Opera House

Monday, April 25, 2011

David's Email 25 April 2011

G-Day mates. How is everyone doing up in America?! How was your Easter? I'll probably read about it soon. Just to let you know what I do: I usually get your e-mails, I paste them into a word document and then I make the font small and then I print them out. After that I write. So I don't read your emails until after I write.
So yeah, I am in the Spanish ward like I told you guys last week. I am going to gain weight. I have had a meal every day since I have been in here, and some days I have had 2 meals. So I am being fed like crazy and its good food too. So I will try to stay at my weight but I don't think it’s going to happen.
The Spanish is hard! However, I have improved heaps since I got here. My first dinner was with some members. I had no clue what was going on during the whole dinner! But now I know about 50 percent of what’s going on when they are talking. It’s weird as being the gringo, they treat me like a child and when I try to speak Spanish they always congratulate me. It reminds me of the Chinese investigators I had in Summerhill. But I give every spiritual thought when we go to member’s homes and RCLA's (Recent Converts, Less Active). I’m practicing a lot and I’m trying to learn as much as I can.
My comp, Elder Alvarado, is a funny guy. I finally have a companion that I get along with. He is a "native" his parents are from El Salvador but he is from Arizona. He is helping me with my accent but he doesn’t know that much grammar. He can only speak fluently but not read or write as well as he speaks. So to help me, I go to Elder Gardner, the senior companion of the other Elders who live in our apartment, who came out the same time I did but he was in intermediate Spanish. He is pretty good with grammar and speaking Spanish so I ask him a lot of questions. . . . Alvarado won't speak much Spanish to me but I take the opportunities I got to talk to him in Spanish so I can work on my pronunciation.
I am having a fun time in the Spanish ward. Jon may think I have an even cushier mission now. We don't tract much and all we do is go to member’s homes, and RCLA's homes. Sometimes we find people to teach by looking in a phonebook and finding Spanish names and then knocking on their door. But other than that, it’s impossible to find in a place where few people speak Spanish. The ward is small about 60 people attend on Sunday. . .  But I’m doing my best to learn from Alvarado who has spent more than half of his mission here! And he has 7 baptisms here. This is ridiculous in Sydney. I’m trying to build trust and relationships with the people so that I could get referrals. Alvarado said all of his baptisms in this ward were all from referrals and not from finding. The Spanish people here are mostly El Salvadorians and Chileans. “Como estay, Bien po.” See Jon, who knew I could speak Chileno in Australia. The funny thing was the person who I replaced was Chilean so we had an El Salvadorian and a Chilean missionary in our area who both baptized heaps. Soon we will have all gringos in our area. Alvarado thinks I will be the future of the area. . . . All I need to do is learn Spanish and gain the trust of the members and work hard and serve and I will help this area a lot. I heard some Elders from Mexico might come in soon so that will be good to get some native speakers in our area. I like our foursome though, we are having a blast. And I’m having heaps of fun.
Hey Mother’s Day is coming soon and I have heard nothing about Skype so I think we will just be calling. But I can't wait to hear you guys soon. I’m happy and I’m enjoying the Spanish people. They are fun people. I danced with some Peruvian guy the other day and I got it on my camera so you will see that soon. My comp was laughing his head off at me. Tons of things have happened that have been hilarious. Also our flat is huge. Its 2 stories and tons of space, more than my last 2 flats and my MTC room combined!  Well sorry this is short but because today is a public holiday the library was closed so we had to use some old computers in the mall so we don't have much time. Well, I love you guys and I’ll write heaps next week. Take care and have a good week.

-Elder Monson

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