Saturday, November 10, 2012

Belgium Newscast with Missionaries

The following is a link to the news report that talks about our church.  He and his companion and the district leader (?) are in it.  It's in French so if you speak French you might understand what is being said.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween in Belgium - Week 2


It was great to get all of your emails this week.  I have a little bit more time now that i'm out of the MTC to do emails.  Elder Bequette is chill so we generally take an hour and a half or 2 hours to do email :) But things are going really well here... I'll just start to tell you what is going on. 

So we currently have about 6 progressing investigators and we are finding new ones everyday.  There is a man named Boris who is having troubles getting legality here in Belgium so he is having to go back and forth between Brussels and Liège.  He is super nice and he has been taught by the missionaries before us and we are still teaching him. But he is ready to be baptized, and he really wants to be baptized.  So he told us this week that he is going to have all the legality figured out on the 16 of Nov.  So he said he wants to be baptized the week after that. So we have 1 baptism coming up soon. :)  We have another guy we just taught the first lesson to this week, he was a referral from the other Liege companionship, and he is super interested and looks promising.  His name is Patrick and he is from Africa I think.  We also went knocking doors the other night and we had some pretty good success (of course got a lot of people not interested).  We actually have a couple Rendez-vous set up for this week with a family and a few other people.  So hopefully this family still wants to talk to us by the end of this week.  The mission goal is to baptize a family before Christmas.  So things are going well here. Hopefully going to see a couple of baptisms in my first transfers. 

Funny story (well I have a ton I could tell you), but we were porting last night and I told the guy that we were missionaries for the church.... yada yada.. and he was like, "Is this a joke?" haha and my comp just started laughing cause I didn't realize that I had spoken part English and part French. So the guy thought that we were crazy Americans and just told us to go away. LOL :) 

We have family home evening on Monday nights, and that is when we carved pumpkins.  This lady made us pumpkin soup and it was so good. I had like 4 bowls and it was awesome.  She is cooking again tonight... crossing my fingers for no fruit ;) But yeah its family home evening with all the single people in the branch.  So like pretty much all the old people.  None of the young people come. But its all good.  

Our apartment is on the 10th floor so we have a really good view of parts of the city.  I took some photos from the apartment and posted them to FB.  I am in process of uploading photos since I finally guessed the password to the Churchs wifi.  But I am going to be uploading a lot more tonight when we go there.  But yeah, Liège is supposedly known for its bridges. So that blue glowing thing in the photo is the bridge.  All of the main bridges that cross the large river light up at nightime and its pretty sweet.  There are a lot better pictures on the internet. But we are going shopping today after we do email and stuff.  Im holding off until soldes to buy anything expensive.  But i'm just looking for stuff to buy when soldes happen (Suits ;) ).

Its pretty cold here but I have my softshell that I put over my suitcoat and I do pretty well. It was like -4 degrees C the other night and it wasn't bad. The branch presidents wife gave me a scarf to wear, but im buying some today to use so im giving it back to her sometime.  But yeah, it rains a lot here and it just sucks... its kinda dark and dreary all the time, but we make our own fun.  Haha we love to speak english with a French accent.  We do it at every bus stop :)  

But yeah, things are going well here, sounds like everything is going well at home too.  Look for some more photos later on and what not. I wish I could explain all the photos and what its about, but i guess thats what stories are for ;)  Oh the massive space ship looking thing, that is the train station.  Its giant! Just if you were confused. 

Sorry if I forgot something, its hard to type really fast on the french keyboard, but i'm getting better.  Oh and a little surprise... for Christmas, we usually do a pretty long call home... none of that 40 min deal.  Elder Bequette likes to use up about 2 hours or so for phone calls home and so does the other Liège companionship.  So I should be able to skype for a few hours on Christmas :)



Monday, October 29, 2012

Woot Woot! We're In Belgium!

Bonjour Tout Le Monde,

Well, as you all know, we're in Belgium.  Its crazy here, as is all of Europe. But no, its going good and im liking it here. It wasnt very strange to be in Europe again since i've been here already.  Im typing on a French keyboard, so I can only type like 20 WPM. UGH!!! I hate the French keyboard.  Anyways, We got to Paris and we got picked up by the mission President and did all that dealio stuff.... And then we went out to eat with them and stuff... And then we slept at the mission home for a night until transfer day. We woke up in the morning and went into Paris.  I got to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and walk around the streets of Paris for a while.  Then we went down to the church in downtown Paris and met up with our trainers.  I'm with Elder Bequette and he is super awesome!  We are both super chill and get along really well. He is from Maryland but he speaks French really well.  He is the reason I've survived my last few days here.  But we are assigned to Liege, Belgium.  Liege is one of the larger cities here.  There are 2 companionships here and we are Liege 1.  We actually went today for PDay, to the Battle of the Bulge area with a member from Liege 2.  He took us to see a bunch of the stuff from WW2 and it was sweet.  Its nice to finally be out in the real world and doing real missionary work.  Here, we have about 8 Investigators and they just had a couple baptisms the weekend before I got here.  But I got to stand in on the confirmation for a man named Dora this Sunday.  But the mission as a whole had 32 baptisms the week before I got here.  They say things are on fire right now in Europe. They say its probably the best time to come into the mission.  But Its going good here in Liege.  IT IS FREEZING. Haha its really cold.  Lots of humidity and so the cold gets colder.  It rained here the first 2 days I was here, so thank you so much for the umbrella Miss Shanna, saved my life.  But yeah we had church yesterday and its a fairly large branch.  I'm in the process of uploading photos still. I havent been able to find wifi when I have time to send stuff.  But I have some pretty cool photos :)
So comps train was late when he came to paris to pick me up, so when they announced who people were with and where people were going, I was all alone and dubbed "The Orphan"  Haha but he showed up some time later and it was all good.  We caught a train from Paris to Liege and its about a 2 hour train ride.  It was cool to see all the countryside of France and Belgium with the sunset.  We got here at about 9 pm.  The next day we just got started on the daily routine and here I am.  I am surprised at how much I can actually understand and speak.  My comp said that people were surprised at how well I spoke for only being here a couple days.  I still dont think I speak that well, but its coming pretty fast.  Its just super weird to walk out your door and just hear French everywhere.  Actually the Belge have a different accent and its sometimes hard to understand.  But the member that took us to the Battle of the Bulge place today was from France and I could understand him a lot better.  The real French speak faster, but its easier to understand.  But yeah, my trainer thinks I'll be able to understand most of the stuff happening after my first transfer, and I hope he's right.

