Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Devotional with Elder Holland

Hola! Familia!!!!

First and foremost I love you all and appreciate all you do! Mom, I actually received the suspenders last Friday and we are wearing them today! I will take a picture of us in them and send it to you next Pday! It's really funny because Elder Lamb, from my district, said he is kinda scared of me because it tightens my shirt on me and can see my muscles haha!!! Anyways guess what?! Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke last night at the devotional!!!! I literally almost peed my pants when he walked in!!! I took so many notes on his talk!!! I am gonna make copies of them and send them home either today or next week! He is probably my favorite speaker, he is SO funny!!! I wanted so badly to be able to shake his hand, but I bet so did the other 2500 missionaries, so we definitely couldn’t have that opportunity. Our whole district was speechless, and we loved how blunt he was about the mission. I can definitely say last night was the highlight of the MTC for me. Mom you will love what he said in his talk. He said "This is real life, this is not a dress rehearsal". How awesome is that!!! Bishop Marcotte will also like this one. He said that all the missionaries are the good guys fighting in a war. We are the rough and tough fighters and can take anything, saying that we are the John Wayne’s fighting against the evil in this world! Haha I laughed so hard! Anyways, I did receive the pillowcases you sent mom, so thank you for that. I did not receive any more packages from Amazon besides that sports watch a week or so back with all the Batman stickers. I certainly did enjoy the stickers though and my entire district thinks I'm kinda weird for my obsession with Batman. It's funny because they say when I get to laughing really hard, I laugh like the Joker. One missionary came running down the hall to see who was laughing like the joker, and said he couldn't believe that it was me who sounded like that. I end up laughing a lot at night while we are doing the P90X workouts because while we are doing them, Elder Pope pretty much sees how much he can make us laugh, which ends up pretty much killing me because of the burning sensation that already comes from the workout, and then when I get to laughing. I have actually cut way back on eating here more than I had before. Breakfast is when I eat the most. I have a plate of scrambled eggs, then I have the egg whites of 4 boiled eggs, and 2 glasses of orange juice. Usually during lunch and dinner I just get a half sized portion salad or a cool wrap. I feel so much healthier when I eat like that and I'm able to be more awake and concentrate more. I don't fall asleep anymore in class and I can be more in tuned to the spirit. I had one of the most spiritual experiences the other day. We had put on a mach baptism for our progressive investigator, and it could not have gone better. The spirit was so strong and Elder Lamb had prepared an awesome talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost. After the baptism meeting, we took Gabriel (our investigator) back to his home and committed him to baptism and said that he would if his family would. We also told him that we would talk to him more about God's plan for us and Eternal Families. He was so excited! Unfortunately that was our last time with him because he is going back to school and is now Hno Del Toro again and will not be our progressive investigator anymore. But nonetheless, we are going to sign up for a new one as soon as possible. As for the gentleman in the temple, I saw him again. His name is Brother Smith. He said he was a boy that had been in scouts and had the opportunity of doing so with Grandpa. I hope that helps. I hadn't thought to ask for his first name. Anyways, lately I have been finding that when i overcome one challenge I am having in the MTC, the Lord gives me another. Right now I am suffering from insomnia. I have been having trouble falling asleep, and when I finally do, every night I am awakened from my sleep by nightmares. I don’t think I have ever been woken up by a nightmare before, but I constantly have faith in the Lord, and always pray to him to help me to overcome these trials. I continue to try and be strong and a good example, but also be myself. The MTC is becoming a little easier to deal with, because I'm really familiar with it now. Spanish is still coming along great! I can teach a basic first lesson and some of the second lesson in Spanish, WITHOUT using memorized phrases :D I am quite proud of this accomplishment, and some of the other missionary compliment me on how I'm able to just come up with some of the things I am able to say, but I know that this is because I have been praying for the Lord's help, and he is just answering my prayers. I hope all is going well at home. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask and I will try and answer them :) I'm praying for everyone at home. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Elder Scott Donner

