Friday, December 14, 2012

Week 9 LAST OF MTC (12/13/12)

ITS MY LAST P-DAY HERE IN THE MTC!!! CRAZYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!! This week has surprisingly gone by faster than I thought it would since getting my travel plans last Thursday. Probably because I've been trying to make it go by quickly by not getting caught up in the fact that I'll be on a plane and already in California in..... 5 days. Oh and some holiday called Christmas is coming up too which is pretty exciting. Like i've said, holidays just don't exist in the MTC. so Yeah! Last Thursday we got our travel itineraries!! I will be leaving 18 December in the morning and will arrive a mere few hours later in California. Whereas the 14 other Elders and Sisters going to Armenia and Georgia in my District have a total of 42 hours of travel time, including a 13 hour layover in Austria. So I'll have already experienced a full day in the field by the time they get there! So that is definitely a plus to staying state-side. However, I found out i will be traveling alone to California. I guess I'm the only one flying out on Tuesday to Cali so I am a party of one and my own travel leader for that day! It's also going to be kind of lonely on Monday because Everyone else leaves in the morning but I don't leave until the next day. I guess i'll get some super effective study time in the classroom! It'll be the only time in these two years i'll be allowed to be alone. but even then i have to pair up with one of the other greek elders who live in my building on my floor to be my companion outside my study time in the classroom. 

So anyways, the rest of thursday was really good. TRC was really fun this week with our second 40 minute lesson. We got to teach one of my more favorite RM's, Ryan....something. He's really cool and he really enjoyed our lesson and gave great feedback. Also Thursday night, Mom came and got my suitcase from the MTC in light of the recent events of my learning that I'd have to replace my suitcase. so i had to go take that up to the front to drop that off. Friday came too quickly as usual however, I forgot to set my alarm so we woke up with a start when we realized that people were already in the showers before us, which doesn't happen. Luckily we only slept in 10 minutes. Our class time we had the boss of our teachers, Bro. Snyder, come and teach us. It's amazing how when you make the gospel your actual job how much you learn and are a master at cross-referencing! blows my mind every time he teaches. Elder Ericsson and I had our lesson with Samvel that we were really excited for didn't go as well as we had planned it. We were teaching him about the priesthood and how he couldn't be baptzied until he lived the commandments but we ran out of time so he didn't understand. Then that night ended with Elder Fry, who is probably one of my favorites, not that all my district isn't great but he is just Elder Frey, so he came into our room at the end of the night and gave us a rundown on the new hobbit movie that is coming out. How it is supposedly shot at 48 frames per second which is unheard up but supposedly makes it super real. I'm stoked to see those when I come back. So that was fun :) Saturday morning we had our lesson with Susanna and she told us about a very special experience of when she was pregnant with her daughter and she got very sick and thought she wasn't going to live. In a dream she had, she saw Christ and he said she was going to live and that here baby, Mariamay, would live and that she shouldn' t be baptized into the Armenian church. and Thus they both lived and that is where she got the name for her daughter and she later found out the reason why she wasn't baptized was becasue she would be later baptized in our church! so that was really cool to learn.

the rest of saturday wasn't too exciting. Elder Fagg's mattress was stolen before he got into the shower after gym and when he got out he had three mattresses. Oh English elders and their pranks... Saturday night was our last planning session for the mtc. kind of put things into persepective of how short of a time we have left. Sunday was really fun. It was dumping snow as i'm sure most of you know and that was just fabulous because i had been wanting snow before I left and I got it :) YAY! Sunday morning while doing my sunday online assignment things we had an assignment to get onto the family history site which was really reallly cool to see. I don't know on whose side it is but we have records of a Thomas B. Wheeler who was born in 819 in England. That was really cool! I'd recommend checking that website out just to see more of our ancestory. But maybe i'm just nerdy and thought it was cool... 

Sunday night we got to have a performance from the BYU men's chorus! It was awesome. they were amazing and i guess are the largest group of collegiate men's choir in the world. I can definitely see why they are so renowned! Monday came next with some fasting for Elder Wood. He has been having some health problems in his leg and arm supposedly have some dying nerves in them and he might have to go home. still waiting on the decision to be made. I hope he doesn't, He'd be a great Missionary in Armenia. Monday was also another snow day! just love the snow so much. also i started buying some last minute items from the bookstore in preparation for my departure on Tuesday. And unfortunately, my lessons on monday weren't the best. Susanna's was really good but Artoor is just not getting it. He is just a 14 yr old kid and he doesn't seem to get that he needs this. His life is hard but he just doesn't get it. so that is really frustrating. Tuesday was our last service day!! so sad because i really did enjoy service. and thankfully we didn't have to clean toilets :) 

