Monday, November 24, 2014

November 8, 2014


So this week was crazy, it was our last week here, so almost every day was different. We are leaving on Monday at 3:30 in the morning. Out of the 8 elders in our district, 4 of us are going to Aguascalientes, 3 are going to Mexico Vera Cruz, and 1 is going to Tucson Arizona. We only have 2 flights, first to Houston and then to Aguas, but we have a 5 hour layover in Houston from like 12 to 5, so that’s when I’ll call, I’ll try to call a bit later so the kids can all be home, but no guarantee (also i don’t know what time zone Texas is in, so you might want to figure that out)

But anyways, my week. Monday wasn’t too different, but Tuesday we had two devotionals, one in the night, and one in the morning at the Marriott Center. So two thousand missionaries walked over to byu to go to a devotional. it was pretty cool, they talked about missionary work, but it was mostly directed towards the students. I didn't see anybody I knew, but Elder M got to see his twin sister. also on Tuesday Elder W and I decided it would be fun to play lava in our room until we leave, we quit, but kept with it for a couple days... climbing around in your room in a bathrobe trying to change is rather difficult.

Wednesday our district was signed up to host new elders, but when we got to orientation, they needed 5 more elders to help direct traffic, so i spent 2 hours directing the incoming 400 cars where they were supposed to go, fun stuff. While they were coming in, we ran out of hosts for a bit, and a car pulled up that was bringing a deaf elder, I had no idea what to do so I asked them to hang tight and I went running around trying to find where to take him. I found the correct place, but his greeter wasn’t there, so I went back and helped him with his stuff and took him. She met us halfway so all was good, but still a cool experience. Then we got our first real investigator that night! She was a trc investigator hired to do it, but an appointment got cancelled and she was allowed to just wander around, so she happened to wander into our room and start talking to us. Her name is C, she is Muslim but goes to byu law school because it’s cheap.  She had lots of questions for us, she mostly just wanted to know what we believe, she didn’t believe it, but found it interesting. We worked together through the spirit and had a great discussion with her. She mentioned that her brother died when he was younger, so we jumped right onto eternal families and she even said that it felt right. She said she liked us better than the other missionaries she had talked to and came back again the next two nights when she was off the clock just to talk with us. she is super absorbent, even if she doesn’t believe it right now, over night she read past Lehi’s dream in the book of mormon and the next night she read the whole plan of salvation pamphlet in Spanish (she barely knows any Spanish.) anyways, I doubt I’ll ever see her again, but it was a really cool experience to teach her.

Thursday wasn’t too different, but we finished up a lot of things. Finished Spanish, skype trc, teaching Edgar our teachers character, service, gym. Lots of stuff.

Friday we had in field orientation all day. It was kind of an efy thing that taught us more about baptism, goals, and working with members. It was led by Brother C, who was one of the elders in the district 2.   But anyways, not going to go to in depth on in field orientation.  Then we had our last class with Hermano H and he told us all about his mission, He had an amazing mission and did amazing things through the Lord (he didn't paint it like that though, he's a pretty humble guy) it was really inspiring to hear. He was an awesome teacher, I’m definitely going to keep in contact with him while I’m out.

Today is p-day, so laundry, emailing temple and stuff. Oh yeah, one more quick story! last Saturday i was going through the temple and guess who I met? Adam and Matthew! They thought it was funny that they went through with me before Shawn.

Anyways, that’s all for this week, write me next week guys. Love you all, be good.

-Elder Gandola

Nov 1, 2014 Red Headed Step-companion

Greetings all!
Thanks for the package though, it was nice to get some stuff, tell sierra thanks for the picture, i have it hanging in my room. funny story about Shawn and the firecrackers, tell him jajaja for me. 

There was a lot of change that happened this week. First of all, Sunday during church we had the mtc president in our branch, and our branch president (President Sanchez) and his first counselor (Brother Bahr) were released. We got a new branch president (President Swanson) and new first counselor (brother... some other guy)

second, Elder C left our district to go join an advanced district coming in. He had taken five years of Spanish in school and was very brainy anyways, so he was way above our level and wasn't learning much. he knew a lot about a lot of things (especially trees, he worked in a nursery and went to national gardening competitions and stuff, you could point to any tree and he could tell you what it was, along with how old it was,  what its life story was, etc. think briant with pokemon) and was very quick to let you know what he knew, especially when it was because you said something that was to some degree wrong. i learned a lot from him, and not from his fun facts, but because he annoyed me at first. Eventually I learned to get over it and by the end I was sad to see him and his politically fun facts leave us (he's still just down the hall, so he didn't really leave by much though.