Overall its good to be back in Europe and I love the culture here.  Everyone is nice here and I havent had any super mean people talk to me yet, lol.  We dont have a car but thats ok.  There is a pretty good bus system in Liege so that is nice.  We also have a big train station, so we take the train a lot (photos on the way).  Since Liege is fairly big, we have a GIANT shopping mall :) Its like 4 stories tall :)  and my comp says theres a ton of stores for suits, he needs one too, so we are waiting til soldes (sales in January) to pick some up.  But yeah, doing well.

Oh and I guess packages are fairly expensive to mail here... Comp got a package from parents that costed 70 bucks.. so maybe a flat rate international if you plan to mail something.  But yeah, doing well here, I wish that I could type faster so i could type more.  I'll try to improve my french keyboard skills.

PS - Thanks for all the stuff you gave me at the airport, it was so nice to read all the letters and stuff on the plane.  I ate some of the stuff but loved the "green" theme :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Last Week at MTC

Hi Everyone! 

Well, its been a long (but seemingly short) journey here at the MTC.  I am super glad that I will be leaving this place and moving on to France.  Thank you everyone who wrote me letters over the weekend. I got about 9 letters total :) Thank you especially to both the Grandparents for sending me a letter! :) I loved each letter and they made me smile :)  

As you know, nothing too special happened again this week, but things are starting to calm down.  The teachers are getting more laxed and we are starting to get stuff ready to go for the long haul to Paris.  Its crazy how fast the time goes here, and i've been told that it goes even faster once you are in the field, so I guess we'll see.   

I'll be leaving the MTC at 1:30 PM for the airport with a scheduled flight from SLC to Paris (direct) leaving here at 4:50 PM.  I'm going to try to call most of you that I can.  Since mom and dad will be there, we may even be able to Facetime and you can talk to me then.  If not, I'm sorry, I wish that I could call everyone and talk to you, but they dont give us that much time.  I will be Skyping from France on Christmas, so make sure you're at my house or wherever so you can talk to me then.  I am sending a tape home this week for you guys to listen to, and yes it will have a lot of French on it (spoken) but you cant make fun of my crappy accent, ok? Deal.  

I'll be arriving in France at 11:00 AM their time (so like 4 AM here).  I am going to be snapping a ton of photos and will be posting most of them to Facebook once I have the chance so that everyone can see them.  I'll be uploading the same ones to my SkyDrive (for higher resolution) and you can access them from there, mom, if you want to use them somewhere else.  I can only email 6 photos at a time, so its faster to just upload as many as I want (at a time) to FB and then do a back-up to the SkyDrive (9 photos at a time, with high-res).  So look for some photos hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I'll be emailing you my address once I figure that stuff out and you guys can email me back or write me a letter or whatever you want to do.  

Other than that, nothing else too exciting going on here.  Still learning French and practicing it.  It will start to improve once I get in country and what not.   Glad to hear Dad's ankle is getting better really fast.  I hope you are still taking care of my Macbook as well as I did. No scratches, please!  

Yeah, just excited to get out of prison.  Looking forward to some casual Fall golf with members maybe? IDK, we'll see :) Hopefully someone there likes to play golf. Its time to get out and do something fun.  

Anyways, let me know if you want any other specific info before I go.  Last time I will be able to use the computer will be Thursday or Friday. ;) 

Love, Jason


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Missionary Announcement - Same Old MTC


Another week has come and gone. Time warp at the MTC has really taken hold and I'm assuming its only going to get faster once I hit the field... hopefully someone can confirm that. Nothing really exciting happened this week in my everyday life, but conference was a shocker, as many of you indicated in DearElders. We got to watch conference in the big devotional room in 19M and it was cool to watch it among all the missionaries.  When Pres Monson announced the new age limit, everyone in the audience went crazy.  The MTC Presidency didn't look shocked, assuming they already knew about this.  I could hear all the Sisters being like.... "Seriously? I could be home right now.." haha I was just laughing. I'm just glad that I wasn't born a year earlier, cause I would not have been ready for this a year ago.  Its exciting to hear that Michael and Hillary are putting their papers in asap and Syd is still contemplating...  

Some inside info from the MTC... they are starting to build some new buildings here, and renovating some.  We found out that since the Hong Kong treaty thingy is going to be up soon, China will either have to give Hong Kong up, or adopt their system, making it possible for missionaries to enter into China. So, supposedly, anyone from US going to china will be coming here, and they are supposedly getting ready to build a China MTC. Just the word on the street at the MTC. 

