Showing posts with label Walker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walker. Show all posts

Cuarto Semana - (Fourth Week)

>> Saturday, July 20, 2019

Things just keep chugging along here at the CCM. Lots of Spanish and gospel study. We started a game called El Latino, which was really just an excuse to try and make us use Spanish all day long. The longest any of us made it was lunchtime. We also had the opportunity to talk to some members who live in la ciudad (the city) around the CCM. I can certainly tell that I'm improving, and I can mostly understand people. Now I just need to kick it up a notch to be able to understand the Cubanos. 
A lesson we had recently that I liked a lot talked about listening to people to understand and not to reply which I thought was rather good and deserved some mention. Also for service we worked in the lavanderia (laundry room) with Hermano Lechuga (Lettuce (yes that is his real name)). He worked us hard and wasn't afraid to chuck poorly folded blankets across the room to get them refolded. Also, whenever the sheets would finish washing he, and then all those around him who realized what was happening, would start throwing the wet clothes across the room to the people nearer to the dryers to have them put them in. To finish, there was a top secret championship arm wrestling tournament when we finished early. Winner got a caffeinated beverage too. 
We were able to go to the temple this week finally! I'll send some pictures. The temple was really cool looking and just outside they had a little store that sold some really cool ties. Would recommend if you happened to be in the neighborhood.
Hasta Proxima Semana (Until Next Week),
Elder Kitch
His new tie! :) 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mexico City Temple

When he called, he was running around all over the place. He had to do a transfer with another missionary (not his companion) because he forgot to get his temple recommend. He left it back at the house. They were heading to the temple for the first time. The Mexico City Temple is one of the only two temples that still do live session rather than video. The other is Salt Lake City. Jared and I are so jealous. We've never done a live session before! It's also all in Spanish. :P He'll use the translators for sure for this first trip if he can. He heard that some of them are broken, so he may have to do it all in Spanish. LOL! It'll help him learn it. :P

He exchanged his money for 500 Pesos, so he could get the tie he wants to buy. He thinks it's about 300 Pesos for a tie. That's roughly $15 U.S. He wasn't sure if he'll be able to wash it, but he thinks that it's wool or cotton. I told him to ask them when he buys it. He said, "well yeah... if I can understand their Spanish!" Hahaha! I said, "don't you think between you and your whole group you'd be able to figure out what they are saying?" Haha! :P

Both of Elder Barrientos's parents are Latino. (He can't roll his R's but he's really, really good at Spanish) Every time they go and do service, the people who they do service for are all Hispanic and don't know any English. They always try and look for a translator, and they always grab him because he "looks" Hispanic! Haha! For their service projects, the first week they were cleaning empty houses at the MTC/CCM, getting them ready for other missionaries. Last week he missed because he was sick, but this week they helped to do some of the mass laundry they have. 

After the laundry, they set up an "illegal arm-wrestling rink". Hahaha!! Competitions aren't allowed on your mission. :P Jared asked if he got in on that action. He said he went up against the first guy and lost, but he didn't feel too bad because that guy beat everyone there! LOL! The winner got a caffeinated beverage. I said they are breaking all kinds of rules! Hehe! He said now all the guys in his District/house want to organize another round just between their District. :P He'll have to let us know how it goes!

Since he was heading out into the city to the temple, we wished him a safe trip. In his first letter, he said that the traffic is so crazy! Going to the temple basically takes up your whole P-day. It takes 5 hours. An hour to get there, three hours for the temple, and another hour to get back.

His week has been pretty good. Pretty normal. Just learning Spanish!! So much Spanish! He's getting more and more comfortable.

He still has a cough and little bit of a stuffy nose, but he's feeling better overall.

They are continuing to practice their "fake" lessons. It's actually called "practicing teaching interested persons". He just calls it that. Jared said it's role-playing. :)

As he was walking around, we were able to see more of the grounds of the MTC/CCM. It's so pretty there. But there is quite a bit of pollution. It looked hazy it's pretty bad.

We got him caught up on the kids and what they've been up to. Alayna has been watching a little 7-month-old little boy named Isaiah this week. She's getting experience while I'm still around to help her. Eli has started working at Rubio's. His co-workers have been going on and on about how awesome Walker was when he worked there. They said when he was on shift, he got food out in just over three minutes, but ever since he left it has been over four, close to five minutes. They said Walker never told anyone what to do and never asked for help, but if they asked if he needed help, he would gently say, "yeah that might be nice." Everyone said Eli has some BIG shoes to fill! Walker thought that was pretty cool to hear. :) We told him that Brian, the guy who he trained before he left, is now training Eli. He's teaching him all the "Walker" tricks on how to score free food. Cooking the quesadillas and burritos just a little too long or putting a crease in the burrito so it busts open and you can't serve it! Hahaha! Oh, the things we are learning about him now! Hahaha!!!

Everyone at the MTC/CCM is getting a little stir crazy. They've been out there for over three weeks now and next week it will be one month of their 24-month missions!!! Some are ready to get out. Others are terrified because they don't feel confident in their Spanish just yet. From most everything we've heard though, the missionaries don't truly learn their language until they are out in the field.

They started doing TRC finally. We asked what that stood for, but he couldn't remember. He said maybe Training with Real People Center? Eli said, how about Training Real Chaps!? LOL!! We thought that was pretty funny! TRC is where they get to speak to locals there in Mexico and have conversations to get a real feel for how the language is in a regular conversation. He had two teenagers. One was a girl who was painfully shy and didn't speak, but the other was a 17-year-old guy who has finished school and gave them a better idea of how conversational Spanish is. In the classroom, the teachers will try to use more common words and make it easier for the students to learn, but having a natural conversation with the locals who aren't trying to dumb it down really helped them a lot.

