|Repping WHS with his tie - saying good bye at Boston Logan Airport|
|Saying good bye|
|Last photo from the 'outside world' Thanks Aunt Tamela for picking up at the airport, lunch, etc.|
|The stuff that didn't fit in the suitcases|
P-Day is Friday so I get the special privilege of writing to you after only 48 hours! Here goes. My companion, Elder P____ (from San Bernadino area, CA) is a boss. We get along super well and while we have a lot in common, there are enough differences that we compliment each other nicely. Branch President Tyler told us last night as a District (11-E and 11-F) that all companionships are assigned through divine inspiration and that our strengths and weaknesses will mesh together to help us more adequately serve each other. So true! He struggles with the Spanish a little more than I do, as does the rest of the district, so I help them all out. Sorry - I have an hour to write but I'm frantically typing so there's no chance I waste any time. Be warned, I'm gonna be all over the place. P____ tore his ACL and meniscus his junior year (he's a year older) so we've decided we're bone brothers. The rest of the Elders in my district are the 5 that I share a room with: Elders P____ (going to Medellin, Colombia), and Elders V____, M____, G___, and B_____ (all going to Argentina Neuquen). Las hermanas in my district are all going to Neuquen as well. Yep, I STILL haven't met anyone going to Salta! Not to worry though. We all get along great and our teachers are way cool too.
OK, so my initial preconceptions of the MTC were that this place was basically gonna be a Spanish/Gospel prison. I was under the impression that everyone is SUPER strict and that we can't have any fun. Not true at all! I've basically been thrown in to the swing of things (I was technically 2 hours late) and left to find my way with my roommates and the Zone Leaders. hahaha that reminds me: Our ZLs are Elder K_____ and Elder B_____. Knighton literally is a Mormon Brendan Brooks. Same face; same stalwart leadership, yet really cool, personable, demeanor. Elder B____ is from Canada and actually looks EXACTLY like Justin Bieber, only with a missionary haircut. He doesn't act like him at all though. He has an Australian sounding accent and is way cool. Just remembered as well - Elder P____ reminds me slightly of Evan Callaghan in the way he looks and especially talks. Yeah so we have a strict schedule, which I'm gonna try and email you a pic of, that is actually way more helpful that restrictive. Other than that, we have a lot more freedom than I thought we'd have and there's really been no rule crazies or anything of the like. I think the best way to describe it would be to liken it to summer term at BYU, only I have to wake up and go to bed 6 hours earlier, and I have to attend a little bit more class.
It is awesome here! I'm just always happy and everyone is so friendly and nice. You can clearly tell everyone here is to do the work. The rest of our zone is made up of a room or two of Elders right next door to us that are mostly going to Mexico City or some other Mexican mission. They've all been here about 4 weeks, but I've developed a theory on that. 1 week in here is akin to about 1 year of wisdom and experience in the real world. Time just slows down to a crawl in terms of experience and knowledge gained. Ergo, these guys next door are seasoned veterans. They've been here only 3 more weeks, and its likely I'm even older than a couple of them, but MAN, do they know way more about the language and the MTC culture etc. than we do. Our room has probably asked them about 2000 questions the last few days and it makes me feel so young ahahha. Then i sit and think, and in about 3 weeks, Our room is going to be holding the hand of some new district and we'll be the seasoned veterans!
2 side notes: the toilet seats are phenomenal! They are perfectly contoured to the human figure and it makes for some amazing relaxation when we get some spare time. 2nd: "ay caramba! There are some hermanas muy bonitas here! This might be a weird perspective, but I think the sure beauty of some of these sisters is a testament to the reality of Satan and his hand in tempting missionaries. Elder Padgett and I will subtly communicate to each other when we see una hermana bonita in passing between buildings or in the lunch room, turn the other way so as to not make eye contact or even look upon such a beautiful daughter of God and be tempted, and then wallow in despair for a few seconds. It's especially hard when they are teachers, or even worse, an unmarried cashier in the bookstore. Tough stuff man, tough stuff. Anyways, tha'ts more of just a little running joke than an actual temptation, but it keeps us sane.
Some other stuff before I take off, and I apologize for hypocritically sending a super long letter. We get access to a legit fitness center 4 times a week that I can do pretty much any workout I like, which is a great added bonus. We are actually teaching a mock investigator tonight, in SPANISH. I'm not worried at all but everyone else in class is kinda freaking out. Tonight is gonna be way fun. Also, I was named district leader of both 11-E and 11-F last night. Technically, 11-F is just me and Sister Gonzales. We were the only two who tested into the intermediate Spanish over the phone. About half the district never called in though so they took a test yesterday and they might shuffle us around. Nobody knows when we'll find out about that though. In the meantime, I'm basically responsible for getting our mail everyday and not exactly sure what else. I'll find out soon enough.
|Me and Elder Padgett|
THANK YOU so much for the Dear Elders. Right after I got the calling, I got our first batch of letters and I had 5! Big shout out to the summer crew 22s! They made up 3 of the 5. I definitely felt bad cause some Elders didn't even get any, but at the same time, it was great to hear from you guys. Please write me on Dear Elder, even if it's just a few sentences. Mom - broadcast how to do that, especially to my Wellesley friends! Thanks!
Also, Mom - do you think you could put together a package with lots of stamps, a box of Cliff bars (dinner is at 4:40 so I get super hungry at night), my trusty khaki pants (I can't find them, I think they're somewhere at home. I also can't find my other long sleeve white shirt that I got, not the Nordstrom one), and if possible, a resistance pull-up band. Jesse Dimick will know what I'm talking about. You could also just search on Amazon for something like "CrossFit resistance pull-up band." That would be fantastic. I hope I didn't forget anything but I probably did. Ask me questions if you have them so I cover all my bases next week.
Also note that my address slightly changed when I got here. New one is:
Elder Isaac Blake
2007 N 900 E Unit 2
Provo UT 84602
I'll close with a spiritual thought. We sang the hymn "We Are All Enlisted" last night and it made me think of all my friends and family back home. Everyone is a missionary, whether a member or not. We all have control over our works and our countenances, which are tremendous influences on the people around us. Just because you might not have a name tag doesn't mean people aren't watching you or that you don't have the power to change someone's life. Be cheerful and happy, kind and courteous - ALWAYS!
I love you all so much,
PS - it STILL hasn't hit me that I'm a missionary hahah. Not sure it ever will (counting on that being a good thing).