Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oí From the Great State of Utah

Happy Christmas everyone. This week really has been an eye opener for me in lots of ways. I will start out with the not so great news and then i will get to the better news.

Well, yesterday we had a TRC (teaching resource center). We taught in português the first lesson. My português is really coming along. The gift of tongues is real; I testify of that. But, I really wasnt feeling it. I had an interview with one of my teachers afterwards...they have to interview us every week and let our branch president know about us. I was interviewed my Irmão Flanigan (a really great man). For some reason I just couldn't hold back my tears. I just bawled which is really not like me to do much anymore. I don't cry much. I learned that the evil that is pride has gotten to me and I need to work on my humility. I learned that humility is being able to trust in the Lord that he will help you accomplish all that he requires of you. Pride is trusting in your own abilities. I have been trusting in my own abiliites too much. My pride has brought my very low...but when are brought low... that is when can begin to excerise faith in our beloved Reedeemer who can make more out of us that we ever could. Humility is what I am going to work on this week.

Well updates..earlier this week I got to go off campus and go with my companion to the doctor...just a case of athletes foot haha...it was fun...the best part was riding in the van....its been six weeks too long...

We were visited on Tuesday by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the quorom of 12. He was awesome. His famous tagline for that talk was this know ye the condensention of God. The spirit was very strong with him. I have been singing in the MTC choir, so I got to sing for him.

On 12/23 we had a district night, where the 8 of us and our 2 teachers in the district....each went around and said what we liked about the other one. We did it for everyone. It really did make us all feel better. Tthe spirit of Christ is to build up not break down. One of the sisters, Sister Riggs said one thing in particular that I really liked...it was two qualities she admired in me...maturity (no idea haha) and enthusaism (rubbing my hands together when i get excited...thanks pai). The spirit was very strong there.

We did a district-wide white elephant gift exchange with a 2 dollar limit. I got a retractable sharpie and a pocket protector for my item to put in the pot...but, I ended up liking it so much I actually did end up walking away with it.... and yes, I do wear a pocket protector and proud of it.

Last night, we had a special fireside from the MTC presidency. Elder McQuivey and I got to sit front row. That was cool. There were testimonies shared and and music performed. The spirit truely was there. One of the most touching pieces was a harp composition played by Sister Smart (Elizabeth). I enjoyed it.

I kept the traditon going from the Athans family. I read Luke 2 by myself and opened one present. Amy, I opened the pack of gum...I thought is was very ironic because missionaries are not supposed to chew gum.....sorry. Thank you anyways.

This morning my companion and myself got up way early.... like 5:45 to do our laundry. It is still p-day for us hahahaha....we had it done by 7:45 i think...we waited for a good seat for the devotional this morning too haha...we had Elder L. Tom Perry of the 12 there this morning...that was pretty cool...he rocks....I am grateful for this opporutunity to serve the Lord.

So, I opened my presents thank you so much...I love them so much.....a lot of candy...actually, I have kinda stoped eating candy but i guess I will start up again. Thanks for the suspenders they rock...I put them on immediately.

Tell Aunt Shelia and Whitney thanks for me...their gift was way too generous. Amy, I love the gifts...if it don't finish the candy here...I will in Brazil..... not that I know if I am going yet. We got 10 more visas this week. I hope soon...because we only have 2 weeks left before we become a mega district.

One quick concept that I have learned this week is the importance of a study journal. I have my regualar journal yes...but it is important to have a journal which you keep your insights and revelations from the scriptues in. My testimony has increased because of this. I learned how I can best use mine too. I write out my thought processes in sentences rather than bullets. It really has helped.

One thing...I am not on a mountain. The prophet Nehemiah never was...he was rebuilding the walls at jersalem. I am doing a great work so that I cannnot come down.

My hope and testimony is that this season we will remember who this holiday is about....our Saviour Jesus Cristo. He leads this work. He was the babe of belém. We only make it through his merits, mercy, and grace.

I love you all.

Pray for me and I do for you.