It was exciting to hear the new change and it opens the door for all the younger guys and girls.  Girls that leave now will still beat me home... which isn't cool... haha.  Overall, conference was pretty good.  That was probably the first time I have ever sat down and watched all 5 sessions actually paying attention. LOL ;)  But it was good. Saturday was probably the best of the days. I really enjoyed the priesthood session talks and the morning session. 

Today, we switched things up for P-day and it was really nice.  We got up at 6:30... then hung out with the district just chilling til like 7:20 ish. Then we got ready, ate breakfast, and went to the temple.  We decided not to do a  normal session and we did sealing today.  That was really really cool.  We got to be witnesses and children and it was awesome! I like it way more than a normal session :P  It is way shorter too! We got done an hour and a half earlier than the rest of the district so we got our laundry done and ate by the time they got back :) Then we took a 2 and a half hour nap :) so we're pretty happy right now. :)  

Language is still coming along, we have learned pretty much everything there is to know about the grammar, just mastering vocabulary and practicing.  Its crazy to think that the new missionaries coming in after January are going to have a 6 week language program! I would die if I had to leave a few weeks ago! I kinda want a native companion at first, but it is scary to think that I wouldn't be able to communicate for like 6 weeks... that would be hard. 

I accidentally sent the wrong video to you guys, haha.  The mic is located on the top of the camera and I put my finger over the mic on that video. The other one I didn't... sorry. But look forward to more videos when I get in France. Cause videos are always cool.   

But yeah, I also started packing my stuff up today and figuring out what I need and what I dont.  I finally tried on my UA stuff and found out that the pants dont work, so i'm sending those home.  Will you send me back the ones that are in my room that I set aside? Those ones fit me better and will be warmer. I guess I really didn't have that much stuff, just a lot of food... once I started digging through everything, my suitcase got a lot less packed and had more room after I took the food out.  These next 2 weeks are going to be a party in the residence. I have so much food and dr pepper left!  

I was thinking about sending the phone home, but you sounded like you didn't want to see  me in the airport?? Quote, "I'm worried that we may not see you in the airport..."  Really? Ouch.  HAHA, but seriously, you can't ditch out on me after you said you were going to be there.  I haven't told anyone and I'm holding up my end of the bargain, whats up with your end? Have you received my travel plans yet? I should be getting mine in a few days, so hopefully I can see what gate I will be at and what not and let you know. You better be there early too, cause I want to see you guys the whole time I can.. I dont want to be sitting at the gate, waiting, and finally see you 10 min before I have to board, how lame would that be?  I'll just keep the cell phone in case something goes wrong, just make sure you can activate it if I miss you or something. 

Nathan Merrill - Sorry man, I dont have MW3. I wish that I did! We'll be sure to play the latest and greatest when I get home! Thanks for sending me a DearElder! :) Look forward to some Parisian ties! :) :) :)  

Not sure what else to say... Same old same old at the MTC.... hasn't changed since I got here.  

Send me an email if I forgot something...

Love, Jason

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Residence Hall-BC Temple Dedication


So been a crazy week.... We were told on Sunday that we would be moving to a different residence hall on Thursday and then the ZL's came into our rooms today and said you have to be out of here by lights out tonight.... So we have like an hour to get packed and in the other residence hall before lights out tonight. What a mess and poor organization. Not impressed with our Branch Presidency. Anyways, other than that its been ok I guess.  Just a lot of stress with teaching 3 "investigators" and learning the language. I've really started to dig into the grammar and am learning all the tenses so that I dont have to talk in the present or past all the time.  But the language is coming, hopefully it will be easier as time goes on.

Last week was hard sitting in class knowing that Homecoming was going on. I could look at my watch and know exactly what was going on at home and it was awful.  But then our teacher Brother Smith (the one who just got back from France) made the weekend super fun and we talked a lot about things to do in France and he wore his French suit to class and told me where to pick one up.  Wow, those suits look awesome. Just gonna tell you now... I'm gonna pick up a couple when I get there :) Gonna start showing some real class.   

We had our whole district switched around this week, as part of the halfway mark.  Elder Ellis got put in as the new district leader (he is the one that loves apple, actually worked for apple before he came here) and I was happy about that.  He is this super fun person to be around and always liked to talk about Apple stuff and what not... sorta a friend.

Anyways, I've started to pull the "Jake" attitude out... I just laugh at a lot of things and try to be happy.  Me and my comp are doing pretty good at it. Us and another companionship (Elder Olsen & Elder Grant) are always together and laughing.

As for the camera... I'm not exactly positive what you meant by sending to multiple people all the time and not posting to FB??? I can send up to like 6 photos through email to 5 people.  But I can post as many photos at one time to FB as I want (much more convenient). I can also upload to my SkyDrive through Hotmail, so it saves a copy there as well.  I will probably backup all my photos through there as well.  

Uhm yeah, so for questions asked this week.... The kid standing with us in the map photo is Elder Brett Salisbury. He went to Logan High and he is going to the Tempe, Arizona misson.  The tall, dark kid standing with me in the hallway is Elder Brad Bennett.  He left for the Lyon, France mission about 3 weeks ago. He was in my French class for all 4 years and he was in my Zone. Crazy right?  My comp (Elder Randy Wright) is the one with the glasses on that I stood next to at the temple. He is going to Montreal, so he didn't come with us to San Fran. The other person I am standing next to at the temple is Elder Remmington Schultz.  Schultz is the one that golfed for BYU Hawaii and he is going to Paris as well.   

