Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MTC - Week 4... Bonus blog post :)

Alex sent one last email today with a bunch of pictures that Elder Tiffany took... Enjoy!

MTC - Week 4... One Month Down!


First off, I'm not sure if they've already done my missionary plaque, if they have it's fine, but if they haven't, I found a better scripture. Ephesians 6: 10-13. It's super good. 

Mom (and rest of the family) I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the support I've gotten here at the CCM. I know that you can't send packages to me in the field, but I feel like I've already got a missions-worth of packages, so thank you. In the devotional last night, one of the hymns we sang was families can be together forever, and I think that for the first time singing that song, I felt really grateful that I've got a family like you guys to be connected with for eternity. 

Anyways, about the devotional, it was Elder Oaks last night, so that was really cool. It's amazing how an apostle of the Lord can command your attention. 

As for the rest of the weekly report, things went well. Elder Thomas and I voluntarily picked up another investigator, so we were uber busy all week, but most of the lessons have went really well, so that's good. The newbies in the zone are all doing well, you can tell that it's a lot easier for them than it was for us because they have people to show them the ropes. 

Last night, we sang in the missionary choir, and as I was singing (with all this practice my voice is actually getting half-decent), I really realized how far I've come. I'm a legit missionary, and it made me feel ready for the field! 

Elder Thomas is doing good, we bear each others burdens really well. Sometimes we kind of drag through studies, but most of the time we do really well together. As for the other people in my district, you have Elder Tiffany from North Carolina and Sister Garcia from Houston, both of them are going to my mission. Elder Patterson is Elder Tiffany's comp. He's from Alpine and has a super crazy girlfriend named Jade. She sends 20+ page written letters to him every week, and more packages that I've got from everyone just from her. Young love I guess haha. Hermana Sanders-Smith from DC is Hermana Garcia's comp. She's pretty cool. Then you have Hermana Adams from Pocatello, she's really quiet, and Hermana Wilson from Washington who is really disapproving of almost everything I do. It used to really bother me, but now I'm like "meh, think whatever you want" haha. Dad would be so proud of me because due to my constant chastisement from Hermana Wilson (which really is pretty ridiculous) I've learned how to not take things personally and just shrug little things off instead of be defensive about them. So thanks Hermana Wilson! 

The week was pretty vanilla, aside from Elder Oaks coming. The girls are gorgeous as ever, which torments me every day. The MTC food is still pretty good, but I don't think I'll miss it too much. I'm not much of a picture taker, but I'll try to take more. 

The Hermana Laboriel story is nuts. (She's the daughter of one of my ZL's and an elder that Jose lived with in the mission - he's from Honduras.) I was looking for her for the last couple weeks, and couldn't find her, so I gave up. Then one day, I'm chatting with some guys in the other district, and one of the sisters says "Hey there's an Hermana down the hall that says she knows you." Turns out Hermana Laboriel had been just down the hall the whole time, and I'd already talked to her like 6 times. Shows how observant I am haha! It gets better though, when we finally found out who we were, I was talking to her, and her companion was like "Wait, is your first name Alex?". I was like yeaaaaah... and then she was like "I'm Sydney Isgett's best friend from North Carolina." Mind. Blown. (Alex met Sydney at his first EFY in Rexburg and they have been friends ever since) Sydney had told me a million stories about her Dominican best friend, and there she was, paired up with Hermana Laboriel. Small world huh? 

Sucks that Sofia lost her game, hopefully they get 'em next time. How's Sofia doing anyways? What a coincidence with the retainers. 

As for the semester ending at BYU, I'm well aware for that, because all of my teachers were super irritable one week, and now they're like "LIFE IS GOOD YA'LL". 

