Sunday, October 31, 2010

More from the MTC!

October 27, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hey, I didn’t get to say everything I wanted to say in my last email letter, as usual, so I am going to tell you everything else I need to say in a real letter. I saw the movie you were telling me about that used to be at the Joseph Smith Memorial building called the Testaments. It’s kind of corny but at the same time awesome! When Jesus heals the blind man at the end you can’t help but feel the Savior’s love.

Good luck with your visits to the home teaching families in the Ward. I hope you are successful in finding and helping bring people back to the Church. One thing we members forget sometimes is that we can really help the missionaries find people to teach. Ever since I’ve been here in the MTC, they have always said to encourage the members to find contacts. We need to work harder to help the Elders find people to teach. It is sad to say but door knocking and tracting isn’t the most effective way to bring the gospel into people’s lives.

Something cool happened the other day and you can put this in the blog if you want. We were playing Jeopardy in our class the other day to practice our missionary skills. It was like missionary Jeopardy. Anyway, everyone was getting really into it except me. I wasn’t really feeling it for some reason. It came down to each team having a tie with each other so our teacher was like Elder Payne, you have the last question and if you get it right your team will win. If you get it wrong, the other team wins. So the other team started chanting my name and saying, “Get it wrong so we can win, you like us more”. I love everyone in my district so I knew it would be hard to choose since I didn’t care who won the game anyway. Each team was begging me to help them win and I was just chillin. When the teacher asked the question, it was to see if I had planted two or more Spanish goals for today on my agenda. As the class stayed still, I slowly opened up my planner and I read two Spanish goals I had set the night before in planning meeting. The class went wild as they both thought it was good that I got it right and nobody was mad. Everyone was glad that I got the question right and it was pretty funny.

I have learned another thing while I have been here at the MTC. Keeping the Mission rules are easy. They are pretty simple and straightforward. You are promised too many blessings for keeping them, so why not? It is easier to keep them than to try to get around them. Our teacher also told us this sad story of how he was treated badly at the beginning of his mission by a missionary that didn’t want to work hard. I hope when I get into the mission field in a few days, I get a really hard working companion. I promise if I see any missionary being treated badly, I will go out of my way to help him out.

I loved the pictures of the baby pigs and the mother Tiger. Pork chops! It was hilarious. I guess everybody just needs someone to love them!

I love you guys!

Peace out!

Elder Dolor

P.S. Tell Brother Yates I said thanks for the letter and I really am thankful for having his example in my life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last Letter from the MTC!

October 26, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad!

This is my last letter from the MTC as I got my travel plans this week and I’m flying out to Portland Oregon next Monday, November 1st! I can’t believe I’ve been here for 9 weeks as it feels like I just got here. Anyway, so much has happened this week I have to tell you about!

First of all, at our last Devotional Russell M. Nelson came to Speak to us! It was absolutely amazing as I felt the Spirit so strong. Just knowing that one of the Lord’s chosen Apostles was addressing me and all the missionaries was great! He gave us a virtual handshake as he wasn’t able to give ever missionary a handshake personally. His talk was awesome and he said that we are safer on our missions than we would be at home. He extended a special blessing of health and safety to each of us as we go out on this journey for the next 2 years!

My companionship is going really well and we are all getting along. It is really amazing to see the difference in your companions after you do a little act of service for them. Like making their beds or ironing their shirts. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is one of the ways you can show them you love them!

I was able to be a host last week and it was a great experience. I had to stand out in front of the MTC on the curb and wait for the new missionaries to arrive, and then show them around the place. It was weird to think that I was just in their position a short time ago, but now I am about to leave. One Elder I hosted was named Elder Ricks and he was from Rexburg Idaho. He was a potato farmer and was a really cool guy. I wonder if the former Ricks College, now BYUI used to be named after one of his relatives. I showed him the ropes and told him valuable information like what not to eat in the cafeteria!!!!!

I learned an important lesson this week which I probably already knew; it was just further fortified in my head. When you have a problem with someone or want to talk to them about something, do it in private because when you do, their whole demeanor changes from being defensive, to being understanding. If you call someone out in front of a group of people, they are obviously not going to listen, but if you take them aside, they will see that you truly care. This is something I learned this week and will strive to do so I can express how I feel without the other person feeling like they are being attacked.

