Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 5

Just a little disclaimer: in the Evans family there is a lot of pretend "stabbing, shooting, and many other forms of warfare." It was all started by Paul ( the dad) and is a favorite family past time. I usually stay out of it, but sometimes I get caught in the cross fires. The sound effects and drama are quite entertaining. Have a great week!

Hola Padres,
       One more week! Honestly, now that I'm trying to think about it, I have absolutely no recollection of most of this week. Its like one giant spanish blur. Elder Ballard came this week and it was really good, there is also been talk of Elder Erying coming next week, which would be real cool. Every day this week we've taught three to four lessons plus practice lessons, its really crazy. My spanish is still coming along. We skyped with a woman from ecuador on tuesday and, miraculously, we some how got the gist of what she was talking about. She has a little 2 year old boy who was so dang cute. He talked gibberish to us and then accidentally pressed the log off button. Even though I am understanding a lot of what people are saying, I still sometimes get confused. For instance, we were doing a practice lesson with my teacher and we were suppose to clear up his doubts about baptism. He said he wanted to be baptized but his mother, who had just died and was a proud catholic. He felt like he was betraying her by being baptized. Unfortunately I had missed a crucial point in his story and right after he finished I asked "Ha hablado con su madre sobre bautismo?" which means "have you talked to your mom about baptism?" Needless to say we had trouble keeping on track after that. We also got two new districts this week, they are pretty cool.  One of them even knows the Otts! His name is Elder Sandberg, I think. I managed to convince them all that I was from Ireland. They were mad when they found out I was lying. I also met some real cool guys from BYU-I that I didn't know there, so we're going to totally hang when we get back.
         Yesterday we got our travel plans! Sooo here's how its going down, We leave Salt Lake on june 30th. Our plane takes off at 11:00 Am and then we have 6 hour flight to Atlanta, Georgia. After landing at about 4:45 , we have about a 4 hour lay over until we leave for Buenos Aires, where we are supposed to arrive at 8:20 AM. But on the bright side, when I'm in georgia for 4 hours, I am allowed to call! So clear up your schedule after 4:45 p.m. (Georgia Time, I think) for some talking!
         Mom: The Razor you sent me is perfect and my visa some how went through! so I am not going to Nebraska for a month! And no I didn't know Jayne was going to Ohio! I'm a little cut off from news, if you haven't noticed. 
         Dad: Don't you dare joke about Dean Martin like that, I am going through major withdrawals.
         Megan: Drop the Penney.
         Sam: Stab Megan for me and tell her to snap out of it. Then stab yourself. For Me.

Ushy Gushy: I can't really think of anything at the moment, sorry. My mind needs a break on p-day. But everything is good. I love reading the scriptures, its actually how I relax now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Week 4 of Fun

Que Pasa Padres!?
It's been a real crazy week here in the CCM (I have no idea what it stands for, its something spanish). So usually Elders are zone leaders for 3 weeks at the CCM but our branch president decided that he's gonna just have us do it for the whole time, which is both good and bad because it means more work but we get to do orientation for the 2 new districts that come in next week. Our zone is down in the dumps right now because our other district is leaving on Monday for Argentina. They're super cool hermanas so its sad to see them go. Elder Cook also gave the devotional on Tuesday, which was super good. He's the second of the twelve to speak to us after Elder Nelson (the heart surgeon one?) and we're suppose to have another on Tuesday. This week we also started TRC (the teaching resource center). We teach a woman named Ivette everyday except on weekends. Usaully the TRC people are BYU students pretending to be investigators but we found out on thursday that she is an actual investigator, not an actor! So that's pretty freaky since I can barely count to 20 and I'm responsible for representing our church. It's going surprisingly well but I doubt that it actually has anything to do with me. Elder Gilliam and I are still working together well, even though we clash a little every once in awhile. We honestly couldn't be much more different. He is ridiculously driven. I have never seen anyone get so frustrated that he is not the best. Which is the exact opposite of me, where I am perfectly content with being mediocre, which is also bad. This week we were evaluated on our speaking and teaching ability and it was pretty hard. They told me that I teach the doctrine perfectly, I'm an excellent teacher, and my grammar and words are all correct but that my spanish is very very slow and that will probably bore people. Sooo essentially they said I would be super awesome if I did't suck. It's ok though, I'll get it eventually. Tonight, my teacher and I are going to start working on listening skills because I have a hard time understanding what people are saying. It's not that I don't know the words but I can't think fast enough to translate what they are saying. Its like timed multiplication tests all over again. Good thing I eventually mastered those.... oh wait.. no I didn't. I'm kidding, of course. As soon as it clicks, its gonna be awesome. 

To Megan: HAHAHA I knew I was the better the driver! I'm also glad that you are being social, books make terrible friends. At least I think so, I don't have friends or read books. Miss you oodles and oodles and I told jennifer government was a good book. Now read the hitchhikers book next. It's better.

