August 5, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
A lot of you have been asking when I'm going to leave. I leave early early on Tuesday Morning (August 9th). You can probably send me a Dear Elder letter as late as Sunday and I would get it, but at this point I wouldn't send anything by mail anymore. I should arrive in Texas about 12 and it will be some kind of adventure from there. I've really enjoyed my time at the MTC and I feel there is so much more to learn, and I wouldn't even mind staying longer, but I think at this point it's time to learn by doing (not that that isn't all we do here).
Some of you have asked what it's like being older here. Honestly I have a fantastic and fairly mature district, so it's been great. I obviously have more life experience to draw on and I think that that makes it easier on me in a lot of ways. It's definitely been a blessing. All the others in the district know how old I am, but they've never commented on it, except for once a few days ago and it was to say that they thought it was funny that I'm older than all of our teachers. Otherwise they've treated me as an equal. I thought it was possible that I would end up as the nurturing character, but honestly a lot of us (especially the girls) are really independent, so that hasn't happened. Yesterday we did do some training in a huge group that involved us as being ourselves as investigators and every time I explained where I was at in my life the other missionary asked how old I was. One elder assured me that I didn't look that old, haha.
A little about the TRC. Basically you have four scheduled appointments per investigator per week and each appointment is 45 minutes long. You go to a room with a couch and table set up to look like a living room and you teach as if they were a real investigator (some of them are). It's a really good way to practice and to get to know your weaknesses as a missionary and companionship, before you go out and do the real thing. There's always something to work on. My companion and I had a cool experience though. One of our investigators was in the Spanish TRC section and every day we would see a lady who was there to learn. Unfortunately the missionaries who were supposed to teach her didn't show up the first two days. She thought we might be them the first day and that's how she started talking to us. She spoke to us in Spanish and I was able to use my extremely limited Spanish to have a short conversation with her before we had to teach our investigator. The third day we saw her after our lesson and I asked her if the missionaries had shown up. She said that they had, but that they were confusing and she had some questions about the Holy Ghost. She asked if the Holy Ghost had form. I said that he did, but that he didn't have a body yet like Jesus and God the Father. Apparently the other missionary said that he didn't have form and she thought that the Holy Ghost was some kind of mist or something. I'm hoping what I understood and taught didn't get lost in translation. It was cool to teach in Spanish because I have a feeling I might use my Spanish in Texas, if only a little. She then asked if we had time to meet with and talk to her. Now, missionaries have no time to do this, but my companion and I blew off our study time to do so. We talked to her for an hour and it wasn't long into the conversation that we transitioned into English and her English was actually quite good. She's Catholic and we talked about the similarities and differences between our faiths. Unfortunately we weren't able to do much teaching, but it was a good experience all the same. We got to meet her husband as well and she told him that my Spanish was very good, which was sweet. She is hoping to talk to us next week, but we probably won't be able to see her as we leave pretty soon and Monday will be crazy. I'll probably write a letter and leave it with the TRC office and see if they can give it to her.
There is so much that I could write, but alas, there is not enough time. I think the time I have to e-mail will be less in the field, so my letters will be shorter. I'll have to figure out what the best stuff to write you is. I love you all and love hearing from you. Thanks so much for the support! I hope you have a good week. I don't know when my P-Day will be out there, so it'll probably be longer than a week until you hear from me again.