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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week 4

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Thanks again for all of the letters! It's been great to hear about everything you guys have done over the last few weeks.

Anyways, so with the short amt of time given to me this week, I've decided to write about my experiences with Spanish here at the MTC. Like always, I'll try to say as much as possible :)

First off, learning a new language has completely humbled me. "You don't appreciate something until it's gone" is a quote that I've heard many times, and it's definitely true. Communicating in Spanish felt nearly impossible the first day. We had truly lost our ability to express ourselves, share our thoughts, explain our different ideas, etc. All of us felt extremely incapable and discouraged whenever we attempted to speak Spanish, and I'm not gonna lie, we spoke pretty horrible the first few days. But don't worry, it's been an incredible experience and has already blessed my life, even though I've only been here for about a month. Just like I said in my first email, my adventure began the moment I stepped onto the pavement here at the MTC. In fact, I've added it up and we've studied or been in class for over 200 hours already!! I'll try to explain all the details in the rest of this letter.

Alright, so from day one, my district has been in the new spanish pilot program. Roughly half of the Spanish-speaking missionaries here are part of this new program, and it has been a rollercoaster. From the very beginning, our teachers have talked to us in Spanish about 75% of the time.Once we hit week five (next wednesday), our teachers will only communicate to us in Spanish! This concept is called Habla Su Idioma (Speak your language). So basically, everyday we hear and try to speak spanish ALL OF THE TIME, and this fact is one of the central ideas of the new spanish pilot program.

Another major part of our training is the fact that we teach people everyday. WE even taught 2 lessons during our first 3 days here! Crazy, huh? It's definitely been a work in progress, but guess what? My companion and I taught two lessons yesterday, each 30+ minutes long. We can communicate our message alright, but it's often tought to understand the native speakers b/c they talk SO FAST. It's actually really fun, though, and it's exciting to here the slightly different types of Spanish. One of our investigators at the TRC (Training Resource Center) complemented us yesterday. He said that we could communicate and talk about gospel stuff pretty well, but whenver we just talked about other stuff in casual conversation, it was more difficult. That's definitely a true statement. Our vocab and comprehensions will just come with time, so no worries. Sometimes i'll get about 90% of what they say; other times I'll get almost nothing, which is kinda funny but pretty lame and frustrating at the same time. Darn! I don't have that much time left (like always!), so I can't go into as many details. I"ll make some quick bullets that relate to my spanish experiences:

- We've taught over 20 lessons in Spanish already!
- As of a few days ago, my companion and I can read the Spanish scriptures w/o the english ones by our side. We still have to look up quite a few words, but it's all good :)
- Right now, I have two investigators: Erika and Juan
- Erika isn't as perfect as our first investigator who already got baptized, but she still listens attentively and is learning fast
- On the other hand, Juan doesn't really do anything on his own, and he fell asleep during our last lesson cuz he didn't care that much. He ALWAYS wants us to come back though, so we're trying to figure out why. He's really cool... just lazy haha.
- We have a few other people that we teach about once a week instead of everyday, but I don't have time to talk about them. It's all good though.
- Our investigators here are teachers who take the role of of one of their real investigators from the field. Some of the other investigators are volunteers, and some are members from the area who just act like themselves while we share a spiritual thought in Spanish :)
- We've spend tons of time on the computer programs here, and they have helped us with pronunciation so much!

And that's it for now. My time has gone. I wish there was more time to say more, but I will say this: Spanish is incredibly hard but incredibly exciting all the same. I love being able to read las escrituras y Predicad Mi Evangelio w/o the English copies right beside them. We still have a long long way to go, but I couldn't feel more pumped. We've come so far, yet we have so far to go! Our goal is and always will be in sight, and hopefully we'll be able to preach the gospel in fluent spanish before we know it.

Elder Rory Jones

P.S. They keep getting my dearelder messages mixed up with some guy here named Roman Jones. So if you guys put "#Rory" as my first name instead of just "Rory," that should fix the problem. I've written everyone back, but if you haven't gotten a letter yet it's b/c this roman jones got your letter. They are working on it, and apparently it has something to do with software malfunction. But for the time being, my name for dearelder is "#Rory Jones" haha. So use that name, and I'll get it for sure b/c the computer will then be able to distinguish btw our names. Thanks again for all of the letters. It's so much fun to read them, especially after a long day. I hope y'all are doing well. Nos Vemos!

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