The next day they didn't have TRC but were told to go out and talk to people. Other missionaries were having TRC, so they jumped in! They spoke to two kids. It was a lot of fun because they were into Marvel and sports. Elder Wurtz, Walker's companion apparently knows a guy from back home that works with the people in Marvel. He's in the management, not putting out the movies, but he does stuff with the rides. The kids were freaking out, they were like, "No te creo!! No te creo!!" (I don't believe you!!)

He said he and his companion felt pretty good about how well they did with speaking with the locals. They were both better at understanding. If they didn't know a word or something, they were able to figure it out through context.

Their lessons are going really well. He's starting to learn how to explain things. This week he went through the entire Plan of Salvation with their "investigator" (their teacher). He was able to explain the second half which is the harder part to explain. The Premortal Life, the Spirit World, the Resurrection, the Justice and Degrees of Glory are all kind of hard to explain in general but even more so because you have to translate it into Spanish. She's going all-in with being an "interested person". They explained Resurrection and she asked, "So do you mean like reincarnation?" So they had to explain that it's different. In her character, her husband died. They explained that in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom he needed to get everything done including baptism, but the good news is that he could still be baptized. They didn't get too much into the details of that though, because they weren't ready to teach about the temple yet.

It's interesting teaching Catholics however, they already believe very much in an afterlife, and the Hispanic culture already teaches about being connected to their deceased family members. What we all didn't really know is that they really dislike Adam and Eve. They believe that they are the reason we have to experience pain and suffering and misery which is what the Bible kind of teaches. The Book of Mormon expands on that and clarifies that that misery and pain is necessary. It's how we learn and grow. Jared pointed out too that we wouldn't even be here if it weren't for Adam and Eve, but Walker said that they would rather have stayed in the presence of God not receiving a body. So they've been practicing explaining that to people, and it's been going well.

Eli shared that Gambino, one of the managers at Rubio's, said, "Bless Walker's soul" for having to talk with the Cubans and Puerto Ricans because they speak insanely fast. Even fluent Spanish speakers like him and Sister Pena in our Ward have said they had a hard time understanding them. Sister Pena's husband is Cuban, and she struggled for a while when she would talk to her in-laws. He said that anytime a Hispanic person finds out he's going to Florida and going to be teaching the Cubans they say, "OH!! They speak muy rapido!! Muy Rapido!!!" Hahaha!!!

He's learned the phrase, más lento por favor. Which means, slower, please. And, repetir por favor. Which is, repeat, please. I'm sure he'll use those a LOT out in the field I'm sure! :P He knows he'll be going through another training process with the Cuban people when he gets out there.

I said he'll probably meet a family that would love to help teach him the language. He mentioned it's entirely possible that one or more of his companions might only speak Spanish too. That makes him nervous. He doesn't want his first companion to be Spanish speaking only. I don't blame him. It will help him learn it faster I'm sure, but that will make for a very tough transition. He prefers his companion to be really good at Spanish but wants him to be able to speak English too. :P He's confident, even if that happens, he'll be able to understand and communicate with him. He's one of the better ones at Spanish out in the MTC/CCM, especially in regards to the Church. He knows less about other subjects, but even when they were talking about Marvel with the kids, he was able to understand them. Apparently, 'the study' and 'studio' sound very similar. Studio is estudio, and the noun study is also estudio. So crazy, but I guess we have plenty of words like that.

Elder Moore made up a nonsensical Spanish song when he was in the second grade. He sang it for us. .. well the lines he could remember anyway: 

Sung to the tune of "The Mexican Hat Dance"

El perro, el perro, el perro, es mi corazon
El gato, el gato, el gato no is buello
Cilantro's es can tante, cilantro es muy famoso
Cilantro eso hombre ques el diablo

The dog, the dog, the dog is my heart
The cat, the cat, the cat is not good
Cilantro is a singer, Cilantro is very famous
Cilantro is the man, with the cheese of the devil.

The second verse:

El perro, el perro, el perro nunca sin razon
Eli gato, el gato, el gato es obsceno
Cilantro es caliente, Cilantro es cariñoso
Cilantro es mejor que tu esposo!

The dog, the dog, the dog never without reason
The cat, the cat, the cat is obscene
Cilantro is hot, Cilantro is affectionate
Cilantro is better than your husband!

The brother who ran the laundry yesterday's name was Brother Lechuga, so his name is Brother Lettuce. His last name is lettuce. :P Another brother leading the service's last name is Brother Consuelo which means comfort. Another guy is named Moroni pronounced Moronee and Nephi pronounced Nefee. They are fairly common names for Church members in Mexico. 

Some of the people in his classes have been so inundated with learning Spanish that when they go to talk or write in English, they are messing it up or forgetting words in English. It hasn't happened to him yet, but he thinks it's pretty funny. :) They say you know the language once you aren't translating English into Spanish, and you are just thinking Spanish.

