Monday, April 19, 2010
Dear Beloved English,
You’ve been there my entire life, and I thank you for that, but you always break the rules. As soon as I learn one rule, next thing I know you’ve gone off and changed your mind. You’re never reliable. We’ve had some good times, like all those awesome karaoke nights. It’s just too much now. I need stability. I met this new language. Her name is Spanish, and she’s really sweet. She’s simple, but I know she’ll be constant and will be there to support me. You’ve been the only one my entire life, and that’s what makes this so hard, but it’s time. I’m sure you’ll find someone better for you. It’s not you. It’s me.
P.S. I hope you’re not jealous, but me and Spanish are going to Ecuador for 2 years. I really feel like she’s the one.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
MTC food: I went to pour milk into my cereal one day and what came out of the dispenser was the early stages of cheese. Needless to say I have a much smaller appetite nowadays.
This week we had our English funeral, where we no longer speak in English in our classes. It was pretty funny. Hermana Ampuno had us write a letter to English about how we'll miss them or whatever, so I just made it a break up note. I'll see if I can find it and send it home. It was pretty funny. But what wasn't funny was how hard my brain hurt after that day. Seriously! I was trying so hard to think in Spanish that when I was allowed to speak in English I couldn't remember how for a while. My brain was shot. I couldn't even think. I sat there confused wondering what it was like to have thoughts. And then this giant bunny came up out of no where...... no. Just kidding. But seriously, it was bad.
Hermana Ampuno went straight native on us and I could barely catch stuff for the first half of class. It's gotten a lot better though. I really feel my self growing even more. To be honest I haven't wanted to do most of the stuff that we do here. Every time I had to do stuff I would just think, "Man. This is retarded. I should just be in Ecuador and actually do this for real." Then one time Hermano Frampton made us all commit to memorize this fatty scripture that has 13 verses. I hate memorizing things just because, and for some really stupid reason I found myself REALLY unwilling to do it, just because of my own comfort. I didn't tell him no, but in my mind I had to really force myself to say I'd do it. After that and a similar experience about having to do a teaching "simulation" I realized, "Wow. I'm really doing a crappy job at this whole becoming a missionary thing. I need a change of heart."
Elder Maxwelll said that the only thing that we can sacrifice to our Savior that already isn't his, is our will. I knew I needed to set aside my will and begin to want to do His. So I started to pray for this change of heart. Then Saturday I felt really good about the work that we had to do. Spanish felt like it was SO much easier and I wasn't having to think as much when I tried to speak it. I know that the Lord aids us in all our righteous desires. I've felt so much help in becoming a missionary and a better person. It's awesome.
I also really need to give a lot of credit to my teachers. Hermano Frampton has stretched me more than any other teacher I think I've had. And of course we lose them in a week, but life goes on.
Funny Spanish story. This girl was giving a talk in sacrament meeting and instead of saying "pero" which means "but", she kept saying "pedo" because she couldn't roll her R which means "fart!" haha. It was an awesome talk though.
Fun Fact: Joseph Smith's grandfather said in his journal that he felt impressed on his soul that one of his descendants will change the world of religious thought. CRAZY! The quote isn't exact so check it out so you know for sure, but when I heard that I was shocked, and I kinda had to chuckle because I don't think he had any idea how big of an impact it would be.
Once again I'm almost out of time. This week I really want people to read Moroni chapter 10 and not just verses 3-4. Read out loud, especially, the part where he bares testimony and says "I lie not". I did that this week and it was really powerful.
I love you all and have an amazing week!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Our district met after the Tuesday night devotional and it was so awesomely spiritual. We had a great discussion on our testimonies and how the Spirit works with us. It was great to feel so much unity in our district. Something I learned from Elder Eastburn in that meeting really helped me with being completely obedient here. He said, "As I left the devotional I thought,'If I'm not going to be 100% obedient, why am I here?'" I found that so true. There's been a lot of really stupid rules that I follow, but begrudgingly. After his comment I realized that I'm willing to be obedient enough to be here, so now I'm going to be willing with all of the things that come with being here, or else I just go home...which I have no intention of doing.
