Sunday, December 16, 2012

Last Week in MTC

Buon Jiovedi!
How is everyone doing!!! Thanks for all the mail this week! Mom, I did get the line of authority, and I also got you're GREAT letter, my card, the money, and also the HUGE Christmas package you sent me! I can't wait to start opening these gifts! You guys are the best!!!
So the big news for the week is that I am leaving on....... the 26th! The travel office has given us like 5 different flight plans... its been such a hassle, but we got our finalized flight plans for the 26th! So, we leave the MTC at 8am, leave Salt Lake at 11:35am, fly to Chicago, then to London then we arrive to Milan at 12:30 pm on the 27th. I'm so excited! The longest layover is for 2 hours in London, so I'm not sure when we get to call home, but I promise you I will! And I'll try to let you know when too! To tell you the truth, I'm kind of relieved that we aren't leaving the MTC til after Christmas. I'm loving the MTC, and I'm learning so much here! I mean I know I'm going to Italy, but its still a little scary! I feel so comfortable and at home here! However, thats how the Lord works, he always takes us out of our comfort zones so that we can experience and learn in this life. I'm gonna enjoy my next couple of weeks here to the fullest, but I'm also gonna be pretty excited to start such a crazy adventure in Italy! That being said, this week is the last week of American postage, so if anyone is dying to send me a letter, now would be the time to do it. Oh and next week I'll send my mission field address, so that you can post it on facebook. Ahh there's just so much that I need to do before we leave!!!! On the bright side, I'm feeling pretty confident in the language, or at least confident enough that it will carry me through my first few weeks in Italy.
Aunt Mimi wrote me this week and told me what the doctors told her! I think that's so amazing!!! I was so happy when I read it!!! Miracles really are true! I've been, as I'm sure you have to, really praying for her, and the Lord is truly answering our prayers! Also, I'm sorry about Zack's foot, that's such a bummer.... maybe on the bright side it'll give him more time for school and homework. And at least he was able to go out on a good note, pinning that kid from Calabasas. Way to make me proud kid;)
A couple of exciting things from this week.... first of all, we were able to host the new missionaries this week because we've been here for so long. It was pretty cool, but actually a little hard too because we had to see all these moms cryin their eyes out as they left their kids! Haha just so you know mom, all of the moms wanted the same picture that you wanted, with the missionaries walking away with their bags, giving one last look back. I guess its a mom thing. Also we got to give a little spiel to the new elders about the MTC, which was pretty fun. Have you seen that Office episode with Prison Mike? Haha when we were planning on how we were gonna welcome them, we were thinking about coming about "MTC Mike" and tellin them all about the gruel we eat everyday and stuff. Haha we were on one that day. Don't worry though we didn't actually do that. We also got to exhibit to the new elders that came in this week how they should teach a first discussion. It was weird because I'm so used to doing it in Italian that it was hard doing it in English! Haha it was also funny because I introduced me and Elder Allen to the investigator as "Anziani" and all of the other Elders, whose tags say Elder, had no idea what that meant. Afterwards, one of the new Elders asked me, "what's an Anziano, is it like a super-elder or something?" Haha that was hilarious. It's true though, Anziani are super elders. It was funny too because we always use SYL (speak your language) around the MTC campus, and the Italian zone is doing so well at it that a lot of the other missionaries from other zones know a bit of Italian so that they can communicate with us. This is my favorite quote that I overheard from a new English-speaking elder this week in the cafeteria: "The MTC is so confusing! Everyone speaks Italian here!!!" I think its so cool that we've made our mark on the MTC as a zone. Literally things are so great up here! My district is great, the language is going great, my scripture study is going great, and I have nothing to complain about! That's why I'm glad that we don't leave til the 26th. Although I"m sure that I'll love Italy just the same.
Also, Jessica (our investigator from Milan) came to church with us this last Sunday!!! She's really loving learning the gospel, and she gave us her info to look up in Milan when she goes back after Christmas. Oh, and our new mission president and his wife our here in the MTC, but we haven't met them yet. And we're not allowed to say their names yet. There's also been talk from the MTC presidency about the possibility that a 3rd, and possibly even a 4th mission in Italy will open up while we're out there!!! It's crazy because I could be serving in a completely different mission by the end of my two years! I think it would be cool to serve in Northern Italy for the first half and then get transfered to the Southern part of my mission when the mission changes, so that I can be reassigned to the Rome mission. That way I would've served in like all of Italy! All this is just specualation though haha.
Spiritual thought for the day: I've given a lot of thought to the quote in the New Testament where Christ says that we should "have the faith of a mustard seed" and I've come to a conclusion. Listen to this: a mustard seed knows only one thing, and that is that it will become a mustard plant someday! All of its efforts go into acheiving this outcome. If we want to have the faith of a mustard seed, we must 1) know what our potential is, and 2) be willing to put our all into achieving that potential. That is the key to faith, and the key to life. A quote from Spencer W. Kimball sums it up perfectly: "Everything favors those who have a special destiny: they become glorious by a sort of invincible impulse and command of fate." As children of God, we all have a special destiny. Let's all realize who we are, and put our efforts into becoming what we know we can become!
Next week I will send my last email from the US!!!
Vi voglio bene,
Anziano Walden

