Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another week closer to Mexico

Hey Fam!

This week has been awesome, Elder Wright and Elder Garderner (two Elders in my District that also share a room with my companion and I) were assigned to be the new Zone Leaders for our zone. The devotionals this week were also really interesting and I got to watch The Testaments on Sunday night. Its been a long time since I have seen that one so it was alot of fun to see it. This week was also pretty tough too. My sleep hasn't been too great because every night since I've gotten here I keep waking up randomly and its been hitting me hard this week. One of our "Role-Play" investigators was really hard to teach and it really pointed out how much further I need to go so I felt a little discouraged. But I got a letter from a friend that really reminded me to have a better attitude about my trials so I was very grateful for that.

Not a whole lot of new stuff happens here, but I am very excited that I only have about 5 more weeks until I leave for Mexico! Yesterday was my 4 week marker, its wierd to think that I have already been here for an entire month. I have talked to alot of people about sending pictures, but no one has been able to figure out a way because they make it so that we can't access alot of the computers functions, including My Computer. I have been taking alot of good photos though, the Provo temple is magnificent with the snowy mountains in the background.

Thank you so much for sending me a package! I've really missed Pizza Pringles since I've gotten here and the nut stuff and brownies are delicious, the Elders in my hall say thanks! And congratulations to the Twins on getting their Personal Progress award. I was so happy to get my Eagle Scout Award, it is very true that you enjoy achievements that you work hard for more than things that require less effort. That snow storm sounds crazy! and like a lot of fun, Im sad that I missed out on the power outage and board games.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and to learn and to grow. My testimony and my scriptural knowledge has grown so much and has made me an even happier person. I know that this Church has the fullness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is the true. My appreciation for the Book of Mormon is increasing exponentially as it has helped  comfort me and help me in my trials here.

This next week I will have to do something exciting so that I can write about it!

Con amor,

Elder Johns

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three weeks in the MTC

This week was great! Alot of the Elders on my floor and I are very grateful for the package that I got from Aunt Mary, she has some mad baking skills. The letter that came with it was really cute, if you could send me their address so I can write them back then that would be great (I couldn't find the address on the package). Also the girl that gave it to me at the mail post told me that Ryan said hi because she is in his ward.

The Sunday and Tuesday Devotionals are awesome here, the speakers are very motivating and have alot of good advice. They also usually have a musical performance before the speaker. There are some really good pianists here who can play amazing arrangements of church hymns. I just learned the melody to If You Could Hie to Kolob (my current favorite song) and I've been trying to compose my own arrangement for it in my sparse free time.

This week was a little sad because two of the Elders in our District, Elder Lamb and Elder Chadwick, transferred to the Peru MTC on Wednesday morning. American missionaries that go to the Peru MTC go to the Provo MTC for three weeks until they are transferred. I miss them alot, they were awesome and are great friends. I'm sure they are having an awesome time in Peru right now, I'm a little jealous.

Last night I was getting ready for bed and I ran into my friend Michael Neff from BYU. He's going to a mission in California Spanish speaking. He just got here yesterday and he is living on my floor. I don't think he is in my zone but he might be. It was alot of fun to run into him. Oh and I finally got some letters from my college friends last week. My FHE family wrote me to tell me that they miss their "dad" since I was one of the FHE group leaders. It made my day to get 10 letters all at once! My friend Miguel wrote one all in Spanish and I can read most of it.

Could you get Elder Howell's and Elder Paxman's mailing address? I forgot to mail them my address and I would like to send them a letter before I head out into the field in 6 weeks.

I've been taking pictures but I haven't figured out a way to get them onto the computer to send. I'll figure it out this week and send some pictures next week.

The classes have been really hard, mostly because they just seem sooooo long and I really don't like sitting in the same room for so long, but my teachers are fantastic and I am learning alot from them.

That snow storm you had sounds like a ton of fun! It hasn't really snowed here yet, thankfully. Hopefully it won't snow for the next 6 weeks until I leave for Mexico. I am already a third of the way done with the MTC! I love it here but I really want to be in Mexico.

I love you all and it was great to hear from you. I'll keep you in my prayers and write to you again in a week!

Con amor,

Elder Johns

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two weeks!

Hey family!

Its the two week mark! I finally feel like I'm in the right flow and I know what to do. My Spanish has been improving alot, but there are alot of grammatical things that I need to learn and remember. We've started to teach two more progressing investigators and one is native so he is harder to understand. This whole roleplay thing is kind of wierd at first because I know that they are just teachers, but it is really helping me to practice my spanish and teaching skills. I got my hair cut today by a nice girl named Hannah. Ryan should try and find her and date her.

This week I got to go to a devotional with Russel M. Nelson on Tuesday. It was pretty cool.

Oh yeah, when I ran into Michael Berman, my companion and I were taking an Elder in my District and his companion to the Surgery center. This Elder, Elder Wright, has been having some health issues for a week straight since we all got here, so he has gone to alot of doctors appointments in the last week to figure out what the problem was. I made a companion switch and went with him to some of the appointments so that his companion wouldn't miss too much class, and we were able to figure out what the problem was. I don't think he would want me to share all the details, but it wasn't very serious. The surgery was successful and hes recovering in the Clinic.

