Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Elder Cropper at the MTC

Elder Cropper #3

Hey everyone!
so Mary is doing good. We actually meet in the same building just down the hall from each other, so we see each other multiple times a day. I am actually in a computer lab just across from here room right now and shes laughing it up haha. She said she doesnt have P-day till Tuesday which I dont beileve because all new missionaries have P-day on Saturday their first week but whatever. She just told me she just got done teaching her first lesson in portuguese today. She said it went well so hurray for Mary! I spoke some spanish to her and her mouth was wide open. I mean all I did was share my testimony. She will be in my building for another week and then she will move back to the portuguese building. Its being remodeled right now and will be finished next week. Because that building is being remodeled there are a bunch of random language districts everywhere. We have portuguese (Mary's zone) down the hall. 2 italian districts across the hall from us, and some districts speaking philipino somewhere else on our floor. This is the spanish building people. Its all good though I like having Mary in my same building. I am doing well. My spanish is supposedly progressing very well. I dont think I am the best speaker in the class that award goes to elder mitchell our DL, but I do think I am the best teacher in the class (in both english and spanish) One of my teachers interviewed us all yesterday. In my interview with him he told me that he has really seen my grasp with the language take off these last couple of weeks. He told me that Elder Sheerwood and I are the farthest progressing comnpanionship in regards to teaching our two investigators out of the whole district. This boosted my confidence because I had been feeling down about my teaching and speaking ability this last week. This last Sunday one of the hermanas wasent feeling well so she asked for a blessing after Sunday devotional. While we were walking back the spirit told me that she was going to ask me to pray so i told my companion i needed to go to the bathroom. I went into the single bathroom on our floor and said a quick floor that whoever was asked to give the blessing would have the spirit with them and say the things to best help the hermana. She did in fact ask me to seal the anointing and offer a blessing. I really felt the spirit during the blessing and obviously it helped her feel more comfort about her mission and help her know she shouldn't worry about the things that were bothering her (her knee) because she was in tears afterwards. I was asked to speak in church this last sunday and bless the sacrament in spanish so that was cool. Oh all talks are given in spanish during church, I spoke on the book of mormon and shared a quote about it from PMG (Preach My Gospel Manual). I thought I did well. What else, hmmmmm. Thanks for the book Anne and Michael I got it yesterday. One of the sisters in my district has the same book and she says she uses it every day. I love my district well all get along pretty well. This Tuesday's devotional speaker was Elder Whiting from the Seventy. He spoke about having the spirit with us at all times which was helpful to me not because I have trouble feeling the spirit but because I have trouble sometimes feeling the promptings from the spirit. Ok Mary just came in and told me to tell you guys to send her her blanket, her brown boots or shoes or something, and mints. Anyways, Sunday's devotional speaker was the director of the missionary department from the church. I don't have my notes with me so I don't remember his name, and actually I don't remmber what he spoke on. Oh wait yes i do he spoke on goals and what we want to be after our missions. He also spoke on turning our will to the will of god. It was a good talk I also remmber him being really funny. Thank you mother for the correction on Fidel Castro dying, as you can see rumors go around like crazy here. Most of the rumors here are who's coming for devotional. Last week on Sunday people thought it was President Uchtdorff and this last Tuesday the rumor was that Elder Holland was coming because his granddaughter is here at the MTC. The funny thing is we always beileve the rumors and with all the rumors there is supporting evidence of why they person really is gonna be here. The rumor for this Sunday is that a GA is coming because of Easter, and I think its really gonna happen. This week I have focused on being more diligent in class and during study time. I think it has really paid off. Heavenly Father sends down blessings and miracles to missionaries who are 100% obedient. OHH i gotta tell you guys about my work out stuff. So ive lost like 8 pounds (no joke i weighed myself) my pants are starting to now fit me some I may go have the people here take them in for me. Everyday I got to the gym, bike like 7 miles, and then lift weights for the rest of the time. I have also focused on eating better and not so much. Holy cow Mary is such a loud laugher. Well thats my week! hope you are all doing well. Anne and Michael you are out of my will because you didnt write me letters this week, but you did send me that book so your back in. Thanks for the letters Mom and Dad. I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Elder Cropper     