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Temple Blessings

I love the pictures that have been sent to me! I am getting more pictures printed which will hopefully be done be today so I can send them home. I am doing much better food-wise. I have slowed down eating CONSIDERABLY, and now the other elders in my district think I'm starving myself, but when you sit around all day, that food doesn't go anywhere, so I only eat literaly fist sized portions. I also started doing the P90X (look it up) workout with another of the elders in my district, Elder Taylor. Me and Elder Pope are going to continue to do the workout with him until we leave the MTC. Hopefully that is something that will help me to feel better, because I'm so used to being active. Me and my companions had the opportunity to start really teaching our first progessive investigator! It was amazing! The first time was a little rough but the second time we were there was so spiritual. We committed him to be baptized and he is coming with us to a baptism next Monday! I am so excited to bring him to that! We feel the spirit so strongly here each day. Last night, Elder Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to us. He was a character! It was so fun to listen to him talk about Christ-like attributes and how we represent Christ. We, as missionaries, are literally taking the place of Christ and teaching as he was. After the devotional, we had a testimony meeting with our district. First of all, thanks alot Mom. Come to find I bare my testimony just like her (with tears and blubbering and sniffling and all that fun stuff, ya not pretty). I didn't feel so bad when I looked around though and saw that I had gotten pretty much every other missionary in our district to tear up and/or cry. But what a spiritual experience it was to hear the testimonies of so many men who are dedicating 2 years of their lives to be as Christ and share his gospel with the world. I love it here and know this is where I am supposed to be. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. It is so nice to have the opportunity to go the the temple each Wednesday. All of the temple workers there know me because of a gentleman who works in the temple. Apparently he knew Grandpa and had the impression to ask me if I was at all related to Ray McKnight. I started to cry and said that I was. He told me he was prompted to ask me and that after asking, he could tell by the way that I carried myself and the spirit he felt in me, that I was related to Grandpa. I had never received a better compliment than that in my life. I was all blubbery (thanks again to Mom's genes) the rest of that day in the temple. My district is so close and we are so supportive of each other. We are so glad that we are all headed to the same mission, because we have developed a very special bond. We got new zone leaders on Sunday and they ask us how we were so close as a district. That was something we didn't really know how to answer, but we were nonetheless grateful that our unity is recognized. Elder Pope was called as the new district leader on Sunday as well, which was funny because he was a little taken back at first. It is still great though because I know he will be a great district leader. It is crazy how fast the time is going by here. I keep trying to take advantage of every spare moment, but there never seems to be enough time. My favorite chapter I read in the Book of Mormon this week was Alma 32. I love Alma! It is definately my favorite book in the scriptures. Its funny because I'm also reading the Book of Mormon is spanish, as well as are my companions, but its funny because Elder Pope was saying the Isaiah chapters were hard enough, but now they're double hard in spanish. It's funny though because we are able to joke about it in our district. Spanish has some pretty funny verbs and nouns too. See if you can guess what some of these mean: hechicero, basero de oro, jinetear, queso sweso. Those are just a few of the funny words we use. We also say "tan trigo" alot (Mom you have to translate it to English to get it). We also say stuff like "Hermano Vigil es las rodias de las obejas". We think were pretty clever here. But Hermano Vigil gets a kick out of what we come up with sometimes. He is one of our teachers and he has only been off his mission for 8 months! He went to Peru and always has stories about it. It's quite funny! Most of our zone idolizes him because he is just the best. We all printed out 8x10 photos of him and have them taped to the back of our doors in the residence halls. He doesn't know about it but we think its absolutely hilarious and are waiting for him to find out.

Thanks Family! I love you all and hope to hear from you all!!!!

Elder Scott Donner

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yeah! Another Email!

Hola Familia!!!

Wow it feels like I was emailing you not even a day ago. We do so much and we study so hard here. We don't let one moment pass us by to read the Book of Mormon or to share our testimonies with someone. Before we know it, the day is over and we feel like we got alot accomplished in that day. The spanish continues to come easily, but I know that it will be a totally different thing when we get into the field. We have a new "teacher-in-training" who is from, guess where? MEXICO CITY!!!! How cool is that!!! We asked him soooo many questions at first, and he is still learning english, so it is kinda fun to teach him english while he teaches us spanish!

So it turns out that I actually had the stomach flu all last week (even though the food still makes me sick haha) and that was part of the reason that I was throwing up all last week. Also this entire week I have been suffering from a sinus infection, which they gave me antibiotics for, and are slowly helping me to get better. I ran into Mike Jones his first day! Turns out he has the same meal times as I do, so I have the opportunity to say hi to him three times a day, plus whenever I see him around the MTC. Also we are scheduled to do service at the same time and place, so I get to see him when we are doing service. He seems to be doing great here, and I'm glad to see he is so comfortable in this environment. I haven't had the opportunity to write Bubba. They only give us 30 minutes on the computer for email and there is literally a timer that counts down and kicks us off after our 30 minutes are up, so I am only able to get this one email written, but we will see what I can do...

We had a "district unity acitvity" yesterday at breakfast. Our district made it a goal to eat an entire tower of Fruit Loops for breakfast (approx 60 bowls of cereal, which makes it about 7-8 bowls a piece). One of the kitchen workers didn't seem to happy but all the other workers were cheering us on, including alot of the other Elders around us. I don't think it is something we will do again, because we didn't feel like eating for the entire rest of the day. Last night we had the opportunity to have a devotional where David F. Evans of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke. It was an amazing talk!! I don't think I'd ever taken that many notes in a devotional or talk before! The spirit was so strong while he taught, and he answered so many of my prayers in just that single talk. He talked about receiving revelation from the Book of Mormon, and how many principles of our gospel are taught within just the first Chapter of Nephi! I could not believe this is something I had not recognized, or just took for granted before.

