Thursday, December 30, 2010

Missionary Training Center Week 8

Hola familia,

First, the big news. Our permisos (Mexican visas) have NOT come yet. We will recieve reassignments once the Quorum of the Twelve's vacation ends next Wednesday and one of them can approve our new assignments. We will serve in the general area of Utah while we wait so we can go to the Mexican Consulate that apparently exists in Salt Lake City when we need to. I am very excited about this! My friend just came back through the MTC after serving in St. George for three months and he really enjoyed it. It will be really fun to serve in two different areas eventually. We'll be in the MTC for some extra time until we recieve our reassignments.

The temple has been closed for a few weeks, but today my district has the opportunity to clean the temple! We're really excited about it.

Christmas in the MTC was great! Elder Nelson was here and he spoke three times over two days. He has a LOT of knowledge. He spent an hour explaining linguistics relative to Christmas and the Nativity; it was very interesting for me. We also got to watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas; I vaguely remember falling asleep watching it once before. I loved it this time. It's really funny. Earlier in the day, we had the Christmas talent show. Elder Pearson and I tried out with "Hallelujah," and the coordinator said if we changed the lyrics a bit we could play, and then we just never did. We realized afterwards that we could have tried out with basically anything and it would have been fun. The talent show had some really awesome parts (it also had some really terrible parts, but those were pretty fun too). A group of five Russian missionaries has achieved celebrity status after their rendition of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," entitled "You Missionary Now." It was hilarious. Apparently Lady Gaga is huge in Russia; they knew the dance and the song really, really. They also can't REALLY speak English, so the lyrics were really funny. I think that everytime I remember it, they have more and more pitch. The best part of the act was the reaction from the crowd. I can't really describe it. It was weird. A companionship from my zone played an MTC version of "Tribute" by Tenacious D, which was also one of the favorite acts.

We did Secret Santa as a district. Everyone just bought each other the best that the MTC bookstore has to offer: scripture markers, scripture cases, scriptures, tie-related items, Pepto Bismol... you name it. The missionaries get a 40% discount on everything except stamps at the MTC Bookstore, so things tend to be really cheap. In fact, I wish that I hadn't bought a lot of things for packing list until I got here, because it would have been much, much cheaper to just buy them here. After the movie the night of Christmas we had a really great testimony meeting in our room with our district and shared some of our favorite stories of Christ.

Thank you for the Christmas presents and the speakers and the beef jerky. I got 6 bags of beef jerky in a package, and thought, I'll never be able to eat all this! And then, two days later it was all gone. And thanks for the photo album; it's really great. Maybe I can get a picture of our family as well? I really liked all the Christmas cards and stories too! Especially Jane's "Mary Christmas" card. I really enjoy reading stories. It doesn't really matter what they're about of if they make a lot of sense. I was laughing out loud about Mom's explanation of Trey Tagliaferri's Tingey and Tingey feature.

Congratulations to Daniel for graduating! And congratulations to Charlie for being a boy and making Kate's stomach bigger! Many people enjoyed the ultrasound. It's up on the wall with Tyler, Carson and Ella's christmas card (that was SO awesome). What are the plans for Daniel, Kate and Charlie next fall?

Jacob's ski-trip sounds insane! What?!

The TRC is where we teach lessons to volunteering investigators once a week. We prepare new vocabulary and for a task each Tuesday and then teach a lesson. It's one of the most helpful tools we have available. Taking the TRC seriously and signing up for "Teaching Evaluation" appointments are some of the best ways to progress.

Most districts in the MTC have 2 teachers, but so far we have had 12! Yesterday, our twelfth teacher helped us with setting goals for who we want to become during our mission and who we want to be afterwards. I want to become a perfect disciple of Christ in my diligence. I am woprking very hard to become better and spending all of my time as best as I can, because it's not only my time, it's the Lord's and it is the time of the people I am serving.


Elder Tingey

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Missionary Training Center Week 6


I don't know what my Mexican address is going to be. Could someone let me know?

Also, I've ended up with only a few minutes to e-mail today, so this should be pretty short. Hopefully the package I send makes up for it! Our mailroom is closed from the 22nd to the 27th, by the way. We weren't sure when it opened again last week.

Yesterday our zone received two new districts! Elder Brown and I introduced them yesterday. They seem great, but there are a whole lot of missionaries to get to know. The district that is a few weeks older than us is leaving in a few days as well, which is very strange. But we're really excited to get to Mexico! We put a big Mexican flag over our light and it makes our room very Christmasy.
Our district has made a "No Más Inglés" pact, so things are pretty intense. I didn't speak a word of English yesterday. We play a game called "El Nativo" which I was trying to get points for. We have our last TRC lesson next week because it closes during Christmastime. Last week's TRC lesson was great as well. Elder Brown and I are developing our ability to teach and are growing better and better at working as a companionship.

I know that as I am serving my mission I am doing the Lord's work, and I am strengthened by this fact. I'm working to become more diligent and gain more knowledge so I can be a better servant of the Lord.

Thanks for everything!