With elder C leaving, came a companion-less elder, which is why I am now in a trio. Elder M is now companions with Elder W and I. He's a cool guy, red head (pelirojo) pretty quiet, which coupled with the fact that Elder C was very talkative and knew lots of Spanish means that he really didn't get a lot of opportunity to teach. Elder W and I ) are working on getting him to talk more during the lessons.

Not much is different here in the mtc, but we have been teaching a lot of people. Hermana F is acting as Fabiola, a girl she knew in her mission.  Hermano H is edger, a really hard investigator he knew from Nicaragua. and we have been doing lots of TRC (not sure exactly what that stands for but it stands for something) there are two types of TRC, we have a progressing investigator, which is pretty normal, and then we have member lessons. This week we just started doing the member lessons on skype, so we were able to teach a member that actually lives in our mission.

All in all, life at the MTC is better than ever. We are working more effectively, progressing in Spanish, and all getting along very well. Fun fact, for about the first three weeks, me and Elder W really didn't like each other. It wasn't either of our fault, we were both doing fine on our own, but we just couldn't get along. We have both been working hard on it though, having open companionship inventories, and by now he is a good friend. I always knew that he was my companion for a reason, and if think that’s probably the most important thing that I have learned in the MTC, charity. I’m still not super great at it, but i am definitely getting better at loving those that I normally wouldn't.

Well that’s it for now, forgot my camera in my classroom, but I might be able to send pictures in a bit, maybe not. Well, love you all, be good.

-Elder Gándola

October 25, 2014 everyone always has creative titles for their letters but i cant think of anything so just pretend this time

Family! (and anyone else who sees this letter),

Writing letters is hard, its not like I lack time or anything, but I honestly can´t remember when anything happened, it all kinda melds together (espescially since sunday is the same as any other day) anyways, i´ll give it my best shot.

we'll i'm finally starting to adjust to main campus. the first week was weird because everything was so much smaller. at wyview our apartments and classrooms were full sized apartments (yes we basically had class in a house) with separate rooms and bathrooms and fridges and stuff, but here at main campus the rooms and classrooms are way smaller, but i´m pretty adjusted to it at this point. the food is better here on main campus though, there"s more variety (fun fact, mtc food is a form of mission prep, it goes down fine, but coming out it does a number on your digestive system)

i have seen a few people that i know here, kalani (didnt get a picture with him though), jonathan E., justin and wesley from fresno (funny story about wesley in just a sec) and i saw devin from 5th ward in passing.

so this week, on tuesday i think it was, i got to go down the the mexican consolate to prove that i exist. me and two other elders from my district and a bunch of other elders got to take the train down to salt lake city to check in at the consulate. it was an interesting trip, didn´t talk to any nonmembers, but we talked to a few members. we went and ate at cosco while waiting for the train back and it was weird being out in public with our name tags and everything, it was kinda cool though. alright, story about wesley: so we went to the consulate and when we came out we were all standing in a group. this one elder comes up to me and says "micah?" i turn and its him... thats not the wierd part. then i realized that he wasnt wearing a name tag and remember that he was going to the mexican mtc. turns out he went to the consolate where he lived, was told to go to the one in salt lake, so the church flew him out that morning and he happened to get there on the same day at the same time that i was there, crazy! he flew back home that night, but anyways, i thought it was cool.

i am learning a lot, (both language and gospel stuff) one thing that i have learned is how to study. we have 3 to 5 hours of study time every day, but it's gotten to the point that i never feel like i have tenough time. one of the things that has really helped is that hermano H taught us how to make effective, organized study journals. if you had told me that i would be excited about a study journal 4 weeks ago i would have laughed in your face, but seriously, it is the bomb com. my spanish has been improving and i am able to communicate pretty effectively at this point.

well thats it for this week, say hi to everyone for me (shawn that means the guys at work too) love you all, good luck in your stuff.

