Monday, December 23, 2013

"...I'm dying of heat".

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Feliz Navidad! I am having my first christmas where I am dying of heat. It is 38 degrees celcius. If anyone cares to translate that to farrenheit feel free but it feels like its in the 90´s. Life as a missionary is still the same reguardless of what day it is though except on christmas eve and christmas we only get to work from 3-6 because the calles arent going to be that safe, but dont worry mom I´m totally fine. I havent been in danger once. 

On saturday we had the Argentine version of follor the star for our barrio. It was with all the little kids del barrio! it was so funny to see all of them all dressed up. Matias, a kid we are teaching who I am baptizing this coming friday, was Joseph which was pretty legit. Its funny how the Church is the same everywhere in the world! 

Its kinda a bummer because this week has been kinda slow because of the holidays, and the next one will be even slower, which I am kinda mad about but its all good. I get to skype my family which will be awesome! We spent a lot of the week visiting members that don´t go to church very often and inviting them to the ward party and sharing a message with them.

A funny thing that happened this week is we were clapping doors and we came across an old lady doing yard work. I went up to her y said, " Quiere ayuda?" but I guess either i said it with a really bad gringo accent or she didn´t hear very well because she was old, so she didnt hear. I said it again louder and i guess she got freaked out so she hurried into her house and lopcked the door. My companion said she probably thought I was going to rob her. I felt so bad but looking back its pretty funny. Also I saw my first bearded lady. I was walking down the street and without paying to much attention said hola to some people on the street and one of them called out to me so I stopped to talk and the lady had straight up 5 o´clock shadow. I´m not even going to have that much facial hair for like 5 years.

I had a cool expierience this past week. Elder Silar and I have been amping up my spanish training and speaking basicaly in only spanish. We were on a bus to a meeting and he just says to me I want you to go talk to that lady by yourself and teach her before we get off the bus. so pretty much i just walked across the bus and sat next top her and asked her about herself a little and taught her about the  restoration. It was intense because she had a lot of questions because she was hard core evengelista. I was actually able to answer them pretty well and teach effectively. I just said what came to my mind and it was pretty cool. Elder Silar told me after he thought i definitly was going down but he said that I did really well. Thats the spirit ast work because without help I probably would have crashed and burned.

Well I want to wish all of you a merry christmas, and I want you to remeber the true meaning or Christmas. I feel like this Christmas will be a lot more meaningful. Everyday I am here and everytime I teach sombody about our savior my love for him grows. I would like all of you to remember Jesus Christ this christmas and remember what he has done for us. By remebering him and keeping him in your thoughts it is possible to experience true peace and happiness that can only come from him ( John 14:27 I think).  If anybody would like to grow closer to our savior or expiereince this peace or joy more abundantly in your life I´m sure that there are two missionaries just like me that are serving in your area that would love to help you experience that peace more abundantly.

I love you all! Feliz Navidad!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Monday, December 16, 2013

"I'm getting into the swing of things..."

Hola mi familia y mis amigos,
Como anda? Hows life back in the States? Everything down here is great. I am getting into the swing of things and am really enjoying myself down here. Right now im sure some of my friends are up at college, or will be back at college after the holidays, and will be freezing your butts off. I am on the bottom of the world right now where it is summer. Its is so hot and humid all the time here and then randomly a huge thunderstorm will come out of nowhere in an hour and be gone just as fast. It is pretty cool to see but not so fun to ride around in. I am getting a pretty sick missionary tan. Que bueno!

Argentina is awesome as always. One of my favorite things is the trash fires. A lot of people get impatient waiting for the trash man to come so they just take their trash out to their front yard and light it on fire. I love when I am riding real hard and get to take a nice breath of trash fire. En serio, Argentina is awesome though. La Plata, the city i am in has a tradition of building these giant dolls and then on new years they load them with dynamite and blow them up. hopefully im not lockied in the pench and get to see it!  One thing that is funny is that all entertainment down here is American. All the disney channel stuff that my sister watches, songs from back home, and movies. A lot of the munecas for blowing up are minions from despicable me. 

The other day I got to teach sombody about the gosple while their neighbors were blasting the song "wrecking ball" by Miley Cyrus. Never thought i would get to do that! As far as the work goes it has been going well. We have 2 new families that we are teaching that i feel will progress in their faith really fast. They are looking to help their families and that is just what this gosple is for! To bless families by having more hapiness and unity in this life and being together forever in the life to come! I have really learned the importance of working with members in the church. All you members do your home teaching and invite all your friends to come and see for themselves. There is a really good talk by president Uctdorf from this past octobers general conference from the saturday morning session. Read it! 

