So mom, I asked Elder Ferrel about Mike and Jan Franks...he says that one of his best friends is their son Jordan! I guess they live right down the street from each other. Crazy eh? Also, thanks for the news about Osama Bin Laden. We heard right after it happened from some Elders who were on their P-Day. Taylor B. had the brilliant observation that it was America's way of 1-upping the royal wedding. Ha. Also, we get like $6 on our MTC cards every week to spend on random stuff. It isn't a ton....but it is enough for us! Especially since almost everything here is free for us. I will probably need a bit of money before I leave for spain to dry clean my suits. I'll let you know.
And dad, thanks for getting my glasses. I don't think I need anything else. I definitely don't need the shoes I left there - I have plenty of shoes already :). Thank you!! And pictures in emails are great. It is best if you send them seperate from any "letters" though, because of the way my district prints out our emails and whatnot. Anyway, I would love to get pics from you!
Still no news about the visa. Hopefully I'll hear soon though. I wouldn't mind too much if I had to stay here for all 9 weeks because I really like my teachers and it is easy to get mail. And I'm learning the language pretty well already. But I definitely want to get it before I'm supposed to leave the MTC....I want to go straight to Malaga! Haha.
So my ward here is just my zone. So there are maybe 30 of us at the most. We're actually just a branch. And it is all in Spanish. Our branch president is President Dennis. One of his councelors is Brother Smith, who was Mission President in the Marshall Islands while Ben Knecht was there. Pretty cool. President Dennis speaks Welsh so he does a lot of Geneology from early Wales because a lot of the names are hard to find since not many people speak the language. I guess that is what he does to wake himself up in the morning. To each his own...
As far as language training, we speak a ton of Spanish here. Whenever we have a teacher in the classroom (3 or 6 hours during the day, depending on the day), they try to speak only Spanish. In a few days they are going to speak in Spanish exclusively. We don't have any culture classes really. Every once and a while they'll mention something. I'm sure anything big I would hear about before I get there, but for the most part I guess it is just do or die when you're there. One of my teachers, Hermano Bell, served in the Malaga mission a few years ago so he has told us a few interesting things. Nothing too crazy, though. They give us lots of resources to use to learn the language. They have 2 great books that the church has produced that have all kinds of phrases and grammar as well as conjugation charts and stuff. And then we also have a program called TALL that I would assume is kind of like Rosetta Stone that we use for a couple hours a week. They definitely have this whole language learning thing down.
So, a couple of funny stories from this week.
First, yesterday our District sat down at lunch and I was next to a senior couple who is here for the week before they serve in Idaho. They asked me where I was serving and I said Spain. Then the lady said "Oh! So you're learning Italian?" It was hard not to laugh. I said "No....actually I'm learning Spanish" and she just looked a bit confused and was like "Ohhh Spain....Spanish....I was thinking of France." I said "France?" And she said "Wait...Italy!" I didn't laugh at her then. But we all had a good laugh after dinner.
Then, at dinner, I was walking to get some more water and I heard someone yell "Andy!...I mean Elder Mockler!!" I turned around and found who it was....and definitely didn't recognize him. And then he said "You're a legend!!" Needless to say I was pretty taken off guard and said "should I know you?" And he said "probably not...you're the drummer from The Brocks though!! We met at your last show!" Hahaha. It was awesome. I guess now that I'm safely on my mission people can remember that I'm in the band, eh?
The MTC has a bustling tie-trading economy. Paisley is the most valuable currency, by far. It's like the US dollarof the MTC. You can trade a paisley for anything. Anyway, I had great success in my tie trading. My ties were most desirable in my zone. It was excellent. I like my ties, though, so I didn't trade much. Only 1 tie, which was a good 2-for-1 for a tan tie covered in palm trees and another paisley. Score.
On Sunday nights they let us watch movies. But only sort of. They play a couple missionary related Conference talks in one room and some stuff like that, and then in the gym they play The Testaments. I had never seen it before, so that's what we watched (The Testaments, that is). It was SO good! Seriously. I've never seen so many guys crying in one place. I doubt you could make that many men cry in one place anywhere else in the world, haha. Made me realize how much Jesus Christ sacrificed for us and the love he has for us. Everyday I am amazed at how much I learn about his love. And then the next day I will always learn even more. The MTC is an amazing place. I can definitely see The Lord's hand in my life and see how am I being blessed every day. It is a great opportunity to be able to serve.
Anyway, I'm almost out of time. I love you all!!
P.S. apparently there is no way to attach pictures through these computers. Bummer. I guess I'll send some in 9 weeks? Haha! I'll try to send some in my letters as well.
P.P.S. Happy mother's day, Mom!!!!! I won't be able to call home until I am going to the airport. There isn't really anything here for me to send to you, either. But know that I love you!