Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Almost 2011!~

Heya family,

How is everyone doing? I hope Christmas was a blast, wasn't that so cool that Brother Penalillo called? Such a cool idea, he is so flippin awesome, words can't even describe. Not too much has gone on this week, some missionaries from the District above us left this morning for L.A. and some more leave on Monday so we're almost the oldest missionaries in our zone now. It's really strange. We've gotten to know the Elders in the District right below us because their rooms are close and they're all really cool. We've had the opportunity to teach them a few times in Spanish and it's crazy how much Spanish we know compared to them. It's insane what three weeks will do with the language. Elder Summers and Elder Sargent are now Zone Leaders and I'm the new District Leader so that has been interesting. Right now the biggest change is just that I choose people to do hymns and prayers and a spiritual thought at the beginning of class haha. That's about it for now.

Our District had a goal of three days straight in Spanish and it pretty much completely failed I felt like. haha. It was kinda frustrating because whenever we couldn't say something we'd just get frustrated and switch to English which defeats the whole point because we need to figure out how to say the stuff we can't express right now. But me and Sargent talked about it and we have some ideas for how to make it work. The most exciting thing this week might be that I accidently said 'templo' instead of temple when talking about how we couldn't go because it was closed. It was super strang but awesome at the same time. I think speaking spanish as much as possible is so important because it helps you actually start thinking in spanish. Sometimes it's hard to think of what you want to say in English and then try to translate just because they do things differently, like order and different past tenses and stuff so skipping that step and thinking in Spanish is important. The hard thing is that even when you make that progress, it goes away if you don't keep speaking as much as possible. Elder Sargent and I both kinda feel like we've almost lost some stuff since that one day we spoke probably around 80% Spanish so for these last couple weeks I'm really going to encourage our District by example to speak as much as possible. It's insane thinking that I have less then 20 days here so we're both motiviated right now to step up the spanish like crazy haha.

Sooooo Christmas! I'm sure you're wondering what all we did. Well it was fantastic. In the morning Elder Summers and Sargent and I put shaving cream on our faces (Grandma and Grandpa Lounsbury sent me this kind that gets SUPER foaming) so it looked a white beard and then I put a pillow in my shirt and put on my long johns and we went around throwing candy at everyone in our zone. It was so much fun. I wish I could send you pictures because I looked so legit, my beard was awesome. Then we opened up presents--thanks for the sweater and tape recorder by the way, I haven't listened to all of it yet but I love it, and thanks especially the pictures! I flippin love those pictures. We have such a hot family haha. After that we went to breakfast and then a MTC Talent show in the Gym. It was surprisingly incredible. Like it blows my mind how much talent is here. The sisters especially brought the heat on a couple vocals. Man. Like probably 5 or 6 people there could have legit albums and I'd buy them. The last song like gave me goosebumps, it was awesome to listen to some music after being deprived for so long haha. After that we had some firesides through out the day by the MTC presidency and then Elder Nelson! It was cool that he came, he's a genius and kept going into detail about the Greek different words in English came from and just talked about the historical background surrounding Jesus' birth. It was pretty cool. Then the next day we had a special Priesthood meeting with him which was interesting as well.

On a different note, you all should watch some Mormon Messages. Like I don't know if it's just because I'm a missionary but they are they so incredible. Probably my favorites so far are Lifting Burdens, Come What May and Love it, and one called Forgivness: My Burden was Made Light. That one is an incredible story. Also, they just came out with a new one for the new year called Look not behind thee which I think is really cool too. All of them are awesome so if you have free time just go through random ones. Also, read Mosiah. haha. I'm obsessed with that right now. There are so many cool phrases and cool ways they explain things that blow my mind every day and give me insight. Do it. Right now. Pay attention to the smalll things.

Well that's all for now, I love you all lots, I love being able to hear your voices on that tape recorder, it was especially cool to hear Noah and Enoch-those guys crack me up. I hope you all are doing splendid!

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Voca

Holy cow, can I just start off by saying I have the best family ever? I got all those treats from you, and then presents from Grandma and Grandpa Lounsbury, The Folkmans, Grandma, and The Bensons. I got three packages one day and felt like a King. haha. So thanks to everyone for that, our room has a tiny christmas tree and a bunch of presents and stockings under it, it's pretty legit.

