So cool story really fast. The computers still don't work very well, and I only have half an hour to write, so I created a list of all the things I wanted to say in this. Then I left it in my room, so I still kind of have to wing it. Sorry if I don't answer some of the questions you gave me.
The whole experience so far has been fantastic. For some reason most of you wanted to know about the food, which is funny. It's actually not that bad most of the time. Sometimes you'll get a pile of mashed potatos that tastes much more like powdered milk, but nothing too bad.
I sleep from 10:30 to 6:30 every night, which is eight hours of sleep. That's far more than I've gotten in a single night of sleep for a long time, so it's not that hard waking up. Almost every morning I'm awake before the alarms (we have 4 that go off simultaneously). However, the work here is exhausting, and every night I'm more than willing to go to bed as soon as possible. That's one thing I didn't realize. It is literally work 24/7. The only breaks are meals. Crazy how little prepared for it I was, but the Lord has been helping me to be able to work as hard as I can.
The language is still coming along quite well. My comp and I have about an hour picked out of every day where we are not allowed to speak english, and so far it's been fairly easy. Elder Dewey also just last night taught us a lesson in Spanish, us pretending to be investigators. His and his companion's Spanish was a little bit slower than ours, but he's in the beginner level, so he's come a long long way. I'm excited for everyone to start arriving at the MTC, too. I'll keep an eye out for Kyle's friend, and I'm sure I'll see her around, but I'm most excited for Jason. It's always funny to see all of the new guys come in with their orange dots. We can almost forget that was us just two weeks ago.. We call the incoming Elders "Chapuseros", which is spanish for "novices" I think, but we use it more as slang, like noobs.
It's strange to have P-days, because we can wear jeans, which are actually much less comfortable than church clothes. The shirt and tie is a little much, but my suit pants are much preferred to jeans. Of course, shorts and a t-shirt are even more preferred, but we can only wear that during gym. I've been playing soccer for most of my gym time, and gotten pretty good at it. Not fantastic, by any means, but I'm still better than the majority of the people there. For some reason a lot of little squirly guys who are scared out of their minds every time they have to tackle someone with the ball like to play. I even tried goalie last time, and wasn't scored on. Crazy fun.
Oh yeah, letters. Sorry about last week. I kind of feel like that whole Moroni/Pahoran thing, but it was nice to start to hear from you all again. I was going to count all the mail I got last week, but I forgot. Just as an indicator, though, last night I picked up the accumulative mail for the weekend (the mail room closes before Dear Elders come in on saturday, and no mail sunday) and I had two letters and twelve dear elders, most of which have two or more letters on them. They just print on the same paper as one continuous thing. Also, I got the two packages that the family and Julie sent, and I've very much appreciated them. However, there's so much junk food in there I don't know what to do with it. My roommates have all gotten similar packages, and we seriously have just been giving some of it away because there's no way.
I've also been working out a bunch, using some pushup bars to get better pushups, and done a bunch of pullups and dips. My arms are going to be beastly, let me tell you. I max myself out on all three excercises for three sets at least four nights a week, usually five or six. My reps have already gone way up. Basically I'm ripped. Or will be if I don't wimp out. Which I probably will.
Okay, only about ten minutes left, so let's get to the spiritual stuff. I really, really wish I could send you all my notes or just teach you some of the doctrines I've learned here. It's so fantastic. I've gotten so much inspiration here it's ridiculous. I'm also feeling the spirit in ways I didn't think I could before. Not that I didn't have it before, I'm just noticing it. If you can possibly look up a talk Elder Bednar gave at the MTC in June 2009, do it. He answers the question "How can I be sure it's the spirit prompting me, and not my own thoughts" absolutely perfectly. That's probably the most useful thing I've been taught since I've gotten here. If you can't find it, I'll try to summarize it in my next email. Another one you might want to check for is one given ten years or so ago by Elder Holland, again at the MTC. I think it's called "The Miracle of the Mission", and it's changed the way I've looked at my time here. This is the best time of my life, and I want to make sure that none of my shortcomings keep me from finding anyone who needs to hear this message. I know that this is the most important work I could possibly be doing, and so does everyone else here. The best part is, that knowledge is almost palpable. You can just feel that everyone is striving to become the kind of person they need to be to teach with the spirit. It's like everyone here is instantly more mature. Not actually mature, yet, but more so..
Dang it, I forgot to congratulate everyone on babies.. Congrats everyone!
Anyway, I have a challenge for all of you. I did this in my Book of Mormon class last semester, and it was awesome. Read through the book of Enos (1 chapter, don't worry) and analyze the steps Enos takes in praying. Really study it, and then set aside a time to actually pray as he did. Also, try and do it for at least fifteen minutes. I promise you all that as you do this sincerely, you will feel God's love for you and be closer to him. As you pray longer, you tend to really think about what you ask for and what you are grateful for, and there's no better way to feel his spirit. When I did this at BYU I went more than 45 minutes, just because of how it felt. So there you go. That's my challenge.
Okay, only two minutes left. I hope you've all enjoyed Toy Story 3, and you all have been doing well. It's so great to get letters about any random thing. I hear Steven's doing well with baseball, but he needs to learn what to do after bunting. Here's a hint I learned: RUN. Ha ha sorry I didn't get to everything I was going to, but I'm going to definitely try to outline it next week. Also, I can't upload pictures until I'm in the field. Sorry! But I'm taking a lot.
Love you all!