Tuesday, April 30, 2013

almost off to russia! Two weeks left at MTC

This week has been a good one. Our P Day is now switched to Tuesday and our new schedule till we leave is really great. I talked to everyone and got them up at this morning so we could get everything done early. It is also good because apparently it gets crazy on Tuesday. We ate with brother seitz on wednesday's Pday up at the temple. It was fun and it is nice how much our teachers and all of us bond.
My laundry on pday didn't wash right. One of the washers i used was broken so it super soaked all of my colored clothes. I had to put them in a dryer then separate them into four separate dryers and then hang some of the thicker clothes over my vent for a while.
Elder Price's birthday was fun. I have pictures i will be sending. I prepared a bunch of stuff from the last month that we could give him as gags, gifts, and for fun. The stuff that i sent back home, i didn't want to waste or throw away and there were a lot of things i found so i thought it would be good to send home before i leave in two weeks.
Our new schedule allows an extra half hour in the morning to get ready and then we have planning, sport, an extra half hour, an hour before bed and then lights out almost every day. It is great. We thought we wouldn't be able to use the field but they opened it this week during early morning and later at night. This is when i know the lord knows both needs and wants because the field had just barely opened but wasn't opened that early or late before. Teaching on Wednesday was great. We had foreigners from Russia and the lesson went really well. They were so nice and funny we got pictures with a man and his son. I hope to send those soon too.
One of the days here, I had a plan, study, teach cycle with one of the teachers. We had a really good lesson. In my companionship, we have been trying to commit oleg to baptism by teaching to his needs. We have been working at it a while and wanted him to understand the big picture of the gospel so he would take the first step and be baptized. The teacher said i really knew how to do everything, it was more of a matter of doing it. Sometimes that is a weakness in my companionship with elder price. If one of you is off task then you can't plan the lesson. I told him i've been working at that and he gave me some tips to talking to elder price again so that he can help us plan better.
I've been pushing him a little at a time and it has been working.
During the actual lesson with oleg, i was able to get him to commit him to baptism through the spirit helping me. The teacher being my companion asked if we should commit him to some kind of reading during the lesson. We had been giving him similar commitments for a while with other things tied in and i felt like i wanted to give him another commitment. I asked him first if it would be alright then i said, "We are holding a baptismal service on May 9th. Do you feel that if we helped you, you could be prepared for baptism and be baptized?"
Then he was thinking for a minute and i told him we would help him. He then responded and said that if he prayed and felt it was right then he would. I asked him to pray right there in a kneeling prayer which we had discussed more of why we kneel. He prayed and i asked him how he felt. He said he felt really good, like when he reads the book of mormon. We had been struggling to get him to share experiences when reading and if he had felt anything so then we knew he had been feeling the Holy Ghost. We explained to him that the feeling was the Holy Ghost and he said that if he kept feeling that, he would be baptized for sure.
In our lesson, we talked about the struggle Enos had with God. We had previously dropped off a note and lots of questions and things to help him read on the chapter of Enos. He had read so we went over a lot of questions and related it all back to him. I know a lot of things we did were skills i had acquired through the spirit, through the mtc and before the mtc with Brother Manning. The spirit was there and it guided our lesson.
Frisbee has been really fun to just play catch. It is good for meeting people in our zone especially the newer ones. All of the new districts think i speak russian and am from russia because they haven't heard english. I finally have the first vision memorized in russian and when i've quoted things we have said in lessons and such, that was also in russian but i put what it would be in english.
We went and taught some new districts how to use the computers this week when they came in because that is our calling. It is fun to speak Russian to them mixed with broken english and watch them understand slowly what i ask them to do. I think the new districts are really nice so far. However, apparently some of the younger districts in the zone have already told them lots of stuff about me. I am like some kind of legend around here. Anytime i walk by or someone else does and sees me then there is some kind of comment or conversation about something i didn't even knew they knew about. It is great because i want to get know the people around me. Sometimes they know my name and heard something about me and they've seen and talked to me but haven't made the connection between name and face yet.
