Thursday, December 26, 2013

Week 8 and Final Email from the MTC

Christmas was awesome!! We all had a great time! 

The day started with us opening presents. Many many elders were very generous in putting together a couple of boxes and a stocking for Elder Baldwin! He was so excited to get it. Many of you contributed to a great Christmas for both of us! A special thanks to the fam, the Dalziel fam, Bruce and Amy, Carolyn, Joannie and Alec, and many others for great packages and Cards! I hope everyone had a great Christmas! From what I have heard so far it sounded like a great day. i hope the Dalziels have enjoyed their cruise. Not sure where they are, but if they see an Elder Jeff Pierson say hi!

We then had breakfast. It was cereal! I enjoyed it! Following we had a Christmas program! It was a talent show thing! There were singers and dancers, and violins, and guitars, pianos, Cup balancing, and magic! My personal favorites were the magician and the cup balancing. The cup balancing thing was a total joke. He balanced a cup on is head, and stood up and sat down and jumped around! It was hilarious! He actually was pretty coordinated, but it wasn't the type of thing you would expect to see in a talent show. The magician was from Korea! He was quite impressive. He could make stuff disapppear and reappear! He made a huge mess! After weeks of the usual I really appreciate the unusual haha! You can probably tell! Some of the singers were quite good! Many of the piano solos were amazing!

We then had lunch! It was delicious! they go all out for holiday meals! After a magnificent lunch (Which the sisters decorated a very cool table for) we had a choir practice! it was my last here at the MTC! The director is amazing! A spiritual Gnant!!! Practices with him are so much fun, and he gets a ton accomplished. He is also full of spiritual insights, and encouraging thoughts! Anyway that was really fun. I sat with Elder Holm, and Heilein and Anderson Elders. They are both going to hungary, and I am really good friends with both of them! That makes choir even more enjoyable because those guys are all cool. Elder Baldwin is a base so he was on the other side with some of the other in our zone. We were so fortunate to sing for Elder Bednar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When he walked in everyone stood, and there was just an awe that went through the audience! He is obviously a favourite! I was thinking about it, and his age and current rank make it very likely that he will be a future prophet! Anyway he and his wife took a very interesting approach to what was an awesome team talk! 200 red cell phones were passed around in the room! We were given a cell number to text in questions which came to his ipad. Missionaries in other MTC's were situated near computers from which they could email in questions. Missionaries from around the world sent in questions! It was so cool! Elder Bednar is obviously tech minded. It was the first time this kind of thing had ever been done! No one saw it coming! It was amazing! He is so in tune with the spirit. he would pick and choose through the questions giving many to his wife who is also amazing! Some of her insights were awesome. Some of the questions were "Why do I feel so inadequate" "How do I avoid temptation" "how can I live my life in a way where I always feel close to God" "What does it take to be an apostle or an apostles wife"

Some insights were.. If you don't feel inadequate you don't understand your job description... to avoid temptation you must be familiar with the scriptures (Matt 4)... It is easier for God to direct those who are staying on the path... pray often, and you are closer to God when you pray for others than yourself... when you understand the Plan of Salvation fully you no longer will sin because there will never be any desire... To be the best missionary you get out of the way, and forget yourself... The best members and missionaries are those that are always trying to better understand the atonement. There was a lot more and half the talk was in the delivery! They then collected and counted the phones! So cool!

After that we had a district devotional review. We also ate sack dinners. There was a jazz performance. There was a recorded tabernacle choir review! We then did our service assignment of taking down the gym! It was a great day! I hope you liked the pics!

Today we cleaned the temple for the second time! It was awesome! We vacuumed and dusted! It is kind of messy because of the renos that are going on.

We take off on Tuesday!  Take Buddy on walks and say hi to all of the family!