It sounds like Homecoming week was a success! We won the football game and, of course, Shanna's routine was the best.  I knew it would be!  And it sounds like she had a ton of fun on her day date, I wish I could go bungee jumping! Lucky! But the stepping in thorns doesn't sound so fun. Be careful! I wish I could have been there though! It was so much fun to go back to homecoming last year and I really wanted to be there this year. :( Oh well... I guess I'll have to wait a while.  

Oh and yes, we did get to watch the Brigham City Temple dedication. We went to the 3 PM time slot and it was pretty cool.. It was hard to see the places that we all walked together, brought back some homesickness, but its aight. I'm getting excited to get to France. I love hearing the stories from Bro. Smith. He is probably one of the coolest guys ever. Every time he tells a story it just makes me want to go to France. BTW, we are officially counting down with the word 3 weeks now. 3 weeks and 6 days exactly, which is crazy.... i'm gonna suck with the language for a little bit.

I went to the Travel Office today to ask about my International Driver's License... They said that France or Belgium doesn't require a IDL... just need your Utah drivers license.  If this isn't right, I can go talk to them again, or I can send you photos with signatures on the back. But thats just what they said... Oh and did you want me to give them a copy of my FBI clearance? Or did you already send that in? The sticky note on the copy said to give them a copy... and I was a little confused. 

If I left anything out, send me a quick reminder and I will look at it tomorrow.  

Love, Jason 

P.S. - Tell Alyssa Happy 16th Birthday! I wish I could be there to eat cake with you (make sure Shanna doesn't put a cup of salt in again). Hehe JK! :) You make the best cakes! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

San Francisco Trip!!

Bonjour Mes Amis! 

La samaine passe ete tres tres cool.  Le voyage a San Francisco ete le point fort de la samaine.  Il ete super cool regarder les tours dans la ville et les rues escarpe.  Je souhaite que vous auriez ete la avec moi.  Nous avons eu une experience fantastique! Nous avons vu le pont de Golden Gate et le Wharf.  Il ete tres cool regarder les expressions de les gens quand nous leur sommes passe.  Les gens n'ont regarde pas a notre visages, mais ils ont regarde a nos plaques.  Lorsque nous somes passe la ville chinois, nous tendions comme un pouce endolori.  Mais, vous ne comprenez pas probablement mes paroles en francais, alors je vais ecrire en Anglais pour vous.  

Well there you have it, some real French in an email. Hopefully google will do a good job for you guys, it usually messes it all up. 

This week was actually pretty cool, despite the fact that we had to return to the MTC.  The trip to San Fran was amazing and I would have to say its the best day at the MTC yet (cause we weren't at the MTC!) haha.  But I guess i'll just do the run through of the trip for you guys, it was quite a busy day, but we had tons of fun! 