I traded and got 3 new ties this week and they are sweet. You kind of have to think like a businessman when you’re trading ties. You might trade for a tie that you’re not so fond of, but you know someone will want to trade you a really nice tie for it in the long run. So I have traded for some ties that I don’t like very much, but in the end have come out on top as I have received exactly the ties I’ve wanted in trade. I still have 2 ugly ties I want to get rid of before I leave, but I have a feeling that I will be able to trade them for some good stuff.

My teachers have been teaching us some powerful lessons where the Spirit is so strong. Hermano Garcia taught a lesson about Elijah in First Kings about a woman and her son that had nothing to eat. Elijah asked her to bring him something to eat and she did, exercising her faith. He then blessed her and she was able to have food for the rest of her life. Anyway, Elder Garcia related that as missionaries we have the power to do the same thing, as we can promise people blessings and tell them everything will be alright as they exercise their faith in Jesus Christ. It truly is a blessing to be on a mission and see that Heavenly Father loves each and every single person.

I also learned another valuable lesson this week. Even though you may be right, it is still a good idea to apologize if feelings have been hurt. It only makes things better and easier. You never know what can hurt a person’s feelings and all you have to do is humble yourself and say sorry. It’s not too hard!

Another miracle has happened! Mom, remember the letters that you and Abuelita wrote me that were all in Spanish? I picked them up the other day and was able to understand both letters perfectly. It was like reading then in English. Spanish is coming along really well and I understand what I read now.

Pull-ups are going good; I’m almost to my goal of 35 in a row now and hope to win the tie contest.

I learned that another one of my weaknesses is that I find it hard taking criticism from people who have authority over me and think they have the right to tell me what to do. I have a problem when people tell me to stop doing something that I already know in my head, I shouldn’t be doing. I think it has to do with pride and I need to work on that.

RC went good this week again. RC is where you call people on the phone about the Church! I talked to this lady on the phone for a while and shared my testimony about Jesus Christ! I also sent her the video “Finding Faith in Christ” and I will be calling her next week to check up on her. She sounded like she was ready to have the missionaries drop by and talk to her.

I have really long hair now on the top of my head, so I can comb it over or pull it straight back. I’m getting it cut today so I don’t look like a Squeege when I meet my Mission President next week. I did a crazy part for my last day with my hair long on top. It was funny, it’s when you part you hair straight down the middle and you look a bit goofy.

Peace out!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Octpber 19, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,
It's crazy to say, but I only have about 2 more weeks in the MTC. I feel that if I could go out into the field right now, I would be able to work with the Spanish I have, but I still have a ton to learn! We just taught our investigator Enrique la palabra de sabiduria, Word of Wisdom. He has committed to keep it and is getting baptized in a week! By the way, this investigator is our teacher and we are kind of role playing so we know what to expect in the field but it feels kind of real. The investigator Enrique is our teacher Hermano Garcia acting like one of the investigators he had on his mission in Uruguay.

Anyway, I learned so much this week. One of my friends came into my room about a week ago and told me he was going home. When I asked him if he would come back when he could, he told me he didn’t even want to be here and that his parents pressured him to be here. I then shared my testimony with him of why I know I am here serving the Lord. I told him that the Lord has blessed me with everything in my life and I feel the least I could do for him is serve him for 2 years. Well this experience really strengthened my testimony about why I’m here and what I want to teach people for the next two years. I have learned that the gospel truly does bring happiness as it lets you know who you are, were you come from, and where you are going. It was sad to see him go but I told him that he would be alright and I want him to return when he can, I hope he does.

My boy Elder Roper left the other day and it was sad to see him go! I traded him one of my favorite ties and he traded me his favorite Gold tie. We both signed it, and then knighted each other with the tie. It’s weird because you make such good friends, then they leave like a week later. But I guess that’s what the whole missions like as you get transferred to new areas after becoming great friends with the people.

That is so crazy that mom saw Elder Rodriquez on the plane to Atlanta on Monday. I just talked to him right before he left for Guatemala and was like Bro, we’ve got to trade a tie, but he had already packed his ties up! He did give me his left over laundry detergent and dryer sheets! Anyway, we were really good friends and would play basketball together during gym time. I can’t believe this world is so small that Mom would meet him.