He's still working on the treats we sent. There was SOOO much Brookside!!! Haha! Elder Moore has been helping him out with it. :P Elder Moore told them last night that his goal is to gain 45lbs in Texas! His companion Elder Barrientos is very health-conscious, and he kept saying... "Nooo! That's so bad!!" Elder Moore clarified that he doesn't want to be fat but girthy. He wants to be muscular underneath all his fat. He wants to look like Brigham Young or like Chris Pratt before he lost all of the weight. Hahaha! He seems like quite the character. Walker thinks he's hilarious! :D

It was getting time for him to get over to the bus to leave for the temple. We wished him a safe and fun trip today. He's really excited to see more of the city. I told him to take lots of pictures even if his camera isn't good. Poor quality is better than none at all. ;) (The pictures we ended up getting were actually really good. We're hoping something was just on the lense the first go-around)

We said our I love you's. Alayna gave him heart hands. Eli gave him a Dab. Then Walker said he thought Eli would really like Elder Hogge. He's a big-time dank memer. LOL! One time there was a guy he knew on a phone call with his family, and he asked, "do your parents want to see a sick Dab? " Hahaha!!

We wished him a wonderful time at the temple, and then he had to load on the bus.

I Googled a picture of the Templo de la Ciudad de México. I've never seen it before. It's very pretty. :)

He looked SO good and is really happy. I could see it in his countenance that he's loving his time there. Makes my Momma heart so happy for him! Until next Friday! <3


Tercera Semana (Third Week)

>> Friday, July 12, 2019

Going into this next week was interesting. We had an awesome Fast Sunday, where we watched a talk by Elder Bednar on The Character of Christ (audio). It was fantastic, and I would recommend. Beyond that, I started teaching fake lessons to our Spanish teachers in Spanish. It was a little rough at first, but it's coming along. Also in the scriptures, I have enjoyed learning some of the character of those writing the various scriptures and trying to understand some of the context of the various events in the scriptures. We also got to talking at one point on Christlike traits, meekness being one that I think is oft misinterpreted, as it's real meaning not being unable to do harm. That is cowardice. Instead, it is the ability to do harm and choosing not to. We also get a little side tracked from time to time and spent a good chunk of an evening doing riddles that we all remember from home. Yesterday was another sick day. I ran a fever and slept most of the day. Finished all of the required memorization though!

Also figured out how to send pictures so here's a bunch.

Left to right: Elder Jackson, Elder Hoskins, Elder Moore, Elder Barrientos, Elder Hogge, Elder Thompson, Elder Kitch, Elder Wurtz, Hermana Rose, and Hermana Gerlach.


Before Walker's P-Day, we told him that we were going to be out of town and to call us as early as he could. We were so worried that we wouldn't have good cell service, and we did NOT want to miss his call!! Thankfully, he had the flexibility to do it! We got another good, long chat this week!!

There is a clear divide between what he is going to teach and what they enjoy talking about. They want to teach about the most basic stuff with interested people, but they usually get to talking about deep doctrine stuff which would not be helpful with investigators. 

Jared said that he looked good, and he said "I have to. It's against the rules not to." LOL! He asked what were doing in California, and we told him that the Hawk's offered to let us stay at their place for the weekend. We were doing the beach and Disney. Jared said we had to go on vacation so that I wouldn't be so sad. But it's really Dad!!! He has been so sad and felt so torn about going on a trip without him. He's had major guilt-gut! Jared said that he felt like we couldn't go on vacation without him. Walker assured us that we definitely can! LOL!!

While he did get sick this week with runny nose and fever, at least his infected toenail is better.

His Spanish is coming along really well, and he actually spends most of his time teaching and helping others. He doesn't like studying, so teaching and helping others helps him to learn it better. It's actually a great thing for him. He's been struggling the most with tenses. Past tense & irregular past tense are very difficult. They have past tense, future tense, irregular tense, preterite (past tense), adding "ing" to verbs is a conjugation. His companion took more Spanish than him and spoke it back home, but Walker thinks they know the same amount. However, his companion is more comfortable speaking it than him. I know he'll get there! Now that they are approaching their third week, they teach "fake lessons" every single day. In their last fake lesson, he was able to get through it all. It's coming!

Missionaries who don't have phones call home in the computer lab with an app called Llamar a Casa. which translates to To Call To Home. :) There are a surprising number of missionaries whose parents don't want them to call home. Jared and I don't understand that at all!!! LOL! One of the Hermanas in his District, Hermana Rose, had planned to not call home, but she changed her mind when she got to the MTC. However, when she called home her dad refused to be on the call. He did not want her calling home. So crazy to us!!! We miss our boy and want to hear all about what is happening. We are so interested in this whole process! The Church wants families to be more involved in missionary work. They want the missionary to teach their own families about sharing the Gospel. Jared and I don't know how we thought we would be able to have him gone for 2 years without hearing from him other than Christmas and Mother's Day! This change for the missionaries is inspired. People who were against it at first and have now had their missionary call home have been able to see how it's a benefit to the missionary and to their families. The Prophet has been helping us all lead our families more and moving the teaching from the Church to our homes. This is a huge step in making missionary work for everyone, not just the set-apart, full-time missionary. We are grateful for this inspired change. 

I asked him what his favorite thing he's learned about this week, and he said Elder Moore shared some gems this week. In Psalms, it says it is better to flea into the wilderness than to dwell with an angry and contentious woman. Also, in Exodus 33, Moses is put onto a cliff, and God is going to place His hand over him so that he can't see Him. When he removes it, He's not going to let him see His face. He's going to turn around and show him His "back parts". Elder Moore interprets this as God mooning Moses. So when they were asked to give a reference as to who they think God is. That's the one Elder Moore used! LOL!!!

Exodus 33:15-23:
15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

Walker said didn't really understand it, and he asked if he thought God wears clothing? LOL! He didn't really answer him, but Walker expressed his skepticism about his interpretation. Hahaha!!! 

