Monday, November 28, 2016

What a week, I don't even know where to really begin. We arrived in Atlanta at about 3:00 and it was so busy. I guess the Atlanta airport is one of the biggest airports in the country? And it was extra crazy because of Thanksgiving so that was fun, but we made it out alive. We only got lost once. We had dinner at the mission president's house and slept there that night with all of the new missionaries. The next morning I met my companion, Elder Castillo. He is awesome and we get along great. He was born in Ecuador, Grew up in Spain, and then recently lived in London where he learned English. So his English has a mix between a Spanish and British accent. It is kind of funny but he doesn't like when I tease him about it. Later that day we were driving to a dinner appointment with a family in the branch and we were just making small talk and talking about soccer. He said he liked to play defense and I said I liked to play as the goalie, then the conversation kind of ended at that. Well, while we were eating, the mom's brother, Ernesto, came over and he isn't a member. We got talking to him and he said he was playing soccer with some friends but he was frustrated because they didn't have a defender and a goalie for their team... My companion and I looked at each other and offered to fill the missing positions for their pick-up game. The next morning we showed up to the field and quickly learned that it was not just a little pick-up game. Apparently every year the Latinos have a big Thanksgiving day soccer tournament with about 18 teams and a grand prize of $3000, and that is what we offered to be a part of. I was terrified. I was the only white person in the whole tournament. Every team had their own fake replica jerseys that they made of their favorite teams. We were Barcelona and they gave me a keeper jersey that was 2 sizes too small. Our team lost but my companion and I played pretty well. Other teams were trying get us to join their team. They asked us what college we played for and everything and we said we aren't here for school but to share messages and help people come unto Christ. It was a neat experience to share our message with some of those people at the soccer field. Ernesto was pretty interested but he doesn't live in our area so we tried to set him up with the other missionaries. Thanksgiving was a blast. We had 3 different appointments and all of the meals consisted of Turkey and gravy, and rice and beans. It was awesome. I can barely understand what anyone says when we meet with people but that's okay. I am working really hard on my Spanish. I had to bless the sacrament and bear my testimony in sacrament meeting and that was a little scary. People would come up to me after the meeting and ask where I was from and I would say Utah and almost every person had the same response... "ah you're the missionary factory". It made me laugh. I have already had some interesting food. Yesterday we were eating at the branch mission leader's house (we call him and his wife "Mami and Papi" because they are basically like our parents) and she made some chicken and rice soup. I was excited because it looked just like the soup Mom would make. I saw a big piece of chicken so I tried to split it in half with my spoon. After it wouldn't break, I looked closer and saw that it was a chicken's spine. I looked at everyone else's bowls and saw that they all had some various pieces of chicken body parts in their soup. It has been really fun and amazing out here. I love serving the Lord. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that I do not speak Spanish. But in our lessons the spirit is there. The spirit speaks all languages and testifies of the truth. Even though the language is a struggle right now, the spirit is still there and testifies the same way. I love you all and love receiving your emails!

Elder May

Ernesto is the small guy.

The Koreans we play soccer with.

President and Sister Foote

Branch President "Papi"

Monday, November 21, 2016

Well since I am leaving on what would have been my P-day, we are allowed to email today so everybody knows what is going on. I leave at 3:50 in the morning to go to the airport... The MTC has been such a great experience. I have learned so much about myself and about my savior. I have also made so many great memories and friendships. The other day we were sitting in a devotional and my companion had some listerine breath spray. He offered to let me have some so I just opened my mouth and was going to let him spray my mouth with it. Well, he missed. He nailed me right in the eye with the listerine. Not going to lie, it hurt really bad and I was scared for me eye for a little bit. It didn't help that we were sitting in the middle of the front row... the devotional hadn't quite started yet so I got up to go to the restroom to try to wash out my eye, but the person leading the devotional stopped and asked me if I was okay... I had to explain right there in front of everybody that my companion sprayed me in the eye with listerine. Super awkward and embarrassing, but it was really funny. My eye is okay, the stinging eventually left after about 30 minutes and I still have full use of my right eye. I one of our devotionals, our MTC president shared this quote from Dr. Seuss "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose" His point was that we have fully agency of our actions. We have been given commandments and guidelines in this life, but we ultimately have the choice of whether or not we are going to do what we should. I know that when we use our agency in righteous ways we are blessed with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We feel happier and our Father in heaven is happy when he knows that we are using our agency in righteous ways. I love you all, Georgia here I come.

