Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bonding with the District in the MTC, 8/18/2011

Hey Mom,
                I got your letters through dear elder and they were great.  Tell dad that he is probably right about needing to spend more time with Dan.  I don’t think he will ever regret it. :)
                I have been a bit sick the last few days.  Just some sort of cold, it’s not too bad though I went to the doctor and got some medicine for it and it helped a lot. 
                We worked with a mock investigator today (this was our fifth visit and it went well (all in Portuguese).  We talked about the importance of being baptized and following the example of Christ.  Our investigator had a question about infant baptism and I tried to find a scripture on it but I only had my Portuguese triple with me so I had her read Moroni 7: 6-10 instead of the infant baptism scripture in Moroni 8:13-14.  Bummer, but it still seemed to get the point across.  We challenged her to be baptized and she said yes!!!  It’s role playing so who knows whether that would have worked in real life, but we still felt good about it!
                The Portuguese is going pretty well.  I am getting the hang of it.  We are the first missionaries to use the new language teaching program.  It is supposed to help us learn way faster than the old way.  Some of our books still have stickers on them that say “Draft.”  We also spend about an hour a day on a computer program called TALL.  It is a program similar to Rosetta Stone that lets you record yourself and listen to it to compare to the native speakers pronunciation.  It is working pretty well.
                I’m starting to like my district more and more.  We play soccer together, and have really great conversations.  We all like a lot of the same things too, like music, movies, being outdoors and most have great senses of humor.  Elder Klem has a ukulele and in the evenings during our personal time we like to hang out in their room and play music, talk, and unwind. 
                Care package: 
·         I don’t want those shoes.  I don’t think I will be able to get them to Brazil.
·         C, G, D Harmonica for use during personal time only (district bonding). 
·         Pump for a soccer ball. 
·         Some more pictures of the family and any others I would put on the bulletin board at my desk (friends, mountains). 
·         Some more stamps and envelopes.
·         Whatever goodies you can think of.
·         Shaving cream, the can I left should be fine. 

Thanks.  I’ll write again soon!

Love, Ben

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week #2 in the MTC 8/22/11

This week has been pretty hard but it turned out alright.  My district is really cool and we have a lot of fun together.  We have been working on our soccer skills and a little bit of volley ball.  I feel like Portuguese is coming along much faster than it was the first week.  The words are starting to have meanings of their own instead of the English equivalent.  I don't sleep very well here. I'm not sure why, but I keep waking up in the middle of the night (its super hot in our dorms, the AC doesn't work). 
We had a great talk on Sunday about locking your heart and obeying the rules.  There were a lot of stories about really dumb things missionaries have done that had really bad consiquences for them.  I decided that I wouldn't do anything that crazy on my mission (making bombs, jumping onto trains, and getting swept off rocks by waves).  Concerning the locking the heart thing, I just decided that everything will work out in two years and that's not something that I need to lose sleep over.  I really enjoy getting mail from you guys.  It's great.  If you haven't sent the care package yet, if you could send me some more soccer shorts that would be great.  
Funny story.  I put my towel in the wash with my garments (pretty much everything except my dress shirts) and they all turned blue.  I just laughed.  I feel like the MTC is one big sauna.  It's super hot all the time and I'm all sticky with sweat. Gross.  Sundays are the worst because we have to wear our suit coats everywhere.  In my branch meeting for district and zone leaders, I had sweet dripping down the side of my face.  I think its rather ironic that the people presiding over the meetings are all old and have slow metabolisms and apparently don't get hot while all the elders bake in their suits.  I decided that if I ever become a general athority or something like that I won't make the elders where their jackets all the time. 
Out of time.  I'll send a letter in the mail.  Forward stuff to Ellis please. 
Love Ben

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ben's First Week at Provo MTC, 8/18/11

Mom and Dad,

Thanks for the two letters they were great.  Tell Dan that he had some great advice.

It’s been weird for me because I’ve been called as District Leader.  I sometimes have trouble keeping my district on task and everything has been made a bit more difficult because me and my companion are in charge of escorting Sister Rust (our solo sister) everywhere. 

It’s pretty crazy here.  I really like my district.  We have gym time almost every day.  And we go out to the field and play soccer.  Today for P-day we did fitness as a district.  Me and Elder Crooks did over 50 pull-ups, 200 crunches, 200 bicycles, 243 pushups, and 2 minutes of wall sits.  So that’s what I did today. 

I went to the temple today and that was pretty nice.  I felt like I got an answer I was looking for. 

Portuguese teacher:  Irmou Morrey served his mission in Boston, Portuguese speaking.  He is pretty good at teaching and part of the learning process is to only have the teacher speak Portuguese.  We had 2 lessons in Portuguese last week and they went OK.  But the hard thing about learning is that there aren’t tests, and we set out own learning goals.  So I have a hard time gauging how much I’ve learned and how much I should be able to speak in a week or two (this is also nice at the same time). 

I’ve seen Hayden and talked to him briefly a few times, so that’s cool. 

Sorry about the stream of consciousness writing style.  I feel like I am running out of time all the time. 


It’s super hot here. 

I finally got my BOM on Friday.  That was really nice. 

Everyone in my district is going to Brazil and not many of us have put in our electronic applications.  Only one other elder has.  My companion and one of the other missionaries in my room is also going to Belém. 
Portuguese sounds like:  -em = ang,  de =  G(ee)


Dan, you haven’t written me!  Please write me.  I’d love to hear from you and it would be way cool if you could send me a water color or drawing of yours to put on my wall!  Love you.  Ben

P.S. I didn’t have time to write/and or read every letter that was e-mailed to me so please use dearelder.

I solved a math problem while I was feeling particularly homesick.  Here it is:
The Integral of a Mission from 0 -> 2 years:
[font won't support integral sign and equation, but integral of a mission from 0 to 2 years = infinity]

This is one of those mathematical anomalies that make sense on paper but are disproved by real life observation.  

Well, I love you guys.  And I hope you show each other the letters that I wrote to each of you!  Write soon. 

Love, Elder Benjamin A. Clark