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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amazing Week!

Amazing Week!!                                                                                             Dec 29, 2011
Hola Familia!

I'm glad to hear that you guys had an awesome Christmas! I'm glad John is doing well and that you got to talk to him! I'm glad that my letters all came in time and that you enjoyed my broken Spanish testimony, haha I'm glad that it brought the spirit even if it doesn't make much sense.

This week has been soooo good! I can hardly believe that it's almost a week from Christmas, it has by far been the fastest week so far in the MTC. We have been teaching an investigator named Mateo, I might have told everyone about him but I can't quite remember, if so just play along ;) He has been fun to teach because he has a ton of crazy questions and it is a fun challenge to try and understand what he is always talking about and what not! The first couple of times we taught him he was just asking questions (totally random and crazy) and not really even letting us talk, but as we have taught him more and more (I think we will be teaching him our 4th lesson tommorrow) he has really mellowed out and realized that we really believe in what we're teaching. We have been really trying to apply teaching skills that we have been learning in class, and incorporating more scriptures, and it has worked wonders. We asked Mateo yesterday that if he gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon (he was wondering if the Book of Mormon is from God or a trick of the Devil, haha) if he would prepare to be baptized, and he accepted without hesitation. We have been sharing with him the scriptures in Moroni 7 where it talks about if these things be good, ye shall know, etc. So we are just trying to teach him about how the Holy Ghost will feel when he prays and waits for an answer! I'm soooooo EXCITED to actually get out in the field to teach real people! I can't even stand it. I have soooo much to learn but I know the Lord will help me pack in as much spanish, gospel, and teaching skills that I can't to be somewhat ready for Veracruz.

Last night we had a private Missionary coaching study with Hermano Kruger (one of or teachers, coolest guy ever) and we practiced teaching him with questions. It has been our goal to get investigators more involved and get them thinking for themselves by using specific and inspired questions. It also helps us to get to know them and their needs better so we can teach them stuff to apply to their lives. It was so cool though because we did a practice where Hermano Kruger was "Gustavo" and he had been going to church for 6 months but was Ateo. (atheist) So we had to teach him and figure him out using questions, we had to ask a question every three sentences (and this is all in Spanish of course) and try to get to know what he wants in his life and what we can teach him. It was a good experience because at first we weren't being specific enough and we were just kinda going in a big circle not getting anywhere, it's hard in spanish sometimes to ask more specific questions, haha. So he stopped us for a second and gave us some advice, and by the end we could tell that we had touched something in him, becuase his responses has changed and he was putting alot more thought into his responses, it was a cool learning moment. There is definitely no substitute for learning something than practice!

I'm getting my haircut for the first time here today, I will miss having my professional barber, grandma, cut it, haha. We are continuing to grow even closer as a district and as a companionship, I thank the Lord everyday for surrounding me with the missionaries that he did, they are amazing. Everyone is soooooo completely different from eachother, I don't think you could get a more different group of guys, but we get along so good, we work hard together and teach eachother through all of our different experiences, and we make the MTC fun.

I have a couple of good stories, one involving moldy bread, I am sending letters today with more stuff about my week so look for those soon!

I love you all and I'm glad you had an awesome Christmas!!

Elder Eastmond (Jr.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

We had Elder Bednar come and speak to us today for sacrament meeting! It was AMAZING!!! He spoke about Christ and how he always turns himself outward to help people, and we being natural man, always turn ourselves inward when times get rough, and we only think about ourselves. It was one of the most powerful talks I think I have ever heard. He also talked about how when we are on our missions, we need to be as Christ and turn ourselves outward toward other people, and if we do this and forget about ourselves, we will become converted unto Christ by the time we are done. (But we can't be only focused on this, or it won't happen) Nobody was even moving throughout the talk because we were all so amazed and overcome with the spirit, and just so into what he was saying. He talked all about Christ and becoming more like him, so it was perfect for Christmas. And we have yet to hear from another apostle tonight for our fireside, I can't wait. I miss everyone a ton today but it has been such a great opportunity to be able to feel the spirit so strong all day and just really focus on the true meaning of christmas, it's been one of the best days ever and it's only halfway over.