I finally got my room key this week after waiting a month. It was right at the front desk so it is good to have that back in my pocket. Alright so here is my funny story. I was going to use the restroom briefly during studying one day. As soon as i started using the toilet, i got a crazy bloody nose just all of the sudden. By the time i got things slowed down, the urinal water was dark red, blood on all my clothes including inside my pants, on shirt, tie, etc. There was blood on the sink, floor and paper towels. Two elders walked in and one said "I sure hope that is from your nose or something". It was way funny. Then i went back to class (we are allowed to go to the bathroom without companion as long as we are on the same floor as adjusted by the branch president and only for the mtc). It looked like i had killed someone in the bathroom or been stabbed apparently. I told elder price that we needed to go back to the residency after pausing in silence in the classroom and everyone looking at me, wondering what had happened between going to the bathroom and now. It was a really funny experience telling Elder Price what happened and everyone else wondering what happened.
I got my birthday package and wishes the other day. I refused to open it the day before my birthday which just about drove the elders crazy. I had one of the sisters reach inside and get Elder Price's water bottle then i had the whole district sign it. Thank you so much for sending that. Thank you for the birthday wishes, cards, notes, presents. I love the frisbee and have already used it but decided i am going to save it for russia to be careful since the field has some. Thank you for the food. With the new schedule, we have way late meals and they close the cafeteria 10-15 minutes after we get there. There is literally almost no food left when we get in there so the treats are great. Thank you grandma and grandpa pace for your letter and everyone else in the family for small notes, cards, etc. I received so much mail and such that I won't have time to respond to a lot of it so i want all of you to know i am grateful for the things you did.
On my birthday, i woke up and was the first person out of bed. I always am so it was funny because i got a bunch of the elders up early on elder price's birthday and he just wanted to sleep. I really wanted to be on time to everything on my birthday and wondered why elder price was being so slow that day. I figured the elders all planned something the night before when i happened to not be in the room and was getting some other stuff done. Finally i get elder price back to the residency so we can grab a few things and i saw all of the elders hiding in the dark from the whole zone before i even walked in. They were wearing and using all of the stuff from elder price's birthday and the stuff my family sent in the package that i set out for the district. They needed to use everything because there were so many elders. I decided the sisters wouldn't get to celebrate as much because they used everything. The elders sure do get excited sometimes haha. We had an amazing lesson on my birthday to Nikita about repentance. I met all of my goals in the lesson for teaching but now we just need to work on timing our lessons better. I pushed elder price and finally got some more effective companionship study in. Everyone from the zone and districts were really nice and i got sung to all day. I am not sure why my birthday was so spoiled. Maybe it was because i wanted the attention the least. I wrote the districts thank you cards for all they did that day.
I practiced a talk in russian on sunday just in case i might have to give it on the topic of baptism since we are randomly picked to talk each week. I practiced more than usual and told everyone i was going to speak. I felt like i was going to, i wrote it in my planner and said a prayer. Then in sacrament i got called to speak. I was ready and probably the only one so far who was excited to speak. The topic was baptism and i had prepared it with preach my gospel and the scriptures. Everyone said i did a good job though i am not sure they understood anything. During the talk, one of the new elders leaned over to elder price and asked if i was from russia or where i was from. I am not sure exactly what he said but i am pretty sure it was yes.
Another funny story that you might have been waiting to hear. I got another huge zit on my back next to the old twice as big one. I knew that maybe one elder would be nice enough to help and i asked elder coulter. He said he helped his brothers all the time with this kind of thing and he has tried to help me. We haven't been able to get it doing much better and barely got anything out so we are going to go to the health clinic today just in case.
The devotional on sunday was good. It got us enthusiastic about missionary work. Then we watched a movie about Joseph Smith. I had never seen this movie before. It was really good and had parts of the Joseph Smith movie in it. I had people write thank you notes to the people working on sunday and then had them send the napkins with the notes on them through the dish area on their trays.
I studied my patriarchal blessing yesterday. I found some interesting things in it and i think it was good for me to read it. We also got our name tags in russian yesterday. Mine was voted the coolest and it is pronounced Elvood. The new schedule yesterday was just really nice. We went and played catch with some people in one of the newer districts. They were like "What? Do you play Ultimate or something?!" and i just responded "da" and they were like "oh" in a way that made it seem like it made a lot more sense in their head. I was able to show them how to throw a little bit because they wanted to know how but didn't really understand how.
Everything has been going well. We are finishing up our laundry then off to the temple and then hopefully will have some extra time today to get things done. Love you all and i hope i can get some pictures sent soon. -elder elwood