Love, Elder Stewart

Cards from Henderson Ward Primary
Elder Stewart and Elder Baldwin in front of the temple.
Elder Stewart and Elder Koegler
The classroom for the Albanian missionaries.
The line to go to choir practice!
Elder Stewart and other Canadian elders - Elder Francis, Elder Koegler and Elder Boychuk.
Christmas Morning breakfast! Parker's favourite!!
Christmas dinner at the MTC. 
Some of the Christmas haul. He felt well loved!
Elder Stewart and Elder Baldwin with matching Christmas ties! Courtesy of Tina Evans and Aunt Carolyn.  :)
Elder Stewart by "the map".  We gave him strict instructions  to make sure to get a photo by this map before he left.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 7 at the MTC

The week has been excellent! Thanks you so much for all of the letters and packages! I really appreciate All of the ones from family, extended family, and friends! It sounds like many of you are gearing up for Christmas! From What I can see it looks and sounds great! Good luck with the last couple days of school! 

Things here are going oh so well! Like I said I really am feeling a ton of support from home! I wish I could thank you all individually, but I just don't have time. You have all been so great! The one specific mention I wanted to make was the Henderson Ward Primary! Nice work I loved the notes and the pictures, as I am sure the other Elders did as well! I have multiple packages sitting on the desk in my room waiting for dec 25, and I have a few Christmas cards and pictures sitting open up there.

This week our Zone said goodbye to 13 excellent Elders and Sisters headed to Finland! They were all really great, and we got to become really close friends very fast! I am sure they will do excellent! Mandy Koegler also took off this week! On the flip side Michael Koegler, Carter Francis, and a new group of Finish Elders arrived this week! I had the opportunity to see Carter come in, and i got to host Michael! It was great to see them! Apparently Michael and Hayden had some trouble in the Calgary airport, and they both lost their luggage! Michael figures his should be here right away, but I don't know about Hayden. I hope things are going well for him in Peru! Maybe he will see me in thew choir during one of the live Apostle devotionals that are streamed to MTC's around the world! I see Andrew now and again! He looks like he is doing very well! It is great to spend Christmas in the MTC with a couple of friends. 

This last week the BYU Mens chorus were our Sunday Devotional! They did a fantastic job. I could see Kieran scanning the crowd after very song! I knew he couldn't see me. At the end as everone was leaving I gave him a big wave and a thumbs up!He saw me and waved with a thumbs up back! He was clearly excited, and I was very excited to get his attention!

This week the plague hit our district, and people have been dropping like flies to some unknown cold. My companion and I remain the only companionship to have attended all classes this week. I got some kind of painful throat and ear something on Sunday. I've been popping Advil Cold and Sinus Pills that Dad gave me. They keep the pain away. My ears don't hurt, and I can swallow. I went in to the clinic last night to make sure it isn't something actually bad. if i'm sick I can't go to Albania. Anyway it was weird going to  the doctor!! I havent done that... like ever! The doctor was nice enough. He told me that it should be gone in the next week and a half. i don't know what that means, but I'm ok with that! 

Tonight we start our "Concecration Week." It is a thing they do here at the MTC. We go completely without English for the Week before we leave. Its going to be sweet!I'm wicked pumped. Everyone has to speak Albanian! It should be good, and challenging, but awesome!

Personal Study and gym and choir remain the best parts of the MTC! Matt I'm a lights out shooter in Bball so you better watch your back!!

Good luck with Christmas! I hope you al have a wonderful time! As far as I know my email time is still on Thursday, so I will talk to you on Christmas Eve. If you happento be by the computer we can have a bit of a conversation. I can't call on Christmas due to the sheer number of Elder and Sisters here. We hosted 800 new ones yesterday! I will call you from the airport! The Christmas tree looked great at home! Lots of snow, great igloo! Basketball sounds like it is going well! Have a great time! I hope you get my Christmas package! I sent it to the house! Its not much, bu tit is something!

Take Buddy on Walks! Have a very Merry Christmas! I am loving it here at the MTC, and am looking forward to Christmas here!

Love Elder Stewart

Parker and cousin, Elder Andrew Gillis. Andrew arrived Dec 11 and is heading to Hong Kong.

