Elder Randall

Hola familia (y amigos?)…
So here I am…my third P-day in Provo, my fourth week in the MTC, my twentieth year of life (OK, maybe I didn’t need to mention that last one), and yet again it’s email time. I got this computer with about 6 minutes left on my laundry in the washer, but down here in the depths of the laundry room, the computers are always taken, so my whites and colors can wait for about half an hour or so. I need to take what I can get. 🙂
So, before I break out the bullets once again (they’re such a crutch, I know, but they mostly end up gathering my thoughts a little better), an update on Visa Watch…well, if you can call no new developments an update. 🙂 We’re still here for the time being, and we still have no idea when our visas will come, nor are we entirely sure what will happen when we get them (leave that same week, the following Tuesday, in 3 weeks, or something else entirely). The travel office…oh, they’re just wonderful. They’re not very friendly/helpful, it seems. Whenever any of us have gone in to inquire about our visa…for example, the first week, Elder Armijo, an elder in our district, was worried about his because he was able to send in all his paperwork only a week or so before he got in to the MTC, because of all the changes/etc….and they eventually called the lady in Salt Lake that’s worked with him, and I believe with all of us who are going to Peru at least, and checked that his visa was still moving forward, but they raised a bit of a stink about it. Then Tuesday, when 3 of our district left to Lima because they had their visas (more on that in a second), one elder forgot his immunization records, so we rushed over to the travel office to see if they could get it to him ASAP. It was a little before they opened…our district leader knocked on the door, someone answered, and we told him the situation. He said that it was indeed important to get that immunization record to the elder as soon as possible…and then promptly told our district leader that we needed to come back in half an hour when they were open. When those elders’ flights left at about 9:45 (it was about 7:30 then). One more beef: Yesterday they moved 3 missionaries into our room, which still had 3 missionaries (me and two other elders in my district) occupying it…and we discovered when we got to the scheduling office to sort it out that it was because the Travel Office had neglected to tell scheduling that we weren’t in Peru yet. The scheduling lady (who, by the way, was actually positive and helpful) was already helping those 3 missionaries get a new room, so it all worked out, but yeah…bad taste in my mouth about the travel people, really. I understand they probably have tons of travel snafus to work out every day, and a bunch of anxious missionaries wondering about their travel plans…but that’s no reason to lack basic customer service skills. That just does them more harm than good in the long run. Anyways, ah well. I’m still very positive about the visa situation, and I don’t really mind about the travel office, so it’s all good. 🙂 (I really am not frustrated about it, I promise, despite my venting paragraph to the contrary. :)) Like I’ve said before, I’ll let you guys know when anything of major consequence happens. Now, on to the bullets…
  • My companion, Elder Valerio, was one of the 3 people who got their visas a week or two ago (why didn’t I mention that in my emails before? A bit of an oversight there…), and left on Tuesday, so right now, I am officially companion-less. However, since Tuesday (actually, part of Monday too, because my companion was packing and getting all his stuff in order that day), I’ve been in a temporary trio with Elder Morrow (from South Carolina), and Elder Hancock (from Vernal, Utah, a convert of 2 years…he’s told his conversion story, and I’ll try to talk about a bit in my individual letters…to say it’s incredibly inspiring and heartbreaking would be an understatement…he is an absolutely terrific elder with one of the strongest testimonies I’ve ever seen), and they’re both great, so my state of companion limbo isn’t too bad. Our branch president is in Idaho right now, so we haven’t been able to get new companion assignments for the 3 of us (all our companions left), but once we do, I’ll either have Elder Hancock, Elder Morrow, or the 2 elders in my room (Elder Armijo & Elder Reimschiissel) as my new companion(s). So we’ll see what happens. Elder Valerio was a great first companion, and I hope he and the other two elders are thriving at the MTC in Lima.
  • Once again, thank you guys for all your letters. They always brighten my day, and I love getting and reading them. (Like I’ve said the past two emails, DearElder is your best bet, but handwritten letters are also nice, too.) I’m still working on responding to a good few of them, so apologies for the delay on that. (It’s like they’re having us work hard here or something. :)) Auntie Susie and Uncle Mike, thank you so much for the cinnamon rolls. They’re delicious. I’ll be sending you guys a letter in a bit, but I just wanted to tell you guys now too. (Note to Mom, Dad, Granny, or Ariel: Could you forward my first two emails to them, if they haven’t got them already? I’m sending this one directly to them, so you don’t need to forward this one unless I got the email wrong.) Also, Mom, I’m still working on your package. The Easter braid is almost gone (you were SO right on needing to heat it up…I’ve taken it down to the microwaves in the basement every night I’ve eaten it, and it’s totally worth it), mostly due to me. I’ve repeatedly offered it to the elders in my room, but only one of them (my companion, before he left) has listened to my pleas that it’s amazingly delicious and will change their lives. (He thought it was good, though he didn’t heat it up, so it probably didn’t end up changing his life. Darn. Another elder in my room has said he wants to try them, and I’ve saved the last part for him, but he hasn’t eaten it yet. We’ll see. :)) The fruit snacks and the cupcakes are also very delicious. (And I did end up finding Ariel’s letter once I got back to our room that day. No worries there.) Mom, whenever you feel the fancy to send another package, I trust your judgment with what you want to send, because I think you know me pretty well already, if what you sent without me saying anything was an Easter braid, fruit snacks, and those amazing orange cupcakes. 🙂 (My only suggestion: maybe Rolo cookies?)
