Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 20, 2012

Hola mis Amigos y Familia!

I'm super excited to have the opportunity to write to you all again! This week has, once again, flown by like no other. I'll start with the most exciting news: Kevin's arrival into the MTC. Kevin seemed pretty... shocked.. by the change the MTC brought, but I know with the Lord's help he'll do just fine! Mike, Kevin, and I got the opportunity to take a picture together in front of the world map. Kevin and Mike have the pictures on their cameras, so I hope you all can get those pictures from them.

Thank you for the package I got in the mail Family! It was such a delight to have some homemade goodies, pictures of the family and those t-shirts are awesome, looks like it's my turn to wear the "moose shirt" instead of always giving my dad the Cabelo's moose shirt and taking the Cabelo's bear shirt :P Everyone in my hall recognizes the Cabelo's Moose, so now I take pride in the moose :) Thanks! To make my week even better, I got a letter from Lauren, which certainly brightened my day, week, and probably month ha ha. I love hearing from you all, interesting things that are going on in your lives and such, any news I get from you all is all the news I'll hear/know :)

 I've been kind of upset to hear that my whole district will be leaving on August 7th, leaving only me on August 8th (apparently it doesn't take a day of travel to get to SLC from Provo, c'mon aren't they going to fly me by helicopter or something since I don't get to go on a plane!?). I was able to find another district (Spanish) leaving August 8th with me, so I'll probably become their companion for a day, and then we can all take a hopefully not empty bus ride together. It's coming up fast! I hope I'm ready, gospel wise. As for the language, I have faith that the Lord will help me learn (now and) in the field (with the way the natives speak). I have already seen an immense increase in my learning because of his help, and I know it will continue if I do my part by study and obedience.

This last Tuesday devotional was by Brother Featherstone, author and Emeritus Seventy, in which he .. for lack of a better word.. threw a bunch of stories at us from his life, which were incredibly hard to write down if not impossible, but which all had great spirit endings. Sunday's devotional was a treat; an almost all musical performance by world renown violinist; Jenny Oaks Baker (daughter of Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). She recounted her story of success playing the violin, starting at age four, all the way until now, as a mother of four children. In between small snippets of her spiritual experiences and how the Lord has strengthened her when playing and practicing, she would play songs for us, along with ¿accompionment? from her co-worker and professional pianist. The second to last piece was performed by her 4 children, which made up quite a nice orchestra; 10 year old on the violin, 9 year old on the piano, 7 on cello and the one son, 5 years of age, on the guitar. The 9 year old pianist.. was quite frankly twice as skilled as me at the piano, and made my jaw drop when she started playing. The lord surely blesses us if we practice!

My "investigators" are going well, almost too well, committing to follow every commandment of the lord that we teach them about. I sure wish it would be like that in the field, but I'm prepared for much more difficult times. I've decided the two best ways to understand native speakers and speak the language best; (now that I've hopefully been taught most of the grammar rules) is just to memorize verbs and words, and then listen to native speakers talk so I can make connections and listen to short cuts that natives like to use when they talk. Also: Relaxing and just listening and not worrying about what I'm going to say back in Spanish has helped me understand a ton. Focus 100% on what they are saying; and you'll hear!

Mom,  I love the shirts, was the "Life is Good" Dad's old one? I'm pretty sure, made me miss hiking with him a ton! I love you! Thanks for the package again :)

Dad, I miss hiking with you now, we need to do something when I get back in 2! Love you!

Thanks for all your support everyone! I love hearing from you, good luck on everything with the house Mary and Peter! Get that A in your class Peter!

Any questions? Dear Elder :)

Missionary work is an amazing thing.

-We leave our families for 2 years, so other families can be together forever-

With love,

-Elder Toborg

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th of July, 2012

Hola mis amigos y familia!

Viernes del trece! FRIDAY THE 13TH! Watch out Satan's day, I’m going to convert everyone!! Oh wait I’m still in training...

 I've now been at the MTC for 5 weeks, pushing 6 now, and I honestly find time to be at least half as long as it used to be. 3 hour classes now feel like 1 hour classes I used to take at school, and the 1 hour teaching appointments seem to last 10 minutes! There's not enough time to teach about the gospel!

 As I lean over and ask my companion, Elder Bay, "What happened this week?" he replies with "nothing...” That's sort of the feeling when we look back and can't remember if the devotionals we hear were from last week, this week, or 4 weeks ago. There are many spiritual messages that are given to us missionaries; most of which are specifically for the challenges that we find in the mission field or in the MTC (seeing as they aren't published anywhere else, they really are only used for missionary use). From the archives of talks here at the MTC, my district was able to watch a talk by Elder Bednar entitled "Recognizing the spirit" in which he gave three experiences of different ages when he felt like doing something, and did it. With 30, 16 and 1 year(s) of hind-site, he was able to say that they were indeed promptings of the spirit. He answered the question "Is it just me thinking or is it an impression of the spirit?" with "Quit worrying about it and get to work!" This whole talk directed us missionaries to get up and do the things we should be doing and do any thought, no matter how weird, as long as it's within the gospel teachings, and to quit worrying about whether or not it's the spirit.