Its weird that I am going to be away from home for my first christmas but I will be with you in spirit! I love you all!

Elder Tyler Whitaker
(below are some excerpts of Ty's letter to me and Brent.  He is answering some of my questions about various things including the police strikes and rioting happening all over Argentina last week...)

I miss you guys so much! its hard to believe that christmas is next week! I have some good plans though and I{m super excited to talk to you guys! I hope all is well with all of you! Trey Ill be praying for you with your surgery! I know you will be fine! I am doing well out here. Everything is going well and im getting into the swing of things. I dont feel so overwhelmed anymore and am enjoying myself a lot despite working 16 hours a day. funny how that works! I hope everything is well with all of you I have been praying for each of you! dad i finally got your dear elders! i cut out that speach from vince lombardi and put it in my journal. I miss they Boys club pow wows con smoothies tambien. those were some good times!La plata is the only city in our mission where the police are not on strike so im chillin and fine but we are taking precaution and getting back to the pench by dark every night so dont worry momma i am fine! I love youI am good! i got mail today and on wednesday so it is super nice to hear from everybody! i miss peanut butter but i am doing well. our lunch bailed on us yesterday so i actually cooked and made spaghetti. Im sure you are super proud of me. My comp got bitten a couple days ago so we are breaking out the daser today and having some fun hahha

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Argentina is awesome and crazy at the same time..."

The market a few blocks from "home"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Como anda? I hope all is well with each one of you. Its is funny how random things down here will remind me of times with friends and family. It has been two months since i said goodbye to all of you! Crazy stuff. sometimes it feels like nothing and sometimes it feels like an eternity! Well Argentina is awesome and crazy at the same time!

A little about my daily life...
This is "La Plata".  I am on the outskirts of this city.
So I am on a bike so thats kinda fun and I get to see a lot of awesome things that i would never see in the states. The little kids here are awesome! They just run around and do whatever they want and are so funny (except when they throw rocks at me). They just throw fireworks around and blow stuff up and I can´t help but think thats what me and my buddies would be doing if we lived down here hahaha. There are wild dogs everywhere! some of them are kinda cute and some look like zombies from wouunds and mutations from drinking from the sankas (open sewage ducts). I was going to try to keep count of how many times i got chased but i lost track like the third day because it happens all the time. One of my buddies got his pants ripped open the first day here! I kicked my first dog yesterday. There was a particularly persistant one chasing me so while I was riding I donkey kicked it in the face and it stopped. I felt pretty legit after. For all you people out there that think that that was mean. Lo siento Its either that or get bitten hahaha. Its always either super hot or raining too so thats always fun. There was a big storm and it took out water and power for a couple days so that was a fiesta!

We have been working this area super hard! We went from having 2 people we were teaching my first day here to over 10 now which is pretty good! we had another baptism on saturday which was a super good experience and another either this saturday or next saturday. The next one chose me to baptize him so that is super cool! We have also been bringing some families back to church that weren't going. We have had some super spiritual lessons with some people. Yesterday one of them asked for a blessing and my comp looked at me and said, "Elder Whitaker can" ( for those of you who read my blog that aren´t LDS, one of the fundemental beliefs of our church is that, just as in past times and in the church Christ established on the earth, we have a living prophet and the power and authority of God just as they did in the bible. Because of this, I have the authority to give blessings). So here i am just barely grasping the language and trying to speak the words she needs to hear. At first it was shaky and I even gave a little bit in english because she said I could because she would still be blessed whether it was in english or spanish, but then the spirit started working through me and for me it was a miracle. From that point on it was in perfect spanish and I was blessing her to understand and expirience certain things that I hadn´t even thought that she needed in her life. I recieved revelation for what she needed and it was amazing to me.

As a missionary I am here to serve. A lot of people think when they see the shirts, ties, and name badge, that we are just preachers but we are here to serve. Everything we do is motivated by our desire to help and bless the lives of the people around us. We teach and share our unique message to the world under that umbrella of service. I know personally that is why I am here, because I and my family have been greatly blessed by this message that families can be together forever, God speaks to the world today through prophets, and having knowledge of "where we came from?" "why we are here on earth?" and "where we are going?". I want all to be able to recieve these blessing into their home. Sorry I got sidetracked but anyway we have been going around offering service to people who look like they need it. My favorite thin i have done so far is dig a well! its going to be 5 meters deep and I´m pretty sure around 6ft is like 2 meters but don´t quote me on that. Its pretty legit. When I go back I´ll take a picture! 