We got to quickly see Hermana Rose, Hermana Gerlach, and Elder Jackson as they popped into Walker's video chat with us and said Hi! That was fun to see them in "real life"! :) Elder Jackson said Walkeris awesome and knows sooo much Spanish! :) 

Jared asked how the structure is all broken down. He said that, at least in the MTC, there are about five companionships (or ten people) in a District. They have five Districts in his Branch, and multiple Branches make a Zone. He "thinks"... 

It rains almost every single day. They are inside most of the time, but sometimes they get caught out. Since they don't always take umbrellas they have to get creative in getting where they need to while trying to keep their suits dry. 

He received the package we sent and some people were more jealous than others. Elder Moore has been having a rough go of it. He loves meat and since they all got food poisoning he hasn't been too keen on eating the meat there anymore. When Walker's package arrived with a BIG bag of beef jerky he was dying to have some. He was a good friend and shared. Elder Moore said that after he had some he already felt better!! Hahaha!! He said he also got a 5lb bag of pretzels in the box and took them to the classroom to share. When he got sick yesterday he regretted it because he didn't have them to eat while he was sick. :P

He's taking pictures, but he didn't get one of the box we sent. He said he was planning to but by the time he got it to his room the bottom of it fell out and stuff went everywhere. By the time he got it all cleaned up he forgot. Bummer :( At least the box waited until he got to his room! 

Walker's District was trying to figure out how to go to the temple. They sell these cool looking ties that he wants, but to get one he also needs to exchange his money for pesos. Apparently, none of the leaders know how to get to the temple. So weird. Some of the people in his District went to talk to Reception to see if they knew anything, and they said they weren't on the list. They were like "oh" and left. Walker asked if that got on the list. They said, "no." Walker said, "well that probably would have been a good idea!" Oh man... these kids are cracking me up! Haha! 

He wore his blue fasting tie on Fast Sunday. Jared and Eli did too. Alayna wore her necklace, but unfortunately, I was sick and missed church. I'm looking forward to joining everyone next month! 

They don't do the Come Follow Me curriculum, but every week they have to have a talk prepared in Spanish. They will just call you at random. It isn't even at the beginning of the meeting necessarily. They'll just call you out whenever. No pressure! Yikes! As far as getting the language, he's always understood more than he's been able to speak. Luckily, you can have everything written down for your talk. Even for fast and testimony meeting, they want you to have something prepared in Spanish in case no one goes up. Once again, they can call on anyone at will. Walker hasn't gone up yet, so he thinks his turn is coming this week.

Jared shared that Acts 1-5 was last week's lesson in Come Follow Me. The last few verses in Acts 2 made him think of Walker so much. It's a step by step of what a new member needs to do. Repent, be baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. He thought it was cool. 

Acts 2:36-47:
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

He's getting through the Book of Mormon! He's in Mosiah. He set a goal for himself to read it cover to cover before he leaves the CCM, so he's been reading a lot. He's reading it in English. He said he'd still be in 2 Nephi if he was reading it in Spanish. Haha! Some of the guys have been reading in Spanish with a copy of the English to help them understand it. He will probably go back and read it that way next time.

Eli popped on for a minute to complain about Alayna punching him in the face because they were sleeping in the same bed since we were out of town. It was fun to see Walker and the other two kids laugh together. Alayna popped on the camera, and Walker noticed how tired she looked. He was also surprised that he hadn't seen Eli flash the blood sign yet. Eli said that Walker wasn't allowed to see graphic images!! Haha! 

Everyone in his group is looking forward to getting back to the States. They are all nervous about the food there. Walker said he's not! If he gets sick then he gets sick. :)

They have everything there in the MTC. They have a dry cleaner, and they have a guy there who is working as a shoe shiner to help earn money to pay for his mission. He's a local guy. That's pretty cool!!

He was coughing a lot. I told him that he sounded miserable. He hasn't felt fantastic, but he's enjoying his time. He likes the people there and what he's learning about. Not to say that it hasn't been hard, but it's been good. He thought he'd miss movies and things more, but it's actually just the realizing that this is what he's going to be doing for the next two years that has been the hardest part. It's very different than how he's been living his life. Things will be different when he leaves for Tampa too. The MTC/CCM is very structured. He'll have a little bit more freedom out in Florida. 

One thing he wished they'd let him do is to talk to some Cubans. He wants to see what it's actually like. He was talking to some Latinos there, and he told them that he'd be teaching Cubanos and they said, "OH! They speak very, very fast!!!" (in a thick Hispanic accent :P) However, apparently, their Spanish is a lot cleaner. So that's nice. Dominicans, on the other hand, speak as fast as Cubanos but less clean than Mexicans. He was told that they speak Ghetto Spanish. LOL! 

Jared told him that he knows that there are going to be some hardpoints, but he hopes he can see the good too. We both can already see how he's gaining confidence in himself through this short period of time. We got to talking about how hard it's been for us to let go and separate ourselves from him but how awesome it is for him to enter this new world. He's out experiencing things we'll never get to experience, and we are so excited for him. He is getting a taste of what it's like to kind of live on a college campus with roommates, and he's learning and doing all these things on his own. It's pretty cool. He said, "well, I'm never actually alone! I'm always with my companion!" Haha! Jared asked if that was hard? He said, "well, there's the bathroom!!!" Haha!!! He said it's interesting. It could be different depending on who your companion was and how you valued your alone time. Eli chimed in and said that was Bro. Rojas' life hack. He'd just be in the bathroom all the time. Walker said one of the Hermana's sister said she just had diarrhea all the time so she could have 20 minutes alone in the bathroom. haha! 