It's great to hear that the family is back home and now Dad realizes that he misses the silence he once had: double edged sword; we never realize how much we miss something until its gone: such as family for a couple weeks, and silence once they return! The same is for the spirit here in the MTC; when I make a commitment or start to teach from my own mind instead of how the spirit guides me, I can feel the spirit leaving me and I realize I need to take a step back and listen for thoughts that come into my mind. It's very easy to block out the spirit when you really just want to teach something you know you have the Spanish vocabulary for. However, if you teach what you should, the words do come, maybe not in a perfect grammatical order, but the point is understood by the person.

Well, last email I said "I’m excited to see Kevin!" and then... in the cafeteria I see Mike... and immediately realize, "oops I switched their dates around... ELDER RENNIE!" as I yell and hug him. He had been here for 2 days when I saw him, but we found out we have dinner at the same time every day so we'll get the chance to talk later. I'll get his perspective on teaching without learning a language. So it's Kevin July 18th, Peter August... 15th? And now the newest addition, Sky September 5th! Missouri will receive a great missionary! I found out that the general authorities want to send all missionaries to their own countries on missions now; however since there are just so many saints in the US they still get sent elsewhere; 4/5 of us are stateside so maybe 20% go foreign now? Who knows!

Well I can't think of anything else right now; ask me questions on dear elder! Thank you all for your support and love and prayers, i pray for you all too!

 -Elder Toborg

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 6, 2012

Hey Everyone!

 Week 4 has come an gone; and today marks an official month here on my mission, and in the MTC. I definitely have begun to change as a person, and have become more centered on Christ.

I'm already beginning to forget words in English, and grammar as well. Spanish will always be a part of my life after my mission, that is for sure!

 This week has been another rush of classroom, cafeteria, and teaching; just as always. We have begun teaching an investigator in the "TRC" or training resource center, where they hire people to come and act as investigators. My investigator is Carlos Garcia from Peru. He speaks fluent, and fast, dropping lots of his "S"es such as "como eta" instead of "como esta" It's great practice for trying to understand native speakers in the field.

 People in my District are starting to get restless, wanting to head out to the field, but we've yet to hit our half way mark in the MTC (tomorrow is the half way I believe). My whole district is leaving  on the Aug 7th due to the fact they have plane rides to catch, but our new Zone leaders (Elder Case and Gray from my district) said "yours is the 8th" which would make sense, since the 8th is Wednesday, and new transfers arrive on Wednesdays, and it only takes 30 minutes to get from the MTC to the mission.

 July 4th; what an amazing thing to witness in the MTC! They ended class 30 minutes early so we could attend a fourth of July program at night. It turns out they didn't need us 30 minutes early out of class so all 2500 missionaries were there early while they were setting up. To solve this unforeseen problem, the mission president of the MTC stood up and has us all sing fun songs such as "Popcorn Popping" and "Once I was a Snowman." It felt so odd to be allowed to scream and yell and have fun during a meeting. Once the program started, we had a musical performance by a Sister, it was great. But the song following it was much more memorable; a member of my zone, Elder Tanner, started off with a piano accompanist and one other elder, Elder Tanner and the elder were playing the Violin. They slowly began, with the piano, to play a medley of patriotic songs, slow and peaceful. Then three elders came out, placed hats on the 3 musicians, and they all busted out in some fiddling. Elder tanner was playing his violin so hard, the bow was getting worn down as dust flew everywhere as they fiddled along. It was great! After the musical performances, they had a video displaying all the missions, and let people raise their hands when they saw their mission. Then we all sang "Praise to the Man" as we appreciated Joseph Smith's work in bringing the gospel to all these nations; they did a good job of not focusing too much on America's Independence, due to the fact that we are so multi-national here.

They then let us out, gave us ice cream, and said "no returning to the residence halls until... the firework show is over!" and let us all watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks show above the Football stadium over at BYU. It was hard to see the fireworks, but it was nice I guess. They made us stay up 1 hour later than normal; and because of this I realize how much I appreciate the 10:30 curfew, we were dead tired the next day.

 Those were the highlights of my week I guess; I appreciated the package I received from the Maughans. Thank you for the sour patch kids and gummy frogs! I'd have to say I ate all the salty items first; I guess I didn't realize I haven't eaten chips/peanuts that often in the last month.