Also, I met a Vuinovic relative! It was so crazy. She said that her line comes from Serbia, but they've traced it back to Croatia! And there's some other relatives her mom has found in Milwaukee. It was so awesome. I never thought I'd meet a Vuinovic relative. Our common ancestor goes back a long way, but still, it was way too cool! Also! At the temple today one of the temple workers was asking about my name. So I told him the original spelling and pronunciation. Turns out our name means "warrior"! How kick-aspirin is that!? I can't believe I went all through high school not knowing that my name rocks! For all I knew a 2 year old played on a keyboard and made our name. Just kidding, but seriously, how awesome!
How did you like conference? It was so weird. On Sunday I was sitting there and I thought, "Wow. My family is sitting in the living room right now doing all of those traditions and I'm not there. Life is still going on out there in the world." Pretty crazy. Oh and just so you know, I've now been here for a full four weeks. Half way-ish. This is insane.
Obama's health care plan passed? ugh! I tried not to throw up when I heard that. Or that might've just been the "chicken" that I had for lunch that wanted out. Just kidding. But seriously…
anyhoo.... On a cooler note - CONFERENCE!!!!
O man, that was such a great conference! It totally rocked my universe. Also since I'm teaching so much about families and things like that, conference totally armed me with more teaching material. GAAAHHHHH!!! It was so awesome. And the music was the most uplifting it's ever been. I've learned the most from this than I have any other conference. I can't wait to get the Ensign (church magazine) for next month. It's seriously going to be the handbook for my life when I start a family. If any non-member friends of mine missed out, I strongly encourage them to ask their local Mormon friend for an Ensign or even better, watch the talk on lds.org. Those talks are incredibly uplifting and give so much direction in life that whether you're a member of our church or not you'll find truth and edification in what they say. Truly they are inspired men.
True story. We were in our class early because we didn't have the chance to go to gym. So we were the only ones on the entire floor. This guy walked by in the hall that was giving a couple a tour. He stuck his head in and asked us where we're going. When I told him where I was going he waved me over and said, "This is brother and sister Montalte. He's a stake president in Venezuela and is here for conference." All I was thinking was, "ok. Cool. Nice to meet you but...?" The guide continued and said, "Remember this man's name because he's going to be your mission president starting in June."
"WHAT?" Seriously I thought I was in the twilight zone. I wasn't even supposed to be in the room at the time, and totally by luck I got to meet him early. I can't WAIT to start working with him. Awesome, awesome experience.
Well everyone, I'm out of time. Hopefully I'll get a letter home to finish the update. But the church is still true and I admonish everyone to listen to the conference talks if they missed it. Or just listen to it again anyway.
Check out Mosiah 28:3 ...It's for sure the reason why I'm here.
Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble
Love you guys, bye!
We had a temple walk on Sunday, one of the best parts of the week, but it was ruined by all the couples that decided to show up that day. So we decided that when we get back we're going to take a girl every week to the Provo temple and walk around holding hands in front of the missionaries. Just so we feel justified. I know it sounds pathetic, but I can't wait.
My companion is already leaving for the MTC in the Dominican Republic. So I'm going into a threesome with the guy who is now district leader. Our former district leader and his comp are now Zone leaders, and the only guy left in the district is just a guy...I kinda felt bad for him. But after we all found out about things I felt really good.
Also I heard about the weekend with Elder Holland from Taylor too. Gosh I'm so jealous! That man is so incredible. If one isn't softened by his testimony than their hearts are impenetrable.
True story. I already have the awkward missionary disease. I don't know how to start a conversation anymore, let alone carry one out. This is bad. There's no telling how far this cancer will progress by the time I get home.
My zone's song of the week is the Ork Death March from the Lord of the Rings. It sounds almost exactly like it does on the movie. Also, today we've had a 90's collaboration with groups such as backstreet boys, N*SYNC, savage garden, and seal. We really are shameless.
Speaking of music, I met Bert McCracken's little brother. For those of you who don't know, Bert McCracken is the lead singer of The Used, and his brother looks almost exactly like him, just a lot more clean cut. That was really cool. He's going to Peru, which is the country south of Ecuador.
Every Sunday they let us watch a church movie like Legacy, The Testaments, etc. and seriously it's like the missionaries’ Mardi Gras. Half the people don't even go to watch the movie. They just wait and make fun of all the kissing scenes. It's really funny actually. BTW, if you watch The Testaments listen closely to right before Ammoron dies and you'll hear a T-Rex sound, and during the destruction after Christ dies there's a heavy wind and people are running everywhere, but this one guy totally get poned by the wind and everyone else is fine. It's hilarious.
