Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012                    
First Week in the Field!
Elder Bay leaves for Florida and I'm off to SLC!
Hola everyone!

Elder Toborg reporting, which means I have survived almost an entire week now in the field!
I'll give a week breakdown of how everything went and the details:

Tuesday: 2am, send my companion Elder Bay off to the airport to fly to Miami
              4:30pm my bus left for the Salt Lake City South Mission! With 15 of us on the bus (17 more to come later.)
              6~ Meet the Mission president at his home, and as he started interviews, got to go tracting for about an hour! I was put with another fresh off the block, and we didn't have any success but we met a member who wanted to get to know his non-member neighbors, so hopefully he can help!
8~pm get interviewed by President Miller: The mission was split by the two new Salt Lake City missions (Central took a piece out of us), and so we've been refilling the mission; that’s why so many people have been called to the mission. For the last 3 transfers, 30+ missionaries have been arriving. When there's that much of an influx, they run out of trainers. So... turns out 8/15 of the Spanish speakers will be doing an English assignment for the first 1-2 transfers of their mission. Thankfully, out of 15 of them, there is 1 native and the 13 others are all beginners at Spanish. So my place in Spanish speaking was secured by my ability to actually speak Spanish :)!
10:30pm; fit way too many people in a crowded basement to sleep, I was already exhausted and slept like a log.

Wednesday the 8th:
Wake up at 5am; did some make shift exercises in the basement while 24 of us waited to use 2 showers.
8am: Ate breakfast back at the mission office where the other 17 missionaries were just arriving.
10am-2pm; training/information on the mission; I can't email anyone except direct family and the mission president, so I really need addresses now!
3pm: MEET THE COMPANION!: I was the 2nd to last person to be paired up with a trainer (room full of 70~ people). Turns out 2 of us greenies left, 3 people... I got a trio! Both of my companions speak fluent Spanish!: Elder Gomez (from Mexico City, Mexico, served for 2 months in Mexico waiting for a visa to come to the US, 6 months on the mission total) and Elder Gonzalez (Born in Mexico, lived in Saint George Utah for 8 years before the mission, wow he got called to the same state on his mission! In the mission for 4 months total). They are amazing, they're my best friends now (being a week later) and we started to bond pretty fast.
4-10pm; jumped right into the mission, I just followed them around as they started tracting and teaching; the schedule was full because Elder Gonzalez had already been serving in the area for 4 months and already knows all the streets and people. Elder Gomez is new to the area and didn't know many people however he's been out for 6 months total and is a great missionary so he just picks up the lead fast. We got home super late, and didn't even have time to plan for the next day that night.

Mission rules for this mission: Up at 6am everyday (instead of 6:30) to do 1 hour of exercise every day. Turns out it’s actually about 30 minutes to drive the car to an activity and then just do exercise for 30 minutes anyway, so I don't find it very effective at all, but at least we play sports every morning. I hardly have time to do any push-ups or sit-ups, but I found time while my 2 companions shower, I just do extra workouts. So you could say I’m doing 1 hour 30 mins of workouts every day.

1 hour of personal study starting at 8am; most precious time, never have enough time for this.
2 hours of companionship study: Since I’m new, all missionaries worldwide have 2 hours of companionship study to do things with their trainers for the first 12 weeks of the mission. Elder Gomez is my official trainer
1 Hour of Language study: This normally gets pushed back till after lunchtime so that we can go visit someone at 11am

If I do all of those things in a row; my day starts at 12pm, which so far we've always had something planned for 12-1pm, and then we eat lunch at 1pm. It's going good so far; but the Hispanic people are always working, so we spend a lot of time driving around to referrals to see if the people are home.

12-9:30pm Proselyting; Going to appointments, street contacting, dinner at 5-6pm most of the time at a members’ house, going and visiting members; that whole.. Missionary thing!

Friday-Saturday: Same as Thursday, visiting and teaching. The overall situation of our area is: Our Spanish area covers 9 English Stakes; our area covers ALL of the city of Sandy. We have about 6 or 8 English missionaries in our Spanish area working with the English people. If we find someone to teach in English, we are allowed to teach up to the first lesson, and then pass the referral off to the English missionaries; and if the English find someone for us, they just send it right on over. So far, all the rumors of "you don't need to find you just have to teach" are completely wrong. We spend a lot of time asking members for referrals, and every single person we talk to, member or not, we have to ask them if they know of anyone to teach.

Due to the Hispanics having upwards of 2 jobs, and from what I’ve seen, all blue-collar jobs, it's very hard to find a time when the people are home. Right as I joined the area, Elder Gonzalez had 5 progressing investigators, 1 with a baptismal date of August 26th, and 3 investigators that weren't counted as progressing, but for various reasons we couldn't teach at the moment. We had about 10 potentials (as of Saturday), and so far it's been hard to contact any of them.

What a day; we arise, prepare and study; Meeting at 11am for all leaders + the missionaries of the branch (yes it’s a branch not a ward, I don't know why it's only a branch, there were plenty of people there). In the car on the way to the 11am meeting (Sacrament beginning at 1pm), I got a call from the Branch President, President Ramoz, to ask Elder Gomez and I to speak at Sacrament. Elder Gomez starts freaking out; but I was calm. "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" and thankfully I was asked to speak on prayer, and my favorite scripture; Alma 37:37 just happens to be all about prayer. I went over the pronunciations out loud so I wouldn't embarrass myself too bad, and then trusted in the Lord. I can't understand everything people tell me in Spanish (I comprehend approximately 40% of what I hear) but I can communicate a spiritual point to people (thanks to the MTC). My talk lasted about 5 minutes and it went well from the feedback I got from the ward after!

Listening to everything in Spanish is nerve-racking; you never know what they're asking you exactly or what stories they're telling. Thankfully I was blessed with two native Spanish speakers so they always translate for me if i get a blank stare on my face. I'm so grateful that I was put into Spanish, even though many of the others who were called to Spanish missions were put into English for the time being.

I've met a lot of people, but I can't say I’ve been too instrumental in their conversions. I'm trying to be 100% obedient, so I only have 3 more minutes to talk to the family, but thanks so much for all your support! Oh if I didn't mention; everyone is supposed to have a bike available to use, but right now since I cover a whole city, we're in a car.

Mom: Yes I did vote.


I love you all! I haven’t read any mail for the last week because we pick up mail late in the day on Mondays, so I’m going to be a week behind on everything you send me. Mission rules state that I cannot email anyone but my family, so this email is the only email I’ll be sending out each week. Please write via Dear Elder or by hand so I don't have to spend all of my time reading email {and I can't even reply to email ;)}

My mailing address is:
Elder Daniel Toborg
UT SLC South Mission
8060 S 615 E
Sandy, UT 84070

You're in my prayers, to the best of my Spanish abilities; I hope to write more about the spiritual experiences next time!
Quick scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 11: 12-14; Trust in the spirit!
Love you all!!
-Elder Toborg

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