For Mother's Day, I think I'm only going to get to call (i.e. no skyping from the MTC). If you send me one of those prepaid phones, I may get to talk to you for longer than not. I love you guys so much! 1 month down, 23 to go! #Esquadrón (#Squadron)

Elder Jimenez

And this is the note that he wrote to the ward for the monthly missionary newsletter:

Hello Field Crescent Ward,

The MTC has definitely been a huge growing experience for me. Currently, I'm going into my 5th week here. I remember back to when I first came in... The first couple weeks were so hard for me because I wasn't used to working 16 hour days. The transition was rough, but it taught me to rely on the Lord. My faith has increased 100 fold, and I actually believe that I am going to receive when I pray. Other pluses of the hard transition were that now I feel like more of a go-getter, more reliable for the Lord, plus I can do my own laundry, so I'm sure that makes me a man now. I've had a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon while I've been in the MTC, and I'm at Alma 56, but Elder Oaks came last night an stressed the importance of Preach My Gospel, so I might put the Book of Mormon on hold until I fly out next Monday (May 9th), and focus my studies on that. Anyways, I hope everyone is doing good in the ward, special shout out to my main man Greg Graham and all the guys in my priests quorum. Don't procrastinate the day or your repentance, prepare, and get your butts out here. I know that this is the true church and that this is the Lord's work. Reading the Book of Mormon will bring you closer to God. Every member can be a missionary, so open your mouth, and get your local missionaries some referrals. #Escuadrón (#Squad).

Love, Elder Jimenez

And a little note from Abuela (she works at the Provo Temple)... and makes me SUPER jealous!!!

I saw Alex again today. I did a little walk around to see if I might run into him. I found a friend by the recommend desk and started talking to him, when Alex came by. He was a little scared and evasive – I do not know if this word exists in the English language-(I am sure he thought “that crazy abuela will come and hug me”). I am crazy but not that crazy I just said Hi! And Good-bye, even though I wanted to hug and kiss him.. His companion thanked me for the cake.

Friday, April 22, 2016

MTC - Week 3... Halfway Through!


I brought my camera to the lab, but I can't figure out how to upload photos onto my email, so I'll just start writing this email, have someone show me how to get the pictures on in about 6 minutes, then I'll upload some. 

This week was semi-­eventful. The first thing that comes to mind is my permanent retainer. I think it was on Monday, while I was trying to get the last little bit of cream cheese out of a cream cheese packet, half of my retainer popper off and started poking me. It was early in the morning, so my judgement was impaired, plus the thing was really bugging me, so I tried to twist it off, and it just made it worse. So me and Elder Thomas went to the clinic (and now I'm remembering that this was actually on Saturday) and THE CLINIC IS CLOSED ON SATURDAYS! So we had to get dressed to get into 1M and go to the front desk. I was really stressing, so I just said a personal prayer and really pleaded that somehow, I'd get some real help. When we went to the front desk, that lady called the on call dentist and he said that he could get me in two hours later. Pumped. We got to leave campus, which in itself was a blessing, and when I got to the dentist, he didn't just clip the bad part off. He took the whole thing off and put on a new one. And to make things even better, my temporary retainer still fits! Church is so true. Heavenly Father really does take care of his missionaries.

So, I've got a load of laundry to get out of the dryer, so I'll go ask someone how to upload pictures, and I'll tell you more later. ­ Elder Jimenez

Alright, now I'm gonna discuss all the other stuff that I didn't tell you this morning. First off, I found a scripture for my missionary plaque. It's 1 Nephi 7:12, read it, it has really helped me here. I also found a scripture for you Mom, it's in Alma 19:23, and it says "Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith - therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord". Trust in the Lord Mom! 

Anyways, my foot is mostly healed from that ankle sprain - the pick up basketball competition is INTENSE. Spanish is coming along (although Basic Core is not). Taco Bell catered the other day, and it was really good until later that night when it wasn't. But I'm actually doing really well.

Elder Thomas (who's the tall one with glasses by the way) and I volunteered to take on another investigator, so now we have 4 investigators to prepare for and teach. I'm growing slowly but surely. I've changed enough that I think coming home would be weird now. 

