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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Getting closer

Hola familia!

From this Monday, I only have one week left in the United States! I'm freaking out so bad, I have never been so excited/nervous before. We are supposed to get our travel plans later today, Me and Elder Wheeler and Elder Schicker fasted that they would get here on time and that we won't have any visa problems, so I am confident that we should for sure be leaving next monday! This has been an incredible week, alot of great things have happened so hopefully I can remember them all by the time I'm done with this email.

Yesterday was cool, the new missionaries all came in and my companions and I had the opoportunity to demonstrate the first parts of a discussion for them. We got picked last week along with a bunch of other companionships to demonstrate, it was really cool. When they bring the new missionaries in, after dinner they have them all go into all these different rooms, there ends up being about 40 in a room, and they have an investigator come in and sit on a couch in front of every one. Then a companionship comes in (knocks on the door) and starts to talk to the investigator about their live and religion. As soon as we get a good bit of information out of the investigator, they send us out and the missionaries in the room procede to finish trying to teach the investigator as one giant companionship, it's really cool. I still remember when we did ours the first day, and everyone was just trying to shove as much information as possibel down the investigators throat. We got to watch for a little bit after we did our job and it was so funny because the misionaries were doing the exact same thing, just trying to try to give as much info as possible without testimony, scripture or trying to apply stuff to the investigator. It was really an eye opener to see how much we have learned here at the MTC, in only 8 weeks. Don't get me wrong, we still have soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much to learn and have like nada experiencia but we have definitely learned that as missionaries, the last thing we want to do is shove info down peoples throats. Starting the discussion went perfectly, although I will admit, It was ten times scarier to do it in English. I couldn't tell you why, but I was so nervous to do it in my native language... I know kinda stupid huh, but it was funny. Before we started, I told my comps that "por cierto, alguien va a hablar un poco espanol durante la leccion..." (for sure someone is going to speak a little in Spanish during the lesson). Sure enough, at the very end when Elder Lee was trying to explain that God has a body, he started the sentence with "Padre Celestial tien..." It was great, classico!

I have gotten so close to my companions this week, Elder Lee and I have really really started to click better, and it's great, we are all having so much fun. Our past couple of lessons have been incredible, we have three baptism dates set up for the 4th of February, so hopefully our investigadores will "follow through" with those. I realized the other day how much i'm going to miss having Elder Lee and Elder wheeler as companions, and it's going to be the weirdest thing in the world to only have one companion in the field. I'm praying that whoever my trainer is will be able to have patience with my inexperience and especially with my spanish.

I sang in church for the first time ever on Sunday! It went so good! I sang "Llevaremos al mundo su verdad" (we will bring the world his truth, but in spanish) I was really nervous but I think it went pretty well...ok I of course was singing with the whole District, did I get you all?? I bet you were thinking "Tyler, sang in church, by himself?? Did they kick him out??" Our district sang the song together in sacrament meeting, it was really neat. Some of the hymns I actually like way better in spanish. (ye elders of israel, battle Hymn of the Republic, and I need thee every hour are some of my favorite)

I have really gained a strong testimony of prayer while I have been here. Granted, I had one before, but I have learned that prayer just makes everything better. It gives me comfort when I need it, It helps me be more patient and have more charity, it helps me receive revelation and promptings, and find scriptures that I'm looking for, it lets me tell my Father in Heaven how grateful I am for all his blessings and his hands in my life, I don't know what I would do without it. I wouldn't be out here, that's for sure.

Pues, necesito ir, pero, enviare una carte esta tarde, cierto! Les amo mucho, gracias por todas las cartas y oraciones!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Me and Elder Christofferson (from Lehi). We were way good friends in high school, it's been a blast to be in the same district.

Look who it is! I have run into John a lot since being here. (Another friend from Lehi). Same with Matt and a ton of Elders from Cedar, it's been fun!
John left to Alaska a few weeks ago.

Elder Lee's man cave. He puts this up to keep out the light when he takes power naps.

The Tie Bazaar.
Once a week everyone in our building gets together with their ties around their necks and trades ties until 10:00. It's pretty hilarious how excited everyone gets. I haven't traded any because most of my ties
are gifts from people and I always think of them when I tie my tie in the morning.