-Elder May

Friends at the dentist office where I had 2 root canals while in the MTC

Elder Villalobos

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Another great week here at the MTC (or CCM in spanish, I don't know why) We had our last lesson with Brian on Wednesday and that was really sad. We taught about families and the temple for his last lesson and he seemed really touched by it. I'm going to miss that guy. We've started teaching lessons over Skype with people from all over the world. This last week we taught a guy named Christian from Mexico. I understood about 40% of what he said, so I was pretty proud of myself. One of the Elders in our residence hall area asked me to give him a haircut the other day. That was a surprise but I went with it. I think I did pretty well actually. Now a couple others have asked for haircuts but I don't want to make that my career so I told them it was a onetime thing. Speaking of surprises though, my entire district has received their flight plans for next week... Except me... I talked to the office about it and they said that my mission has been temporarily changed to Atlanta Georgia while I wait for my visa. That is why it has taken longer for me to get my flight plans. They said I should receive them by tomorrow or Thursday though. I suspected that I would stay in the states somewhere since my visa hasn't come. My district acted like I was getting a second mission call and everyone had their guesses. It was kind of fun. I am excited to go to Georgia though. I have learned in my life that these unexpected changes are really just Heavenly Father's way of saying "Wait a sec, Elder May, I have a better idea" and then he just goes for it. I am excited to find out what he has in store for me in Georgia. Nobody really calls me "Elder May" anymore. My name changes every week. The first few weeks I was "Elder Mayo", then it evolved to "Elder mayonnaise" and just this week they decided that I wasn't good enough to be associated with real mayonnaise, so currently my name is "Elder Miracle Whip". I get teased a lot about a lot of things, but it is fun. Just yesterday we were practicing reflexive verbs and I was trying to say "we eat because we are hungry" but it came out as "lets eat ourselves because we are hungry" My teacher couldn't stop laughing. The MTC has been fun and I have learned so much. This week I was reading in Luke 15 where Christ teaches with his parables. He talks about the shepherd who would leave his 99 sheep to find the 1 that was lost. He also tells about the woman who loses a piece of silver so she spends all night looking for it. That is how Christ views us, he would do anything, and HAS done everything to help us return to him. In the story of the Prodigal son, in Luke 15:20 it says "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." This verse really touched me. Christ doesn't wait for us to come all the way to him before he shows his love. As soon as we have even the desire to repent, Christ can't help but run to us and show us all of his love. All of us are like the Prodigal son and are "a great way off", but because of Christ's infinite love for all of us, we are never too far gone. He sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice for us; to bring all of us who are struggling back to him where we can feel of his perfect love. I love my savior. It is through trials and hard times that we really come to develop a relationship with him. Don't be afraid of trials, embrace them. Look at them as an opportunity to learn something and to strengthen your relationship with the Savior. In 3 Ne 11:15 it says "... and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and feel with their hands..." Christ loves each of us personally, and wants to bring us unto him one by one like he did with the Nephites. He suffered for each and every one of us personally. I know that he is the Son of God and that he will come again. I love you all and appreciate getting your emails, have a great week!

Elder "Miracle Whip"...

