Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ñ á é í ó ú

I arrived at the Peru MTC last night at 3 in the morning and immediately passed out on my bed. They let us sleep in until 9 which was nice. Many things are very different here. The showers aparrently only have 2 settings: freezing cold and skin melting hot. There is a faucet for cold water and a faucet for hot water, but it is impossible to get any mixture of cold and hot water at the same time.  The grass is weird, it´s hard to explain how its weird, it just is.  My fruit loops this morning tasted nothing like fruit loops, but I ate them anyway.  I am currently typing on a weird Spanish keyboard that makes it really easy to do this: ñ á é í ó ú but the punctuation is in strange places.  The climate so far is really nice.

I met my new companion; he is from Ecuador and speaks no English.  I speak very little Spanish, so we don´t talk much.  He seems like a nice guy though. I think my p-day is on Wednesdays now, but I don't know.  There seem to be just about as many white missionaries as there are Latino missionaries and most of the staff speak decent English.  I still need to learn a lot of Spanish quickly to have any idea what is going on.

I should probably write again in a week, but I don´t really know.  The computer interface here is a bit more normal, so I should be able to email pictures now, but I don´t know for sure. Sorry for the disjointedness of this email, but I don´t have much time and the keyboard is really weird, so...

Until next time
-Elder  Jack Casdorph

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Con Amor

Editor's Comment:
Life in the MTC looks a
little strange and distant, too.
The second week here has gone by so much faster than the first and it's crazy to think that I will be leaving for the Peru MTC on Tuesday.  It seems like I just got here, but at the same time, life before the MTC feels strange and distant.

On Friday, my "investigator" from the first week walked into my class and started speaking English.  It turns out that he is actually the second teacher of my class.  He gave us some feedback on our lessons and told us a bit about his real self.  Although he is bilingual in English and Spanish (he's Latino), he served his mission in Mongolia.  He also said that he threw some Mongolian into our lessons just to freak-out the young missionaries who don't even know the difference between Spanish and Mongolian.  This week, both of our teachers have been playing the part of different investigators, one named "Gabriel" and the other named "Rogelio."  We have taught them every day this week.  The Spanish is slowly coming along and we are probably about 70% off-script in our lessons now, but there is still that 30% that we have to read.

The Companion
Things have been going fine with my companion and my district, although my district can get pretty crazy sometimes.  I try to get the most out of my 55 minutes of allotted fun time that I can, usually by playing beach volleyball.

Although I'm a little worried about going to Peru, it will be nice to get out of the MTC here.  I really only ever see 3 places, my room, the classroom, and the cafeteria, so I'm starting to get a pretty good case of cabin fever.  It also seems like I really only see the same 15 or 20 people even though there's like thousands of missionaries here.  On Tuesday, though, I will be in a whole new country and be begging for some familiarity.  I hope that everything is going fine in the outside word and I'm not sure when I'll be writing home next, but I do know that it will be from Peru.

Con Amor,
Elder Casdorph

Some fun pictures:

The District

There is a tree here that smells like cream soda, (I don't know how or why,
it just does) so that is why I have a picture of someone smelling a tree.
Headed to the Mexico City West Mission

Headed to Mexico City South


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Truth Can Defend Itself

I always used to wonder how missionaries could learn an entire language in just 2 or 3 months in the MTC.  After spending a week here, I think I know the answer: work, work , and more work.  We spend literally all day studying and about 3/4 of that time is devoted to learning Spanish.  We speak as much Spanish as we can with each other even during the 1 hour a day that we get to play sports.  Our teacher never speaks English (he can, it's his 1st language, but he never does).  We even do all of our praying and singing in Spanish.  I can say this method works though.  I've already learned about as much Spanish as I did from 2 years of Spanish in high school (I've definately gotten some help from the spirit in learning it too).  Definitely the hardest and scariest thing that we've had to do so far is teach an investigator* Spanish...4 different times.  We have to read from lesson plans that we've prepared beforehand cause we're not good enough to just speak it yet.  Then the investigator* will ask us questions that will force us off-script, so we just awkwardly fumble over the words as we attempt to answer him and often fail at saying anything that actually makes sense.  It's a ridiculous emotional roller coaster here.  At one moment, you'll be thinking, "Yeah! I just learned a whole bunch of words and the spirit will help me with the rest, I'm ready to convert the world!"  Then you'll realize an hour later that all you know how to say is "the church is true" and "where's the bathroom" and start worrying about how all the native-speakers are just gonna laugh at you.  I have seen elders here who will in the same day cry out of joy and then later out of frustration. I have seen a whole bunch of people here that I know, including: Elder Casperson; Elder Zollinger; Elders Jefferson Vick, Eric Judd, Josh Haertel, Chase Noel, and Adam Mower. I have also seen Stephen Arroyo's sister who is a teacher here.  It's awesome to see people that I know looking all grown up and missionary-like.

My companion is a pretty cool guy who is from Salt Lake City and went to East High.  We are about equal in Spanish knowledge and we usually work pretty well together.  In addition to my companion, there are 2 other elders who are going to Santa Cruz and 8 others in my district who are going to Mexico City.  They are all awesome, funny guys with powerful testimonies.  It's often very difficult to study around them though because they are a pretty loud, rambunctious group.  One time, they were being particularly loud and not studying at all.  I couldn't take it anymore, so I said a quick mental prayer that they would quiet down and regain focus.  Right as I said, "amen" and opened my eyes again, my district leader stood up and told them all to quiet down and listen to the spirit because without the spirit, we wouldn't be able to learn Spanish.  After that, nobody really said a word and we did the best studying that we've ever done.

We've had some pretty awesome devotionals and firesides while we've been here. In the last one, the speaker said something that I really liked.  He said, "The truth can defend itself, just as force always equals mass times acceleration, and that will always be true, the gospel will always be true." This really hit home for me probably because he used as an example the equation that I have probably used about 500 times and never once found it to be wrong.

Please write to me because in this crazy missionary world, letters and sports are all that I have to keep me sane. I can't wait to see you all again in 2 years and tell you all of my awesome missionary experiences, but for now, I'll just keep writing home whenever I get the chance.

P.S. my p-day is Thursday, so you can expect emails and stuff on Thursdays.