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Elder Walden and Elder Rice

Matthew with one of his friends from BYU last year, Quinn :)

5 Weeks Down

Buon Giorno Famiglia e amici!
Come andate? tutti bene in Simi Valley?
I'm glad you're enjoying work mom! I'm sure its pretty overwhelming, but like you've always said, endure it for 2 weeks, and it'll all be fine. I think that's so cool to work at the Reagan Library! And thanks for taking my challenge! I think that's so cool how you just created your own opportunity to share the gospel! I'm sure the Spirit recognizes this and was with you while you were talking about the church. How's Zack doing in wrestling? Has season started yet? Has he had to fend all the girls at school off of him since he's got his braces off? I'd love to hear from the kid haha..... I miss him tons!
This week has literally gone by so fast its not even funny! I can't believe I'm already on week 6! As of now its strange because they have all but two of us (of course I would be one of them) leaving the 18th of December. For some reason they have me and another elder leaving the 26th... They're still trying to figure it out, and it could possibly change, but there's definitely benefits to both. On one hand, I get to experience Christmas in the MTC, here from an apostle, and do whatever else they have planned for us, and on the other hand, I'll be in freaking Italy!!!! Either way, its so strange to think that I will be on the other side of the world in the matter of a couple of weeks! As far as what I've done this week, it hasn't been super eventful, but then again, the MTC schedule is always eventful, so I guess I've just kind of become used to it haha. For anyone who is wondering what I do, basically every day I have 6 hours of class, which is completely in Italian, I teach "investigators" for 2 of these hours, and for the rest of my time I have gym/personal study/food/devotional/service. Regardless of what we do, its always planned out for us, which I like because it helps me not waste time! On P-days (such as today) I'm probably the busiest, because I have to do laundry, write letters, write an email, and go to the temple, all before 6, when we end the day with class. The temple is great though, it really allows me to relax and be reminded weekly about how eternal and important this gospel is! I also got a haircut today! It's neat cause they have a barbershop that gives them to us for free up here!
So I had to say goodbye to Elder Rice this week which was pretty hard. He was my last connection to BYU up here, and we definitely had quite the fun time, but I'm sure he's gonna do great out in the field. I don't know if you heard but his visa didn't come in time, so he'll be in Vegas for the next transfer and then hopefully in Mexico. He'll be great though. Also, this next week, we have to say goodbye to Elder Crescenti, our Italian Elder, as he leaves for Romania. He's really become one of my best friends up here, and we've already planned to go visit him in Milan after the mission. With his help, we've become much better at Italian, and he's been getting a lot better at English. If I could describe him, I would say he's totally the Italian version of Tony haha (btw me and Tony have been writing eachother and it's been great). Anyways, he loves dubstep, pokemon, wrestling, etc. He's literally the same, except he's Italian haha. Me and him have been working on a rap about the mission, and he thinks I"m the best rhymer in the world haha. Thanks mom ;) It's gonna be hard to say goodbye to him, but on the bright side, we get 19 brand new Anziani e Sorelle this next week! It's gonna be great to have a big branch finally! Me and Elder Allen will have a lot more zone responsibility with this though. Our Branch President told us that it is our goal to make sure that no one goes home as a result of homesickness in this group. After losing 3 in our group, we are determined to do all we can to prevent this in the next.
Last week we were able to watch the movie "17 miracles" for Thanksgiving. It seems like when we watched it as a family I fell asleep, but when we watched it up here it was great!!! I definitely recommend it to anyone reading this. It's absolutely amazing to think of the sacrifices that the early pioneers made, so that their posterity would be able to have the gospel of Jesus Christ. It really reafirmed my testimony that this Gospel is worth giving anything up for! Also, I watched the biography of Thomas S. Monson on That was amazing too! My favorite line from President Monson in it is "If ever the Lord needs an errand to be run, I want Him to know that Thomas S. Monson will always be His man for the job!" What an amazing example of church service! We're so blessed to have such an amazing prophet in these latter days! If ever the Lord needs an errand to be run, I want Him to know that Matthew Walden will always be His man for the job also! Church service is truly an awesome blessing, and I'm so happy to be a servant of the Lord at this most important time for the church!
Io so che questa chiesa e la vera chiesa, con tutti mio cuore! So che Thomas S. Monson e chiamare di Dio, e so che Lui e il presidente di nostro chiesa. So che Gesu Cristo e al capo di nostro chiesa, e che questo e il Suo Vangelo. Solo mediante l'espiazione di Gesu Cristo, possiamo vivere con nostro padre celeste dopo questa vida. Il Libro di Mormon contiene la pianezza del Vangelo di Gesu Cristo e so questa essere vera. Voglio bene per tutti persone di Italia, e voglio condividere il Vangele al loro. Io voglio seguire l'esemio di Gesu Cristo, e invitare le persone di Italia avere fede, pentire, facendosi battezare, e perserverando cino alle fine. Sole mediante questa, possiamo trovare felicita. Nel Nome di Gesu Cristo, Amen. (Hopefully at least Dad, will understand this).
Also, I challenge everyone to read D&C section 6 this week. It's a great chapter about personal revelation and missionary work! I testify that the spirit of revelation is real, and that it is readily available to all the Lord's faithful servants!
Vi voglio bene,
Anziano Matthew Walden