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

switching desks with the sisters

Last week on p day, we got everything done pretty fast and went to the temple. The temple was fast too. We do all the different things we can while we are there each week. We enjoy the peace that comes from attending. I started writing letters to the elders in our district for when we leave the mtc. I wrote a few of the elder's girlfriends because they wanted me to and then a couple more got excited when they read the letters and thought they were funny so now i just started writing a few of them. I tried to match their writing styles and personalities so they could connect. The elders really like what i write and think it is hilarious so it makes me feel good to see them like that.
The teacher fell for our joke with elder price in the boot and crutches. It was funny. He had everyone write him a letter and we were fake crying. He said he was so proud of the district and no one has ever gotten him. His dad said he had it coming for so long. We decided we won't play too many jokes and keep them on the down low but it was fun.
I have been preparing lessons in russian for each sunday. I haven't talked yet but i am sure i might before i leave. We have been called as portal masters which just means we show the new districts really quick how to use the computers but it is good to meet the new districts coming in today. We have a lot going to our mission even though we don't have a ton at the moment. Our mission is the biggest in the world. There is a map you can look at, at the mtc that shows the mission areas.
Our companionship has been getting stronger. We have been teaching some really good lessons and relying on each other. We have been doing some roleplays that have helped a lot to tell us about the lesson beforehand. He even suggested we wake up early and go running each morning which is funny because i was thinking that might be good. He loooovvvveesss sleep so i was surprised he suggested it. I am always up earlier and laying in bed so it is nice to go running. One of the other elders likes it so it is good to do it in the morning but very cold.
We have been working hard and staying on task. Things have just been going really well. I've been praying but the thing that helps with praying is reading the scriptures, pondering, and working for the things i pray for. I pray to know my weaknesses, for strength to overcome, for the spirit, for an open heart and mind, for interpretation and gift of tongues, for my companion, for other people specifically, for knowledge, etc.
We have been teaching our investigators about the big picture of things so that they know why it is important to take the first steps and that they have that desire. It has been good teaching and learning through the spirit.
Sundays have been nice. Here is another funny story of the week. I put my feet on sister picketts chair when she is gone sometimes. She always teases me about it and gets after me for it so i left her a note on sunday. "Dear sister pickett, i am sorry for putting my feet on your chair. I got you a new desk. -elder elwood" then on her companions desk "dear sister white, i hope you don't mind but i switched your desk with your companion -elder elwood" They both told me later that it was so funny but they also thought "that sneaky turkey! It would be funny to get him back. Oh (sister white) let's switch his desk with yours!" this is where it gets better. They pick up my stuff off my desk to switch it. Then they find another note on my desk. "If you would like to switch with my desk then that would be fine(: -elder elwood" they said they died laughing and wondered how i knew they would do that.
The devotionals have been good. There was a choir and a few other speakers. It is just really spiritual and good. I learn about different things each time but a lot of the time it is a confirmation of testimony. The movies on sundays have been really good too. It has just been really spiritual around here all the time. I have been working on my russian cursive, grammar, speaking, etc.
I found a bunch of stuff in the free box again and there was some party stuff that will be fun for elder price's birthday. I think it will be good with what we have. Good luck to everyone! -elder elwood

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Elder Jacob Elwood's Birthday April 27th!

