Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Week 6 at the MTC

So, on this last Tuesday we got to hear an awesome talk by Elder M. Russel Ballard! Just like Elder Nelson, I can tell he's truly an inspired servant of God. It was a really cool talk about basically what a Preach My Gospel missionary does.

Other than that, I don't think all that much has happened this past week, except for the fact that two members of my district left yesterday. Elder Hunt and Elder Buhler were reassigned to the Portland, Oregon mission to serve while they wait for their visas to Brazil. We figured it was going to happen, as they hadn't heard of any progress since they came here. Most of the Elders and Sisters going to Brazil get reassigned while they wait, Brazil is so picky on who they let in. With Portugal and Cabo Verde, I'm pretty sure they just send you with a travel visa if you don't get your full visa yet. We got the flight plans for our trip a few days ago, and the funny thing is that the missionaries going to Cabo Verde leave an hour and a half after the missionaries going to Portugal, but they get to Portugal 20 minutes before the Portugal Elders and Sisters do. For some reason, we just go to Spain, but they go to France to get to the Lisbon airport. I don't get it. We have like a 5 hour layover in Lisbon, so we figure we could meet up with them until they have to head out, so that'll be cool.

Watching Elder Hunt and Elder Buhler leave was kind of hard, because I've gotten really close to them. Elder Hunt is one of the sassiest people I have ever met, and Elder Buhler is crazy about literally all music. I feel happy for them, though. They're going out to serve the Lord, and I know that it's going to be my turn soon. My companion and I got a really nice compliment from our teacher after a lesson we taught that just filled everyone with the Spirit. I hope I'm able to teach lessons as good as that in Cabo Verde, because that was such a great experience. As usual, I cried a lot.

But that's pretty much my week. Hope everyone is doing well! 
Elder Penner

A note from his mom:  He flies to Cabo Verde next Tuesday, so it might be 2 weeks until I get an email from him.  He will get to call us next week when he flies there.

He specifically asked me to put this picture up on the blog.  He just loves his companion's (on the far left) expression. 
Here is a picture of him and Carter Blaise, a friend from home who is going to Rome, Italy.  He arrived last week, and they saw each other in the cafeteria.  He runs into lots of people in the cafeteria.  It's the watering hole of the MTC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mispronunciations- Week 5 at the MTC

So last Tuesday, we ate a meal at the Provo Temple and it was probably the best $7 I've ever spent. You don't really realize how full of preservatives this food is until you have some real food again. I was so happy. Also on that day, Elder Nelson came again! This time it was because the MTC Presidency had been switched out and he's the chairman of the missionary committee, so he came to preside. He gave another really awesome talk. Oh, and the entire new MTC Presidency speaks Portuguese, so we basically now have total control.

Other than that, it's been all systems normal here. On Wednesday we hosted some new elders here, and I sometimes say hi to the elders I hosted. We've also lost a couple of the districts that were here to greet us when we arrived. There's only 4 districts in our branch now (my district arrived at the same time as 2 others, we've been here the longest now.) I hear there's a new district with 14 people coming in on Wednesday, so that's cool! The two elders in my district going to Brazil are getting their reassignment letters this week, so I'll update you on that. It's weird to me that they're going to leave in a week.

It's kinda funny how cooped up you feel in here sometimes. The other day my companheiro was feeling sick, so we went to the medical center and they sent us to the pharmacy a block away. It was a short walk, but it was so weird to me, because the only time we're ever allowed to leave campus here is to go to the temple. The experience was really refreshing, actually. We even got to nap afterwards, which was really nice.

I'm feeling more and more confident in my ability to communicate in Portuguese as I go. We had a talk about the Seahawks and the Broncos with our investigator yesterday, without trouble. I do mess up a bit sometimes. Like the other day, when I messed up pedimos (we asked) with pedamos (we farted.) Our investigator broke character and just laughed hard for a bit before I realized my mistake. It seems like the best stories with investigators are always about me and my companheiro. We just do dumb things.

We also have good experiences in lessons, too, don't worry. In our last lesson, we talked about how we feel the spirit and our investigator shared with us a story about how his dad had a heart attack and he couldn't leave work to go see him in the hospital so he just prayed and prayed, and somehow his dad recovered. It was really touching. And like you said in your letter, yeah I'm pretty used to just tearing up like every day here. The Spirit is pretty crazy. Maybe that's not a great description of the Spirit, but that's what it feels like.