I am so grateful to be here. Even though I came into the MTC knowing alot about the gospel, I continue to grow and learn more, and my testimony continues to grow. Our teachers continue to be wonderful. Our zone leaders came and asked us the other day how our district is so close with one another. They couldn't figure out how we had bonded so quickly, because all of us are so different from one another. I think we just explained that it didn't matter who we were, but that are purpose was the same, and we loved each other for the decision we made to bring others unto Christ.

Me and my companions had the opportunity to meet with an investigator. He is our progressive investigator here at the MTC, and we will have the opportunity and are planning to teach him the first lesson. We continuously pray to have the spirit with us, and that we will be able to plan to meet his needs, and to know what we need to share with him. I am so nervous, but so comforted at the same time by the fact that I know that in the time of my teaching, the spirit will manifest unto me what it is that needs to be said.

Mom, our district would DEFINATELY love to receive donuts from you! If you could send them on a Saturday, that is when we need the biggest pick-me-up :)

Also I forgot to mention that I did not bring my patriarchal blessing with me, and was wondering if you could send the shrunk down version of it.

If I think of anything else, I will mention it in the letter I write home.

I love you all, and will continue to pray for you!

Elder Scott Donner

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010

Dear Family!!!

My second week here at the MTC has just sped by! I feel like I was able to get alot of studying done and alot of spanish learned. It's definately alot easier for me than alot of others but I am saying anything to my companions or district about it because I do not want to offend them. I was not able to greet Devon on the day she got here. That is a privelage only allowed to those missionoaries who have been here for 8 weeks or have just 1 week left. Luckily enough though we ran into her on her first day when she was picking up her supplies in the Bookstore so we were still able to take a picture. Everyone freaked out when I gave her a hug but I had to explain she was family haha!!!! I also have the same meal times as her so I have the opportunity to see her everday. I finally gathered together all the questions that have been asked to me and so I'm gonna take a whack at answering them but let me know if I miss a few.
I was not able to turn in my luggage receipt seeing as i washed it like a moron. It turned out to be in the one pocket I did not empty out. All is well though because I was able to meet President Uchdorf(?)!!!! I was using the bathroom and he happened to be in the stall right next to mine so it was really funny when I came out and he was there! I shook his hand outside of the bathroom, although I'm not sure why he was here because he didn't talk at the devotional/fireside. Still a really neat/awkward experience. I haven't received my Visa yet although I do know they started doing visas a different way now, and I had to fill out another physical appearance sheet for it again, so I take it I don't have it quite yet, although other missionaries have been receiving them before they hae to leave. I have received 2 packages so I hope that's all you have sent to me. I'm pretty sure alot of the packages get lost in the mail though. I have received the one that Mom sent for me yet either, but i still have the rest of today (its only 10:00). I appreciate all the letters you guys send via DearElder! Its really nice having a day to day update while I'm in the MTC although I do realize it is only while I am here. I have received all of them. They don't print the letters out seperate. They try to fit as many as they can on one. Imagine my surprise when I received 8 pages worth of letters on Monday. A total of 16 Letters in those 8 pages in all. Quite overwhelming, it took me an hour to read all of them, but nontheless, I was glad to have them. My companions are both amazing men. Elder Pope is a real example to me with the patients he has with Elder Montoya. Elder Pope is also a real crackup. He's a legend right now at the MTC. My district is probably one of the Rowdiest districts. We try to settle everyone down but we tend to get really worked up over funny things sometimes, although we still manage to keep the spirit. I am going to print out and send a picture of our district next week. We make up the largest zone in the MTC right now, which is pretty crazy. Actually we just lost a district to the field so now were one of the smallest. Our teachers are Hermano Vigil and Hermana Gigena (jenna with a stutter). They are both wonderful teachers and we learn alot from them. We have a basic understanding of the spanish language now and can speak in past and future tense now. Also if we ever need any help, we can always sign up for the spanish tutor, Hermano McCoy. He is a great tutor and makes spanish WAY easier to understand. I am grateful to have so many great resources here at the MTC. Unfortunately that is not the case for the cafeteria however. The food here does not agree well with my stomach, so I have had to resort to eating Cool Wraps and salads. The food made me sick until just recently, partly because the portions were so big, but partly because it just made me sick. So now i always ask them to make me half portions of the salads. Just recently I have started feeling better. My spanish is definately coming along well though.

Yo no se mucho, pero yo se como a compartir mi testimonio con ustedes (i think i did that right). Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial, y a traves Su Expiación, podemos recibire la vida eterna. Yo so que el Expiación es central en el plan de Dios. Este plan es el Plan de Salvacion. Yo se que a traves José Smith, Dios restauró el Evangelio verdadero. Yo se estas cosas por que oré y Dios contestó mi oracion.

Well I hope I have updated you well enough and I have answered all of the questions you have. Thanks you all for your support and love.

Elder Scott Donner