Oi Mom and Dad!
Oi means hello. You can also say Ola. I like saying oi because it sets us apart from the spanish speakers! Guys, I am so good. I love it here. I am having a lot of fun and it feels good to be here. Wednesday was crazy awesome. I went in to the main building, got my badge, keys, and schedule. Then I met a Sister host who helped take my bags from the Elder and we went to the MTB bookstore and grabbed all of my supplies. They were not kidding with the 20 lbs. I have so much stuff!! Anyways, dropped my stuff off at my bedroom then made my way over to my classroom. I met a sister then and my teacher who led us down to some computers to watch an orientation. On the way, I saw Sam!!! He is just down the hall from me. He immediately jumped up and hugged me. We made sure that everyone knew we were related. We talked for a little bit and it was so great! I was so happy to see Sam right off the bat. After that we had class for a little bit. Our teacher spoke the whole time in Portuguese. It was really overwhelming. We had dinner and then went to a little meeting for new missionaries. I live with three other sisters in my district and we all are going to Curitiba. My whole district (which is twelve) are all going to Curitiba. Plus we have another district that came in the same day with about 10 more going to curitiba. It is so crazy!! Obviously there is work to be done there. So I really like my district. We are already close and have a lot of fun. The Elders are really cool and really supportive of us. Some are great at the language and really progress well.
So I was having a hard time on Thursday night. It was right after we taught our lesson and I was feeling really discouraged. I cried some that night and was just feeling really overwhelmed and sad. I prayed that night that I would remember why I came on a mission and to feel better the next morning. I really wanted to talk to you guys but I prayed that I would be able to chat with Sam the next day. I woke up feeling a lot better and was able to talk to Sam on Friday (as you know). I am really grateful that Heavenly Father answered my prayers because I didn't see Sam at all on Thrusday.
The lessons are going okay. First lesson that we had with our "investigator", my companion felt we should just go with what happened in the lesson. We had some plans but not a straight forward one. After we prayed with the investigator, my companion just stopped talking, she said later that she wasn't able to say anything but could understand what was being said. I pulled out one of our language books and just began asking him questions. It was hard but it went okay. Next lesson was a lot better on Saturday and then yesterday we had another one. It didn't go as well but I am feeling fine because we both agree that we planned and said what we felt inspired to. I think the hardest thing for me right now is the language. It is hard but I'm trying.
One interesting thing that has been said that this is a missionary training center, not a language training center so we as missionaries need to focus on the gospel and learning it, not the language. I'm trying to do that.
Sunday was great!! Our branch was split because of all the Brazilian missionaries. I loved Sunday becayse we heard from some great speakers. I will write you guys letters about them because there is just no time!!
So when I met with the Branch President on Sunday, I told him about myself. I told him how dad set me apart, I was the first sister missionary in our family ever, my brother was on a mission, and how my sister helped me pay for my mission. He told me I had too much going for me and that I couldn't quit. I had to clarify with him. He said that I cannot just be a good missionary, I have to be a great one! It really motivated me when he said that!! I love my Branch President.
So, I told you how things are a lot better with my companion, well I am really sad because she has called our Branch President because she feels that she needs to leave. We went to the temple this morning and I told her she just needed to go in with questions and have faith that Heavenly Father would answer them. She was really sad because she felt that the answer was for her to go. She doesn't want to but she said that she just knows she isn't suppose to be here anymore. It makes me sad because I wanted to get to know her better.
So I have seen A LOT of friends here! It has been such a treat!! I can't wait to see Chloe tomorrow!!! Iowa Stake Represent!!! I also saw a good friend named Taelor Sandberg. She is from Canada and is going to Canada and Nova Scotia. She left this morning. She was one of the girls I met in Ecuador!! I am so happy that the two girls I really bonded with are both going on missions.
I love you guys so much and miss you. It was hard to say goodbye but I know, I really know that I am to be on a mission. It is such a different feeling being here now on my mission than waiting. It was hard to wait. Now I am willing to go absolutely anywhere to preach the gospel. Everyone deserves the happiness we have!!
Again love you and please send me lots of letters!! I would love to get something every day!!
Chau (bye),
Sister Cropper

