Happy Thanksgiving! This week has been great. Elder Brown and I were called as Zone Leaders. It's quite a bit more responsibility. The Zone Leader orientation felt like the first day at the MTC again; lots and lots of information that I was sure I would be able to remember was given to us. But we're now settling into the calling the same we settled into the MTC after a while. We're not the oldest district here, so it's difficult to have stewardship for some missionaries that have been here longer than we have, but we're doing our best to keep everyone doing their best.
Serving a mission is a very unique opportunity. We are receiving so many blessings. Elder Brown and I taught a lesson on Monday; we had prepared notes and scriptures for the lesson, but we forgot all of them. The lesson that we taught was better than the lesson that we had planned, and teaching the way we did is something that I was far from capable of doing a month ago. Our ability to teach is improving, but the most important aspect of that ability is our perception of the needs of those we are teaching. Our teachers say to "teach people, not lesson." I am beginning to understand what they mean. In the beginning of my time here, I was focused on how well we were doing in our lessons, but that is far from what matters. What matters is the feelings of those we are teaching: how they receive our message, and the influence of the Spirit on them. I have been gaining more and more faith in the power of the Spirit to teach, and have begun to rely more and more upon that power.
We were able to hear from Elder Holland today for Thanksgiving! He spoke on his gratitude for the Savior's ability to atone for us on his own, on his gratitude for God's compassion for the poor, and for his gratitude that God knows each of us by name. Every devotional I attend helps me to know how I can be better, and how I can know what is required of me. There are more Thanksgiving-related activities later today! We're making school kits for underprivileged children. Also, apparently people eat pumpkin bread for Thanksgiving, because my roommates and I have been sent 5 loaves of pumpkin bread. Thanks for the pumpkin bread!
There was a "major storm warning" earlier this week. We were heading to teach in the TRC and one of the teachers told us that everyone besides the missionaries had to leave by three, because "the worst storm in years" was coming and that we would have a few feet of snow. It snowed for about 30 minutes and there was about an inch of snow. And the next day was one of the clearest we've had for a while! So, we never know what to expect.
One Elder from our district left to the Peru MTC this week! We were happy that he managed to get his Visa in time, because some other Elders in our district did not. The Visa situation for Mexico is not looking good; there are some missionaries here that have been here for 12 weeks! I'm hoping that everything works out, but I really wouldn't mind serving somewhere in Utah while waiting, like some of my friends are doing. Except I'll probably need warmer clothes than I have for Mexico...
Learning Spanish is still going really well, and it's genuinely just fun for me. I spend more time during language study teaching than anything I do learning. A lot of other Elders are having a lot of difficulty learning a new language, and it's a great opportunity for me to be able to reinforce my own learning by teaching them. I'm sure that our district will be speaking great Spanish by January.
There's an MTC talent show around Christmas. Some other missionaries from my district and I are trying to put something together for that. You can rent out guitars apparently; I suppose I'll know more about that later, but I'm pretty excited about being able to do something musical.
Thanks for all of your support. I'm working hard and learning to work harder. I appreciate all of the letters that I get. I dry-cleaned my suit and then spilled milk all over it.
Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Elder Spencer Tingey