Hi several have asked about what jacob wants for his birthday.  He doesn't really need anything but he loves loves jerky.  You could also send chocolate chip cookies and then snacks that aren't sweet.  Like you could send him corn nuts, nuts and he does like corn chex.  They get a lot of treats as the missionaries are always getting things.  Just a note of birthday wishes would be great!  His addresses are listed on this blog.  Also be sure to read his letter from this week!  thanks for all your support.  Elese

MTC tag can be a Kazoo!

I have randomly figured out how to play my name tag like a kazoo by turning it sideways. I suggested that our district play some sports together this week. We played basketball one day and i heard it was fun but there are limitations on amount of people who play so i didn't end up playing. The other day we played Volleyball together and it was a lot of fun. One of the days this last week, I didn't even want gym time. I was so tired of being inside playing the same sports that are kind of fun but that i don't want to play that much. Sometimes gym time drags on for me but i practice frisbee throws a little bit.
We had an interview for our companionship on Sunday. It went well. We had 3 minutes to teach the restoration and set up a new appointment with our fake investigator. During sacrament meeting i wasn't called to speak but i had a talk prepared in russian. If Hyrum ever has complaints about giving a talk then tell him to give it in russian and i can help him out. We will probably talk next week since we haven't had a calling or done anything yet. Otherwise i think we will get called as portal masters or something.
During our temple walk we ran into our teacher Brother Wells and his room mates. He came up to walk around and didn't think we would be up there at that time. None of the elders believed me that he was up there but they followed me and the sisters were jealous we got to see him in casual clothes. The devotional on Sunday was super good. We had a man that is the head media of the church for missionary work. He showed us pictures of advertising in New York and London and how they advertised. You might look it up. It is very cool and i didn't know the church was doing so many amazing things in that way. Afterwards, we watched the Joseph Smith movie. It was very good and i especially liked the dancing. It was super spiritual to watch again.
I also had an experience in a district discussion. The sisters were teaching about prayer from a lesson they heard in relief society and sister Baum randomly said that i seemed like i had some really good thoughts to share and asked me to share. I gave a long spill about prayer and how i pray and it was really amazing to us all.
Today we are going to try and make mormon message videos on our cameras. I was thinking the other day and thought it would be a funny idea so we are going to attempt it later. Some elders locked themselves out of their room yesterday after gym when they went to shower. We had to help them open the door using a vacuum and some floss. They were in their towels for a half hour and the fire alarm went off. They almost had to go outside in their towels but the fire alarm went off a minute later. I also found a leg boot/cast in the free box yesterday. We decided to play a trick on the sisters and one of our teachers (for his trick he tried to play one day) and so i let Elder Price put the boot on and we borrowed some crutches. We pretended that we went to the hospital after he hurt his leg during basketball. This is also when we went to a separate building for tall and ran into Jesica. It took a minute to realize it was her because there weren't classes going on and so i didn't think she would be around and i don't expect to see family.
The devotional was great last night as well. We talked to the sisters beforehand and they felt really bad for Elder Price to the point that one of them was crying so he had to tell them after the devotional because he felt bad. As for the devotional, Elder Scott showed up as a surprise. His voice was very soft and sweet and he has a strong love for people and the gospel. He gave a good talk about prayer and our district discussion was super spiritual afterwards. Love, Elder Elwood