Parker's Zone in front of the temple. Looks a little snowy!

The Finnish Elders. They have obviously been a key part of the MTC experience for Parker.

Mail that arrived for Elder Stewart all on Monday Dec 16! No wonder he says he feels well supported. That's awesome!

The doctor's office. His first experience in one as a patient at the age of 18... :)

Elder Stewart and Elder Koegler. Elder Koegler arrived Dec 18 and will be going to Jamaica.  It's amazing that they saw each other so soon as Parker welcomed Michael there.

This is a sister that Parker and Matt met while in Mongolia and she went on splits with AnneE. International connections!

The Christmas lights at the MTC!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Week 6 at the MTC

Hey there! How are things? 

Thank you for all of the packages and treats!! Everyone is loving them! Those cinnamon buns were amazing, as were the cookies.
This week has been very good! Andrew arrived yesterday, and it was great to see him! HE seemed excited to get going! It will be fun to have him here! We had a Tuesday night devotional from Elder Cook!! He did fantastic! It was a great talk. He talked a lot about the mission assignment process. He described the revelation that takes place while he and other apostles sit in the assignment room. Obviously he is a very spiritual man, but I don't think I realized just how spiritually in tune the apostles are. he spoke of specific experiences when assigning missionaries. It made me realize that we are more than a number to the apostle, and to the Lord. Elder Cook made it very clear that the apostles take assigning missionaries very seriously, and that it is a very exciting part of the job. He said that on the screen a picture of us comes up. It has details about us.. grades, health, known languages.. they get to see a lot of the stuff that we fill out. Based on our information one of the first things that they ask themselves is 'which mission president will benefit us the most.' He says in many cases that answers where we should go. The then look at missions and receive revelation. Elder cook made it pretty clear that getting to know our mission president is vital. He is the best fit mission president in the world for us. Needless to say it got me pretty excited to meet President and Sister Ford! Elder Cook also talked about how it is important to have faith, be humble, and be outgoing. He also talked about the need for us to get to know the members, and to push missionary work in wards. Its funny because he is not the first apostle I have heard say that while I have been here! I know I was a pretty bad missionary before my mission. I was to shy to bring up gospel discussions. I'd encourage you all to be better than I was. Being an example is good, but not everyone will ask us about why we do things, often we have to bring it up. Elder Cook said we need to be confident. We can't dilly dally. We are talking about Eternal Salvation. He said that quite a few times. He said that often times we feel inadequate. I now I do sometimes anyway. But, he also said that President Packer says at least once a month to the 12 that he feels inadequate, so i guess feeling inadequate is just part of this earthly experience. Elder Cook said we need to do as Elder Packer and just keep doing our best! It was a great talk! I'll get to hear from at least two more apostles before I leave!! Sweet!!

How about that #ChristmasDevo on Sunday! I thought it was pretty excellent! The violinists, and french horns were quite good!! Something to aspire to Sara and H, and all musically inclined cousins! It was cool to see Russel M. Nelson speak because he was just here at the MTC! There were also a few mentions of missionaries serving! That was cool! 

The Finnish Elders and Sisters leave here on Monday! I am going to miss a lot of them! I don't really know the sisters, but I've had a lot of good times with many of the Elders. My time here at the MTC is winding down!! Scary! But super exciting! It will be good to get into the field and be immersed in the language, speaking with people who know what they are saying as opposed to our broken MTC Shqiplish. (Shqip is Albanian, Shqiperia is Albania)

I haven't really gained much weight here at the MTC! I'm hoping I'm taller!! I have nothing to check against. I don't fee short here though surprisingly. I am taller than a lot of Elders, so I am grateful for the height I have.

I don't have any knew pictures this week. Maybe I will take some this week. The Christmas lights here look amazing!

Take Buddy on walks!

Love, Elder Stewart


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Week 5 at the MTC

The days are flying! It feels like I just wrote yesterday! I'm trying to slow things down because I really need to get this language haha. I can already tell that these two years are going to fly by, and I'm trying to get as much out of them as I can. 