P.S. We were able to run into Jessica (our real investigator from Milan) this week again. Apparently she decided to just stay here in Provo, and she has been going to church every week, and taking the discussions in English from some Provo missionaries! She told us she's halfway through the BoM and our teacher told us that he thinks she is close to baptism!!!! How cool is that! Someone that I taught the first discussion to might be getting baptized soon! She goes back to Italy soon, so we'll see what happens!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Anziano Walden!

Mom, Dad, Zack, and all family and friends who are reading this,
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Today has been quite the busy day for me, its only 1 and I'm already exhausted. They have quite the Thanksgiving program here all day, and its still our pday, so a lot of stuff needs to get done. We had to wake up at 4:45 just to get our laundry done! It's been crazy but I sure do love Thanksgiving! I feel like I haven't appreciated this holiday enough.
So Its really different being away from home this Thanksgiving, but the Holland (as in Elder Jefferey R.) family have adopted us into their family for the day, and they're taking great care of us. This morning we had the opportunity of having a great morning fireside with Elder and Sister Holland and all of their kids and grandkids. Man, Elder Holland sure is a great speaker. He told the stories of all these prophets(Noah, Isaiah, Daniel, Moroni) who were so discouraged because they knew that at the end of their dispensation, the gospel would end in apostasy. However, he said: "each one of these prophets had a vision in which they saw the Elders that are in the MTC right in this moment, and this vision is what kept them going."For the first time in human history, the gospel is destined to succeed on the Earth, and that missionary work will fill the Earth more and more until every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ, ushering in a new era of eternal happiness with our families and our Father in Heaven." I thought that was pretty cool to think about. Also he had his oldest granddaughter share her testimony, and talk about her mission call that she just opened..... and you'll never guess where she's going..... Milan!!! How cool is that? You know it's got to be the best mission in the world when an Apostle of the Lord calls his own granddaughter to that mission haha. It'll be exciting to hopefully meet her out in the field. Anyways, he also shared this quote that he elaborated on for a bit: "Mothers are Magical." I loved it when he talked about mothers today! Mom, I'm so grateful that I have you in my life! You've been such a great example to me, and you've been so caring to me, in only the way that a mother can be. I hope that someday I can marry a woman who will be even half the mother that you've been to me:) I'm on a mission though, so I'm not really worried about that at the moment haha. Anyways, other than that, this week has been pretty standard. I've got to admit, zone leader has been a lot harder of a calling than I thought it would be.  However, we have such an awesome Branch presidency that has really helped us out, and I feel like I've learned a lot through this calling. It seems like the best way to fix any problem is through service and love.

