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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Last MTC Email

Hello Family!

There are many places in the MTC where everyone around you is intensely focused on what they are doing and hate to be interrupted. The computer lab is one of these places. Reading emails from everyone took 9 minutes, so I have 21 left. Thanks for the emails, everyone, they were great to read (skim).

Okay, I got my flight plans. I will be leaving on Tuesday October 14th, and my flight leaves around 8:30 am. Probably won't see Mandy or Kaylee. Dang it.

All the packages and letters are VERY appreciated. I think I have received more packages than all the other missionaries in my district combined. I especially liked the pumpkin mom sent me along with Halloween decorations. We won't be here for Halloween, but I enjoyed decorating the room, much to the chagrin of my roommates, anyway. Because the MTC wisely made all the windows to the Elders' residences permanently shut, I cannot go through with my original plans for the pumpkin (I'm on the fourth floor, by the way). But painting it will be fun to do later today.

In answer to a question Jarred had, I do go to the RC. It's a place where we either make or receive calls to people who have requested free DVDs, Bibles or Mormon Books from pass along cards or commercials of the church. Some days I love it, some days I hate it. Talking to people from the South about how much they love Jesus and the Bible makes my day every time. They are ususally more than happy to have missionaries come over, so I send the missionaries their address. I wonder how those visits turn out. The days I hate the RC are the ones where I make calls for 2 hours and only get answering machines. Terrible.

There's also a place called the TRC (I was never good at remembering what acronyms stand for) where we teach people from around Provo who volunteer to come in and pose as investigators. This is always good. Especially when they are ostensibly an investigator who has heard nothing about the church, but ask questions out of the blue like "So you're saying the Godhead are all separate, but one in purpose?" A question like this would happen when we would be teaching them about the Word of Wisdom or some other thing like that. I hope real investigators will be like this.

I apologize if my writing isn't up to par, but you must realize that there's a big timer in the top right hand corner of the screen, so I always feel rushed and pressured. That's what count downs do to people, you know.

Um, let's see, anything else you all want to know?

Gym is good. I play basketball or volleyball or 4-square usually. The other day my good friend Elder Ward broke his ankle playing volleyball and will be here for at least 4 more weeks. His expression was priceless when he received his travel plans the other day telling him he would have left with us on Tuesday. Poor guy.

Well, 4 minutes left. I love you all, and hope you're doing well. Keep the emails and letters coming when possible.

Love,

Elder Karlsven

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Letter 10/01/2008

Dear Family,

I'm enjoying my first P-Day at the MTC. At present my companion Elder Pikula is reminising over pictures on his camera and feigning homesickness, a common practice here.

Thank you for all the packages! With all the food sent and how much we eat here, I'm well on my way to being over 300 pounds when I get back - which is my goal. My district is countinously indignant when I get a new package each day, but the delicious brownies you sent the other day I shared among the zone and everyone was very appreciative. They brightened many a missionaries day. Thank you for that!

Also, thanks for the journal, hymn book, scripture marker, cookies (!!), pictures of the family and print out of dad's blessing. I think I forgot a copy of my patriarchal blessing.

So, the other day I was going to wear my black suit. When I put on the pants, I noticed I was showing an improper and indecent amount of ankle. They are about 3 or 4 inches too short. If possible, please send new pants, or a new suit. I will send the pants home.

Lets see, you asked about a normal day at the MTC.

Here it is:

6:30am - Wake up, forget where I am, fall off of the top bunk to the ground 6-feet below.

6:31 - 6:45am - Stare at something while falling in and out of consciousness.

6:45am - Shower, shave my heavy manly beard.

7:00 - 7:20am - Get ready, dressed up.

7:30am - 1pm - Class, study time, pick up a package in the mail room.

1pm - Lunch, eat too much, feel bloated and then go back for seconds.

1:45 - 6pm - Class study, teach, ect.

6:00pm - Dinner, have heart attack.

6:45 - 9pm - Study, class, teach, ect.

9 - 9:15pm - Plan for next day.

9:15 - 10:30pm - PARTY!

10:30pm - Sleep!!

RINSE AND REPEAT.

So, that is a regular day. There is a lot of study time, but we all wish we had more. I know the first lesson pretty well, and I'm trying to learn more scriptures with it, but the hard part is getting people we teach to really understand it and it's significance.

