A very Erik-like letter to enjoy, especially for those who know him well. 🙂
Some very good news to start off this week’s letter: I can call on Christmas now sometime between 3:15 and 5:15, so you better be ready family! Christmas will be pretty amazing here…mostly because I can now talk to my family, but also because an apostle is coming to talk. We don’t know who it will be yet, but I wold love to hear any one of them…. but alas, until then I must focus on my studies. They are coming along well. It is interesting how much more one can get out of scriptures. There are verses I knew by heart before that have opened up to display far more depth than I could’ve imagined as I read them now. Swedish is also going good. I’ve noticed it is kind of a joint improvement; the language and the gospel study are yoked together. As you study the scriptures intently, your language progress increases and as you work hard in the language, you find more in the scriptures. Likewise, if you slack off in one you will feel the consequences in the other.
Today, I had the pleasure of hosting Elder Buchanan, the one whose given name is Lucas and shall be going to Portugal on his mission, and is one of my best friends. Well….I technically wasn’t supposed to host him, but it is my P-day and I was walking strategically around the general area missionaries come out of the 1M building with their new tag and I just happened to stumble upon him, not that it was preplanned or anything….and I was determined that I, being sage and wise with the lay out of the MTC land, ought to host him instead of the preassigned host. His host was testy at this and we began a heated debate which escalated with passion until the host pulled his rapier out and dared me draw. What could I do? We dueled. It was a mighty duel. It ranged all over. Spectators who beheld the scene later likened it to legendary Edmond Dantes versus Fernand, or Yoda and Count Duku. Sagas were written and songs were sung, praising the swordsmanship of Elder Scott. After a great deal of clashing metal, I unarmed the knave and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I then showed Elder Buchanan his residence and took him to the looming shadow of his classroom, which is like metaphorically drop-kicking a small child into a tempest…..but I am certain he can swim and will come out of the rogue waves, magically speaking perfect Portuguese…..in six weeks time. I’ll make sure to get a picture with the whipper snap tonight. He lives in the residence all across from mine.
Social life here is pretty…unique. There are a lot Elders who are very much like that one priest in Nacho Libre in their conduct towards sister missionaries, saying things very similar to “We must talk of holy things” as they smear their hair part just like the film. (in other words using their ‘righteousness’ as a flirtation device) It is rather comical to witness. We went from Thanksgiving which was the most missionaries in the MTC on record, to this week, where it was the lowest number of missionaries in the last five years, so it was a bit of a ghost town. Almost everyone left on my floor but my tiny zone, leaving plenty of rooms to loot. The sad part of this is all of the Mexicans left, and I became pretty good friends with Elder Tamayo. I guess it is just stupid to make friends with people that will leave in two weeks…oh well, I’ll keep making friends anyways. 600 new missionaries came swarming in today. On Monday, I hosted the senior couples, who are the coolest people on campus. I met one couple from Wales who are going to South Africa….It is always wonderful to talk to British people. All the international kids came on Tuesday so I befriended some English and some Aussies, because Americans get boring after awhile….No offense, our British brothers are just are refreshing. What is funny is the African and Haitian missionaries opinion of the food. As one Haitian elder put it that I sat next to him at lunch, “You Americans eat stupid”, observing the jello, hamburgers, tots, chili cheese dogs, and other junk food in the cafeteria. I’d much rather spend my days with them. Fortunately, one of the new Dutchies in our zone is from Calgary and we relate on many levels including music, skiing, outdoors, general taste, the environment, so I have an escape valve for when the Idaho and Utah elders get too much to handle….haha.
Earlier in the week Äldste Linchenko’s grandmother passed away. We went to the main office at midnight when we got the news and it was a hard next few days. Äldste Linchenko got to facetime his family and decided not to go to the funeral. Because of this, we got to know one of the District Presidents, President Lindhall, very well. He is honestly one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He is the sort of person you just want to be like when you’re his age. He did a lot to help us and gave me very great wisdom that I will not only remember for my mission but will certainly remember for my entire life. Äldste Linchenko is doing much better now.
The temple food saves lives. I have a solid testimony of that. Getting to visit the temple and just relax with a nice big parmesan fish, real potatoes, risotto, a heavenly roll and ad a slice of blackberry pie, while feeling the unique peace of the temple, is the smartest thing Elder Ort and I have done. I get to clean the temple on New Years Eve, so that will be very interesting!!! I honestly just love the temple. It is the best place on earth. Even greater than my testimony of temple food is my testimony of this Gospel. I wish I had more time to type, for I could spend hours expressing my gratitude, love for, and solid faith in our lord Jesus Christ and his Gospel. I love it with all my heart. Next week I’ll have to write about the Swedish General authority who spoke yesterday. How cool is that? My favorite talk so far but I don’t have time to type it so I’ll use that as a cliffhanger. Tune in next time to read what Elder Malm said.