So, it's been a pretty crazy couple of days! We have P-Day on Saturday this week which is why I'm emailing now. Usually it will be on Thursday, though. We couldn't do our normal P-Day stuff because we were still being "oriented" or whatever. So yeah, my next email should come on Thursday. I don't have a lot of time during the week to write letters either...mostly just lots of time on P-Day and about 15 minutes right before bed (but usually there are elders in our room during that time, so it's impossible to get anything done.)
I don't really know what to write about. I'll just see what comes to mind for the next 20 minutes I have on the computer.
First of all, my companion's name is Elder Ferrell. He is from California. Roseville? I think. He is actually Will Ferrell's cousin. Actually he isn't Will Ferrell's cousin and that isn't even a funny joke. But it is after a few days around here. Humor is the first thing to go to pot, I guess. Gotta get rid of a few things to fit all that missionary stuff in my brain I guess. Anyway, he is going to the Des Moines, Iowa mission. Speaking Spanish. He got moved into our district last minute, which is good because it avoided having a trio of elders, but also a bummer because we aren't really all matched up by our mission (don't get me wrong, having him is not a bummer. He is awesome). There are 3 elders and a sister headed to Barcelona (Elders Tyler, Carlson, Carroll, y Hermana Reeder), 1 to Panama (Elder Rigsby), 2 to Honduras (Elders Michelson and Ehler) , 1 to Maryland (Elder Weeks (or as we call him, Elder Semanas), who is also our District Leader), 1 to Des Moines (Elder Ferrell), and 1 other to Malaga (Elder Banbury)
We have been speaking a lot of Spanish already. I'm in the intermediate Spanish program, which means the majority of our classes are in Spanish and we have to speak in Spanish a lot while we learn. And I think we have to teach in Spanish next week. Scary. Also we've decided you get put in the intermediate level as long as you understand more than 5 words of Spanish. So they have pretty high expectations for us, but also a lot of faith in our ability to learn.
The keyboards in this lab are absolutely terrible. I guess that's what happens when hundreds of missionaries are trying to pound out a letter in a half hour every day of every week for years.
The schedule here is always super crazy for the first few days, but I think it has been especially difficult for my group of missionaries. They are starting a lot of new programs with us and everyone here got a new schedule, so everyone is trying to adjust to that. Although everyone else had a bit easier of a time of that than we did, ha. They're also doing construction in the cafeteria, so we haven't gotten to experience the true joy of the MTC cafeteria. The lines are always super long and the tables are crowded. It has been excellent so far, though. A lot like the cannon center but the fruit is way better. Which is great.
On Thursday a bunch of visas came in. 3 elders and 1 hermana in my district got their visas. Unfortunately....I didn't get mine yet. Hopefully it will come soon. Mom, do you remember when we sent ours in? They all said they finished in early February. I guess the consolate is going to Madrid for a few weeks soon, so it better come in before he leaves or else I'll be stuck here for a long time...
I saw Elder Tekulve within like 20 minutes of getting here. I had just been launched through the building where I got my name tag and my picture taken and some other stuff, and upon exiting, looking for my host elder like a lost puppy, I heard my name in the crowd. It was a glorious reunion. I think everything was in slow-motion for a minute. We have all our meals together so I see him quite a bit. It's great. He leaves a week from Monday for Russia. He speaks Russian quite well from what I can tell. Sometimes our conversations are pretty bad because he'll accidentally say things in Russian and I have no idea what he is saying. And then I'll use one of the 5 Spanish words I know and he won't know what I'm saying. But it's still great to see him.
So that's about everything. The language has been pretty hard so far, especially speaking. We have to learn a lot of new vocab and we are reviewing/learning a lot of grammar as well. It has been a challenge not to be discouraged sometimes. However, as I have humbled myself and prayed for help and comfort, I have been blessed with the ability to speak when I need to and I have been able to feel the love of our Savior. I know he loves each of us personally and that we can access that love anytime we need it. The MTC is a great place. Sometimes it is a challenge but in the space of 4 days I have already matured and learned more than I could anywhere else in the world with weeks to do the same.
I hope all is well out in the "real" world! I love you all!!
Elder Andrew Mockler
P.S. if you have any questions, let me know. It'll help me know what to put in these letters :)