Letter #1 from Lee, who is now off & running with his missionary adventure. At one point below, he references Brother & Sister Perez. “Brother” Perez was Steve’s missionary companion in Chile 35 years ago. He is Chilean and has been called to be the Mission President in one of the new Argentina missions the Church is opening. (see pic below) Love to all….Carolann
Oh boy where do I even begin! First off, I'm practically Elder Calhoun here learning the language. And I get to say Tudo Bem like every 5 seconds which is so money!!! So much has happened in the last 6 days I can't even wrap my mind around it. Saying goodbye to all of you was tough and the first day in the MTC was very long and tiring. Although the week has been long, I've really loved it.
First off, my companion is great! His name is Elder Collette and he is from New Mexico! Kinda funny, a girl I went to Tonga with actually tagged me in his instagram post when he got his mission call so we both recognized each other. He is so fun, fresh out of Highschool with 8 older sibblings that all served missions. We get along great and we are just laughing all day long. The two we share rooms with are great as well. Elder Namok is from Australia and he is a crackup. Got a great accent and everything. Elder Easton is from Bountiful and is a good athlete so I enjoy playing sports with him during gym time.
My district is good! 4 of us are going to Lisbon, 2 to Porto, and 4 to Mozambique. Only 2 sisters. Our teacher served in Brazil and is great. Really funny and super helpful. In our zone there are about another 6 elders or so that are going to Lisbon as well.
It's been fun seeing all my friends here in the MTC. The missionaries in my zone can’t believe how many kids I know here! It was so funny though running into Brother and Sister Perez! They came up to me acting like they knew me and I couldn't understand anything they were saying so I asked them if they were our misison president and wife and they said yeah!! Then 2 minutes later, he pulls out this picture of Dad from like high school that he carries in his wallet. It was so random! Then I figured out he must have served with you because I started to understand him a little and got to practice some spanish with them. I ate dinner with them as well which was pretty fun. They think I look just like you, except Brother Perez says you're ugly dad! Haha He was just joking though.
I also ran into Elder Rassmussen which was so fun! He said he'd post the picture of us to Facebook or send it to you mom. I walked into this class the second day with like 200 kids and I'm like 'who in the world is that?' I couldn't see his nametag but once he started walking up to me smiling I realized who it was. Crazy he served in Littleton 7 years ago! What a great guy. He does an awesome job here.
As far as some funny things.... I didn't realize that my grey suit has like 3 holes in it already. Haha i put it on the second day and I'm like how have I never noticed these? So I got to do some sewing. You'd be proud mom. And dad, you'd be happy that no one has said anything to me about my pants being too skinny! There are some elders who get talked to everyday and I can see their seams splitting already! They look pretty good though so i guess it's probably worth it ;)
The days are long and there is so much studying. I’m glad I've learned how to work hard. My companion told me that the first day he got here he was so overwhelmed, but he saw how excited I was and how much I put into it on the very first day, that it motivated him. Super nice thing to say.
This hour of typing goes by soooo fast. But anyway, Just wanted to share a little about what I learned spiritually this week. The thing I loved the most was what Brother Holland said in an MTC devotional he gave several years ago. He said, "Everything in the conversion proccess must happen to you before it happens to your investigators." So awesome and so true. How am I suppose to teach if I haven't found out for myself what I am saying is really true. Another thing I pondered about a lot this week is the effect Joseph Smith has had on my life. I’ve thought about if he had never read James 1:5 and pondered its message, I wouldn't be here on my mission today. I don't know what I would be doing. It's crazy to think that someone so long ago could have such a huge influence on my life for the better by just praying to ask God. If he can have that effect on me, what effect can I have on the people of Portugal? 100's of years from now I could still be having on influence on people from what I do now on my mission. Just like Abinadi, I will never know the effect my mission will truly have.
Lastly, kind of a cool story, an Elder in my zone the first day I could just tell wasn't feeling it. He just looked so scared and uninterested. He told me on Saturday that he wants to go home. I don't know why, but 2 nights ago I had this strong feeling I should just go talk to him when I was laying in bed about to go to sleep. I knocked on his door and he answered luckily and we talked. He told me he feels too selfish, too lazy, and doesn't think the mission is for him. I shared with him briefly that I knew he could do it, and that I knew if he showed his weakness to his Heavenly Father, He would make it a strength, and that he didn't choose this, but God Chose him. (John 15: 16). I gave him a hug and the next day while he, my companion and I were studying, he said "Elder Holmes thanks for talking with me last night. I really appreciate it." We chatted a little more, and the rest of the night he was the happiest I've seen him. I hope he turns it around. I know he can do it. He's a great kid. Just a lot of emotions wrapped up inside.
The portuguese is going great. Said my first prayer in portuguese the second day and I’ve been doing pretty well in the investigator discussions we have been having. Sometimes I just look at my companion and laugh though! Haha
Love you all and I hope all is well!!!