I'm starting to adjust to the life here. I've notice that even in these few weeks I've become a better person, and I've developed better habits. I'm reading my scriptures all the time, I'm a lot more patient, and I'm even practicing the piano (yes mom you were right. I want the whole world to know that my mom was right and I should have practice piano more.... at all). I'm just still working on this while daily goal setting thing. I'll be honest; I'm not so good at it.
Fun facts about Spanish:
no tengo verguenza = I have no shame no tengo verguenzas = I have no privates
cansado= tired casado = married
esposa = wife esposas = handcuffs.
I love this language.
I love you all so much. I wish I could share everything I'm learning with you so you'd know as much as I do that this is God's work. I hope you all feel His love in your life.
Love, Elder Vuinovic
I have my missionary hair cut now. I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it still. Can’t wait for you to see pics. I look pretty fly.
Fun fact ---I got my Ecuador shirts and they ROCK!
First order of business:
Everyone must understand that navy blue was created by Satan himself. Navy blue is a liar and deceiver. I didn't want any navy in my missionary wardrobe because I wanted all my things to match. So, everything was black based. As part of the required packing list I needed a solid colored v-neck sweater. My mom got me a "black" one. Only when I went to wear it was it black? NO. It was NAVY BLUE!!!!! Mother you were deceived by the cunning one. I'm so sorry that even your incredible color talents were fooled by this misleading and evil color.
Our new second counselor in the branch presidency asked if my name was Serbian. All of a sudden my stomach turned and I felt the blood of the Vuinovics scream within me. I took a deep breath and had to let him know that in fact I'm Croatian. The cool thing was that he understood the contention between the two, and would have understood if I was offended. haha.
Quentin L. Cook came last Tuesday. (I still saw an apostle, even thought it wasn't Elder Holland!) He said something that was pretty important to me. He told us that tons of prayers go into our call, and that they match us to the mission president more than the mission itself. So this makes me really excited to meet my mission president. He also left us a blessing and a sincere promise that as we devote ourselves to the work we will not have to worry about our families’ situations, no matter how severe. The Lord will provide. I love you guys and you’ll be alright. An apostle said so.
At the temple today I totally helped this Spanish-speaking lady. It felt awesome.
I had an awesome spiritual experience this week. I went to the Referral Center where we call people who have called to order things. My first couple of times were pretty unsuccessful, but at the end of my second time I talked to this guy named Kenneth. He didn't really sound that interested, but I bore my testimony of why I’m here and the message I have for him. He said he would think about it and call the missionaries. Then on Saturday morning I felt so strongly that I had to call him right after dinner. So I went as soon as I could. Because of previous experiences I didn't really like the RC and wouldn't have gone by choice, but I knew I had to go. So I called Kenneth, and he said he was having dinner and was packing for a trip so he couldn't really talk, but he said I could call next Saturday. I was a little confused why I felt so prompted to call when I didn't have the opportunity to talk to him. Either way I knew I had to do it. Anyway I decided to make some more calls because I was already there. I eventually cam across a woman named Eleanor, who was raised with religion and is very open to religion. I started to ask her a few questions and she opened everything up to me. Her fears and doubts, how her childhood was hard, after her brother died she almost took her own life, but her kids kept her going and so much more. She has great ideals and is much more progressed than she knows. So I bore my testimony about the restored gospel, the plan of salvation, and the Book of Mormon. All she said was, “Wow. Thank you for calling.” She wanted us to send her a Book of Mormon and to have the local missionaries come meet with her. I told her that she is a great person and that the message the missionaries are bringing will enrich her life. My companion also had awesome success. It was an incredible night. I knew I felt impressed to go to the RC for a reason and I can’t wait to see how these people progress.
Because of this, the scripture this week is 1 Nephi 4:6.
This church is true, and I hope everyone gives themselves the opportunity to find out for themselves.
Love you guys so much!
So I hope you guys enjoy this email because I got the run around trying to set this thing up correctly. Seriously, this place rivals the California DMV.
The MTC is great!
I mean everything besides the “system” of the MTC. The spirit is so strong here and I feel like I’m really learning a lot. We move so quickly here that I can’t keep track of time. It’s almost like time has no relevance here. The days go by quickly and it seems like things we did yesterday were done in the morning. And two days is in fact a week. It’s weird, but not worrying about time is making things easy. To be completely honest, I still don’t have a grip on what goes on here. Everyone thinks that someone has explained something. So my district just does things and hopes it’s right.
