This will be my final email from the Provo MTC. Shortly after I wrote last week's email, I received my travel plans. I will be leaving the MTC around 4 or 5 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 20th. I leave SLC at around 8:30 for LAX, then we leave for GU (guatemala city) around 1am. I'm excited that I get to leave to Guatemala, but at the same time, I'm pretty nervous as well. While I know a lot of spanish for having spoken it for just three weeks, I've still only been speaking for three weeks. I can probably survive in a tourist sort of way at this point, but having a meaningful conversation or a lesson will be more difficult. The good news is, being forced to speak spanish will help me learn it faster.
This week, a lot of things happened.
First of all, last friday, I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Provo Temple with my district. We had a great experience! We're going again today, and I'm really looking forward to it. While I was there, I had the chance to run into Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob! It was an awesome surprise! Not only is it great to be in the temple, but to see someone you love there is just an amazing experience, especially when it's a surprise.
We picked up a new "investigator" this week. His name is Juan, and I'm really excited to teach him. In our 2nd lesson, Elder Corrigan was really in tune with the Spirit and we taught him about prayer, and a little about the Book of Mormon. He was receptive, and we taught him again about prayer and actually got him to pray! That was really cool. We got off to a good start with Juan, so I'm hopeful we can get farther with him than we did with Martin (mar-teen in Spanish). During our lesson yesterday, Martin decided that he din't want to take the lessons from us anymore. He said he didn't have enough time to take lessons or read the book of Mormon, but he thanked us and wished us well. We didn't get off to a great start with him, so honestly, I'm not all that surprised. We're supposed to be getting a new investigator tonight though, which should be interesting.
This week, I encouraged Elder Corrigan to go to the MTC health clinic. His knee was bothering him, and I suggested that he get it looked at before we leave the country. He went to the MTC clinic Wednesday, and they set him up with an appointment at an orthopedic specialist on Thursday. Since I'm his companion, this meant he and I both got to leave the MTC campus to go to the doctor. It was refreshing to get out a little bit, but I'm glad to be back here now. I was living in fear that somebody would come up to us and start speaking spanish, since our name tags have the name of the church written in spanish on them. Plenty of people came up to us in English though, and most of them thought we were serving in Provo. They were members, just friendly, coming over to meet us. It was pretty cool to realize how everybody knows what an LDS missionary looks like! I imagine we probably didn't get spanish from other people because our name tags still say "Elder," not something else. The actual spanish word for elder wouldn't make any sense in this context, so they just used the english cognate "Elder." It's pronounced differently of course, but it looks exactly the same. It's not like it's written in russian or anything.
So, as you can see, I've really been enjoying my time here in Provo. I love the Gospel, I love the Church, and I love being a missionary. I know that this is the place that I'm supposed to be right now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Also, I just wanted to thank those of you who have sent me packages! It was an awesome surprise to go to the mailroom and find some gifts! Thank you!
I just wanted to close with an attempt to bear a short, simple testimony in Spanish. I apologize in advance if there are any accent marks missing or out of place, this keyboard isn't exactly being cooperative at the moment.
Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y Redentor. Yo se que podemios limpiar por medio de la Expiacio´n de Jesucristo. Yo se que de Dios y Jesucristo viven, aman nos mucho. Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero. Yo sento el Espiritu Santo cada hora yo es leo. Yo amo mi Familia, y yo amo el Evangelio. Yo se que el Evangelio de Jesucristo es verdadero. Yo ligo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
I love you all! You're the best!
Elder Nicholas Banks