Tenses, cinnamon rolls, and man caves

Hola Familia,
This week has been great. I have been really trying to study the imperfect and preterite tenses and also passive voice, past participle and conditional. It's kinda fun to be able to say things (or at least try) in a variety of ways now.

Seeing Braiden Shumway this week was AWESOME! We talked for a good half hour in our residency halls yesterday night and he is doing really good .

I have been praying a lot more lately just for everything. Before I do anything I try to pray and ask for the spirit of guidance to be with me. I can't remember the reference off of the top of my head, but there is a scripture that says to pray before everything so the Lord can "consecrate thy performance." It's a good one.

So last week elder Davidson brought a cinnamon roll into our room. It was a microwave one and was nasty. He offered it to me and I didn't want it, so we put it into Elder Lee's man cave (he was absent from the room, of course). I figured he would see it before he got in bed, but come bedtime he just jumps right in (I had forgotten at this point) and me and Elder Wheeler hear: "What the... (four second pause)... YOU'RE DEAD!" He comes out of his cave and has cinnamon roll ALL-OVER his backside. It was hilarious-- we all got a kick out of it-- including Elder Lee. Ha ha.

Les Amo todo mucho! Try to stay out of trouble!
Mucho amor,
Elder Eastmond

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Best week yet!

This has been the best week in the MTC yet!! I couldn't even tell you why off the top of my head, we have just worked really hard at spanish and teaching and we are all getting really excited to leave for Mexico!

I have gotten to be really close with my companions and my district this week. We had an AMAZING devotional review on Tuesday night. We always have one after devotionals on tuesdays, it is like a testimony meeting but not. we all share our impresssions and thoughts that we had during the devotional. it is my favorite part of the week, this past one was so spiritual, we all feel alot closer after devotional reviews!

Mom, the ties you sent My companions are awesome!! We were laughing soooo hard. Elder Wheeler opened his and was like, "NO MANERA!! Su mama es jefe!" (no way, your mom is boss) It was funny. Elder Lee was freaking out, "This is my favorite tie that you have, and now we can all be twinners!" So we are all pretty excited to wear them tonight when we teach our investigator! And thank you for the mutt's comics. My life feels complete again. I have been missing something and I haven't quite been able to put my finger on it...

 (Tyler hates the comic "Mutts" and we cut it out of the paper and sent him a whole month's worth).

BRAIDEN IS HERE!! Elder Shummway now, I guess, got here yesterday and I got to talk to him a couple times, it was great. He walked by our class and said hi to Jake but didn't see me sitting there, and I heard his voice and ran out into the hall and about tackled him. He was doing great, said it had been an interesting day, but he was happy. He looks way different with his hair cut short! He is on the fourth floor of our residence hall, I am on the first, so I went up and talked to him for a little bit last night. Matt Haskell left for mexico on monday, I wouldn't be surprised if he has a baptism and a sunburn.

We have just POUNDED out the spanish this week. We are going over subjunctive (no me gusta) and it's a little tricky, but we have been practicing hard and I'm starting to understand it a little better. It's just hard to know when you should use it and when you don't need to. I'm sure i'll figure it out when I'm in Mexico and I say it wrong and get laughed at...and I will forever say it the right way after that. We have also started playing this game we got from another district called the "Native Game." We take nine cards and write "native" on one of them, and then draw for who gets to be the native for the next day. The native has to try and speak spanish all day no matter what. At the end of the day, everyone tries to vote for who the native was. The catch is, everyone else tries to speak as much as possible so everyone thinks that they are the native. It is way good practice, it's really not that hard to get your point across is Spanish, even if it's broken spanish. I have really been working alot on the past tenses, hopefully I will get that down someday. It's mostly just all of the irregular preterite verbs that are hard to get down, I'm trying to memorize most of them.

