Dzien dobry (Good day) family!
How is everyone? I hope everyone is doing well. As for me, I can't believe I've been here almost 6 days already. It feels like we just said goodbye. Yet it kinda feels like I've been here two years as well. Time is non-existent here at the MTC. Some classes seem to last forever, while others fly by.
First, my companion is Starszy (Elder) Garfield. His first name is Keith. He is from Northern Virginia, Fairfax area. He went to BYU and lived in Building 9 in Helaman Halls, but I never met him. He's a great guy. He took French in high school, so between the both of us, our Polish pronounciation gets very confusing. It's a mixture of German and French more than Polish I think. Our teacher, Sister Stay, has some pretty good laughs about it. She served in Poland and just got back 3 months ago. Anyway, Elder Garfield is the oldest of 7 siblings--5 brothers and 2 sisters. He also had a little brother that drowned in his backyard at the age of 2. I asked him about it and he says it doesn't really affect him too much. He was only 4 and a half when he died, so he didn't really understand it. Still, I can't imagine what that would do to his parents.
There are eleven of us missionaries in the Polish group. Ten elders and one sister (Sister Packard, Brother Packard's granddaughter). We are studying hard and trying our best, but Polish is definitely a hard language. Still, with all the progress we've made, the gift of tongues has to be present. I can already pray, bear my testimony, and greet someone in Polish. Oh, and get this. On Friday, we taught a lesson in Polish. Yes, in Polish. To an investigator named Maciej. Well, he's a teacher here (Bro. Buckner), but Maciej is somene he taught in Poland. We were freaking out when we found out we had to teach, but we made it through the lesson with some very broken Polish. I was able to bear testimony to him that I knew that God is his father and that we are all children of God. The spirit was so strong! It's unbelievable that even when I can't speak the language, I can still have the spirit with me.
We taught Maciej another lesson, again in Polish, on Saturday. Once again, broken Polish, but yet again, I bore testimony that the Księnga Mormona (Book of Mormon) is true and that we have prophets on the earth today. I couldn't believe the spirit was so strong and Maciej committed to read some of the Book of Mormon!
As for things I need, it would be nice if you would send my backpack to me. I was called as District Leader Thursday night so I have to carry a binder with me. It would be nice if I had a backpack with me so I don't have to carry my binder in my hands. As for other things, I know there's more, but I only have limited time, so I will send a letter home with a list of what I could use.
I have seen Hall-Choro (Elder Hall) and many others! Elders Frandsen, Walters, Kohler and many others are regulars. I see so many kids I know from BYU every day, it's unbelievable. It was so great to be picked up by Anziano Peachey. The other elders I saw at the curb were Elder Garrett Pliler (Argentina) and Elder Connor Nicol (Argentina as well, I think). Elder Pliler went to Lone Peak, and Elder Nicol went to AF. They're great guys. Elder Nicol is actually Jocelyn Nicol's (Heather's friend) older brother.
Yes mom, I unpacked my suit as soon as I could. No wrinkles to speak of so far.
Monday is my P-day. I'll usually email anywhere from 11 to 12:30 because that's when I do laundry. I got to go to the temple this morning. It had been a long time since I had gone, so I was very glad to go. The Provo Temple is closed for the month for cleaning, so it was my only time to go until July 30th or some such date.
Mom and Dad, I'm glad you got to meet some of the Elder's parents. Elder Neuner is a great Elder. He and Starszy Wilson are actually companions. They command a strong presence wherever they go. We have some great Elders in our district. It's been fun getting to know each of them.
As for being a District Leader, I was shocked when I was called. I'm so humbled. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm still trying to figure out how to be a missionary, much less be a leader. I know I have been called by the Lord, however, and I'm learning to rely on him and exercise my faith in doing what He wants me to do. My testimony is growing so much. Last night, we were able to watch a video of a talk Elder Bednar gave here on Christmas. It's called the Character of Christ. It changed my whole perspective on so many things. I have limited time here (heck [can I say that as a missionary?], I have limited time all the time) but I will try to write home and tell you more about it. It was so amazing.
Since I only have a half hour for email, Dear Elder or handwritten letters are the best way to keep in touch with me. That way, I can read them at my leisure during the week. Thank you so much for the package mom and Hannah! The cookies are delicious. Really great. I shared them with a lot of the elders in my district. By the way, I got assigned to Elder Jesperson's room. He left 4 drawers of food from his stay. I guess he could see his house from the MTC. The older Elders tell me that he got a package everyday. We're getting rid of the food the best we can, so I still have room for more packages.
My time is short. I love you all. The Church is true.
Hannah, Happy Birthday! I'm trying to find time to send a card home today if I can.
Emma, keep kicking butt in Lacrosse. I know you'll work hard.
Heather, keep the boys off the best you can.
Mom, don't worry, I'm taking care of myself.
Dad, faith is hard. Really hard. I'm beginning to understand what it really means.
P.S. My hangers that I was going to hang my white shirts on just got stolen from the laundry room. Yes, even at the MTC, sin is still present. I'm sure they just got misplaced or something, but I do need some new ones now. Probably about 8 would be great. Thanks so much! I love you all! I'm spreading the word!