Tuesday, December 11, 2012



So this past week was pretty nuts! With all the leaving preparations, our schedule has been far from normal.
I guess I'll start off with a quick investigator update. Pilar only had one appointment this week. I think I told you this, but we pushed her date back to the 15th so she could have more time to get over her smoking. We went over the concerns she had, and she started asking some more difficult questions, such as "Why are all the prophets gringos?" and "Why are they all men?" That was a bit of an unexpected turn in the lesson, but she still had a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Had we had another lesson, we were prepared to help her find answers to her questions and make sure she was ready for baptism. Even so, finding the best way to address her questions was a great experience. Scripture study with the spirit is a powerful thing.
By the MTC manger scene
Alfredo also only had one lesson. We set a baptismal date for the first of January, and had him write a plan for how he would react to temptations to do drugs. Losing investigators is hard! They're doing so well and then suddenly you don't see them again! I can only imagine what it'll be like to have it happen in the field when I get transferred. But I guess at least then I can keep writing them. Anyway, we also had one other lesson this week with Angelo. He seemed pretty excited to start reading the Book of Mormon!
The consulate meeting was much different than I expected! They just had the representative fly from LA to the Church Office Building. Her name was Belen. I was caught off guard. I guess when they said "consulate," I just automatically assumed some boring old white-haired guy that dislikes his job and loves paperwork, not an enthusiastic younger woman who just opened the whole time to questions. It was kinda cool! We just sat around and went up one by one to sign our names once we'd asked any questions we had. I have to admit, though, I'm a little nervous. They said if your fingerprints even touch the edge of the designated area, let alone going outside the box, they have a good chance of getting rejected. When I went up to review my prints with them, they said all of them were perfect, except for one that just whent a little outside the box. But since it was just one and just a little, they would try to do it anyway. I'm hoping it works out!
For our last couple lessons in class, we got to pick the topics. On Saturday, we had a lesson all about grace. We even got to watch the Brad Wilcox talk Caitlin found that one time, with the piano analogy. I don't know why, but up until then, I'd never realized that grace is the exact same thing as the enabling power of the atonement. That really opened my eyes. It was such a cool lesson! I love when the Spirit is strong in learning environments, because it makes it so you can learn so much! The other lessons we had were one the Spirit vs. the Light of Christ and how desires relate to faith. They were really just so cool. More than anything, the testimonies borne were powerful. I always expected that people realized how blessed they were one missions because they go to different countries and see how poor people are, but I'm starting to realize now that just feeling the Spirit so much helps me to realize all the amazing blessings I receive in my life. I know this church is true, and I know that it helps people.
The final activity we did was to teach our teachers as themselves. It was really weird teaching someone who taught you most of the things you know about teaching, especially when you know that they've had tons more experience than you have. The difference is that when we allow the Spirit to teach, it doesn't matter how much they know or what they need -- the Spirit can directly address what they need to hear. I had that experience both times teaching the teachers. I know what I'm doing out here is right, I know the Lord is blessing me because I can see it daily, and I'm so excited and just a little nervous to go out and try it full speed in Spanish with real people. I'll talk to you all tomorrow when I call!
My MTC District


