Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spanish is Improving; New Jersey in the MTC; and Elder Holland Speaks!

Eds - We talked to Jake on Mother's day.  He was allowed to call home, but given the call volumes at the Missionary Training Center on that day, he only had 30 minutes.  He sounded great and is having a great time.  He is now serving as a Zone Leader in the MTC (kind of a leader among a group of 30 - 45 missionaries).  He leaves on May 26 to Mexico.  Pics are coming, he assures us!

May 2, 2014

Dear All:

That’s awesome that Jonathan is really competitive, and I’m glad Jace is feeling better and it sounds like Joe and Tyler have a lot of fun at school from what I’m told.

That is really hot [the temperature in Seattle]! I checked the weather in my mission this week and it’s over 100 degrees all week. I’m not really excited for that, but I’m excited to get out of Provo. I love the MTC and my district, but it’s pretty strict here sometimes. I wonder why they'll let me wander around the most dangerous city in Mexico for 2 years, but won’t let us walk around Provo on p-days. They must know something I don’t.

Nothing really new has happened here, just more Spanish. I did go to the Consulate this week they took my picture and finger prints. Our mission president says they haven’t had any trouble with visas to Mexico in the past year or so. So that’s good news for me. I’ll send all the pictures I’ve taken next week. I forgot to bring my cord to the computer lab. I wish I had more to share!

We did get a devotional from Dallin H. Oaks, which was awesome. 3 apostles in 2 weeks isn’t bad at all! The days fly by here, and I’m sure they'll go faster in the mission field. As long as you stay busy it passes really fast. There are not a whole lot of missionaries in west campus - probably like 200. But that’s fine because we all know each other. We started talking in east coast accents or really heavy New Jersey accents ALL THE TIME. It’s becoming a problem actually. We say things like "you dooooog" or "hey gerald!" or "wow man thats 100% Versace." It doesn’t sound funny when I type it but when we skype or call at some point ill make sure to them for you.

Elder Latimer

Additional e-mail:

Yeah, I did get everything! Thanks so much for that. It was disappointing mom didn’t sent my UW shorts and my NC shorts, she says they’re "disgusting." But yeah, we’ve had 3 apostles speak to us so far President Uctdorf, Dallin H. Oaks, and D. Todd Christofferson. ( I probably spelled that wrong, but I don’t care). I need to get you and mom on the same email conversation because I send my 'blog' posts to her. I’m learning the language pretty well, our teachers vary. There is one who has not said a single word to us in English, and others will break down every now and then and speak English to us. My companion and I are teaching 3 investigators right now. We picked up a new one from our zone leaders and we expected to just teach the restoration, but she threw us a huge curveball and started asking about prophet’s salaries and temples and what’s inside and how to go in one. We weren’t really prepared, but I was surprised how much we could explain to her in Spanish. We are also teaching a guy who is agnostic which is much more difficult in Spanish because most of our investigators so far have had catholic backgrounds. The investigators are just people who work at the MTC. Not all are members though so that’s kind of interesting. 

May 10, 2014
Dear All:

Tell Jace I say “happy birthday!” and I’ll sent him something cool once I get to Mexico!
And I GET TO CALL HOME ON MOTHERS DAY!  It will be from 1:45 to 2:15 (utah time) so plan accordingly! I told Tyler to have Joe write me but he hasn’t yet.

This week was pretty good! We’re getting a lot better at Spanish! My companion and I are teaching 6 lessons a day on average now when it should be more like 3, because we picked up an extra investigator from the previous Elders in our zone. Then we were supposed to stop meeting with one named Daniel (because they have schedules to meet with different missionaries), but he invited us back on his own time for us to teach him more! Our teacher observed our lesson with him and he said he felt the spirit really strongly when we taught, which is rare with practice investigators, apparently most of them are relatively new converts that let us practice, but some are non-members, but I have no idea which ones. So that was exciting!

I’m actually getting pretty good at Spanish. I don’t have to sit and think and translate what I want to say in my head before, I can kinda just say it without much thought, which is a cool new level to be at.
I forgot to tell you but ELDER HOLLAND CAME AND SPOKE! It was awesome. He’s such a stud. He talked about how much his mission meant to him, and how it influenced every major decision in his life. He also talked about how the gift of the Holy Ghost is the most underrated gift in the whole world, because when Christ came and ministered to the Nephites, the second day they prayed for the Holy Ghost to come. It put it into perspective that every member of the Church has the blessing to have a member of the Godhead with them at any given moment as long as their worthy.

But this week has been great. I realized why missionaries in SLC and Provo get so fat. Last week we had a guy pay for our burgers, and today a girl that goes to BYU bought us all sandwiches at great harvest bakery. Then after we were done eating some guy came over and gave us all gift cards to that bakery, saying he wanted to pay for our next meal. There is a lot of love for missionaries here. We also got to go the museum today with all the religious paintings from Karl Bloch, and two other famous Danish painters Mormons love. It was a really cool experience. I’ll send pictures of my companions and stuff too!

REMEMBER TO ANSWER ON MOTHERS DAY! I’ll call your cell phone and the home phone. Actually the computers here are all locked down so my chord won’t let me send any! Urgh! I have to get some adapter or something one of the Elders says I can use his next week. But I’ll send them soon! Or just mail the card. 

Love, Elder Latimer

Additional Note:

That’s awesome [told him about the Seahawks draft]! They picked later rounds before and won the Superbowl, so I hope the strategy works again. It seems like it’s more up to the coaches of how well the team does. The Titans are lucky to get Sankey. I’ll remember to send the letter to both you and mom next week!

It has been a pretty good week all the details are in the letter to Mom. But I forgot if I told mom this but I’ll say it again. We were teaching an investigator (they say some aren’t Mormon) and it was supposed to be our last lesson with him, then we get a new investigator, but he invited us back to teach him again on his own time, which was really cool for us! I explained it more to Josh. Ask him to forward you that email. My Spanish is getting a lot better. I feel comfortable talking with native speakers now. I can’t understand every specific word but I can get the main idea of almost everything they’re saying. I understand some topics better than others, but the real Spanish will come in Mexico!

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