It’s Thurs again , Yeah, Another Letter!!!

Hola familia, amigos y anyone else reading this (great Spanish, si?)…
As of yesterday, I’ve been here for six weeks. I’m still in Provo, and I’m still alive. Good things to know, no? 🙂
So…my visa situation…pretty much the same. We’ll see if I get it today (it’s almost one o’clock as of me writing this very sentence), but if not, it’s bound to come sooner or later. Just to reiterate for the umpteenth time, my visa’s delayed; neither the travel office nor I know when it will come; it could come any day; most likely we’d be flying out the following day, but we’re not sure; I like cheese. (Just seeing if you were all awake on that last one. :)) Our district situation is a bit interesting…we’re now down to two elders…my companion (Elder Armijo, in case y’all forgot), and I. Elder Joyce left as scheduled this past Tuesday, but so did his companion (and our district leader for the past 3 weeks), Elder Thorup, who got his visa on Monday. (Funny/sad story about last Thursday: We went to check about our visas after we got back from the temple in the morning, just to see if they had called us or not. It was there we found out about our visas still being delayed, which I relayed to you last email, and they asked Elder Armijo to let Elder Thorup know that his was delayed as well. For some reason, they didn’t check his name off the list, though [we didn’t know this until later], and an hour or so later, while we were in the laundry and Elder Thorup and Elder Joyce were in another building writing emails home, they called over the intercom for Elder Thorup. I was thinking they maybe just wanted to confirm with him that his visa was still delayed, since they had just told us so, but Elder Armijo got all excited and thought his visa had suddenly come, so we ran to tell them. Elder Thorup got there…and yep, his visa was still delayed. He handled it pretty well, though, and look where he is now. :))
So yeah, we’re a district of two. It’s a very weird situation (and it’s even weirder that we’re now both co-district leaders…of ourselves…the branch presidency decided to have it that way until we leave), but the cool thing is, we get lots of one-on-one instruction with our teachers, and we’ve grown even closer as companions. (Elder Armijo has been my companion for about 3 weeks now…1 also with Elder Reimschiissel in a trio, and 2 just with him. We’ve been in the same room since Day 1, when he was companions with just Elder Reimschiissel and I was companions with Elder Valerio, who left back on the 22nd.) We’ve had a few bumps in the road regarding our current circumstances…but for the most part, we’ve stayed really positive. It’s been a good experience so far, and a great opportunity to learn in a very unique way before we head off to Peru in the near future. (Plus we have a very fun zone, so we’re not lonely by any means…sadly, one of the districts is leaving on Monday/Tuesday, so we’ll miss them, but the new district that just came in looks like a good one, and the one that came in a few weeks ago, we’ve really grown close to.)
Some MTC Tweets? Sure, let’s go with that. 🙂
  • Today was a day of unexpected communication. I got to call my family for a few minutes today, which was totally surreal, and I just finished talking to a sister missionary from my ward at BYU. She just got in yesterday, and I had no idea she was going on a mission. #ItsASmallWorldAfterAll — 5:32 PM, June 7
  • Brother Allen just gave us his second fireside in 3 weeks…and based it around Church commercials. As in we watched them. And learned from them. #IStillLoveTheMTC — 8:01 PM, June 10 (I’m referring to Bro. Stephen B. Allen, who’s the managing director of the Church Missionary Department. He is a terrific speaker, and was involved with creating the “Homefront” commercials that the Church used to run…like the ones they used to show at the Visitor’s Center in Mesa, for example. 🙂 We watched quite a few of them, and after each one, Bro. Allen repeated the tagline of the commercial and kind of expounded on each one. It was a great hour.)
