(Mom note: This is a handwritten letter that we got from Braden his 2nd week)
Thanks so much for the birthday package! I literally squealed a bit when I opened the Manchester United jersey. I love it! Also, you totally hooked me up with the sour punch straws. When I saw the envelopes in there, I figured it was your own (slightly passive aggressive) way of telling me to write a handwritten letter. haha So here I am! I’m not writing under the best circumstances. Estoy muy enfermo ahora (I’m really sick right now). I have one of those killer colds that just puts you down for a day or 2. The MTC is a flipping petri dish for disease. Anyways, I figure I can use this to answer some of the questions I forgot to answer on P-Day. 1. When I wake up: 2 days a week we have service at 6:15 so we get up at 6:00. The rest of the days we have gym at 6:40 so we get up at 6:20-6:25. 2. Schedule: There’s a lot of different stuff but it boils down to this: Mon-Sat we have 3 classroom instruction/teaching/study blocks of 3-3.5 hours. On Mondays and Wednesdays we do TRC which is just other investigators (sometimes members, sometimes real investigators) We also teach member lessons on TRC days. Everything we do is solomente en espanol (only in Spanish). It’s tough but we’ve made so much progress. I can hold pretty dang good conversations and can understand more than I can speak. Elder Christensen is back to 100% which is good, but I’m not anymore so this stinks. Before you send me a dear elder asking if I am taking my Mucinex, I am, but it’s not just the sinuses and stuff. I still haven’t got my watch yet but I bet it comes in today’s mail. I’ve seen and talked to so many of my friends from BYU. I love randomly seeing people I love! Oh yeah, I have 2 stories.
I love my companion! Seriously….on my birthday, it was basically a regular day, nothing special. By the end of the day I was really feeling homesick and wishing I could be with you guys. I knew I was about to start crying so I asked Elder Christensen if he wanted to go for a quick walk. I just wanted to be alone and cry, but I couldn’t be alone (exact obedience, ya feel?) So, I start crying as we’re walking and he says the exact right things. He was sympathetic, kind, and he got me laughing and talking. No doubt, he had the spirit with him. Later that night I received a blessing from him which brought me a lot of comfort. I’m glad he’s my companion.
Story 2: On Sunday nights we watch movies after a Sunday devotional. I went on a split with another Elder in my district because the Joseph Smith movie was full and I didn’t want to watch Meet the Mormons. So, we watched the John Tanner movie, and 1 episode of Music and the Spoken Word. The Music and the Spoken Word was from Mother’s Day and I was like “what? Are they TRYING to make us homesick?” Anyways, during one of the songs (A lullabye by Ryan Murphy). I was thinking about eternal families and how grateful I am that I can live with you for eternity. I then had several distinct thoughts and visions/fantasies. The first thought I am positive was the spirit. These words came into my mind “There is no going home for you. You must set the example for your future children.” I then saw myself sitting in a run down home at my one year mark extending the baptismal invitation to a family of dark-skinned people. The scene changed and I saw the same family, clean and in white kneeling around an altar in the temple. My joy was full at the mere thought of it. I can’t wait to share this gospel with others. I will find greater happiness than I have ever before known. I know my purpose as a missionary. Invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarias reciban el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del Espiritu Santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin. In English: to invite all people to come unto Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Love you!