Thanks for the Dear Elders and Emails!! 
Our MTC president is president Nally! He and his wife seem like really nice people. I have avoided talking to thewm though because once they get to know someone than that person becomes a potential for being called up to bare their testimony or share an experience in front of the MTC crowd. There are 600 in the choir. In that pic i sent you of the auditorium it is from the middle bar left of elevated seats. (I hope that makes sense) 
Say hi to all of the extended family that you see for me! Mom, I read the Elder Bednar talk! It was great!! I'll try and be quicker to observe. Elder Baldwin is pretty good at that. He has an eye for the craziest details! Best of luck to Andrew on Sunday! I can't wait to see him! With any luck they will put us down for hosting the new missionaries. We haven't got to do that yet! 
Thanks for all your letters, thoughts, and prayers! 

I have been really trying to give up speaking English! It is hard because I as with all of the other Albanians am not very good at the language. Up until this point the language aspect has been very overwhelming! Its so much to digest. In Albanian there are many different things that have to be done in order to put a simple sentence together. We have been slowly learning each of the concepts, and have been trying to implement them and match them up in the sentences. It is quite the challenge. There are a lot of things that have to agree. Masculine/feminin, present/perfect/imperfect, participles, clitics, articles, demonstratives. That is just a few. Its a lot of stuff that is not necessarily found in English, or in any other Language. It is a process!! I'm staying calm, and taking my time, but also trying to work super hard to get a lot of it down.

This week we got some snow as well. Not enough for an MTC PD day (I can't believe you got one of those haha) but enough to cancel the Elder Ballard Devotional! It was too bad, but the devotional that did happen by the previous St. George temple president was very good! There are still supposed to be more General Authorities coming in the next couple of weeks!

We received a ton of Elders and Sisters here at the MTC this week! We hadnt received any for two weeks due to Thanksgiving, but had still been losing so the MTC was pretty quiet on Tuesday. There were a ton of Empty rooms. MTC turnover rate is very high. It go t loud again yesterday though!

We had a very exciting tie trade this week. The fins started it, and we had a ton of Elders come in and join the fun! i got myself a christmasy tie. It is red and white with a little blue, It kinda looks like a candy cane! I also got a bright Orange and Yellow tie. Brother McGlothin says the Albanians love loud ties, and then I realized "Hey so do I." It was a good time had by all. Try to figure out what two ties I traded! I don't think you will be able to. 

The christmas lights look great here at the MTC! Elder Baldwin is good! Classes are good. Food is good! Gym is really fun! I've made some great new friends. Hopefully I'll be able to hook back up with some of them in two! I am having a great time! I love the spirit of the work, and of the MTC environment!

Take Buddy On walks!

Love, Elder Stewart

The ties after the trade. He's right...we can't tell which ones he traded!

No offense intended, but his ties were not hung this neatly at home! :)

First big snowfall in Provo. We had our first big one at home this same week resulting in the first snow day in Lethbridge since 1986.

Parker's comment for this picture in his letter was "Elder Stewart has a heavy load." :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Week 4 at the MTC

This week has been the best week yet! I can't quite put a finger on why, but it just has been!

Just for some clarification on the language. It is uniquely its own. It does not have ties to other languages. It is the oldest language in practice today. It is not made up of the cyrillic alphabet. It has only been a written language for a few hundred years. It is difficult to learn, but it is coming along!

Yesterday was American Thanksgiving! We didnt have to study at all! It was truly a Holiday in the MTC. We had a special visit from Russel M. Nelson. It was amazing! That makes two apostles. He talked on being prepared, getting to know people. Our first contact at a new ward should be the bishop, followed by the ward mission leader, followed by the Family History specialist. He made it very clear that the work is hastening, and that we all need to bring our A game. He said some stuff about the other side of the veil. He said to pray for those on the other side that are ready to accept the gospel so that they can soften the hearts of their descendants who we are about to teach. Once a member they need to find their ancestors. He made it pretty clear that we need to get involved in the wards, and make sure they are missionary minded. The Quorum of the 12 is pushing the whole missionary thing bigtime!

