Fourth Letter At MTC from ELder Randall

Hola, querida familia y amigos…
Here I am, in Provo, with 4 weeks in the MTC under my belt. I actually wrote down kind of what I wanted to cover in this email, so theoretically it should be slightly more organized/efficient. In practice, chances are it won’t be, since I’m writing it, but we’ll see. 🙂
So…the visa situation is both much the same as last week (and the 2 weeks before that), but also more uncertain. 3 more elders in our district (including one of my companions…more on that, including a sad/hilarious story about some travel issues he had, in a second) got their visas on Tuesday, after they were all paged to the Travel Office throughout the day (one at about noon, the others at about 3:00), and left the next day. One of the elders in our district (my other companion, actually) had stopped in to check about our visa situation (he’s quite impatient in that regard, and whenever he has an even remotely legitimate excuse to ask them about our visas, you can bet he does :)), and they said they had got some visas in, and some of them might have been from Peru, and then a long story short, those three elders got theirs. I was kind of freaked out that I might have less than a day’s notice to pack and, oh, let’s see, leave the country…OK, if we’re being honest, I was pretty darn freaked out…but I calmed down and was really comforted throughout the day. I learned an important lesson (again)…trust in God. He’s got it all covered. 🙂 Anyways, there is a small chance that sometime later today, I might get my visa, and either leave tomorrow or next week, but chances are it might be next week instead (probably in the same fashion as those three elders…getting itinerary on Tuesday, leaving the next day), so I’m making sure to prepare myself the best I can for any circumstance. Unless you get a call/email from me today or tomorrow (we get a 5-minute call when we receive our visas), continue to send letters, DearElders, or packages, but try to send them as soon as you can, especially if they contain important info/items. (I will also put my Peru address below, just in case, though I’ll also put that in any last-minute email I send once I get my visa.) The prevailing opinion is that at this point, we won’t leave until next week regardless of whether we get our visas today or not, but plans can most certainly change. As always, I’ll keep you posted. And in regards to my words about the Travel Office last week…I promise I don’t hate them or anything. That’s partly because I don’t think I’ve ever directly dealt with them, but also because dwelling on it would be silly. They’re people, and they’re doing their job the best they can. That’s good enough for me. 🙂
So…I may try a non-bullet format this week. We’ll see how it goes. An update on the companion situation…that Thursday night after I sent my email last week, I received official companions, Elder Armijo and Elder Reimschiissel (both in my room since the beginning), and Elder Morrow and Elder Hancock became their own companionship. The transition was unexpectedly difficult for me at first…I’ll talk about that below, a bit (but not much, as I’ve already recounted the story about 3 times now, including in my journal, so you can read it in there someday if you ever want to)…but our companionship so far has been quite great. Now I’m just companions with Elder Armjio, though, as Elder Reimschiissel (btw, it’s pronounced “Rhyme-chizzle” :)) was one of the elders (along with Elders Hancock & Morrow) who got their visas this week. Elder Hancock & Elder Morrow left fine on Wednesday (though they woke up late, the Travel Office had to page them at 5:15 in the morning…I was briefly awake for some reason, I heard the intercom next to our room going “We’re looking for Elder Hancock and Elder Morrow…”, looked at my watch, and knowing they were supposed to be at the Travel Office at 5, thought, “that probably isn’t good…”…they ended up catching their flight fine, though, but not without leaving a bunch of their stuff behind, because they hadn’t packed very well the night before), but Elder Reimschiissel was another story, which rather deserves to be told. 🙂 So his flight was different from the other two elders…he had to be at the Travel Office at 3 in the morning, not 5, and rather than having one layover (in Atlanta), he had two (in Dallas and Miami). On top of that, he was traveling with only one other missionary, who for some reason was a sister missionary (coincidentally one that Elder Hancock, Morrow, and I had talked to one night, and Elder Hancock told his conversion story to her and her companion). So we woke up at 2:30 to see Elder Reimschiissel off as a district (he actually set our alarm for 2:15, but slept through it, and luckily I’ve been inexplicably waking up at 2:30ish every night for the past few nights, noticed he was still in bed, and woke him up…he gets ready CRAZY fast and he had prepared well and packed everything, so he and all of us got to the travel office with plenty of time to spare), he and the sister missionary got their bags in the car (like I said, only the two of them) with their driver, and were off. Fast foward to about 9:00 AM or so, where the four of us left were in