Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 26, 2015 - Week 4 - 1 Month Down

My District - 1 Month Down
I finally hit my one month mark.  I can't believe how fast that was.  The days feel like weeks but the weeks feel like days.  I have really enjoyed my time here in the MTC.  It's kind of sad though because I got really close with another district in my zone and they leave this week.  Then I think, "that's me in two weeks" and it's crazy that my MTC experience is almost over.

I had an interesting experience the night of P-day.  One of the Hermanas in my district had been sick and went back to her casa early.  So, we say a quick prayer for her and get back to class.  Later that night as I'm laying in bed, one of the elders in my casa comes into my room and tells me the same Hermana is really sick.  I get dressed really fast and run to the front door and there are two of the other Hermanas in my district standing there.  Apparently, they had ran all the way from their casa on the other side of the property.  They didn't know which house I lived in too so it was amazing that they found me.  One of the Hermanas told me that she said a quick prayer to help them find where I was at, and at that moment Elder Jensen, one of the Elders in my casa, opens the door and tells them. Anyway, they told me that the same Hermana had been throwing up for the past hour and asked for a priesthood blessing.  They looked so worried, so me and my companion booked it to their casa with them.  We aren't allowed inside so they brought a chair out and me and my companion were reviewing the blessings when the night security guard walks up.  He asks what's going on in a really annoyed mood and the other two Hermanas start explaining.  I join the conversation and he asks me what we were doing here.  I told him "My name is Elder Biehn. I'm the district leader for the sick Hermana.  These two Hermanas showed up at my door, asking for help. So I ran over here as fast as I could to give her a blessing."  He then begins to lecture us how it was inappropriate for elders to be at a Hermana's casa this late at night.  He says we need to head home now and kicked us out. We didn't even get to give her the blessing!  I was so mad the entire night but my room and the elders across the hall joined in a group prayer for her.  It was the best we could do at that point.  The next day, she came to class later in the day and I was able to give her a priesthood blessing there.  I didn't know what to think about the situation so I talked to my Branch President.  He told me that I was right for doing that and that it was unacceptable for the Security guard to turn us away.  He was going to discuss it with the MTC Presidency to see what could be done about it.  Its in his hands now and I haven't heard back about it.  I'm just glad that the first thing that those Hermanas thought was "Where's Elder Biehn?"  It makes me feel like I'm doing good as a District Leader and that they are able to rely on me.  She's all better now so no need to worry.
My Vegetarian Companion - Elder Everett

Our Zone plays a game called "What Are The Odds." I explained this in my last e-mail.  My companion and I played and he asked me what are the odds you will be vegetarian for a day? Well I lost so I had to be vegetarian for a whole day on Friday.  I ate a lot of beans, rice and cold cereal.  I now know the pain my companion goes through every day.

I made a bad choice on Saturday though.  I started a war with my neighbors across the hall.  That day after Gym I bought some tape from the tienda and put a long strip across the door leading into the hallway at eye level.  I assume that I must have gotten them good because when I came back from classes the whole hallway was covered in clear tape.  And today, while the elders and I were at Gym they rearranged our room and used our beds to block the bathroom and door.  All I can say is that it's on and I've got a good one in store for them. >:)

The prank our neighbors pulled.
Sundays are still the best day.  We have devotionals in Spanish a lot and I'm able to understand a lot of it. But, we also watched "Meet the Mormons."  It was hard to watch the part about the missionary because it's all still too fresh.  And I LOVED the football story.  I'm having football with-drawls here and that just made it even worse.  It is and forever will be my favorite story in "Meet the Mormons."

That about sums up this week in the MTC.  One month down, 23 more to go. That sounds like a really long time but I'm sure it's going to fly by once I'm in the mission field and actually interacting with really members and real investigators.  I'm really excited to get to D.C. and begin my work in the mission field.

I'm so thankful to everyone the writes to me.  It is honestly the thing I look forward to the most every week.  

Elder Biehn

The week we had an earthquake so that is all the missionaries from my building standing outside. 
This is for Shelly, It's her favorite color so I got a tie to match

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 19, 2015 - Week 3 - Nothing New Here in Mexico

Hey everybody!