Goofing around with Elder Colson

Elder May and Elder Ferrin  - He has become one of my best friends.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from President Nelson. That was super awesome. He talked about being walking epistles of the Lord. He talked about being examples and representatives of Christ, and how we can "write our testimonies on our hearts". It is so important that we are always aware of our actions and remembering who we represent. He asked us to think about ourselves and what we could change, or improve on to be better missionaries. I pulled out my white missionary handbook and I thought I'd do one of those "i'll just open it up and see what happens" types of things. I said a little prayer and opened it up... At the top of the page I turned to, in big bold letters it said "The Law of Chastity". I was a little shocked because as far as I knew, I was doing just fine with the law of chastity.... But I thought I would just read it anyways. None of it really applied to me at all, but the next topic was "Your relationship with your companion." That one seemed more fitting. I read what the missionary handbook said about companionships and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I think heavenly Father has a sense of humor. I picture him kind of chuckling to himself for making me read about the law of chastity before I got my answer. I know that if we come to Heavenly Father and humbly ask what we could do better, he will give us an answer. The spanish has been coming better and my companion and I have learned how to teach with each other better. Our lessons used to have one of us talk for the whole time and the other would bear their testimony at the end and they were never all that great of lessons. We learned how to trust each other and to rely on the spirit. We were teaching our "investigator", Brian, and we planned to teach him more about The Plan of Salvation, but the spirit took it another way. In our lesson with him last week, we invited him to attend church on sunday and he said he would. When we asked him how church was he said he didn't really understand the point of the sacrament. The spirit told my companion and I to open up the scriptures and read the sacrament prayers with him. It was actually pretty cool because we both started turning to those scriptures at the same time like we planned it, but we didn't. We bore testimony of the Atonement and the spirit was so strong. Brian usually falls asleep in the middle of our lessons. It is actually pretty frustrating. But when we were testifying of the sacrament and the Atonement he was actually asking a lot of questions and by the end he was tearing up a little bit. It was a very spiritual lesson. It is so important to teach with the spirit. The elders in our residence love watching me eat spicy food because when it is bad enough, I start to sweat... So some of them thought it would be fun to ask somebody to send them some Ghost Peppers... They haven't come yet, but I don't think it will be a fun day for me when they do. I have made some amazing friends out here and it is really hard to say goodbye to some of them every week. I know this gospel is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you and wants us all to return to live with him. Always remember your savior and the sacrifice he made for you. Never be afraid to use his Atonement and repent. Our branch president talked about how we should think of repentance as "improvement". That the repentance process is really just an "improvement process" to help us throughout this life. I love you all, talk to you next week.

Elder May

Some people like studying a bit more than others

 I'll be seeing you later.

Elder May and Elder Colson

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hola Everybody!

First of all... Halloween was so boring, It was just an ordinary day. We couldn't really dress up, so the most we could do was switch name tags with some people... But it was still a great day. I actually had to go to the dentist yesterday so that was pretty ironic... But they were all dressed up in Halloween costumes so it was kind of nice to be in the "real world" and see some real Halloween costumes. I was at the dentist because I had a tooth that was bugging me so the dentist gave me a root canal... It wasn't too bad though. I was expecting to be really sore but I wasn't sore at all. We got back right around dinner time and I even ate a pork chop and it didn't even hurt. The language is starting to come a little better. I haven't said anything else embarrassing lately. My companion was trying to say that he was embarrassed so he said "estoy embarrassado".... Which really means "I'm pregnant". That gave us all a good laugh. We did a "fast" yesterday. We didn't fast from food, but we fasted from speaking English for the whole day. Not going to lie, it was pretty rough and I only lasted until lunch. But we were teaching a lesson and it was one of the best lessons that I have been able to give here. Our investigator's name is Brian. He literally falls asleep every time we teach him. Because he would fall asleep it made it really hard to feel the spirit in our lessons. We came into this next lesson without much planned, but we just planned on talking with him and asking him what his expectations of us were, and why he wanted to keep meeting with us. He asked about the sacrament and we were able to testify of the Atonement. It was amazing. We invited him to be baptized and he was really excited. (we have to set the baptismal date for the week after we leave the MTC, just because we aren't sure if they are really a member on not). But I had never seen him actually smile and be excited like that before so it was awesome. The fast from English paid off I think. I have learned a lot in the MTC and one of the things I have learned this week is that Heavenly Father answers our prayers. It isn't always in the way that we want or expect, but he answers them. I was laying in bed the other night and one of the Elders in my room was snoring so loud and I could not fall asleep. I wanted to smack him but that isn't missionary-like. So I simply said a little prayer that my Companion would stop snoring and next thing I know, he had stopped. It was so simple and honestly kind of funny, but that strengthened my testimony just a little more that our prayers are answered. My mission has been really hard but I have absolutely loved it! I love and miss you all! 

Elder May