So much happened this week. First, and maybe most imporant, we had the most intense game of Volleyball ever in Gym on the 17th. Like four Tongans showed up and of course they know what's going down. It was way too legit to quit. Lucky number, right? Secondly, and maybe this should be tied with that game, we found out that Chocolate Milk + Salt is way better than just regular Chocolate Milk (that Modern Family episode was right). Blew my mind. Also, on Saturday we tried doing an 100 % Spanish day. It was super hard but I probably spoke like 85-90 % Spanish so it was pretty cool. Our substitute teacher didn't show up that night so to rewards ourselves for so much spanish we all went around the room and told funny or crazy stories that happened to us and tried to do as much of it as we could in Spanish (Elder Sheen has the craziest first date story, but that's probably for another time). This week we also finished up Passive Voice and all of Subjunctive. We worked on "If, then" statements that haven't come true or aren't real so they fall under different conjugation rules. Like "Si tuviera ojos en la parte atras de mi cabeza habria dicho que te ve bueno mientras caminaste afuera" which (very roughly) translates to "If I had on eyes on the back of my head I would have told you that you look good as you walked away" I thought Caleb and Isaac would appreciate that.

Sunday was super busy. Me and Elder Sheen gave a lesson in our District Meeting (I guess you can kind of relate it to Sunday School) about the atonement. I think it went really well, although I probably talked too much because I get super excited when talking about the atonement and all amazing scriptures there are on it. We worked out of 2 Nephi 9 and then some in Mosiah 4 and 5 and Romans 6 and 8. Romans is like my favorite ever. Anyways, so that went good and then during Sacrament meeting I gave a talk! It was crazy, I kind of knew I was going to get called on because we were sitting directely infront of the presidency and I told Sheen it was a bad idea but he thought we'd be fine. I guess he was at least haha. It was good though, I basically just read what I had written but people said I had good pronounciation so I guess that's good. I spoke about how Prophets in every dispensation prophesy and testify of Christ. I shared a scripture from Isaiah, I think one from 2nd Nephi and then one from Bruce R. McConkie from his last talk before he died called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane." It's an incredible talk. Still on Sunday, while people were walking to and from the Temple me and Elder Sargent went out and would contact people, share a scripture and commit them to do something because our teacher challenged us to have 1000 lessons in Spanish as a District before we leave. I don't think we're going to make it because we're already like 80 behind or something but at least we can try haha. It's interesting because even though we're at the MTC you still have people who care about their time and want to get back to class so we had to teach while walking with them and make it kind of quick so we didn't bug them too much. We taught like 8 or 10 people in Spanish so that was pretty cool. After you get used to it and do it a couple times it gets way less indimidating.

This week I also found out that the flippin' Copa de America (It's like the Euro Cup but for South America) is going to be in ARGENTINA when I'm there. Games will be played in Mendoza. Joy will be had. I seriously flipped out when my teacher from Chile told me that. He's planning on going there to watch some games and will probably go to Mendoza to watch them because it's closest to Chile so I might get to see him too. So awesome. I can't wait for the whole city to shut down because their country is playing a futbol game.

Our schedule for Christmas is filled with devotionals. Christmas eve is basically the same until the night when we have a devotional. Then christmas day there's a talent show (one of the Elders in our Zone is in it, apparently he's pretty legit at magic) and then we have FOUR devotionals that day and some time to write home. So many devotionals though. Hopefully we'll be kickin' it with the Prophet and some of his 14 best friends, so don't worry about us too much.

It sounds like you're Christmas season is getting super busy! That's insane, hopefully everything turns out well. Maybe you should read Uchtdorf's talk that he gave during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional again :) haha. Also, that is so crazyyyy Alden is going to the same exact mission as Amy. Like that really blows my mind off of it's socket. Also, I can't believe dad didn't buy a Mac. You think he would learn by now that PCs have this super annoying habit of never doing anything right and then dying on you. haha. But whatever works I guess. It was awesome to hear about how he pulled off the church choir christmas program though, it sounds like he's really doing a good job with that getting numbers out that probably normally wouldn't have done it.

Well i'm almost out of time but I love you all and hope you're having a fantastic Christmas season with the family.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One month?

Holy pizza rolls and rootbeer. It's been one month. I can't even believe it has gone by so fast, this week especially has gone by crazy fast. Not a whole lot is new, although a ton of people left from our zone, so now our district is the second oldest district. It's really weird. This week has almost felt like my first week just because practically everyone has changed. Like at gym and stuff almost everyone is a new face, but I guess that's just how it goes. We got another district of 6 Elders and 4 sisters last week and I think we get another district of 8 elders today so our zone will be back to normal size-ish. Our zone makes up a branch so we go to church with them (the prayers, songs, sacrament, and talks from missionaries are all in Spanish) but our classes are only with our district since everyone is at different levels.