In the next couple of weeks we are supposed to have many apostles. Our choir director has been here for 11 years, and he says that this is the greatest apostle schedule he has yet seen. Our next apostle/first pres devotional is this tuesday. I still love the choir! So far it is probably the highlight of the MTC. The majority of our zone sings in it! It is very fun!

The MTC presidents wife is amazing at the piano. She can play any song in any key with people singing. It is crazy! At choir they asked her to play a song, and she just did it. In a devotional they said they wanted a different arrangement, so she went over to the piano, took over and played it! I have no idea how she does it, but it is potentially one of the most impressive things I have ever seen!

Fortunately this week i didn't have to play piano in Priesthood, but i did have to talk in sacrament. Each week two or three elders or sisters are called up on the spot to speak. It is kinda scary! Everyone is told what the topic of sacrament is in advance so I came with some ideas for what I would say if I got called up! It was on repentance. The first two speakers basically defined repentance, so i took a spin off on it and talked about that forgive 70 times 7 scripture.. how to truly repent and expect forgiveness we need to be willing to forgive. I thought it was good! I was happy! Nobody booed! It was good!

Everyone has been getting along with my companion! It is so good to see! I am so happy!

Yesterday we got to go on a Sunday walk to the temple! It was very fun! We spent a lot of time as a zone! our zone is very tight! I like hanging out with them! I saw Elder Zani again! We talked quite a bit! his English is getting good! that is very fortunate! His companion is from the Phillipines, so all they have in common is broken English!

Last night was very fun! We had a service project! We made soup bags for kids. Just add water type deal! They are all sealed and will be good from long time! Hundreds of thousands were made!

Christmas decorations are going up now! It looks good! The weather is still really hot! I was sweating on our temple walk yesterday! I hear it is cold in Canada!

Oh a great thing that happened this week is we got a language teacher! He is Albanian. HE comes in to tutor us in the language! 1 on 1 help. 15 min of that is worth a couple hours of class instruction and personal study. It might just be for me though. I'm not sure. I kinda like to just cut to the chase and get the facts.

Sorry I didn't email yesterday, and sorry this email is kind of rushed! Good luck this week everybody!

Take Buddy on lots of walks!

Elder Stewart

Elder Stewart and Elder Zani. Elder Zani is from Mongolia and Parker met him when he visited there this past summer. Grandpa Stewart ordained Elder Zani to be an Elder.
Thanks giving Dinner in the MTC. Looks petty good!
Elder Stewart and the Finnish Elders in his zone. Sounds like they get along really well which is great.

The Elders and Sisters helped make soup packets for children. Hence, the hair nets!

Elder Stewart, his companion, Elder Baldwin, and Sister Mandy Koegler from  home with her companion! So cool that their paths have crossed a few times there. Parker's cousin, Andrew Gillis, will arrive on Dec 11 and two of his high school friends, Carter Francis and Michael Koegler will arrive at the MTC on Dec 18. Mandy and PArker are singing in the MTC choir together too. They were previously in the LCI Chamber Choir together.

We assume he took this picture because he LOVES his orange shoes, and we sent him and all his friends on their missions with a pair of black Canada socks. Good to see he's using them! He is definitely a proud Canadian. Notice the pin on his lapel too, in previous pictures. It is the Canadian Flag beside the Albanian Flag. It was given to him by his friend, Brooklyn. We have no idea where she found such a treasure!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 3 at the MTC


This week I met a mongolian Elder who Matt and I played soccer with. He was there for one or two of the days. His name is Elder Zina. Matt would recognize him, and maybe AnneE and Carolyn too. I plan on getting a picture with him sometime soon. He only got here yesterday. He told me that Grandma and Grandpa loved me, and to make sure they got the message that he told me. It sounds like Grandma and Grandpa saw him a few times before he took off. He is really nice! Its cool to make international connections!