So, visa update: There is no update. The last we heard through official channels was that the consulate was coming at the end of November, but obviously, that didn't happen. Elder Howard got a letter from his mom. She said that she talked to the travel office and that we were most likely going to be reassigned. There's some elders in the room next to us that have been here for 17 weeks waiting for their Argentine visas. They've been skyping and answering e-mails of investigators in the MTC referral center. But for all we know, we could get tickets to another state sometime this week. We really just don't know, and probably won't until something happens. So... I really don't know what to tell ya about mailing addresses and such. I would assume just keep sending them here until further notice. Elder Howard's mom also said that reassigned missionaries generally get some time in the airport to call their families and update them, so that may happen. Who knows? It's all in the Lord's hands, and where I serve is where I'm meant to be at that time.
One thing I was thinking of during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional is how awesome the opportunity was to participate in Christmas Carol and Savior of the World. Both have such great songs. And when you think about it, Christmas Carol is such a great gospel story. There are so many parallel's to made made about Scrooge's journey through repentance. I don't know why I didn't pick up on it before.... It really is all about repentance.
Speaking of the Christmas devotional, we got to watch it! We even challenged one of our investigators to watch it. I wish I would have taken greater advantage of listening to modern prophets, and not just at general conference.
My testimony of the Book of Mormon was strengthened so much this week. In mission conference on Sunday we had a few awesome "farewell" talks from out Mission Presidency. They're going to be realeased at the end of this month, so it was their last mission conference. They all talked about the book of Mormon, and the power it has in their lives. I finished it this past week, and prayed about it again. Peace, joy, happiness, clarity of thought, light, and love all flooded in. I know that book is true. The promise does work for anyone who truly wants to know. Pilar had a similar experience this past week. She really knows now.
Another experience I had was with looking for answers. We all had to come up with a question that we had about the Plan of Salvation. As you can imagine, as missionaries, we came up with some pretty deep questions. Like "Will people in the lower two kingdoms get another chance, or is that the end for eternity?" Amazingly enough, I actually found an answer to quite a few of them in the Book of Mormon. It truly is an amazing resource.
So investigators. We're now teaching Pilar, Alfredo, Angelo, Carlos, and Timoteo. Pilar is still committed to baptism, but is struggling giving up smoking. She really wants to, but it's just been hard. We pushed her date back to the 15. She can do it though! She also had a little trouble accepting prophets, but after listening to them a few more times and praying, I know she'll understand that they're not just good men with good messages. They are truly called of God to say what he would say. They always convey the Spirit when they speak.
Alfredo relapsed on his drugs on Sunday after church. He went off with some friends and slipped up. He can do it. He just really needs to understand WHY we want him to change. He has so many reasons, but they just haven't quite been enough to keep him off drugs. We're working with him, though. This last lesson yesterday was tough because it was in the morning and he was still a little hung over. We decided it might be better to wait until he was coherent to fully teach the Plan of Salvation and commit him to baptism.
Not much to say about the other three. We haven't taught them very much. Timoteo's really busy with the end of school, and just isn't all that interested in religion. Angelo has a member daughter, but works the night shift well into the morning, so doesn't have much time for anything but sleep and work. Carlos, we're not sure about. We haven't had an official lesson, but we may have taught him a few weeks ago.... It's kinda confusing.
We got to host new elders this week! It was kinda fun. I'm glad I didn't have to help any elders with their goodbyes. None of the ones I helped had any waterworks or pictures or clingy mothers. It was all just quick and easy.
It's so crazy to be in the MTC right now! My classroom's being turned into girl's dorms to accomodate the change, so we're moving into another building that they transformed from practice teaching rooms to classrooms. It's a little smaller, but it'll work. The Lord's work is hastening, and I get to see it happen, and be a part of it!
Well, that's all I've got this week! I'll talk to you... who knows? Possibly sooner than next Tuesday. Thanks for all your love and letters!
Elder Landon


I love you all. And I really do. I'm not just saying that because the speaker on Sunday told us to.
I was thinking of Caitlin when Sister Holland spoke. The majority of the meeting was taken up by Elder Holland's grandchildren and wife. He only took thirty minutes toward the end. Anyway, his wife talked a lot about when she was your age, and because she was shy, did NOT want to go on a mission, even though she felt like it may be a good idea. What she ended up doing was getting into contact with the mission president in New York where she was going to school. He would invite her to all the mission conference and stuff. She told the story how even though she didn't go on a full time mission, she was able to talk to so many people and tell them about the gospel. Also, as I've been reading through PMG, even though it's intended for missionaries going full time, nearly half the stuff it says seems to be instructions for missionaries to give to members. Members are much more powerful in missionary lessons than missionaries could ever be. They're able to relate, and usually it's easier for them to befriend investigators - that's something we noticed in our lessons this week. If you were to go to England, just take a PMG with you and you could totally be an awesome member missionary. 
Visas.... Yeah.... So I told you about the travel agent meeting, right? Where we filled out more paperwork, did fingerprinting, and they told us the visa people from Argentina would be here sometime this week? Well, we haven't heard any more since then. After the visa people come, it'll probably be another two weeks. So in theory we leave two weeks from yesterday. In reality, we'll probably be here at least an extra week.