So we woke up at 3 am and had to be at the travel office by 3:30 am, which was super early.  There were 11 of us who went, 3 from our district and 8 from the district down the hall, the district with Jason Ollverson in it (guy from Smithfield). Elder Barr was the team leader, since his name came before mine! (whew!).  We boarded a white school bus and we left the MTC (glorious sight!).   It took us about an hour to get to the airport and once we got there, we divided up the passports and went and got our boarding passes.  Security was deserted, as it should be at 4 am, but it was a whole new ball game going through security with so many layers and clothes on, definitely easier in street clothes.  We got to our terminal with about an hour til we boarded, so we conveniently watched some morning news, he he he :) I got to see what was happening in the world and it was good to watch some TV.  Anyways, we boarded our flight and went off to San Fran. We got in San Fran at about 7:20 ish and we had to call our driver to come pick us up. He told us to meet him at Courtyard 1, which there are no signs that guide you to it, and the MTC directions were off by a mile. We finally found courtyard 1 and he was there so we hopped in. Our driver is from the Phillipines and moved here when he was younger. Really really nice guy, he was super helpful all day long. It only took about 30 min to drive from the airport to downtown San Fran, and the first stop light we hit, we realized that we had a flat tire. So we all had to get out, the driver pulled over on the left side of the road (idk why) so we had to j-walk on the railway tracks on hop on the platform where you get off the trolley things (eventful start to a trip, sounds about right).  We walked down to the corner and stopped at a corner breakfast thing (similar to einsteins or something) and we had REAL food, it was amazing.  As we were walking back, some guy ran off the train (he had to be crazy or drunk) and was like "I know ya'll, ya'll are the Jehovah's Witnesses!"  We were like, "Nope!" and he was like "Dont tell me, the Mormons!"  haha it was really funny, the first hour in San Fran and we had already been called Jehovah's Witnesses.  Anyways, the driver couldn't get the tire fixed in time to get us to the consulate in time, so he hailed down 3 taxis for us (first time in a taxi) and sent us on our way while he fixed it. so we got to the consulate, and we walked in through the security thing and sat down. Our appointments started at 9 and went til 10:30. Well... we were done within a half hour with everyone. So we walked out of the consulate at around 9:40 ish. Our flight out of San Fran isn't until 4:30 pm. So we had about 6 hours to kill (Suhweeet). So we began our journey walking through the famous square that has all the expensive shops (Gucci, etc.) and Elder Schultz was having a hard time restraining himself ( he wears stuff like that).  so we walked through there for a bit and took some photos. Then we started out trek towards China Town which was about 5 blocks away. We got to China Town, and its pretty nasty, people hanging up halves of pigs and fish everywhere. We stuck out like sore thumbs though, you wouldn't believe how much people looked at us, I thought it was funny.  So we walked through Chinatown and headed down to the Wharf, we passed Lombard Street and I took a quick photo. We took a bunch of photos with Alcatraz in the background and then we went and ate at Boudin (bread shop on the warf) I had a good italien sub, but it wasn't as good as real european bread.  When we were standing in line, a guy walked right next to me (seriously a foot away) and stared at my nametag for at least 15 seconds. It was so funny, just the look on his face. Like, "Who are these guys in suits, and what does that say ?(its in French remember)" And one of the Elders always was like "how are you today?" when people looked at his tag, and it was weird, they were surprised that he could talk, hahaha they would just run away. so after we ate at Boudin, we trekked our way to Golden Gate (we calculated that we walked about 6 miles in the day total).  We started walking to golden gate and got about halfway when Elder Barr ( team leader with phone) finally realized that our driver had been calling us... haha not the brightest leader, but oh well.  Our driver had been waiting at the Consulate for the past 3 hours for us to come out. So we told him we were halfway to Golden Gate and he was like "Woah, you guys can really walk" ahah so he was really chill.  He came and picked us up and took us to the Golden Gate parking lot where we got out for a couple minutes and took some more photos. There was a Russian woman there and she asked "So is there a conference going on in San Fran today?" ( at the sight of 11 people in suits) and we were like "No, we're missionaries for the LDS church" She was like, "Oh cool...." and she walked away. hahaha it was funny.  But yeah, we just took some photos and got back in the van to go back to the airport, we got to the airport at about 3:15 so we had some time to kill, most of us fell asleep and the rest of us sent out postcards (sorry mom, I sent it to Shanna :) hehe). While we were waiting a couple of people came up to us and were like, "coming or going?" we were like, "Staying?" haha they felt bad that we had to go back to the MTC, as did we :( But yeah, so we got on the plane and I sat next to Elder Barr, I guess this was his first time on an airliner, wow... so he was asking it the food tray was for you to sleep on... I was like... nope, you put your food on it. It was really funny. But we arrived back in SLC and were planning on calling you guys, but our driver was already waiting for us, so we didn't get the chance. We did snag some Cafe Rio though :) and it was amazing. We ate it when we got back to the MTC (around 9 pm) and people were like "WHAT??? Where did you get that!!???" so we felt pretty special. But the cooler story is that while in line for it at SLC airport, a lady came up to us and was like, "Are you missionaries all together?" we replied, "yeah..." She handed us a $100 bill and told us that dinner was on her. We told her we couldn't accept money, so she got mad and shoved it in our pocket... We told her thank you so much and told her to wait so we could get her change... but she just ran away leaving us with $10 in change, we gave it to fast offerings.  But yeah it was an awesome trip, It was soooooo nice to get out of jail and back in the world. We stopped and listened to some Techno by a street performer in San Fran and it was sooo nice to hear real music (we cant have ANY music in the MTC now). 

But yeah, it was really fun, we had a blast (the other district is way more chill than our district). So I try and hang out with them when we go on Temple walks and stuff.  

Did you get the photo that had my flight itinerary on it? It was in our visa papers, so we knew when we would be leaving.  October 22nd at 5 pm.  The direct flight from SLC to Paris ( thats going to be a long long long flight....).  I'll probably be making a couple calls around 3 ish, hopefully, so make plans to answer cause I want someone to talk to.  

I'm going to be sending the other camera back this week, along with the voice recording all of us did. Make sure everyone has a chance to hear it and that everyone can respond.  Nothing too important on there, just us being lame at the MTC. hahaha... I'll be sending a couple more miscellaneous items within the package: check from Dr Nilson that i need in my bank account, camera, Nathan Merrills clothes that trev accidentally sent, and the really old camera that I wont need. I'll be uploading a couple more photos to FB and emailing to you guys, make sure that you forward them to other people that want to see them too. Also, I need my checks cashed from cleaning and that stuff if you already havent done that. I didn't see anything when I logged into my Zions account, but idk. I'm also sending thank you cards to Gerzewski's and to Dr Nilson, maybe you can drop it off at their house or something... I would appreciate it ( either that or email me their address).  

Anyways, we're learning a lot of French and starting to get a grasp on it (as you can tell from the first paragraph).  We can start to form our own sentences without having a script during our lessons. Something funny that happened this week, during TRC, Elder Ellis asked a woman "how do you feel about death" instead of "How do you feel God's love" hahah and he pointed to his chest and said heart. She was like, "I'm still alive" as she felt her pulse. It was really really funny, they were like "Omg no thats not what we meant" hahahaha. 

I woke up feeling pretty crappy. I only got about 4 hours of sleep and I woke up at 2 am and coulnd't fall back to sleep.  Just feel really tired at achy. Hopefully it will go away later in the week, but we'll see.  I also got my haircut today, which was quite the experience. The ladies there don't have souls. I walk in and she's like.. sit here. So i sat in the chair. She asks, how short do you want it. and i was like 3 with a comb on the sides and not too short on the top. she instantly grabs the buzzer and goes to town... I lost all my hair in under 7 minutes, but I was slightly impressed at how it was after. I was expecting some weird shape all over my head, but it wasn't bad.  Definitely give a 2 thumbs up for Natalie though, she still rocks at haircuts, wish she was still cutting my hair.  But yeah, the lady didn't say a word during the whole haircut and got mad at me for having gel in my hair.  hahahaa i just laughed as was thinking "Must not be any style in the MTC..." which there isn't.   