Mom sent me a rather large package with some matching christmas ties with elder wood morley and littlewood that we all wore. so that was precious. I had an interview with Bro. Stutz about how things were going. He told me about Arcadia, more specifically Glendale, and how much i'd love it. he told me that my trainer who he knew was a stud at the language and that i'd really like him. I'm so excited to just get out there! he also told me i'd probably be learning something like 3-4 different dialects of Armenian including Western Armenina, turkish, russian, more arab armenian in general, and most likely some Farcy which is a totally different lanuguage. so that is sweet! kind of intimidating but i'll handle it :) 

And lastly, I got to give Elder frey a blesson on Tuesday night because he has been really sick and found out it is because of a digestional tract virus which thankfully he got some antibiotics for. that was really special. Wednesday I taught Samvel for the last time and it was amazing. we commited him to live the W.O.W. so he can be baptized. Also, we got to host! and for those of you who don't know what that is, basically we got to welcome all the new elders at the curb when they are dropped off and take them to their rooms and help them find their classroom and then do that again! it was kind of depressing not going to lie to see all the families hearbroken having to drop their kids off. made me apreciate my parents more! love you guys! 

So that is about it for this letter. I love you all. my next email will be from California! My mission home address should be posted on my FB but if not just email me and i'll email you back with my actual address when I get there. i love you and and hope you have a merry Chirstmas season :) 

Elder Tanner DeBry

Week 8 (12/6/12)

So basically this is my second to last P-day here in the MTC!! and I have to say I am even more ready to be out of here than last week! and like i say in every letter, i love it here but the field will be much more exciting. even though i know i'll be thrown into deep water with the armenian language non-stop that is flying through one ear and out the other at a million miles an hour, i'm excited :) but it's a bittersweet excited because i will have to say goodbye to all those in my district who are going to Armenian. But i know i'll stay in touch with them. most of them live in utah anyways so i'll see them in 22 month. that's weird to think. 1/12 of the way done with my mission. and to think that once i get into the field it will fly by even faster! but anyways :)

this week has been a really good one. despite the fact of me having a cold and that wretched cough that i always get each winter. dumb coughs. Anyways. last thursday's trc was the first trc lesson that was 40 min instead of 2 20 min lessons so that was kind of intimidating at first but when elder morley and i got into the lesson, we were just on a roll! we got a native armenian too so that was cool to hear him just talk naturally and not like our teachers do which is kind of slowed down so we can understand better. it was intense. I made a slight language mistake and when i was referring to the guy's children, i said toilet. the two are semi-close. not sure how it came out that way but it did and it was quite funny to all of us. Friday was kind nice because i ran into a friend from byu. Elder smith going to new mexico. we all used to hang out with Dan Gardner. who i guess is home now because of medical reasons? so if someone could find out more and have him write me that would be great! i'd love to hear from that boy. 

Also, friday was sister nelsen's birthday! and a birthday in the mtc isn't that special. i mean you can't sing happy birhtday in the cafeteria or anything and you only get a letter from the mtc presidency that says happy birthday. but we made it special for her and made a giant card that elder sarafian ( an architecutre major) drew the provo temple which was pretty cool. and it just so happens that her family sent her a huge package with party supplies in is so we had a secret party in our classroom at the end of the day to celebrate a bit with some cake and treats. Also friday we had a transfer of companions. i haven't had to transfer yet because elder morley and i have been such good companions but now my new teaching companion is elder mckay ericsson. he is one of my roommates so we will see how that goes but we have been working well together and he is a solid elder so it should be good :) Saturday we had our first lesson with a new investigator, Susanna, and i am so excited to have another investigator! i know i always say we are always busy but we are just busy with studing but i'd much rather prefer to teach than just study. teaching is fun! so that was good. we also had a zone activity where we got to teach other elders in our zone just according to their needs so that was kind of nice to just teach an actual person like trc. Also, i received a compliment from one of my teachers, brother carlson, that he has seen quite the progression in my teaching/language abilities and that he has seen a change in me and that i'm going to be a really good missionary :) that kind of was nice to hear since usually we only hear what we need to work on. however, saturday i felt some cabin fever of being cooped up in the mtc for so long. hence all the excitement that we get our travel plans tomorrow (or should anyways) and that we leave so soon! it just gets so repetative here and i'm ready for a change. 