Anyways, thanks for the donuts and the package! The thanks for the donuts is on behalf of the zone as well... they devoured them haha. I only ate a couple.That picture with you guys and Buster is hilarious, I'm so jealous. And Zack's smile is lookin mighty fine haha...... I noticed he was wearing my sweatshirt in the pic though.... not surprised at all.
Also, it looks like we're probably leaving the 18th now instead of the 27th. Its not locked in yet, but its sounding more and more like that is the case. I think that would be so cool cause that means that I only have 3 1/2 more weeks left in the MTC!!! Crazy! If we leave the 18th, I would call you at the airport, and then again on Christmas in Italy (possibly skype). If we left the 27th, I would only get to call you at the airport, because the MTC doesn't allow phone calls on holidays. Like I said though, its probably gonna be the 18th.
Tell Trevor congrats on starting his papers too!!! Tell him that a mission is by far the coolest thing you can ever do with your life. It will get hard, but it is soooooo worth it. Just to give a bit of perspective on how much the age change is changing things, right now we have 9 elders in our Italy zone. On December 3rd we will get 19 more Elders and Sisters (which will be quite the task for me and Anz. Allen) and then in January we get 35 more Elders and Sisters!!!! The Italy Milan mission sure looks like its gonna be growing pretty fast. What a blessing to serve at this time!!! I"m so grateful for it!!!
Also, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that no one took my challenge to share the gospel with one person this last week (Or at least no one let me know about it) Hopefully I will hear from a lot more people this next week who took the challenge. A word of quick advice: Sometimes the Lord doesn't give us blatant opportunities to share the gospel because He wants us to create our own opportunities, and have faith in Him to sustain our valiant missionary work. Again, I challenge everyone who is reading this to make their own opportunity to share the gospel to someone who is not a member, whether through a conversation, and phone call, an email, or an invitation to a ward activity, etc. I really want to hear from people that are taking this challenge, because I know you'll be glad you did! In the wise words of Spencer W. Kimball: Just Do It!
Hope all is well and that everyone is doing great!
Vi Voglio Bene,
Anziano Walden

PS:  How's the scripture study goin Zack? I wanted to let you know that studying from actual scriptures instead of on the ipod has been soooo much better!!! Also, get a copy of preach my gospel and study from that! We use it soooooooo much here in the MTC. Oh, and Anziano Crescenti (from Italy) leaves a week from Monday, so you should send him a wallet soon, he really wants one haha.... he says to you "Tu sei un fratello per una altra madre" which means "You're a brother from another mother." He wrestles too and I was telling him all about you're wrestling practices and stuff.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Letter #4

