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Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 23, 2011

Salutations friends, family, and complete strangers! Elder Yates here telling everyone that I got my travel plans! So exciting! The UNexciting part is that my flight leaves on tuesday the 28th at 10:00 PM. AT NIGHT! I'm going to have a long flight ahead of me. but it's okay. I'm excited. anyways. I scheduled for a layover in Los Angeles and then I'm supposed to land in Guatemala City at 6:30 in the morning. I can't wait. I can't believe it's already been almost 3 weeks. There is only one other elder in my district going to Guatemala the same day (but different mission) and another leaving that day too to go to the Madrid, Spain MTC. There is another elder who is supposed to go to Spain but his visa hasn't come yet so he has to stay a little bit longer. Actually, he has a meeting with the Spain Consolate on monday so let's hope everything goes smoothly and he gets to leave soon. Anyways, this week is so busy! First of all, one of the highest recorded number of missionaries entered yesterday. There were about 600 missionaries that entered yesterday! There were only about 400 when I came in. The 'population' here so to speak, jumped from about 2100 missionaries to about 2700 almost 2800 missionaries. So needless to say it's busy right now. And on top of that, all of the new mission presidents are here this week and it's customary for general authorities to speak to the mission presidents during this week so many parts of the buildings are closed off for safety reasons. In fact, about 10 minutes ago when me and a couple of elders from my district were leaving lunch, we saw Elder Christofferson in the hallway and he waved to us. Apparently about 2 minutes after we left he came over and shook some missionaries hands, looks like we should have stayed a little longer. oh well.
Oh and just so everyone knows, every week we have to wake up early and go do service and last week we had to clean one of the study buildings.  Guess what job me and Elder Peterson got? That's right, toilet duty. So there you go. The universe does have a sense of humor. Karma i guess. Thankfully this week we had to sweep but just thought it was funny that last week I got stuck with toilet duty. Oh well it wasn't THAT bad.
Well tonight Elder Peterson and I are teaching our first lesson entirely in Spanish. I'm very nervous but I'm hoping everything goes good. I'm hoping the spirit, as well as the gift of tongues, helps us out. It should be fine, but pray for us anyway! :)
I saw Tyler Hubbard today. I didn't get a chance to talk to him because he was on his way to class. But yeah he's here. I'm still looking for Kevin and Jack and President Weed. They should be around here somewhere. I see Mitchell Leblanc pretty much everyday because we have class in the same building and he said he hasn't seen any of them. I'll keep looking though.
I also got to go to the temple again today! I love the temple. It's the best.
Thank you everyone for the letters! I really appreciate them! They are great. But please no more goodies/snacks/treats/cookies/brownies/anything edible. I promise they aren't starving me here and I really can't eat all the food. But the gesture is appreciated I promise. When I get out into the mission field please feel free to send me whatever your heart desires or what you think my heart will desire, but as for right now, nada mas por favor :)
Morgan Howard, if you're reading this. I got you dearelder but I don't have your address so please send it to me so I can write you back! As for everyone else who wrote me, thank you! I'm working very hard to write all of you back :) so expect a letter sometime soon!
Well everyone, my time is coming to a close for this week. I need to go get my hair cut soon. It's a rule that you have to get it cut at least 5 days before you leave. So even though I don't need one, I have to get one. Before I leave, I want to share a scripture with all of you. Please go read Mosiah 4:30 and apply it to your lives! It's a great scripture and on top of that, keep reading your scriptures everyday! They will bring you peace and blessings and plus Jesus loves it when you read them, trust me. =) Well my time is up. The timer is flashing. I'm going to send some pictures home soon so hopefully you can see me here and my big smiles! I love you all with all my heart and hopefully when you hear from me next, I will be in Guatemala. =D (and hopefully I'll see Thomas S Monson!)
Elder Yates