class, and all of a sudden, our zone leaders walk in with Elder Reimschiissel, at which point my mouth dropped, and I thought we were being Punk’d or something. None of us had any idea what was going on…so Elder Reimschiissel told his tale of woe. They missed their flight because his sister-missionary companion had told him the wrong gate (he admitted he hadn’t thought to check his itinerary, but seriously, how do you get the gate wrong?!?!?), it got to the time their flight was supposed to leave, and then he checked his itinerary and realized they weren’t at the right gate. Their luggage was already sent off to Dallas, so they couldn’t leave on another flight…he had to call the Travel Office and tell them about it all. (He apparently had to run back and forth between the luggage people and the phone, to see where their luggage was and make sure it was going to be staying in one place.) They came and got him and brought him back to the MTC, without anything but his backpack since his suitcases were off to Dallas, and needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled. 🙂 He heavily implied he wasn’t overjoyed with the sister he was stuck with (he’s really quiet and keeps to himself, and she seems very outgoing and absent-minded, so yeah, I can see where their personalities would clash), and the fact that she couldn’t keep their gate straight got him pretty frustrated with her. (And he had to be companions with her again this morning, leaving at the same time, on the same route, because of the luggage situation. He was just tickled pink about that. :)) It all worked out OK, though…we lent him clothes for gym, toothpaste, etc., and he was still able to eat lunch & dinner & everything just fine (he still had his MTC card), plus since he had left that morning, he still had a bed in our room and everything. It’s definitely a story he can laugh about later (and goodness knows we all laughed about it good-naturedly yesterday… :)), but yeah, hopefully his flight right now is going fine. He deserves a first-class upgrade or something after all he had to deal with on Wednesday. 🙂
I have a few Spanish stories to tell, three of which happened this week, and one which happened much earlier, but I neglected to include in an earlier email. 🙂 These will be bulleted, since I’m already running crazy long as usual.
  • Elder Thorup and Elder Joyce in our district have two. Their first or second week, they were teaching a lesson to Felix (AKA Hermano McClellan…one of our practice investigators/teachers), and were talking about the law of chastity. They asked if he had any past sins with girls…but instead of saying “pecados con chicas” or “pecados con mujeres,” Elder Thorup said “pecados con hermanas (sisters, as in sisters in your family)”..they’re so used to sisters being “hermanas” (what sister missionaries are called in Spanish) that they didn’t think twice about it. So Felix was confused that they were asking about sins with his sisters, and then Elder Thorup apparently kept going, saying that in our church we believe in being married to our hermanas. Yeah. They were wondering why Felix/Hno. McClellan was cracking up so much, and then Elder Joyce realized what “hermanas” actually meant. 🙂
  • Their other story happened earlier this week. They were talking to another practice investigator/teacher about baptism, and asked him if he had been baptized. He replied that he had as a baby, and then apparently Elder Thorup asked, “despues nacio (put an accent on that “o”)?” meaning, “After you were born?” The investigator/teacher replied, “Claro!” (Meaning “of course,” though in this case it was probably more of a “Duh!”) 🙂
  • Elder Morrow and Hancock have the other two. They were thanking someone at the end for opening the door for them and letting them teach him. (This was another practice investigator/teacher…all of these stories involve them, thank goodness. :)) Door is “puerta” in Spanish…but instead, Elder Hancock was having trouble remembering that word, and apparently said, “Gracias para abierto su cuerpo,” which more or less means, “Thank you for opening your body.” Yeah. A bit of a difference there. 😀
  • The last story, I was in the lesson with them (acting as a member on Wednesday, since Elder Armjio was going with Elder Reimschiissel to pack and get stuff ready for him leaving). The investigator was talking about Memorial Day, and how there were a lot of people at the cemeteries. Elder Hancock responded with “es chiste.” In Spanish, “chiste” means joke, and “triste,” which was what he had been meaning to say, means sad. So Elder Hancock was saying that all the people at the cemetery were a joke. Elder Morrow and I quickly corrected him, after we all stopped laughing. 🙂
OK, directly to MTC Tweets, because I’m running even longer than I already was…
  • Elder Joyce: “I love trash! Talking…” #NiceSave — 2:28 PM, May 25
  • Elder Joyce (again): “What’s that show with the birds? Oh, I know! The bird show!” — 9:13 PM, May 26
  • According to two hermanas in our zone (who have told us all what animals we resemble), I’m a teddy bear. Not bad. 🙂 #CuteAndCuddly — 9:14 PM, May 26
  • (I told them, I wanted to be a cow, though. 🙂 ) — 9:14 PM, May 26 (They found this very amusing.)
