Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27 - Video

Hi this is how I spend my p-dayI didn't want to say anything out loud because then they would look at me funny.

But today was fun because we had zone activity and played volleyball. I met a lot of new missionaries that are in my zone. It is so fun. But when we don't have things going on, we hang out with the other elders in our district and play Yugioh and just relax. It's really chill up until 6, then it's back to work.

April 27 - Elder Biehn, Washington DC South

Hi everyone!

Another week has come and gone and I'm still here doing the same thing. The only thing that will begin to change now is who I teach, and the amount of Spanish I know. Which, I can say have both been improving. Normally, my trainer just starts talking and next thing I know we are full swing in the lesson. But now I'm able to understand, and I actually participated in the lessons!  This really is what it is all about, teaching the people and seeing them learn and grow with me. I learn something new in my studies then I'm able to teach it to someone. Getting rejected is also a big part of it.

It's cold enough to wear my sweater.

For example, we have a less active member and we have been trying to see him ever since I got here. I think we have stopped by his house about 4 times and he was never home. It was always his wife that would answer the door. Then on the 5th time, I decided I would knock this time and he opens the door! That is what you call greenie power! We're able to talk to him and kind of develop a friendship then we get down to the real stuff and do the restoration. We wanted to give him what he has been missing out on. Elder Oran was basically doing all the talking and I was just trying to keep up. Then I catch a part, "I wouldn't ever feel the spirit when I go to church." BAM! That my cue. I finally pipe up and I share my testimony on my past experience with church. I felt the same way he did before. But that's because I wasn't actively being a member of the church. I didn't study the scriptures, I wouldn't be praying, and I wasn't trying to better myself. Then once I came out on my mission and I started doing the things I needed to, I enjoy every bit of the gospel. Especially attending church. He justsat there and nodded at me. I don't know if he took it to heart, but it was more for me than anything else. I not only realized what I have learned but I gained the confidence I needed. I thought "who cares if I don't say it perfect. If I can get my point across then I had better do it in my broken Spanish." That is when things really turned around for me. When I bore my testimony in Spanish on the spot and realized that if I just open my mouth and talk then I'm fine. Besides, if I mess up I can just pull the "I'm white and I'm learning card." Normally they want to help because here is this white kid who is thousands of miles from home trying to learn about their language and their culture.

I also found a brand new investigator this week. It is our first one that we found as a companionship and I understand where the love missionaries have for their investigators comes from. She has a catholic background so she had no idea about the restoration or anything. We taught a 3 hour lesson! She has so many questions for us and we were able to teach about the restoration, Book of Mormon, and she still wants to know more. I am so excited for her because we got her address, phone number, and a return visit scheduled. It definitely looks promising. We also taught this other couple and I had a part in that lesson too. While we were teaching, for some reason they didn't want to pray as a family. So I remembered reading something about that and I was able to find 3 Nephi 18:20-21. It was the perfect scripture, and then they committed to it. Score!

I got a haircut this week from one of the members.
Today, I had my first zone activity and it was so fun! Our whole zone got together, English and Spanish, and we had lunch and played volleyball. Something I haven't done for more than two weeks! I missed playing volleyball every day in Mexico and this was a good way to get to know my new zone. I met everyone and we had a good time eating, playing around, and hanging out. It really reminds me of how it would be if we weren't on our missions and we were all friends just hanging out. Then at 6 o'clock it's back to work.

I'm really enjoying my mission now and I don't see very much changing in the future. But now I will be sharing my spiritual experiences from throughout the week instead of how it is so different. Until next Monday, adios! Nos vemos!

P.S. I got a haircut this week from one of the members and it actually got cold enough that I had to wear my sweater. I have never had to wear one with my church clothes before.

Elder Biehn

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20 - Elder Biehn's Weekly Update

Hey everyone,

I'm starting to get used to the whole missionary life thing. This past week was definitely an improvement from the last one. I'm at the point where I'm actually starting to enjoy my mission now so that's a good sign. The schedule isn't as rough anymore because I've gotten used to the fact that I will always be busy. And being busy is the fun part because it means that I am teaching people, or at least they are getting taught and we have appointments. I don't do much to help out in the lessons yet. I'm still trying to get Spanish down. I have an hour every morning to study and I definitely make the best of it. I know it is a process and it takes time but I'm impatient and I want to be able to teaching ASAP. At points I am able to understand the lesson that my companion is teaching and I can have a little part where I bear my testimony. But with my small vocabulary it is very limited. I'm told I should be a pro by the end of the transfer, so by the end of next month. So here's to hoping that happens.
The only tall buildings are downtown. 

I am learning so much too. Every morning I have 1 hour of personal study, 2 hours of companionship study since I'm being trained, and then 1 hour of language study. So a full 4 hours of studying the gospel. It really is amazing all the things that I missed or didn't pick up on before my mission. Now that I have to dive head first into the gospel, it is so interesting to study the scriptures and look to how it applies to my investigators.