My general schedule is as follows:

6:30 -- Wake up
7:00 -- Breakfast
7:30 - 10:05 -- Class with one of my teachers
10:15 - 11:05 -- Gym
11:30 -- Lunch
12:15 - 4:30 -- Study time
4:30 -- Dinner
5:15 - 9:00 -- Class with other teacher
9:00 - 9:30 -- Plan
10:30 -- Bed

But everyday is different, usually we don't have as much study time. Mondays we have service in the morning, tuesdays devotionals at night, wednesdays are P-days, and thursday we have this thing called a large group meeting. But that's the general schedule. Oh and yeah, I only have two teachers. I have one teacher who tends to teach more doctrine and one teachers who tends to teach more Spanish, but they teach a bit of Spanish and Doctrine or teaching skills or stuff like that.

Next week (so this monday) our teachers are moving to 100 percent spanish in class so it's gonna be crazyyyyy. They keep telling our district how amazing we are and that we're getting spanish way better than most of their districts but we all still feel inadequate and like we have so much further to go. But we're woking on it. On Fridays we go to this thing called the TEC which is where volunteers will come in and practice with us. The first week we contacted them in Spanish and then taught the first lesson in English, last week we picked them up from their house and talked to them on the bus in Spanish and then taught the second lesson in English, but after next week everything is going to be in Spanish so it's going to be really hard. It's not as hard teaching and getting your point across, I feel like we do an okay job of that, but understanding what they're saying is like so hard. They speak so fast and we can only pick up a few words so we just kind of guess what they said and try to answer it. Elder Summers and Elder Sargent were talking to this guy and he asked why he needed to be baptized again because he was already baptized in the Catholic church when he was a baby. Then Elder Sargent went on to explain how Jesus Christ visited the Americas. haha. Also, this week instead of saying I was the oldest in the family, I said that I was the best in the family. haha. There's just stuff like that but we laugh it off.

They do change the schedule for christmas and christmas eve. We're not totally sure what the changes are going to be but they have a talent show scheduled for christmas day and probably a devotional too. Our christmas eve I think I've convinced our district to act out the navitity story which is going to awesome, I can't wait. I'm gonna be Herod so I gotta come up with some kind of crazy hat to keep the tradition going. I'm excited because I think it'll feel more like christmas here.

I loved hearing from all of you this week. I got your packages on Friday and Saturday and they were muchly appreciated. I absolutely LOVE the picture of our family, even though it is a bit old. That's awesome that Caleb made ODP. What a capo (stud). I hope everyone has gotten over being sick, that doesn't sound fun at all, especially for poor Enoch. I love you all and think about you ever day. Also, you should send me more Noah quotes, like those totally make my day.

Well, Much love

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Hola! How have you all been!?

I'm glad to hear the Nativity went so well! Holy sweet and sour chicken, 5,000 people is a ton. That's is so awesome, but I bet you're glad it's over with haha. Also, you will for sure have to tell me how Caleb's ODP tryout went. What a stud.

It's been another fantastic week for me. It's hard to keep track of all that has happened this week because time is so weird here but we've done a lot. We've almost learned all of the major Spanish concepts, there's just one more thing Subjunctive but besides that there's only a few little things left. Now we just have to practice it and get it all down. As a district we tried twice this week, I think, to speak in 100% Spanish. The first day was super frustrating because it was so hard to get your point across. It was great practice though because whenever you couldn't say anything we wrote it down and then went back and figured it out later. That only lasted until about Dinner though before most people gave up haha. We tried to do it again yesterday but didn't keep it up for as long as I would have hoped. The good news is that Me and Elder Sheen taught the first lesson in Spanish twice this week. It was crazy cool and made us feel like we're actually getting stuff done instead of just focusing on all that we don't know.

The four Elders in my district that are leaving tomorrow are leaving for the Dominican Republic MTC. I'm going to be super sad to see them go, I seriously have come to love them like brothers, but I know it'll be exciting for them to take a step closer to the mission field. We've had some amazing testimony meetings with them and our whole district brings the Spirit so well, it's incredible. I really am going to miss those guys so much. That leaves four Elders and four Hermanas staying; all of the Elders are going to Argentina, and everyone but Elder Sheen (who is going to Rosario) are going to Mendoza with me, and I'm pretty sure we have the same departure date. Elder Sargent and I even have the same date for coming home so that'll be cool if it doesn't change. As for the Hermanas, one of them was suppossed to go the the DR MTC with the other Elders who are leaving tomorrow but they dont' have a companion for her down there (the MTC only has about 30-40 people I think) so she has to stay here for the rest of her training. The other Hermanas are going to Rosario with Elder Sheen.

There hasn't been too much news on our visas, although we were called down to the travel office this week to sign something so I guess that means it's coming along, but they said they won't have them until usually a week or two before we leave, so I'm not gonna worry about it too much. Yeah, we've had a few Elders in our Zone get delayed because of those visa problems with Mexico but I think there's some leaving next week who are leaving on time for Mexico City so that's good news. haha, that's funny you asked the pillows because the ones here are horrible. They are like cardboard glued together or something. For reals. But I still sleep fine so whatever.