I love studying so much out of the scriptures and predicad mi evangelio everyday. I learn the coolest stuff everyday out of the scriptures, and I have been getting alot of promptings lately for stuff to use in lessons and what not. I'm praying so hard everyday to be able to have the spirit and to ask Heavenly Father for guidance, because none of us can do this without him. Me and my companions have made a goal to remember to pray immediately after lessons, not only before, because we know that without him we couldn't teach. We wan't to make sure that God knows we appreciate his help and are grateful for his hand in our lives. My favorite scripture in Alma 26 that talks about how we are weak but with God we can do anything is so true. I live by that scripture every day.

Well I am about out of time, I'm sending a letter as usual! We are all so excited to go to Mexico, we have less than 3 weeks! Loco!! This has been such an amazing week, I hope it has been good for all of you as well!

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Eastmond Jr.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In class with Elder Farnsworth (left) and Edler Schicker. Elder Schicker played college B-Ball at a school in Hawaii for 2 years before his mission. He has been a member for 3 years. He is most like me out of our district, we talk a lot and hang out in the residence after the day is over.

Our District on Christmas Day!

Mmmmm...Yummy. This is the loaf of bread that I wrote "free" on and stuck outside Elder Christofferson's door.  A food fight ensued. I think one would die if they ate this!

In class with Elder Wheeler, going over some vocab. You can tell it was a busy day because... Just look at the tops of our desks!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wild imaginations, fake mustaches and dimples

The time is continuing to FLY by. I know I say this every letter, but it is. Spanish is so funny somedays I feel fluent (I know, I have a WILD WILD imagination) and I feel like I can say anything I want. Somedays it's a lot harder. I can't conjugate anything right or I don't have the vocab I need to say somethiong. For the most part though, it's becoming to where it's not as much of a barrier. Although it has been good, this has probably been the hardest week so far...

We have 2 new investigators, Johana and Manuel (They are both our teachers). We have a baptism date set up for Johana and we will have challenged Manuel by the time you read this. We all love speaking in lessons so much now, sometimes we "fight" over who gets to teach what, who gets to say the baptism challenge, etc. Our teachers have been really pushing the baptism invitation to be the 1st or 2nd lesson, because it's pointless to "teach about how one can gain salvation, and then not even present them with an opportunity."

Elder Gardner's mom sent him a package of fake mustaches, so when we came back to the residency hall at night, we all put them on and walked around. A lot of missionaires would walk by and double-take at our "bigotes." (Mustaches). It was pretty funny. Also the other day, Hermano Robinson (one of our teachers) taught us after class how to have a good "dimple" in our ties. So for the past couple days we all tied our ties with dimples and picked the best one.

I'm praying for each one of you and I hope you have a fantastic week.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Eastmond

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting closer

Hola Familia! The time is fast approaching to when I leave for Veracruz!! We are past the halfway point, which means we got new zone and districts leaders. So our new zone leader are Elder Christofferson (my friend from Lehi who was our old district leader) and Elder Gardner, they are companions. I was called to be the new district leader, I'm so glad we have a good district because some of the other districts here would be very difficult to try and keep under control, haha. There aren't too many more responsibities, I just get the mail now and go to a couple of meetings, so I act as a messenger from President Ricks to the district. Basically I just make sure everyones always on task, and most importantly, lead by example.

We went to the temple today, and did initiatories. It was a great experience because we got to eat omlets from the temple cafet- haha just kidding the food was good but that wasn't why it was a great experience. Most of my names were from Mexico, so it was really cool to be able pronounce them all correctly and what not. Elder Lee had a name that was like El sagrado de corazon de Jesus. (sacred heart of Jesus) Interesante. We got a kick out of that one.

Our lessons are getting alot better. We have really been working on using good questions to teach and get investigators thinking and figuring out things for themselves, and we have one baptism date set up and are going to challenge Manuel tonight. I can't remember if I told you guys but Mateo (Hermano Moen) went to Boliva to do some work for the church for two months, so we had to stop teaching him. Sad day. Hermana Ellsworth told me and mis companeros that she had never seen a trio split up the lesson so well and do it as smoothly as we do. It's also to the point where spanish isn't really too much of a barrier anymore when we teach. (occasionally we struggle to say exactly what we want but we can easily find a way to do it).