This week marks the halfway point of the MTC. Really on Wednesday was the exact half point so I'm a little bit over the halfway point now. But overall, it's all the same. Nothing really changes here. It's actually kinda boring sometimes, so us Elders have to find some way to entertain ourselves.

One of the games we play is called Spoons. We get a normal plastic spoon and we try to slip it into another Elder's belt loop without them noticing. Some of these guys walk around with spoons in their back belt loop for an entire meal time. Another game we play are "What Are The Odds." A person comes up with a dare and asks another what are the odds you'll .... and then they say the odds, like 1 out of 10. Then someone counts them down and they both have to say a number within those odds. If they say the same number then the person has to do it. I lost to my companion one time and he is a vegetarian. So, now I have to be a vegetarian for a day. Stuff like this really just keeps the MTC interesting rather than studying, teaching and classes all day.

Something very interesting did happen this week that is worth sharing. On Monday, my district had a "Solo EspaƱol" day. All we were allowed to do was speak Spanish and surprisingly it worked out great! I was able to speak most of the things I wanted to say. It wasn't much but it was still something and I was able to comprehend a lot of what people were saying, which is something I have been struggling with a lot. It was definitely a positive experience and boosted my confidence in speaking Spanish.

Another thing I enjoy here are Sundays. The MTC puts an extra effort into making Sunday special. There aren't any classes, no studying, and we get to listen to speakers and watch a movie! Sunday would be comparable to a Friday when it comes to school.

There are still things to do but it is nice and easy. Anyways, we almost always listen to some kind of General Authority. Then the movie is one of the really good church movies that I love. Last Sunday we watched "The Restoration" about Joseph Smith and his life. A few weeks ago we watched "The Testaments" which is my favorite!

Then we always have a Devotional on Tuesday. Sometimes it is local authority and other times its a talk by one of the Apostles. BTW Elder Holland is awesome.

So ya, I always look forward to Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. It's good that the days I enjoy are spread throughout the week. Then I look forward to Gym time daily. Pretty much every day during gym my zone plays beach volleyball. We actually have a big pit of sand with a volley ball net set up. It is so fun and everyone enjoys it.

So, about that Elder that I told you about last week, I was able to get things figured out with the help of a Sister in my district. The Sister had a great idea about what to do in order to fix the problem. During a District Meeting, I made the topic on Love. I discussed why Love was important as a missionary and I had everyone share their thoughts on why Love is important. Then I had everyone chose a scripture on Love. I talked about the Golden Rule of "Treat others the way you want to be treated" and this seemed to get through to him. I'm really grateful to that Sister for helping me out because it really helped not only him but all of us.

I did something very intuitive last night. I'm on the top bunk in my room so I have to constantly get up and down to get things. I decided I was tired of that so I went to the tienda, bought some tape, and used the cardboard from one of my packages to create a shelf. It works perfectly! I can keep my journal, some pens, my scriptures, and even some of my snacks up there. BEST IDEA EVER. 

Overall, this week has been very boring. I haven't done much and nothing new has happened. It is all so routine it's scary. It just proves the saying, "Days feel like weeks, but weeks feel like days." It is so true. And congratulations to my cousin. He just finished his mission papers and will be joining the Armies of Helaman (or ranks of the missionaries, your choice).

I love you all, and I look forward to reading the emails you send every week. Its the greatest feeling in the world to be able to communicate with the ones you love. I never realized it until I got restricted to only doing it once a week. 

P.S. sorry no new pics this week. like I said, nothing new happening.

Adios por una semana!
Love, Elder Biehn

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 12, 2015 - Week 2

Another week has come on gone and it is starting to get easier here.  I'm falling into a routine and that is making the amount of work I'm doing bearable.  I am seriously scheduled for every minute of the day, even bed time.  I work 16 hour days with maybe 10 minutes of free time, not including meals. So P-Days really are a blessing because we can do whatever we want to do for that day.  But the day after is terrible. It's called the P-Day blues.  I guess the weeks aren't so bad.  I have a couple hours of classroom instruction with a teacher in the morning and afternoon, then the rest is all just study time.  It was a rough schedule at first but now I've figured out how to manage it, which is good. 

