Denver Colorado

Denver Colorado

Thursday, February 3, 2011

first letter

How the heck are ya? I'm feeling a lot better, although I should have been quarantined due to my fever...oh well. Now it's just a cough and a runny nose, it should get better soon. It's a really rough one though, I hope dad doesn't get it too bad. A girl? Have her write a letter and a send a picture, I'll see if I'll write back. Just kidding, but a letter would be better because I only get half an hour for email. Wednesday is my P-day here so yeah. Expect emails then. We got everything but can you throw my hair clippers with the 3/4 inch guard in my box? Totally spaced that one. Yeah...Kiana sent me the picture from the Wednesday game and I almost flipped when I heard about Saturday. Luckily, life goes on.
My companion is Elder Hunt. He's 21 from Twin Falls, Idaho and has Cistic Fibrosis (spelling?) but he almost wasn't able to come. Luckily they found a way to make it work for him. He's a really good guy who has a great sense of humor. The other two guys are Elder Meyer and Elder Brown. Elder Meyer is from Boise, Idaho and is going to play D-1 football when he gets home. He's only 18 but the First Presidency allowed him to have special permission so he could start his scholarship on time. He's a real good guy, super funny. Elder Brown is like the energizer bunny on crack. That kid is always going I swear. He's about 5'6" and I swear he could run circles all around me. Elder Meyer got the nickname "one-up" the first night from Elder Hunt, so he took the initiative to one-up him and make nicknames for all of us. The "Denver Elders" nicknames are Elder "One-Up" Meyer, Elder "Know-it-all" Brown (he's always correcting Elder Meyer), Elder "Cool-J" Shepard (like the rapper LL Cool J. Elder, LL, guess they sound alike), and Elder "Slacker" Hunt. Real fun guys to be around.
I think the hardest thing to get used to was "Elder" and "Sister". No one has names here. It's so weird! A typical day starts off at 6:30 with personal (shower...hopefully) time until 7, when we go to personal study. Usually we have breakfast at 8:15 (it's hard not to eat right when I wake up, so I usually am drowsy until then). We usually go into companion study for an hour, which could be early or late depending on where it fits. Then we have things called MDT (Missionary Directed Time) that let us choose how we would like to use it. We have two amazing teachers that usually come for 3-4 hours at a time, Brother Thomas and Brother Wanket. Brother Thomas is from Sandy and served in Anchorage, Alaska. He goes to BYU and has been teaching here for almost three years. He's a real laid back, funny guy. Brother Wanket served in the Denver South mission and has been home about a year. He was only converted a year before he left on his mission. A high energy guy who really knows his stuff. Oh, and also goes to BYU. Gotta love the BYU guys. We have lunch around one and dinner around six, and if we're lucky, they let us have gym time. It really breaks up the monotony of 12 hours in a hard chair with a desk the size of my hand. Also, who thought I could burn to death in January? Thanks to our 90 degree classroom, I can! Also helps the whole not falling asleep thing...not. Ha. But yeah. Really good teachers and experiences. The day ends with a planning session and a chance to have 45 minutes to yourself, which I take to write in my journal. Oh! One last thing. Our Sunday is broken up like old school church. Thank goodness for the 3-hour block!
I just barely got back from the temple and I chose to do sealings. It's the first time I've ever done it and I was blown away. I'll spare the details but it was definitely an amazing experience. Yesterday we did something called the TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and I was able to teach the first lesson. The Spirit really speaks to you if you are prepared for it. I was able to take the discussion a completely different direction than we had planned and it got this investigator so much more interested than she had been previously. We have had a fireside, a devotional, and LGM's (Large Group Meetings) that all focus on our purpose. Which is: Invite others to come unto Christ and His restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. From memory. Boo ya! And I've memorized the 1st vision. Remember when I couldn't ever memorize anything? I'm so good at it now. I know the Spirit is answering my prayers and helping my weaknesses become strengths.
Well, five minutes of email time left...I'll just end with a few more cool thoughts. "Every blessing is predicated on obedience". I've heard that quite a few times here and wow. It hits me just how important that statement is. When you leave the MTC, your district does a musical number. Army of Helaman was the one this week. They changed the lyrics with things like, "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and "Now that we are called". I think that's when it first hit me I was really a missionary.
Well, the newbies are rolling in. It's been a whole week! I'm no longer the newest elder here. I've made it past the awkward time! Feel free to post this full letter on the blog. I love you guys and you're in my prayers as well. I know I'm here for a reason and I've learned so much in only one week. Only 103 to go!
Elder Shepard

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