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This week has been a good one. Last P day was good with the extra email time so I could not rush all the typing as much. I didn't have any pictures so I had to take some. We went to the temple and did sealings for the first time and I thought it was interesting. We have also eaten at the temple a few times. It is super cheap and the food is way better than the MTC. In fact, I never really liked eating at the MTC but that is okay because it never was about the food. Afterwards, we talked to a girl outside (Because the elders just had to) and we found out she was from Japan. Her mom is the only member in her family and she opened her mission call right in front of us. She got called to California. It felt good for her to have someone to be with her while she opened her mission call but it was also weird. She decided to get a picture with us too.
We had TRC and the lessons we taught went super well. What activities has Hyrum been up to? Elder Price and I were super unified and we could feel the spirit which was our goal. We had a meeting where they told us about all of our books and what they do. It is nice because I found out a bunch of information about them that allows me to study more effectively. They just started doing the meetings which will be a lot nicer for newer arrivals. One of the days we learned how to walk up some of the residency walls so we are up by the ceiling like Spiderman. One of the elders wanted to learn how to dance because he found out I knew how so one night (in the residency) I showed them a little bit of Stomp. I only showed some stepping in place and a little clapping but they think it is the coolest thing.
We also found out this week that our classrooms have cleaning checks. I love Hyrum Elwood. We got a paper with 0 points on it because it was kind of messy in the room and no one knew about the checks. We haven't had one for the previous 3 weeks and we moved buildings so often that they forgot to tell us.
Conference was amazing. I've never enjoyed it so much. It is a different experience being with 3000+ missionaries close to your age who are all getting super excited for conference. I took a good amount of notes on things I really liked and prayed for. It was a relaxing and spiritually exhausting day. I will share a few things. During conference there were some talks that seemed like I wouldn't need to pay attention because they were directed towards women (for example: Elaine S Dalton) but instead I decided to apply the talk to me and it also helped make conference a better and more enjoyable experience.
Craig A Cardon-Christ forgives again and again based on the desires of our hearts when we truly repent. How much more does that mean we need to forgive others? It is a commandment to forgive everyone.
Robert D Hales-A true friend doesn't ask us to choose between them and the gospel.
Dieter F Uchtdorf-Darkness cannot exist in the presence of life. Very good for resisting temptation. We must be tactful about that.
Jeffrey R Holland-Be true to the faith you do have
L Whitney Clayton-The quality of how we do something is our gift back to God
Thomas S Monson-Obedience is the first law of heaven.
We had vocal point come for one of our devotionals one night. I have never heard of them but they were very good and sang several hymns. Afterwards, we watched a recorded video of Elder Holland speaking to the MTC. It was funny and I have never seen him crack so many jokes. I think the field will open up soon when the weather gets better. I think that will be great for the elders in my district but I will also enjoy it alot. I wake up early every morning and lay in bed so that I am not waking up early to be away or study away from my companion like the handbook says not to do. I lay there so I am not breaking the rule but one of the mornings I couldn't see the extra line on the alarm clock and i accidentally jumped out of bed at 530 instead of 630. It was kind of funny but at the same time the Elders don't like getting up early. Lucky for them, I don't turn the lights on till 630 so they just heard a soft thump of me jumping off the bed and then an Oops as i saw the real time.
We have had some good lessons recently with our MTC investigators. We committed Nikita to baptism and the word of wisdom in one of our last lessons. Sometimes the language is difficult but the teachers say afterwards that it is really funny how i am not worried about knowing it because I will just stop in the middle of the lesson to ask my companion what they said when i missed a phrase.
I've been getting decent at volleyball. Hyrum now is a good time to start participating in things you want to do because once you get in high school things can take you places (If you want to learn music or dancing or another talent then find a way to do it). Some days it is super crowded and other days the second court doesn't have a lot of people. 4 on 4 volleyball is the best because everyone gets to participate. We don't have to wear suit coats all the time in the MTC anymore unless there is a devotional or sacrament meeting. Yesterday i forgot that i had lost my room key (i think someone took it off my desk) and we did an exchange so all of the elders in my room could go to choir. Then i realized i needed a suit coat for the devotional and i had to borrow a slightly small Green suit jacket to go with my black pants and purple tie. The devotional was great and talked about personal revelation. I feel like i really learned some good things that will help me as i seek personal revelation throughout the day. I finally got my MTC card working again last night and went and got a Big Bopper out of the vending machine. Hyrum would be jealous.
Some of my thoughts are really random and out of order but I take a lot of it out of the journal I keep. Hyrum is an awesome brother. -Elder Elwood

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

we got exceptional on our room being clean!

