From: Elder Ryan Farmer
Wed. August 31, 2011 10:03 AM
Sorry it has taken so long to write but it is finally my p-day (every Wednesday). This e-mail is going to be a huge ramble, because I don't even know what to talk about... so prepare yourself and try to keep up.
Pretty much, life is good. And my experience thus far has been nothing short of amazing. It's funny, because the first 3 days you're here, every missionary (even the ones that have only been here 1 week) tell you, "It's okay, things get much better," as if we're supposed to feel like killing ourselves. And all I could think of was, "Okay great, but I seriously feel fine." Haha. I'm in district 40 E. We have four sister missionaries, two are coming to Piura with me and my companion, Elder Miller, and the two others to Minnesota. Three Elders are going to Guadalajara, 1 to New York, and 2 to Odgen, Utah. It didn't take long to get comfortable around each other. Pretty much all we do is quote movies, a favorite being Nacho Libre. I really lucked out because everyone is super cool.
The first 3 or 4 days it was really hard to get out of bed, but it's getting easier. I wake up at 6:30, get ready and study until 7:30 when we head to breakfast. We have 6 hours of class per day, 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of language study, gym, TALL (a computer program that helps you learn Spanish), and then either a workshop or service assignment. Sunday was the best because we finally got to take a break from the language and just concentrate on reading the scriptures or just relaxing and getting talked to. The Sunday fireside was awesome. At the end we did a special number that the presidents wife kind of came up with. We don't do it a lot, so we were lucky to get to do it our first week here. Everyone sings Called to Serve and we act as though we are marching far away and slowly get closer. For the first verse we sing very soft, the next verse medium, the last one loud, and then we all stand up at "called to serve OUR king" and practically scream the last verse. It gave me insane chills. It was incredible. I also met up with Elder Fairchild after that and got a picture because he flew to Honduras on Monday night. We talked about post mission BYU-I and how we'll know the language and play soccer all the time.
We've taught two separate investigators twice already... in Spanish. It's actually not too bad because we of course know that they are just pretending and it's all for the experience. But wow, it is so painful trying to get a message across with 1 weeks worth of Spanish. My companion is pretty quiet and not too confident, but we really do work great together and there have been times when we just get so in sync with the spirit. Yesterday we taught our investigator on the Holy Ghost, because we challenged her to pray for it's guidance but she didn't know what it was. It sounds cheesy, but that's when I really noticed the gift of tongues and I was able to say everything that I wanted to - sometimes even without a 3 second pause in between each word. Spanish is tough, but I'm already loving it. There are two elders that already know a lot, so they're a great help. I just wish learning a language came without the pure mental exhaustion headache that comes every once in a while.
Lastly, yesterday was the best day yet. 1, we were pros by then and are no longer the "noobs". 2, devotional. They never release who the speaker is, but everyone was really hoping for an apostle. About 10 minutes before it started, a guy announced that out of respect you always stand for a member of the 12 and first presidency. There was an insane buzz in the room wondering who it could be. And then out walked Elder Holland 5 minutes later. He was amazing. He talks with such power and yet love. He spoke for an hour and 20 minutes and it felt like 5. The last 45 minutes he took questions from the audience like, "What is the most important think Christ wants us to know right now?". His answer: that he told the truth. It was so powerful and motivated me so much. I wish I could just tell you everything he said.
But, times up fam.
I love you guys and really appreciate the letters. Always use DearElder because nothing feels better then getting a letter at the end of the day.