Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30, 2010

Hola! What an experience these past two weeks have been! It has been such a wonderful experience to be learning, studying, and improving while here at the Missionary Training Center.

Just so you all know, my sister Chelsea is posting excerpts from my emails, so don't worry--I am not out bloggin while on my mission!

But as far as learning Spanish is going, I am loving it so much! Everyday, I am speaking it all day, with rarely any English (we count our English words). I am really experiencing Heavenly Father helping me out with learning the language of Spanish. I just switched to the intermediate Spanish class, from the beginning, last week and so I got a new companion and new district. My new companion is Elder Hercules. He is 22, and he is such an awesome Elder; we are becoming such fast and close friends. We have been making goals in relation to learning how to learn the language better, teach better, learn the scriptures better, and serve those around us with a greater influence--all preparing us for our service in Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico. He is going there as well. We are progressing and having a marvelous experience in learning and feeling the Lord's spirit in our daily lives.

The experience so far is great. I know God wants me where I am now. My days are pretty much composed of Spanish lessons and study, Scripture lessons and study, teaching missionary lessons and study, and all this in Spanish. I am loving it. I don't have much time, so this week will be a little short post, I'll try to type more next week.

I know with all my heart that the work I am becoming acquainted with and engaged in is true. I know my Savior lives, and that my Father in Heaven loves me. This church I am serving for is the Lord's church; what a blessing it is in my life.

I love y'all!

Elder Palmer
Dear Mom,
(Also if you can can you forward this to other family members)

I am stressed out once again as the timer begins to click on 29 minutes and 14 seconds left. Please excuse my words if they come out as scrambled eggs.

Life is so wonderful right now! I am so grateful to be where I am! First off, I love Spanish. I love it; I love it; I love it. I am learning it pretty well--the past three days i have spoken under 30 words of English (discluding the evenings). I would love whoever can, Mom and Chelsea, etc., to write me in Spanish instead of English if you want to. I can testify, and I know that Heavenly Father is helping me with this language because I know I could never grow and progress to this point in such a short period of time. I feel like I am going to make wonderful progress by the time I leave the MTC. Speaking of leaving the MTC, my companion and I are going to fast for our visas and so we can know what Heavenly Father wants us to do while we are in the MTC. I am certain that from that fast I will understand what Heavenly Father wants me to learn before I get out into the field (and perhaps that means waiting a few more weeks for a visa).

My companion and I are best friends. Elder Hercules and I are getting along so great, and we have a better relationship than I thought was humanly possible in but a week. He is 22 and a wonderful Elder--we are setting our goals so high every day and every week, and I am certain we will accomplish great things and draw closer together and closer to our Father in Heaven during this wonderful experience and opportunity to be at the MTC. My new district and new class is awesome! Our district has a total variety of individuals, and we have become a closeknit family. We speak Spanish all the time. We aren't even allowed to say, "Como se dice..." We have to spell English things out in Spanish. One of my teachers is a Latino returned missionary--she is a powerhouse and pushes us so hard! The other is a sweet Elder who lovingly helps us improve and encourages us to live our testimony and make our testimonies central to our teaching.

A few random things. During a devotional on Sunday, I sat next to an Elder who before his mission was playing professional soccer for Chelsea! Like one of the best teams in England!!! I was like--awesome! Also, during gym time I have been pushing myself on my pushup record. The MTC keeps a record of the highest straight pushups, pullups, mile run time, etc., and I beat the MTC push up record. I did 143 push ups. My goal while I am here is to get 200 straight pushups so no one breaks my record for a long time.

