Thursday, February 16, 2012

2 weeks down

Hello Everyone!
I've completed two weeks now and I feel like I've been here a long time already, but at the same time it feels like it's all gone by so fast.  We had a workshop yesterday and our teacher filled us in on a lot of things that are going on in the outside world, like the basketball player for the  Knicks that walked onto the team and has been putting up 25+ points per game in his last 5 games or so.  It was weird to hear things like that because being here we forget that there is an outside world that we're not a part of.
So we finished teaching our first investigator and it turns out that she is our other teacher! Our two teachers are Hermano Monroe and Hermana Van Vliet.  For the rest of the weeks they pretend to be investigators and we teach them.  The people that they're pretending to be are real people but they are our teachers.  They play the part really well but it's weird to be teaching our teachers.  We have 1-2 lessons every day so we have a lot of work to do.  Elder Perez and I have adopted a new  teaching plan: "Allalo", which in Spanish more or less means, "wing it".  It's gone well so far.  As long as we say a prayer beforehand we do really well and somehow can remember all we want to say in Spanish and teach pretty well.  We have already committed these two new fake investigators to baptism after the first two lessons. We're just soooo good! (:
This past Sunday was interesting.  Our first Sunday was a fast Sunday so it was very different from what every other Sunday will be like.  Every week we are given a topic and have to write a 5-minute talk in Spanish that we might give during sacrament meeting in church.  They don't announce who will be speaking until a member of the branch presidency gets up to the pulpit and announces the program.  So my second Sunday (the first Sunday with a normal sacrament meeting) I got called on to be the first speaker. They told us that it wasn't unheard of to call on the new guys to speak in their first sacrament meetings and I guess they were telling the truth because I spoke! We also had to teach a lesson (in English luckily) during our district meeting later on Sunday.  We just thought we were going to be sharing what we learned with the other 2 guys in our district but it turned out that we combined with the district that was leaving this week and a member of the branch presidency was there as well.  We were supposed to be teaching a lesson to everyone to evaluate our teaching skills, and everyone would give us feedback after we taught.  Elder Perez and I went into it with our Allalo teaching plan again and we taught about Lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel about the Book of Mormon.  We taught a really good lesson and when everyone was giving us feedback they had nothing bad to say! We were the group that got the best comments and no one had any suggestions on how we could improve.  It was amazing! We were so proud of ourselves.  This is one of the comments someone said to me that is probably the best compliment I have ever received in my life. (Elder Dahlburg): "I feel like if someone came up to you and told you the Book of Mormon wasn't true, you wouldn't be angry, you would smile and love them.  You wouldn't be stumped and not know what to say but you would smile and have a scripture to answer them and just love them".  That made me so happy and I hope that when that situation comes that I will be able to do as Elder Dahlburg thought I would.
We got to visit a beginner class this week and practice teaching the lessons to them. It was a huge self-confidence boost.  They couldn't conjugate verbs and we could barely understand what they were trying to say.  It made us feel a lot better about our speaking abilities and our teaching abilities.
I forgot to tell you guys what I wanted as my scripture on my missionary plaque.  I've always known what I wanted and it's Alma 26:12.
I got your package this past Monday and was really happy to get something.  It made my day a lot better.  I also got the package from the activity day girls the next day on Valentine's Day and I was very proud that my Valentines were a bunch of 10-12 year old girls from my ward back home.  Needless to say, everyone was jealous.  It was a weird day around here because surprisingly most of the guys here have girlfriends back home and so it's weird being one of the few single missionaries, although it should be more like how I am.
It has been a fun week, with a lot of funny stories.  Yesterday, our Hermana Van Vliet walked back into class just as Elder Jackson was saying "the last time I pooped my pants..." We never got to hear the story but it made him very embarrassed and the rest of us got a good laugh from that.
Tomorrow is Dad's birthday.  Happy Early Birthday! I sent you something and it should get there tomorrow but mail seems to be very slow to and from the MTC.  I hope you have an awesome day Dad!
Also, if you ever hear President Don R. Clarke of the first quorum of the 70 speak, don't believe anything he says.  He speaks false doctrine.  He gave a devotional this week in which he said, "Basketball is the sport of the celestial kingdom, there is no soccer there".  If that's true I'm not going.  It was very hard to be a good missionary audience member and not yell anything out, but I somehow managed to do so.  He gave a good devotional but he discredited himself by saying that.
That's about all I've got for this week.  I miss everyone a ton and love getting letters even though I can't respond to them until the end of the week.  I love hearing about what's going on in the outside world and everybody else's lives. 

Love You All,
Elder Gaskill

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