I know this work is important.....the most important one

I love you all so much,

Elder Athans

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feliz Natal

Feliz Natal Família,

Well, just another P-day here in the Provo MTC. I did a sesssion at the temple this morning. That was good. Oh yeah, I saw Allen a few minutes ago. He wants me to sign up to do a class with him. Hahaha, we will see. Oh yeah, remember the Noels from Charlotte mission president? I saw sister Noel here. They just got back from a mission in Alaska.

Thank you for the packages. I got three: Amy, Mom, and Aunt Cindy. I have not opened them. Mom, did you send my debit card in my Christmas package?

You should be receiving an envelope from me very soon. Open it on Christmas Day with the entire family.

Thanks for the addresses...i got most of them sent out. The português is coming along. I dont realize it a lot but the Lord really is helping out with the gift of tongues. I have started this new rule: every time I speak inglês outside of the dorm and gym I have to do 5 pushups. First day I had to do like 85...oh yeah, I do them all at the end of the day and I can't read my letters until I have completed them all. Hahahaha!

An update on the visas...all the missionaries who don't have them and have been here longer than their normal 9 weeks of the MTC...they are combined with one or two other districts into what is called a mega district....and basically they don't have a teacher and they have missionary directed time all day. Hopefully, that won't happen to me. But, there is some good news...31 visas came yesterday and more might come today. Really pray for the visas. I have begun to do so.

Sunday, for the fireside we had the BYU mens choir sing...that was pretty good....and Tuesday we had Elder and Sister Maynes from the 70.

Other than that the MTC has been a lot of the same....12 hours a day of study Hahahaha....

How is NC? How is Tazie? How is TJ? How is the ward?

I heard the news about carmen that is ótimo (awesome)!

Hahaha it really is hard to speak english at times... i have to stop and think about which word in the language I want to speak....irony.

I really want a visa. What are the plans for Christmas? I really don't know what the MTC plans are... probably an apostolo or the profeta. I am not sure. It will be good. How can it not be good? I am in the service of the most high God.

I will miss you this holiday season but Tudo Bem (all is well)

I think and pray about you all often. You all have been a great support and a leading factor to where I am today.

Remember that this season is about our Master even Jesus Cristo.

Te Amo

Elder Athans

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hello family

Tudo bem

Well, here is the update....my subject says that I have bad news and I do for you. It is that I will not be able to call home on Christmas because of how many people are here. So sorry, but I can write you a letter because that is just like a conversaton.

So, here is an update for you...remember how that one Elder Handy got his visa and was supposed to leave? Right after emailing you...he got sick and had to quarantine because of swine flu. They made everyone in the district take Tamiflu except for those who have had both shots...regualr and swine, so no Tamiflu for Elder Athans.

The MTC is a lot of the same. Not a whole lot to report. Every week we have what are called TRC...teaching recource center....where we teach a fake investigator. Thursday was our last one in English. Next Thursday, we are supposed to teach in only português. That should be an experience. Pray for me.

So, Mark Hall pretty much sent me the coolest package every. It almost tied Amy's birthday present for college. He sent me some pics of him and the girls....some twilight themed candy...a kuzi from DD Peckers that orginally said chicks dig peckers but he made it say chicks dig RMs...the best part about it was there was about 10 letters in it from all the Charlotte people such as Jason Pratt, Frank, Cope, Richard Morrell, Blake Hart, Bryant Haines. It was so amazing.

Update on visas...we got a form this week about a background check for the visas...I had to open up my package to get my new lincese for it. Sorry, Mom, Thanks for the present though.

I'm probably sitting about 7 or 8 lbs more. Scary right? Yes?

Mom, could you get me the following addresses asap? I have letters with stamps on them with no address. Frank, Michelle, Meghan Cunningham, Ryan and Melissa and finally Aunt Shelia.

The langugage is coming slowing but surely. We are no longer allowed to speak English in class starting today. I have a feeling it will be a very silent class. Pray for me if you could about the language. It could really help.

My friend Kaylin from school got her call to Guatemala, Guatemala City Central. I am happy for her. I have started reading the Book of Mormon again, but i started it in 3rd Nephi which is rocking...I am trying to find as many parrellels to Preach my gospel as possible. They are everywhere. It will help my future investigators.