Today was my last time through the temple for a long time. The next time I go through will probably be with Mom and Dad. It closes on Monday until January. They are cleaning and updating a bit. Its to bad that it has to be now, but at least we got to go through a couple of times.
We ate at the cafeteria as a Zone. It was fun! On the way to the temple I got soaked! It was a thick mist. I was basically swimming. I think I am really going to miss going through the temple. I was so sad that today was our last time that I didn't even feel tired. Crazy.. because it was 7:30 am.

This week in scripture study I read W of M 1:13. Check it out. Its pretty crazy. King Benjamin was a fighter.. with the sword of Laban.\

Every since my farewell talk I've been meaning to say thanks to Dillon  for saying that prayer before my farewell talk. I've been reminded a few times while being here just how much i hate being the center of attention in front of large groups.

To increase our language abilities we have been baring our testimonies 3 times a day, and translating for our companions 3. We usually go to the Korean Elders because they have to do the same, but we have had the opportunity to bare our testimony in Albanian to a lot of people. Every night we read a couple verses aloud from our Albanian B of Ms. I use the one Sara and Hannah gave me, and leave the one the MTC gave me at class. Its great having that second book of Mormon because I don't have to haul as much. The language is coming. It's very hard, but i think we have it easier than the fins!

This week during out computer portal time ( Portal time is time on the computer that we can use to do whatever we want that is church related. No email though. We log onto mish portal and can go wherever we want from there after we complete our assignments for the week. You can log onto my portal and check it out.) I watched forgive 70 X 7. Its a pretty inspirational bible video. I have to forgive all those who annoy me or try to be mean here at the MTC. Most of the mean people are mean to my companion because he is a little different, and I can't really defend him. He is 21 so it makes things worse when the bulliers are 18. Anyway it's a cool vid! Check it out! The other vid I watched us 'If we forget Ourselves.' Give it a watch. Its on the front screen of Surprise at like 2:35 I think.

The food is still very good!! I don't think I've put on any weight H. I haven't improved my fitness at all though. It is pretty much impossible to improve or maintain fitness here at the MTC. Running in the morning is nearly impossible for me because i have to hit the shower around 6:20 to be at breakfast by 6:45. We have 45 min of gym every day! I love it!! Matt will too! They put on Zumba and other classes at 5:30 AM for the sisters. I just thought you'd find that interesting.

I got my hair cut today! My lengthened suit fits like a glove. We go to the TRC again tonight! Its fun! So far I still really like the MTC. Lots of people said I would get tired of it really fast, but so far so good! It will be exciting to get to the field though. Brother McGlothin read us an email from one of the Elders there this week. The work is going like crazy in Albania right now. The reason they are calling such large groups of missionaries there is because they need more help teaching. Its crazy!

We had two great devotionals this week. One by Mary Ellen Edmunds, and one by Brother and Sister Aidukaitus. Look up M.E.E on youtube of and see if she has anything on there. She is hilarious. You would all love listening to her. Brother and sister A talked about living celestial lives. If we want to make telestial, do nothing. If we want to make terrestial, do a little and then stop. If we want to make celestial, we have to be actively doing good. If we are being good, but not dooing anything about it then we are not living celestial lives.

Good luck! Have a great week! 

Elder Stewart

ps Keep sending Dear Elders! I love them. thanks to everyone who has.

pps the missionaries in that pic you asked me about were Vanhin Stimpson (brown hair) and Vanhin hunter (blonde). Two of the fins. I'm really good friends with a lot of the fins.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 2 at the MTC!

 Thanks for the Dear Elder letters! They are fantastic!!
(Editor's Note: If you wanted to send a letter using the above link, his Departure Date is Dec 31 and his Unit is 5. Sending letters is free.)
It isn't cold here like it is in Canada! We have like 20 degree weather. I don't think ill be seeing the heavy snow for quite some time. It is actually really strange to have such warmth in November. It is hilarious to listen to other Elders and Sisters complain about the chilly weather. They obviously have never seen snow like you have right now.