- Elder Tingey

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Missionary Training Center Week 5


Things are going very well here at the MTC. There are thousands of missionaries and only four phone lines apparently. Therefore, I won't be calling home for Christmas. And the mail room closes on the 22nd, so I won't be able to get any mail or packages after that. I'm not sure when it opens again. Happy Christmas!

Elder Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke at our Tuesday devotional. His wife told a story about the first phone called they received from a missionary when Elder Zwick was serving as the Mission President of Santiago, Chile; apparently the missionary said something to the extent of: "I'm at a pay phone and I'm only wearing a coat... 12 terrorists burned down our church building and took my clothes. What would you like us to do?" It was interesting. He told us about his mission as well; he served in Bolivia and rode horses as a primary form of transportation, built the first chapel in Bolivia and baptized 500 members in 3 small Bolivian towns. He emphasized throughout the talk the importance of coming to know Christ and how to do so. I have been following his example of testimony by praying, studying and being obedient in order to gain great faith in Christ.

Elder Brown and I prepared a zone activity for a meeting on Monday. We split the zone up into groups and each group discussed 2 things that they can work on personally and 2 which they see others doing which drive away the Spirit or distract them from their purpose as a missionary. Each group picked one distraction that they felt was the worst and we discussed it as a zone, applying our purpose as missionaries, being a representative of Christ, and having charity. From this we made a specific goal for each distraction which the entire zone then commit to. Hopefully it was helpful to making us better missionaries and better representatives of Christ. From the goals we made, we are now playing a zone wide game of "El Nativo," which is basically just a way to get us to speak more Spanish throughout the day. We use a system called Speak Your Language or Hable Su Idioma in Spanish; the idea is to use as much Spanish as you can at all times and ask when you don't understand or don't know how to say something. It is extremely beneficial when it is done diligently.

Apparently you are supposed to dry clean 100% wool sweaters.

Last week was very testimony-building time for my faith in the prophethood (probably not a real word) of Joseph Smith. We watch the Joseph Smith movie every other Sunday. It is really great. If you have the opportunity to watch it, do so. We have been teaching the message of the Restoration of the Gospel for a while, and each time I bear testimony of the truthfulness of the First Vision and of Joseph Smith, my faith grows stronger. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to go on the Church History trip. It's difficult to express how visiting all of the Church sites that we did is affecting me now, but it is doing so in a very powerful way. I know Ben isn't able to go with Garth W. Tesch this summer, but it would be really good if he could find some alternative eventually, because I'm feeling so blessed by the testimony I gained and the effect it had on my life and is having today.

Thanks for the letters; I wrote one today to the family, but I don't know how long it takes to get there. I doubt it is faster than e-mail. We're having a great time and we are progressing quickly and becoming better servants of the Lord. We're excited for Christmas (kind of) but we're really excited for Mexico (and Bolivia and Peru, for the other Elders in my district).


Elder Tingey

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Missionary Training Center Week 4


Next week in the TRC, we will be teaching entirely in Spanish! We're working hard to prepare for it. Our ability to speak Spanish is coming along, but teaching with no English will be a very different experience. I feel like teaching in Spanish is actually quite a blessing; I can only say things very simply, so the concepts that we discuss are much simpler. The lessons are better this way. When we speak English, we tend to allow our intellect to get in the way. When we speak Spanish, we teach by the Spirit. So I think our next TRC experience will be a very good one. During our Sunday Fireside, everyone who is serving a Spanish-speaking mission stood up; it was about two-thirds of the missionaries in the auditorium! Crazy. I didn't realize there were so many learning Spanish.

It's now very snowy here! I think landing in Mexico will be shocking after living in snow for a month.

More missionaries from our district received travel plans and should be leaving to the Peru MTC soon. It's always strange when our district changes because we spend so much time together, but it's exciting when some of us leave the country!

Sister Julie Beck spoke in our Tuesday devotional. Towards the end of her talk, she told a story about the importance of loving your companion, loving the people you serve and loving your Mission President. I'm working hard to be charitable and only act out of love for others. As a missionary, if you do everything because you love the people you serve, everything else required for success will follow.

For the Christmastime talent show, Elder Piersen and I are preparing "Hallelujah" by that one guy. I'm playing guitar and singing and he's playing piano and singing. Hopefully it's good. I guess we'll find out if it's good when we audition, but in the meantime it's just really fun to play. They have a little Yamaha guitar with nylon strings and a really fat neck and a really high action that I can rent out for 50 minutes at a time. It's awesome.

Being a missionary is great. My life is very simple, my focus is very directed, my perception of importance is very clear, and my perception of time is totally gone. Missionaries here often say that weeks go by like days and days go by like weeks. It's very true. We study a lot every day, and it makes the days seem very long, but I feel like I have been here for no time at all. I'm really enjoying studying, and I'm very excited to get to Mexico (or somewhere) and start serving. And start speaking very broken Spanish to natives.

Elder Brown and I are having a good time as Zone Leaders. The most important part of this responsibility is just being a good example. It's a great responsibility to have because it gives a lot of motivation to be diligent and obedient. We're doing our best to improve our zone.

Thanks for the support! I know that what I'm doing is very important. Also, I'm getting pretty good a volleyball from gym five days a week.


Elder Tingey