on sunday was mission conference/fast sunday. and as usual mission conference was good but just typical mtc presidency and some random elders having to bear their testimonies. i always feel like it will be me. we did get to usher during this mission conference and help people who come in later find seats. the head of security here, brother angus which is a very fitting name for his size and stature, was kind of grumpy so it wasn't as fun as i thought it be. but that gave us the opportunity to sit in cushioned seats :) which was very nice. also on sunday, we got to watch the first presidency christmas devotional which was way exciting! it brought some christmas spirit to the mtc which i have desperately missed :) the time here in the mtc just doesn't exist. seasons don't exist. the world doesn't exist. its quite strange. on monday elder ericsson and i taught an awesome lesson to samvel about the priesthood. it was so good and we applied it so well that he asked if he could be baptized that day so he could bless his family.

also monday, the cold really started to hit me and kind of made it a very long day. and we had some changes made to our desk situation in our room! we got actual desks and not the tiny ones that barely fit one piece of paper on. Tuesday brought service and more being sick and tired. after having to clean more toilets (which really isn't that bad), i was pooped and didn't go to gym but instead relaxed back in the room to try and feel better. it worked! but i just need a whole day to do that and not just an hour. but tis mtc/missionary life! we also got to pick out the spelling of our new name tags that we will be getting in the field! they will be written in all armenian so we got to spell out how we wanted it to sound :) mine doesn't sound too different. i'm glad i get an all armenian one so i don't get left out!

WEdnesday elder ericsson and i had to teach two lessons. Susanna's lesson on the restoration went really well and Artoors lesson on the plan of salvation needed some work but we are getting there. better to find out what we need to work on here than out in the field right? i also received my armenian flag shirt that i had ordered from the bookstore. pretty stoked about that! and lastly and probably most interesting, i got my suitcase handle fixed yesterday from it breaking the first day here in the mtc. when i went back to pick it up from it being repaired i was informed that the bold holding the strap down was stripped and it was just superglued and would need to be replaced. and then the lady helping me said that if it was still under warranty that one of my parents could replace it so, she called my dad right in front of me! it was kind of funny to get to hear him on the phone even though it is against the rules to actually talk to him. the lady commented after the conversation that my dad was a goof. i definitely agree but you gotta love him right? but in the end, hopefully my suitcase will be replaced soon so I don't have to try and fit it all in one suitcase or buy another one! 

Overall, it was a really good week. i received some great letters that really made things alot cheerier and the language and lessons are really progressing. even though i know i am feeling alright with the language right now, when i get out in the field it will be tough. but i'm excited to be thrown in deep again. Well, until next time, which will be my final p-day here in the mtc, so long for now! i should have my travel plans next week too so i'll let everyone know when i will be calling at the airport approximately :) love you all and have a great Christmas season! 

Elder DeBry

Week 7 (11/29/12)

So I realized that after I sent my last weekly letter, i mentioned talking/telling about my schedule on Thanksgiving but I never did!! Ooops. It must have been the waking up at the break of dawn to do laundry. Which was the funnest activity to do at that early in the morning with almost every other missionary who has P-days on Thursdays....Not! But anyways! Today we hit the three week marker. I will now be leaving with the other Elders who came in yesterday. That is a weird and peculiarly inspiring thought that I need to work even harder than I have been. Not that I haven't been working hard but I need to step it up. I mean, in three weeks, I'll be in California. A totally new adventure. And I'll finally be out of this bubble of an MTC and teaching real people and not knowing anything they are saying because they speak way too fast. I watched a conference talk the other day in Armenian....yeah.... as much as I'd love to say that I understood a bunch of it and enjoyed that experience... nope! I could pick up a few words here and there but by the time I recalled what that word was, the speaker would be on a completely new sentence. So I have some work to do! But I'm excited even more because of it!