I had an amazing spiritual experience last week. As my companions and I were teaching Enrique (Hermano Garcia) a lesson in Spanish in a separate room, he told us he was having a terrible pain in his ear! We offered to give him a blessing if he wanted one. He said he wanted one but needed to call a doctor first. When he returned, he asked for a blessing. When my 2 companions asked him who he would like to give it, he asked if I would. He said it was because we were both Chilean and had that bond ha-ha. Anyway, I was pretty nervous because it would be my second blessing I had given but I said a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father to help me say what He wanted Hermano Garcia to know. When I started to give the blessing, I was pretty nervous but then I felt calmer as the words came out of my mouth. I can’t remember what I said all the way, but I know that the Holy Ghost helped me say what I needed to say as I gave him the blessing. The next day I asked him how he felt and he said “a lot better”! It was a really powerful spiritual experience for me to have as I say that my teacher Hermano Garcia, only knowing me for a couple of weeks, would ask me to give him a blessing. Also, me not knowing that much about him was able to say what he needed to here. It was pretty cool and I will always remember this experience.

Me and my boys from my district have a scripture study session were we share our impressions and thoughts about what we have been reading. It is so awesome to share what the scriptures mean to me with my friends. So after we share our thoughts, we all go to a certain part of the scriptures and read it together. Then we discuss what we thought it meant. We have been reading in Isaiah recently and it is awesome. Isaiah’s teachings are so deep and profound; it’s really fun trying to understand them. What I learned from Isaiah this week is that without God, man is nothing. And the fact that men on this earth think they don’t need God in their lives is crazy. He is so great and has given us the opportunity to know all about Him. With God all is possible and when people don’t realize that it is a shame.

Hardy wrote me a letter yesterday saying that he is doing really well. He told me a lot of people in the mission worry about numbers and not about the people. He said if you just relax and do the best you can, you will be a better missionary. I have seen that here in the MTC too. A lot of kids are trying so hard to cram all the information in their heads, reading every second they have free, and not taking any breaks. That’s a good thing I guess, but at the same time I can see missionaries not enjoying themselves that much and being really stressed. Someone told me that if you aren’t having fun you’re not doing it right. I can truly say that already this is the most fun I have had in my life, serving the Lord. The spirit is always around and I am always happy, even though at times things can bother you.

We had our first time at the Referral Center (RC) where we call people about the church. Out of ten calls only 1 person answered. It was this 74 year old lady and she was fun to talk to.

It’s really funny, when class is over and we get back to the apartment, my entire district comes into my room for story time. It is where they all ask me to tell them funny stories about my life. It has happened for the past two nights and they tell me they love it. They tell me that I am really good at retelling stories and I am going to be an awesome Grandpa. Anyway, it’s really fun to tell them stories about my life.

Well, I have to go but I’ll write you a letter later.

Give my love to everyone!

Peace Out!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 12, 2010 Letter from the MTC!

October 12, 2010

Dear Mom, Dad and friends,

I have a lot to tell you, but it might be similar to what I have been writing for the last 6 weeks. Anyway this is great. I think I have learned a lot of valuable important lessons since I last wrote you. Even though they aren’t that big of a deal, I will write out each experience I’ve had that has helped me to learn something, even though it might sound stupid.

First, I wanted to respond by telling you all my friends I want you to get to write me who haven’t or at least let them know how I’m doing. Josh Lansky, Jake Montgomery, Mason, Andrew and Jordan Mallard, Shawn Hayes, Alise Payne, Jordan Fram, Kevin Graham, Heath Haws, Will from BYUI, Brandon Guldenshoe, German and Chris Woodhouse. I hope you are letting all of my friends know how I am doing and that I miss them all.

Also I can’t send you all the pictures I have on my camera right now through these computers here at the MTC. I guess I will have to send them once I get into the field. I need to buy another memory stick so I can send you one in the mail with all the pictures on it, or buy some CD's whatever is best, but right now I can’t do it.

