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!
"GASP! VERACRUZ?? OHHHH I'M SOOOO JEALOUS, OH I LOVE VERACRUZ, OHHHHH!"
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.