Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MTC week #6


Wow! I don't feel any older, there is something about not being at home for a birthday that is different...and I don't like it different. I got the best birthday present though, I was NOT asked to be one of the new zone leaders for Zone 40; our roommates weren't so lucky! Just a side note, DearElder will work in Chile too, but it takes about 1-1.5 weeks (I think...). Sorry I didn't get a letter sent this week, I'll do my best to send one Saturday or Monday!!!

Mom: The Hen House...OH NOOO!!! of course as soon as we try to fix something "trivial/aesthetic" we find a huge mess (I guess that is good though)! Conference is this weekend, I'm so excited to have nothing to do except for listen to 10 hours of General Authorities for 2 days. Don't get me wrong, class is great, but a "break" will be nice. We got nuevos last Wednesday and will again next week after the viejo district leaves Tuesday. Beginning at 6:00 AM next Tuesday we will be the oldest district in the zone (and the coolest). I wish we could go to SLC for conference, but it would be a pain to transport 2,300 missionaries to Conference. OK, ok, maybe I did not mean fluent in Spanish, but "more" fluent... :P . I'm happy, no ecstatic, for Bro. Sims & Grandma, and Abby too! Thanks for Jared's e-mail, I'll probablly drop him a line today (if I get time). HSI (Hablar Su Idioma) sucks sometimes, but in the long run it has been super rewarding especially since I learn by hearing. Glad to hear you are feeling better. I miss you.

Dad: I just now got your e-mail from today so I'll send you a more detailed reply later this week, and I successfully printed the Spanish talk, thanks. I heard from Mom about the fireplace at the house, hope the golf language wasn't too strong...LOL. We will leave for Chile 3 weeks from Monday and by the looks of all the recent southbound flights we will be flying from SLC to DFW then to Santiago. Being in Texas will probably make me homesick. We'll know travel plans 2 weeks from tomorrow, it is wild to think this is the beginning of week 6. Here in the MTC the days are long but the weeks are short.

Utah is finally getting chilly! Saturday the MTC goes to fall/winter dress code which makes suit coats mandatory for Elders in public areas & outside. Yay!!! (sarcasm). And of course today it is cold & was raining, sooo I got to use my raincoat for the walk to/from the temple.

Random side not: since I've been in the MTC I've learned 3 new ways to peal a banana! Amazing the things we do for fun here!!!

I miss you all and love you bunches. Todo mi amor!

-- Elder Todd

P.S. - I forgot to mention our teaching experience in the TRC this week...Tuesday we taught completely in Spanish the lesson of the Restoration. We taugh a man named Hermano (Elder) Jay Harker, who served in the Central Americas Mission (5 countries) in the 1950s. The lesson went so well and we taught HIM (not the lesson) well enough that we didn't get past "El Ministerio Terrenal de Jesucristo" (refer to "Predicad Mi Evangelio" to see exactly how far that is)...the Spirit was strong and I know I was speaking Spanish, but I'm not sure what language I was thinking in because it doesn't feel like I was translating. I've definitely been blessed in learning this language. Ohhh!!! And of the 9th of October the Chilean Ambassador is visiting the MTC and our class...


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MTC Week #5

Can anybody believe I've been in the MTC for 4 weeks? And we've only got 4 & 1/2 more until we fly out to the field! We should get travel plans in about 2 weeks from tomorrow (or 3 weeks, not really sure)... Texas weather sounds nice right now, Utah is cooling off and the lack of moisture & humidity is killing me! But, for the most part it is nice here right now. Our zon leaders leave Monday at 3:00 AM for Mexico, so new zone leaders will be assigned Sunday morning. Unfortunately, President Greenwood (our branch president) has take a particular liking to our district. :( . And also working against us it that my companion & I really don't want the assignment. In 2 weeks we will also be the oldest district in our zone because 40-C leaves a week from Monday...AHHH!!! Shout Out: I got a letter from Angela this week, it seems she'll be in Utah celebrating my birthday without me (this weekend)! It is good to hear that Sis. Gilbert is doing better. But it is a bummer to know that nobody from church is writing me or responding to my letters, all I've gotten is one card. Thank you Lufkin 1st Ward Primary! So if anyone from church is reading this on the blog, I NEED MAIL!!! LOL...but for real, seriously! Good to hear that Geenan got my letter.

