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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pictures from the drop off day

Happy Thanksgiving

Kumusta Nanay!
Thanksgiving was a lot better than I thought it would be. The morning started off with a devotional by Elder Russell M. Nelson, which was great. Did you know that he remarried after his wife died? I didn't. I wonder how it would be to date as an Apostle... Also, I learned that Elder Nelson was President Kimball's doctor before he was called as an apostle. Interesting fact. Anyways, he and his wife talked to us about Gratitude and Thanksgiving and the spirit was so strong. We sat pretty close and it was great. Oh, and the day before, we had the chance to hear from Elder Christofferson as well. Two Apostles in two days. I guess being at the MTC is a blessing. We had our "Thanksgiving Feast" for lunch so that the workers could go home to their families for the evening. It wasn't the greatest food ever, but Thanksgiving has never really been about the food for me anyways. The Pumpkin Pie was great though! I had two slices. After our feast, we put together sack dinners to eat back at our Residence halls. We then had another fireside with the MTC President. After that, we participated in a service project where we put together humanitarian packages to be sent to Somalia. My job was to pass empty boxes along a "Human conveyor belt" towards the supply tables. It wasn't difficult and we finished pretty quickly. We then had dinner in our rooms, and we all thought about what our families were doing at the moment. I guessed that you all would probably be in a movie or eating Pie. Later on, we returned to the gym for a movie. We watched "17 Miracles" which was just as good as the last time I watched it. It was nice to have time to relax!

It's only been about three weeks but it feels like I've been here for an eternity. The language is still difficult, but I'm adjusting to it finally. I'll try to recorded myself saying some things in Tagalog for you. I don't know if I ever told you, but our "investigator" Niko turned out to be our second teacher for class. I didn't think he was a real investigator, but we were shocked to learn he was our teacher. It was a weird transition, but Brother Pearce is a pretty cool teacher now. 

Well, I better be going now. I'm basically out of time! I look forward to reading more letters from all of you... and more packages.=)

Miss ya, but I'm doing well.
Mahal ko Kayo!

Elder G. Smith

Monday, November 21, 2011

One week down

Time is a really weird thing here at the MTC. Day's start meshing together
and it's hard to remember what happened when. It's all a blur. I know it's
only been a little over a week since I got here but it feels like I've been
here forever. The language is progressivly, but slowly, getting better.
Yesterday we leaned abuout a thing called MAG verbs, which just added to
the confusion of everything, but it will hopefully all work out for the
We went to the Temple this morning which was great, although it was a
little weird going without you and Dad since you've been there bothe times
before. It was a neat experience with my district though, and the Temple
Cafateria food is to die for. It's nice to have something fresh and out of
the ordinary once and a while. We loaded up, so I'll be skiping lunch
today. My companion, Elder Johnson, is alright. He has a dry sense of humor
and isn't very outgoing, but I'll manage. He's from Kansas, and you can
tell.  But all in all, he's a good person, and smart with
the language. He really helps when we are teaching our Investegator Niko in
Tagalog. It's basically all a simulation, but it's great practice. Our last
lesson, we invited Niko to be baptized. He was reluctant because of his
Smoking habits but we promied he could do it with our help and with God. He
accepted the commitment and I was suprised by how excited I was for him!
It's a reallty great learning experience. =)
Mahal ko Kayo! (I love You)
Elder Garett Smith

First Letter

I feel like the last few days have been an information overload, especially with all the time we have spent studying Tagalog. They have a new program that has only been in effect since June. Yesterday, on only our second full day, we had to teach an "Investegator" in Tagalog. It was a very real situation and my companion and I were pretty stressed about it. All we have learned so far is how to bear a simple testimony and give a simple prayer. So... that's pretty much all we did. We tried to discuss his family and talk about The Fall, but we had to idea how to respond to what he said to us. It's so frustrating becase I want to know what he is saying and I want to communicate so badly. For once, I have to actually think about what I am saying. Most of the time I get it wrong, but I am learning. We have another appointment with Niko (our investegator) this afternoon. It's probably going to be just as rough as the first time, but I guess it's a good experience. It gives me more motivation to learn the language. I think that's what they're aiming for. Well, it's working!! My companion is smart and learns the language fast so he helps me out a lot. The other Elders we share a room with have been here for about 7 weeks so they are able to help and give us advice as well. Our teacher doesn't speak to us in English at all. It's been Tagalog from day one. It's kinda like a guessing game trying to understand what he is trying to teach us. Although I still don't know very much, I am suprised by how much I have already learned. A lot more than I thought I would! Anyways, things are going well here at the MTC.