Not much happened this week, so he wasn't sure what he was going to share in his email. I tried to help him think of different things to think about. He said he's journaling everyday. We reminded him to read back over it, and it might spark somethings for him to share. He always has something to say when he's talking to someone, but writing is hard.

His companion pointed out something that he thought was SUPER cool about being in contact with Celestial Beings. They have been talking about Kolob, the star nearest to God, and how all that works and how time works differently in the solar system of Kolob. Earth used to be in the same solar system as Kolob back when the Garden of Eden was a thing. He said not only did the planets position change, but our biology changed. We got blood among other things. He realized when people are in contact with Celestial Beings they experience time dilation. So that's why when the angel visited Joseph three times, it was suddenly morning. Time was flowing differently for him while he was in contact with this angel. That's also probably why people feel exhausted. It's a combination of there being an amount of physical exertion required to be in the presence of a Celestial Being as well as the time dilation. Time is moving faster, but when it ends all of it catches up to you at once. Also, Joseph got to see a wormhole to Kolob when it says, "The angel passed through a conduit out of his room." He thought was really interesting!! We did too! I love how his mind works.

The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith - History 1:43:
43 After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.

Jared said, So you guys are talking deep doctrine! Walker chuckled and said, "Yeah, but it's the science about how God works. God functions within the rules of science. We may have not discovered all of the science He's created but it's within those laws."

Some people didn't take their SIM cards out of their phones before they came since they already had Samsung phones, so they can use it as a regular phone. We had to buy Walker a new one for his mission. He had a Moto before. Either way, they weren't supposed to bring their SIM cards. I guess they haven't talked to them about their phones other than "to use them wisely". They aren't being monitored closely, and they probably don't even know some of the missionaries have them.

He can do laundry whenever, so he has been doing it whenever he has time because doing it on P-day is crazy busy! He called the laundry, lavandería, It's so fun to hear him speak Spanish. He sounds so good! His accent is awesome! It's fun to know he's learning it even though I don't understand it! LOL! But since he does his laundry on other days, he has a little more time on his P-days.

We told him we went to a beach yesterday called Bolsa Chica. We had to Google what it meant in the car. When I told him what it was called he knew right away it was "bag girl". He's so smart! :D We all thought that was a strange name for a beach! Haha!!  He said sometimes there won't be different words for different subsets of things. Like there are different words for 'backpack' (mochila) and 'bag' (bolsa). But they use mochila for backpack or suitcase. I guess backpack and suitcase are more similar than 'bag'.

The last time we had talked, he said he was working on memorizing Moroni 10:3-5 and the fourth missionary lesson. They are both the longest and hardest ones. He has them both down now!

Jared asked if he'll be with Elder Wurtz the whole time or if he'll have a new companion at some point. He wasn't sure.  He's a little confused because they came in the same week, but Elder Wurtz is leaving Monday, and he's not leaving until Wednesday. He thinks most of his District leaves Monday or Tuesday. He's the only one that leaves on Wednesday other than the Hermana who will be flying to Tampa with him. But she's not an Elder and she's not in his District. You are supposed to head to Reception without your companion when you leave, so he doesn't know exactly how the companion rules work once your companion leaves. You are supposed to have a companion at all times. He assumes he won't go a full two days without a companion, but he doesn't know. He thinks that near the end they have a separate meeting about how leaving works, so he'll get the info that he needs then... he thinks.

Jared asked if there are some that will only be there three weeks instead of six. The Latinos will only be there for three weeks. There are a couple of Americans who are very fluent in Spanish who will only be there for three weeks as well, but they are all separate from "us Gringos". hahaha!

We had him re-explain the dad joke he shared with us last week because we still didn't fully understand it. You know, us Gringos. We need help with this new language! :P The joke was, What animal is the laziest? And the answer is, El Pez (fish). Porque hace nada. means, it does nothing OR it swims. The word for swim and nothing are the same, so it's a pun. LOL! It sort of ruins the joke when it has to be broken down for you, but I'm glad he's sharing them with us so we can learn too! 

The phone we got him has a terrible camera. I'm SO disappointed! I LOVE pictures, and I was hoping it would take decent enough photos, but he said it's really bad. :( I'm not sure what to do about that. He won't carry a separate camera. Just too much to deal with. Luckily, they have a group District album that they all put pictures into. That's really cool that they can share them all. The ones he sent were from that album. We knew we weren't buying the most expensive phone, but it still makes me sad. 

It looked so green. Walker attributed it to raining... everyday! That helps!! Right now is the rainy season. Half the year is rainy and half is dry, but the temperature basically never changes. 

There's apparently a mission in Mexico (he thinks it's Oaxaca) where they don't have any sister missionaries, because it's so dangerous! Yikes! We are grateful that he's not going there! He said that Oaxaca is a black rock that you can shine light through. The inside is white. It's like volcanic rock. He always has little tidbits of information.

It seems that every Mexican name comes from the Bible. Like Pedro and Juan, they are the Spanish translation of the Biblical names. Some of the translations are interesting. Revelations is Apocalypse which translates to the Book of the Apocalypse. That's pretty cool. James becomes Santiago. John becomes Juan. Peter is Pedro. Malachi becomes Malaquías.