The day after P-Day did have a plus side.  One of the Hermanas was feeling sick and asked us to give her a blessing.  I was the one who did it and it felt so cool to be able to give her a blessing and use my priesthood power already.  It was even better to see her back to her old self the very next day. 
Mexico City Temple

Speaking of P-Day, I was able to go to the Mexico City Temple today and wow it is beautiful (I'll include a picture).  I didn't get to go inside because its under renovations until fall but it was still great. 

I also had to get my hair cut today. Do NOT get a hair cut in the MTC.  The lady destroyed my hair.  When I walked into the computer lab some of the Hermanas in my district looked at me weird. Of course they tried to take it back and say "No, it looks great!" but I´m not buying it. 
Freak Rain Storm

Something crazy happened on Tuesday.  After the devotional we have every Tuesday all the districts have a district meeting to discuss about it.  Well mid way through ours it begins to rain lightly. No big deal, right? WRONG. About 15 minutes after it starts it starts to pour down like I have never seen before.  The wind picks up and then it begins hailing.  Lighting is cracking directly over our heads (dont worry, we were all inside) and the wind is so strong it is ripping singles off of the buildings next to us.  Then, the power goes out.  It was only for 10 seconds but it was enough to freak everyone out.  That was probably the strongest storm I have ever seen in my life, not that I've seen very many really bad ones.  It dies down after a while and it is enough to make it back to my casa safely, however, I didn't have ANY of my rain gear with me in my classroom.  So, I had to make a run for it all the way back to my casa.  When I get there however, My entire street, it's a cul-de-sac, is flooded. About half the Elders, me included, got in our "regs" (regular clothes) and started splashing around in water.  It was knee deep and freezing cold!  But I wouldn't get that chance again and enjoyed it.  All of us were taking pictures and just having a good time. Some even started playing rugby!  It was awesome and a really good stress reliever. 
Elder Biehn and Elder Everett playing in the rain.

It is starting to get hard as the district leader though.  I'm having a problem with the other elder companionship in my district.  Yea, there is only two companionships of elders, mine and the other one.  Anyways, the other companionship doesn't get along very well.  They have opposite personalities and are always fighting.  It is driving me insane.  I pray for patience but it is difficult because it is the same elder that starts it every time.  He has the mind set that he is always right and tries to justify himself whenever he is caught in the wrong.  Those are the kind of people that get under my skin the most.  But I know that I need to find a way to cooperate with him because there will be plenty more people to come that are the exact same.  If I can do it now, it'll be so much better in the future. Plus it's my job as a district leader to love and care for everyone in my district the same. 

On another note, my Spanish is getting really good but only when it comes to gospel doctrines.  For example, we have these practice investigators that we have to teach lessons to and me and my companion had prepared this great lesson on the restoration.  However, when we meet with him and asked if he read the scriptures and prayed, he told us he didn't feel worthy.  Me and Elder Everett both look at each other and put our notes on the ground and start teaching him about the Atonement.  Completely no prep work at all and teaching off of the spirit.  It was definitely one of our better lessons we've had. 

I know that Heavenly Father is helping me.  I feel his hand helping me to learn the language and learning to feel the spirit.  How else would I be able to learn more Spanish in two weeks than I did in two years of High School Spanish? I can feel the spirit more and teach with even greater power because of it.  It may be hard at times, really hard, but I know what I'm doing is the right thing to do and that not only me but my family and all my loved ones will be blessed for it.  I love you all and I really enjoy reading everything you write to me every week.  Adios, you will hear from me again next week. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015 - Week 1

Well 1 week down, 103 more to go. This has been a really CRAZY week so far. It was hard at the beginning but I`m getting used to it now. This week has definitely been a struggle, from the airport all the way up until now. Right now is really hard, I'm not a person that cries very often but this definitely did the trick. My P-Days are on Thursday so that is the only time I am allowed to e-mail, take pictures, etc. Ok, so here goes the review of this week.