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Third Letter in the MTC

Hello everyone,

Holy cow, week 2 at the MTC! It went by super fast. Thank you all for the letters I loved reading them all. It so much fun to read what is going on in all of your lives, so please keep telling me. Michael I LOVE that you tell me whats going on in the news in the letters you send me. I heard they elected a new pope. The reason I know this is because the church had a statement on their website so I read it. Have North and South Korea blown each other up yet? I gotta know these things people, I mean I could get like drafted or something. MARY!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are coming to the MTC this next wednesday. Ok advice time. The first few days go by super slow, they give you a lot to digest but don’t worry you will get the time you need eventually and once you get into your normal schedule you will feel you have too much time sometimes. They will speak to you in Portuguese right from the start. By the way I have your portuguese grammar book you bought at the store before I came to the MTC..its green..anyways I will have it for you when you get here, but I actually think they give you one just like it. Learning a new language is hard mary so be prepared for that! You will teach in Portuguese the Saturday or Friday of the week you report, and from then on you will teach almost every day to an investigator (basically your teacher who is role playing with you and your companion one on one). I will not be hosting when you report (sorry) you cant host unless you’ve been here at least 4 weeks. Sometimes they pick 3 weekers but you have to get selected anyways and I wasn’t. Mary do not worry about seeing me. We will be here for 3 weeks together and I’m sure will see each other at least once a day. So this is how my normal MTC schedule works. I wake up at 6:30 and get ready until 7:10 when I have breakfast. After that there is a 4 hour block of time until lunch which is filled up with many different things. Sometimes it’s a class where one of your teachers works with you (these are 3 hours long) sometimes you have gym and then personal study time. Sometimes you have TALL which is basically rosetta stone but for the gospel so you are on the computers. Anyways, then there is lunch which for me is at 11:45. After lunch its the same thing, 4 hour chunk which is filled with all those things. Some more things that could happen during these 4 hour chunks are more class time, and language study. After that 4 hour chunk you have dinner which for me is at 4:45. After that is another chunk of time which is almost always filled with class time. After class time we have study time from 8:30-9:00 and then planning from 9-9:30. After planning we leave to go back to our resident dorms  and we have free time from 9:30 to 10:30 which is when we go to bed. The exceptions to this schedule are Tuesday mornings and nights which we have service and devotional respectively. and then Fridays which is P-day. Oh and of course sundays which are filled with study time and church meetings. Oh and a devo (devotionals) in the afternoon. Ok well i got to go love you all. Oh did you get my letter with the first day MTC schedule? I will see if your package comes today. BYE!

Elder Cropper   

Second Letter in the MTC

Hey family, whats up!!! 
Sorry I’m writing to you late today. My companion didn’t want to write until later which made me nervous because I was afraid there would be no open computers but thankfully there was. I am doing well just to let you all know. This week has been filled with a lot of highs and lows. Anne! Thank you for the cookies! They were great! Send me some baby pictures please. Not over email though because I couldn’t print out the one Mary sent me (said it was too big). Dad, devos (devotionals) are awesome. They occur Sunday and Tuesday nights. Sunday we had the Provo Temple President speak and Tuesday we had a member of the seventy. Both were very good talks. It actually kinda amazed me how good the talks were, but then I realized this is the MTC so they should be good talks. My district is great! I love spending time with the guys and we are all really close. It’s a total bro fest. My teachers are great. I have Brother Toledo from Mexico and Brother Johnston who served in Guatemala. Brother J acted as our first investigator this last week so we actually just had our first class time with him as a teacher yesterday. Every other time we were with him he was Mario our progressing investigator. Last letter I wrote we were just starting this teaching Mario thing. Now it’s over and the teachers are both going to be pretend investigators. Oh by the way, all lessons are in spanish. Gym time is fun. Sometimes I play basketball but now I usually run and do pushups and sit ups. I run about a mile everyday. I am studying charity and service right now. I have also been reading in Mormon (Book of Mormon). My Branch President is great. Thank you for the cupcakes! Mary, my backpack is working fine and I love it. I am making lots of friends, mostly in my district and zone. I did see Thales (a friend Sam met at a Boy Scout camp) my second day here. He was happy to see me and we talked for a bit. I also gave him the 50 sols from Peru we had left over. Did you guys get the letter I sent? Please send me pictures of Jane and you guys! Thank you for using dear elder by the way. I understand you all told me things about your lives in your letters. I love hearing about your lives so please don’t stop. It’s just impossible to comment on it all in one 30 min email. Dad, I will send you a letter with a more detailed listing of my schedule. Heck maybe i’ll even send you my schedule of last week. I love being here at the MTC. I love being a missionary. I wrote in my journal the first day that I felt like I was actually doing something again with my life which is a feeling I haven’t felt for 5 months. I love you all and I hope you are all doing well.


Elder Cropper