Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A few snippets from his letters the last two weeks

 The Book of Mormon is so much more fascinating when it's in English! Holy flip it's fantastic! I'm finding so many cross references to the Bible and just the relations and the prophecies and just all of that information that's been packed into that book that was translated in 3 months.

Oh yeah. It's rather a fascinating book... I'm surprised why I didn't read it so intently earlier

My Spanish is getting SOOOOO much better! I was able to bear my testimony the other day by my self! ish... I got all of the tenses wrong and Elder Nichols had to correct me... But, still! I'm more able to effectively use vocabulary, and I'm able to teach some principles for each lesson in PMG. That is such a wonderful book... AND THE SECOND ONE IS COMING OUT!! SO EXCITED!


Just a general sum up this week: I'm walking a ton, I'm starting to lose weight again! and I'm speaking Spanish in a foreign language with terrible food. That just sums it about up. EXCEPT they made hotdogs better by adding guacamole and tomatoes... Completos are good...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First Baptism Challenge Accepted!

No pictures this week to accompany the post.  Joshua's camera is out of batteries.

Here is his update this week.

I'm doing alright, I'm holding in there. I'm forcing myself to be happy, no matter how bad the situation looks. I'm still struggling with Spanish, and I do get made fun of a lot by the ward and investigators, but everyone here seems willing to help me learn a new language. I asked Elder Hare what high school level my spanish is at, and he said that I'm at about a 3rd year level. Which is still not very high language wise, but think about it! I've gotten same amount done in 3 months than a person does in 3 years! It's really funny how the Lord works sometimes. I also invited a person to baptism the other day! And he said yes! We are baptising Juan on the 29th! However, his baptism is going to be super sketchy though, seeing as the guy lives in the East mission, but his member girlfriend lives in our sector. So after pulling a few strings we were able to get permission to baptise him here, seeing as his parents do not want him involved in the church. He's over 18, so he can make his own decisions, but I'm kind of worried that his parents are going to kick him out after he gets baptised... 

You also might be wondering about my schedule. Well! I'm probably in the luckiest mission. ... Mostt of them don't start their day until about noon! So, here we go:

7:30 - Arise! and Exercise (I've lost 10 pounds in 8 weeks, so excited :D)
8:00 - Cereal (That's the only thing they eat for breakfast here. Very small breakfast, HUGE lunch, and no dinner. They usually just eat a desert at around 9 at night though, so I guess that counts)
9:00 - Personal Study
10:00 - Companionship Study
11:00 - Language study
12:30 - Almuerzo at a member's house (Massive lunch, the members love feeding the missionaries. It's a custom here that you eat all of your food, and then ask for seconds. If you don't ask for seconds, that means you hated the meal and the person made it is a terrible cook. Also, if you drink all of your liquids, and don't take more, its also offensive... They always want you to have a full glass for some reason. But I guess its forcing me to drink more water so I don't mind)
3:00 - Start walking
4:00 - Get to our first appointment. We usually walk about 9 to 12 miles per day going from appointment to appointment, or bringing back the lost sheep. Our mission priority is to help bring back inactive members and to update the address of the members in the area. Apparently people are terrible at letting the church know if they are moving.
10:00 - Head home
10:30 - Start getting ready for tomorrow and bed
11:30 - 12ish - Go to sleep. 

So I'm practically on the same sleeping schedule that I had before I left! haha!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Field Training

Joshua and Elder Nichols

At this point, Joshua states that he is struggling with Spanish.  He said that he finds comfort in laughing at himself and trying to listen to the Frozen soundtrack in his head.  He said that he people speak Spanish at a rate of a thousand miles an hour. He said the the homes are very small, but most people have a big screen TV in their home with a great sound system.  I think he threw that in there to hint at our lack of a big screen or sound system.

His companion is Elder Nichols from Fallbrook, California.

This is what Joshua wrote about his living accommodations.

So, I live in a decent house. We have a washing machine built by Samsung (I didn't know that they made those!), I share a room with my companion that's the same size as my room back home. I study scriptures for an hour, an hour of companionship study, and then 2 hours of language study. Except that really hasn't happened because we've been super busy helping out members with service projects. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

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Time to leave the MTC and enter the field.

Joshua left the CCM (MTC) this week and is in his first area.  His first companion is Elder Nichols from Fallbrook, California.

Here is the picture that was sent with a letter from his mission president, President Cook.  He looks fantastic!

The letter stated that the new missionaries were transported from the CCM to the mission home.  There they had an orientation, lunch, met their trainers, and left for their assignments.

Joshua was able to get me a quick email where he said that he has been mistaken for a Latino, because he tans so well (He gets that from his dad).  He has been teased for his lack of Spanish speaking skills by investigators, and that he is getting used to the area.  He loves that his companion has computer skills and that they had been getting along well.

Receiving the Call

Joshua received his call three days before he opened it!  THREE DAYS!  If anyone wants to figure out how to drive your mother insane, wait three days to open your mission call.