Hey there family and friends!!! Week 3 already over, it literally feels like I've only been here a few days! Everything's moving by so fast, its scary! I don't want this MTC experience to be over, I'm loving it so much! I have so much love for my district and my companion, they really are the best. It's kind of funny, my comps girlfriend (well friend now)  is serving a mission and reported to the MTC this week. I've been keeping a close eye on him ;) Jk, he's awesome and he's dealing with it super well. Man I love the Italian language so much! This week me and Elder Allen started to teach our lessons without notes and its been great! I'm feeling more and more proficient with the language every day! We went on an English fast as a zone for Monday Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where we could only speak Italian all day. It was sooooooo difficult, but it definitely helped us out too. It has really helped having an Elder from Italy in our district. Also, I really love the hymns in Italian. I mean all hymns mean the same thing, but for some reason the Italian hymns make me extra happy! One of the hymns has become my favorite, and its only in the Italian hymnbook! I don't know why they don't have it in English cause the tune and the words are so great! It's called "Mandate Voci La Gioia all'Eterno," which basically means "Send a voice of Joy to the Eternities." Look it up on youtube and see if you can listen to it. Christmas songs are pretty neat in Italian too.
Anyways, Coolest story this week. So every Monday we go to this thing called TRC, where former missionaries from Italy come and we teach them a short lesson and they grade us on how we did. It's super helpful, but this week was extra cool! So when we showed up they called me and Elder Allen into another room and they told us that we were going to teach this woman named Jessica, who is an actual non-member from Milan! Apparently, she found a Book of Mormon on the ground while she was in Italy, and she had been reading it, wondering how to find out about the true church. She found out online a bit about our church, and she was coming to vacation in LA, and so she decided to fly into Salt Lake and find her way to the MTC, where she knew she could find the missionaries that she had been looking for. Me and Elder Allen taught her the first discussion and it was actually pretty good! At the end of the lesson, we were able to refer her to some missionaries in Milan, so that way she will be able to continue the discussions when she gets back. We got her to pray for the first time in her life at the end of our lesson, and it was by far the coolest experience I've had here in the MTC. I don't cry often, but during that prayer it really hit about what it is I'm doing as a missionary, and the effect that the Gospel has on people's lives. Being a missionary isn't just a cool oppurtunity, but it is legitimately the coolest thing we can do during our time here on Earth. Teaching Jessica really made me realize that this Gospel is our purpose here on Earth. Through missionary work, we are really showing people the true message of happiness and hope, and the divine plan that Heavenly Father has for Each and every one of us! There are people, like Jessica, that are actively searching for the gospel, and it is our amazing and priveledged responsibility to show them the true happiness that the Gospel has brought to each of us.
I want to challenge anyone who is reading this letter to find an oppurtunity, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be, to bear your testimony of the Church to someone who has not yet recieved the Gospel. It's gonna be really hard, but I want everyone to realize that we truly have the Lord on our side, helping us along the way! This is the most important message we can give anyone, and its definitely not supposed to be kept to ourselves. This week me and Anziano Allen made a new slogan for our zone (we stole it off of Elder Jarvies from our ward in case you were wondering). It's: "I'm goin to the celestial kingdom and I'm bringin people with me!" I hope everyone who is reading this will adopt this motto in their own lives, and that you all will find someway to share the gospel in this next week or so. Please write to me about it and let me know how it goes!
To Zack, tell him to really start preparing for a mission now. I really wish that I took Scripture Study a lot more seriously before the mish, because they've been like my best friend on the mission haha. Write down what you feel in the margin of your scriptures as you read them every night. And take my challenge and let me know how it goes.
Also, to Dad, thanks for the letter. I really enjoyed it. What leadership advice would you have for me as zone leader? Making sure everyone is getting along is a lot harder of a job than I thought it would be haha. And I would write to you in Italian, but I only have so much time, and it would take a lot of time for me to think about it. Maybe next time.
And mom, I hope you're partying it up with Mimi this week. I'm sure you guys are having a blast.
Anyways, I could use some lotion and some of that resolve stuff, but other than that I think I'm good.
Have a great week and Preach the Gospel!

Anziano Matthew Walden

PS oh and tell Zack that I love the wallet  he made for me and that everyone is obsessed with it! The Italian elder really wants me to sell it to him. Don't worry though, I won't:)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pictures :)

MTC #3

Hey Family slash anyone else who is reading!

I sent some pics this time.... hopefully it sends.....
anyways... what a week it has been!!! It's so crazy that i've been here for more than 2 weeks already! I've definitely settled into a routine up here and its been great! Also my companion is so awesome!!! Me and him are such good friends haha I really lucked out. Overall, its been kind of a hard week for me, just cause we've been so busy teaching lessons so I haven't had much time for myself. Also, I only got 2 letters this week (from Dad and Whitney, who btw both write AMAZING letters!), so it was kind of hard not hearing from a lot of my friends this week. However, I've noticed that whenever things get hard and we are close to the Spirit, the Lord is really good at reminding us about how many tender mercies He gives us! I did get a GREAT package from Grandma this week (you can tell her that the pillow tie was a hit), and I actually got sent a ton of chips and salsa froms mom's old roomate Dawn. Haha Thanks for having awesome friends mom..... my district loved the chips and salsa! Plus, I've really been blessed with such a great district and we have sooooo much fun together!!!!! 