Anyway, one of my experiences I want to share with you is that I bought this new, really nice pen! It was called the Zebra F-402. I really enjoyed the pen as it wrote really well. I was at lunch and a Sister asked me if she could borrow my pen. So after I let her borrow it, I kind of forgot she still had it. Later that day I went up to her and asked if she still had it, but she said she had given it back to me already. Knowing that this wasn’t true, I was upset. I have never received the pen back from her but she insists that she gave it back to me. Saddened by the loss of my new pen that I only had for 2 days I was feeling pretty low. So I was sitting in class and I was contemplating buying another one, knowing I would probably never see my pen again! As soon as the thought passed one of the other sisters in the class asked me if I needed to borrow a pen. After that I thought to myself, instead of being sad about my loss, I need to be grateful for the time I had with the pen, even if it was just for 2 days. Feeling better, my District Leader told me I had a package in the mail, and it was the pens you sent me!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy because I knew that being patient and not going out to buy another Zebra pen had paid off. I have learned that no matter how small a thing is that we lose, we need to be grateful for the time we had with it, and if we are patient, everything will work out alright. I know this story sounds lame and stupid, but it helped me to learn not to worry about the little things, especially like stupid pens. By the way, the pens you sent me are AWESOME!

My good friend Vela who showed me the ropes when I first got here just left for the field! We want to room together at BYUI when we get back. Anyway, we traded ties and signed them! He gave me this sweet purple paisley tie from the 70s that he got for free in the free tie box here. I gave him a cool Blue paisley I got from trading another Elder on the 3rd floor.

Our Investigator Quigue is doing really well. We just taught him the 3rd lesson and we have committed him to be baptized in 2 weeks. He has accepted and now it is our job to help him get ready for his baptism Saturday. He has a problem with drinking and smoking, so we will have to teach him the word of wisdom, and help him overcome it. Also, he has had some problems with his father, and no longer wants to talk to him. So we have been teaching him about forgiveness. He says it is really hard to forgive his father, but I have testified to him that through faith in Jesus Christ, anything is possible. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, any pain or trial he is facing in his life can be lifted. It is such a wonderful message that we are able to teach to people. I can’t wait to go out into the field and testify that I know that Jesus Christ lives and is my Savior. The spirit is so strong when we teach Quigue and I know Christ makes it possible for me to teach Quique all in Spanish! My Spanish is coming along pretty good; I’m starting to understand pretty much everything our teacher says with only a few words that I can’t understand. Each day gets better and better.

I also learned another lesson this week. Some of the Elders in my district were playing the piano in our classroom and a lady named Shirley who works at the MTC barged in and told us to stop playing “that music”. It wasn’t exactly a Church hymn, but it wasn’t bad either. Anyway, I reacted like Hey Maam; I don’t think that this is a bad song we are playing here. She got all upset because she thought I was disrespecting her. To make a long story short, I apologized for talking back to her. I learned from this experience that even though people can come on strong by telling you to do something, you just need to sit back and relax, and handle the situation like a man without all of your emotions in it. I’m pretty sure this lesson will help me in the mission field with people who want to rip on the Church. I hope you can feel and understand what I’m saying.

I received an awesome package from the Neilson's the other day and really appreciate their kindness. I really miss my little brothers and the Neilson family and hope the boys are behaving themselves. I am going to write them back today. Maria Elba wrote me from Chile all in Spanish and I found out that my Chilean teacher used to live in Ovalle where Maria and her family is from. What a small world it is huh? Elder Garcia said that perhaps Maria Elba may know his father, George Garcia, who lives in Ovalle.

As I have said in past letters, the New Testament is so awesome and I can’t wait to finish reading it. I have much more to tell you but will have to do so in another letter as I am out of time.

Love to all,

Peace out!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5th 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

What is going on? I feel like I have a lot to tell you again. In class we have been playing this game called the Native. It’s were the teacher picks out someone at the end of the day to be the Native. The native must only speak Spanish all day and the next day they have to try and convince everyone else that are the native. At the end of the day, everyone votes for who they think the native is. The catch is everyone can speak Spanish, so you never know who the native really is. I don’t know if that was a good explanation, but it has been helping me practice my Spanish more. Anyway, class has been going well and I have been learning a lot about Spanish. My companions and I just taught the plan of salvation in Spanish to another investigator and it went really well. There are so many grammar principles that you have to learn, but with time I will get them all down.

I know I have to send you guys some pictures of what has been going on while I have been here. I have a lot of pictures but I’m just not sure how to do it through the computers here because they have everything blocked! I think I can send them through an email or I might just have to buy a flash drive with about 4 GB and send it home to you. All my friends that I met when I first got here are leaving so we have been getting information and everything, trying to figure out where people are going to be so we can chill when we get back. It’s hard to believe that I am half way through with my training at the MTC. It feels like I have only been here a week or so.