It hung on our cork board for the full three days.
A couple of times I hit it in frustration.
It was a miserable three days for me as a mother.

He ordered a specific letter opener in the mail and it hadn't come yet.  He also wanted to plan a time where his friends could come over and be with him when he opened the call.

MTC Days

Joshua flew out of the Salt Lake International Airport on January 14, 2014 to report to the MTC in Santiago Chile on January 15th.  He was accompanied by three other Elder's and a sister missionary.

Elder Lewis, Elder Faber, Sister Vanderhaden, Elder Vasquez, Elder Smith
He didn't say anything about  not enjoying the MTC (or CCM as it is is known in Chile).  He did complain that the menu in the cafeteria didn't have a large variety.  I think he was glad when he could go out on a Tuesday or Wednesday and supplement his diet.

The next picture is of his different stops saying goodbye to his family before he left.  The images are taken two days before he left and on the date of departure.

Top Picture ~ His family
Rebekah, Joshua, Lisa (Mom), Caleb, Stephen (dad), and Jacob

2nd Row
Joshua with grandparents Michael and Paula Faber
Joshua with his Great Granmother ~ Mildred Taylor
Joshua with his Great Grandparents ~ David and Fay Bean

3rd Row
Joshua with his Grandparents ~ Bruce and Bonnie Snider
Joshua with his brothers ~ Jacob and Caleb
Joshua with his sister Rebekah.

Bottom Row
Joshua with our bird ~ Qwincy
Our dog Rascal
Joshua with his dad ~ Stephen 

Joshua made some good friends at the CCM.  It's always a wonderful thing to hear as a mother. You always hope that your child has friends to help them.  Particularly when they are many miles away and you can't be there to help them through their trials, or just give them a hug.

This is an excerpt from a letter that a missionary sent his mom that mention's Joshua.

One of the highlights of my week has been helping to teach people Spanish.  They dont really spend that much time teaching you how to speak Spanish here, its mostly how to teach lessons.  The hardest part is that at the same time, we are expected to teach lessons and just pick Spanish up as we go.  I have had a lot of people in my district ask me to teach them certain things about the language.  I am so glad to have had the head start so I am able to help them.  My favorite is Elder Faber.  He was the only one in our district who came here with no Spanish background at all.  He has been struggling quite a bit with remembering things that we're taught and asked me if I could help him out.  Every night after class, we spend the 40 minutes before bed in my room, running through Spanish.  He thinks the same way I do so I am able to explain things in a way that he will remember.  I am increasingly astounded by the rate at which he is learning.  There is no way my help, or any help of a teacher could help him progress this much.  I know without a doubt that the Gift of tongues is real.  I see it all around me.  Not when I look at it day by day, but week by week, its extremely apparent.  Working with Elder Faber is honestly one of my favorite times of the day.

MTC District
Back row starting from left to right:
E. Viglione
E. Busath
E. Hare
Hermana Taylor
E. Scott
E. Udall
E. Turley
E. Lewis

Front Row (Shortest people)
Hermana Vanderhaden
Joshua's MTC companion was Elder Udall from Arizona.  Joshua mentioned that the shortest Elder was paired with the tallest Elder.  It came in handy one day while they were out on P day.

We went and did contacts the other day. It was rather interesting. I got yelled at both an insanely drunk man and a catholic priest. Elder Udall pulled his height card (holy cow he's tall. They paired the smallest elder with the tallest :P I'm smaller than the chilean elders here too!) and they left us be. 

I am going to put some picture of Joshua and his MTC experiences below.  I wish that I knew the names and places, but he's not good at sharing details in his emails.  He also mentioned that even at the CCM he was troubleshooting computer issues. For some reason, that doesn't really surprise me. :)

I got a hair cut today! I think it looks ok. I walked into the hair cut place and pointed at a picture of George Cluney (whatever his name is) and they did a pretty good job. Dad might freak out though because my left side burn is about .05 mm shorter than the right. But oh well I guess :D

Santiago Temple - next door to the CCM

The three coins is when Elder Viglione decided to break physics with 300 pesos

This is from an email dated February 18, 2014:

Also! I get to go on splits next week to go apostaliting with missionaries who speak the language! Very excited to do that. And then I get an hour next week for emailing only on P Day... :( But I'm doing the Lords work so I'm not bothered at all! I'm starting to become very excited to be a missionary and I just love talking to people (ESPECIALLY if they speak english :D)

And yes, I am terrified. It takes me about 5 seconds to form a sentence in my head and then speak it. I'm definately speaking and comprehending a lot more spanish than when I came here, but I probably will not be able to survive by myself without some help. I'm hoping I get a Latino companion for my trainer so that it will force me to speak more of the language so I can learn it faster. 

Also! I got the day when I'm coming home several weeks ago and forgot to let you know! (sorry)

I come home on December 29 of 2015. (I think, I left my card in my shoulder bag) So it's not a full 2 years, but I'll take what I can get :D