Feliz Navidad!

Elder Eastmond, Jr.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

We received a 6 page hand written letter from Tyler this last Friday-- that's my boy!!!! Here are a few excerpts (with English translation):

Well it has been an awesome week. When all the elders last week kept telling us, "Oh, Yeah, after this first week it really starts to pick up!" I was thinking there's no way, they're just sayin' that. But it really was such a fast week! There is a saying that goes around: "The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days!" It's true... some days just go on, and we are all so tired at the end and some days we wake up and think, It's P-day already?

The Spanish is beginning to come more and more. I won't deny it, but none of us ever realize it until we teach our next discussion. We taught both Paqui and Mateo yesterday and looking back on it, I'm thinking, I didn't know I could say that in Spanish! During our lesson with Paqui especially, me and Elder Wheeler decided not to bring notes, it was kinda scary to not have something to look down on, but the gift of tongues is so real. I would have something to say in my mind, and think, "Dang, I really wish I knew how to say that in Spanish," and then I get an idea to try to change the wording around so it's as simple as possible, and I think, "Oh, yeah, I CAN say this in Spanish." I'm getting to where I can speak a little quicker too, so I only sound 95% Gringo instead of 100%.

I met a lady from Mexico that was swiping cards in the sack breakfast line. The machine was being difficult so she had me wait for a second while another lady was fixing it, she looked down at the card and saw the "MEX-VER" mission code on it and just lost it!


Ha ha. It kinda scared everyone because she said it so loud. I talked with her more and she told me she was from there. She told me it was the most beautiful place on earth, the food is healthy and delicious and the people will literally give you the shirts off of their backs. It was awesome and at lunch we walked into the cafeteria and she was in there. She saw us and said, "Oh it's my Veracruz elders! Como estan, come estan?! We talked to her in Spanish for a little bit... Ha ha. Oh boy, they speak sooo fast, I'm freakin' out.

We have gym everyday but P-day and Sunday. It's soo much fun. I usually play basketball. We play so much I've actually gotten a lot of it back, ya know, back from my freshman glory days! Ha ha. The elders I play with are very good, this elder named elder shicker (Love him, It's probably a good thing we aren't compnions--there would be a little too much fun and trash talking going on). He played at a school in Hawaii for 2 years (college) and is amazing. Usually whoever's team he's on wins... We just all line up at the free-throw and shoot until 6 people make it and then play half-court 3 on 3, it's a blast. My companion Elder Wheeler is a BALLER.  (Tyler's grandma Bonnie thought this meant he cried a lot). I guess he played 4 years of High School ball on an indian reservation school in Arizona-- he knows his stuff!

A cool thing that has happened to me is how much I love to study the scriptures and gospel. The first day I was here I was thinking, "How am I going to study for 2 hours every day?" (That is just personal study, not including comp study, language, class, and workshops). I mean, I have always loved reading from the Book of Mormon but 2 hours per day can kinda seem daunting, no? But now the time just flies by, we usually have an hour in the morning and an hour or a half hour at night. Right now I break it up so I study for 20 minutes on the Savior and his teachings, 25 minutes studying from Preach my Gospel and the scriptures about things that will help me for my next lessons with investigators, and then 15 minutes reading from the Book of Mormon.

