Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update from Elder Searle

Here is a portion of the email we got today...sounds like things are okay!

This week was pretty much just a normal week here at the MTC. It is getting freezing cold in the mornings now. I sang in the choir again at the devotional this week and it was a lot better than it was last week haha. My knees were still killing me at the end because the seats that they have there are absolutely terrible, but it was definitely a much better experience. Everyone in my District is getting really excited and a little bit nervous to leave. I am definitely way more on the excited side here haha. I got to get off of the MTC campus for a little bit to take one of the elders in my district to the chiropractor and it was awesome! haha. I got to see some real people, and the real world again. It was very refreshing! I can't wait to get to Puerto Rico. Something that I learned this week that I thought was interesting is that the entire island of Puerto Rico, with a population over 1.5 million, has right around the same amount of LDS meetinghouses as Tooele and Grantsville. I thought that was pretty cool haha.

So after this coming Tuesday my District is going to be the oldest District in our zone, which is super weird. It is strange to watch people leave that you have met here. It is crazy how well you can get to know them in just a couple weeks. Once they leave there is a pretty good chance that Elder Astle and I will be called to be the new Zone leaders, so keep your fingers crossed that that doesn't happen haha. That would be a whole lot of work, so I am really rooting for someone else haha.

I am really starting to feel kind of comfortable with Spanish. I can pretty much understand everything that all of the teachers say to each other now in their conversations, and I can actually have pretty good conversations with people too! I am still planning on not understanding hardly anything that anyone says when I get to Puerto Rico, but thats all good haha. We have now learned all of the rules of grammar of the Spanish Language, so at least if people slow down and speak simply I should be able to understand them! I am way excited! It has been a good experience to be here but I am definitely ready to move on haha.

Well that is pretty much all that has been going on with me this past week. I started reading Jesus the Christ in Spanish, which is super hard, and I had to get a new watch because mine started going crazy and the alarm would just go off like 12 times a day, so that was pretty exciting haha. Everyone here is getting excited for Conference, I am way excited that my last sunday here will be conference. Oh and we get to watch the Brigham City Temple dedication this Sunday so that should be good too!

Well I hope you all have a good week! Good luck with everything that you have going on this week! Take care and I'll talk to you soon! I should be getting my travel plans next week! so we will know when for sure then!
Love you and miss you all! Thanks for all of your love and support!
Elder Searle

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 4

Hey everybody!!
I can't believe that I have already been in the MTC for almost a month! It is crazy to me. After the first few days, the time really has started to go by way faster here. I am still super busy with everything. I feel like my Spanish is getting a lot better now. I still definitely have a long way to go, but with all of the Spanish that I do know, now I don't have to translate stuff in my head anymore. I can just speak it in Spanish without having to think to much about how it correlates to English! So that is really good. Unfortunately I still don't know all that much Spanish, so when I want to say something more complicated I still struggle and usually butcher it! but oh well haha.
My first week of being District Leader so far has been pretty good. It really isn't all that much different except that now I have some extra leadership training meetings, so I have even less spare time haha. But other than that it has been incredibly unexciting haha.
Last Sunday during our weekly fireside, we got to watch President Monson's birthday celebration. It was Awesome!!! It was just like an hour and a half of some stories from his life and then songs that he likes from Broadway musicals and hymns and stuff. There were two people who were stars in Broadway musicals that each sang two songs (the lady who plays the lead in Phantom of the Opera, and the guy who plays the male lead in Les Miserables), and it was absolutely incredible. And then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang most of the other songs. It was such a good change of pace to just listen to some awesome music instead of just listening to another person talk to us, not that the talks aren't amazing or anything (cus they are), but it was just nice to have something a little different. It was exactly what I needed to kind of recharge my batteries. And now the entire broadcast is on, so whenever I am doing my language work on the computers here, I can listen to it! I have listened to "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables", and "You Raise Me Up" about 30 times each since Sunday haha. It really makes the language work much more enjoyable!
I am still learning a lot of stuff every single day. I have been reading in The Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ for my Personal Study time, and it seems like I find something new that stands out to me every single day. I am actually going to finish the Book of Mormon later today, which will be pretty cool. On the first Sunday that I was here, I watched an Elder Bednar talk called "the Character of Christ", and it was awesome. I wish you could watch it but it was given at the MTC and apparently they don't have those anywhere for people just to watch whenever I guess. But in it he said that one of the best ways to study the scriptures is to go in with one specific question and then read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and find everywhere in there that you can find an answer to your question. So three weeks ago I started doing that with the same topic that I gave my farewell talk on, "How to find happiness and peace", and it has been awesome! I wish I had done it before I spoke on that because my talk would have been so much better haha! It is crazy how much stuff there is in the scriptures about that topic. I don't think that you can go through more than 2 pages in the copy of the Book of Mormon that I used to do this, without seeing something in orange that I marked as an answer. I have learned more about finding happiness and peace in the last three weeks since I started reading the Book of Mormon, than I had up to now in my entire life! It's good stuff haha. If any of you are having a hard time enjoying reading the scriptures, I would recommend trying this way! It makes it a lot better!
Well other than that stuff, not much new out of the ordinary is happening here. The days definitely all feel pretty much the same, and they all just seem to blend together. But I am doing very well and I can not wait to get out to Puerto Rico and really get started! Oh yeah! I guess they had to evacuate the Dominican Republic MTC because of the storms, so it is probably a really good thing that I ended up staying here in Provo!
Thank you all for all of your support and your love! I really appreciate all of it! I hope that you are all doing well and that everything is going good back at home!
Love and miss you all! Talk to you soon,
Con mucho amor,
Elder Searle
I thought you would all enjoy reading his latest email:)

