Over the MTC Hill

Earlier this week we hit the point in the MTC where we realized that we're counting down the weeks until we leave as opposed to counting up the weeks that we've been here! My flight leaves to New Jersey exactly two weeks from Monday. We've got our last teaching practices this coming week, and then the week after that is pretty much just cementing our language skills into place. 

I'm excited to move forward, but I feel like I just started being able to relax and enjoy the teaching practices more. The guy we're teaching is a really great person, and we've been able to embrace our lack of Spanish and have some fun.

For example, on Tuesday, we were trying to teach about how Christ's Apostles were killed and his church was broken up. Elder Moore was trying to say:

"Después de Jesucristo, los apóstoles fueron matados."(After Christ, the apostles were killed.)

He accidentally said "Después de Jesucristo, los apóstoles fueron mutados." 

Which means "After Christ, the Apostles were mutated."

We all laughed a lot after Fernando explained what that meant.

 The entire squad (Elder Palmer and Elder Rollins are hiding in the back.)

The entire squad (Elder Palmer and Elder Rollins are hiding in the back.)

The rest of this last week has been pretty amazing too. We were able to go to the Temple last Saturday. It was crazy busy, but it was a great experience to start off the day. We're heading out in just a moment to go today.

In terms of day to day activities, there's not a whole lot new to report. Recently, the entire MTC campus (and I'm assuming most of Provo) has smelled like a campfire due to the huge amount of smoke rolling in from what I've been told is a massive wildfire in the Spanish Fork Area. Our prayers are with anyone who's been affected by the fire or has loved ones who have been.

 Elder Miner, Elder Batista, Elder Moore and I at the temple! I think it was Elder Batista who didn't take another photo because he didn't realize my eyes were closed, he just thought they got like that when I smile because I'm part Asian, lol.

Elder Miner, Elder Batista, Elder Moore and I at the temple! I think it was Elder Batista who didn't take another photo because he didn't realize my eyes were closed, he just thought they got like that when I smile because I'm part Asian, lol.

The bulk of this week's interest for me has been in our duties as our new duties as Zone Leaders. Our phone actually rings a lot more than I thought it would. It's pretty funny when it does because everyone is so used to having no phone calls here that a ringtone going off makes the whole room pause and look. 

We've had some ups and downs this week in terms of our zone. Tuesday was particularly hard because we had to let go of one of our newer missionaries. He's being sent home for a couple transfers, and wanted a blessing before he left. We weren't told why he was leaving but in the context of what everything his district was saying it sounds like there may have been a death in his family.

It was a really bittersweet moment to be able to be there helping give him his last blessing before he heads home until January. I'm a bit saddened that I won't be able to be there to watch him grow and get ready for the field, but I'm glad I got the chance to know him before he went back. 

It's really weird to think that it's only a few transfers until January. Today is 9/15. 3 months (about 2 transfers) will be 12/15. 

We also found out today that we'll be losing one of the members of our zone who's been here the longest. He's released on Monday for 4-6 weeks for medical purposes. We gave him a blessing last night and that was a great experience too, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard to let him go.

This week we got our first district of new missionaries. Elder Moore and I got to give them orientation and really get to know them. Then we toured them around the MTC and rallied the entire zone to come visit their room. It was awesome to see the joy in their faces as they watched all 60 of their new brothers welcome them into their new zone family. 

We've started trying to make the zone a more tight-knit unit. We're trying to eat together more, exercise together more, and talk to each other when we see each other more. It's had a really apparent effect on the mentality of the whole zone. 

In terms of exercise, I feel like I'm making progress. I've been running a lot more (which I hate), doing a lot more sit ups (which I hate), and feeling a lot more fit overall (which I don't hate). 

Thanks to whoever sent me cookies! You guys need to put a name on them so I can call you out in these emails!

We're heading out to the temple now, but I'll be back on in hopefully a couple hours in order to answer replies and other emails from throughout the week!

Apologies for the shorter emails as of late, everything is honestly so similar day-to-day that there's not a whole lot of new stuff.

Expect some more lengthy emails over the next few weeks as I transition into the field!

Much love,

Elder Kai Reyes

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Yo quiero Taco Bell!

We got Taco Bell for dinner on Tuesday. I was a little excited.