Mom sidenote...I think I have set up my debitcard already with a pin, try it out, activate it and send to me asap if possible.

Well that is all for this week. Thank you both Mom and Amy for the compliments on last weeks letters. I am learning.

Dad dearelder.com me a little more...bare testimony...share expereiences from your mission....give advice...i do miss hearing it.

Oh yeah, this week for the portuguese part of the TRC we had to bring in a pic of my family and talk about them. Hahhaha....

The work goes on. Remember I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down.

The Lord loves us all and wants to bless us....let us be obedient so that he can.

Te Amo

Èlder Athans

P.S. How is TJ?...Let him know I love him and have thought about him a lot this week

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hello all from the great state of Utah!

Hello all from the great state of Utah. It is a shame about those Utes, I wish they won. I could hear the game from here. Wow, a lot has happened in the district this week. In just a few days, we will have gone from 11 to 8 members. One of our Elders went home earlier this week. He was from Radford, VA. I hope he comes back. His personality reminded me a lot of Breman or Elder Nope.

Then, yesterday we found out that one Elder and one Sister got their visas, so they leave next week. So, they are starting to come. So, Mom it is very important that you send me my debit and drivers license very soon......like now!....lol

Did I ever tell you that one of my teachers is from Holladay. He knew Elder Van Roosendaal. Ahhah...I ran into a Sister that served in the Carmel ward yesterday. She teaches here now. Her former name was Sister Asteul or some thing like that.

Dearelder.com's printer has been down so I havent really recieved any letters, which is kinda of a bummer. We went to the temple today. I ran into someone from Charlotte there; it was pretty funny. He was a Lucas from Monroe. Have you heard from the Graves recently. Dont stop sending me dearelders....keeep sending them so i will get a bunch, lol.

How is the family? How is TJ? How is Tazie?

How is the house? Dad, did you print off those pics of Copes family yet? Print me off some pics of the house, too.

Well, the portuguese is coming along. I am kinda ready to be in Brazil, but not at the same time. Rumor is that the prophet visits on Christmas, so i kinda want to be here for that.

What else to say? My companion Elder McQuievey was sick earlier this week and i got to give him a priesthood blessing. Then the next day, I had him give me one of counsel.

The mission really is the best. It is very tiring WORK but it will pay divendends. Did Aunt Elsie get my letter? How is she doing?

How is Bishop Johnson? Send him my regards if you would.

Mom dearelder.com me Frank, Michelle and Meghans emails please. I have letters for all of them just no addresses. Any comments on my blog/facebook? Oh yeah, btw kc porters utah address use facebook to get it.

I wish I had a lot of great things to say. To be hones,t it is just a lot of little things. The Lord has blessed me so much. The spirit is awesome. I really am trying hard to be receptive to its promptings. Easier said then done, but I am doing my best. Portuguese is very hard but I know the Lord will provide a way for my like he always has. Pray for me with that. I hope you all have recieved the blessings for me serving.

What else.............i still havent seen Allen yet. If he does find me...tell him so smuggle me in a pizza. I would like that but I really dont need to gain weight ....every meal I drink either 2 glasses of grape juice or 2 glasses of BYU chocolate milk. I also have a bowl of life ceral. Last time I weighed in it was 6.5 lbs. I go between 5 and 9 lbs. I want to leave the exact some as when I left.

Well all for now...I wish I had more to say but I really dont. If i get my visa, I will get to call you earlier because I wont able to call you on Christmas down in Brazil...what ever happens there is a reason for me to be here at this time. Something I need to learn or be touched by or I might need to touch someone else.

Oh yeah, tomorrow we get to Skype with teachers in Brazil to work on the language....because we are all here in Provo...we are supposed to teach the first lesson in our mission langugage ahhhhhhhh. I am not ready, oh well, I just have to open my mouth.

Dad one thought for you....I have learned as a missionary that we do not teach lessons we teach people. That is why preaching my gospel is so important. It teaches us to tailor the message to the individual person. That is why we don't memorize the lessons.

Well, all for now.Tthe church is true. I love the Lord and this work. Remember, I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down.

I love and pray for you,

Elder Athans

Write me back soon