Gabe & Ryah: You are both bums, I've only gotten one substantial letter from each of you in these 4 weeks. WRITE MORE!!! How is school Ryah? How is having no school Gabe?

Dad: I got your e-mail and the DearElder, and after several attempts I was able to get both of the attached talks. I read the English but haven't gotten to the Spanish yet. Fun experience with Spanish: my companion struggles some with his Spanish since he doesn't have a whole lot of background with it. Anyways, on Tuesdays we teach a lesson in what is called the TRC (Teaching Resource Center). In this lesson we always have a task (get to know someone, make a contact, teach about prayer, etc.) in Spanish at the beginning and until next week we teach in English for the actual lesson. We yesterday (Tuesday) we taught Sister Ortinez (yes a native) from Mexico City in our task about how to pray and extended a compromiso to hold nightly prayer as a family. After the task we had about 5 minutes prep time to get ready for the actual lesson. The lesson was "Predicad Mi Evangelio" - Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation. Suffice it to say we ended up teaching una parte de Lección Dos: El Plan de Salvación (up to La Muerte Física). Our teachers kinda persuaded us to teach solamente en español, which we are glad we did (now). My Spanish has grown so much in the last 4 weeks.

Mom: Sick!!! That sucks, I think I'm finally better! Just a quick note about the cookies, the elevation change between Texas & Utah turns them into dust within a few days of getting here. I haven't had cause to use the sweaters yet, unfortunately, but soon though. And by the time I come home I expect you to be fluent in Spanish, :D. It is ok if my birthday package doesn't make it here in time for Sunday. Thanks for the hoodie, I haven't had to use it yet either. And about Jason, our investigator. He is meeting with the missionaries in New Jersey, we don't really ever to get to meet them even if they are local. I've got another potential investigator that I'm going to e-mail tomorrow, he is in Spain. And thanks for thrying to get those addresses!

It's good to hear how everything is at home. We got to do initiatories at the temple today, woot! It was good to remember my own. Tuesday night devotional was by Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. I was told we "might" get another apostle before we leave. Tomorrow marks the first day of almost all facets of our MTC experience being conducted almost completely in Spanish. And thus begins the 4 week long headache (literally).

I'm so grateful for my time here, but I do miss everyone at home. Lots of love to all.


-- Todd

Monday, September 21, 2009

The First of the Pictures

The Temple and the Mountains

Provo Utah Temple Sign

The sun was very bright!!!

Me in front of the Temple

Angel Moroni above the Provo Utah Temple

Elder Christensen & I in front of the Provo Temple

Mi Compañero, Elder J. McKade Christensen

Master Jedi Christensen

Behold! The power of the Jedi.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

16-September 2009

Querido Familia,

It is P-day of course. I'm going to write this e-mail and send it in letter form, just in case, so you may get this twice (mor like should). I'm also going to send my receipts for you Mom, it all makes sense I promise (and it was typhoid & the second hepatitis A shot). That sucks about Sis. Gilbert, my prayers are definitely in her behalf. I can only get a haircut on Wednesdays (P-day) and they've only got one barber that day, hopefully next week. I would cut my own hair but they say no because it is hard to clean up after. And the bookstore expenses are mostly miscelaneous stuff.

Dad: Good luck on Sunday, I heard you have to translate the talk to español, let me know how that goes. And unfortunately we don´t get to go to BYU for Tuesday morning devotionals, but we do get our own on Tuesday nights. Last night we had...Elder Jeffrey R. Holland! He focused alot on the mission being "real life" and how if we do this mission the right way nothing at home will ever feel "right". Another major focus was that we should use the only weapon we have: OUR WORDS, and should never hesitate to open our mouths. The Spirit all day yesterday was so strong.