Well my castellano gets better everyday. Its so awesome to go back and visit somebody that I didnt understand last week and be able to talk with them. I am getting the hang of it with the Lord´s help. Keep praying though because I´m not fluent yet!  Everybody talks in their own way so some people i can understand perfect and others i walk out of the house saying "I have no idea what they were trying to tell me".  But it gets better every day. I cant wait till im fluent though! I need a Latino comp! we had splits the other day and I had a latino all day and I got through the day fine but I really see how much that would help me learn faster. I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting the other day and the members who didn´t know me thought i had been out a couple months so thats good!

Well I think that about covers my adventures for the week down here! write me dear elders and stuff because I miss hearing from all of you! Nos vemos!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Monday, December 2, 2013

This week has been really good and really challenging!

Hola everybody!

Today I have super short time because my comp scheduled an appointment during email time but I will try to fit in as much as I can. 

This week has been really good and really challenging! I dont know where to start! well for starters when I got here I didn´t know castellano so I could understand like nobody but it gets better everyday. There are people that i had appointments with the first couple weeks that i understood none of, that this week I can understand and communicate with without having to ask them to repeat too much!

We had a baptism this week of a little girl named Jazmin. So awesome! It was amazing to see her face after she got baptized. It was also awesome to see her family. The gosple is truly for families to help them be happy on this earth and to be together for eternity! so amazing!

Two days ago I was riding around clapping doors on my bike and a group of like ten 11-13 year olds started throwing rocks at me, so thats always fun. Now I have a good story to tell at parties right? hahaha as Christ says in the sermon on the mount, blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake!

Ty's a missionary!!
My companion is pushing me which is good. He has been making me lead all of the lessons and stuff and makes me think of how to say stuff and won´t help me with words which has been challenging but it has helped me a lot. The other two elders in our barrio got taken to another area because another area needed missionaries so I have double the area and double the work now which is good! just really tiring because our area is about 100x45 blocks. long way to ride. We have 2 baptisms coming up that should happen on friday so that will be good!

got to go!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

P.s my spelling and stuff is probably really bad because this keyboard doesnt have all buttons working.
Ty, Elder Silar, and Jazmin on baptism day!!
Ty admiring this cool "swag wagon"

Monday, November 25, 2013

"I have never been pushed so hard..."

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos!!!

Well im in Argentina. It is so crazy here. I love it. I have never been pushed so hard as now, being thrust into another culture and being expected to integrate and thrive. It has been so crazy but an awesome expirience. Its a good thing I have God with me or I probably would be dead from exhaustion or something. I don´t even know where to start this letter so I will just write stuff as it comes to my mind...

Well I arrived in Buenos Aires after a whole day of traveling. Then we, me and the rest of the greenies, got on a bus and got shipped out to the mission home in Banfield. A lot of the pics I took are of the city on my drive to Banfield. Once at the mission home we got to kinda chill. We all got interviews from the mission president, President Thurgood, and then we had an awesome lunch! pizza and empenadas. Can´t go wrong with that. I should have Cherished it a lot more but I´ll explain more about that later. Then we got assigned Trainers and Areas. My companion is Elder Silar. He is from Colorado and has been out a little over a year and a half. He is going to be a good trainer. He knows his stuff. He told me straight up the other day that he is just going to keep pushing me so that I can be ready to run an area in 6 weeks, instead of the typical 12 you get trained for. I guess there is the possibility that he is going to get reassigned a new area next transfer so I need to know the area and the people. Que Fuerte! Well as for my Area... I am serving on the outskirts of the city La Plata, in a barrio called Villa Montoro (I´m sure you guys could look it up on google maps). It is down south a little ways from the main city of Buenos Aires. It took 5 hours on the busses and trains to get to our Pench.

