Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arrived in Nashville

Dear Parents:

Just a short note to let you know your special missionaries made it to the waiting welcome arms of President and Sister McKee late yesterday afternoon.  All were happy to see and meet one another.  Your sons were also welcomed by other members of the McKee family along with the President’s assistants.  All came to the Mission Office where four of us senior missionary couples had the pleasure of meeting your fine young sons.

They were then taken to the Mission home and treated to a wonderful dinner, good conversation, and some needed laughter.  They were interviewed by the President and his wife, saw slides of Tennessee and had a short testimony meeting.  They spent the night at the Mission Home (I’m sure a lot more of getting to know you continued for a while with some goodies mixed in with the talking) Today, Tuesday the 28th, they were paired with their companions and started training for the days ahead of doing the Lord’s work. Mondays are Prep days so that is the day they will be able to contact you.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact President McKee or Sister McKee or any of us here at the Mission Office.  Know your sons are in good hands.

Sister Prudencio

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spanish with a Southern Drawl - Nashville Tennessee!

Tanner's Mexico Visa isn't ready, yet, so he has been temporarily re-assigned to the Tennessee, Nashville (Spanish Speaking) mission. He flies out on Monday morning. We were able to speak to him on the phone for a few minutes tonight and he is very excited about this new adventure!


Hey Fam!

I got my temporary assignment! I'm going to Nashville, Tennesee!!!!!! Thats not fair that President Tanner told you and ruined the suprise. That is cool that Grandpa Anderson served there. I am REALLY excited to go to Nashville although I don't know anything about it besides that it has alot of musical history. I have loved the MTC and the friends I have made here, but I am so ready to leave to go and work in the real world. I feel so ready but I know that I still have a lot to learn! Sadly I do not think I will be speaking Spanish in the Tennessee Nashville Mission, but I am not really worried about forgeting the Spanish I have learned. I am hoping that my Visa doesn't take too long for Mexico to approve. Oh and I get to call you tonight for 5 minutes because they gave me a reassignment. I will call tonight sometime around 9-9:30pm my time so 8-8:30 your time. I guess its not a huge deal since I can call you at the airport on Monday.

This week I got to be a host for the new missionaries that came in on Wednesday. I got to welcome them to the MTC, take a couple of them through the registration process, drop their stuff off in their room, get their materials, and take them to their classroom. The whole time I had to keep reassuring them and help them not to feel so nervous, which is hard because they just said goodbye to their families for two years. I remember my first couple days here, they were extremely difficult and I was more stressed than I have ever felt in my entire life. But now, just before I leave, I feel very at home here and I think I will miss it. I am confident that I will be able to adapt to the difficulties that will come from being out in the field and I am so excited to tackle them head on.

My biggest worry right now is that I am not sure if I can even teach the lessons in English, I've only taught them in Spanish from the first day I arrived here. I'll have to translate from Spanish to English in my head and then my sentences will come out wierd like "Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial" to "God is our Father Heavenly" or "Por medio de la Expiacion, podemos arrepentirnos y llegar a ser limpios de nuestros pecados" to "Through the Atonement, we can repent ourselves and come to be clean from our sins." Nah that probably won't happen (most of the time) but it will take some getting used to to teach in English.

That trip sounds like a lot of fun, I bet Abby really enjoyed the water slides! Flying kites on the beach sounds really fun, I haven't flown a kite in forever. Thats great that Kaitlyn and Kelsey got a semester at BYU-I separate and a semester together. I am really excited for them, they are going to love college! That Cavalia show sounds pretty awesome, I think I remember seeing the tent while I was in WA before I came here. You will have to get me her contact information and how I am related to here and if I am near here I can go and visit her. All I know is that I need to be at the travel office at 6:00AM and I think my flight leaves around 10:00 so I will be calling before then. Also, I am going to mail most of the letters that I have recieved at the MTC to you in a large envelope with some letters for my friends that I don't have their address.