My zone is finally getting new elders and sisters today so that's exciting. I also finally got my district organized to the degree that it should be. It's good that I was able to get it organized before the newbies came in, because now they can have an example of what to do, unlike my district. 

Tell Sofia that I'm super impressed with her block percentage, that's incredible. And the whole dress thing is awesome, leave it to you to find a good deal. I'm honestly doing pretty fine with homesickness, but I do love you guys! I'm excited to see what you think of my pictures! Halfway through (the MTC)! - your loving son, Elder Awesome... I mean Jimenez :)

Hey one more thing, last little email, I don't think we packed my calf sleeves, but those might be nice to have, because I've been getting shin splints. I'm using ace wraps right now, so it's not too urgent, but it would be nice. Also some stain stick (I could probably get it here, but I'm milkin' this whole Utah situation). 

Also could you get me Abuela's email? I want to thank her for the chocolate cake. I just want to let you guys (the family) know that I love you sooooo much! Thank you for all the support! - Elder Jimenez

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MTC - Week 2... I think I'm Starting to Hit my Stride

Hey Mom! 

Thanks soooooo much for the packages, all the stuff is great but knowing that people still care about me is even better haha! (The spoiled child ended up with TWO packages from me and one from Karl's family this week!!!)

The second week was a total grind, some up's, tons of down's. I'm really learning how to be tough and not complain though, so that's good. Classes are alright, my teachers are... alright haha. Hermana Boyce (one of my teachers) seemed a lot happier this week, which was good. As for Spanish v.s. the Gospel, it's a pretty even mix. We talk about a Spanish principle, then we go into different ways to teach people... in Spanish haha. There's actually tons of memorization because of this new program called Basic Core which I absolutely abhor. I have to memorize 400 words, 150 phrases, and 7 scriptures in 10 days. So that sucks haha. 

As for the scripture on my plaque, I'll get back to you later today. 

The temple is awesome, it was good to see Abuela. It was also really refreshing to go through as a patron. 

Things with my district are 95% good, the hermanas get sick a ton, but it's okay because I've had the opportunity to give 2 priesthood blessing for the sick already. Elder Thomas is still the, and he says thanks for sending those candies with nuts and peanut butter in them. He said "Your ma is awesome!" and the way he says "Ma" is legendary. 

I haven't seen Laboriel's yet, but I'll keep an eye out. One of the Elders from our mission - who Jose lived with, but was never companions with; and a Zone Leader of mine called last night to catch up with Jose. He is just dropping his daughter off at the MTC today!

Now I'll give you  a short little summary of some things that happened since last Wednesday (if I can remember anything...) I joined the MTC choir with the rest of my district and we performed on Sunday, which was awesome. Chick-fil-a catered dinner on Sunday, which was heaven even though I spilled on my pants AGAIN. On the day he entered the MTC, we went to Chick-fil-A on the way, and when he opened the sauce packet... it exploded all over him. Needless to say, he was NOT happy about it! And now it happened again... I'm thinking Chick-fil-A has it out for him!

Elder Thomas and I taught our first legit investigators this week. Our lesson with this Chilean named Nicolas was really good! We didn't have hardly any time to plan, but we just asked questions, kept the answers Christ-centered, and he really seemed to respond well. 

I rolled my ankle really bad the other day while playing basketball, so I was in rehab for a couple days, but it's okay now. 

I love you soooooooo much, please tell Karl's family thanks for the package. I have the greatest family ever! 

Love you guys - Elder Jimenez

Oops... I totally forgot my camera back in the room both times today!!! Isn't hearing from me enough???? 😆 Anyways, I love you Mom! I'll email you a bit more next week! - your one and only son 😘

I told him, "half way through the MTC is too long to wait!" to which he replied... Next week will be extra special. FIRST PICS hahahaha...