Today, I just got back from the temple. I did proxy sealings as a child. It was a special experience, and a sweet feeling to be able to participate in that ordinance. I know with all of my heart and all of the conviction that is in me--from experience, feelings, observations, and witnesses of the Holy Spirit, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. That the church we are a part of is the Lord's church on the earth. More than anything, I know, I feel, and I believe that my dear Savior and friend lives. That Jesus Christ truly can help us overcome anything and become the best people that we can be. I am so grateful for the testimony that I have, and the gifts that Heavenly Father has given me to feel the sweet pricks of the Holy Ghost confirming my convictions. So often missionaries start talking about deep doctrine and things we will probably never know in this life, but I am so grateful that the uncertainties of this life are weighed completely down with the truths and precious doctrines that we do know. I know God is watching out for me right now, and I am grateful for that.

I hope that that isn't too short, I am stopping at 15 minutes, so that I can email Angela and Dad. Please show this email to Dad and others though! Thanks!

Question for you mom--what do you wish missionaries would do and/or learn during their time in the MTC?

I love you dearly! I think about you a lot, every night before I go to bed, but I certainly am as far from homesick as possible. I am soooo happy to be doing the work I am doing right now, and I can't wait to get out into the field. I love you mom! Miss ya! and miss the family tons too! You are all in my prayers.


Elder Palmer

November 23


With but a little time will i write this letter, so forgive any spelling errors or any situations shared with little detail. First off, I love you and miss you! Also, a few "housekeeping" items:
1) Bouncy balls--in order to improve memorization, many Elders are using bouncy balls, kind of random I know, but could you send me a couple sometime?
2)Mr. Mac--I have my other suit in for mending and dry cleaning. They said that it will take three weeks! And so, Mr. Mac hasn't quite sent the second pants to the new suit yet, which would be quite useful, so if you wouldn't mind could you call and see if they are sending those anytime soon?
3) Typhoid Shot--I had my typhoid shot done a couple days ago. I didn't know what you wanted me to do for payment, so I just said you'd call with your credit card ID number or something. So could you do that please?
4) My p-day is officially tuesdays, and instead of emailing, could you dearelder.com me while I am in the MTC? I know you and dad haven't done either yet, but I just wanted to let you know that dearelder would be perfect so that I can read it on a day other than p-day and write (not read) emails the whole time during my thirty minutes on p-day.
5) Last thing--sorry!--could you send me the mission office addresses of neils hazen, jordan mccullough, and david germann? And also the email addresses of everyone in our immediate family?

OK! Phew, I wanted to get all the things that I was worrying I would forget off my belt at first. So let me know if you have any concerns or anything about any of them. I would appreciate any help with those though.
Now down to business. This past week has been marvelous. I am so grateful and soooo excited to be here in the MTC and preparing to be out in the field. I arrived to the MTC and got my first companion, Elder Erickson (going to Mexico City South mission), and my two other roomates were going to my mission! Woot! So that was great! Elder Erickson was pretty homesick, particularly for his girlfriend, so we did a lot of talking about how amazing and helpful our missions will be for the rest of our lives. We became really close, and had a lot of tender experiences feeling the Spirit and receiving revelation for our companionship together.

However, last Friday, I tested out of beginning Spanish and was placed into Intermediate Spanish. Another one of my roomates did the same, but neither of us found out what was going to happen until Monday. And so on Monday, they pulled us out of our normal class and then took us straight to the intermediate. The other roomate that tested out of beginning with me is Elder Hercules (I know awesome huh?). He is going to my mission, and we are really becoming close friends (he is now my new companion). He is 22 and is a wonderful Elder with a sweet yet strong testimony. We have been sharing a lot of our testimonies with different principles of the Gospel together these past few days, and have really created a strong bond. So, I got him as my companion on Monday, and it was in some ways sad leaving Elder Erickson and the other roomate, our district, and our teachers, but I am sure that intermediate Spanish is where we need to be to progress and that it is where the Lord wants us. In beginner, I knew almost every vocab word and grammar principle they taught, so I wasn't progressing at all but I was able to help others in our district. But now, from the first second in intermediate, we are speaking Spanish all day every day, except P-day, gym time, and after 945 PM. So in two days I have learned tons! Our companionship in some ways is a threesome. Me, Elder Hercules, and my Spanish dictionary haha. The Lord is really helping me out with Spanish, and I feel like at this rate my companion and I will be able to say anything we want to in Spanish in any tense or conjugation in but a couple of weeks. So, I barely know my new district, but I am so excited to get to know them. One of them is a REALLY strong convert of two years, and I LOVE talking with him. I am so grateful to be here.

