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.