our Pench (pension-place where we stay) is... yeah I dont really know how to describe it. Its Me, Elder Silar, and the missionaries from Villa Montoro B, Elder Rios from peru and Elder Corry another Greenie. I love Elder Rios and Elder Correy. Elder Rios is so funny hahaha he reminds me of Trey a little. Everything leaks but I do have running water and a shower. Its not always hot though. Its like 3 blocks from the chappel so its pretty nice. The food... well its awesome when I have it. Argentina is weird in the fact that their only real meal is lunch. Breakfast and dinner are practically non-existant. Ladies, I dont think you will have to worry to much about me gaining a lot of weight hahaha. Pretty much for breakfast I have a bowl of Copos de Maiz, otherwise known as cornflakes, lunch I will have either this type of fried chicken called milanesia or chicken and noodles and some red sauce, and for dinner I typically heat up 3 not real hot dogs and eat those with some picante sauce and a piece of bread. Its a feast. 

My area is kinda a campo(field). I am one of the few areas that has bikes becasue i have such a large area to cover. my legs are getting pretty jacked. There are just horses in the street sometimes so its pretty cool. It is a realy pretty area.  As far people I love them. Villa Montoro B kinda took all the peeple we were teaching but we have been finding more and we have two baptisms coming up on December 7th. Gabriel, a 9 year old, and Matias, a 10 year old that reminds me of my cousin Diego. I have to say my favorite part about my area and Argentina in general is the kids. The other day we were looking for members on the registry that we hd never met before. They dont have addresses here so pretty much you go to the block and clap doors( yes clap. you dont knock on doors here) and ask to find people. We were clapping a door and some kids came out. I showed them some tricks with my watch and a picture of my family and long story short, I pretty muched just played with the 3 kids for like 30 min while my comp taught the mom about the Book or Mormon and now they are coming to church on sunday. Score! the  kids reminded me of my brothers and sister. Its so hard seeing kids like that cuz it makes me homesick, or seeing babies because it makes me think about how you, Mom, would be picking them up and playing with them and talking in that voice you always make to babies hahaha. I´ll survive though haha. 

Ok well just as predicted...I don´t know what people are saying. In the MTC I learned spanish and it was with a bunch of other gringos. Here they speak Castellano (pronounced casteshano). and they speak way fast. pretty much my first night we had a cita and the lady started talking to me and i was just like ´´what´´. I didn´t understand half of what she said. It is getting better and I can kinda participate in coversations but it is way hard. I am trying though and I guess I am doing well according to other people but pretty much its going to feel like a really long road till I´m fluent.

Well I love you all and miss you so much. I hope all is well back home! Also as far as mail since im kinda out here I will get it once every 6 weeks when I go to transfers becasue since lack of addresses I cant recieve mail directly but dont stop to write because it will be like christmas when I get to read them. ¡Hasta Luego! 

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Well, I'm headed to Argentina for sure...

Hola Familia!

Well, I’m headed to Argentina for sure.  I’m so excited.  I miss all of you so much.  I’m wrapping up my last week at the MTC.  I’m a zone leader so I’m pretty busy but it is a good time.  I have a lot of good guys in my zone that  I am going to miss, but the MTC is a good time.  I have gotten to talk to Elder Barton a lot here which has been fun.  The Spanish is going well and I’m learning.  I can definitely feel your prayers behind me.

So how’s the family doing?  How are my little pandas (our dogs).  Only 1 more month until I get to skype them.  Haha just kidding momma!

I haven’t gotten to hear from my little bros or sis in awhile.  I don’t know how long written mail takes to get to Argentina but definitely shoot me an email or a “Dear Elder”!

Dad, I miss you a lot, and all of your advice has really helped me out here.  You are such a great role model.  The ball hasn’t always taken the right bounces for you but you never quit and continue to work hard and that is something I have been applying to my mission.  I love you Dad!

Momma, I miss you so much and I love all the letters!  Way good idea to forward my friends letters so I have time to read them!  Thanks for being such a great mom to me.  You have really helped me prepare for this.  The only bad thing is that you were such a great mom, and I miss you so much!  There are some nights after a long day I just want to give you a hug.  You are so strong.  I know that you don’t want to have to be strong but just know that as you are faithful God will be your strength.  I pray for you everyday and those are worth double because I am a missionary. (haha).

How is Grandma doing?  I just got her letter yesterday so tell her thank you, and I hope she is doing well.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to write her this Pday, but I’m going to try on the plane to Atlanta!

Laney, I miss you!  I don’t have anyone to throw lemons at up here!  No fun!  I miss playing Stratego with you!  Maybe if you practice at beating Trent & Trey you might be able to beat me... key word, might... haha J

Well, I love you all so much, Trent & Trey, don’t be offended you aren’t in here because you got personal letters from me.  You better save those. Haha!