All in all it was a pretty good week, definitely wish I was out of here, but I still got 4 weeks and 6 days to go :( 

I hope you are all doing well! I love to hear from you, especially DearElders at night, they make me smile so much! Definitely the highlight of the day.  Loralee, I hope you are already starting to plan the Europe trip, cause I'm going to be spotting out all the cool places to go while in France. Definitely going to be sick :)  

Thanks everyone! Hopefully i'll here from you soon!


PS - Congratulations Arica! I wish I was there to hold the baby girl! I guess i'll have to wait for 2 years :( 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Early Mornings and French Name Session

Bonjour Tout le Monde! 

I am officially considered to be 3 weeks through the MTC now. They count the first Wed-Sat as a full week. So I only have 6 more weeks in jail! he he he. This past week has gone by super fast, so i'm guessing that the next 6 weeks are going to fly! Thanks everyone for the letters this week! Its always the highlight of my day when I get letters before I go to bed! Its nice to hear how the outsid world is going and how everyone is doing.  

This week, we are pretty much doing the same things as last week.  We are still teaching our "investigators" which are our teachers.  Its getting easier to teach in French now, but everything has to be pretty much written down (ie questions, some reponses).  We are trying to move away from scripted lessons though. Our last lesson only had keywords written down, so we pretty much had to come up with sentences on the fly.  The hardest part is finding the correct verb or adjective to describe how we do something or what we believe in, but the more we practice, the easier it becomes.  We all still have thick American accents when we speak French, but a resource teacher stopped by for about an hour to help us with our pronunciation and what not, which was really helpful.  Our teacher is still the coolest though, he is teaching us the hard stuff before we are supposed to learn it so that we are already familiar with it and dont struggle with it the last 3 weeks before we leave.  I'm probably not going to include some French on this email, but maybe on the next one. (still not that good haha).   

During breakfast last week, I got pancakes and when I was sitting down to eat, I forgot to pull my tie back and it landed in the syrup! I was so mad! It was the blue/green/silver one that Shanna gave to me and I was pissed. I was freaking out and I quickly ran it to the ER (dry cleaner).  They got everything out and I picked it up today (no stain!). It was so nice to be re-united with my favorite tie haha.

Elder Ellis is on a singing spree this week, and he is constantly singing like Michael Buble (however you spell his name). He turns whatever he is going to say into a song and its funny, really annoying sometimes, but mostly funny.   

We went on our Temple walk on Sunday and were able to take a bunch of photos. I got one of everything you requested, Mom. I'll be sending everyone a copy once the Wi-Fi camera arrives!  I'm also going to be taking a bunch of photos on the San Fran trip in 2 days (how amazing it will be to get out of here).  Brad Bennett was in my zone (he left yesterday for Lyon, France) and he told me everything about the San Fran trip.  We are scheduled to depart at 3:30 AM! which is crazy, but we aren't supposed to come back home til 9 PM?? so I guess we will have a lot of free time, or thats the only flight to San Fran on Thursday?  He said that he left at 8 AM from the MTC and he had about 3 hours of free time downdown San Fran where they got to eat lunch and walk around.  I'm guessing that we are going to have a little bit more time than that since we are leaving so early.  Thus, I will be taking a lot of photos to share.  He said that is seriously takes about a half hour to get through the Consolate. He said you walk in with your packet, hand it to them, get your picture and fingerprints taken, and then walk out the door (which is why you have so much free time).  We only have 3 from our district going since the other 2 going to Paris already have their visa's.  But there are ( I think) about 10 more going at the same time, including the Jason Oliverson (not sure how to spell it).  He's in my zone and I see him a lot.  Talk about craziness here, I have been here for 3 weeks and didn't even realize that a girl in our zone is actually one of LHS's Seminary Teacher's daughter, Sister Stapely.  She came in to our classroom yesterday before her departure to Paris and asked about someone I didn't know. She asked where I was from and I said Logan. She was like, did you go to LHS? I said yeah, and she told me her dad was the seminary teacher. I never had him but I know that Shanna did and Shanna told me about her at the end of last school year and I had completely forgot. So Shanna, you will have to go talk to Bro. Stapely and tell him that I talked to his daughter and was in her zone.  She also gave us the coveted Zone Cushions for the classroom chairs. Its a tradition to pass down the Zone Cushions to the next "Generation" in the same mission. So my companion and I have to hide them whenever we leave the classroom, otherwise they get stolen.  Our zone just got cut in half this past week. We had about 100 people in our zone (one of the largest) and 45 of them left yesterday and today.  Crazy! Sacrament meeting and what not is going to be so quiet and boring now.  But we are scheduled to get another supply of 50 missionaries on the 3rd of October.  so my chances of getting selected to speak in church (IN FRENCH) just got a whole lot bigger.  They just tell you what the topic is for sunday and then you prepare a talk, then they simply annouce over the pulpit, after the sacrament, who is going to be speaking (talk about nerve racking).   