Virginia really is a beautiful state. It is so old with so much history all around. Even the roads because instead of tearing down the trees, all the trees are still up. When I drive, it feels like driving through a forest when really I'm still in the city of Alexandria. The only tall buildings are downtown where there are a ton of apartments and shops. That is the only hint of a concrete jungle.
Virginia is really a beautiful state. 

I'm getting to know the missionaries in my district pretty well right now. There is one other set of elders and then two companionships of hermanas. We see all them every Sunday and sometimes we run into each other during the day. On p-days, all of the elders get together and hang out in our apartments or we go out to eat. P-days are so relaxing. All I have to do is go shopping for supplies I need for the week then I'm free to do what I want for the rest of the day. At least until 6 pm because then it is time to go and visit again.

A mission won't be the best two years of my life, but it will be the best two years for my life. I'm learning how to study and I'm learning how all the aspects of the gospel relate. I know that the study habits I'm learning now will help me for the rest of my life because of the doctrine I will learn.

Elder Biehn

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015 – In The Field

Hey everybody,

I'm not going to lie, these past few days have been really rough. I've already had a break down because of the difficulty of this.  It's so hard to have to teach the gospel on my first few days out of the MTC. Let alone in Spanish.  The way to teach they taught me in the MTC is way different than the way we need to teach in the field. It helps a little but I am pretty much having to re-teach myself how to get the message across to people. Then there is the language barrier. I have a problem when it comes to comprehending Spanish. I know the words and I can say plenty in Spanish, but I just can't understand what it is the people are saying. It was because of this that I had a break down. I thought I was fine in the MTC because I could speak with my teachers and the Latinos just fine, but here, it's like the people intentionally slur their words and talk really quietly and intentionally make it difficult for me.  That's the biggest reason I'm struggling right now.

My new companion's name is Elder Oran. He is a Latino and has been speaking Spanish for his entire life so it should help me to learn Spanish even faster. He was born in Peru but grew up in Provo. He's my trainer and is teaching me how to do everything.  We are serving in the Bella Vista ward which is a Spanish only ward. Our area is Arlington and we cover about half of the city.  Elder Oran can be a pretty big goof ball at times but when he teaches, it's powerful. We spend most of our time teaching investigators and less active members so we don't really have many dinner appointments.

Sunday was great though. After having a few days to get used to the schedule and adjusting to the Spanish speakers, it's not that bad.  I really focused on trying to understand what it is people are saying over the past few days. And it went pretty good. I understood a good portion and had some conversations with members and investigators. Broken Spanish, but Spanish none the least. I also was asked to give the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. But it was almost an entire sacrament meeting based on missionaries because there was a missionary giving the opening prayer, one giving a talk, a return missionary giving a talk, and then me with the closing prayer.

Adjusting to missionary life would be the hardest thing to deal with right now. Add in teaching lessons and speaking Spanish and it is perfect for a stress overload. So far my favorite time of the day is study time when I don't have to teach, speak Spanish, or worry about a schedule.  Life in the field is so much different than in the MTC. The MTC had a schedule planned out for me and gave me food. Here, I have to plan my own schedule with a certain amount of study time each day, an hour for each meal, then time to go and teach investigators. My meals have been mostly instant meals so far like ramen, chicken nuggets, and cereal. Lots and lots of cereal. Meal time is the only real free time I have and I don't want to spend it making and cleaning up a huge mess. That'll probably change in the future but I want to keep it as stress free as possible right now.

This entire week has been rough. I think even more than my first week in the MTC. This week I had to say goodbye to my entire district in the MTC. We had all gotten so close and it was so hard to realize that I won't see them for 2 or more years. We had become the best of friends in the short 6 weeks I was there and I really will miss them. Hopefully I'm able to do the same in the mission. So far it seems to be that way because the entire Spanish program is so close.

Virginia is a beautiful state. There are so many trees and the weather has been amazing. All the other missionaries tell me that it could be the most bipolar weather ever. They say that they have seen all 4 seasons in one day. I'm kinda excited to see that happen.

Overall, it's been a really hard experience with lots of stress and difficulty. But it's just the first week. In the few days I have been here, I'm already starting to learn the schedule and language.

Well, today I get to go into DC and enjoy the national mall. The best part is that the cherry blossoms are blooming right now which only happens for 2 weeks out of the entire year!


Elder Biehn
In Washington DC at the National Mall

The cherry blossoms are in bloom!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 2015 - Time is Almost Up!

Hey guys!

I have a chance to e-mail right now since my whole district is leaving tonight and tomorrow night.  I just want you all to know that I am safe and I will be leaving for Atlanta Wednesday morning at 7 am.  I'll try to contact you but I don't have a very long layover so I don't know if I'll have time.