So things that were different this week: I was released as District Leader, having put in my three weeks. I got an awesome package. I did initiatories instead of a session on P-Day, which was cool to have a reminder of all those cool blessings. All day Thursday was awesome. I got to usher for one of the firesides (which basically meant standing there and showing people how many open seats there were).
So Thanksgiving we had a long time in the morning for breakfast, and waited in line for an hour because everyone had a pretty good idea that an apostle would be there. That fireside was so cool. Elder Holland showed a softer side, and talked a lot about how great it is to be living here in this time, when we know that we will not fail. Every prophet until this dispensation has known that eventually, their teachings would be rejected, an apostasy would come, and the gospel would be lost. The Lord showed them our time not only so they could write the Book of Mormon to us, but also to bolster them, and give them hope that eventually, the people would listen, and there wouldn't be another apostasy! I've never thought of living in this dispensation like that.
Thanksgiving dinner for lunch was pretty good! All the necessary parts of Thanksgiving dinner. We had a Thanksgiving program that reminded me of kindergarten - one of those narations of the first thanksgiving where the audience has to say something after certain words (ie: dinner - YUM YUM! indians - HOW, etc.) It was way fun. We also did a service project making educational and health kits for African people. I got assigned to shrink wrap. It was awesome. I was totally able to use skills from when I was laying carpet protection. It was like the same thing, but on a vertical pallet of boxes rather than a floor.
The end of Thanksgiving they gave popcorn - a big bag - to every Elder here, and we watched 17 Miracles. We are so blessed to have TC in our stake. Those mutual activities were some of the best. I also had the chance to watch Legacy this week. 17 Miracles is better. Even so, Legacy was much better than I remember from when I was 6 or so.
Investigators have been awesome this week. Pilar committed to baptism. That was an awesome lesson. It was nothing like we planned to teach. Then she asked all these questions about what she had to do and what would happen. We weren't very prepared for that.... We answered to the best of our ability, and then went back and read Chapter 12 in PMG to prepare for the next time. She's shooting for the 8th of December!
Alfredo's been cool. We challenged him to live the WoW, and to help him do that, we're trying to help him to apply the atonement in his life. Coolest story - we invited a member to come with us based on what happened with the real Alfredo that our teacher is basing his character off of. The real Alfredo in Mexico had a friend named Alfredo, who I shall call Alfredo2. So Alfredo2 was addicted to drugs from the time he was eleven to the time he was 40. We were able to use that experience in our role play. Members really do have such power. Alfredo2's testimony of the Atonement and how it can help overcome any addiction was so powerful, and really helped Alfredo1. I have hope he can do it! Sorry if that didn't make sense. I have trouble keeping the Alfredo's straight too.
One thing I realized this week. Our family is not so awesome and blessed just because we're lucky or the Lord loves us. We've had such great parents in our home. Mom, Dad, thank you so much for teaching the gospel. I know that a lot of the blessings we have a family is because our family is founded on the teachings of the gospel, and we all love the Lord. Thanks for your example, and helping me grow my testimony.
Elder Landon