Funny story time:

So me and my companions are going to breakfast and we are running a little behind so we're trying to hurry. (It never ceases to amaze how Tuesdays have a line for the showers comparable to Disneyland, and Wednesdays are free game for shower...) So we had our backpacks and we usually just leave them in the hall outside the cafeteria because we can't bring them in, but I guess they made a rule "no more bags in the hall" because when we went to set them down, a teacher recommended we didn't if we ever wanted to see them again. So we go outside and I'm like, "Drat, we have zero time to walk clear across and put our bags in our class." (We live in 18M, our class is in 17M and the cafeteria is 1M). Problem. So Elder Wheeler says, "Quick, in the bushes!" and throws his bag into a patch of bushes just outside the cafeteria. Elder Lee and I look at eachother, shrug, and toss ours too. It was dark and nobody could see them, and I prayed at breakfast that our stuff would be safe, Ha ha. Sure enough, we came outside and they were still there. It was hilarious.

I hope you have an amazing Christmas and everyone remember that the greatest gift of all is Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us. I'm going to think about Him more than ever this year.

Elder Eastmond

Provo Temple
 Every Sunday we walk to the temple after Sacrament Meeting. It's been a little chilly but it feels sooooo good to go outside and get some fresh air. Can't wait for the fresh air in Mexico.

Elder Eastmond, Wheeler, and Lee
Elder Wheeler is to my right and possibly one of the funniest people I have ever met! He has that dry sense of humor and keeps a dang good straight face. Elder Lee is in the red shirt, he always lightens the mood with humor and brings you back down to earth. I really love my companions. Although it's difficult to be in a "Tripanionship" at times, it's helping all of us to grow a ton.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Apostles, Fake Investigators and Nerf Wars

Hello, this is Becky speaking. We didn't receive an email from Tyler this week but Parker and Devin received letters. I'll share a few things from them.

"We have an apostle coming here to speak with us on Christmas, we don't know who yet, but we are excited and I will let you guys know.

So far we have taught 3 different people in Spanish (they are just fake investigators, but they speak fluent Spanish). The first one was named "Franco," we taught him 4 lessons, and now he is going to be our new Spanish teacher. Right now we are teaching Paqui, she wants to be baptized, we challenged her, she said she just needed "una respuesta" (an answer) from God. So we taught her how to pray really sincerely and promised her she would get an answer. We are also teaching Mateo. He is tricky because he asks a lot of random questions. We have only taught him once, our goal is to challenge him to read the Book of Mormon and Pray about it and ask him if after reading it he wants to do good things or bad things. I will let you know how it goes.

For my funny story of the week...I woke up on Tuesday at 6:00, did my workout, and then walked into the bathroom to take a shower...It was like any other ordinary day but when I got in the shower (there are 6 of them, all in one room) there was about 20 nerf darts laying all over the floor, everywhere... Apparently there had been an epic battle for the CTR Ring of Power or something the night before, haha. It was way funny.

Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y Redentor. Estoy agradecido por la Expiacion, y que puedo arrempentirse de mis pecados. Yo se que familias puede estar juntos para siempre. Yo se que soy un hijo de dios, y me ama Padre Celestial con mi todo corazon! En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Love ya tons!
Elder Eastmond

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2nd E-mail Excerpts

Dear family,

So the other day I woke up and was thinking in spanish, it tooks me a second to try to think in english again...that's how much they pound it into our brains everyday, it's great. Baptism by fire!

 President Ricks (our branch president) has been talking to us about how we have the same power as an apostle of the church, he frequently encourages us to call each other Elders and not say things like "hey guys, or whats up bro, or hey man" haha he says we are demeaning ourselves and our authority when we talk like that so I'm trying hard to always use "Elder." It's cool to think the amount of power that I have as a missionary, but I don't think I can fully comprehend it yet until I get to Veracruz. I can't wait!

I absolutely LOVE my district, they are the coolest bunch of Elders! We don't have any hermanas yet, but I hear we will be getting some more in our Branch soon. There are nine of us altogether, and I believe 5 of us are going to Veracruz, and 4 are going to Mexico City, west. Everyone is starting to pick up spanish, put at the same time it's really frustrating sometimes, because there is just sooooo much to learn. I am glad for Maestra Duncan, though, because she taught me a ton and I kinda have a little bit of a head start with that.

sister Dalton actually spoke on tuesday! That's funny that you saw her the other day! When she started, she said that she had never felt the spirit so strong in the MTC ever before. She said "this must be what it was like to be helaman!" because she compared us to the Stripling warriors, it was cool :)

We go to the language lab everyday and our gospel to spanish ratio is probably half and half, except we learn alot of the gospel stuff in spanish, which is good.

