Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Letter!

Dear Mom and Dad, (and everyone else)
With Elder Sanft
Well, the first three days have been good but verrry long. An elder in our zone told us when he got in someone told him the days are long and the weeks are short, but that he quickly learned that the days are long and the weeks are just longer. haha I think that will be true. I ran into Elder Sanft today. He said that he was definitely ready to leave, and he had only been there for four weeks. My companion and I looked at each other on the second day and realized it felt like we had been here for weeks, and it's amazing that it feels like we have been here for a really long time and its only been a few days.

Anyways, my companion is Elder Wilkey and he is awesome! He is from St. George and going to San Diego. He is about six feet and a rock climber and he has huge forearms from that and can do pushups on his pointer and middle finger only, which is pretty cool. I was sure when I came in my trial would be having a tough companion, but that's definitely not true. He is very excited about being here, enthusiastic, talkative, and I feel like he knows everybody here already. He is a great person to have around he isn't afraid to stand up and talk in class and volunteer for things. The first day we met three investigators (I will refer to the people we teach as investigators, they are employees here that act like they aren't members but have a background story and everything, but you treat them as investigators and all the staff acts as if it's real it's pretty cool.) and anyways these investigators one at a time had different stories and there were about forty missionaries in the room teaching this one investigator. People would stand up when they wanted to talk and it was like a regular lesson, but with a bunch of missionaries. It was cool. My companion got up and told a story about his cousin then right after I stood up and talked about the Savior and it felt like we had companionship unity after being companions for only a few hours. 

Anyways, the food is not bad at all. I'm sure I will get sick of it, but it's definitely better than the cannon center. I actually really enjoy it. We have three big meals a day but we are still pretty hungry at night before bed, but maybe that'll be better. I'm definitely getting skinnier though, because my watch, belt, and ring all fit a lot looser. That's ok because now I can do like 28 pull ups. My goal before I leave is 35 (a few of us in our district set pull up goals since we have a bar in our hall).

 There are a total of eight people in our district. Since we are an intermediate Spanish group we are all going to different missions. The branch president came and introduced himself and had a fireside the other night and interviewed each of us. Then he called me to be district leader, which just means I conduct district meetings on Sunday (which is basically our Sunday school), I pick up mail, organize splits when they are needed, turn in district reports, collect mission president's letters, and a few other small things.
The District

Everything is in Spanish. We made a goal as a district, and we only pray in Spanish now. The teachers never speak English. I was surprised I can understand everything they say. The problem is finding words to say fast enough to be able to talk, but I'll get there. We taught our first lesson to Erika yesterday (our first investigator). We had two hours to prepare. We taught about the plan of salvation. She speaks only Spanish and speaks really really fast, but for the most part I can understand. I am a little bit better at Spanish than Elder Wilkey so I did most of the talking, but he said a lot too. It was hard listening to her talk about a dream she had where she was dead but could still see under the ground and her family was there, it was pretty weird all the words she used, but we basically just got talking about the spirit world with her, and then taught her how to pray, and got her to pray for us. Later today we will teach her the restoration. The lesson lasted about fifty minutes, which is amazing to me that we were able to talk to her for that long in Spanish. I have definitely seen improvement. At this rate, with some patience, I think we will be able to get better at Spanish pretty quickly.

I ran into the Derek's grandparents and also Porter yesterday so that's always good to see familiar faces. I was expecting to be homesick, and I'm not saying this to offend you, but I haven't been at all. You guys wrote me letters about the hard times, and I'm sure they will come but they won't be in the MTC, because I am very happy. It was awesome putting on my badge for the first time. I don't think I have stopped smiling since then. It feels great to be a missionary after all that waiting. I'm excited for everything the next two years has in store. I get along with everyone, I have a handle on Spanish for the most part and I don't miss home really because I know I'm supposed to be here. I think I might be homesick later but at least now it hasn't hit me at all yet, because I am having a great time even though time goes by pretty slowly.

We study a lot. Not including class yesterday, I had a total of seven personal study hours. It is very hard to focus. We all study together in one room and sometimes we get distracted and start talking or telling jokes, and I just have someone say a prayer then we can usually get back on track and focus. That will definitely be a learning experience though.

Can you put a reminder on facebook that tells people to put down their address if they use Dear Elder? If not I can't write them back, and I will want to reply to people. I can email once a week on pday-which is usually Friday, but I can read letters every night when I go back to my room so keep them coming!

Oh and I almost forgot the best part. We have gym time for an hour everyday, and they have free weights! I was happy about that. I will probably lift three days a week and then play sports the other three days. They have dumbbells up to 75 so there's not much, but we can work with that and just do lightweight things. Well, I think that's about it for now. I don't know if you want to put this on facebook or just send it out to a few people that you have in your address book but just let me know what you're going to start doing with my weekly letters from now on. I will probably just do a big overall week email every week and then I can write back hand written letters to whoever sends me letters. Well anyways, I want you to know I'm happy and having a great time. I know you guys are tough enough to hear if I'm struggling but really everything has been great so you have nothing to worry about. I love you all and hope all is well.

Elder Bassett

Oh and dad, we carry around our English scriptures EVERYwhere and aren't allowed to use backpacks... so using your small English travel scriptures would be VERY convenient if you wanted to send them. If not, that's fine too just let me know what you plan on doing. Also about that shot, I guess there was somewhere online I should have filled out info about my immunizations. We will have to remember that for Brandon and Jeffrey. It would've made things easier to have that done with.