  • My cursive handwriting was an accessory to a prank just now. No comment. 🙂 — 5:57 PM, May 27 (If you ask, I’ll tell this story either in a letter or next week’s email. :))
  • And God said, “I will give them hail.” What the hail? We’re catching hail! #AndMyHailJokesReturn #ItsHailingItsPouring — 9:05 AM, May 27
  • We just sang “I Belong To The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” as a prelude hymn. I love the MTC. — 6:51 PM, May 27
  • One of the assistants from when I was in Men’s Chorus is playing the organ at the fireside tonight! Fun times. — 7:04 PM, May 27
  • Wow. That musical number (a piano solo of “If You Could Hie To Kolob,” which I actually heard the player audition with when I was auditioning for my musical number) was absolutely gorgeous, and full of the Spirit. Wow. — 7:18 PM, May 27 (The speaker also said “wow,” literally…multiple times…afterwards. :))
  • I think that might have been one of the best firesides I’ve ever been to. Thank you, Brother Allen, for a truly powerful message. — 8:01 PM, May 27
  • This week’s Sunday night film is “Legacy,” and basically all I know about it is that it was always the most plentiful movie (LDS or otherwise) at DI when I worked there. We always had like 10-12 copies of it on hand. Hmmm. #Legacy — 8:13 PM, May 27
  • The actor who plays Joseph Smith in this movie has some mighty awkward hair. And some mighty awkward acting to go with it. #SadButTrue #Legacy –8:28 PM, May 27
  • Me, turning to Elder Hancock: “So, are you Team Jacob?” #ItsNotWhatYoureThinkingOf #Legacy — 8:41 PM, May 27 (The female lead in the movie had to choose between David and Jacob. :))
  • Between this and the Twilight saga (shudder), if your name is Jacob and you’re competing with another man for a girl’s affections, you’re doomed. #MaybeHe’llMarryHerDaughter #Legacy — 8:49 PM, May 27 (Hopefully most of you got that Twilight reference in the first # hashtag. :))
  • It’s nice how as cheesy as this movie may have been (and oh, was it cheesy), it still managed to be very inspiring. #HoorayForChurchFilms #Legacy — 9:10 PM, May 27
  • Our teacher told us this morning it was 37 degrees. Utah, will you marry me? #Don’tMissAZWeatherAtAll — 8:03 AM, May 28
  • So I just realized I have stationery & cards. That I bought before I left. And had in plain sight in a drawer I use all the time. #HeadSlap — 10:03 AM, May 28
  • The very happiest of 17th birthdays to my amazing sister, Ariel. Stay away from those boys! #IMeanIt — 10:04 AM, May 29
  • Yikes, I do not miss being up at 2:30 in the morning all the time. But at least we get to see Elder Reimschiissel off, which is nice. — 2:41 AM, May 30
  • I never thought I’d say something of this sort about MTC cafeteria food, but that might have been some of the best mac n’cheese I’ve ever had. #WhoWouldaThought — 12:48 PM, May 30
  • Eating at the temple cafeteria for breakfast this morning…Best. Decision. Ever. That might have been one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. #YouMightEvenSayItWasHeavenly — 10:02 AM, May 31 (P.S.: I had an omelette for the first time, and I LOVED it. :))
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