This first letter I am sure is all over the place. I will get better about organizing my thoughts before hand with this limited time I have. But, I don't have time to write a seperate email, so if you could show this to Dad and Chels that would be awesome!

So a ton has happened. I am now (as of two days) in a new district and in a new companionship. But, now I will be set in one place for 8 weeks at least. Hurrah! But anyway, I just want you and Dad and anyone else in our family you forward this to know that I love you. I want you all to know that I have a burning testimony and burning witness that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and every day I am feeling closer to Him. Despite any opposing arguments or evidence, I know that this church we are a part of is true. I have had countless pricks from the Holy Spirit telling me and testifying to me that these things are true. Every day, more tender mercies of the Lord are manifest around me. I am ecstatic, enthralled, yet humbled to have this sacred responsibility to be a missionary. I am having so much fun, but even more spiritual growth while I am immersed in the language, scriptures, and missionary life here at the MTC. I went to the Temple today, and I am reminded of the beautiful and real plan that our Father in Heaven has set for us. I am so glad and grateful that He loves us so much.

So quick recap:
Language--going amazing! I knnow way more than I though, and am learning more than i thought was possible in this short abmount of time
Spiritual--some of the most tender and amazing expereiences in my life so far
Comapanion--old and new amazing!!!!!

I love you dearly,
Elder Palmer

P.S. I will write a lot more, and try to do more detail next time, but the timer is on like under a minute so I need to go now!!!

Please dearelder me!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going on a Mission

Tomorrow I leave for my mission! I am so excited for this opportunity to serve; I have been preparing, waiting, and dreaming of this experience ahead of me my whole life. While I know I will grow personally in many ways, I also know that more importantly others' lives will be blessed and changed as they embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my call as a missionary and a representative of my Lord, Savior, and best friend, Jesus Christ. I am humbled and thrilled to serve my God all day everyday, as an instrument in His hands. I will be serving the people I will be around in many ways, teaching them about Christ and His gospel, helping them find happiness and meaning to their lives, and working hard to assist and serve them in any way possible.

My sister, Chelsea, will be posting my letters and photos from my mission on this blog. I will share experiences as well as feelings and impressions. On the side bar, there will always be my current address that anyone can send letters to. I will appreciate any letters and do my best to respond!

This message I am bringing to the people of Mexico means everything to me. I know with all of my heart and with every part of my mind that there is a God; He lives and He loves us. I believe that despite the trials and difficulties of this life, which so often seem unfair, God has a plan for us. And that plan is a plan of joy, of happiness, a plan of peace. The center of this plan, the way it is made possible, is through God's Son, our Savior and dear friend, Jesus Christ. Even though I don't know about every day when Christ walked on the earth, I know He was here, that He died for us, and that He lives again today. I am certain that through His perfect life, example, and suffering for us, we can be cleansed of our mistakes. That we can be strengthened to reach our potential and have true joy and peace. After I die, I have the utmost assurance that I am not going to disappear or vanish, but return to live with my Father in Heaven. Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to know that we have a God and a Savior who have a plan for us. God did restore the fullness of His gospel to the earth through a prophet a couple centuries ago in America. And that the Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ), coupled with the Bible, are the word of our Father in Heaven, and can help confirm to us that this gospel is true. I am no scripture scholar, but I have read, pondered, prayed, and received a sweet confirmation that those books are true. The authority and power of God is fully rested on His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Time and time again a serene confirmation has come over me that the things I have testified of are true. I know these things are true. I am ever grateful for them; they have changed my life and will continue to do so. I cannot wait to share this with anyone that I can as a missionary for my God.