So one think I've recognized this past week is how the gospel answers questions. That's something I really didn't take advantage of before my mission that I wish I would have. Any guidance, revelation, answers, whatever we need in our life can be given if we include questions in our gospel study, church attendance, temple attendance, etc. It's like that story mom told of the sister who went to stake conference with a question. They get answered. I really wish I'd have recognized that earlier.
This week has been pretty good! I set some awesome goals that are really starting to help me out. My testimony of service and how thinking of others can help us become more like Christ has been growing so much. This gospel truly is great and I'm loving this chance to grow through serving others.
Our investigators this week were still a little wacky, but it's starting to get more normal. We taught Alfredo twice. The first lesson he didn't really do his reading very well. He re-read in 1 Nephi 1. The second lesson he read in Alma 42 instead of 1 Nephi 2. Not really sure what's going on there, but we found out last time that during the lesson he was "volado" or "colgado." In other words, high. We weren't really sure what was going on at first. His eyes were rolling all weird and he was kinda out of it. Then when we asked about one of the things he hoped to gain, he said his friend that joined the chruch was able to "Dejar de las drogas." We thought about that more after and translated it as leave behind the drugs. That's something we'll be working with him on. As soon as we can help him remember who Jesus Christ is.
Pilar is almost progressing too fast for us. Although she didn't complete the Book of Mormon in tens days like we hoped, she's still flying through it. She ditched mass this last Sunday to come to church with us, felt the Spirit, and totally loved it. We're still trying to help her see that she needs to be baptized into the church, but I'm thinking we'll have a date this week. I have to admit, I was really worried after not having seen her for over a week, but she's been doing great even without check-ups!
We got a new semi-permanent investigator that we'll teach on Mondays and Wednesdays yesterday named Timoteo. His brother and dad are Mormon, but he's always lived with his mom and knows almost nothing about religion. He also talks really fast. I'm looking forward to working with him!
One of the things that helped my testimony grow this week was when we practiced being an investigator. I based mine off of Aerielle, who just doesn't really care about religion at all. It really opened my eyes to realize what it's like when missionaries just start coming in, asking questions, and talking about stuff I don't care about. It really is so important to first establish trust, show them that you care, and invite the Spirit to be in there before you say anything about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. So Sunday was pretty cool. We got a new Branch President, President Jones, which was a little sad, but It'll be fun to get to know him. We also sang the special musical number - Come thou Fount. It was kinda fun! I hope I get more chances to do that on my mission.
So in the fireside on Sunday we learned that on an average day, 38%  of missionaries (Meaning around 25,000) are out of action due to illness. That shocked me. The speaker talked about what we need to do to stay healthy, and as the Lord's representative, we have a responsibility to keep away from things that would allow Satan to take us out of the field, including illness. I'd never thought about getting sick that way before. It was really eye-opening.
Last thing I want to talk about is how my testimony has grown of the Atonement. I never realized just how important it is. Not only is it central to every gospel principle, but it can be applied in so many ways in our lives. This week I've studied some different ways to apply it. Alma 7:11-12 has become my favorite scripture. We taught a member this week who had some leg problems, and we testified that the Atonement can help her leg. Christ has suffered for our pains and afflictions, not just our sins. We brought up how just praying for strength can help us receive more fully the relief the Atonement has to offer. It was a great lesson, and helped my knowledge of the Atonement grow so much.
Anyway, I hope everyone does well this week!
Elder Willey


I just want you all to know that I don't think I've ever felt so much love from my family in my life. Girls, last night you nearly had me in tears when I read your letters. I am so blessed to have a family like all of you!
Grandmas and Grandpas - I want to start by saying thank you. You guys are the greatest! My testimony of eternal families would be impossible without the influence in my life from the four of you. Each of you has helped me in my knowledge of the gospel in different ways, and I truly appreciate that. I couldn't be testifying with as much power to my mock investigators about the blessings of eternal families without you!
As for teachers, we're still a little scrambled with timing. We have two teachers, but they're still trying to figure out when they can come. Yesterday morning this was exemplified by our lack of a teacher for our first class. 
This past week I studied a bit about the love of God. It's amazing. It's incomprehensible, but there's a lot we can understand, especially because of the family we have. I've been really improving my prayers this week by making them more a conversation with my Heavenly Father rather than talking at God. I couldn't have done it without the example of my earthly father. I have a testimony that God gave us families to better understand our heavenly family. Our dad is such a great example of love, and can help us understand our Heavenly Father's love for us. Also, we have an awesome brother. I was thinking about that, too. The love of a brother is different than the love of Christ. Again, our family is a great example of the different types of love that can exist. Although the love of Christ is more than just a brother - he can become our father through our rebirth. Anyway, fun to study!
Libby, the year following my patriarchal blessing was the best of my life. Take advantage of this time of Spiritual High...ness. I recently started studying my patriarchal blessing more like scripture (I think it was Hales who said it IS personal scripture). Go through it, make copies to study, highlight gifts, find the things that apply to your life now, and write down your thoughts on every line. What can you change? How can your gifts help you? (Elder Eyring gave an awesome talk on gifts in the priesthood session). The gifts you receive are inactive until you pray and try to develop them.
Anyway, my time is up, so I'll try getting a snail letter off today telling about my week, but really family, thank you so much for your love and support. You really improved my already fantastic week.
Love you all!
Elder Landon