Sunday, June 19, 2011

First P-Day

Hello everyone! Elder Yates here and I hope everyone is doing well! Everything is great here! The MTC is awesome! I love it. I'm actually kind of sad to be leaving in a few weeks. But I'm also so excited to be going to Guatemala. I can't wait. I will take you through the life of a missionary in the MTC.
Wake up at 6:30. If you are late, you may not get a shower. And your (my) Branch President is very strict about waking up at either 6:30 or earlier every morning. It's not that bad once you get used to it. Especially since you go to bed a 10:30 everynight. So then a missionary showers and gets dressed and then heads to their classroom for personal study time. The classroom is a missionary's home. Anything and everything takes place in their classroom. I think they do that so you get the feel of being out all day and only returning to their appartment once the day is over, which is what we do. Anyway. As for my district, we have breakfast at 7:40 everyday. (and if Bethany Cherry, Jack Krainock, or Bronwen Dromey is reading this, they have grits for breakfast!!! mmMMMmmm). Then after breakfast the day is very scattered. Everyday we have an hour for gym which sometimes we go out the field and run laps as a district or play volleyball or soccer. It's a great time and a great way to feel less stressful. Also everyday we have at least one but sometimes 2 classroom blocks. Each block is 3 hours! AHHHHHH!!! But it's great. We haven't had a permemant teacher yet but all the ones that have substituted for us have been fantastic. We speak in spanish the whole time! and everything we do is in spanish! i'm beginning to dream in spanish! i've been told that's a good thing though right? Anyway. The food here is exactly like they say it is: filling. And they have plenty. It is exactly like canon center food actually. exactly. I like it though. I eat a lot because apparently most missionaries going to central america have a tendancy to lose a lot of weight. So fill up now right? hahaha. Sundays were pretty crazy. We have church at 8:00 in the morning and every week, everyone has to write a 5 minute talk in spanish. And they randomly call on people to give their talk. so if you're not ready, you're probably going to get an earful. Thankfully last sunday I didn't have to talk. But who know's about this week. Which reminds me that i need to go write my talk.... Anyway. Today is my first P-day! YAYYY! It has been the best. We went to the temple this morning as a district and it was awesome! I love the temple! It's the best. and the provo temple is so beautiful! And you get to use the computers today to write emails home. BUT you only get 30 minutes. and they are very stricty about that. (in fact, the computer is timing me right now!). And if you're not off after 30 minutes, it closes the program and you don't even get to send your letter. Bummer! Oh well. So after a long day, we go back to our dorms at about 9:00 to 9:30 and get ready for bed. And believe me, by then, a missionary is definitely ready for bed! At 10:15 it's quiet time to pray or read your scriptures or write in your journal. At 10:30, lights out. And they better be out or you'll get in doodoo with the branch president.
As you can see the life of a missionary is very hard, but it's definitely worth it. So my companion. His name is Elder Peterson and he's from Orem. He is very popular because he knows everyone here! haha. He's are great guy though. he is going to honduras, san pedro sula mission. He definitely keeps me in line. He's here for all 9 weeks so he'll unfortunately get a new companion soon. The only problem is he talks in his sleep! AHHH. And a lot of times it's in spanish. It's okay though. It's kind of funny sometimes. As for the other people in my district, 3 are going to Honduras, 3 are going to Osorno Chile, 2 are going to Madrid Spain. And me and another kid are going to Guatemala (different missions though). Well my time is almost up this week. but keep sending letters! They are like gold here! and you can use That works great. just remember to include your address so i can write you back! :) I have taken some great pictures and I'm going to try to send some back next week. Just know that I love everyone out there and there is no place I'd rather be than right here in the MTC. Before I leave I would love you leave you guys with a scripture I came across. It's John 17 verses 12 to 19. It's the story about the 10 lepers that were healed and then only one came back to thank Jesus. Be sure you're thanking Jesus for everything because everything we have is because of him. So pray often and tell him thanks for your families and everything else your thankful for because I have a testimony that he and Heavenly Father love to hear your prayers and WILL answer them. I love all of you and read your scriptures! :)
Elder Yates.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 11, 2011

Hola Parentals and others, : )