My companion and I are the only ones going to Tampico, Mexico in my District, but there are four others in another District, including my friend from BYU. They heard that someone who just got back from the Tampico Mission just got a job at the MTC so they are going to figure out where he works so we can ask him some questions. The other Elders in my District are either going to Bolivia or Columbia. The two that are going to Bolivia are transfering to the Peru MTC in a week so we are going to miss them alot. Our District has really come close and we are all good friends. I haven't heard anything about my Visa, I keep forgeting to go and ask about it.

I hope Abby is alright! That sounds really uncomfortable, it would be good if you could determine if it was an allergic reaction and then find out what could have caused it. And thats great about Dad's job, it sounds like Tableau is really successful.

That deposit amount sounds right, I only worked two and half days that week now that I think about it. I already have two pairs of shorts, but I forgot to pack my pink soap bar container if you want to slip that into a care package or something with some pizza pringles or some Pad Thai.

I hope all is going well for all of you, I want to hear how school is going for the kids. I love you and I will keep you in my prayers!

Con Amor,

Elder Johns

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It feels wierd that I have already been here a whole week. I'm glad to hear that Derek's Visa has been approved so he can go straight to the Brazil MTC, I saw a picture of it a few days ago and it looks great. I haven't heard anything about my Visa yet, but I can probably make some time to stop by the Travel Office to ask them if they know the status of my Visa.

I've learned a LOT of Spanish in the past week. Its getting a little easier to understand, but I'm going to have to start working alot harder to learn Spanish because I've already relearned most of the vocabulary that I learned in Spanish 3 a few years ago. We have started to say all of our prayers in Spanish and I bore my testimony in Spanish on Fast Sunday so I am getting alot better at expressing what I want to say in Spanish. My companion has come a long way too, which is nice because he can say sometings when we are teaching our progressing investigator. We've learned alot about teaching, but it is really hard to apply it when we have to talk in Spanish. Its good though because it really motivates us to keep working hard to learn how to teach in Spanish.

It sounds like you had a fun New Years Eve! Thats nice that you were able to get an Abbysitter so you could go to the party. I bet Colin had a lot of fun at his first New Years Eve dance, I remember that those were the best. Our district got together in the Residence Hall and had a mini New Years celebration at 10:00 because that meant it was New Years somewhere.

Its hard to be here, but I really enjoy learning and making good habits. I didn't know that I could be this productive or this organized, and I kind of like it haha. We get to go to the gym about everyday, and 4 square is the big thing here whihc is alot mroe intense than it sounds. Some of these guys have played it ever since they got here and they've got some crazy skills. I enjoy being the District Leader because they have leadership training and I have learned some good stuff in them. I also really enjoyed going to the temple this morning.

I hope all is well and I hope that Ryan made it to BYU alright! I love you all so much and I miss you alot!

Con Amor,

Elder Johns

First email from the MTC

Tanner in front of the Provo Temple just before he entered the MTC.
Tanner with his Grandpa and Grandma Anderson

Tanner with his cousin Kimball Anderson

On his way!
Dear family,

     They gave us three hours of personal time today so that we could write home and do laundry. Our P-Day is going to be on Thursdays, so you can expect me to respond to letters and your emails on Thursday. I miss all of you! I've only been here three days but it feels like I've been gone for a month. The days here feel very long because we have been doing so much everyday. The more experienced Elders keep telling my District and I that the days start to not feel so long after you make it to the first Sunday.

     I am loving it here so far! The first day was really hard because I was really tired from getting up for the flight to Salt Lake City and they really throw alot at you on your first day. I met my first companion, Elder Girot (pronounced kind of like churro), and he is really nice. He is from Springville, Utah, which is only like 10 minutes away from here. In our first class, the teacher would only talk to us in Spanish because we are an intermediate Spanish level District, he told us that we would be teaching our first discussion to an investigator all in Spanish on Friday.

     The past couple of days were really tough getting used to all the Spanish, learning, and schedule. We get up at 6:30 in the morning and are super busy until 10:30 at night. I amazed at how I have been able to keep up the fast pace here for the past couple days. It is getting easier each day as I get more used to the lifestyle and what is expected of me, and I know that the Lord is helping me because there is no way that I could do this on my own.

     Teaching the investigator in Spanish on Friday was very humbling because it showed how little my companion and I knew about teaching and how to express ourselves in Spanish. I guess that was the point. We taught him again today and we will be teaching the same investigator everyday almost for the next two weeks. Today went way better. My Spanish skills have really improved in just the few days I've been here. I can't wait to see how well I can talk in Spanish in 9 weeks.

     I was assigned as the District Leader of my District. We have 8 Elders in our district, but two are leaving in 3 weeks for the Peru MTC. I love the Elders in my District, they are all really nice and we all get along very well. They also all have a desire to work hard and improve and to follow all of the rules. I am very grateful for them.

     Tell Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lisa that I am very thankful for the package of treats they sent me! It really helped me to feel better when I was adjusting here. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to go to college and that I took Spanish 3 in Highs School because what I have learned has really helped me here. I'm not very good at writing emails like this so I apologize and I will hopefully improve as I write more. I love you all and I will keep you in my prayers. I hope you have a happy New Years!

Con Amor,
Elder Johns