So I felt like I should share a couple of thoughts that I've had throughout the week. First of all.... the election.... I heard about it as soon as I could on Wednesday morning and it wasn't the best news I could've heard, but I do have a couple thoughts about it. First of all, in the white handbook it says that missionaries shouldn't discuss political views. That has been so hard for me to do, especially since no one in my district follows that rules, but I've actually been really good at keeping that rule strangely! Secondly, I just wanted to let everyone know that we need to pray for our president to make good decisions, regardless of who he is. In the Book of Mormon,  we see some of the most unlikely people make the best decisions (Alma the Younger), and I know that the same things can happen in this age. Anyways, I just thought I would throw that in here. Strangely, I'm not super devastated, at least not as much as Elder Rice (The kid has fallen into like deep depression since the election). Secondly, I wanted to talk about some of my thoughts that have kind of changed since being up here. I feel like this last year, and for a while, I've always tried to probe into all the deepest doctrine of the church. Whether its something about Kolob or other planets or evidences of the Book of Mormon, I've always tried to know everything. Since I've been up here, I've really noticed how much I haven't learned/understood about the most simple doctrines of the Church! I've really made it a point to study as an investigator up here, so that I would be able to feel the same conversion that I will be trying to get others to feel! As a result, I've noticed how much of an important step true conversion is, and I haven't been so interested on all these deep questions, but instead I've found so much happiness and excitement learning more about the simple christlike attributes, and learning about how I can be a better disciple of Christ!

Another thing that I've learned is that the Lord truly does answer prayers. I've learned that when we pray with faith, or believing that He will answer our prayers, we can really have the spirit tell us everything that we should do, and also show us what we can become! However, we must also realize that the only way we can truly have the spirit with us always is if we follow the Savior's example and serve and study diligently.
Anyways, just thought I would share a couple nuggets of spiritual knowledge that I've learned this week. Also, I forgot to mention that this last Sunday, for Testimony meeting, I was able to get up and bear my testimony in Italian! It felt so good to do that! Also, I saw something pretty cool on the church news website. They let us watch the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rome temple, and President Monson said something along the lines of "Unlike the rest of the world, Italy was introduced to the true gospel of Jesus Christ about 2,000 years ago, through the missionary work of Peter and Paul." I'm so excited that I get to continue their work!!!!

Last thing, me and Anziano Allen were called as zone leaders this week. This is really unusual because usually missionaries are in the MTC for like 4 weeks before they can get called as zone leaders. It was definitely very humbling to be assigned as zone leader, but I know that the Savior will help me undertake some more work, and I know that I love my zone soo much, so I'm sure it won't be too hard to do! Also, it really helped to let me know that the Savior trusts me as one of His missionaries, and it was reassuring to know that I'm actually doing a pretty good job!
Love you all,

Anziano Matthew Walden

P.s. Dad, thanks for the letter... It really helped me out this week!