Don R. Clarke of the 70 gave the devotional this past week on how to teach with the ultimate goal being conversion, not baptism. Also how the Lord trusts his converts with missionaries who are willing to focus on reactivating the lost sheep. Great Talk!
Our teacher situation is nuts. We're in this limbo situation where they're all trying to figure out schedules, so we have a different teacher every day. All people we've met before as resource teachers, but not as actual teachers. Hopefully it's worked out by next week.
As a result our investigator situation has been interesting. We got two new ones this week (I'm not sure how long we'll keep them, though). One is Alfredo. He's a twenty something unmarried father with three kids and a wife.... just not married to her. Which, if I remember right from Craig's mission is fairly common down there due to the marriage cost. He's receptive to everything we teach him. Not sure how much he actually takes in, though. I'm interested to see if he follows through on his commitments.
One we got yesterday is Pedro. 65 year old friend of the bishop's. He's similar to Alfredo the way he takes everything in but has nothing to say. Except he talks a ton faster.
Pilar has been our one continuing investigator (Since Hermana Young is for sure going to continue being our teacher through this whole chaning mess). We had a couple great lessons and a couple terrible ones. We taught her how to really pray, but she forgot once or twice. We had to teach her again. She's not following through on all her commitments, but I'm thinking we'll be able to get her to receive an answer that she needs baptism this week. It's always hard to tell if she's praying right since we can't understand what she says. I'm learning better to depend on prayer and the Spirit to teach, though. It's really helping me to grow my faith.
Teaching members this week was interesting. We got one guy that was a Brazil missionary back in the day. He must have been at least 60, was a little hard of hearing, and spoke with an accent the likes of which I've never heard before. It was the first time I really had trouble understanding someone, regardless of how many times they repeat slower. By the time it was time to end, we kept trying to tell him we wanted to finish with prayer and he kept saying something. It was a tough lesson... Our other member was way easy to teach though.
Daylight savings time is really messing me up. That extra hour didn't even feel like it did any good.
Mom, I bought some cough drops and I think the frequency of coughs is decreasing. I think I'll be fine.
For fast sunday we fasted both food and English. It made for an interesting day! It's a long fast, too, from 5 on Saturday to 5 on Sunday. It really helps, though!
I got made district leader on Sunday. So basically I need to pick up the mail and go to a lot of meetings. I'll figure out what more than that later.
After watching the JS Movie again on Sunday, I'm so grateful for our back east trip. That helped my testimony grow so much! Thanks parents for doing that.
I'm so blessed to be learning a language out here. It's amazing what you can learn when you compare the scriptures in two different languages.
Anyway, that's my time! I'll talk to you guys later! I love you!