To Sam:  Is that all you got for me? Use some feeling in your writing, boy! I also miss you oodles and poodles Sam!
p.s. you are a dingus

Ushy gushy; sorry I ran out of time

Love the greatest and slowest missionary ever,
Elder Paul Alex Evans

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 3

Hola Padres!
This week has gone by so ridiculously fast, its redonculous. Monday felt like yesterday and friday feels like this morning! Really nothing exciting has happened this week, we do the exact same thing every day. My spanish is coming along fantastically. I am now at the speaking level of a 4 year old Hispanic who has a speech impediment, but I able to teach entire lessons, none the less. Elder Gilliam and I are going along swimmingly, but we do butt heads occasionally, since we are both very stubborn. Elder Royster is still Elder Royster, I like him 50% of the time and the other 50% I want him out of my personal space bubble. Then there is Elder Andersen. The inside of his head is like Wikipedia, he knows facts on every subject, quotes from every movie and lyrics from most songs. Its crazy. But on the opposite side, he has no idea how to interact with people. Just this morning he stood at a cash register for 4 minutes before we told him that the line was at the other register. In volleyball, after a point is scored, he just stands there with the ball because he doesn't understand how the game works. When he tries to speak spanish, it usaully goes like this "Yo tengo... uh... como se dice" (I have... uh... how do you say) and then just says what he wants to say in english really fast with an accent.

I am also really starting to miss music right now, there are so many songs I wish I could hear one more time but este bien. I also really miss flirting with girls, I'm slowly loosing my mind hehe.
Also please thank Sara for sending me those cookies and that letter! We devoured them. Ssooo anytime she's in a cookie baking mood, let her know that there is a district of elderes y hermanas who would gladly take them off her hands!
Tambien, if you would thank Michelle for that lovely letter and that I am working on writing her one right now I would be very grateful.

Ushy gushy personal stuff: I can't really think of anything at the moment, sorry. Pero, aqui esta mi testimonio en español broken (I don´t know how to say that) Yo se que Dios es nuestro padre celestial y que es amoroso. Tambien, Yo se que Jesucristo tieene mucho amor por nosotros. Yo estoy muy agradicido por la oppartunidad (opportunity, I don´t know how to spell in spanish) servir un mision y la oppirtunidad apprendir el español.

El Jefe
Elder Evans

p.s if you could just go on my facebook and print out a bunch of pictures of me and my friends and mail them to me, that would be swell.  Thanks!

Week 2

Subject: Hola! Como Esta?!
So I'm pretty much fluent, as you can tell by my email subject. I'm quite tired right now because some stupid bird woke me up at 5 this morning, if he does it again I'm going to do him a favor and send him to heaven a bit early. This week has started going so fast, I can't even believe that its been 2 weeks already, unless I counted wrong, which would explain my disbelief. Its crazy here, I'm already better at spanish from 2 weeks of this than 2 years of school. We've taught a women named "Anna Marie" 4 times already and then were starting to get really good. Then she turned out to be our other teacher (Hermana Martinez) and that's pretty cool. Unfortunately though, she barely speaks any english and my head hurts after trying to figure out what she's saying. Yesterday, as zone leader, I had to give a sick sister a blessing and I'm going to have to do another one today for another hermana. I kinda have no idea what I am doing. Elder Giliam and I are having a grand old time, we go together like peas and carrots. Elder Royster is still cool most of the time, when he's not going on about his "many" friends or how much fun he had at college. Here is a quote of his from today "I got so many emails! It's crazy how many people want to write me, I can't even respond to all of them!" Elder Anderson is still so weird. He is incredibly smart and knows facts about everything, but he talks to himself and has the weirdest sense of humor ever. Its so funny to hear him try to talk spanish, he is convinced that speaking is just saying half spanish, half english phrases really fast, without using any "S"s. I also ran into my roommate from EFY Elder Andrews, and it was awesome to see him again. I also talk to some kids that I went to Idaho with. Its also weird how much people follow me and elder gilliam because of the zone leader thing, I'm trying not to abuse the power. It's not working.
Since you asked, father, here is my schedule:
6:15 - wake up and shower
7:00 - breakfast (I wish I could pretend the food here is good, but it isn't, so I won't)
7:30 - Study Time (Personal study, companero study, y language study)
10:30 - Gym Time (we usally lift weights and play volleyball or soccer or something)
11:30 - Shower and stuff
12:45 - Class with the greatest teacher who ever lived (Elder Giliam and I have slight man-crushes on him)
5:15 - More Class! (with Hermana Martinez, the one who makes my head hurt)
9:10 - Sing a hymn and pray with the rest of our zone
9:30 - Back to the residence hall for personal time
10:15 - quiet time (for journal writing) (I'm pretty sure my journal will win National writing awards)
10:30 - Bedtime
rinse and repeat untill 6 weeks are done

Personal: Ushy ggushy stuff
Its nuts how my testimony has just exploded since I've got here. I'm definitely developing a personal relationship with Christ. I understand and love him on so many levels now. My new favorite scriptures are Nephi 17: 5-9. It really just highlights his love and compassion for his people. He could of said "Sorry I have to go take care of so many things right now, I have so much to do" No, instead he stayed and healed their sick and taught them more. I can't even comprehend the amount of compassion he has. He is the exact reason I am here right now.