That's super strange you've been writing on DearElder and I haven't gotten much. I got one from you on Monday the 6th but besides that I haven't gotten any from the family since a while ago, if I had time to look up the exact dates I would, but I don't. Haha and the only friends I've heard from are Sarah and Carlee. But maybe this is all my fault because I'm been praying for patience...haha. Maybe you can click the box that says like notify me when this is sent and they'll email you a copy of your letter and you can check that way? I'm not really sure, all I know that it's way better than email because I can read it before hand and not waste my time. I haven't gotten your package yet either but hopefully that'll be coming soon. Can you also maybe start forwarding Austin's letters through DearElder? I would love to get updates from him. Speaking of Austin, I've decided Elder Sargent reminds me of Austin a lot. His name is Austin too, which is super weird.

I haven't actually been that tired at all, it's been a blessing which I think comes from going to bed on time. Sometimes I get tired just because Friday and Saturday we have huge blocks of study time which seem to go on for forever but besides that it's not too bad. During class we cover a combination of Doctorine and like how to teach with the spirit or things like that and then the rest of it is Spanish. It's hard to say what the proportions are because it changes every day. We haven't really learned very much about the culture though, probably because it's different than Chile (where one of my teachers is from) and Mexico (where the other teacher served). Oh and yeah, we get to excersize every day for like 50 mintues which is really nice. I wish the soccer field was open though, but volleyball and basketball are fine. It's a nice break.
Well I hope you all are doing fantastic!

Love, Elder Lounsbury

P.S. I'm suppossed to tell you that the last day I can receive packages before Christmas is December 22nd, and that I can't call you on Christmas, which I think you knew already but there you go.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December

Well it's been another good week here. I was in such a hurry last time that I forgot to tell you some stuff about last week! I've seen so many people here that I know, it's weird. Within like 10 minutes of showing up I saw Dan Robinaugh (one of my roommates from last year) then I saw three people I used to play soccer with who were in my ward, my TA from Honors Pen and Sword, my other roommate Jarom Gropp, Nathan Wynn, an Elder from my English class at BYU and Elder Martin that I used to play ODP with. I definitely wasn't expecting to know this many people but it's been cool. Then when we met the branch Presidency Brother Lindsay is one of the Counselors and when I said I was from Salem they asked if I knew the Papworths. haha I was like uhh..yeah I'm related to Ann, she's my grandma. Apparently Sister Lindsay used to sing with her, it was another super weird connection but really cool at the same time. Oh, and three of the girls in my district are from Oregon, I don't think I told you that last time but we seriosly are representin good. Also, Hugh Nibley's great niece is in our zone, and I contacted her in Spanish so pretty much I'm famous now.

This week we've been working on questions that will help us get to know the investigator better. We also learned Indirect and Direct Object Pronouns, two conjugations for past tense, future tense and reflexive verbs so it's been a lot but I think I understand most of it, I just need to practice it a lot more. Also, our teachers decided that every day one of the companionships is going to teach them in 100 percent Spanish. Elder Sheen and I were the unlucky companionship chosen in class to go first. It was pretty crazy. He was speaking so fast but I was able to pick up on some stuff and just ask general questions about school and his friends and what he believes to help us get to know him. Mostly I just nodded and pretended I knew what he was saying and then asked a question I hope had some relevance haha, but he said we did really well.

They put up Christmas lights after Thanksgiving and turn them on every night which is really cool. But we can't listen to ANY music here so I'm absolutely dying. They changed that rule like a couple weeks before we got here, it was super unlucky but I guess I just need to be obedient and not question why. That's probably been the hardest thing for me so far. Besides that I love everything here. My district is so awesome and I'm really sad like half of them leave in just a little over a week. The Elders are so awesome, I wish I had more time to get to know them. The food here isn't bad at all, it's about 100 times better than what I had in college so I really can't complain at all. They do a good job at mixing up the menu too, I think pizza is about the only thing I've had twice here.

What else...OH! Okay the two most exciting things this week were, the most AMAZING crunchy leaves were EVERYWHERE. It was ridiculous. I kinda felt like I was in heaven. When ever I went anywhere there were crunch leaves just waiting for me to step on. The most incredible sounds were emitted. Joyous giggles were had. Also, I learned how to tie the sickest knot ever for mi corbatas. I took a couple pictures even because they were so good. It seriously made my day, they are the perfect balance between fatness and shape and I don't want to brag but they look pretty dang good.

Well for some reason I never got a response from you so I really hope I had your email right, I'm going to try to email it to Dad too so hopefully one of you will get it. If you just use DearElder to respond I can check and read those every day and then I don't have to waste computer time reading emails.

I love you and miss you guys,

Love, Elder Lounsbury