His P-day's go until 5pm, so he has most of the day. He still has to wake up at 6:30am, and the P-day doesn't technically start until after breakfast, but they don't have a planned exercise time on P-day. They wake up, get ready, do a little planning and study, get breakfast and then do emails and video phone calls. After calls, they usually go and clean the house. They get graded on how well they clean, but he doesn't know if there are any consequences if they get a bad grade or anything. By then it's about lunch, so they go and eat. Then sometimes they'll play sports. Last week they played volleyball, but this week he sat with the others who weren't playing, and they talked. He says he's just not very good at volleyball. Alayna said, "make your sister proud!" Walker told her that she is definitely more athletic than he is!! :P He said they have both court and sand for volleyball. The people typically push playing it the most because it is no contact. 

His District made up a parody song in regards to P-day to the Phineas and Ferb theme song. He doesn't know the words though. The Hermanas said they need to translate it to Spanish. We told him they should do it in both and record it for us! He says it's really funny. They push you to use Spanish all the time. They want you to be speaking as much Spanish as you can as often as you can, so some people there they start very roughly translating different songs to Spanglish so they can sing them. :P One of the better ones he heard was "I Want It That Way", by the Backstreet Boys. That was pretty good!!! Haha!

Jared asked if he was teaching them any of his esoteric songs. He said no, but surprisingly there is a very wide range of music preferences. Elder Moore loves Bob Dylan. He downloaded, "Trapped Inside a Mobile with Them Memphis Blues" and made that their alarm clock that they wake up to. Dad asked if that was kosher? He said no. LOL! He claims that it doesn't technically break the rules. since there are no romantic overtones. He also claims it is a spiritual song for him. LOL! He'll be heading to Fort Worth Texas for his mission.  

Walker has profiles of everyone in his District so that he can remember them. I thought that was clever. He said he'll probably do that with all of his companions. 

He spends most of his day in class. From breakfast to lunch they are in class. They have 30 minutes between classes and lunch to do personal things and planning, etc. After lunch, they have about an hour. They kind of got wrecked because they have the late eating schedule. They have breakfast lunch and dinner last. Sometimes they run out of stuff, and they don't get any of it. :( Then they have classes until dinner. After dinner, they have personal time to study, and then it's time for bed. He eats lunch at 1:15pm. Kinda late. He's up for 16 hours a day and sleeps eight hours. They are busy! He gets pretty tired some days. He feels like he's been sleeping pretty well though. That's really good. 

His District all go to classes together most of the time. He's with his companion all of the time, his roommates most of the time, and then his District most of the time just slightly less than his roommates. 

His companion and one of his roommates, Elder Barrientos, write in their journals every night for a really long time. When his companion, Elder Wurtz, emails home he takes a long time on that too. He doesn't understand how they can write for so long and so much. Walker just can't think of that much to write about. Jared joked and said that would be me. :P Walker agreed! Ha! I told him to ask them to share some of the things they are writing and maybe it will spark some ideas for him. Or just look over their shoulder when they email home and copy what they talk about. Hahaha! They get back to the house at 9, they take quick showers, and then they write until lights out at 10:30. He says he thinks they write a lot of spiritual stuff and are able to expand on it. He writes that stuff too but just has a hard time filling up space with that much. Jared mentioned that is is really hard for him to put those things into words too. Walker agreed. He says he usually just puts topics of things he's talked about or thought about during the day. I'm glad he's doing what he can and isn't skipping out on it. He's putting it all in Google Keep. He makes a note per week and adds to it each day. 

The first week felt really long. The second week was quite a bit faster, and this week is really really fast. He's heard that the fourth and fifth week also go really really fast, but the sixth week goes really slow because you are just ready to leave. He's going to be done so fast. He's already coming up on his third week. He'll be halfway done with the MTC on Wednesday!

We told him we love him, we think about him, we are so proud of him, we pray for him every day... multiple times a day! We're so glad his toe is doing better. I told him to keep up with his probiotics and get the rest he needs to fight off this cold he's been fighting and if the cold isn't getting better, to make sure he goes to talk to the doctor. Jared shared that he struggles with how much he should tell him that he misses him. He wants Walker to know, but at the same time he wants him to just know how glad he is that he's out there and what an awesome thing he's doing. Jared misses him really bad. His spirit is missed in our home, but being out there as a missionary is also filling our home. We appreciate it, and we are proud of him. We are amazed by his faith and courage and his example to us. He just blows us away. He said, "don't worry. Two years is going to be nothing!!" He's already into his third week, halfway through the MTC. A week after that, he'll be there a month. Then only 23 more of those! Yeah! Piece of cake!!! :D 

He's going to have so much fun out there. He's curious. His companion said that in his own mission there aren't very many Spanish speaking missionaries. It's very possible that he could be paired up with a non-Spanish speaking companion, and he'll have to teach them Spanish. Crazy!! He reminded us Sister Lake in our Stake ended up having to learn Mandarin on her mission, and she served stateside. His companion's mission is in Tucson down to the border and into New Mexico. Walker started wondering if there aren't many there how many will there be in Florida? I said well it will be at least you and the other Sister that's not in your District but we know is going to Tampa with you. But he was previously told that he was the only one coming in with his transfer. That means that there's probably an odd number of Elders out there currently or there will be when he gets there if only one is coming in. We hadn't thought about that. It will be interesting if he has to teach Spanish on his first transfer. I said you better start studying hard!!! LOL! He said that he can teach it because he understands it, but some people just have a really hard time with it. Some people learn words and not the rules, so they just have to write down every single word they can possibly use and memorize them.