So I’m sure everyone’s wondering about the food. It’s not too bad, occasionally you’ll see something that looks like it got hold of nuclear radiation, but most of it is edible. One of the elders in my district had to go get a sonogram because the food caused something in his stomach. Turns out there were twenty other cases of it that day. Not very comforting, but I’m not too worried. I make sure I eat at least two bowls of raisin bran cereal. I’m not a fan of the taste, but the fiber is essential if you want to survive. I just want something spicy!! I swear I can’t get anything to tingle my tongue. I tried this mango habanero sauce just to see if I could get some spice and it just tasted like juice. Redonkulous. So if anyone wants to send me jalapenos, it’d be greatly appreciated.
I LOVE gym time. It’s so nice to get out of our room and go run, play ball, or lift. It’s aaaaawesome. Especially since we spend like, 10 hours a day in a little box they call a room. Which we’ve actually grown to love….. ish
The only real trouble I’m having is not saying “dude” and “heka”. I’ve kinda given up, because I heka don’t care anymore. I’ll just be sure not to call the general authorities dude.
By the way. Did anyone else know that there were so many sister missionaries that were cute? Because we’re trying to stay in the missionary mind set, me and my companion have decided that they don’t exist and they’re just a figment of our imagination. It helps because when they say “hi” I don’t have to say anything back, because they’re not there. Haha , just kidding.
My companion, Elder Morgan, is awesome. He’s really sarcastic, but doesn’t just joke around all the time; which is nice when I decide to work. Which, believe it or not, happens a lot. Something awesome happened with my companion I think the second night. He notice this growth on the back of his throat right before bed. We all got worried and went up to get the on call doctor, but he didn’t want to wake him up over it. But after he was done praying after we got back he asked me to give a blessing. So I gave him the blessing and the next day I was wondering if it helped or if he felt better. He told me that he was worried and after the blessing he felt at ease and slept through the night, which he apparently never does. It was a great experience.
The rest of my district is fun too. We have a hard time letting go of music, so everyone still talks about it. And we’ll all sing songs in the dorm or shower and the whole floor will be singing it for the next couple hours. Today we were singing “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John and as people were walking by our door we heard them humming or whistling it.
The spirit here is absolutely amazing. I’ve felt it so profoundly almost every day either during lessons, talks or songs. What was the coolest was totally a gift of tongues moment. We had to get to know someone in only Spanish. Me and my companion were pretty nervous. But when it was our turn we just starting talking and everything just came out. It literally flowed. I didn’t even have to think about what I was saying and most of the time I really wasn’t. I only had to ask what one word was. It was SO cool. Both me and my companion just sat there and communicated with a native and a really advanced student like it was nothing.
So the new teaching program they have is to teach us how to get to know people and find out where they are on their spiritual journey. It’s been so awesome because I’ve really been able to see how God sees each and EVERY person and equal sons and daughters. Everyone should go and watch “6 billion others” on youtube. It’s incredible. It’s made me feel so much love for people and I’m so excited to be able to teach the people of Ecuador!
I just want to go already!
One of my teachers is from Guayaquil! That was so cool to find out because I got some insider tips of the people. Also, I just found out that there is a temple there and it’s gorgeous. Sweet.
While on the topic of temples I went to the Provo temple today. Not the prettiest, but it was exactly what I needed. I felt so good when I got out and to walk out the doors of the temple and see the incredible majesty of the mountains (and let’s not forget Lavelle Edwards Stadium). Everyone should strive to go there. It makes life so much better.
Oh! I found out that there was ANOTHER earthquake. Come on people. It’s the last days. It’s legit now. So repent haha. But I hope the second coming happens on my mission. That would rock my socks to be a missionary when the Lord comes again.
Last thing. One of my teachers, Brother Frampton, (no his first name isn’t Peter…. I asked)said that we can learn simple doctrinal truths by paying close attention to hymns and prayers. Before the fireside on Sunday we sang “Praise to the Man” which is already a powerful song so just imagine it at the MTC. And when we ended the last verse I felt the Spirit so strongly testify of Joseph.
I want everyone to know that I know Joseph Smith was called of God to bring about a work that would allow the Children of God to return to Him. And that what I am doing will only bring happiness in this life and salvation in the life to come.
I found a scripture that talks about faith and when it is exercised only greater things will come.
3 Nephi 26: 9
And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them
I love you all. Bye :)