Well, I’m doing great here and soon I’ll be doing great on the other side of the world!  God is with me and helping me every step of the way!  I love you!

Con Amor,

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not easy, but a sacrifice we're willing to make...

This is a blog about the adventures of my son, Elder Tyler Whitaker, while on his 2 year mission to Buenos Aires South, Argentina.  He is a great son, and brother, and we love him, and miss him fiercely everyday.  But we're also proud of the wonderful person he is, and grateful for the man he is becoming...,  At an age where most are self centered, he is putting his hopes and dreams aside for 2 years, while he serves Heavenly Father, and the people in South America.  We drove him to the airport on October 9, and said goodbye...

...My last email from America!

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos!

At Provo Temple with companions
Well this is my last email from America! I got my travel plans and I leave the MTC at 6 on monday and I will land In Buenos Aires at 8:00am the next day. I'm so stoked right now! Stoked and a little scared but mostly stoked! I will be leaving the coldness in Utah and going to the beginning of summer in Argentina which isn't to shabby! Well this week has been a good one! Lots of things happening and keeping me busy! My district is now the oldest in the Zone! Que Fuerte! I felt like I was just getting off the bus and looking at the zone leaders and being like dang they are so experienced! Now thats me. My friends in the older district are gone now and mis companeros and I are now the Zone leaders. Pretty weird. I miss the old district though! I made some good friends in there and it was sad to see them go! I got to see some friends and make some friends this week though! I saw Elder Wyatt Corbin for the last time on sunday before he left for mexico, I got to spend some more time with one of my best friends Elder Jared Barton and I got to talk to one of my new friends I made just before i left Hermana Jordy Zimmerman! I love seeing friends in the MTC just because it is so cool to see the change that happens with us together and to know that I'm not the only one leaving my whole life behind! Its so awesome!

I learned a lot to. My companions and I are at the point where we can communicate and arent fumbling over our words to bad, we arent Shakespeares but we can communicate which is a miracle in itself. But now that we are able to communicate we have really been working on our teaching ability. It was super frustrating and humbling to me to not be able to teach a good lesson for my life. we weren't progressing with those we were teaching at all and it made me so mad. As I went throughout the week I really humbled myself and realized that I was trying to rely to much on my own abilities and not on the help of God. I truly realized that on my own I am weak. As we went through the week though we really targeted what we needed to do and let the spirit work through us and we saw a miracle in how our teaching changed. If we are humble God truly will help us overcome our trials and help us succeed. Im glad to have learned this lesson now before I get to Argentina. I am so lucky to have such great teachers like Hermana Gibson and Hermano Serrato! They have the spirit with them so strong and I hope to be able to become like them during my mission.

Its going to be so crazy being on the other side of the world in less than a week. It seems so far away. If you look on the globe I'm on the exact opposite side of the world of one of my best buddies, Elder Max Moncur! Start digging Max hahaha! The toilets will flush the opposite way and it will be summer. It will be a fun little jump to get two summers in a row! I miss all of you and wish you all the best! Write me! If you write me at the MTC now it wont get to me for a while... so send me a Dear Elder, email me, of send a letter down to argentina. there is also this thing called pouch mail where you send a letter to Salt Lake and then the Church will send it down to me. I will have my mom get instructions for that up! Well, Hasta Luego! Next time you hear from me I'll be in Argentina!

Con amor, Elder Tyler Whitaker

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"...3 days shy of a month in paradise".

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Ty & Jared Barton (a buddy he has grown up with)
Como le va? I hope everything is going well! I am just 3 days shy of a month in paradise! If you count paradise as working as hard as you can 16 hours a day to learn Spanish and how to teach people. As hard as it is I'm loving it. I have been working as hard as I can and its nice to see some of the results start coming in. I can't tell you how cool it is to understand what people are saying to you, what you are reading, and what you are singing, after all this hard work I have put in! It is so amazing to see results. I have been having a good time in the MTC!