A few more pics and a little video....YAY!!!

Here are some more pics from the MTC. I also added a couple short videos so you can meet the Elders in his district. He was called as the new District Leader on Sunday which we think is pretty cool. We are so proud of all he has accomplished so far and we look forward to many many more great things. Enjoy the is awesome to hear his voice!!!
He looks like he is really pondering something:)

His district!


He loves getting packages!  Thank you to everyone that has sent him something!!!


I am not sure who made these cookies and sent them.  I don't even know if they were for Mav or for his companon but I think they are super cute!!!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Words from Mav

Okay, I copied part of the email we got yesterday so you can all hear how he is doing in his own words...enjoy!!

 "Well things have pretty much fallen in to a solid pattern here. The days don't all seem to take forever anymore like they used to, which is good, and really most of them blend together. I do a lot of learning and teaching, and now most of everything we do is in Spanish. Yesterday my district even tried to go a whole day without speaking English. We didn't quite make it, but it was still really helpfull I think. I had a huge headache afterwards, but according to one of my teachers here, that is a good thing haha. Teaching lessons in Spanish is definitely the hardest thing that I have to do, and it doesn't help that my companion still does not really speak Spanish at all, but it is still a good experience, and I think that we are getting better everyday. One of the things that I really like about Spanish is how the Hymns sound. There are so many of them that are way better in Spanish than they are in English. We sing a lot, and I am going to start singing even more, because I am going to join the choir now. Since I am going to be here instead of the Dominican for the rest of the time, I will be here during Conference, so I am going to start going to choir practice just in case the MTC choir gets to sing in conference this year. That would be awesome! I am not really all that bummed out about not going to the D.R. MTC anymore. It sounds like their weather has been pretty rough lately, so its probably a really good thing that I don't have to try and fly there today! Yesterday Elder Park got here, and he is living about 4 rooms away from me! So thats pretty cool! Hopefully we will be able to have some gym time together or something. That would be really fun!
So far this week has been really great except that I have a sinus infection, which isn't all that fun! I actually got sick last week. The day I found out that I wasn't going to the Dominican MTC anymore, I also had a terrible headache, so I was bummed out and my head hurt, and then I had to go have a first lesson with a new "investigator". Let's just say that that was probably the worst lesson that has ever been taught by a missionary in the history of the universe lol. I couldn't focus on speaking Spanish at all, and my companion couldn't speak Spanish, so it was a very very rough lesson haha. Now I think that it is kind of funny, but at the time I was very unhappy about that lol. Luckily yesterday we had our second lesson, and it went about 100 times better! It is crazy to me how much your attitude can effect how effective you are as a teacher. It seems like everytime that I am in the right mindset, I am able to remember all of the Spanish that I need to know to say the stuff that I want to say, but as soon as you start getting negative, it just all goes out the door. It definitely has made me determined to be in the right frame of mind to be a teacher all the time.
I am getting really excited to get out to Puerto Rico and start teaching people there. I feel like I am a pretty good teacher when I am able to speak in English, and my Spanish is definitely getting better every single day, so I can't wait until I am able to teach in Spanish the way that I can teach in English right now. I think I am finally starting to have moments where I am getting there. Last Sunday I randomly got called on to give a 5 minute Sacrament meeting talk in Spanish and it went really well. I was able to make people laugh and still feel like I could connect with them while I was speaking Spanish. Unfortunately that is the only time that has really happened with my Spanish so far, but it was really awesome and I can't wait for that to start happening more and more!
Well I hope that everything is going well for everyone!"

I think he is doing okay.  Some days are better than others obviously but overall he is doing great. 

Here are some pics that he sent this week with the email.

Mav and Elder Astle pointing to Puerto Rico

Hangin out on the Temple grounds on Pday

YAY!!  Elder Wells is in the MTC with Elder Searle.  The arrived on the same day!

Cute leis from somebody...I should do something cute like this

Look how cute these cookies are:)

Okay, we have never seen his hair this short!

Look from up top!

Nice side view!

Haven't heard anything yet about this Elder...

Love this pic of these amazing young men!!!  Apparently it was "red tie day"