And to Jose... I'm growing a ton spiritually and emotionally, but I'm still staying original. Mom's packages are really awesome cause they make me feel special, so that's great. I've only been here 2 weeks but it feels like 2 years. Basketball is still hardcore, I rolled my ankle uber bad and I was out for a couple days. I'm totally doing my own laundry so that's, in the words of Elder Thomas, "OG". Anyways, things are tough, slow, but good. I think I'm starting to hit my stride out here, so cross your fingers and pray for me please. Love you dad. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

MTC - Week 1... HOORAY!!! Wednesday is Pday in the MTC

I've been anxiously waiting to find out when Alex's Pday is in the MTC! This morning I got a quick email saying "I'm on..." So, here goes!!!

That picture is pretty awesome!!! For your information, today is my P-day, so Wednesday is when you can expect emails. I'm using half of my hour to email now, then I'll use the other half around 4 or 5. So I'll post this now, and update it again later this afternoon when he sends more info!

Hardest week of my life, but I'm actually liking it. I'll tell you more about it later today (ask any questions you might want to know in a reply email and I'll answer them when I get on later today.) 

Thanks to Mom for the letters, I do get the Dear Elder letters the same day you send them. They really brighten my day, and I'm super grateful for them. 

Because I'm going to tell you all the nitty gritty details later, I'll just give you a quick overview now. My companion's name is Elder Thomas. He's from Minnesota, has the accent, and is an awesome guy. The other guys in my district are Elder Tiffany, who's been a member of the church for a year, and Elder Patterson. I'm the District Leader, which is pretty cool because it means that I get to collect the mail. Elder Thomas is going to Santo Domingo East, DR; Tiffany is going to my mission, and Patterson is going to Guatemala. The sisters in my district (there are 4) are also really cool, and three of them are going to my district (one to my mission). My zone is awesome, there are no older elders because they all left on their missions, so we're the oldest in our zone. 

The CCM is the hardest experience of my entire life, but I've already come a lot closer to Christ. Spanish is coming slowly, but my companion and I decided that were going to try to speak Spanish 80% of the time together, so that's good. My mind is blown after every study session though. The food is great. But, I'm doing a pretty good job of not eating too much (last time I checked I'm pretty sure I had lost weight). General Conf was the most spiritual one I've watched thus far. It really brought the Spirit and helped me to know that I should be here. Yes, I'm going to the temple today. 

Mom, if you could let me know what my account balance is on my Zions Bank card, I'd really appreciate it. Also, if you could send me my gray hoodie and my black joggers, I'd really appreciate it. I'll try and think of more stuff later. Tell the family that I love em a ton, even though the only person I miss is you. Che!

Later this afternoon...
Our Narnia hole was super lame, there was just a bunch of spoons in it. I'll be sure to send pics next week. I'd ask you how to do laundry but it's already done, so hopefully stuff doesn't shrink. Also, can you send me one or two more P-Day shirts? That would be super nice to have for now. Love you mom!!!!

And to Jose...
Thanks for writing me dad! Elder Patterson is from Alpine, Utah, and he's a boss 3 point shooter. He's going to this weird one that starts with an R... He’s going to Guatemala Retalhuleu.  My last area was in that mission.  Back then it was part of the Guatemala City South mission. Three of the sisters are going to Argentina, but only 1 is going to my mission in Argentina. I'll tell you Elder Tiffany's conversion story next P-Day, once I know it better and when I'm not in a hurry. And yes I've met my branch president. He seems like a really great guy. This is super hard, but I know that I'll make it through, and when I look back on it, I'll see that I enjoyed it in the end. Love you, kind of miss you I guess. See you in 103! Yes, Jose has already started the week count-down; and has already told Alex the number!

The picture that Alex was talking about was a gem that Aunt Amberly sent to us after a trip down memory lane last week when he went into the MTC - we all got a great laugh out of 10 year old Alex at the Louvre...