get their books, and take them to their class.  It was fun, and also made me grateful that a missionary only has to say goodbye once.  One of the best things about hosting though was waiting on the curb for another sister to need a host...you just get to watch as SO MANY MISSIONARIES COME.  (Side note:  Every 15 minutes about 100 missionaries would check in!) 

At one point while on the curb, my companion and I were just talking and saying "hi" to new missionaries, when a big, yellow bus pulls in.  It was packed to the brim with people (and it wasn't a short bus, we are talking a real live school bus).  The letters "sc" were scratched out and replaced with the letter "k" to say "kool bus."  It was definitely classy, trashy, and so awesome all at the same time.  I don't know how many missionaries were getting dropped off, but there were a lot of supportive people on that bus (:
  
Sort of interesting… apparently the number of Spanish speaking missions has decreased, and English speaking has almost tripled.  There are SO MANY SPANISH TEACHERS.  They just don't have a district to teach.  The Mexico MTC has absorbed a lot of the Spanish speaking missionaries.  This means that most districts have 2 teachers, and we have 9.  NINE I TELL YOU.  It's really helpful because there is almost always a teacher available to help a companionship one on one.

Earlier this week I heard someone say, that diligence means still working hard even when you are tired.  I love that!  It's so true.  By 7:30 or 8:00 my body and mind really start to become tired, but there is still so much to learn, and I couldn't live with myself if I slept my mission away.  5-10 minutes each day could add up to a substantial chunk of time wasted, that should have been spent serving or learning.  Some days I am more tired than others, but somehow I also have enough energy to get things done.  It's like the time going fast but I feel like I have been here forever... sometimes I feel tired but I always have enough energy to keep going.  Don't know how it works, but it's a miracle and I am so grateful. 

So.............travel updates.   Drumroll....................my visa didn't come.  My name will be submitted on Monday for a reassignment, and I should have my stateside call by Thursday or Friday, and then I will leave the next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.  I saw it coming, so I am not disappointed.  The only people getting visas to Argentina right away are the Australians because they have a relationship similar to the U.S. and Canada.  I am excited for my next assignment and will be sure to record with my voice recorder when I open and read it.  All 6 of us Argentina Rosario missionaries are getting reassigned, so some of us might go to the same place!  We will see, and I can't wait to give you the update next week! 

I didn't see the Hobson's on Wednesday, but I ran into Elder Hobson this morning.  He looked good, and its so awesome that Elder Dial got to be his host!

Thanks for all of your love and support.  It means so much, and I know I have the best family in the whole world.  I know the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true and also one of the greatest blessings Heavenly Father has ever given to the world.  I know every prayer is heard, that families can be together forever when sealed in a temple, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.

I love you all more than the number of people waiting to hear the truth,

Hermana Withers

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