Last Thursday was probably the longest day here in the MTC. Not only did I have to wake up at 530 just to do laundry, but that laundry session took about 2.5-3 hours just because of how busy it was. I also had thought since there would obviously be no one else to do laundry that early, I decided to take ALL my white shirts to wash which took up a third machine. So that was quite fun! Definitely a Thanksgiving I won't forget. After we finally got done with Laundry we had to hurry back to the room, get ready, laundry put away, then go hustle to get in line for the devotional with the General Authority. It was worth the rush because we got to listen to Elder Holland talk. He is such a powerful speaker that just hits ya right in the ol' ticker. He talked about being grateful for all the opportunities we have and that we don't get it how much we take for granted which is definitely true. All the time I was fasting keep in mind so I definitely realized how much I really took for granted. I am glad I fasted that whole day. It made it much more special to me and for the reasons why I fasted. But anyways, after the devotional we had some time to relax until our humanitarian project where we made and sent education and healt/sanitation packets to Mali to the OUELESSEBOGOU project or whatever. It was really fun but they were playing some really funny music that made it seem like we were little elves in a workshop. Which we kind of were. It was weird but for a good cause right? right. The rest of the day we just had some down time to write briefly but mostly we had some more devotionals/programs that consisted of more mtc speakers and music numbers. A few that stood out what a fiddle melody that turned into clapping and a hootinany. the other one that stood out was singing 'to grandmothers house we go' as well as a live reinactment from the mtc presidency of the first thanksgiving. I wish I took more pictures of that. But finally after that we got to watch the movie 17 miracles which is about the Willey Martin handcart company crossing the plains. It was a very good movie and I recommend it to those who haven't seen it. Overall, it was a very long, tiring, thanksgiving day that definitely made me thankful for all that I took for granted. The next day, Friday, I was so starving and exhausted from the previous days fast. But it went on as usual, having lunch with my teachers and joking in armenian, learning the first vision in armenian which i can now recite fully in lessons, and district leader interviews. Those interviews were the last ones I had as a Zone Leader and was kind of bitter sweet because of the great Elders I had gotten to know. Oh well.

Saturday our new teacher Sister Crawford started teaching finally and it was a good change of view from the other teachers. And as usual, Saturday mostly consisted of our weekly planning which of course consisted of going over our goals as a district which we have been kind of slacking on. Not that we haven't been working but because we just.... we just have beeen slacking on those goals to speak every day in armenian and such. Sunday I was finally released as a Zone leader and had to say some good bye's to the English district that I first welcomed to go to Canada and kennewick washington. I'll miss those elders. Although, I did get some sweet ties from them!! I have found out I am quite the tie trader and all the elders on my floor at some of the trades I pull off. I think i'm at 40+ ties at the moment where a few weeks ago I barely had 30. And I konw everyone may think there is no need for that many ties, but when you are a misssionary and have to wear a suit every day, ties are your personality in an article of clothing. And for those who have served would understand. Monday I had an interesting lesson with our investigator Artour. He raised the question of 'why are we judged' which was totallly unexpected to our planned lesson. And considering that answer is hard to say in english, we failed to answer it in our lesson but had him read up on it and try and figure it out. I should probably get used to now knowing questions to those more difficult questions. Not that that was a tough one to answer, but it was just unexpected and I didn't know how to anwswer in armenian. 

Also monday, Sister Nelson in our district broke her thumb playing volleyball which really sucked. But thankfully she found out that it won't affect when she will be leaving for Armenia which is good. Our district really is just accident prone. Sarafian with his knee, Wood with his dying nerve in his leg, and now Sister Nelson with her thumb. better hope I'm not next! (knock on wood). Tuesday was particularly exciting because on our way to gym after we had finished service and were about to leave our building, there was a big commotion in a room down the hall and lo and behold, there was a mouse in one of the rooms with about 10 elders trying to catch it. It was nuts. this little mouse scurrying around the room was causing everyones voices to go up a few octives in their screams. No worries though, we safely and with no harm to the mouse, which we named stuart, caught him and released him outside. thought about keeping him as a pet but that is against the rules unfortunately :/ bummer. 

Also on Tuesday we were assigned new investigators because of our new teacher joining us! Our new investigators name is Susanna and has a daughter who was recently baptized. Not sure when we teach her first but I'm excited to have more work to do which may sound weird but i think the funnest part is actually teaching which is why i'm excited for the field. Wednesday we had a lesson with Samvel and it went really well! we taught him about joseph smith and told him about the first vision and whatnot. it was a really strong lesson and he understood it well. He accepted the commitment to read the whole BOM. Hopefully he really does but so far he has been good about reading. he does it for his family which is really special to see. 

Also wednesday, we got the new elders that are going to greece, guam, honolulu. All really sweet missions! the group we leave with are the guam and honolulu elders. which is weird to think we won't get to see a full group again. 

That is really all i have to write about this week, like I said, it has been so repetitive and same old that that is all that is really new. I'm sure these next few weeks will pick up with the acquired work-load and us getting our flight plans and such next friday! Pretty soon I'll be writing from California! Can't wait. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon. Keep on keeping on! 

Elder Tanner C. DeBry