To Megan: Unfortunately Megan, your spanish didn't really make any sense, but I think I got the gist of it. Also, no, you can not wear his jersey, especially when he isn't playing right now! That"s just silly. And I told you about the abbreviations. I'm always right.

To Sam: You are big fat dingus. 

Parentals, if you could get me a electric razor with a beard trimmer - clipper thing attachment, that would be great. I used elder giliam's and it worked beautifully. Other than that I'm good at the moment. Also I will send a insurance collection thing to you at some point because they charged me $196 for those shots.
p.s. mom, Hermana Romeril will be sending pictures.

Week 1

Dear Familia,
Surprise! My preparation day is on Saturday during my time at the MTC. SOOOOooooo after you guys left, I was taken by elder dean (no coincidence, I'm sure) to a bus after I got all my stuff. On the bus, I found my companion, Elder Giliam, who is super dope. He's from anchorage, alaska and we get along super well. He looks a lot like Jeff from the Community and actually acts like him a lot, but maybe not as sarcastic. The other two elders that are in our distract and that we room with are Elder Royster and Elder Anderson. Elder Royster is a runner from West Virginia and he went to BYU. I like him a lot but he's a little hyper sometimes, when he doesn't run. I don't even have words to describe Elder Anderson. He's possibly the oddest person that I have ever met. I don't even know where to start but weird doesn't even cover it, I'll just tell you when I get back. The district I'm in is super dope, Its' the 4 of us guys and 5 hermanas (sisters) that are all really cool. 
We have a ton of fun together and we pretty much do everything together. On thursday, our entire district got horribly lost, to the point that people were looking for us and we had to ride in a van from the main campus all over the place trying to figure out were we were supposed to be. We now refer to ourselves as the "lost district". Our district is also our class which is taught by Hermano (brother) Hammond. He is definitely one of the top 10 greatest people I ever met and he's only 21 (he served his mission a little young, I guess). The spanish is hard, the stuff I took in high school helps, but I'm still pretty bad. Yesterday, unfortunately, was the first time we taught an investigator (she was an actor, but didn't know hardly any english). Elder Giliam and I did pretty terrible, we did our door approach, said a prayer, asked her to read a pamphlet, then accidentally read the exact same thing she had said and then said another prayer and left. It was pretty awful, but I've heard most people bomb it.
           I have never been so tired and busy in my whole life, there isn't even a second to breathe. And guess what? Day two, Elder Giliam and I were assigned as the new zone leaders and me the senior companion! Because our zone has a lack of elders right now, I am now in charge of about 20 missionaries (16 of which are sisters)! I'm still unsure how to get back to my apartment and we have to organize all of the sunday meetings, keep in contact with the branch president, make sure that all the elders and hermanas are happy and following the rules. The crazy things is most elders don't get assigned as zone leaders till week 4 or 5 if at all. So yah, its a little crazy. But surprisingly I kind of like it. Also I'm sorry I couldn't answer any questions you asked in your letter, I forgot to bring it to the computers. 

(that part is for public viewing. Here's the ushy gushy spiritual stuff you probably want)

This place is ridiculously strong with the spirit. My testimony is already increasing by leaps and bounds. Yesterday Hermano Hammond pulled just elder gilliam and I aside to talk to us about being leaders. It was crazy good, we talked for about an hour and there was time the spirit was so strong the room almost burst. That man is something incredible. Elder is Hammond is possibly the most christ-like person I ever met. Before he talked to us, I was ready to do what was necessary, but now I am ready to go above and beyond that. I have never wanted to strive for perfection so much before. He told us that perfection is something that isn't achieved but is instead a state of constant progression. Sure I can read my scriptures every night but how hard did I study? could I have studied harder? that's how perfection works. Though it will continually get harder, the blessings received and the ability to come even closer to God are well worth it. Don't let it go to your head, but I'm glad you pushed me to serve a mission.

      I really like it here and I actually look forward to the things to come. I miss you guys but I really don't have much time to think about anything, so that's nice, sort of. Sorry this isn't very well written, I don't have time to proof read.

     Elder Paul Alexander Evans

P.s. Sister Sasha Thompson is here! so I get to see a friendly face around, which is swell. but she is leaving monday, so thats sad.

P.p.s One of the branch president's counselors said of the 3 and half years he's served in the mtc, I am one of the happiest missionaries he has ever seen. So I got that going for me, which is nice

Pppppppppssssss also we went the temple and that was nice, now I have to go do laundry!