Elder Landon


So our fireside last Tuesday was with Elder Larry Echo Hawk. Awesome guy! If you remember his talk from conference on the converting power of the book of Mormon, his fireside was very similar. Except he had an hour to expound and go through his whole conversion story. Best line: "My wife and I met in second grade, but didn't start getting serious until seventh grade. I know what you're thinking - 'That's not LDS standards!' Well.... We weren't LDS." The whole place was laughing. He went on to tell how his football coach / priest advisor helped him to truly be converted after he was baptized. The whole conversion vs. testimony thing here is big. If you know any incoming missionaries, tell them to re-watch Bednar's talk from conference.
We found our who our new teacher is last night. Brother Loy. Not quite sure what to make of him. Got back from his mission in Mexico this past June. As I've paid more attention to these teachers, I've decided that it's a lot of work. I thought, "I could be a teacher and not be in mission mode!" Not true. They make you do all the same stuff missionaries do.
We taught a TRC lesson this week. What that means is that we taught actual members who were themselves - not pretending to be investigators. It was interesting. Very different talking to someone who already knows the gospel. It was also interesting because the first girl we talked to didn't even know Spanish as well as us!
The investigators this week have been interesting, due to teacher illness and Hermano Ames being on his way out (His last day teaching us is tomorrow).
The district with Hno. Ames

We ended up getting another investigator - Juan. Weird guy. We asked him what he thought about religion and he said, "I think we are a church." At first I thought I'd misinterpreted him, but that's really what he meant to say. I'm a church, you're a church, we're all churches! Our teacher said that was pretty common in South America, and that even the people who say it don't really know for sure what it means. They just know it confuses you and gets you to leave. It still went okay. It was our first lesson we gave without any notes whatsoever, so Elder Howard didn't say much at all.
Kleyber has been played by Hno Ames, so we only taught him twice this week. Those lessons didn't go well. We never could figure out why he was so depressed all the time, and had trouble finding a lesson he was interested in that could really address his needs.
Pilar - the old Catholic lady - has been kinda fun. In one of our planning session, Hno Ames gave the advice, "Don't be afraid to be like sisters sometimes. You know how they do the cutesy little things to help their investigators keep their commitments? It works." So that day we made a family home evening chart for her. That lesson went really well!
On Friday I finally had to admit I had a cold since I stayed up for about an hour before I fell asleep coughing and wheezing. The freezing cold temperatures didn't help (we turned up our thermostat after that night) I bought some dayquill that I've been taking since. Haven't seen a huge reduction in symptoms, though.
We had another TRC impromptu lesson on Friday since our teachers couldn't be there to be investigators. We taught one of our teachers, and talked about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong and he ended up opening up that he was about to be a father, but his girl was likely to have some growth defects. Such an amazing experience talking to him in that setting.
Any advice on how to better teach investigators? Craig especially, can you remember what you did to really help them to feel the Spirit?
In our branch presidency, the second counselor's wife is so funny! She's one of those old ladies that thinks she can get away with saying anything. So she'll say anything. Especially political stuff. The other night she made a comment something like this, "Your teacher [Sister Young] is only 22?! Well just go up to her and say 'Wait for me, baby!'" The whole district was almost on the floor in tears laughing.
I was asked to lead in sacrament meeting. That was interesting! I'm glad I had those leading lessons from Sister Merritt! If you see her, tell her thanks from me. Or send me her address.
Our fireside this week was from Stephen B. Allen from the Missionary department. He called out all the unworthy elders and told the rest of us if we were ever discouraged, it's okay and normal. Just keep trusting in the Lord and doing your best. His talk was so funny, though. He made so many jokes and told about this practical joke he played on a primary kid with a water fountain when he was a stake president. I laughed so hard. Albeit guiltily.
So when I went to get a haircut it had an example of an MTC card. The person on the example card was Jordan Schouten. Thought that was pretty funny, since he's in our stake.
I'm missing music so much. They don't let you listen to anything at the MTC. That's one reason I'm excited to get out in the field.
Well, I think that's all the thoughts I have for the week. I love all of you! Keep writing me!
Elder Landon