  • So…remember that audition I mentioned briefly in my email last week? It worked out REALLY well. That evening, I got a note asking me to sing at the departure devotional that coming Sunday. (They have one every week for the missionaries that are leaving.) It was a really great experience…I sang “The Test,” that one Janice Kapp Perry song (“Didn’t He say He sent us to to be tested?” is how the chorus starts off, if that helps jog your memory) off “The Light Within” CD that we always used to listen to on Sunday mornings. My district, amazing elders that they are, decided unanimously to all attend the devotional to see me sing, even though only 3 of us needed to/were supposed to go. And their comments were so nice aftewards. (Elder Armijo said I sounded like Stevie Wonder. Since I love Stevie Wonder to pieces, and I’ve never heard that compliment before, I was very flattered. :)) There were about…a few hundred or so missionaries?…at the devotional (along with the MTC presidency and all that), and I really felt the Spirit as I sang. (I remembered all my words just fine. It did help, though, that I only sang two of the verses…after my audition, Sister Nally, wife of one of the MTC presidency counselors, suggested I cut the last verse out, because although it’s beautiful, it was more suited to a funeral…which makes sense, as I sang that song at a funeral about a year ago, for Sis. Alvarado’s daughter’s mother-in-law…and the song was running a bit long anyhow.) I’m extremely grateful I got the chance to do something like this…and it was awesome to have my whole district there, too. 🙂
Now, MTC Tweets? I think I had something else I was going to bullet, but I’ll remember it in a second, hopefully.
  • The wife of a counselor in the MTC presidency just told me I need a haircut. So…I should probably get a haircut. Fast. 🙂 — 12:49 PM, May 17 (Note: This was after my audition. I already had a haircut appointment scheduled, but I moved it a few days up as soon as I could. P.S., they did a good job with my hair. I didn’t really have to tell the guy cutting it anything, and it turned out nicely. :))
  • It’s RAINING!!!!! Finally! #OnlyAnArizonan — 10:32 AM, May 18
  • Aw, it stopped. But it still looks beautifully stormy outside. #ILoveCloudyDays — 11:05 AM, May 18
  • It’s raining again! And I got to break out my coat. #OhHappyWeather #WhyYesI’mDoingABunchOfRainTweetsInARowLikeIAlwaysDo — 12:56 PM, May 18
  • Elder Joyce: “Which is better? BYU or the U?” Brother Priest: “Clemson.” #VeryDiplomatic — 2:44 PM, May 20 (Note: Elder Joyce is an elder in our district, and Brother Priest is a counselor in our branch presidency. He is absolutely brilliant…he’s an anesthesiologist, a distinguished gospel scholar, knows tons of random facts, is very quick-witted, and is an accomplished pianist and organist. Plus, he’s a very nice, outgoing guy on top of it all. :))
  • Elder Wheeler, to me: “Elder, did you notice your ties are unshoed?” #AhSpoonerisms — 4:22 PM, May 20
  • An elder in my district said I sounded like Stevie Wonder in my musical number. Never heard that one before…but I call it high praise. 🙂 –6:31 PM, May 20
  • Very excellent fireside tonight by the Provo Temple President and his wife. Really cool insights about the temple. — 8:03 PM, May 20
  • Also, I never realized how beautiful “Now The Day Is Over” is. I think it’s become one of my favorite hymns. Simple, but very touching. — 8:04 PM, May 20
  • Second time in 3 weeks seeing the Joseph Smith movie…just as incredible this time around. — 9:18 PM, May 20
  • I found my CTR ring! I mean, I totally didn’t lose it or anything for a few days… (Let’s see how well my sister reads these.) — 10:51 PM, May 20
  • It was bittersweet just now sending 3 elders in our district off to Peru…hopefully we’ll see them in the Lima MTC soon. 🙂 — 6:13 AM, May 22
  • I just had a volleyball served off my head. Good times. #ItDidntHurt #ItsJustAFleshWound — 10:01 AM, May 22
  • So we just randomly served as ushers for the devotional. Interesting (yet thankfully uneventful) experience. #WellThatHappened — 6:58 PM, May 22 (Note: This week’s devotional was Elder Rasband and his wife. We were first in line at the doors, they needed a district of about 8 elders…and then we found out it was to usher. Our seats were a bit farther away, but we got lots of legroom since it was the first row of the bleachers. Plus I didn’t really have to direct anyone anywhere in my area. And now I can say I’ve been an usher. :))
  • My Music Civ professor back at BYU once called it the most boring hymn in the hymnbook, but “Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing” has really grown on me. (It also works really well reharmonized a bit, too.) — 7:56 PM, May 22
  • Also…fantastic devotional by Elder Rasband and his wife. — 8:02 PM, May 22
  • In the words of “Winnie The Pooh,” it’s a very blustery day today. And I love it. #BringOnTheWind — 7:42 PM, May 23
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