Tyler has a short time left to complete his two months in the Provo Mission Training Center (MTC), where he has been working hard to learn to speak and understand Tagalog, and to prepare to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Philippines. Tyler has sent us several hand-written letters by snail mail, which are great treasures to me (I guess that's a Mom thing)! I transcribed them to include them here:
Today is Conference Saturday. It was really good! I think one of my favorite talks was the afternoon session by Richard C. Gay. There were so many good things though! Including the age change for missionaries. Crazy.
I got all the letters from the family a couple days ago so I’ll try to answer all the questions. The missionaries in my district:
My companion – Elder Nathan Wilding, from Fort Payne Alabama. He’s really excited to be serving a mission. 1 other roommate, Elder Graham Sugden, is from Cardston, Alberta Canada. A tiny town w/a temple in it. One of the most sincere people I know; I have a great friendship w/him. Last roommate, Elder Jordan Germaine, from Woods Cross, UT. He was the DL for 4 wks. It’ll be cool to see how much he’s matured after his mission… Then there’s Elder Skylar Morgan from Draper. He has a really strong testimony. His comp Elder Alex Clark is from Riverton, UT. Very good example. Elder Jared Hubbard from Alberta Canada is the DL now. He’s great, very obedient and hard working. His comp is Elder Tyler Williams from Sacramento. Hard working as well, and is similar to Orrey Bohn. Elder Matt Comer is from Springville UT. He struggles the most with the language I think but he tries the hardest and prays the most. I feel like he’s sacrificed a lot to be here and has a ton of faith. He’s also ½ Philippino. His comp is Elder Jacob Moreno from Santa Barbara CA. Very funny, a lot of faith, and very humble. Sister Robin Huddleston from Saint George is really cool. She and I are the only BYU students. Sister Marina Leuluai from W. Valley is Samoan but lived in UT her whole life. Such a strong testimony and knowledge of the scriptures. Sister Faith Mamea from American Samoa is very quiet and has a very strong testimony. Those 3 are a companionship. So 13 in our district, I wouldn’t doubt we are the biggest district in the MTC. All the guys are 19 except me. Sis H. is 2 months younger than me, Sis L. and Sis M. are both 22. It’s a good thing we have sisters to assist my companion and I in keeping the class in control! The classroom is smaller than our piano room at home.
Okay next, the weather has been nice, getting colder in the mornings. We’re inside allll day though. We have 50 min of gym 5 days a week. I’ve been playing either beach vball or basketball. The MTC prez is good. The Tagalog is fine. There’s a long way to go but I’m on top of it. Gift of Tongues is real. Have a good week! Love you!
I’m glad the marathon went well! At least it sounds like it did. Will you do another? Today (it’s p day) a couple other people in my district wanted to run so I went. It felt good.
I ended up seeing/talking with Spencer Salinas a couple times during the past few days. He left early this morning. Only 2.5 weeks he was here! That is so short. I still have 20 days left. The time is definitely feeling like it is slowing down. It is kind of a bummer that all of the walkways at the MTC are covered, so I can’t really see the mountains much even though they are really close.
One of my teachers is especially good. Brother Ward is only 22 but he cares about his job more than any other teacher I’ve had in high school/college. It would be cool to work here and it pays well, but I’m not sure I have the patience needed to deal with cooped-up 19 year olds…And 18 year olds. L That’s probably the hardest part of being here. Most of the people in my district now have verrry little focus… Oh well.
One thing that is interesting is how unhealthy the food is! Dessert at all 3 meals every day. It’s a little over the top w/the sweets. Oh and they do have a “make you own sack-lunch” option, where you make a sandwich and get 4 other items to choose from doughnuts, cookies, twinkies, cupcakes, chips, and pop.
Well I hope you have good week. Pray for me!
Trent! Thank you for the letter! You are getting so good at writing! Better than me!
In the MTC, it’s a lot like school. There are 2 teachers that teach me everything I need to know to help people come unto Christ.
I sleep on the bottom bunk! I’m glad because I have to wake up really early every morning and it’s hard to get out of bed.
To say “no” in Tagalog you say “Hindi!”
To say “How are you?” it’s “kumusta po kayo?”
To say “Good!” you say “Mabuti!” To say “smile” you say “ngiti.”
I’m glad your birthday party was good!
One more year and you can choose to be baptized like Jesus was! In 2nd Nephi 31 it talks about why we need to be baptized.
Have a good week! Love you! Here’s a picture of a chicken:
Tiffani! Those are really good scriptures you gave. One of my favorites this week is Alma 34:15-16, and also Alma 5:45-46. Isn’t it cool that we can find out the gospel is true the same way all the prophets have? Through sincere and diligent prayer.
My favorite part of the MTC is that there is so much Holy Ghost, or that I am speaking a new language. To say, “I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true!” in Tagalog you say, “Alam ko na totoo ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo sa mga Banal ng mga Huling Araw!”
I’m glad soccer and school are going well! Who are your teachers again?
When I fly to the Philippines, I will take a bus to Salt Lake City, then fly to Los Angeles, CA, then to Hong Kong China, then to Manila Philippines, then take a bus to Urdaneta City Philippines, then take a Jeepney to wherever my first area is! You can probably learn about Jeepneys from the internet or Brother Christensen. Have a good week! Love you!
Todd! To answer your questions, the MTC is basically the same EVERY DAY. It gets a little boring sometimes but I’m learning a lot, about teaching, the scriptures, and Tagalog, and myself. That’s good you still have a 4.0! It’s actually a good thing school doesn’t have a break for a long time because it will get you ready for a mission where there are no breaks! P day isn’t really a break because I have to do laundry still, I study for 3 hours, and I’m busy most of the day. There aren’t any assignments or tests here, it’s up to the missionary to do what it takes to learn to speak. The teacher explains grammar concepts and then we figure out how to learn effectively. We are encouraged to “SYL,” Speak Your Language, as much as possible and that really helps with remembering things the most for me. My favorite part about the mission so far is how much Holy Ghost there is. You can get a haircut as much as you want here, for free. You just have to set an appointment in an open slot on your Pday. You said you can’t wait til you’re 19, now how about til you’re 18! Haha. Love You! Keep working hard, it will be worth it.
Thanks for the Dear Elder letter.
So I bought a little leather book and filled it with gospel topics, and now as I’m reading the scriptures when I find scriptures I like I can put them in the book with a short summary. Then later I can find scriptures by topic quickly. It’s also way good for helping me focus while reading.
It’s cool how there are scriptures to apply to everything. Also from them we can learn everything to know about returning to God/having eternal happiness.
I don’t think I wrote this yet but Elder Bednar came here on Tuesday. It was great! He talked about how to gain the most from GC. One thing he mentioned is that the Lord is hastening his work. Also he talked about how as missionaries, bull time or not, we often tell people we know there are living prophets. But it’s more important to know what the prophets are saying. He said “if you don’t know, you don’t believe.” He then showed several clips from this conference that had 3 different apostles saying close to word-for-word the same things. Then he said none of them had discussed their talks together before and it all came straight from God. Anyways it was really cool.