The Trilingual Coke Guy

This is probably my last Saturday post, so enjoy! This week I got to get in my last goodbyes to the MTC, and I head out very early Monday morning to fly to Newark.

To all the people who have been asking me about how I'm doing with the food here: I've lost about 7 pounds since I got here. I can't tell if that's because I've been exercising more or eating less or both, but I'm honestly happy to have a little extra buffer for when I get to Jersey and start getting fed super rich Hispanic food by members almost every day.  

This week was a great capstone to my experience here at the MTC. Our zone is doing really well which Elder Moore and I are taking complete credit for. When our Branch President heard we'd only given 3 blessings this week he was pretty excited that everyone was doing so well. 

We unfortunately didn't get any new missionaries in our zone this week because we got the two last week, but that did allow us to focus more on that group which was good. Here's some fun stories from that group:

Story 1: 

I wasn't really thinking much about it, but I was drinking a can of Coke (decaffeinated of course, because that's the only kind available here) while I was doing the orientation for their group last week. Since we've got a fridge in our room (medical purposes), I've been stockpiling sodas and have been drinking a lot of them this last week. Well, apparently according to the new guys, almost every time they've seen me since, I've had a Coke in my hand. Consequently, they've started referring to me as "The Coke Guy" or "Coke" or just "Cola" which I think is hilarious. Every time I walk up to a large group of them I get "Hey! It's the Coke Guy! What's up Coke Guy?" or "Hey Cola!" Most have them have learned my actual name at this point, but it's always fun when they forget to just hear "Hey Coke Guy! Can you help us for a bit?"

Story 2:

One of my friends here at the MTC got me a Russian language book, and Anne sent me one of her old ones, so whenever I get frustrated with learning Spanish and need a break, I just whip out the Russian book and feel really glad that I'm not going to need to know that to survive in Jersey. I've learned a decent amount of beginner phrases in that time. While I was talking to a large group of the new guys, one asked "So where are you going? And what language are you speaking?" Another one said "Well, he's  in our zone so he must be speak Spanish, right?" Jokingly I said "I speak Russian" in Russian, and all of their jaws dropped. "Are you trilingual!?" I laughed and told them I'm not quite there but I'm working on it. Now all of them just assume I speak Russian, which I also find hilarious.

Story 3: 

We're not supposed to keep score during exercise time at the MTC, which is a rule that we've always kept except for one game of sand volleyball yesterday. A team of the new guys pretty handily beat another district, so Elder Moore and I grabbed some guys and went over to play them. They started off by beating us point after point until it was 10-0 in a game to 25. They were talking a lot of smack, and questioning whether we were actually Zone Leaders. Their tune changed when we started rallying back up. Eventually it was 22-17 with them in the lead. I got rotated back to the front line and started stuffing a few of their spikes so hard that some of the Elders from the other older districts were rushing the court and yelling "That's my Zone Leader!" We tied the game up, and then after going back and forth for a few rounds ended up winning 31-29. They were devastated, but we were good sports about it and let them know that if we were there for them if any of them needed blessings needed to talk. I think we've finally got their respect.

I really don't have much else to say this week except that I love my zone, but especially my district. Big shout out to all of them for being such a great surrogate family for me for the last six weeks. I'm excited that they're going to go be great missionaries, but I'll definitely miss them a bunch.

Spanish mistake of the week:

Meant to say: "hijos de los hombres" (children of men)

Actually said: "hijos de los hombros" (children of the shoulders)

Thanks for all the great packages, letters, and emails! Expect a really long email next week when I report on my first week in the field!

Much love,

Elder Kai Reyes