So starting off from last P-Day. Laundry was interesting. I didn't have any money on my MTC card, and the only way you can buy soap is with the MTC card or with cash. I found a machine that took 2s though, so I was okay. From now on, I'm making sure I have at least a buck on there for each Tuesday. It was also weird because of the options. It wasn't like "cold water, set time" it was like "whites, colors, delicates, pick one." I think I figured it out though. Nothing was a different color, so it must have gone okay. Shayne M. Bowen - the guy from conference that talked on the trial of family members dying - was our speaker on Tuesday's devotional. Awesome talk on the Spirit and the Book of Mormon.
A lot of Elders here, even in my district, talk about how much their miss their families and stuff. Is it bad or weird that I hardly miss you guys at all? I mean, I love you guys and stuff, but I'm happy to be out here and I'm okay with not seein' ya. I'm expecting to have days later on where that's not true, but the initial homesickness just isn't there for me.
So we had our last two lessons with Jennifer. They didn't go quite as well as our second and third lesson. We taught her about faith and the atonement. Then it just ended. I guess that's how they do it here. It turns out Jennifer is actually Sister Young, our evening class teacher. In fact, all the mock investigators are your teachers.Your teachers just use stories of actually people they baptized or didn't baptize on their missions as their alter-ego. She's been home three months from Chile, and is way fun to learn from. It's still kinda hard to separate her from the slightly intimidating Jennifer, though.
Some drama this week. One of the really awesome elders in our district, had to go home on Wednesday. He was the only convert in our group, had one of the strongest testimonies, and other than me, was the only one that had taken more than a year of Spanish. He'll be missed. I'm really glad there's nothing keeping me from serving though. That would be terrible to get out here and then have something come out that should have been taken care of already.
Our next two investigators are Kleyber and Pilar. Kleyber is a 17 year old kid whose mom is the only member in their family. He lives with her in the US while the rest of his family is still in Venezuela. I can tell it's going to be hard. He seems to really want friends, especially since he doesn't really have any, but as missionaries, we can't just be his friends. He needs the gospel, too. I doubt he would be meeting with us if his mom hadn't made him, though. The problem is that when we started talking about the gospel, he just shut down. I'm prayin hard. Our next lesson we decided to bring a preist-age member with us. Hopefully that will help.
Our other investigator, Pilar, is a 55 year old Chilean grandma who is a devout Catholic. The first lesson with her went much better. We focused on families and prayer. I was actually able to say what I wanted to about prayer! I was trying to explain why our father wants to hear from us even though he already knows what we want. I tried really hard and with some help from the Spirit, was actually able to ask in Spanish, "Well even if you, as a mother, know what your kids want, isn't it still nice if they ask you?" She seemed to like that. We challenged her to have a family home evening with her member daughter. I'm hoping that will go well. It's still really hard to teach lessons. I want Elder Howard to be involved, but it's just so hard when I can understand what they're saying and respond, and he can't really do either. I know he's trying, and we're working on getting him to say more things, but it's still difficult.
I've found that I love Bocheball. It's a game where you throw balls and whoever gets closest to a target wins. Very fun.
So we had to make a short lesson on the Book of Mormon. It's funny, but all the things Dad and everyone else has always told me (Be obedient, love the people, once you show the BoM is true, a testimony of everything else follows, like Spencer Kimball is a true prophet) is all the stuff that's in Preach My Gospel. Kinda great. After that one of the Branch Presidency came up to me and asked if I planned to go into teaching. Not really (they don't make enough money), but the compliment was nice. I'm so glad I've been blessed. I've also thought this might be a good job once I get home - teaching here. Something I'll look into.
Mentos have been a life saver. They work so well to delay coughs.
Other drama this week - Hermano Ames, our morning teacher, is getting trasnfered to a diferent department. It'll be really sad to see him go. We've all gotten kinda attached to him. I hope his replacement is as good.
I watched The Testaments on Sunday. Such a great show. Love it.
Service Monday mornings is tough. Not because it's hard cleaning toilets, but because it's tough waking up that early.
Fun thing we did this week: Did you know that Jospeh Smith's First Prayer (The hymn) can be sung to the tune of Come Thou Fount?
Well, that's all I've got for this week! Talk to you all later!