-Elder Gándola

October 15, 2014

ok first off, why do I have no emails (danielle you were right, i do like getting letters)? its only my second week here and you guys have already forgot about me? that's weak sauce, lucky for you, you get another try. we have been living off the main campus over at wyview (it used to be byu married housing, but they turned it into a temporary mtc extension for a little bit) and they are moving us back to main campus today, our new p-day is saturday, so write to me by saturday.

week two went by so fast. everyone told us that one you got to the first sunday time flies by, and they were right. at the same time though, it feels like i (from this point on, dont expect me to capitalize my i's, gmail doesnt have auto correct, and i cant be bothered with shift buttons) have lived my whole life here. time in large doesnt make sense as a missionary (especially weekdays, sundays are the same as any other day)

lots of stuff has been happening, its kinda hard to remember what happened this week, i can remember all the things, but i just don't know what weeks they happened in... and its only week two haha.

we have been learning lots of spanish, i'm enjoying it and doing well. we just started learning how to teach lessons too, which is a bit intimidating at first, but really great. we have been practice teaching a lot, with an "investigator" named A. he is mid twenties, college student, nice guy, very open to learning about the church.

then friday he came in to our class, none of us were expecting him or had lessons prepared, so we all started freaking out, because we had to scramble a lesson together in a couple minutes, when we noticed he was wearing a white shirt, tie, and a nametag. we knew he was a member, but it turns ot that he was going to be our teacher from that point on

his name is hermano H, and he is awesome. apparently he is some sort of legend around the mtc, and i can see why, i would go so far as to say that he gives brother Constantine a run for his money, hes that good.

 for his first lesson, he took us out to the park, leaned two chairs up against each other, stuck his cellphone inside a tree stump, and told that our new missionary purpose was to convince him (as a random stranger) to crawl under the chairs and go get the cellphone for free. took us a little bit to get how to do it, we couldnt just tell him to do it, we would look crazy. we had to get to know him, get to know his needs, and help him trust us and understand why he needs to do what we say. we eventually did it, and then he applied it to missionary work, and told us that everything we needed to know about being a missionary we could learn from that example.

we have had some other cool lessons and devotionals (joseph smith, study journals, using the church media) but they arent as easily sharable. 

ummm... i think thats basically it for now, email me by saturday, and i'll email you back. thanks for all your prayers, love you guys

-elder gándola

October 8, 2014 First Letter

Mi Familia! (y anyone else reading this letter!),
        well I have officially been in the mtc for exactly one week. (oh yeah, my p-days are Wednesday, so that's when i'll email.) the whole thing so far has been a lot like skydiving, in that i kept waiting for it to hit that it was finally happening, but it never did, the whole transition felt pretty natural.
        I wasn't quite sure what to expect when i came into the mtc, but i soon realized that they just threw you straight in, no easing in or time trying to make you comfortable. when i got to the mtc, i dropped off my bags at my room, and went straight to spanish class. i was the first one there, and when i got in, the teacher (hermana f) started out immediately with spanish, up until now, she has still never spoken in english, except to clarify. first day, i kinda got the gist of what was going on, but couldn't really understand. second day i could understand almost everything. third day we taught our first lesson to an actor investigator (A) completely in spanish, for about 20 minutes. mtc spanish moves super fast, and is super effective, i'm enjoying it a lot actually, and i can see the blessing of the gift of tongues in the work, its pretty awesome.
         My companion is named elder W, on the first day we had a paper that told us who our companions were, and so i knew he was my companion, but apparently he didn't see, because he didn't realize until that night when we went back to our rooms haha. he was pretty quite the first couple days, but he opened up pretty quickly. he has a great testimony and he is a straight up beast (even though he's only my size) there are three other companion-ships in our district, and we are together practically 24/7. they're a great bunch of guys (i might send you pictures next week, this week me and elder W are sharing a computer, so im trying to be quick.)
             the spirit here is awesome, we have learned a lot this weekend, we had general conference obviously (i wont go into that because you guys heard it already) but then we had a devotional Sunday night where Vai Sikahema came and spoke (i'd never heard of him either) and gave an awesome talk about missionary work outside of our missions, it was really cool to hear, and i just want to ask you guys to really try to focus on directing conversations and situations to create missionary opportunity, you don't even have to know them. it may feel a little weird at first, but who cares? who would you rather please, a random stranger, or the Lord? another thing i learned from him is that not all misssionary successes end in baptism, as long as you open your mouth and do your best to invite them to come unto christ, then you have done your duty.
            i dont have a lot of time right now, but i love you all