Friday, November 2, 2012

MTC Letter #2

Mom, Dad, Zack, and anyone else who might be reading this!!!
Thank you everyone for all of the letters and support this week! It has been such a crazy week for my first week in the MTC. First of all, I have a new companion, Elder Seth Allen from Utah, This is because one of the Elders in our district went home because he was too homesick or something. It was hard to see him go, but at the same time, I think it allowed me to really realize why I'm here and how blessed I am to be out on a mission. Anyways, Elder Allen is the coolest guy ever! He's from Utah. He loves all of the same comedy shows as me, and we are always making eachother laugh. Also, interesting connection: My old companion Elder Murphy from Australia bore his testimony to me and told me that a certain Elder Neal Morrisette from Southern California really affected him and helped him get out on his mission! It's so cool to see Elders from Simi truly make a difference. Needless to say, my district up here is soooo great, and we have such a great time together!
Learning Italian up here has actually been going super well! For the first few days, it was super hard and I had a constant headache learning the language. You know how I get mom haha. However, I decided to dedicate all my free time (which isn't much) to learning Italian, and it has definitely helped. One of the Elders up here, Elder Crescenti, is actually an Italian who is going to Romanian. He doesn't speak any English, so we always hang out with him, and we actually learn a lot of Italian just talking to him! It's great!  We have this disgusting bathtub in our residence hall that no one uses, and its become the butt of a lot of jokes. We convinced Elder Crescenti that the word for food in english is "Tub." He always runs around now and sings "Mi piace tub" Which basically means I like the tub. I feel bad, but its so funny to get him to say stuff like that. Sorry if no one thinks that's funny... I guess you just have to be here to appreciate the humor. Anyways something cool happened a few days ago. During District meeting prayer, I was asked to say the prayer and so I knelt down and said a prayer in what I thought was English. When I said Amen, everyone was looking at me all weird and the Branch President's wife told me "I sure wish your parents were here to hear you talk." Apparently I said the whole prayer in Italian and I had no idea! Ever since then, the language has been coming really easy to me, and I'm becoming so much more confident in my speaking abilities. The gift of tongues is sooooo real and I know that becoming close to the spirit has helped me to take advantage of it.
As far as anything I need, I think I'm pretty much good. Mom, you'll be proud to know that I've only lost one button off one of my suit...... I'm planning on fixing it as soon as I have time. I've actually been ironing shirts too which is surprising. Also I've been trying to eat really healthy, even though the food here is great! However, I run alot during gym, and I'm kind of foursquare champion haha. I see Elder Rice a lot up here, and we always have a good laugh with eachother. He's a good kid haha. Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know that I am soooooo happy here in the MTC, and that I am truly loving missionary work! The first few days were really hard for me, but once I realized that this mission isn't about me, but that its about millions of people in Italy that need to hear the gospel, I've become so happy up here! Thank you Mom and Dad for encouraging me to serve a mission, thank you dad for setting such a great example of serving a mission for me, and thank you mom for teaching me everything I need to know! Mom, I love you so much its not even funny!!! Also Zack, you have so much to look forward to! A mission is so cool! Prepare now so that you can be as ready as you can be when you leave!
Io so che la chiesa di Gesu Cristo dei santi degli ultimi giorni e la chiesa vera. Io so che Thomas S. Monson e un profeti di Dio e che mediante l'espiazione di Gesu Crist possiamo la vida eternal. Nel nome di Gesu Cristo Amen.
P.s. I have some pictures but I can only send them in the laundry room... so I'll try to next time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

First Letter from MTC

Greetings from the MTC Mom, Dad, Zack, and anyone who is reading this!

They told us just to write a quick letter now so that we know how the email works, so I'll keep this one short.

So far, all I have to say is Wow!!!!! It's been crazy, the moment I stepped into the MTC they took me to class and my teacher just started speaking really fast Italian to me! I had know idea what he was saying! I thought he was gonna go back to English after a bit, but he never does! He literally only speaks Italian to us, and we all have to figure out what he's saying. I'm confused with the language to say the least. However, the other Anziani who have been here for a while speak completely fluent basically, so I'm sure it will eventually come, at least I hope so.

It's pretty neat cause instead of 1 companion, I have 2!!!!! Our district calls us Peter, James, and John because we are the only threesome in the zone. My companions are Elder Bartholio, who is from Texas, and Elder Murphy, who is from Melbourne Australia! Both of them our great guys, and they have been amazing examples to me as I adjust to the mission field. It's funny too because Elder Garner in my district is from Mesa, and he is good friends with all the Mesa kids that were in my hall this summer. I can't get away from those Mesa kids haha.

Just to let you know, I'm feeling great healthwise, and I've been able to eat a good amount. Still basic food until I really feel like I can stomach more, but still a good amount of food. Also, I saw Elder Rice last night, and gave him a nice sock in the arm. He's exactly as I expected he would be when I saw him.  I really do love that kid haha..... he's quite the character and he's having a great time in the MTC.

Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I'm doin great, and that even though the MTC has been very hard so far, Its been such a blessing to be so busy that I don't have time to think about anything else! Literally I feel like no time is wasted here, and I actually kind of like it! This language has been a struggle so far, but I keep reminding myself that I've only been here for a couple days and that if I am obedient and if I study my hardest, the gift of tongues will help me out and make up for those struggles! Know that the church is true, and that the help I have recieved already as a missionary is already testifying to me that the Atonement is real, and that the Lord really does love His children, and that He is willing to help us if we ask Him!

I love you all, and I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing. Elder Bolanos sent me an email telling me all about the MTC, and it was so cool to read it! My P-day is on thursdays, but I can read letters and write everyday. I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing!



Anziano Walden


P.s. Mom, I totally knew you would leave a letter in my suitcase and I loved every word of it:) Love you tons Mom!