In the field we probably won't be able to talk as long as we have been. He's supposed to only have an hour to email and video call. If your call goes over an hour, then you won't get to email. The last two weeks we've been talking for about an hour and a half! They aren't too strict there, but they will be out in the field. 

That's it for this week. Another week down!!


Primero y Segundo Semana (First and Second Week) - Elder Kitch's First P-Day!

>> Friday, July 5, 2019

Walker had his first P-Day! Here is his letter.

So today is my first Pday. Sorry for the delay. The first week here was rather interesting, mostly lots of orientation and meeting your District (or class). The CCM (Mexico MTC) is very pretty, and the weather is very temperate. My district is pretty awesome. We have an Elder that enjoys speaking in Jamesian English, and I love it. My companion is the District Leader, so I am assistant to the District Leader. I go to all the meetings and can participate, but hold no authority. It's a lot cooler than it sounds. After about a week of getting settled in and attending various orientations, we finally started hunkering down into learning... except then there was El Dia del Enfermo (The Day of the Sick). Half of our district and a good portion of the campus fell ill due to what we can only assume is something we ate.

Beyond that first day of the second week however, it's been non-stop gospel and Spanish study, mostly at the same time. It hasn't been too bad though, given what I was told beforehand. I think my two years of Spanish really are helping. We just try to speak as much Spanish as possible whenever possible and google translate what we don't know. My companion and I did get to talk to a Catholic worker on the campus and that was kind of crazy. Street Spanish is much harder to hear and interpret than classroom Spanish. Overall it's been a good two weeks.

Some funny happenings: Our teacher's English isn't perfect, and she accidentally said she'd give us a kiss instead of a quiz. There is a confusing phrase to Spanish speakers we were told on our first day, Su Corbata le abofatea, meaning your tie slaps you to which they respond by slapping themselves with their tie. My companion told me a Spanish dad joke. Que animal es mas perezoso. El Pez porque hace nada. (What animal is more lazy. The Fish because it does nothing. I don't get it either.) One of the Hermanas (Sisters) accidentally asked one of the Elders if he was a woman instead of if there was a woman in the house, so he played along and switched his voice saying "yes it is me, Esperanza. Pues pues pues que tenemos aqui. (Well then what we have here.)"

That's mostly it for these two weeks, I guess. I'm working on getting photos. We're pretty locked down, so we'll see. Until next week...

Elder Kitch

We weren't sure if that's all the contact we'd get from him since his email from the day he arrived telling us he was safely there said he'd "email next Friday". We were beyond surprised and excited when we got a Hangout video chat call from him shortly after the email arrived!!!

We tried to record most of it. Jared's phone storage filled up, and we were scrambling to figure out how to record it. We forgot to find a way to record on the computer. We are all set for next time though. LOL!

Below is my recap of most of what we talked about.

Today was Walker’s first P-Day! He called us on Hangouts, and we got to video chat with him for an hour and a half! It was like Christmas Day! He sent an email as well, but I’m just going to recount what we spoke about since we have his letter.

There was a Sister missionary that was supposed to be flying with Walker to the MTC. She was on his itinerary, but we never saw her the day we dropped him off at the airport. We wondered if something happened or if she changed her mind, but he said she was at the gate when he had to move gates. Her name is Sister or Hermana Noel. They will both be going to Tampa together in August. I’m glad he’ll have a traveling companion. 

I asked him if they celebrated his birthday on July 1st, and they did have a small celebration. He got some sort of chocolate covered cookie with marshmallow in the middle. He liked them. He told us what they were called, but I forgot. It was in Spanish. 

On his birthday, a lot of people got sick. His companion was up all that night. Walker was fine until the next day. Tender mercy for him! They think it was food poisoning. For a brief time, they thought it could be a parasite, but since everyone got better that was ruled out. Thank goodness!!

An interesting story about that night, that was the SAME night I had been woken up by someone standing by my bedside. I thought it was Alayna. It looked like her shadow. They called out to me loudly saying, “MOOOM!” and I replied out loud, “YES!” When I opened my eyes to see what was going on more clearly, they were gone. Even though it looked to be Alayna, I had a clear impression that it was Walker calling me. When he related this story and told us he was sick, I knew it was the Spirit letting me know something was going on with Walker. This experience has reminded me that I need to be more mindful and to pray for him as soon as I get impressions, even if I don’t fully understand what is going on or what they mean. It was so VIVID. I should have known. It may sound crazy, but I do get “visitors” from time to time. However, I’ve never called out to respond to one before. It was very real.

He has an ingrown toenail. They are very common for missionaries. Wearing dress shoes all day long and walking so much makes the perfect environment for them to occur. Toenail surgery is the #1 surgery missionaries get. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.  He went to the doctor there and they gave him antibiotics and anti-swelling medication. He didn't have his patriarchal blessing, nor does the CCM have a record of an up to date tetanus vaccine. I sent him both. :) 

He also forgot to pack soap of all things! We went over that list 10 times, and somehow soap was the one thing we missed! However, it made for a hilarious story. He ended up having to buy some there. He bought Zote Soap and used it for several days before figuring out that it was Mexican laundry soap, not body soap! Hahaha! He said it looked exactly the same and seemed to work great, and the collars of his shirts were very nice! Oh my gosh… He had us all laughing SOO hard!!! They get 100 pesos per week which is equivalent to about $5.00 U.S. The Zote Soap was 20 Pesos. He bought Zest after the mix-up!

This is when he was telling us his story about the Zote Soap. We were all dying laughing! Haha!!!