  • Things I didn’t notice/know in “The Testaments” until today: The random guy towards the end of the movie that falls spontaneously, that the actor who plays Jacob is the lead in “Charly,” and that Lanea’s mom is actually entire in the last half of the movie (I always wondered), among other things. The stuff you miss… — 9:21 PM, June 10 (So yeah…you know that scene in the movie where Lanea’s mom goes, “I was once a believer,” while hugging her daughter, and then they cut to the next scene? I always thought that was the last we saw of her, and was wondering why they included that, and also why her mom didn’t get to see Christ at the end, and I felt bad for her. Then I noticed this time she’s with Jacob’s family the ENTIRE TIME until the very end of the movie. I may need to get my eyes checked or something. :))
  • Because we’re down to two elders in our district (well, the other two are packing, but still), and we’re temporarily without a teacher (he had to go to a meeting), we just went to the other districts in our zone, and sang a grand total of three hymns, and had three opening prayers before we started studying just now. #ThriceTheFun — 2:12 PM, June 11
  • Here I am, up at 3 in the morning again (to see Elder Joyce off). I still don’t miss being up this late/early. #YayForGoodSleepingHabits — 3:02 AM, June 12
  • Now we’re officially down to two. And now we’re both officially going to sleep. Waking up at 3 and 5 in the morning ain’t no picnic, you know. #MyBedItIsCallingMe — 5:21 AM, June 12 (We had to wake up at 5 to see Elder Thorup off. They left the same day, but had different flights/travel groups. And no, neither of them got waylaid by a sister missionary companion and went to the wrong gate, like poor Elder Reimschiissel two weeks ago. Well, as far as we know of. :))
  • Elder Per G. Malm (and his wife…well, she only spoke for about 3 minutes, but still) just gave a fantastic devotional. I may be part Norwegian, but I think I’ve decided I love Swedish people. #YayForScandinavia — 8:01 PM, June 12 (He’s in the Seventy, is from Sweden, as is his spouse, and he and his wife have been called to be in the Europe…East? I think? Area Presidency…and are moving to Moscow in August. Fun times. :))
  • We just had yet another slightly unconventional post-devotional district meeting…it was just the two of us and President Cameron, our branch president. It was weird, but very nice. #Three’sACrowd — 8:55 PM, June 12
  • Partly because we’ve been here much longer than we were supposed to, and our room has been half empty…we have 2 new roommates! It’s strange having the room full again, but they’re very nice, they’re in our zone, and one of them is from Chandler, AZ, which rocks. — 9:31 PM, June 13
  • Feliz Dia de Bandera, everyone! (That means Flag Day in Spanish. At least, I think it does. :)) — 1:18 PM, June 14
I’m going to be strong and not start three paragraphs in a row with “so.” Or the next sentence. I promise. Anyways…hmmm. Letters. Ariel, I promise I’m almost done with yours. (Also, make sure you read the other quick email I’m going to send to you in a moment.)Granny, I feel horrible that I haven’t written you yet. Hopefully you’ll forgive me…and if you ever feel like writing me, I’d absolutely love to hear from you. 🙂 Dad and Mom and Geo…you’ve all gotten a letter so far, so you’ll have to wait a bit, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted as much as I can. 🙂 Nate and Livi, I’m getting to you, I promise. Your letters/DearElders make me smile and laugh SO much. Plus I show them off to my…well, now it’s just my companion, but before, when we had more people, I showed it off to all of them. 🙂 Dad and Tania and Co., thank you so much for the package and the pictures and the letters and everything. They really brightened my day. 🙂 (And I display the pictures proudly on my desk, right next to all the temple pictures I have. One of which is the Tokyo temple, btw. :)) Dad, I think I got your DearElder actually, but I’m not sure. If it was the one saying that you’d sent off my package, and a few other things you wrote, then I did get it. If not then…hmmm. Oh well. I don’t know where it disappeared to. Mom, as for suggestions for an upcoming package…in the words of the little boy from “The Incredibles”…”I don’t know, something amazing, I guess?” Ha, but really…you always send delicious stuff (and we’re almost done with your Rice Krispie Treats and Rolo cookies, btw…our new roommates might be helping us finish those off), so I have no idea. You’re awesome at desserts, so I trust you completely. 🙂 I did really like how you wrapped all the stuff you sent in the last package individually…that really has helped everything stay fresher and be easier to eat. Gracias for that. 🙂 Oh, and Dad…I forgot exactly what my insurance situation is. I can’t remember if you checked and told me I was covered just for emergency stuff in Peru, or not covered at all, or something else entirely. My companion got some paperwork (when he was at home, I think) from the Church insurance people, and I think they just sent it to him automatically, if I’m not mistaken, so that got me thinking about how I forgot what Scottsdale Healthcare covers, if anything. If you could remind me via DearElder sometime soon, that would be awesome. 🙂
Well, as usual, I probably forgot one or two things that may or may not be important, but I’ll press on anyhow. 🙂 Let me end with my testimony once again…and just let you know all know (yet again) that I’m happy to be here. It’s sometimes hard, it’s sometimes frustrating, confusing, out of my comfort zone, or a combination of all of these, but it’s always worth it. That’s the amazing thing about being here at the MTC, and being a missionary. I’m still at the first step in the road…Peru still awaits, and I still don’t know when I’ll even be there for sure…but right now, I’m learning so much about the Gospel, about the incredible power of the Spirit, about Spanish, about life, about myself, about trusting in the Lord, and so many other things. I’m forever grateful for a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to give me the opportunity to learn all that, and more. I’m proud to be His servant, and I’m working my hardest every day to make sure I’m worthy of being His servant. There’s many things I can improve on, but with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost by my side, I know anything is possible. Remember that. 🙂
Con mucho amor y querido,
Elder Randall
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