We teach other missionaries, people who come here to play investigators, but my favorite is teaching real people over the phone at the RC (Resource Center.) I spoke to a man there who had received a free bible from the church and was very excited to talk about it and Jesus. Awesome guy! I told him that God loves him and knows him so well, and has a plan for him. He completely agreed and told me how much he loves Jesus. I offered him a free DVD, and he excepted and said it would be great to have missionaries sent to his house to bring the DVD and share a message about Christ. AWESOME!

It's people like that gets me excited and wanting to get out to San Jose.

I hope all is well and I haven't bored you with the description of everyday MTC life.

There is power in the scriptures and prayer.

There is so much more I could tell you, but, as always, time is short and my writing hand cramps up quickly. I love you and miss you all!

Love,

Elder Karlsven

p.s. If you could, I need some addresses of a few people. Especially Dave and Brigette, Joe and Megan, Becky and Jarred, Mike and Mandy, and the Breens.

p.p.s Please thank the Breens for the popcorn - a big hit in our room!

p.p.s Pictures coming in the next letter! Probably!

Elder Matthew's first Email 10/01/2008

Greetings all from the heart of the Missionary Training Center, the laundry room. Today is P-day, which means we can wear our casual clothes, or as we call them here, our "heathens."

The MTC has been good to me. Three square meals a day, and all the cookies and brownies I could eat (Thanks to mom).

Mom had some questions, and I'll try to answer some of them before I run out of time.

Who are your teachers?

Their names are Bro. Okoren and Bro. Lucas. I like them. Bro. Lucas is taller.

Who is your branch presidency?

President Ahlander (sp?) is the branch president. I forget his counselors names, but one of them reminds me a lot of brother kendell.

Do you like the food?

The food is good. Breakfasts are nice, lunch and dinner have a good chance of being good, usually. I eat too much, but it sure is nice.

When is your P-day?

Weren't you listening earlier? It's today! Wednesdays. Which means we can go to the temple. We head there around 2:40 pm.

Did you have to get any more shots?

I got a flu shot, which was relatively painless. I asked for a shot of whiskey, to no avail.

What are your sundays like?

Every sunday will be different for me in the MTC. Last sunday was fast sunday, so several meetings were changed or cancelled. Next week is General conference, so we just watch that. Our last sunday here will be the only "normal" sunday.

Who else is in your district?

A hodgepodge of other missionaries. I could tell stories about each one, but I'll save that for when I can send a picture, which should be in about a week (in letter form to mom and dad's house). My companion is Elder Pikula, a Tongan with a big heart and an even bigger bicep measurement. Reminds me of Kamalei in some ways.

Everyone is going to California, but only 4 are going to San Jose. They are Elder Ward, Elder Gustafsson, Elder Pikula and myself.

Were you able to join the choir?

I joined a choir, but unfortunately thursday was the auditions for the General Conference Priesthood session choir, so I missed that. Too bad.

Have you seen anyone you know?

A couple. I saw Greg Hudnall (Jr) and Jason Fuller from high school. No one really else.

What are you studying in your classes?

The first lesson mostly. Trying to learn to teach is more simply so people can understand it better.

What do you do for exercise?

Play basketball and 4-square. Gym is at 6:30 am and is awesome.

Have you caught up on sleep?

I'll sleep when I'm dead. Or at least when I get back. I'm getting used to it though.

Do you need anything?

Prayers! They really do help. Letters are nice too. Maybe a carrying case for my small scriptures. Nothing fancy. The cheaper the better.

Are you happy?

The majority of the time, yes. I find I'm happiest while I'm saying my prayers before bed. It's a lot easier to express your love for Heavenly Father when you know you're about to be blessed with 8 hours of sleep.

Anyway, things are good here? How are you all doing? How's little Weston doing? Pictures are very appreciated. I'm not sure if I will be able to send pictures by email in the MTC, but in the field it may be possible.

You can email me back and I can read them on wednesdays. Tell your friends! And MY friends, if you see them.

Okay, time is about up. I love you all! You are in my prayer!

Love,

Elder Karlsven

From Laurel Dean: Matthew's email address in the MTC is mattkarlsven@myldsmail.net