The plane ride to Salt Lake City wasn't bad because there was another Elder on the plane with me that I knew. Once I landed in the Salt Lake Airport, I was so glad to see my Uncle waiting for me at the gate. That definitely helped out a lot. I hadn't eaten anything that morning so we stopped to get some airport McDonald's breakfast. Then it was straight to the next plane ride. The one from SLC to Mexico City SUCKED. It was so long and we were all packed in there. I had met other missionaries on the plane ride, there were like 24 (I didn't actually count) of us on the plane. I tried to get some sleep but that wasn't going to happen so I just sat there, in the same spot, not moving, for 4 hours. Not Fun. But that's not the end. We get into the terminal to check in and I couldn't understand a thing. None of the signs and especially none of the airport workers. Ridiculous. After all the check in and baggage check, we meet up with the people there to pick us up. They had a bus so the Elders load all the luggage and we get on board. Driving in Mexico City is the scariest thing ever. Their thought process is "Just Go For It." I swear our bus was inches away from cars, other buses, buildings, even people. I was scared going through Mexico City, it just looks really run down and nasty. But the MTC, it was beautiful! its amazing the view. I thought it would be all trashy but no, its really nice here. The MTC was an even harder part of the day. Getting to the MTC we had to go through a ton of orientations. What it means to be a missionary, how they act, they gave us all our books and supplies, and told us our houses. They gave us all water bottles because the water isn't safe to drink. We need to be constantly filling up our bottles from water jugs they have set up all over. I honestly couldn't remember half of the stuff they said. I met my companion while we were waiting. His name is Elder Everett. He's from Utah. Well my group had got there late so we left our stuff and went to dinner at 6. I had this weird kind of flattened chicken patty on hard buns. definitely cafeteria food. It was a hard day but all the Elders there kept saying "make it to Sunday" and they were right. After dinner, I took my luggage to my "Casa" and unpacked. I open my suit case and these heart sticky notes are everywhere! Thanks family, that was a tear jerker as well, but in a good way. I unpacked my suitcase and meet my roommates. There are four of us in a room and we sleep on bunk beds. Night was well welcome because I was so tired and it was probably the worst day of my life so far. I went straight to sleep at 10:30, bed time. 

Ok now that I have explained that, I can kinda summarize everything else. Lets just say that I have the utmost respect for all you missionaries out there right now, because this was hard.

My second day was full as well. More orientations and classes start. The morning was rough, I pretty much had a breakdown. I thought "Why am I here? Why am I doing this? I can't do what I want to do. My whole schedule is planned out for me." I realized I just need to keep myself busy and not think about it. I actually had fun in my first class because I met my district and teacher. It turns out that it is just us 4 elders and then 6 sisters. I tried and failed at having a conversation with some natives. It was hilarious because they knew as much English as we did Spanish. I honestly fell asleep for the rest of the orientations that day. Then came the district meeting that night. we met our branch presidency and rest of our zone. Every district needs a district leader and guess what, It was me. That day wasn't as bad as the day before.

It steadily gets easier and easier throughout the week. But the Elders were right, just make it to Sunday. I am speaking so much Spanish right now, it is crazy! We get a practice investigator so we can start practicing giving lessons in Spanish. It awesome, me and my companion are able to give entire lessons in Spanish! I know that the Lord is helping me there because I know more Spanish in two weeks than I did in two years of High School Spanish. I learning to love the language and the people. I love my district. They are awesome and it really helps to have them around.

I've already had to settle some disputes as the district leader. The other Elder Companionship fights often because they are completely opposite personalities. One is a know it all that always has to be right and the other is always sarcastic. It honestly never ends with them but I sure hope they find some way to fix it. I talked to both but it didn't seem to do anything.

The days go by so fast now. I'm enjoying my Spanish classes, I working on reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover (and I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm in Mosiah right now.) Gym time is my favorite because there is a weight room here. I enjoy that a lot. And we play volleyball as a district all the time.

I'm loving it here and I love my District, 13-A. I feel the Spirit so much and I can even bear my testimony, teach a lesson, and pray in Spanish. I'm learning so fast. I definitely feel the Lord's hand in everything I do. I know He loves me and is helping me every step of the way. If it is ever tough, I know I just need to kneel down and pray to Him and ask for his help. Not to just take the burden away but to help me through it. I can learn so much more but enduring to the end and I see that now. Every trial we have is to help us. Not because God wants to punish us but because He loves us and wants to see us grow and turn to him whenever we are struggling. Trials are how we grow and learn, and he will always be there beside us to help. All we need to do ask for it.

I'm loving my mission and I look forward to doing this again next week. I love you all and you'll get to hear from me a week from today. I've included some pictures of my adventure so far.
My companion Elder Everett and I at the CCM.
The elders in my district.
Mi casa.  
Our district at the Mexico City CCM.