Anyways, I absolutely loved Conference.  I'm so glad I got to watch conference in the MTC with people I know rather than in a new area with a new companion.  I was really able to relax and feel the spirit.  My favorite talk was by Elder Holland.  I loved his story about the brothers because I can relate it so much to me and Ryan.  I even started to tear up a little bit at the end of his.  I can definitely say that Elder Holland is my favorite apostle.  He speaks with such power and knowledge it's hard not to get pumped up by listening to him.

I have this really good video I want you all to watch. It's call "Missionary Work and the Atonement" so look it up on YouTube. It's amazing and it makes me look at missionary work and the things Christ did in a whole new way.

I love you all and I love this gospel. I can't stress enough the importance of living it every day.  I have definitely learned that in my time here I can actually see how I have changed.  It's all because I live the Gospel 100% now.

I will be on tomorrow again but I'm not sure about the time.  I still need to do laundry and pack but I will definitely make time.

Elder Biehn

April 6, 2015 - CCM District 13A

Thank you so much for these wonderful young men and young women.  We have come to love all of them.  
CCM District 13A

Hermana Janet Call

CCM Mexico City

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015 - Week 5 - Mi Ultimo P-Day en el CCM

Hey Everyone!

First things first. Today is April 2nd and that means it is my brother's birthday.  So I want to start by saying Happy Birthday to him and that I love him so much.

Well today is my last P-day in the MTC. by this time next week I will doing missionary work in the D.C. area.  This is honestly so exciting because I've really wanted to get to the field and start working already.  I really have enjoyed my time here but I am really ready to leave. I've learned so much Spanish here I can have full conversation with the workers and actually understand everything they say and they understand me.  I think I am most excited about being able to speak to people in Spanish because 6 weeks ago that would not have been possible.  I've learned more Spanish in these 6 weeks in the MTC than I ever did in my 2 years of High School Spanish.  I can say to you that the Gift of Tongues is REAL!

This past week though has been kind of rough for me however.  Another district in my Zone had left this past week on Monday.  It was so hard to see them leave because I had been with them for the past 5 weeks.  I had gotten really close to all the Elders in that district and the night that they left many manly tears were shed, Haha.  It was rough to see them go and it was even harder the next couple of days.  Everywhere I went reminded me of them.  The comedor where we all ate together, the classroom where we studied with them, and volleyball because we always played with them.  The good thing is I got all of their E-mails so add them to the list of people I need to contact on P-day.  The one I'll miss the most was Elder Dansie.  He was practically my best friend while in the MTC.  Me and him even made plans to try and visit each other after our missions.  This reminds me of how my dad is with one of his companions.  I hope we are the same way. 
Elder Dansie 

So, remember how I you about how my neighbors pranked us by moving our furniture all around.  Well, I came up with an amazing prank to get them back and it went off beautifully.  The night that 13-C came by to same goodbye is when we pulled it off and they even got to help.  They came at about 4 in the morning to wake us up and say goodbye.  Then we started the prank.  My idea was to place a ton of cups of water in front of their door so they couldn't get out.  It was awesome and hilarious.  It took about 200 cups so the entire week before me and all my roommates would take about 5 cups per meal from the Comedor.  It was slow but sooo worth it.  13-C helped set them all up then they took off. I've got some pictures of how it looked.  The Elders across the hall were good sports about it. They told me about what happened when they saw it.  Apparently one of them woke up and went to walk into the hallway when he saw it.  He goes "What the Heck?!"  So he clears about 40 of the cups out of the way so he can jump it. he then goes to start moving the cups in front of my door.  We open the door and there are two of them moving the cups over. They freeze right in the middle of moving them with the guiltiest look on their face ever.  It was the funniest thing ever.  Of course we helped them clean it all up.  We wanted to measure out the water so we grabbed one of the empty 20 liter bottles we use for drinking water and it filled the entire thing!  They gave us our props so now we are waiting for them to get us back.

Our payback prank before District 13-C left.
Also, my class got pretty bored during study time because we have it for about 5 hours a day.  We found a cart so one of the Elders hopped on and I started pushing him up and down the hall.  Then comes one the Elders from the other district with a rolling chair out into the hall.  They grabbed some of the empty 20 liter jugs and we had a full on jousting competition! I love the things we are able to come up with to entertain ourselves.

Anyways, that’s about it for this week.  I'm not really looking forward to the last few days because it is going to be a lot of testing and meetings.  The plus is that I have the chance to listen to General Conference this Saturday and Sunday.  I'm super excited to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles speak as well as listen to how many missionaries are serving right now, because I'm one of them!

Well everyone, that's it for this week. Next time I write you all I will be in the Washington D.C. area!  I love you all and don't forget to write me.  It's what I look forward to every week.

Elder Biehn