This is your hijo, Mason.  So I learned that my P-day isn't until next Thursday so don't expect an email until then.  I apologize for the long delay but I don't make the schedule.  Anyway, So I am on day 4 here and it seriously feels like month 4.  Everyday feels sooooo(etc.) long!  IT is packed with companionship study, personal study, language study, meals, gym time and a lot of it, a couple times a day.  But everyone says it goes a lot faster after the first week.  So I lied in my last letter.  Elder Miller and I are both going to Guatemala, but he is going to Guatemala City South while Elder Peterson and Elder Williams are going to the same mission in Honduras.  We got these stupid orange stickrs on our nametags because we were new and we finally got to take them off!  Happy Day! I've see a lot of amigos since I got here.  I've seen Elder LeBlanc and Elder Grosebeck.  I've seen some other friends from college.  It's cool but it's weird not being able to call them by their first name.  Or anybody calling me by my first name.  The people in my district are really cool.  Elder Adams is going to Honduras and his companion Elder Dye is going to Chile.  Elder Reich and his companion Elder Ruettinger are both going to Chile as well.  Elder Hardiman and his companion Elder Forrest are both going to Spain.  Very Cool.  In the other district, there are 2 elders going to Guatemala City Central with me, two are going to Spain and the rest are going state side Spanish speaking.  There are so many Spanish speaking missionaries here!  Almost more thatn English speaking.  My entire floor is going Spanish speaking.  It's pretty cool. I see quite a few missionaries going like weird foreign speaking like Ukrainian or Romanian.  It would be cool to learn a language like that but so useless.  I'm glad I'm going Spanish speaking.  The spirit here is very cool! So Many happy Jesus-loving missionaries.  It makes you happy to wake up every morning just to interact with them.  It's nice here but I can't wait to get into the field.  Patience is a virture I guess.  Oh well.  Please tell people to write me! Mail is like gold here.  Nobody has any connection whatsoever with the outside world.  So letters are the best.  Plus the buildings are so tall no one can even see the outside world.  It feels like a prison sort of, and not being able to call and only writing letters doesn't help at all. Or, just get peoples addresses for me so I can write them.  Can you get Aubrey's address for me please?  I need to write her back.  Anyway, I don't think I really need anything. Oh! except a thumbdrive.  Please.  One with a lot of memory.  If I send home an SD card and it gets lost or stolen, I want backups.  So yeah, and the calling card pro favor.  Well time to go do laundry and then back to studying. I love all of you and hope to hear from you soon!
Elder Yates

P.S.  You can type this on the blog if you want. : ) Just a suggestion.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

First Day at MTC

Hi Familia,

How are you?  I am good.  I just finished my first day in the MTC.  It is so hard.  I walked in and got my ID and got my badge/name tag.  Then I was escorted to my class and the spanish lesson began.  After that I went to like new missionary orientation.  We Got talked to by the MTC presidnet and his wilfe as well as the counselors and their wives.  It was cool and very spiritual. Then we went to dinner which was just like the Cannon Center.  It was good.  I saw some friends from college.  It is weird not calling them by their first name everyone is elder or sister somebody.  It is going to be weird to get used to that.  After dinner we went into these rooms and they put on role play scenarios and then they asked us to comment and take notes.  I saw Mithcell there, excuse me Elder LeBlanc.  Then we came back to our rooms and unpacked. Oh! My companion's name is Elder (Josh Allen) Peterson.  He is nice.  He is from Orem.  I share a room with Elders Williams and Miller.  Elder Miller and I are going to the same mission.  Elder Peterson is going to Honduras and so is Elder Williams, but to different missions.  Everyone is so nice here.  If you are new you get an orange sticker on your name tag so everyone knows you are new.  But everyone I walk by always said "Welcome Elder" it is pretty cool. The Spirit is very strong here, its nice.  Well it's almost 10:30 so I got to go to bed, but I am ready.  It's been a long day and I am exhausted.  I love you all and will talk to you later!

Elder Yates