Its starting to get cold up here. I has snowed on us a couple times but it hasn't stuck to the ground yet. Gym time when we play basketball out hands are so frozen that dribbling is like hitting the ball with a 2x4. We still have a fun time at Gym though. Yesterday we took a break from basketball for the day to play some volleyball and it got pretty intense. We have some pretty good athletes in my zone so we were going all out! It reminded me of this summer at Newport beach having all those beach volleyball games and getting super jacked up whenever anybody scored a point. Half the fun was just going crazy after a point. I felt like how you, Trent, are everyday in the house hahaha.  Definitely a good stress reliever. I'm not going to lie I'm kinda jealous of the weather back home. Mom, your letter about the beach and Trey your pics of you getting shacked you drew didn't help hahaha. But keep those letters coming! I love them! Its a good thing that I am out of here in just 2 weeks! If all goes well with visa stuff for Argentina in two weeks I will be down at the beginning of an Argentino summer! That will be weird!

I changed companions again. Now I'm in a trio with Elder Baum, from Harreman Utah, and Elder Hegerhorst, from Napa Idaho. We get a long pretty well so that is good! We work well together. Our district is definitely the most disciplined and it shows which is good! This week I got to see some friendly faces which is always nice! They moved everybody spanish speaking down to the west campus so since that has happened I have gotten to see Elder Jared Barton, Elder Wyatt Corbin, and Sister Dapper. I don't know how many more times I will get to see Elder Corbin because he is out of here next week! I got a chance to talk with Elder Barton which was super fun. We were talking about how weird it is that just 4 months ago we were at the river messing around and doing dumb stuff from the odds game, and now we are missionaries. Not that we don't still play the odds game. I got my whole zone going on it now. We have had some good ones. Probably the best is when this Elder had to drink coke, chocolate milk, and salt and pepper. That was fun. For those of you who don't know the odds game... you can think of anything that wont cause physical harm and ask somebody what are the odds they do it. somebody gives odds, lets say 1/5, and then you count to 3 and then say a number between 1 and, in this case, 5. If you guess the same number then the person has to do whatever you challenged them to do. It is way fun and with me and all of my buddies on missions in on 5 of 7 continents right now.

Don't worry, I do more than mess around up here though. This is hard work. I have 16 hour days every day. I study spanish and the scriptures around 10 hours a day. Since my district is so small now we just absorbed all the people that were being taught by two companionships. We teach 4 investigators a day all in spanish. You can see how hard we must be working and how much the Lord has blessed us for our work when you can see that we can teach 4 people in their own language about the gospel and have them understand. It is so amazing for me to be able to understand what people are saying to me, what I'm reading, and what I'm singing. It has been such hard work but the reward is so awesome! My testimony grows everyday about the truth of the message I have been called to share with the world. Life is so hard but as I have been able to simplify life and look at it through a spiritual lens it is so amazing. Family, its really hard hearing every week about some of the trials you go through and I wish more than anything that I could just do something to help you. But, Mom, it has been amazing to see in your letters your faith. That has been what I have been praying for specifically for you is to have the faith to overcome the obstacles and when you look past the obstacles we have been truly blessed as a family and individually. How lucky are we to have the family we have? I read a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants section 100:1. It felt like it was talking to me about my family. I know God is our father in Heaven and loves us all. I know Christ is our savior and redeemer, I know that prophets guide us today like they have in the past, I know that families can be together forever, and I am so glad to share this message. 
Yo se que esas cosas son verdaderas.

I love you all and hope you write me. Letters take a long time to get here and I only have 2 weeks left so it might be better to send me a dear elder. Hasta Luego!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time is flying and I'm halfway done (at MTC). What the heck?

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Week 3 has been crazy for me here! Its so hard to believe that it has already been this long. time is flying and I'm half way done. What the heck? There have been some awesome things and some not so awesome things this week so I will just go where my memory takes me.

Well first off my companion had to go home which was a huge bummer. Me and Elder XXXX were super tight lacrosse buds and we worked really well together. He went home at the beginning of the week. He is a super good guy though and he will be back for sure. I already told him that once he gets down to Argentina I am training him. I will see him again. I got a new companion, Elder XXXXX. He is a little harder to work with but it is a good experience for me to get used to working with people with other styles. It will be good in the long run. He is actually going to serve in the Long Beach Spanish speaking mission so some of you guys down in southern california might run into him. 

My spanish is coming along really well. I have been really blessed to pick it up as fast as I have. I can go whole lessons and classes without needing to use english and I understand most of what my teachers are saying. I am just amazed to look at where I was a few weeks ago. Don't worry I'm not getting to cocky because I know that as soon as I get down to Argentina with the natives speaking castellano (the argentine dialect of spanish)  I will be back at square one. I know that it is possible to learn fast though which is what I am excited about! 