 !!!!!!!!!!HAPPY BIRTHDAY to PETER MAUGHAN in 2 days!!!!!!!!! He'll finally be old enough to go on a mission... even though he's probably 26 in looks. In about 5 days I believe I'll be getting Kevin here in the MTC? something like that. If Mike is coming the 18th, I believe we'll both leave the 7/8th of august!

 Thanks for the letters from Dear Elder Mom Jessica and Dad! Just letting you know I'm getting them!

My letters seem to be getting shorter; my weeks are getting shorter too it seems! But at the same time the days contain plenty of time in them... Odd experience.

 Glad to hear Christie is in EFY and that you all got to hike the Y. I chuckle every time I see ".. and we waved at you!" in the letters; it's easy to imagine my mother waving at the building as you drive by!

 Sorry you're all alone at home Dad! But you're actually never alone; the Spirit is a constant companion! It was brought up today that as the mission starts; you'll never be alone again. Companion for 2 years, after the mission you live with friends/people in dorms, and then you get married. Peter, hope you enjoyed your alone time ;)

 Love you all and i pray for you constantly!

 -Elder Toborg
June 29, 2012
Hello Friends and Family!

This week passed by with even more speed than the week before! It seems like just yesterday I was heading to the Provo temple and writing you guys! Today, my companion and I did Initiatories, it was a wonderful experience to hear the blessings that I was given, and now others can progress in their eternal life. Throughout lessons in the MTC, a strong emphasis is placed upon becoming a missionary and not just going on a mission or doing missionary things. How can boys of our inexperience and youth become like Christ? Seeing the temple workers and feeling their strong spirit made me have hope that someday, I shall be like them, and that it just takes time and many years of prayer, scripture study and hard work.

 Now on to more temporal things of the week, this week was Mission President's week, were 110 new mission presidents and their wives showed up to receive special instruction and counsel from the Apostles and Prophet. Throughout the week (Sunday - Wednesday) there were so many rumors of "oh I saw this apostle!" etc.. but no one actually saw any of them, they were well secluded within the main building, teaching. The only time we got to see them is during our Tuesday night devotional, when 10 apostles showed up on the stand, and the speaker was L. Tom Perry. His discourse was quite interesting: it was literally a 50 minute slide show showing statistics of how being a member of the church makes your life easier and better. Some statistics that I can remember off the top of my head are: 81% of LDS parents want to be a great parent vs. 50%; 73% of LDS members believe that a strong marriage is very important vs 33%; LDS Men live 10~ years longer, LDS women live 5~ years longer, and the most interesting fact: Those who fast regularly have a 40% less chance of having clogged arteries! Who knew fasting also could be part of the Word of Wisdom in a way! 

 On Friday's, we've started doing something called the TRC, or Teaching resource center, were members come in and let Missionaries teach them real lessons in their language, allowing no roll play or "fake investigators" that normally happens with our teachers. It allows us to try to convey our real feelings to someone in our language, wish I was able to do slightly, and it made the lesson so much more powerful, just conveying my emotions and impressions on how to help these people in their life.

My two new favorite things are now baseball and basketball. We get gym everyday besides Sunday for 50 mins, and I've been practicing my 3 pointers and layups pretty much the whole time every time. During this Mission President's week, the gym was closed, so everyone had to go out to the fields, that's were we played baseball, and it's extremely fun when everyone is awful, and we use a huge softball so everyone can hit.

Oh yes, speaking of fields, there have been many forest fires/house fires/ fires in general (not quite sure which, we don't have official news) and the whole air has been covered in the think smell of camp fire (family, you've probably noticed since you're in Utah right now!) One of the Elders in my district, Elder Norton, his family is in Colorado Springs were all of the arson fires have been going on. He says his house is safe, but they've taken on a lot of refugees from the ward that had their houses burned down. The Bishop of the ward that got hit hardest (200-300 houses burned says Elder Norton) told the saints just 1 month prior to "make sure you have your 72 hour kits ready and get your houses fire safe" What a prophetic warning! They say the saints were the first ones to evacuate because they were all ready. Follow your church leaders! They are inspired!

 Time flies so fast, my Spanish understanding is always improving, and my speech as well, however it's still quite hard to understand anyone who doesn't speak at a nice slow rate, similar to my teachers, so I still feel like Spanish is a foreign language as far as usage goes. I have great faith that I can learn, an Elder from Chile who was called to the Spanish speaking Pocatelo, Idaho mission, didn't know any English, and even though he was called to speak Spanish, he is here for 9 weeks to learn English. He said he was on week 8, and he's completely fluent already. I bet it's easier to learn when that's all anyone speaks! I'm sure Peter will learn Spanish in a quite rapid manner down in Mexico, I can only hope the same for me.

 I love this gospel and I'm so glad I'm out here to serve the Lord. I pray for you all everyday and i want you to know how much the Lord loves you and is watching over all of us.

Love you all!

-Elder Toborg