We FINALLY got the chance to dry clean our suits this week, they had been really backed up and we hadn't been able to dry clean them the whole time we were here. We have to wear our suits everyday because you have to have a suit coat for when you go outside, go to the cafeteria, and ALWAYS when you go to devotionals, so it is kinda redundent for us "one-suit" elders.

Guess who came and spoke to us for our Tuesday night devotional?? Oh nobody special, just RUSSELL M. NELSON!! It was such a surprise, no one even knew about it, it was so cool! He spoke on gathering the tribes of Israel, and just taught straight doctrine from the bible and the Book of Mormon. It made us realize how important this work we are doing is, because we are litterally fulfilling prophecy! Also, he had a lot of deeper meaning in his talk that we couldn't even comprehend, can't wait until i'm old and wise someday!

I'm sending a picture and some letters today, so I will tell you more about my week in those!! I love you all, thanks for the letters, emails, and prayers!!

Elder Eastmond Jr.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Feliz ano nuevo!

     How was New Years? It was very different this year, I almost forgot about it until everyone in our residency hall started cheering at 10:00... (12:00 in New York).
     The weather has been unreal! No snow this entire past year and it's Jan 5th? We studied outside for personal study today and it was perfect, we weren't even cold like after an hour! I'm lovin it! If I'm lucky I won't have to see snow before I leave for Mexico!
     So, another stupid thing happened to me last week. I took 10 white shirts to the laundry room, washed and dried them, when I came back to my room, I had 9. I have NOOOOO idea where the other one went. I know I took 10 shirts there, I went back and looked everywhere, I'm positive there was nothing left in the washer or dryer when I took the shirts out of each machine. Ha ha. NO idea where it went. It got quite funny after like an hour of tryin to figure it out.
     Mateo (our fake investigator) right now is reading the Book of Mormon but he doesn't feel different when he prays and he always has crazy questions. Yesterday he asked about 1 Nefi 14:9-10. He said, "If there are good people doing good things, but they aren't members of your church, 'van a infierno, si?'" We tried to explain as best we could that it's a parable of sorts comparing the true church to the "teachings of men" and that good people will have a chance to learn in spirit prison. Keep in mind, of course, this was all in Spanish. Un poco dificil, no? I know it's important to answer Mateo's questions, but we need to help him gain a spiritual witness for himself, or he won't ever know the Book of Mormon is true. We can't spend 30 minutes Bible bashing and answering every question-- there are better ways to help.
     On Tuesday I was waiting in the hall for Elder Wheeler to come out of the bathroom. When he did he walked by me and for some reason (I couldn't tell you why) I just busted up laughing and couldn't stop for the life of me. Elder Matheson came out into the hall and was like, "What is so funny?" I didn't know, so all 3 of us just started laugyhing at eachother's laughter and kept eachother going (You know how that works... like mom's crippled hand in Stake Conference or drawing a caveman with a bone...). So for the rest of language study, if I looked at Elder Wheeler or Matheson, we all started laughing hysterically for no reason at all. It was awesome... and weird. Moral of the story is I'm happy and loving life. I love Spanish and love the gospel. I'm growing closer to my Savior every day.
    Yesterday was "Hump Day." I have been in the MTC for 1 month and a day.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Eastmond

Friday, January 6, 2012

Temple and Christlike Attributes

We got to go to the temple this morning, I was so glad! It was a great session.  We have worked very hard with the Spanish this week, we went over preterito, futuro, preterito irregular, commands, and a bunch of other usful stuff, It's fun to try and apply everything we learn when we get out of class, it makes me feel cool. I was asked to say the closing prayer in fast and testimony meeting last sunday, (in spanish por supuesto) I was a little nervous but everyone said I did a good job. The fast and testimony meeting was incredible, we had a new district come in only a couple days earlier and pretty much all of them got up to bear their testimonies, and they were so powerful. (We just did testimonies in english)

El Ano Nuevo was different this year, it didn't even really mean anything to me, haha. It's funny how things that used to be a big deal every year are not really that important compared to preaching the gospel.

