Well, before making my list of favorite experiences, I want to share a quick experience with you guys in detail. So... last Monday my companion and I received a special letting in the mail from the MTC offices. It said that we had been recommended and selected to do something that blew our minds: teach in front of new missionaries as an example. I don't have much time to explain, but basically all the new missionaries go to special workshops during their first few Wednesday. One of these workshops is a demonstration of teaching to an investigator. Yep, so to summarize in one sentence, my companion and I demonstrated how to teach in from of about 75 new missionaries. We had wireless mics and everything, and it actually went well! We were both a tad nervous but ended up having a great time. I'd write more but need to move on. :) Alright, I have an hour today since this is my last email from the MTC! Here is my list of favorite memories/events:
1. My first day here. It was crazy, but I learned SO MUCH and remember it well.
2. Playing the "Rock of Shame" game. I don't enjoy carrying the tiny boulder, but the concept of the game has been hilarious. One of our teachers even had it for a while b/c we caught her off guard :).
3. Hearing and learning from general authorities who spoke at the devotionals. Holland's talk was definitely my favorite. He spoke with power and authority, teaching us how to really become missionaries for the Lord.
4. Scoring my two goals in soccer during gym. My first goal, which happened like a month ago, wasn't that cool. But guess what? My second one was pretty awesome--and lucky. So I'll try to describe it in just a few sentences. So... While running down the field with the soccer ball, a missionary here who dominates at soccer was owning everybody on the field. I was also running down the field, not knowing exactly what to do (like usual), when this missionary chipped the ball over two defenders in an awesome arc, landing it right in front of me. It took one bounce and then I just booted it as hard as possible. B/c the pass was so perfect, I basically got to punt the soccer ball right before it took its second bounce. It was a rocket, at least by my standards, and it went into the upper right corner of the goal. So lucky. So awesome. I give most of the credit to my teammate, and I just hope to be at least half as good as him by the time my mission ends. :)
5. Getting mail. That's one of the best parts of everyday here. It's fun to read about what's going on!
6. Watching my investigators progress and eventually get baptized.
7. Spanish. I want to talk a bunch about this topic, but I'll just say that it's WAY COOL. If I say more, it will probably take up the rest of my time haha.
8. Having spiritual moments, like the ones described in my last email.
9. Serving in leadership positions here with the Branch Presidency and other missionaries here. I have learned so much about the great work of missionary service and about myself.
10. Learning SO MUCH from my teachers. They all have different insights and have helped me in different ways.
-Hermano Reading. He has taught us for all 9 weeks. His grandparents are from Panama, and he's been a native speaker his whole life and speaks a little faster than my other teachers. He's super cool, laid back, and I've definitely learned the most grammar from him.
-Hermana Curtis. We only had her for the first half of out stay here b/c her schedule changed when BYU started up again. She served in Chicago and really wanted us to speak our language ALL THE TIME. It definitley helped, and we all like her a lot. I learned so much about Preach My Gospel and how to use it as a resource from her.
-Hermana Salazar. She taught us, along with Hermano Reading, for roughly the entire time of our second month here. She served in Los Angeles, and her dad is from Mexico. She would always laugh a lot and liked to have a good time. She DID always make sure that we stayed focused and worked hard too, with good intentions, just like all the teachers here. haha. She really taught me and my companion to teach people and NOT just lessons. That's definitely important, and my companion and I improved our teaching skills with her help.
I've put more detail into this point b/c it really has been on of my favorite parts of the MTC. All of my teachers (subs included) speak spanish a little differently and emphasize different aspects of the gospel, the language, and missionary work. Basically, they are the ones who have made my stay here beneficial.
11. Playing dumb games like slamball in the dorms before going to bed.
12. Chilling during P-days :)
13. Learning about the culture of Argentina from people who have served there.
14. Going to the temple every week.
15. Seeing our incredible progress as a district and individually.
16. Watching and getting familiar with mormon messages. Some of my favorites are "A work in Progress" and "Sharing the Light of Christ," along with a few others. Cameron, if you're reading this, you should definitely watch the second one b/c it's about a guy who does service in Honduras!
17. Seeing so many ppl from BYU here
18. Sleeping in till 8am on P-days. Yes, it is so nice to sleep in that late, even though that used to be early for me hahah.
19. EAting BYU creamery ice cream
20. Getting so close to my companion, teachers, and district.
21. Watching one of the missionaries in my district get mail. His girlfriend sends him hilarious stuff all the time, like ties, dumb games, stickers, and just a bunch of random objects that we use during our free time. Anyways, so one day she decided to send him a surprise: a live goldfish! She send it in priority mail and it made it to the MTC the same day. This missionary, Elder Logue, was super excited and opened the package just to find a big dead fish upside down in a big bottle. He still kept it for three days, and it was pretty funny. He still went around showing people for no apparent reason haha.
22. Talking about random stuff in class. One day we had a little bit of free time during class, and our teacher taught us a little bit of spanish slang. We didn't get it at all and said it didn't make sense. Then he told us to think of slang in English. Some person might say this: "Dude, do you know what's up? The Party is going down tonight! That's what's up, man!" haha. Think of how confusing that would be for someone learning English :)
Basically, it's been a great rollercoaster ride here. Though tough at some points, I have learned how to serve as a missionary and can't wait to get to Argentina. I have less than 48 hours until I board my first plane :) From now on, my new address will be:
Elder Rory Jones
Argentina Rosario Mission
Blvd Argentina 7935
I think you only need the phone number if you're sending a package but don't know for sure. There are three ways you can send me mail while I'm in the field:
Dearelder.com. You can still use this, but instead of same-day delivery, It takes anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks for me to get it
The LDS Pouch Mail service. This system is awesome and run by the church, but it also is a little confusing and has really specific requirements. My parents said they posted information about it, so luckily I don't have to describe how to use it :)
The Regular Mail system. You can just send a normal letter from the post office, but you have to use one (possibly two) international stamps. They are little more expensive than regular stamps.
Honestly, I have know idea which option works best. I'll try to figure it out when I get down there. Regardless of the method you choose, I've heard from other missionaries that it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 week for the mail to go one way. So basically, my communication through mail is going to be a lot different and take A LOT longer. It's all good though. I'll still try to write back, but you guys might not get my letter until Christmas time or something haha.
Well, I'm SUPER PUMPED and can't wait to get down there. The first week is probably going to be crazy, just like my first week here at the MTC. I want to send thanks again to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me both before and during my mission. I have know idea when my P-day will be in Argentina. Honestly, I don't really know what my next email will be about. It will probably be a crazy long bullet list since I will have so much to say. I can't wait. The culture and language shock will be incredible, and I can't wait to apply what I've learned here down in Rosario. I want to help people, and that's exactly what we strive to do each day as missionaries: We invite people to come unto Christ. Invitamos a las personas a venir al Christo :).
I have to go. Wish me luck! Nos Vemos! My next email will come from some random place down in Rosario :)
Elder Rory Jones