I did laundry for the first time this week... and i made it. Nothing blew up, and the clothes looked clean so i figure it was a success.

Today was my second time through the Provo temple. i actually really like it! It is tough to stay alert though because we start at like 7:30, and its always a stay in the same room session, and the chairs are very comfortable. Its amazing to go through the Temple with a large group of missionaries!

I got to bless the sacrament this week. That was fun! 

L. Tom Perry spoke to us. Dad was right. he is a giant! HE EVEN HUNCHES OVER, AND HE STILL TOWERS! He spoke to us on the importance of companionships. He told us some experiences from his mission. One of his points that I thought was good was that the Lord has always made it clear that he will send more than one witness. One missionary on his or her own is pretty useless. Elder Baldwin and I have been getting good at working as a team. One thing about being very different is that when one of us can't really relate to someone the other usually can in some way. Sis Perry spoke on the plan for all of us. She made it clear that each elder and sister had different strengths. She spo0ke on how her and Elder Perry work as a team. Both talks copincided with our companionship very well.

Mom, you will be happy to hear that i sang in the choir! I have been going to all the practices since i got here. We have performed twice. The song was Redeemer of israel. it is pretty empowering to sing in the MTC. All of the songs here are pretty cool. I like singing in large groups.

The Albanian is coming along. We are now teaching our second and thired 'investigators.' We have moved away from using scripts, and we now just speak to the best of our ability. We arent to great, but we are somewhat understandable, and we can get bits and pieces of sentences, and then piece them together. We go to the TRC tonight. it is this place that you go to talk to RM's, and Albanians who live in America. They sign up to come in. We get to have two 20 minute chats. get to know you, talk about missions, and the gospel type deal. Its our first time tonight. it should be interesting! I'm looking forward to it. it sounds like fun!

Andrew Mandin took off this week for Vancouver. I saw Mandy at choir, and I saw kami Greyson at the cafeteria. I see Greyson Smith daily. he and some of the other Japanese missionaries that have been here for almost 9 weeks built the tashmahall (don't know how to spell it) out of pop cans. it is very impressive. Over 300 cans.

As you probably already picked up.. i do get really tired, and the days are long, but when I go to bed I fall asleep easily, and feel refreshed in the morning. The sleep is certainly as much of an issue as I thought it would be!

Thanks for the packages. I have received 3 from you!! The americans liked the Canadian chocolate!

In response to Hannah.. The giganticus spoonicus made of starsius in the skysius??? The winter Jacket fits great!! The statue is really cool. There are two notable statues in the MTC. One is of a missionary standing alone, and the other is of two bikers.Elder Stewart is one of the bikers. if you say bike statue to someone who has been to the MTC they will know exactly what you are talking about! It was very cool to discover it was Elder Stewart. i figure it was probably built because of Dads excellent service as a missionary.

Its good to hear that they did a good job of Enders Game. Buy it, and I will watch in in two!

Have a fantastic week everyone!!

Elder Stewart

Have you ever seen a laundromat this big???

Elder Stewart and Elder Mandin - both LCI grads and former Chamber Choir members!

Elder Stewart's District at the Provo Temple

After translating the name tags of these Elders, we learned they were Finnish, so these are the Elders made mention of in the first email. They look like cool guys too!

Elder Stewart - First Email!

My companion is named Elder Baldwin. We are about as different as could possibly be haha. He is from virginia. He is 21. He is very loud, and i am very not. He doesn't like excercise, and i do. He is bigger than me, not so much height but in overall girth. I don't really know how to describe him. Things are working out though. He is really nice, and we get along. Our roomates are Elder Holm and Elder Carling. They are both very nice as well. Elder Holm is 19. he likes sports ant stuff. He is big and strong. Its fun being on his team in basketball because he just destroys people in the paint. Elder Carling seems smart. he likes video games, and science. he and Elder holm are quite a bit different as well, but somehow things are working out.