For the 4th of July, they also got to celebrate in a small way with hamburgers! They aren’t supposed to focus on other things too much since the Gospel is supposed to be their focus, but they get to do little things that help them feel connected to home. However, he said everyday feels like the 4th of July because on the mountain behind them they shoot off fireworks everyday for the Catholic Saints! 

One night they heard several gunshots near the MTC. Mexico can be a dangerous place. I’ll be sure to continue to pray for his safety!

Spanish is coming to him. He’s got a bunch of the scriptures and lessons memorized already. He is really seeing how his intellect that he sometimes takes for granted is a true gift from the Lord. Some of the other missionaries are really struggling.

One of the Elders in his District likes to talk in Jamesian English. His name is Elder Moore (More?). Walker thinks he’s hilarious! One of the things that makes him laugh is every night when he gets out of the shower he says, “Shield thine eyes! For thou can’st behold my glory!!” :P 

When he got to the MTC/CCM there were 300 people. After his group arrived, there were 600. By the time he leaves there are supposed to be 1,000! I guess the biggest rush comes at the end of the college school year. The sister missionaries, especially, are ready to leave right away. They are more prepared/organized and ready to go! LOL! In Walker’s group, they have eight Elders and only two Hermanas.

Walker and his companion, Elder Wurtz, were asked by one of their teachers to help her teach her class since she doesn’t speak English very well. That’s REALLY cool! He was proud to tell us that. 

It's been a little hard a few times. It is sinking in that this is what he’s going to be doing the next two years. That hurt my heart to hear a little, but I know it’s totally normal. I just hope he can stay strong. I know he can do hard things. He’s also curious what it’s going to be like once he gets out into the field. The Spanish is different, fast, and Cuban!!! He sounded nervous about it. I tried to tell him he’ll catch on. He’s so bright. It will be tough at first, but he’ll catch on quick!

He showed us the campus briefly from where he was standing outside. The MTC/CCM was an old school of the Church’s. It looks like an old college campus. It was really pretty and very green! It’s in a bowl with big hill on all sides.

He’s been dreaming more, which is unusual for him. He’s getting better sleep, which is something I’ve been praying for. He’s always struggled with that. He had a dream that he was being taught Spanish. He doesn’t remember any of it, but that’s what it was about. That’s interesting because, in his blessing, it said he’d dream in Spanish!! The Spirit is blessing and helping him!

He found our letters that we hid in his luggage. He loved them! Alayna’s was all in Spanish (she used Google translate), and he can’t read all of it yet. He will by the time he’s done there!

Walker’s companion, Elder Wurtz, is the District Leader. Walker is the Assistant to the District Leader. He’s had Walker take the lead on some of the lessons and stuff. It’s nerve-racking, but it’s good too. Elder Wurtz took three years of Spanish (one year more than Walker), and he grew up in San Diego. He speaks a lot of conversational Spanish back home. He’ll be going to Tucson, AZ when he leaves the MTC/CCM! 

I told him I missed his hugs. Alayna had mentioned the other day that I’ve been giving lots of extra hugs to her, and I told her I guess I’m missing all the hugs Walker used to give me! He used to hug me constantly, and I loved it!

Some of the missionaries who don’t get to have a cell phone were getting upset with those that do. (Walker is one of the ones that does.) Looking up scriptures and Spanish words in paper books is so much slower than on their devices! LOL! They were saying it wasn’t fair and to make them use paper! Haha! I said well, you have to know how to use the tools that will be available to you when you are out in the mission field! LOL! 

The food is pretty good. They serve a large variety of things. Most of the people who got sick have chosen to avoid a lot of the main meal meat options, but Walker is all in! He said if he's going to get sick, he’ll get sick. The food is too good to pass up! Haha! 

He also shared that in the First Vision where Jose Smith says Jesus and God defy description, in Spanish it translates to, they don't admit description. He that that is awesome. I'll have to get him to expand on that more next time. 

They’ve been playing volleyball for their exercise time. It’s the only sport/exercise they can do as a group with the Hermanas since there is no contact. He says he isn’t very good at it though. I told him he should have taken lessons from Alayna before he left! Ha! 

Eli told him that he got the job at Rubio’s on Wednesday. When he went in last week, he told them he was Walker’s brother, and the Hispanic ladies said, “Oh WALKER!!!” When they asked where he was and Eli said, “Mexico,” they said, “MEXICO!!!” It was really funny! When he had his interview, the manager said, “If you are Walker’s brother this is really just a formality. I have no worries about you.” Walker thought that was pretty neat! We all did! He’s such a good example to our family and his integrity and reputation are admirable. 

We can send packages. His Great Aunt Jean Ashby told us about a service down there in Mexico that we can use. They can get it to him next day Monday-Friday. By using them, we’ll also avoid paying extra fees/taxes since it’s local. When we hung up Alayna helped me pick out a cute box and ordered all his favorite treats that should arrive Monday. The website is hhtps:// I hope he can take a picture when it arrives. They are pretty locked down, so we’ll see! We got him Kit-Kats, Twix, Pringles, Jerky, Pretzels, Dr. Pepper, Flaming Hot Cheetos, and Brookside along with a note saying, We love him and to be a good friend and share! LOL!

I think that pretty much covers everything. We got off the call and my cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling so much! I sure miss my boy! He just brightens my life SO MUCH! The whole rest of the day has felt magical. I’ve been on cloud 9! Knowing that he’s thriving even though some moments are hard is exactly what I hope for him. He can do hard things! Especially with so many people here at home and on the other side of the veil praying for him and helping him! 

I can't wait until next Friday!!


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