We went to the temple this morning at 7:00, which wasn't early for me, because I am always up at 6 instead of 6:30 to get in my 400 pushups and ab workout in :) It was way nice to go and get away from things for a little bit, I alsways feel like everything is going to be ok when i'm in the temple!

Elder Eastmond Jr.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tylers first email!!!!!!

Hola familia! Como estas? Espero que su bien!

Wow what a crazy couple of days! My Preparation day is usually going to be on Thursdays, but we had a mini-one today so we could get some laundry done and what not! I hope that every at home is going well, I miss you guys so much, but everything is moving so fast that we barely have time to be homesick. The MTC is set up so well though, every hour they provide something productive and spiritual for us to do!

So, I am in a companionship with two elders, Elder Wheeler and Elder Lee, because Elder Lee's companion was bumped up to intermediate Spanish the first day so Elder Lee didn't have one. I am again playing the role of the one who gets along with everyone, because Elder Lee and Elder Wheeler are COMPLETE opposites, haha. They get along just fine, but they have very different views about things. So I kind of have to make sure they get along and stuff... good thing I'm used to doing that :) Elder Wheeler is awesome because he always follows the rules, he speaks spanish as often as I do, (which I LOVE!!) we are going to learn it so much faster because of that, and he reminds me of John as far as his love for the savior and his desire to learn the gospel. He also went to Stanford for a couple of semesters, so he is pretty sharp. Elder Lee wasn't originally planning on serving a mission, his dad is in the marines and he said he has had trouble being active and strong with going to church and seminary, so he's a little rough around the edges, he will be the first one to admit that. It is a great start though for him wanting to serve a mission, and he actually has a good testimony and a strong desire to teach the people. I really like him, he lightens up the mood after a long day and just kinda brings you back down to earth. He doesn't know spanish very well so me and Elder Wheeler are trying to help him along. He wants to know spanish sooooo bad though so he asks questions about everything spanish related and he has the desire to learn. I'm really glad that I took 3 years in high school, most of it has come back already, it's amazing how much you remember if you just speak it all the time! All in all, it is a challenge sometimes to have two companions, I would be content with one, but we have come to love eachother and you know I'm not opposed to a good challenge :) It's good because I amn learning to get along with someone kind of like John, who follows the rules to a T (which I love but could bug some people) and someone who doesn't always want to follow exactly and needs a encouragement. I think it will be cake when I only need to worry about one, haha!

My best experience so far had been teaching Franco! He is 18 years old and from Argentina, and moved here to the utah a little while ago. He is super nice and speaks beautiful Spanish. It was so scary because in clase de espanol, it was only the first day and hermana Ellsworth (our teacher) told us that we needed to prepare a first lesson for Franco so we could teach him on Friday morning!! (Keep in mind it's wednesday night....) Uh, are you for reals??? Haha our whole district go to go in two by two, or in our case with three, and teach Franco the first discussion solomente en espanol! COMO??? It went so incredibly well, there was mucho spanglish but we made it through, the spirit was there, we all bore testimony in spanish and i said the prayer in Spanish. We also had him read the first vision in spanish. I seriously don't know if I have ever ever ever felt more excited or happy in my life, I can't wait to get to Veracruz! I see now why the mission can be the best two years.

The food is alright, there are lots of choices though so that is good. I miss moms cooking a ton!! I'm out of time, so i will email or write you guys on P-day! I love you guys so much and hope everything is well at home!! Nos Vemos!

-Elder Eastmond