There are 16 people going to Albania. That's way more than any of us expected. There are 8 boys and 8 girls. 4 and 4 in each district. Motra Bettinger from Ontario is in my district. She seems pretty nice. I don't know all of them super well yet though.

Our Zone is made up of the Albanians, the finnish, the Hungarians, and the Estonian. The 2 Hungarians, and 1 Estonian leave this monday. We get 10 Hungarians this wednesday. I really like talking and haning out with a couple of the finnish elders, and some of the Albaninas in the other district.

Here at the MTC i have seen Greyson Smith from Raymond, and that girl from Cardston that we saw while on our backpacking trip. it was very cool to see some people that i knew. I havent seen Mandy yet. I'm not sure if i will. They turned the west campus into a spanish/portugese campus. English, and all other languages are now on the main site.

The food here is very yummy. i can see why a lot of people gain weight. YOu can be as health concious, or as not as you want. It is always all you can eat. They plate most things for you, but they don't care if you come back for more. They have tons of deserts. Chocolate milk all the time is true... same with cereal. I have tried to make healthy decisions, but it has been hilarous to see what my comp comes back with. he is quite the comic relief all day long. i havent found the subway stuff yet. im thinking it may be on the other campus.I believe the mongolians used to be over there before they switched everything around. It really makes a lot more sense because of how many Spanish speakers there are, and it is just better for organization.

Gym time is a riot. Some days i run, some days i play basketball. They have a track upstairs. I believe it is 200m. its definetly not the coulees, but it does the trick. As long as you stay in the building you dont have to be with your companion for gym. Matt is gonna love the basketball if he comes to this MTC. Shoot for teams, games to 7. 3 on 3. They go fast. They are very quick games. Lots of running. Man defense. The only thing that is crappy is that they kick me out of gym class every time I dunk. in gym they also have volleyball, four square and wieghts/ machines. i dont do any of that stuff, but lots of people like it. Every time i get to gym class i have to do something intense because we sit for most of the day.

our Albanian teachers are very cool. Sister Atkin served her mission under pres Ford so she is pretty fresh back. She is super nice, and a good teacher. bro McGlothin is 24 married, and has a baby daughter. He is a good teacher. He is a lot like D willoughby in personality if that makes any sense. i dont know how to explain people without comparing them to someone else. i can say a lot of gospel stuff in albanian, and other simple stuff, but thats about it so far. My comp and i have taught 4 lessons so far. The first was on Saturday. Some go better than others. I learned my testimony right away just cuz of my blessing. i think i may be the only one who can do that without prompts right now just cuz I made that a priority. A few of the sisters are probably the overall best at the language. They work pretty hard, and are picking it up quick. I'm trying super hard to learn it, but am pretty relaxed. Some people get pretty frustrated but so far my comp and I have found laughing off our mistakes is the best way for us to suceed. One of our bigger mistakes was we didnt know the word for ready. We challenged our 'investigator' to baptism and she just kept saying je gati. We didnt have a clue what that meant. We just kept teaching, and left confused and without a baptismal date. Anyway we figured it out, and we know what to do in our 'next lesson' with her that we dont actually have haha. i really like teaching, but it is very hard.

The speakers and devotionals have been very good. On sunday night we watcghed a video of a talk given by Elder Bednar entitled the Character of Christ. It's a fabulous talk! Find it and watch it. L. Tom Perry will be here on Tues. im pumped!!!

Our first councilor in our branch pres knows the petersons. His name is bro taylor.

Talk yo you on thurs. Mom you will be happy to know my suit coat is at the tailor! Im happy you made it bach to Canada safely!!

Elder Stewart  
Elder Stewart's MTC District - There are two.

The "famous" MTC bike statue.

If you look closely, the name tag says Elder Stewart.

In front of the Provo Temple...wearing the coat that is a legend in itself. :)

MTC Delivery is a great resource for sending FUN packages and letters.