Well, I've survived the first few days at the MTC! Forgive me for any typos in this email, these keyboards are kind of wack haha. It's been a crazy few days! The first day I arrived we got our badges and ID cards and put our luggage in our rooms. It felt sooooo good to finally put my missionary nametag on. I''ve waited 19 years for that. My companion is Elder Taylor Welker--a young man that I actually already knew from BYU! Small world. My district is great. We have eight young men that are hard working, enjoy a good joke, and all seem like great Elders. Our district is an intermediate Spanish class, so all of us have studied a bit of Spanish throughout high school and whatnot. A few of the Elders still really struggle with understanding and speaking, but as do we all. I''ve actually been incredibly pleasantly surprised with how much I could understand already! Our Spanish teacher speaks solely in Spanish the entire time we''re with him. He reminds me of Jake Ortiz, actually! They look so alike! I haven''t been able to get permission to upload and send my pictures yet, but hopefully I can send you some pictures next week. Our P-day will be every Friday, so look for mail for me then.
Thanks so much Mum and Dad for the "Dear Elders!" It was great to receive mail so quickly! Several of my other roommates (my companion and my roommate that looks identical to Harvey Dent in "The Dark Knight") have already received packages left and right! Please post on my FB and blog that people can write me letters super easily viadearelder.com and that I'd love to hear from them! My mailbox number is 215.
The food really isn't as bad as everyone always makes it out to be. The chocolate milk is definitely heavenly, so I'm glad that rumor is true. Granted I've only been here three days, so I may or may not get tired of the food. We'll see! Our days our amazingly long and tiring, but they have been good so far. I've heard that once you make it past the first Sunday, things start to move a bit quicker.
We taught our first investigator yesterday. It was a distaster. Ha. We had to teach him in Spanish, and if that wasn't hard enough already, Adan is an athiest that claims to have no reason to believe in God, has horrible family relations, doesn't want to get married or have children, doesn't want to pray, yet is still happy to welcome us in to talk about our Church. He has a degree in philosophy, so that's really the reason he wants to meet with us. We set another appointment for this afternoon, and hopefully it will go better. He's already met with the missionaries many times before and knows all the lessons front and back, so that's what killed us in our last "cita" (appointment). He had soooo many defenses and seemingly solid counter-points againts what we were trying to help him understand. It was so frustrating to have an idea and not be able to express it properly because my Spanish vocabulary is still so small. The good news is that I learned a lot from just that one lesson:
1) I can understand nearly everything being said, but I just can't respond well.
2) Teach the investigator, not the lesson plan.
3) Teamwork is difficult when your companion doesn't understand #2.
4) Missionary work is impossible without the help of the Lord.
Aahh, my time is already at and end but I have so much more I want to say! My companion and I really do get along well. We love to quote "Nacho Libre" together. He is very much so my "Elder Calhoun" if you know what I mean. My other roommates are great guys and one of them reminds me of Cooper. I like them a lot. Have a wonderful week, send letters and prayers my way, and don't forget to rely on the Lord for EVERYTHING!
Elder Tanner Long :)