I love you all so much and I can't wait to talk to you on the phone soon!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentines Day in the MTC

Happy Valentines Day!

I can't say that alot happened this week. We got a new District last Wednesday and one of the Elders, Elder Draper, is going to the Mexico Tampico Mission too. Unfortunately, the guy who just got back from the Tampico Mission that I talked to before my last email forgot about meeting up with Elder Girot and I. He was going to show us some pictures and I was going to ask him a bunch of questions, I hope that we can find another time to meet with him.

My Spanish is getting pretty good. I don't have to think very hard to say what I am trying to say anymore during the lessons and on our Speak Your Language days. I can't wait until I get to my mission and then I have to speak Spanish literally all of the time so that I can improve my Spanish even faster. Teaching the lessons has become alot easier now because I have been teaching them so much. It is fun to do the role-play investigator thing, but I really want to be teaching real people. I haven't heard anymore about my Visa, they've pretty much just told me to wait and if I get my travel plans then I have my visa and if I don't get my travel plans then I don't have my visa. We are supposed to be recieveing our travel plans within the next week.

My companion and I have become a lot better friends this week. We joke around with each other more and it feels more like we're friends instead of just companions. I'm really grateful that he is my companion and that I have had the opportunity to learn from him and with him while at the MTC.

I'm sorry to hear that alot of you weren't feeling well on Valentines day, but a heart shaped pizza sounds pretty cool. I felt a little homesick because I remembered that we would always have a fondue dinner on Valentines day. Thanks a lot for the package! It felt nice to get something on Valentines day, and now I have enough candy to last me for the rest of my mission! That is awesome that Colin did well on his talk, tell him to hurry up and write me back on DearElder. That is also awesome that he has started practice driving and Drivers ED, driving was really scary for me at first, and especially when I got my license and got to drive by myself. I was also glad to hear that Kaitlyn got into BYU-I as well as Kelsey! They are going to love it, College is the best. How has Abby been doing recently? Yeah Ryan sent me a quick letter telling me about how he volunteered as MTC investigator, too bad I didn't accidently run into him or get to teach him.

I can't think of anything that I need right now, I should have everything I need. I think I am going to hang on to the coat because I was told that it can actually get really cold in Tampico during the winter months. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me, I really enjoy being here and I always enjoy getting to hear from you all!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 6 in the MTC


This week my amigos that are going to Tampico (but are in another zone) found a teacher who just got back from the Mexico Tampico Mission 7 weeks ago. Elder Girot and I talked to him a few days ago for a while, and he told us alot about the different areas in the mission. He was an Assistant to the President for a while so he really knows alot about the mission, we looked on a map on the LDS website and he like literally gave us a little tour of the whole mission. He said there are about 9 zones in the mission, 5 are in Tampico city, and the others are spread out. He said that there is quite a bit of poverty and that the locals are very friendly. Elder Girot and I are going to meet up with him again on Saturday to see some pictures and ask him some more questions about the mission. Hearing some specifics about the mission are has really helped me to feel more excited and motiviated to learn as much as I can here at the MTC.

Elder Girot and I stopped by the travel office earlier this week because some of our friends who were supposed to leave for Mexico on Monday didn't recieve their visas in time and now have to do another week in the MTC while their temporary reassignment gets figured out. The lady at the office said that the office that approves visas in Mexico had been closed for like a month and so everything is supposedly really backed up down there. She told us that it is very unlikely that we have our visas and told us that we would know a week before we are supposed to leave. Even if I don't get my visa in time to leave for Mexico right away, I know that whatever happens will be what is supposed to happen. There is nothing I can do about it anyways so worrying about it wouldn't do me any good.

