We just received Elder Sanders' first email this morning, along with PICTURES!!!!!!! He is already conversing, teaching investigators, blessing the sacrament, and bearing his testimony in Spanish. What an amazing gift! He sounds so good and like he is adjusting! I was even able to email back and forth with him for a few minutes. He would really love to receive letters from home, as you will read in the email. Here is his email home:
FAMILY!! Oh my goodness I have missed you all so much! Just to let you all know, I am doing GREAT. Not a day goes by where I don't think about you though. My first couple days here were really rough. It was really hard adjusting to being in a different country all alone. I started off Thursday with a bunch of classes and to be honest I didn't listen much, my mind was wandering. I missed you all so much. I decided Thursday night to get down on my knees and pray for strength. After my prayer was over, I immediately thought about my Patriarichal Blessing. I read it and the word strength was repeated about 10 times. Also, everyone’s testimonies helped SO MUCH. You all would be so proud of me!
My companion, Elder Wrigley and I blessed the sacrament on Sunday in Spanish!! It was incredible. Also, we have been teaching a real investigator in Spanish! We have had 3 lessons thus far and they are going amazing! Our last lesson was on Monday. As the lesson concluded something came over me. I decided to bear my testimony and at the end I felt impressed to extend an invitation to Jorge. I invited him to pray about baptism. He accepted and tonight I am going to ask him to be baptized. Mom, you have no idea how much strength that package gave me! It gave me the boost I needed to make it through the week! Following my rough first 3 days, I am finally starting to come around. I have noticed an amazing increase in my ability to feel the spirit and an increase in strength.
Something funny, on a daily basis we hear what we think is gunshots about 10 to 15 times per day. What they actually are, are cannon blasts. There is a Catholic Church nearby and every time someone gets baptized the fire it off! Haha. To be honest, the food here is like bad cafeteria Mexican food. But I don’t worry about that!
MY companion is Elder Wrigley and he is from Saint George, Utah. I haven't met a funnier person in my life! Having him crack me up has given me a ton of strength also. I have noticed tremendously that the power of prayer is amazing. I know I can ask my Heavenly Father anything and he will help me. You all would be amazed at how much Spanish I can speak! As I said, I can bear my whole testimony in Spanish now!
I live in a casa here at the CCM. Our casa has 13 elders including me (4 in my bedroom). I live with Elder Wrigley, Elder Taylor and Elder Halls. We get along really good. In the room right next to us is Elder Hillstead and Elder McArthur. Elder Hillstead and Elder Wrigley are from the same high school so we have been hanging out with them a lot! We are seriously hilarious together! My first week at the CCM has flown by. The days are slow but the weeks are fast! Everyone I want you all to know that I love you so much! I literally ran to the computers to get this email off. All your notes and support is what has got me through this trying time in my first week.
Something else I remembered! I have to prepare a 5 minute talk on Faith this Sunday for our meeting. We talk in front of a zone of about 45 elders and hermanas. Please when you get the chance write me any letters you can. They help so much! Something else! All 3 of my roommates and Elder Bush a room down are going to PANAMA!!
Here is a picture of the Elders that will be going to Panama with Ty….
A note to Brae and Case: Please try your hardest not to fight. You really don’t realize how much you love each other until you’re in a different country alone. OH and how is my clash of Clans doing? (Brae is taking care of his account for him)
CESPEDES WON AGAIN?? (The Home Run Derby, of course)
I want to leave you all with my testimony in Spanish.
Yo se que oracion ayudar suprar deficios y yo se que Jesus Christo es el hijo de dios. El libro de mormon es verdidero y Joseph Smith es un profeta de dios.
(I believe in the power of prayer and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.)
A little shaky, but true nontheless. Well family, thank you all so much for your support. The pictures made me SO HAPPY! Remember one thing, I am a servant of the Lord. As long as I do what I am supposed to, nothing will hinder the word of God. Keep me updated on life at home. I LOVE YOU ALL!
Until next Wednesday, Elder Tyler Sanders