Here is the first letter:
I have been waiting all week to write this email to you all telling you about how everything is going! Things are going great. Thanks so much for the letters and emails you sent! I really like receiving them and I'm grateful that you guys have been writing to me. The first few days were pretty rough actually, kept wondering what am I doing here! I was meeting all these new people and when our teacher taught it was all in Swedish and I had no idea what was going on so it was pretty difficult just adjusting, I guess. The second day while doing language study with the teacher I was getting a little discouraged, just how difficult the language was for me and I felt like I was trying and working hard but learning Swedish was just so difficult!
We actually had to teach an investigator the third day we were here! If you can believe that. In SWEDISH! It was tough and finallyI realized that we had only been learning Swedish for TWO days and how amazing it was that we already knew all the Swedish we did know! So now every time I start to be discouraged about not being great at Swedish I can just remind myself that we haven't been here long and I just need to keep working hard. We have taught our investigator, named Jonathon (which you pronounce in Swedish Yonaton), in Swedish three times! The last time we taught him me and my companion forgot the MTC had given us Norwegian copies of the Book of Mormon and we had him read a verse and that was a slightly embarrassing/funny experience. In the same lesson Jonathon accidently bumped my companions foot (my companion's name is Elder Lundquist by the way and he's a great guy) and Elder Lundquist thought he knew how to say its ok but instead said forshoning, which means atonement...and then he said I mean varsogod, which means youre welcome! Hahahaha I was laughing so hard after the lesson. Its actually amazing how well the Swedish is going, truly an absolute blessing. I can already bear my testimony and say a prayer completely in Swedish just from memory/knowledge. I'm trying to learn more of the basic words so I can carry a basic conversation better and understand more fully what the person is saying. Its funny because when someone starts speaking Swedish it takes a second for my brain to sort of "switch" over to Swedish and I have to really concentrate to understand what they are saying, but like I said it is absolutely amazing the Swedish I know! The gift of tongues is such a wonderful blessing.
I guess I can talk about the food situation now. We are having cafeteria food and its actually really good food except either the food or sitting in a classroom all day isn't sitting very well in the stomach hahaha. But they have like 8 fountain drink machines (with diet coke! caffeine free, of course) and like 8 juice machines with like 8 flavors and a chocolate milk machine too, so all those are nice. Laundry we did for the first time today and it went well, wasn't difficult or anything so that's great news.
The living situation is also pretty good I suppose. I room with 5 other elders, who are all in my district and all going to Sweden and learning Swedish with me so we see a lot of each other but they're all pretty nice kids. My companion is named Elder Lundquist and he was actually called as district leader! I like him and he is from Pleasant Grove and a year older than me and spent the last year at UVU. He loves choir so thats a pretty good thing I took it in my last tri of high school. Another guy from my dorm is also a year older than me and after going to Highland he went to Utah last year so I like him and his mom grew up in Sweden.
Probably my favorite part of the MTC so far and it might be my favorite part of my mission is the personal study time, not only can I more effectively learn and study Swedish (I think at least) but it has been absolutely the greatest thing to just study and read the scriptures! I really love it and I thought that maybe each week I can share a tiny bit of what I studied that week. This week I really liked reading 2 Nephi 9, just read the whole chapter and ponder and think about what is said in the verses, its absolutely wonderful information.
Ok now for some funny stories from the week! This week I think I was able to see everyone who I knew was in the MTC. I actually saw Corey Garff a few times and he is going to South Korea, so that was cool because I hadn't seen him for like 4 years! I also saw another friend I had from the stake in Ann Arbor named Boone Slyvester, I think he lived in Ypsi. Also I recognized a guy I met from EFY a few years ago amazingly named Brady something...Also I saw 2 kids I knew from Brighton and one I took choir with and he actually sat in the row behind me at the choir practice me and my companion went to! Some interesting stuff of the week was that we went to choir practice and it was actually my companions choir teacher at institute in college who was leading and teaching the choir. It is really cool that every minute of every day is planned. It's nice to stay busy and not waste any time. I'll give you a brief idea of what my schedule is every day and week.
~exercise to around 8
And then Sundays are different I have lots of study time and priesthood, sacrament, and district meetings and then a devotional across the entire MTC that night and then an hour long church film
P-day aka the day I can email!! is
Mom could you send the giant pack of Swedish fish I got? It might still be in my car...slowly melting in the blistering heat...but I would love a package or something with that in it! and other packages I would accept too. :) Also I can only email once a week so if you want to tell me something it might be better through mail...anyway I love you all soooo much and miss you!