Elder Landon Willey


I'm lovin' it here. Hope you guys are havin a great time! Also, I'm doing great here! I really, really do love it. I'm reminded of the words you Craig said in one of his first e-mails at the MTC: "It's like EFY on steriods without the girls." Except there are a lot of sister missionaries, even without the impact of the age change. I just don't get to associate with them, since I'm in one of the few districts made up solely of Elders. I've already had a pretty good foundation in Spanish - better than I thought I had. I'm actually able to talk to the mock investigator a little. Just not with great grammar.
I feel like I'm in the honeymoon stage of the MTC. None of the super hard stuff has happened yet, and the spiritual growth is crazy. I love it here. The showers here are nuts. We have about a three second window to jump in and out every fifteen seconds between the water being super hot and super cold. I don't like it much. My first day here we were thrown into spanish class in total immersion. I guess I should have expected that, but it was still a shock. We started teaching our first mock investigator, Jennifer, on Friday. Our first lesson was a bit of a train wreck. My companion, Elder Howard, speaks 0 Spanish. Like absolutely nothing. Not even like Como esta.

We'd been told that Jennifer had already read a little of the book of mormon, but didn't know much about it, so we decided to have our first lesson on the book of mormon. When we got there, she hadn't read it at all, only heard about it from her sister. We were also told that we had to give a 5 minute lesson. When we came into class a few minutes before it was supposed to start, the board had a message saying we needed a 30 minute lesson. THat was interesting. Lastly, we were told to challenge her to baptism at the end of the lesson, and not to worry, because she'd say yes. She didn't. She said she'd already been baptized Catholic, and didn't see why she needed to be baptized again. That launched us into a disucussion that we weren't prepared for. At least we got her to commit to read the BOM. On our second visit, it went much better. We taught her to pray, then challenged her to read 3 
Nephi 11 with a list of questions we'd prepared for her to help her to read deeper. It went great. It only lasted 10 minutes or so, but our teacher said that so long as we accomplished our goal, that was okay. Our third lesson yesterday, we followed up on the questions (She'd read!) and had a 40 minute lesson on baptism. We got her to commit to be baptized, but she wouldn't agree to the date our teacher told us to use. I ended up promising her that if she tried to be ready, she would be prepared. She said "We'll see" and we left it at that. We have our last lesson with her tomorrow.
Moving on, I saw Colton a couple days ago!
It's so weird to be in a place where maturity is measured in the number of weeks you've been here rather than how old you are. My Companion is Elder Howard from Salt Lake, although his family has some STRONG southern roots. "If the confederacy were to rise up again, I'd join them in a heartbeat" was something he said last night. He's a pretty shy guy, but very spiritual. I like him. We get along great and have a lot of the same views on the rules. Of our district of 7 Elders, we probably follow them the best. I'm glad I got an easy companion. I can only imagine what it would be like if he were some weirdo that didn't really want to be out here. That sick thing I had going on before I left? It got a little worse. My cough picked up and got more raspy, and I'm always tired, but it's okay! I'm doing great. For gym time Elder Howard is a cross country runner, so we run a mile every time, and increase it by .2 miles every day. It's tough, but I can keep up!
My nail clippers broke on the first time I tried to use them, so I had to buy some new ones. Getting a haircut here is almost impossible. The waitlist is over a week long, assuming you sign up early in the morning. The only mail I've gotten so far is from Grandpa Clark. Great letter! Thanks Grandpa! Letters are nice. A lot of guys here get the Dear Elder stuff. It comes really quick.
Our Sunday Fireside was with the missionary admin. director, Richard I Heaton. One of the best quotes was "With this new change, we know what we're expecting, but we don't really know what's going to happen. I mean, well... We really just don't know what's going to happen." The MTC changes in time take place starting in January. I've got 55 days left. Crazy thing: They're going to start making Elders senior companions at three months in the field. We started the meeting with Ye Elders of Israel. Dad, it was just as cool as you said it was.
Anyway, that's my week so far! We just got back from the temple and now my time is about to run out. I love all you guys! You're the greatest! Write me lots!
Elder Landon

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