We had TRC for the first time last week. It is basically like home teaching in Russian. It went great and one of the people we taught is waiting for his mission call so maybe he will go to Russia. It is nice for people to understand more when we attempt to teach Russian to someone. We try to come up with things every day that we can do to be funny and fun. We tend to have a thing every day and I won't remember to tell the big thing for every day but i will mention a few. One thing that we have done is we all are whistling and we are sychronized about putting our Sunday clothes on and off (don't ask). Eating has been okay. I go through the whole cafeteria to make my meal. I would think they would do different combinations of things but it is like a sandwich every meal. I go to the leftovers almost every time which is surprising. I normally get meat from the leftovers, sometimes rice, yogurt from the salad area, a dessert from somewhere else, milk, and a couple other things all in different places.

I have been playing some really good volleyball. Sometimes i just want to play Ultimate but i don't think they are opening the field up till end of April, almost May. I don't even know why they decide they need to wait so long. It isn't fun being at the MTC with good weather when you can't do anything. Leave in the winter (if you can choose) that way you can get your first winter over with first. We moved to our assigned classroom finally and it is 90-100 degrees in there literally. Thank goodness we can take off our suit coats in the classroom but it is so hot around the MTC and they haven't given us permission to take them off for summer rules yet, just like the field which is ridiculous. Sometimes i wonder if they have tried wearing a suit in a 95 degree classroom where the air doesn't work and then going around the MTC in it. This place is crazy but it is nice to be away. I can't wait till i get to cook some real food :D

Another thing that happened as our crazy thing for the day was opening a door. A bunch of elders locked themselves out of their room and the night before we learned how to open a door without a key. We use an envelope to get floss through the top seal of a door then you slide the floss to the ground and use a hangar to pull it to the outside of the door. After that, you tie a vacuum cord to the floss and pull it all the way to the inside, top of the door and slowly lower it on the knob then hold one side of the cord with your foot while pulling the other side of the cord and jiggling the knob till it opens.

Easter was great. Everyone was expecting a general authority. We had been doing companion exchanges for choir but it turns out that you had to participate in the choir a week in advance for Easter so I didn't get in. It turns out we didn't have a general authority but the speaker was great. I helped pass the sacrament for 3000+ missionaries because some other elders were in the choir and I had to help do it for them. Later we had a testimony meeting and it turned into "I am grateful for" and advice to the point where a branch presidency counselor had to stand up and tell them to bear simple testimonies of Christ so more people could bear their testimonies. We had huge lines on both sides of the pulpit of missionaries leaving so i was going to bear mine but every time i wanted to stand up, five more missionaries would get in line so i didn't. Our temple walks seem to let everyone have a break from the MTC but they are super hot because of our suits. It is nice to see the temple but i really like looking at the fountains. Easter Sunday night we had Sheri Dew come and speak. I think that is an author of a book mom has? She gave a really great talk about not going with the flow of the world and shared experiences of how it can be hard. She also talked about being on a divine errand and it taking elect to find elect from God.

One funny thing that happened was during volleyball one day. I was playing and we are super careful to not have contact between elders and sisters. I am especially careful because i don't like to hurt people, it is a big deal at the MTC (which makes sense) and so i avoid anything crazy happening, and i play noncontact sports so it is natural. Any time a sister goes for the ball, i back off. An elder was going for the ball at the same time as a sister was and i was the third person on the court. He jumped up and hit her hard to the ground. It looked like she was going to hit her head super hard on the ground. I caught her right before she hit the ground and then i quickly thought about it and didn't know what to do so i just set her on the ground and went back to my volleyball position. The sisters in our district later found out and thought it was so funny because they could totally see me doing that. The sister had broke a blood vessel earlier in the game so it was probably good that she didn't get injured again. She could have broke her nose (pun) or a concussion, etc.

Elder Nelson in our room got super sick. He threw up about 9 times within a day. He wouldn't eat during dinner one day then he quickly left so i quickly said companion exchange and followed him to the bathroom sure that he would throw up. We all had to take turns babysitting him the next day. I cleaned and disinfected the whole room during my time. The elders were glad and especially because right after i left, we had a random clean check and we got a perfect score. The only thing we hadn't done was vacuum because he was sleeping but we had the vacuum in the room and they asked another elder about it when they came in and he said we were just waiting for him to wake up so they gave us an exceptional room. Well that's about all i have for now.