The oldest district left for mexico yesterday so now my district is the 2nd most senior. It feels kinda weird because I remember when I got here the guys in then place I am in now seemed so old! The younger district  ask me for advice and I forget how I felt, because in my mind I'm like I don't know I'm just 18. The guys asking me some of them are like 21 hahaha its kinda weird to me. I will have you all know that for the first time I shaved twice in the same week. pretty impressive right?

I was walking around the west campus the other day and I heard applause. I look over and it is the BYU vs Boise game. I know because from in front of my apartment you can see the mega tron. It made me a little home sick. I thought of all my friends that were personally in the stadium just a couple hundred yards away and I could picture my dad and my brothers all watching it together! So weird! 

Don't think I'm homesick though. I miss my life but I would choose no other place than right here to be! I am so happy here. I don't know why because I am tired all the time and just sit in a class room but I know this is where I'm supposed to be. Its so exciting to understand spanish, its so exciting learning how to teach and it is so exciting to spread this message of happiness! I can't wait to get to Argentina and start serving them for real!

I have amazing teachers. Hermano Serrato who is from mexico city but is a student at BYU and Hermana Gibson who served in Spain. They have taught me so much and are constantly punching me to get better. Just when i start to feel comfortable in spanish they amp up the toughness on me which is just what I need. They are super cool!

Well I can't think of anything else I didn't tell you so I hope all is well for all of you and hope to hear from all of you. Letters are the best. Thank you so much to those of you that have taken time to write me! I love you all and you are all in my prayers.

Hasta Luego

Elder Tyler Whitaker

It was a heck of a lot better this week!

Elder Whitaker with Elder Wyatt Corbin and Elder Jimmy Jacobs .... Friends from home !

Hola mi Familia y Amigos!

I have successfully completed week two at the MTC relatively unscathed. It was a really good week! I feel like me and my district made some big strides and things are coming along. At first I was getting really mad at myself for not being able to teach perfectly in Spanish but we had a really good message on Wednesday. One of the things that stuck to me was that he whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. I was chosen to go to Argentina and teach people in Spanish and I know that as long as I put in my best effort God will help me with the rest. One of the things my Dad showed me before I left was a scripture in Timothy I'm pretty sure. It is Paul talking and he says, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." I have made it my goal to be able to say that to myself every night as I go to sleep and at the end of my mission. If I can do that, God will take care of the rest. I know that is true and I can see the outcome here in the MTC. How else would I be able to understand people's problems and teach them my beliefs in just 14 days. I'm not perfect yet, but I find myself being able to comprehend all these complex statements when people are describing events and problems in their life and it is amazing to me! 

Well life at the MTC... It was a heck of a lot better this week. I didnt feel like I was going to die of exhaustion every night which, I think, means I'm adapting. Gym time is awesome. Dad, I know you would be proud of my if you saw me play basketball up here. I went 10/10 in a free throw contest and it reminded me of how we would always sit out there and shoot and you would always be counting off my percentage and then you would go like a machine and drain every one. I felt like you hahaha. One of the bad things though is that I am at west campus so when I say Gym, I really mean a parking lot in front of the apartments with some basketball hoops. I don't even that that much. The real kicker is that gym is at 7am and it is freezing. My hands always feel like icicles after gym time, but I still love it. My companion, Elder Davis, is a pretty good athlete too and we have some guys in our zone that can ball so we have some good games!

On Teusday there was a devotional and guess who it was? Dallin H. Oaks! It was so sick to hear him speak! It was a really good message! Also because I got to go up to main campus and I saw Elder Wyatt Corbin,Elder Jimmy Jacobs! That was sweet to see them! Also while I have been here I have got to see and talk with Elder Clay Coleman a lot which is always a good time. He left today though for Singapore so I guess we will have some more good talks in 2 years! Also I saw Sister Amanda McHennry, my best buddy Zak's cousin and that was pretty cool but she left today as well. I cant wait till some more people I know get here and I heard they are moving all spanish down to the west campus so I will get to see all you spanish speakers coming in! One of the funny things that happened to us this past week was that one of the toilets just started flooding so that was a party. Luckily we figured how to stop it. Gotta love the MTC.

