Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last week in the Provo MTC

Dear family and friends,
Hey family! I hope everything is going well! Thanks so much for the package! I loved the goodies and the clothing and lotion was very helpful. Hope everything is still going well with the fam. I'm glad to hear that Nate seems to be having fun at BYU and everyone else seems to be doing well. I miss you all a ton!
So this last week was another great week. It's hard to believe I leave for Peru in 5 days. My flight leaves July 3rd at 6 a.m. which means I need to report to the travel office at like 3:00 in the morning or something. And I'm going to miss the Stadium of Fire fireworks show, but I'll just find the other Americans in Peru and we can have a party down there. I've heard a lot about the Peru MTC since I've been here. My companion seems to know everyone and so he knows a guy who works with all the international MTCs and we got to sit down and talk with him about the Peru MTC for a bit. The MTC there is tiny. It holds like up to 140 missionaries or something and the guy said there were about 100 there right now compared to the 2500 that are here in Provo. It sounds really cool though. The MTC is built on the site of an old mansion and their only rules for building there was they couldn't destroy the fountain so they ended up building a court yard and the rest of the MTC around it. I'm a little nervous but really excited to go. I'm going to be forced to learn Spanish quickly once I get down there. I'm a little scared that I'm not going to understand anyone because they'll all be talking so fast. One thing I was told we do down there is that they send us out with the missionaries that are in the field in that area and we go teach actual people. That sounds way intense! We teach people discussions here, but they are all members and just acting to help us out. Once I get down to Peru, I'm going to be teaching real people and trying to invite them to come unto Christ. Hopefully I know enough Spanish by then to get by!
I've loved all the letters and packages I've got from friends and family! I'm going to try and write everyone back, but I'm a little behind because we have almost no time to write letters here. Thanks to Sister Heyman though for the letter! I wasn't expecting one and it was way cool to get one from her! I showed Elder Taylor Heyman and he thought it was pretty funny. It's just a good thing he had gotten a letter from his parents before I got one from them.
The one really cool thing that happened this week was that all the new mission presidents came in for training. They were here for about a week and because they were here, a bunch of the apostles were here as well. I thought we were going to hear from them quite a bit, but they were pretty busy with all the mission presidents so we only got to see them and hear them speak at the devotional on Tuesday night. That was still so cool. None of the first presidency was there that night, but 10 of the 12 apostles were there. All of them were there except for President Packer and Elder Hales. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to us and his talk was very different. It was all about statistics of church members compared to the general public. It was a little hard to understand at first, but as I thought about it and we talked about it afterwards it made me realize how blessed I really am because of this church. I am so happy and my life is so good because of my desire to follow and serve my Heavenly Father and I am so grateful for that.
Well thanks again for everything! I'm not sure when my P-day is going to be in Peru so I don't know when my next email will be, but I'm excited to let you know all about it! Hope everyone is doing well and thanks again for all the letters! I love hearing about how all my friends and family are doing! Love you all!
Con amor,
Elder Joshua Lee

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Email

Hola Familia y Amigos!

I'll keep the rest of this letter in English even though I've already learned a ton of Spanish. In just a week here I've probably learned more Spanish than I learned in two years in high school. It's amazing how much of a miracle that is.

I've had soo much fun in the MTC already! It's hard to believe that I've already been here a week. I feel like I just got here, but at the same time I feel like I've been forever. Life outside the MTC seems like a dream almost. It's really true the saying I've heard that each day feels like a week, and each week feels like a day. The days are really long because we start each day getting up at 630 and don't go to bed until 10:30 but they're so much fun.
When I got here the first day they put us right to work. We started off with a Spanish lesson for a few hours and then moved right into teaching "investigators" after lunch. They were people who at least most of them were actually members, but it was still such an awesome experience to kind of learn how to teach people.

I really love all the guys in my district. My companion is another kid named Elder Joshua Thomas (I feel like everyone has that name). He's a great guy though. He helps me do my best to be 100% obedient up here. He also has all the hook ups. He knows so many people here and he's had friends and family members who have hook us up with all sorts of snacks and treats which is awesome! The two other elders in our room are Elder Patrick Armijo and Elder Brandon Randall. Elder Randall is from Mesa and he went to Mesa High. Elder Armijo is from Texas and he's the funniest guy in the world. They are such a funny companionship because Elder Armijo is really loud and talkative while Elder Randall is a really quiet guy, but I think every companionship could learn something from them because they work so well together. And mom you need to ask Sister Armijo (Queston's mom) if they could be related to Elder Armijo in my room. He doesn't know if they are related but that would be awesome because as far as he knows he's the only member in his family and he just became a member October of 2011.
I've also gotten a lot of opportunities to see my friends here. As I was walking away from the car with my host missionary I saw Elder Thaddeus Wright and so he took over and helped get settled into the MTC. I've also seen Elder Trevor Lyon a few times and Elder Dalton Anderson. They all seem to be doing great and having an awesome time. I also got to see Elder Sean Cooney yesterday which was his first day here! And Elder Taylor Heyman too! It's awesome to see all the friends I have here and how all these other guys are trying to do the right thing.
So on our second or third day we began teaching discussion. And not in English, but in Spanish. That was really hard. I hardly knew any Spanish and yet I had to teach an "investigator" about the Gospel in Spanish. The first discussion was really tough because we had a script written out and we just read from it while we couldn't really understand anything he said. The next few times we went in though we took less and less notes with us and it was amazing how much better the lessons went. Even though I know I said many things wrong, the Spirit we could feel there was so awesome and I know that even though the investigator might not have been able to understand me, he at least felt the Spirit and knew the things I was telling him were true.

I love how much closer I've grown to my Heavenly Father since being here. The Spirit is everywhere at the MTC and it's so awesome to be able to have him as a companion with you always. I also got to go to the temple for the first time at the MTC today and since my companion and I barely made it for a session ahead of us we got a chance to wait in the Celestial room for like 20 minutes for the rest of our district. It was so nice to be able to just sit there and feel the Spirit and just think about everything. I love being out here on a mission so much and I miss all of you, my family and friends, a ton, but I know what I am doing is right and that I and my family will be blessed because of it.

Well I'm out of time (they only give us 30 minutes to email) so I've got to go. My P-day is on Thursdays so I will email home every Thursday. Oh and can you tell Katie and Alli and Curt and Brother and Sister Farnsworth thanks so much for the cupcakes! It was the first mail I had got and it was so nice of them! It really meant a lot to me.
Oh and can you also maybe tell people they can use to send me mail until July 3rd. While I'm in the Provo MTC if they write a letter there then they can print it out and give it to me the same day usually so it's really fast.
And sorry I'm asking a lot, but if you could could you please send up two or three more pairs of shorts and probably 4 more t-shirts i can excercise in. We have excercise time every day and I sweat a bit so I usually need to wash them soon. Sorry the email was so long, but I just thought I'd let you know how everything was going my first week. I love you all so much and I miss you all! Thanks for everything! And I know that the Lord will keep me safe and watch out for me while I'm on my mission!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Joshua's farewell and open house.

Joshua, Jared, and Nathan
It will be three years before they are together again.

2012 missionaries!