Date

November 30, 2017

Area

Madrid Spain MTC

Companion

Elder Nathaniel Decker

Week Three

So this week was pretty eventful. We had a Thanksgiving feast, a turkey bowl, sent about 50 missionaries into the field, and welcomed about 15 new ones. The MTC is so tiny now. We used to have 60ish kids here and now we have fewer than 30. Not only that, but my district is the oldest/most experienced district... and we’ve only been here 3 weeks! Haha. Not sure if I mentioned this in the last email, but Elder Decker and I are Zone Leaders, so we in a way oversee the whole MTC.

Our new missionaries are clean slates, so my district wants to indoctrinate them. We’ve been thinking about things we want to make traditions and things we want to get rid of. In a way we can create a new Spain MTC culture. Haha. One thing we’re getting rid of is howling at the moon late at night. We live on temple square, and I’m afraid passersby might mistake the howls for demonic spirits living inside the temple, and that’s not the vibe we want to be giving. It was also just plain annoying and that might be the real reason we’re letting it die--haha. We haven’t thought of any good traditions to start, but I guess you don’t just sit down and think about that; they have to just happen. I’m excited for that.

It was pretty sad having to send out all those experienced missionaries who raised us. Not only that, but a few of the teachers are leaving too. It’s sad, but we’re happy because they’re great missionaries and they’ll be able to help enrich people’s lives in Spain, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, and Italy. Fortunately, we still have some really awesome Russian teachers who are sticking around.

Other than that, not a whole lot has happened. We’re just keeping on that grind and learning Russian. It’s been hard for our district because this week we transitioned to 3 hours of grammar per day, and some of our missionaries are getting their brains fried due to information overload. But I know they’ll get it eventually. We just have to remind them to be patient with themselves, and not kick themselves for not knowing Russian fluently after 3 weeks.

This week I felt the Spirit a lot more strongly than I had the previous weeks. I think it’s because I made an extra effort to turn outwards and think about myself less often. Reading the Book of Mormon in the mornings for an hour is a spiritual, reinvigorating experience. At first I wasn’t getting much out of it because I had a hard time studying at a desk with 8 other people in the room, but I’ve learned to block them out and really focus on my studies. I’m beyond excited to go to the temple today.

Today we go to the village where the writer Cervantes lived and we’re excited for that. He’s the dude who wrote Don Quixote, BTW.

It’s finally getting colder here. I’m excited to have to wear a jacket! Haha. Also, we’re singing lots of Christmas songs! Our district’s favorite is “что за дитя” or “What Child is This”. BTW we only sing our hymns in Russian. It’s really good reading and pronunciation practice. The church has this thing called #lighttheworld and it’s basically a program that gives you a challenge each day to be Christlike in the spirit of Christmas! If you go to Mormon.org you’ll find it pretty easily. I invite everyone to do it! I promise it’ll make your Christmas season more meaningful.

So that’s about all I got. I love you guys, I hope everyone is doing well, and I hope you’re all having a fabulous Christmas season! Though I’ll miss my family a bit, I know that what I’m doing is helping other families be happy, so it’s all worth it.




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