 So in my personal study time I have been studying the different Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel. I has been way cool to study, it has really hit me just how perfect and amazing Christ really was. As I have been going over each attribute individually, I have realized that just to have even one of those attributes down perfectly would be crazy hard but make you such an amazing person, and Christ had all of them down perfectly. (Hence why they are named "Christlike attributes...") Christ is so amazing and I have loved being able to grow closer to him during this time. I also read a scripture in Alma 7:11-13, it talks about how Christ suffered not only for our sins but for our trials, problems, and worries basically, so he could know exactly how to comfort us when we need it. It's one of my new favorite scriptures for sure!

I love you guys and will send a letter today!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Eastmond Jr.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wild animals, funny teachers, and moldy bread

This week has just flown by! I can't believe that on Monday, I will be in my 5th week. This week has been really good, we have had some great class sessions and taught some good discussions. Also, I have made close to all of my free throws, so I have been playing basketball every day.

So far my favorite meals have been this chicken pasta thing (tasted kinda like alfredo), Navajo Tacos, and enchiladas with beans and rice. I miss eating my 5 small meals a day. We have early dinner at 4:30 so by the time class gets out and we are done planning at 9:30, we basically all turn into wild animals, eating anything we can get our hands on. I'm kinda excited about being able to cook for myself and eat homemade food from the people there.

I just got my first haircut here, they did it in like 5 minutes, no joke! It was crazy fast, it looks good. I miss talking to grandma though while I'm getting it cut, ha ha.

I love all of my teachers, they all have great and different personalities. There is only one that speaks native Spanish, we don't get him very often but sometimes he subs and boy, that's a treat. His name is Hermano Jimenez (I have noo idea if that's spelled right but it's pronounced: HIM-EN-EZ). He is actually fromVeracruz and served in Mexico City.

We have another teacher, Hermoan Moen, who might be the funniest guy I have ever met. He went to Columbia and he is stocky, full of energy and is a convert. Never a boring day with him. He has this booming, deep voice and if we ever look like we are tired he takes us outside and has us run a lap around the building and do 40 pushups, haha. The last time we did was on Wednesday and we were running around when all the new missionaries were coming in...I think we kinda scared them cuz it looked like boot camp! Another time he had us march in a line, with the loud footsteps and everything while singing, "I don't know what I've been told...Espanol, never gets old!" We got some good looks for that one. We were walking to another building so we could use the computers and he wanted to make it fun. He is the one pretending to be Mateo right now.

Well, you know what time it is! Funny story time! Well, elder Wheeler got a package a little while ago with some homemade bread, popcorn, cookies and other assorted goodies. I was just kinda movin stuff around the other day, organizing a little bit, and I grabbed a loaf of banana bread that was in a ziplock bag, but it wasn't exactly bread anymore. The backside was just destroyed with black and blue mold...It was disgusting. Me and Elder Wheeler were like, "OOHHH NOOO! Game Over! Aaauggh!" You know, just the typical things one says when he disovers moldy bread. So we took it into the other room and asked them if they wanted any bread. One of the elders goes, "Wheeler, pretty sure the lady that sent you this is trying to kill you!" Ha ha. So I took a sharpie and wrote, "FREE" on it and stuck it outside a different room where a couple of elders from our district live. I knocked on the door and said, "You guys want some food?" and left it on the floor. We can hear them jump up, "YES!!" and rush to open the door. Elder Slade opens the door and goes, "Awww, what the...???" and then tosses it back into our room. So Elder Lee grabbed it and chucks it at them in their room. So we all run back to our room, laughing absolutely hysterically, yelling, "Quick!! Shut the door, shut the door!!" We almost had it shut when the diseased bread comes flying into our room over our heads by like a foot, and smashes into the wall and lands on the desk. The bag broke open a little bit, not enought to where any of the bread got out though. But we are just freaking out. "Oh no! Get it in the trash!!!!" "If we breathe the fumes of that thing we are gonna die!!" We frantically took it into the bathroom and disposed of it, haha. It was great.

Well, I'm doing great, I'm happy as can be and learning like a school boy. Wow... Elder Lee is snoring sooo loud right now. Mom, I'm glad you had the idea to bring ear plugs, there would be some long nights with out them.

I love you and miss you!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Eastmond