Basketball has been going well and I have been ballin it up. Some Elders came up to me at the cafeteria and said," Hey are you Air Mormon, can I get an autograph?' it’s pretty funny. I figured out something here which is kind of cool and helps you make friends pretty easily. All you really have to do is give people a sincere compliment and it breaks the ice and they like you. When I don’t know someone, I just go up to them and say, hey Elder, that’s a nice tie! Then they are automatically put in a good mood. I don’t know if that always works, but I feel like here at the MTC, the Complimenter (the guy that gives compliments) is a good guy to be. I think looking for the good in people is the best, as you can always find something nice to say to start a conversation.

I just finished the book of Matthew the other day and I have to say that I loved reading it. The teachings of Jesus Christ are truly amazing. I love how people came up to him and asked for his help, and Jesus would do it according to their faith. He could sense the faith they had and would perform miracles. It is hard to believe that Judas still betrayed Christ, even after Christ called him out. When he said “one of you will betray me” and Judas said something like, “is it me Lord”?

Conference was amazing, it blew my mind. I was so excited to hear the testimonies of the Lords servants. I wanted to hear what they had to say, and see how much more I need to grow from there teachings. Every talk taught me something different! I loved President Uchdorf’s talk about pride and how he reminded us that pride is the universal sin. It is so true and I need to be more humble in my life, and acknowledge that everything I have is because of God. I liked how he said pride is the switch that turns priesthood power off! I loved it when the Prophet, Thomas s. Monson stood up and talked. The first thing he said in the first session was about missionary work. I’m so glad I am able to serve a full time mission. When the Prophet was talking about gratitude, and how we need to be grateful for everything, I got the strongest feeling from the spirit that he truly is a Prophet of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lords mouthpiece and how blessed we are to have a living prophet on the earth again today. Whenever he was talking in conference, I knew that what he was saying is what I needed to here.

Another thought that was going through my head after conference is that the things that are taught in conference not only are meant to bring you to Christ, but teach you how to be a better person. All the things that were taught will help you to be more like Christ. Be humble and don’t have pride, be gracious and have gratitude for everything in your life. I loved President Holland’s talk about how grateful he was for everything. I wanted to thank you guys so much for making it a possibility for me to come on my mission. There is nothing else I would rather be doing right now!

I do have to ask you to send me something if you can though. The nice pen that you guys gave me just ran out of ink and they don’t have any of the sizes in here to refill it. Can you send me another nice one in the mail; I like to have them in my front pocket next to my nametag so I look professional.

Tie trades are going well and I’ve gotten some sweet ones. Another man’s junk is another man’s treasure here as I get some pretty cool ties in here for practically free. Anyway, I will continue to study hard and strive to have the spirit as a constant companion as I do the Lords work.

Again, thanks for everything and thanks for everyone that has helped me to be here.

Peace out!


Elder Dolor (Pain in Spanish)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September 28th

September 28, 2010

Dear Parentals,

How are you doing? Yo hablo español todos los días en el CCM. Yo escribí una letra por mi Abuelita hoy y mi hermana Heather también. Yo no escribí Oscar porque yo no tenía más tiempo en la computadora.

Anyway, I will write to Oscar the next time I get some time. I think I have found a way to send pictures through the internet so I will try that next P-day. I wrote Abuelita but I am not sure if she will understand it. Tell her I wrote her though and to check her mail. I wrote Heather and made a pact with her to write to her every week of my mission. I have not written Alex, Nicole or Nana yet but will soon. My P-days are so buys because I have to do laundry, go to the temple, write email, eat, and much more.

I have gained 13 pounds since I got here. I now weigh 165 pounds but I don’t think I am any fatter just stronger as I have been exercising a lot. I have not gone to see the Doctor, but my headaches went away. Anyway, this place is awesome! My Spanish is improving day by day as I learn new things. I am grateful for Abuelita for accepting the Gospel many years ago so I could be here today. I can’t wait to get out into the mission field and be led by the Spirit to people that need the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I will now try and share my testimony in Espanol to the best of my ability. Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadera. Yo se que el libro de mormón es las palabras de dios. Yo se que Jesucristo es mi salvador y el sufrió en la cruz por mi pecados. Yo estoy muy feliz y agradecido por la oportunidad a servir una misión. Yo se que Dios es nuestro padre celestial y Jesucristo es su hijo.

Send me a package of more beef jerky and mangos if you want to. I love you guys and if you have any questions just ask me.

Elder Dolor