Below is the first letter we received from Tyler after dropping him off at the MTC:
Our Branch President let us write a letter this week but normally we are only supposed to write on P-day. I will have half an hour on P-days to send email so expect to get short emails only because it takes time to read and respond. I have taken a few pictures of my room and such but we can’t send pictures over the web. Instead they let us burn CDs and mail them home.
My companero and I are getting along just fine so far, his name is Elder Adamson and he is a Utah boy born and raised. It’s funny because sometimes he says goofy thinks about the world outside of Utah that make me laugh, like how he thought our wards were smaller because we don’t all live in the same subdivision.
My first day was pretty boring, most of the time we were waiting in one line or another, or listening to hours of orientation. We met our branch and there are ten of us total: 4 going to Quito, 3 going to Guayaquil North, and 3 going to Illinos spanish speaking. There are other Elders going to Ecuador but they are not in our branch so I haven’t gotten to meet them yet.
When my comp and I first started going around campus by ourselves it felt like everyone else knew exactly what to do and where to go, but later in the day we met our zone leaders and we realized they didn’t know much more than us and they have been here five weeks.
The food is good and there is lots to choose from but nobody has told me how much I need to eat or that I need to gain more weight in order to leave. Not that they need to tell me to eat, I’m always hungry and it seems like everything is high in calories. I have not seen Steven yet, I don’t think he has the same meal times I have so I don’t know if I will be able to find him.
As it turns out, the spanish hymn book was a good idea because they made everyone go buy one so that we could sing in spanish the first day. Mine looks better than everyone else’s so they are pretty jealous.
We have six dollars a week put onto our meal cards so that we can do laundry and buy materials at the book store. It doesn’t sound like much but everything is so discounted that it pays for everything we may need or want. So far I have bought a few odds and ends like some small note cards on a ring like what dad used on his mission and it has already been very helpful in learning the language.
Even though we have only been here a couple of days, they expect us to pray in spanish starting tomorrow. We are learning at a pretty brutal pace and sometimes I wonder how we will be able to keep it up for nine weeks, but I just figure that thousands have done it before me so why shouldn’t I be able to. One of my teachers is from Ecuador and it has been fun learning with him because I know that I am learning the spanish I will be speaking. He told us that some of the words we will use [in Ecuador] are considered curse words in Mexico and that when he first came to America, he offended a few people. He said he would teach us what words would be offensive to Mexicans so that we don’t have that problem when we come home.
Every Sunday we are expected to have a talk prepared in our mission language and then two missionaries will be picked during sacrament meeting to speak. At first I thought I would only have to prepare one talk but I learned that the topic changes every week so we will leave the MTC with nine talks in our mission language that we will be able to use. Its a good idea but it’s going to be difficult these first few weeks.
I wish I had brought pictures from home, it would have been a great thing to share with my comp, I have seen his pictures but I didn’t have any to show him. Anyway, everything is great here, I still can’t believe I’m out but for the most part I’m having a good time. I hope to hear from you soon and I hope you are doing well.
Les Quiero (I love you),
Today we dropped Tyler off at the MTC. It was an exciting and emotional time. All the women cried - mom, gammy, and sisters, except Andrea who could not understand why everyone was crying. Even dad got a little emotional (must be the influence of all those women). Click on the link below or the picture to the left to see the other photos from this historic event.