I've pretty much seen all of my friends here now. I sat with Gil throughout the entire sunday night movie and talked to him.  He is doing a lot better now that his companion has gone (not sure how he got paired with someone leaving so early).  He didn't like his companion at all (strict rule follower) so he is super happy he's gone, haha.  I'm just glad that my comp is so chill, I wouldn't have survived if I had a super rule follower.  I see Scotty G almost everyday, our lunches are the same and I usually sit close to him during devotionals and firesides.  Brady has officially left the MTC and is off to Mexico, as of last week.  We did get a photo with everyone standing in front of the map pointing to their missions that I will send with the wifi camera, but Gil already sent one home, so ask Tanlee for it, his comp did a better job at getting a good shot and with a nicer camera.  Mckay Tuttle has the exact same Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner time as me, so we usually sit together. Its crazy though, he leaves in a week since he is going to Oregon (so not fair).  Kade Lundberg got here this past week and I saw him being escorted through the MTC on his first day and went up and gave him a hug and talked to him.  I told him that if he's freaking out right now, its normal. He said he was, so I said, just hold out til monday or tuesday and it gets way better.   Thats what everyone told me and I didn't believe them at all, but I could not believe how true it really is.  Just takes a couple days getting used to the scheduling.  I am fully adapted to the 6:30 am waking up time, I cant believe how much less tired you are during the day if you wake up early and go to bed early (yeah shocking to come from me).  I usually try to crawl in bed before 10 PM, if possible, and I read your letters from 9:30 to 10 ( thats when we get mail).  But yeah, i'll probably stick on this schedule once I get home, but it just depends.  I found a good way to make things seem like they are going faster.  There is only 52 weeks in a year, so there are 104 weeks in 2 years.  Thats 104 p-days (if you stay for exactly 2 years).  So i've already had 3, so only about a 100 left (give 1 or take 3-5).  So thats how i'm surviving the 2 year concept. Counting in weeks :)   

Its crazy to think that Jake has already been out for about 10 months! It helps me to realize how fast time can really go when you dont get caught up in the time concept.  It sounds like he is doing good in Denmark and he gets to train the new guys from the MTC.  Our teacher said that he got paired up with French natives as his first two companions, which would be really hard.  He said it sucked at first cause he couldn't communicate with them, but it helped him learn French so much faster and better.  I'm hoping that I get a non-native as my fist companion and then native for my 2nd and 3rd, but we'll see.  The language is coming along fairly well, just getting used to speaking in French more often, and its creeping its way into my english (which makes you sound retarded sometimes).  You start substituting Je for I, and, et for and.  

Oh I almost forgot... We went to the Temple today for our P-day and our whole district always goes.  We started getting our names for endowments and we all looked at each other after we got our names and were like, no way... All the people we were doing it for were from France and they were all French names.  We got all kinds of people from France that lived there during 1725-1760 ish.  It was pretty cool cause we could all pronounce them correctly, but the Temple workers couldn't. haha so that was pretty cool, the French district got French people in the temple (coincidence? I think not...).  But yeah, it was pretty awesome. We've figured out the MTC system so we go to 1 session earlier before the rest of the zone so when we get done with the Temple we are 30 min ahead of the rest of the zone for laundry.  It was awful for the first 2 p-days with 100 people trying to do all their laundry in under an hour with only 50 washers.  So we go earlier and there are open washers everywhere! No waiting! :)  And we've also figured out that if you get up at 6:19  and run for the showers, you get the best showers on the floor before everyone waking up at 6:20. Its funny when they walk in and are like "Ahhh man, I even got up at 6:20!!!"  hahahaha I just laugh and turn the water temp up some more :)  

I have to say though that the MTC is pretty nasty.  Its not clean at all and I advise everyone to wear flip flops at all times that they are in the bathroom or in the residence halls.  I never step barefoot anywhere cause its flat out nasty.  We are in charge of cleaning most of the building on Saturday mornings (split responsibilties with another district) and there isn't much cleaning going on.  I cant wait til I can get to Paris and really do a deep clean on my apartment (Hazmat suit and all) so that I dont have to worry about no clean surfaces.  I had a little faith restored in the cleanliness this week as some official cleaners came in today to do a deep clean on empty rooms.  They really try to get everything cleaned (I watched and made sure). So i'm glad that they actually have some care in how clean the rooms are when you come in.   

Loralee, I think it would be awesome too if I could virtually project my life back home to you guys.  I often think about strapping a Go-Pro to my chest and just recording the day and speeding it so that it is like a collage of my day.  I may have to try it sometime (I would probably look like an idiot).  But no worries, I will be taking billions of pictures once i'm in Paris/France.  I'm really hoping that I get to start out on the suburbs of paris so that I can go see all the major attractions on P-Day. I will definitely go see the Eiffel Tower and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and I will be taking a ton of photos.  No matter where I go, I'll always have my wifi camera on me so I can shoot pictures all the time (even while proselyting (even though you're not supposed to! hehe)) and send them instantly once I find some wifi :) That way you guys get a day by day roundup of Life in France! Food, people, fashion, my sweet suits & ties, and lets not forget about Snails! Haha.  

Trev asked me about something to do with a typing test for Needle?? I never had to do anything like that, but I remember seeing in the setting page of the profile. I can help him out if he needs more specific instructions, but he needs to email me himself with anything he needs help on.  He just got a macbook, he should be using it all day, everyday, for every second. Haha I would be if I just inhereted it.  

Anyways, i'm not sure what else to say, my time is running out here as well.  You can reply to me either by DearElder and I will get it tomorrow night, or you can shoot me back an email anytime you want.  I get to use the computer everday this week til Sunday, so i'll definitely be checking. 