That's just about it for this week, I'll update you on a few other things. We're supposed to do In-Field Orientation this Thursday, and I really have no idea what it is, so that'll be fun! I'll just leave you off with some Portuguese trivia of the week, which is their version of CTR. To keep the acronym, they actually say Conserva Tua Roche, which means "hold on to your rock." I think that's really cool.

Say hi to everyone for me!

Elder Penner

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 4- Cough, Cough

Last week, I was able to Host new missionaries, it was cool! They basically have you wait in lines by the curb and tell you the route that you're supposed to show them through. It's pretty efficient how they do it. They just give the District Leader a letter the week before saying they've been assigned to it. We're doing it again this week!  They also assigned me as the District Leader on Sunday.

Elder Buhler I'm pretty sure is just about completely recovered, though he managed to get the rest of the district sick, too. I've just had a cough the last few days, but a couple of people have lost their voices pretty badly.

The technical director of the MTC (or something like that) gave a really good talk on how the Spirit will work on our investigators probably the most during those times between the lessons, where they can have personal experiences. He had a lot of newly converted missionaries come up and share little bits of their stories, and I thought about what conversion stories were in my family.
Also, I don't know if the talk is on LDS.org (they don't put a lot of MTC talks on there, I've heard) but you should totally check out this talk by David A. Bednar called "Characters of Christ." It's such a powerful talk, because it talks about Christ (and others) at their weakest moments and how even when it seemed like they needed to worry about themselves, they turned outward and reached to help others. Such a great talk, he gave it on Christmas in 2011 or something.

But that's most of the big news here, besides the fact that the temple's open. It's really beautiful!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pictures!! MTC week 3

I recently started reading in the New Testament to familiarize myself more with it because most of our investigators here have a Christian background. Going through the life and teachings of Jesus in Matthew is a great way of reminding myself of the example that we should all follow, and it also gives me some great stories to bring to lessons!

Oh, almost forgot to tell you, I've seen Bryant here and there this week, but we're mostly separated due to our different schedules. We try to talk as much as possible though, and from what he's told me, he's having a great experience! Tell Sister Purnell he's doing great!

A story I want to share about an Elder in my district, he's been getting really sick, and he managed to lose the medicine that the health center gave him, though it wasn't doing much good anyways. We decided yesterday that he needed a priesthood blessing to help him get better, so last night we anointed him with oil and Elder Hunt, his companion, gave him a priesthood blessing. We felt the Spirit so strong that night. I can't tell you the number of times that I've been in tears because the Spirit was so strong, I just keep getting more each day.

I'm just going to share a quick testimony in Portuguese, and I'm done.

Eu quero compartilhar meu testimunho,
Eu sou grato por meu Pai Celestial, e por Seu Filho, Jesus Cristo.
Eu sai que o evangelho é verdadeira, e O Livro de Mormon é verdadeira também,
Eu sai que o caminho ão Deus é por meio dos ensenamos de O Livro de Mormon.
Eu amo minha família, amo Jesus Cristo e Sua Expiaçao, amo o evangelho restaurado.
Eu disse ses coisas em e nome de Jesus Cristo, amem.

Here is a pictures of me and my companion, Elder Wakeham.
And one of my District

Thursday, January 1, 2015

MTC- week 2

Our lessons with Anna have gotten so much better, it's almost unreal. We're going to start with a new investigator, Paulo, tomorrow. I hope I can keep up the curve of spiritual experiences we've been having!
Sundays here are pretty relaxing. The blocks are all spread out through the day, with breaks in between and a Devotional in the evening. For Sunday's devotional this week, we got to sing Happy Birthday to DAVID ARCHULETA and heard some awesome songs from Richard Elliot, the organist for Motab! There's no FHE here, but there is a devotional every Tuesday evening, too. We heard a bomb diggity talk from Elder Nelson on Christmas day.  The Spirit here is so strong, I can't describe it. Oh, and we also were able to watch Ephraim's Rescue, too. I cried. I cried a lot this week.
My companion's awesome. He's got a great sense of humor and also a really great work ethic that sometimes keeps me in line. I share a room with my companion and the 4 other elders in my District (you wouldn't be proud of the room, but I of course have a spotless area, you know me.) And the food here is basically all-you-can-eat, but we swipe a card just so they have a head count. The best times are when BYU creamery brings some of their ice cream, it's pretty darn good.
Can't wait for Elder Purnell to show up, he's going to be so bewildered! (I know i was.) The Spirit is so strong here, I can't even describe it to you. I need to go at least one day here without breaking down in tears because it's so strong, lol. Wish you could experience what's going on here, it's pretty special! Tell the family and the ward that I think and pray about them all the time!
Love you,
Elder Penner