Mom, Dad, and everyone else,
How are you all doing? Things are going pretty well here in the MTC. I like my
district and zone. Today we have a mini- preparation day. Apparently
missionaries have a weird schedule the first few days at the mtc, so for the
rest of my stay here my preparation days will be on Fridays. I think my
district is set to depart on March 5th and 6th. We don't have much time before
leaving. And we don't have much time for ourselves. We have lessons in our
classroom once or twice a day, and have studying periods for ourselves, our
companionship, and then additional study time. After Thursday I felt like we
would never get any time to just study what we wanted. Then yesterday we had a
ton of studying time, but I felt like I hardly got anything done. We've been
given a lot of assignments. Our Branch President talked to us Thursday night,
and told us to memorize the First Vision, 3 Nephi 5:13, and Doctrine and
Covenants 20:37 (the baptismal prayer) in both English and Spanish. We also
were challenged the first day in the MTC to read the Missionary Handbook and
memorize My Purpose in Preach My Gospel, aka Predicad Mi Evangelio. The
memorization is going pretty well. I mostly memorize the passages in English,
then I have something to guide my memorization in Spanish. Oh, yeah, our Branch
President also told us all to prepare 4 min 52 second talks for sacrament
meeting. Everyone in our branch (which is our zone) must prepare a talk, and
then we will find out just before sacrament meeting who will be giving a talk.
The talks must be given in Spanish, so that will be kind of difficult. I am one
of the very few non-native Spanish speakers in my district, and probably zone,
too. Almost all of the Elders and Hermanas (Sisters) here learned Spanish in
their home. Either one or both parents are from Mexico or Central America and
they are mostly fluent. The first day everyone was just speaking Spanish very
quickly and I got nervous. I could hardly pick out what they were saying, but
my comprehension is improving. The people here aren't completely fluent though,
because they grew up in America, and they talk in English a lot, too. When they
speak Spanish, they might throw in a word or term in English every once in a
while. I am developing a pretty good ability to speak Spanglish.
Gym time here is interesting, because I don't know everyone yet and who is and
isn't athletic. So I've played a fairly good game of basketball and a really
poor game of volleyball. The volleyball game was yesterday and afterward I just
felt kind of flat throughout the rest of the day. I couldn't focus as well and
that's when I felt really unproductive when we were studying. By the way,
Sister Cross says Hi. She is standing right here in the Laundry room. I have
run into someone I know at almost every meal that I've been here. The ones that
are here learning spanish are in mostly beginner classes and don't understand
most of what I'm saying, so that makes me feel pretty good. My speed has picked
up in my spanish speaking, which is good, but since mostly everyone here is
almost fluent, we don't study the language. We study missionary work while
speaking the language.
There are two other people that I know that are going to my mission. Two
Hermanas in my zone. One was actually in my Latin Dance class, so we were
pretty surprised to see each other at the MTC. So far the biggest miracle I've
seen was on thursday (it already feels like I have been here a long time. There
is a lot in one day.) Thursday morning we were having class for the first time
and I couldn't follow what was going on. I could pick out what each person was
saying, but I couldn't really connect the thoughts because I was just trying to
understand the speed and accents. So I started praying and asked Heavenly
Father to help me out and be prepared for the ability to speak the language
like President Dickson had said in my blessing. Pretty soon after we had a
short break, and I felt like my mind was able to reset. From then on the
Spanish has come much easier. The rest of that day I was doing incredible. So I
know that prayer really works and God will make a way for us to do what he
commands us (1 Nephi 3:7)
I need to go now. Love you! thanks for your letters and all you have taught me.
I will try to send pictures soon.
Elder Schenk (it's the same in Spanish)
Saturday, February 23, 2013
One last round of shopping for clothes and supplies.
One last game of Ultimate Frisbee.
A few more scrapes and scratches,
A few more smiles,
A little more time with friends,
A few more games to play,
A few more moments of hilarity,
One last meal,
A couple more pictures,
A few more kisses,
One last hug,
And he's on his way.
On January 19, 2013, Eric went to the Seattle Temple for his own endowments.
We were so pleased to have both Grandma Schenk and Grandma Hart there with us.
We were able to take Eric back to the Seattle Temple two more times before his mission, once with his brother-in-law, Josh. He also had the opportunity to help with baptisms for the dead on two different temple trips, once with the Burlington Ward Priests up in the Vancouver BC temple and once with the Mt Vernon Stake Laurel group in the Seattle temple.
After arriving in Utah we did a session in the Provo Temple,
and a session in the Salt Lake Temple.
Eric really enjoyed the live session there.
Something his Stake President told him at his temple recommend interview was that going to the temple was one of the best ways to prepare for your mission.