Mom: Texas weather sounds nice right now, Utah has been all over the place since last Thursday or so. Everything here is great, time is flying! I wrote Sis. Boyer last week and might again today if I get time. Belli & Beau are silly, I'm sure they think something bad happened to me or something. Goo luck to Ryah with the job & NHS, is Mrs. Weathers still sponsoring? Get Ryah to give my blog address to a few of my favorite teachers (she should know who they are).

Oh yeah! About my companion...His name is Elder Jackson McKade Christensen and he is from Taylorsville, Utah (outside Salt Lake City). He is very athletic and claims to have 5 horns (lol)! He is a convert, baptized at age 15. We get along pretty well (about 99% of the time). We've figured out how to teach really well together, especially with his rock solid testimony & conversion story! He just turned 19 in June and will be serving in Chile Santiago North too.

Today we of course had the opportunity to go to the temple and participate in...sealings. I acted as witness & proxy for sons. It was nice to go back and try to remember some of the experience we had in LA (eventhough it was slightly different circumstances). This has been a really good past couple of days!!!

I want to end with my love for all of you and my testimony of this great work. I know there is no other place in this world, or even universe, that I should or would rather be than to be serving a mission & going about the Lord's work. I love this gospel with all my heart. I know, like Elder Holland, that "This only comes around once...this is real life." I wouldn't trade even the experiences I've had in these first three weeks for all that the world has to offer!!!

I love you all and my prayers are with you always.

With all my heart,

-- "Elder" Todd (Hendrickson)

P.S. Can you please start putting the date on your e-mails, the one on our server is off for some reason?

P.P.S. Elder Holland's message was unique in that he restated, almost word for word, some of the comments our teachers have said over the last couple of days and focused more on when we come home than most of the other devotionals/firesides have.

Just a little gem to think about: John 15:15-16. Try to liken it to the call of "every member a missionary".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MTC Week #2 (or 3 not sure how we count)

Hola Familia,

I got everybodies e-mails and Dear Elders. Mom you were right Dear Elders didn't come until Tuesday either because everything goes through the MTC post office. I'm kinda ticked right now because I typed for 15 minuts earlier (1/2 my time) and it deleted my e-mail because the system randomly kicked me off. Everything at home sounds exciting, with the house coming along and Ryah getting her license (is Gabe jealous yet?). I'm not too sure I'm a fan of her driving MY Honda though! LOL. Looking forward to the packages as they haven't arrived yet.

P-day at the MTC is almost like any other day, super booked and busy. We got to go to the temple this morning (highlight of my week) and last night we had a devotional by Elder Richard G. Hinckley. I'm glad everyone is trying to keep up with me at home and yes it is ok to put the handwritten letters on the blog (just use your discretion as to which ones need to go on). Sorry I didn't e-mail last P-day but I didn't get free time until 6:30 and e-mail shuts off at 6:00.

Another kitten!!! No way, it seems like Dad has bad luck with attracting desperate cases like that or something! Wish I was there to see the reaction he had to this one. Say no to adoption, actually it doesn't matter to me, I'm not there.

So do we still not have news on the new bishopric or has no one let me know yet? I still vote McCabe, I'm sure he appreciates that.

I'm loving the MTC (for the most part). Trying to stay healthy. The Spirit here is so strong!!! Spanish and the Gospel are coming along quite nicely (SURPRISE, Central actually helped...but don't tell them that). I'm growing so much in my testimony of this Gospel and my teaching has dramatically improved since I've been here and especially in the last week.

I know that this is where I'm supposed to be and that this is a great work that we have been set apart to do. I know without a doubt in my mind that this Church is the only true church on the Earth and I love it with all my heart. I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves me.

I love you all and look forward to hearing back from you as well as any missionary experiences that you are having back home. Give my love to all. And pictures are on the way within the next couple of days.

Love y'all,

-- Elder Todd