My companion, Elder Girot, is doing pretty well. We are pretty different in a lot of ways but he is very kind and easy to get along with. There is another companionship in our room, Elder Gardner and Elder Wright, and they are in my District and are the Zone Leaders. We get along really well, Elder Wright was at BYU this past Fall but he lived in Heritage Halls so I never met him. Our Zone has been getting new advanced Spanish Districts (which stay at the MTC for only 3 weeks) but we were the last intermediate Spanish District until this week. The new intermediate District has an Elder who is also going to Tampico so thats kinda cool.

The Spanish is coming along very well. There is this thing called "Subjunctive" and it used to drive me nuts. Subjunctive is basically whenever I am expressing judgement, emotion, doubt, or influence in a sentence, I need to do a different conjugation of the 2nd verb in the sentence. It is something that just takes a lot of thinking and practice to learn. I have been memorizing the triggers that always set up it up to be subjunctive so I am getting better at it.

Thanks so much for the package! I love the calendar, its nice to have a big picture of our family. The two cans of pizza pringles have also given me a lot of joy. That FHE sounds pretty fun, I bet the people without homes were very appreciative. That is awesome that Natalie Lambert is going on a mission and that she will be so cloase to Derek's mission! I am also happy to hear that Kelsey got into BYU-I from her letter, has Kaitlyn heard back yet? I love you all and I love hearing from you. I will keep you in my prayers and in my thoughts. Have a good week (and Valentines day)!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day

Hey !

This past week was fantastic and now I only have less than a month until I go to Mexico! Last week a District that was good friends with ours left for their mission areas. The night before they left at dinner, we all decided to eat an entire dispenser of Marshmellow Maties (same thing as Lucky Charms) before they had time to refill it. It ended up being like 57 bowls and there were about 20 of us, we all had sugar rushes and crashed soon afterwards.

Apparently it was the 50th anniversary of the MTC not too long ago, and they had a special Tuesday Devotional for it. There were rumors that someone big was going to be speaking so some of the Elders in my District and I got on the choir to ensure that we would have seats in the gym. So many people showed up to be in the choir that they had to turn a ton of people away because they can only fit so many people on the bleachers. Elder Nielson and Elder Holland ended up coming to speak that night and it was great to get to sing for them and to hear them talk. Elder Holland talked about how we need to honor our obligations as missionaries and Elder Nielson talked about some of the first missionaries of the church.

I am not the District Leader of our District anymore because they want more people to get some leadership experience before leaving the MTC. It feels wierd not having to worry about being a District Leader, but its also nice to have a break from the responsibility. I don't think I have told you all about Speak Your Language (SYL) days yet. We decide before the week starts which days are going to be SYL days and we only talk in Spanish on those days. At first it was hard when we started doing it about 3 weeks ago, but now it is kind of fun to not be able to use any English. It really helps you to see what you need more work on and it will get us used to speaking it all the time when we leave for our missions.

I am feeling alot better this week, my sleep has been improving alot and its really helping me to feel better during the day. I didn't have any sleeping problems before I got here, I guess my circadian rythem is still just having a hard time adjusting to a 10:30pm bedtime instead of 1:30am. I haven't heard anythign about my Visa yet, I keep forgetting to ask at the Travel Office.I am sorry to hear about Deputy Chapin, he was an a great guy. He came to one of my classes once in 11th grade and we got to ask him anything about Cops and tickets and stuff, it was very interesting and informative.

I am glad to hear that the S2 basketball team is still going strong and that Colin made a basket. I had a lot of fun when I played on the basketball team last year. I haven't really used my winter coat, it has been cold but my suitcoat is warm enough and the winter coat is too warm with the lining in. That is awesome that Kelsey did well with her song, I wish I could have heard it.

If you could send some Tylenol PM and possibly some Jolly ranchers with that package I would be quite thrilled and very thankful. Also, could you send a copy of my Line of Authority and a copy of my Mission Call letter? My mission call letter should be in the box that I put my jacket in.

Thank you all for your love and your support! It would be so hard to do this on my own. I love you all and I will keep you in my prayers!

Con amor,

Elder Johns