February 4, 2012
Hey Gaskill family!
I know I said I wouldn't get to email you until next Thursday but Elder Perez is doing his laundry right now and the computers are down here so I tried to log on and it worked! So I get to email you guys. I just got the letter mom sent from dearelder.com and the package with the Budge Hall newsletter and family picture in the mail. This is the first day we've got our mail and it was nice to have a few things in there!
So we have class either once or twice a day for 3 hours blocks. Our maestros only speak in spanish so it makes things difficult. I understand a lot of what they are saying but a lot of it goes right over my head. They are all returned missionaries and all have different accents. Hermana Brown went somewhere in south america but has a very strong "english" accent to her spanish and is more difficult to understand. Hermano Parke and Hermano Staples are the 2 I've liked the best so far. I can understand them the best and they are so nice! Even though I feel like the other 3 guys understand more than me they are very helpful and help me and make me feel comfortable. Even though I've only been here 3.5 days, my Spanish has already improved so much! I can pray in Spanish (so I try to say all my prayers in Spanish), I know how to bear my testimony in Spanish, and I try to use it as much as I can outside of class when I can. The rest of the days so far have been filled with language study, personal study, companionship study, and district meetings. My branch president is President Tyler. He is awesome and owns a business right here in Provo. I like him a lot. Elder Perez got called as the District leader (presiding over the other 3 in our district) and I am the senior companion for the first half of our stay here while he will be for the second half.
We had our first gym time yesterday and I was disappointed in the weight room. They do have P90X there which is kinda cool but we only get 50 minutes so there's only so much we have time to do. We have gym time for the second time later today so I'm excited for that. Right now I get to read and write letters and email while Elder Perez does his laundry. I didn't want to buy laundry detergent until next week so I don't have to use my own money (we get about $6 on our missionary ID cards that we can use in the bookstore but I already used mine buying other things I need so I will have to wait until thursday to do my laundry).
Yesterday Elder Perez and I taught our first lesson in Spanish! It was very difficult and we were extremely nervous. Elder Perez is a lot more fluent than I am since he took 4 years of spanish in high school and lived in Chile twice. He might be moving to the advanced Spanish section (we are in intermediate right now) but I'm not sure what will happen. Anyway we prepared a lesson about the Restoration and gave it to Jacquelin. She was very receptive and had some questions and we were able to answer them all and communicate with her well. We asked her is she would like to follow Christ's example and be baptized and she said she would if she knew that our church was true. Room for potential! We taught her again today about prayer and the Spirit. We asked her if she would pray for us at the end and she did and it was great! I felt the spirit especially strong and in that moment I felt the love for the investigators that I've been praying for this whole time. We get to teach her about the Plan of Salvacion on Monday! Should be awesome. I'm pretty sure she's only a teacher at the MTC and is just being a practice investigator but if that's true then she is really good at being an investigator. She is about our age and goes to school at BYU so we'll see if she ends up being a real investigator (not likely) or a teacher (most likely). This is really hard to do but I love doing it and I know it's good for me.
This is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done in my life but I'm so happy to be doing it. I see the progress that other elders have made over a few weeks or over 2 months and I'm excited to learn as much as they have! When we get to do workshops in English or anything in English I feel like a pro already. I'm so excited to get out in the field but I'm loving my time here and I know I need every second of it. I'm already being exposed to many accents and since the people of Sacramento will all have different ones it will be interesting once I get there.
I love you guys and hope to hear from you soon! I haven't taken any pictures yet because I've been extremely busy but I will later today since I will have time! Send me some more of the pictures Linda took and Mom if you could print out a picture of Jessika, Charlie, and Kenny dropping me off at the MTC and send it to me that would be awesome! Hope all is well at home! You guys are in my Spanish prayers every night!