Well I love all of you guys and miss you all so much! I really appreciate the letters! keep them coming! And for those of you who haven't written me, you should. I found out it takes a lot longer than I thought for mail to come back and forth so I am going to have my mom put up some Dear Elder instructons because I can get those instantly and I'm pretty sure its free. Well all is well and I hope the same is true for all of you back home. Its a sacrifice to give two years of your life but I would have it no other way. There is nothing I would rather be doing. Its weird to think that I am starting week 3 of 6 at the MTC and then it is off to Argentina where the real adventures with start! I can't wait to get out there and serve the people of Argentina. Hasta Luego!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Thursday, October 17, 2013

So life in the MTC? ain´t easy!

Hola Familia y Mis Amigos!

The infamous MTC map!
Well, this is real. I am a missionary. I don´t even know where to start. Well I will start off with some information. I have a sweet companion a cool district and an awesome zone. My companion is Elder Parker Davis. We were totally put together for a reason! A. we are very similar. We are both lacrosse players, we are both hard workers, and we are both out here to do work. Our strengths complement each  others so we are getting pretty good at teaching-ish hahaha. We would be super good if we knew Spanish. I got made district leader which is kinda cool, and all the guys in my zone get along pretty well for the most part. we already have a ton of jokes with eachother and get along great which is good because i was worried that i would end up stuck with a bunch of weirdos but I have been blessed.

So life in the MTC or CCM as we call it in spanish ain´t easy. our schedule is pretty much that we wake up at 6. Get ready, go to gym for an hour and then eat breakfast. After that we sit in class from 9am to 7pm with a break for lunch and some other stuff. It takes some getting used to. The hardest part is that the teachers are just talking at you in spanish and you only understand half of whatever they say  but that is how you learn. then after that we get dinner and some time to unwind and study in our appartment. oh yeah, we have apartments. For those of you who care I am down on the west campus instead of the main one. they are eventually going to be moving all of the spanish speakers down here which is kinda cool. 

Ok so my 3rd day in the CCM they just let us listen to a recording of a person and then after we took notes about her they are like, ok later today you will be teaching this spanish. we barely knew how to speak at all so that was interesting. So weird knowing just what to say but you can´t. It is kinda frustrating to me because I´m not used to it. Spanish is way hard but the districts above me and my district say that Elder Davis and I are really good and we are making progress everyday so that is a good sign. we have taught twice more since then and we have been doing a lot better. Hopefully I can become fluent as fast as possible because i hate not being able to communicate.

Being in the MTC is hard, but anybody thinking about or going on a mission don´t be discouraged because it is very rewarding. From Wednesday to saturday I was kinda like, oh man, what did i get myself into. But everybody says once you make it to sunday you are good and they were right! since sunday these pas couple of days have been good! i havent been as dead tired, and spanish isn't as frustrating. I will add that I would give anything, except maybe a nap (and i think I would even give that even though those are illegal here pretty much) to give everybody in my family a huge hug right now. They say you don´t know what you had until it is gone and they are totally right! I am so blessed to have such a loving family. You guys filled my mail box with letters and it made me realize how much love there is for me and I am so grateful for it. The good thing is, is that it isn´t gone, just on hold for two years. And through the gosple of Jesus Christ and Our loving Heavenly Father´s plan I can have that for eternity! I was having kind of a hard time here at first because with all this spanish and work overload I lost sight of my purpose and it came back to me yesterday as I was teaching. I realized that I am out here because just as my family loves me so much. There are others that have families that they love so much and even if that isn´t the case for everyone, we all have a father in heaven that loves us so much and he wants us all to be together for eternity with Him and our families. That is really why I am out putting myself through all this hard work. I am so grateful for that love. 

Well everybody should write me letters because letters are like gold out here. They are the only connection with anybody which is kinda weird but cool. I would love to hear from you all!

Tengo un testemonio que Jesuchristo es nuestro salvador y que este iglesia es verdado. Estoy muy agradecido por nuestro padre celestial y por la plan de salviacion. Yo se que Dios quiere todos las personas en el mundo regressar a El. Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias tiene el evangelio de Cristo que cristo establecio dos mil anos pasado. 

That is my broken testimony in spanish but it will increase each week. I love you all and wish you all the best. Until next week. Hasta luego.

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Ty's "sweet"  MTC companion

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ty's Going To Argentina!

Ty got his mission call to serve in the Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission! He reports to the Missionary Training Center October 9th! He will be teaching in the Spanish language.