Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Week Down (first email)

(Dated Sept. 5, 2013)

Hola mi Amigos y Familia!
     I honestly dont know where to start! This has been a crazy week that was the longest and shortest of my life. I guess I will start from when I got dropped off!
     So after that akward kissing incident with Dad, I was taken to a line of missnaries where we recieved our welcome packet filled with our name tags, room assignments, and companions. Then they took me to the bookstore where I recieved like 30 pounds worth of spanish books and other missionary resources! After my host had dragged us around the campus and me trying to explain to him that I was supposed to be taken to the West MTC Campus, he finally realized I needed to be taken to the bus! So I took about a 5 minute bus ride to the West Campus. (Mom and Dad, I can see Shirleys where we ate if I go to the outside wall so, I didn't know it then but I was super close to my new home!) After dropping off my stuff, we went into a classroom! 
     A little bit about my companion. He is a 21 year old missionary with quite a story, he fell away from the church and visited many other churches after about 5 years of being atheist. one day in a catholic church he felt the spirit, but then said he could never feel it again, and he kept searching for that. (He was born and raised a member btw) Finally one day his friend, invited him to church again and he said he knew from that moment on he knew where he was supposed to be. It took over a year for him to go thru and take care of everything he needs to but he has a strong testimony of the Atonement. I am the youngest out of our district (8 missionaries), and he is the oldest out of our entire zone(32 missionaries). I am so glad to have him as a companion we have learned alot from each other! 
     The first 3 and a half days at the MTC were some of the hardest days of my life. LEarning spanish is not easy and all of the lessons are completely in spanish. So besides being completely overwhelmed by the language I was pretty homesick. I couldn't even mention the word family, let alone talk about anyone with out getting so choked up. One of the things that helped me was that the Second day I was made District Leader! :) I was so happy, becuase it gave me something to focus on other the spanish the gospe, and my homesickeness! My most important duty is I am in charge of the mail for my district. I am the one who gets it and distributes it to my missionaries! I also participate in the Branch Council for church, and other meetings! So it has been a fun experiencee so far! I will serve until halfway through my MTC time then another District Leader will be called! All of the older elders told us that if we could make it to Sunday we would be all right! I would have to say that is totally correct! 
     Sunday was such a spiritually uplifting day, we had fast sunday (and at the MTC you fast whether you want to or not, because there are no meals provided till dinner!) So we fasted as a district to get better with the language, feel the spirit, and to help us feel the love of our families, and them to feel ours. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and gave some of it in Spanish, but mostly english! After Sacrament we had a Mission Conference, so it is broadcasted from the main campus to us here, and the MTC presidency speaks along with others. It was very uplifiting! The most spiritual thing for me on Sunday was we got to watch Elder Bednar's Talk The Character of Christ. It was given to missionaries at the MTC on Christmas morning a few years back. I think it was the best talk I have ever heard in my life. He basically slaps the missionaries around and says forget about what you want it doesn't matter, you are here to serve the Lord! There were so many things in it I couldn't possibly write them all! But it was amazing! After getting back to our apartment that night all of us were invigorated and ready to serve. I must admit those first few days there was alot of doubt wether I could do this or not, but sunday night I was so much better. I was filled with a love from my Savior I have never felt before. It was the first night at the MTC that I slept in peace knowing that this truly is the Saviors work. Even as I write this I am crying because the spirit has touched me in so many ways. 
     This is way more then I ever imagined, but I am so glad that I am here. I have learned so much in the past week, and I can not wait to continue learning more. I have really been pondering about how altough I am away from my loved ones, I am more excited to be able to give other families the opportunity to be united forever. I already know that by serving this mission I am going to be so much better, of a husband, father, friend, and brother because of the strong testimony of eternal families, and the love that our Savior has for us. Another thing that has helped me is reading the scriptues. When you read at home you are reading stories, or about the Savior's work, but when I read here, I am reading about my work! 
     I miss you all so much, but I am to the point where I miss you not in a home sick way, but in a sweet way where I think of you all fondly so often. I love you all so much. And I feel yours prayers so powerfully in ways that I never imagined!
     As a quick note I only can read emails on thursdays, so I will send out my main updates through emails. However I would love to get letters! Those I get to read every night, and they make such a difference just to have a little note from someone I care about. I am not sure how to use it but I heard it is the easiest and best way to send letters is through you just put my mailing address in and can send me letters electronically. They are then printed out and delivered to the MTC same day so I can read them just like I would a letter! I hope this letter finds everyone in good spirits! Love you and miss you all! 

Con Amor (with love),
Elder Hall 

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