Je vous aime! Je ne peux pas attendre vous voir!

Au Revoir,


PS - If there are any typo's, its because this keyboard sucks. I could've typed much more if I wasn't on this crappy computer.  And dont forget to send me a reply! It makes my life 10 times better everyday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homesickness, French and Packages

Hello everyone!

The last week at the MTC was sorta difficult/fun.  I had another round of homesickness but I managed to fend it off pretty well by studying French really hard. So our "investigator" that we just finished teaching is actually our TEACHER. haha we were soooooo happy to have him as our teacher. There is no doubt that our MTC experience would have been worse had it not been him, he is soo tight.  He is from Bountiful, Utah and he served in the Lyon mission.  He has been home for 2 months and he still has a slight French accent when he speaks English to us ( I think its sweet).  He is already engaged, which isn't much of a surprise, but he had been dating the girl for a little over 2 years before he left (hmmmm.....). So there is definitely hope, if you catch my drift. 

We have been learning French non-stop.  My high-school French is finally being overtaken and I'm starting to learn the specifics of the language. A lot of stuff that I had no clue existed. There are like 8 tenses that I totally forgot about, but they will come with time.  

Our teacher gave us some inside tips with both the French Language and lifestyle. He is definitely way cooler than our other sister teacher.  He told us that during January and July all the French clothing goes on sale for 50% off!! Super dangerous for me :) he he he.  He said that you can walk into the store and pick up a super skinny slim fit suit for around $150.  Boy, i'm going to buy at least 3 every January and July.  This is also good for everyone at home as well. I will definitely pick up some gifts for all of you. He said that ties aren't as cheap as we saw in Italy 4 for 10 Euros, but he said that you can find pretty good deals like 3 for 15 Euros and they are good quality.  I will definitely be compiling a skinny fit suit and skinny tie wardrobe. I am going to be the classiest missionary you've ever seen. Even right now, when I wear the ties that Shanna and Trev gave me, everyone want to do a tie exchange with me. I'm not kidding. Everyday that I wear one of those 4 ties, someone is like "Elder, do you want to do a tie exchange with me?"  I respond with, "Sorry, its from my girlfriend and the other is from Finland"  They are always like, ahhh man... they are so sweet.  So props to you both for picking out the sickest ties ever! :)

Anyways, everything is going well here I guess. Still have some waves of homesickness but its getting better. I'm just looking forward to the day that I get to go explore Paris and see all of you again.  Thank you all for the packages and letters again. I have received so much food, i'm going to gain weight instead of lose it.  The Dr Pepper is the prized possession. It sits side by side with the Shanna Shrine. The unlimited coke is amazing, but the caffeine is prized.   

I got your forwards with all the mission visa info, they should have received it, but i'm not sure why I got a letter about it. It looked like a standardized letter, as everyone going to France got one, including the guy that already has his visa.  I guess I could elaborate on my district for you guys.

Elder Wright (companion) - From Wyoming, Laramie.  He is super chill and likes to play basketball.  He is Ruloon Gardner's nephew, which is pretty sick. Looks similar to his uncle.

Elder Ellis - He rooms with us and he is from Pleasant View.  He loves Apple and used to work for them. We love to talk about  Apple products and the future of the company.  His uncle actually owns Vivint, so he is loaded. He drove his uncles 458 Italia (Ferrari) the day before he came in. Super Jealous!

Elder Keenan - From Chicago and is Ellis's companion.  He is pretty chill as well, but strict about the rules, so I sorta like him sometimes. haha. All three of these Elders are going to the Montreal mission. 

Anyways thats all I got for you all, thanks again for all the packages. Trev, I loved the grammar thing from High School and the candy. I started the doughnuts and they are amazing.  Shanna & Loralee (I assume you helped), Thanks so much for the giant package of treats. I'm sure that it took a very long time. I could not believe how much food was in the box and all the wonderful lines to go with it. I kept all the papers :) I hate throwing away stuff that people worked hard on, i'm going to be a hoarder during my MTC stay. :P  The package was the highlight of my day and I cannot wait to return the favor with Parisian style :)

If anything super exciting happens this week, i'll email you during the week :) cause i'm sneaky like that.  


P.S. - I will be getting my Wifi equipped camera this week, so I will be able to send pics on the fly :) 

P.P.S. - Will you forward me everyone's email? (Trevors, Celeste's, Arica's)

P.P.P.S - Trev, how is your training going for Needle? I hope that you are getting the hang of things. Just do a lot of practice chats with whoever is training you and what not. Also, really get to know the products and order a lot to try out. That is the only way that you will get good experience with them. And at 50% off, why not? :) Good luck! Let me know if I can pass you some info that can help you out. Oh and look in the mail for ties once I get to Paris. Some sick stuff I will be sending back. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Call -- France Paris Mission

After waiting for a long month, Jason's letter arrived today with his mission call.  We waited until everyone got off work to come over and watch him open it.  The excitement was hard to contain, but it was very fun to have everyone here for the big moment!
The safe, sacred holding spot!

And the excitement builds as he is about to open the envelope...
Drum roll, please!

The Support Team
Steve-O, Trevor and Tina with Nathan in the background

Merrill Family and Nate Salisbury
Jason talking into the phone for Janice and Gary in Milford
Celeste, Erik and Nathan waiting for the destination....

And it is.......France Paris Mission!