Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day In Calgary

Hola!I made it safely to Calgary. We landed around 1 yesterday and the mission president and his wife met us at the airport. We went to the mission home and had some orientation meetings during the day. We had dinner together and then had a testimony meeting in the evening at a local chapel. The mission president and his wife are both very nice and have been very welcoming. There were 19 new elders that came from the MTC plus 5 more elders that are from canada and have been called to US missions, but are having trouble getting visas. They've decided to spend the first 6 weeks of their missions here in this mission while they wait. We all slept in the basement of the mission home last night on matresses and then woke up this morning and there was transfers for the missionaries. Everyone met in the parking lot of the church and talked for a while and then left their seperate ways. TOday I've just been unpacking and buying groceries. There are 13 spanish elders right now in the mission. All of them except 2 are in the areas aroudn the city. Two elders are in lethbridge, which is a couple hours south. Elder Walker from Saint George from my district is now in lethbridge. In lethbridge they translate at church for the members and in the city of calgary there's a chapel and a branch for spanish speakers. I'm in the Calgary East Stake adn we attend a spanish ward which has over 100 members. Elder Chunn from my district at the MTC is in the adjacent area and we attend the same ward on sundays. We also go to dinner with him and his companion i believe most of the time, so that will be good to see him often. The ward that Elder Chunn and our companions are in is supposed to be very strong which is graet. Pretty much all of our trainers have been out for about a year in the mission. My new companion is Elder zoltan from california. He has been in this area for 6 weeks and his last companion just finished his mission. He's still getting used to the area, but he seems liek a great missionary and I'm sure he'll be a great trainer for me. We met the other 7 spanish elders and President Archibald said that they're all strong and great elders. Everything is goign well. I'm excited to be here and start working with real people. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve.Thank you for the package from memaw and papa, I got it this mornign at the transfer meeting. All mail should be sent to the mission office because I'll be close and the zone leaders pick it up adn distribute it often. The address is: 7044 Farrell Rd SE Calgary, Alberta T2H 0T2CanadaI think it is around 1 dollar though to send a letter though- or 2 stamps should be good. We live very close to the library adn that's where I'll email every Wednesday, which is normally the preparation day. As far as the missionary work goes, we have a good number of investigators and I'll go to my first appointment tonight. We also have our first dinner appointment so hopefully the food won't be too spicy. The new mission president is really stressing member referrals, especially with us because we only teach spanish speakers, and so there are some programs that he's instituted and new ways that we go about obtaining those referrals and encouraging the members. I don't think we really will be doing any tracting at all unless we absolutely don't have anything else to do. THe members in the ward are supposed to be very active and engaged with finding people for us to teach. We live in a one bedroom apartment on the third floor, but it's pretty roomy and spacious. I don't really have any other news other than that everythings going well. I'm excited to teach my first lesson and that I'll have a lot of members to interact with and practice the language with. A cool experience was on the plane from salt lake there was 3 canadian olympic team hockey players. One is captain of the phoenix coyotes, one is captain of teh san jose sharks, and i forget who the other one played for. There were 45 seats on the plane adn 21 missionaries. Elder Chunn sat next to the one from the phoenix coyotes and taught him the first and second lessons and they discussed religion the entire flight. He gave him a BOM pass along card adn committed him to read it. Elder Chunn was probably the only elder who really knew anything about hockey on the flight and struck up conversation with him before introducing the gospel. I don't feel that it was a coincidence that Elder Chunn sat next to him and was able to establish a discussion with him about hocket and then progressing to religion. I know that there are no coincidences in this work. I really don't have much more news other than to pray for me and wish me luck. Over the next couple days we're goign to be meeting the investigators and since my companion is fairly new he wants to try to make contact with all the members in our area, active and non-active. Thank you for all of your love and support. How grateful I am to be here! Love, Elder Dunlap

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17, 2009

One more week left! We went to the temple this morning for the last time as a district. It was a graet experience. Our two teachers came and went through the session with us and we were able to meet my teacher's wife. 6 of us leave for Calgary on Monday morning at 6 am. The flight leaves Salt Lake at 10or 1015ish and lands in Calgary around 1230. There are 20 of us going as a group. So I assume that there are 14 english speaking elders that will be going with us. There may be 2 or 4 mandarin speaking elders because the mission has some mandarin speaking elders assigned. I believe that we will be staying in the mission home on Monday night and then Tuesday is the preparation day for the mission. I'll probably meet my trainer on Tuesday and head off to where I am assigned. I've been praying for him for a couple weeks, so he better be good. This week we pretty much have the same schedule, we will have to say goodbyes this weekend to our teachers and then we get to see the temple dedication on sunday as a final treat. I am really going to miss my teachers and the elders going to baltimore. We've became really close as we've grown and progressed together. Not too much exciting has happened this week. We've been teaching a lot in spanish. I feel like I've kind of hit a plateua with the language rigth now. I'm getting comfortable with teaching and have to make a conscious effort to try and implement new words and phrases. We spent some time with our new branch president yesterday. He has changed some things and has different focuses as the old branch president, but I know that he was assigned in this branch. The new branch president and his wife seem like grandparents, the old branch president and his wife seemed like parents. They're both great, but just have different focuses on how they feel missionaries should be prepared during their time here. Mom- if you can please print out those emails I forwarded to you. They are letters from my old branch president that I would like for you to put in my book that you said you are keeping. He is a graet man and I really appreciated the opportunity to learn and grow from him. I also recieved the photo card in the mail a couple of days ago, so thank you.Our devotional last tuesday was by Elder Snow, he's in the second quorum of the 70 and was just assigned to the missionary department. He talked about commitment. He gave six statements that we need to accept and implement to be good missionaries. I don't remember what they are rigth now, but they were very good adn I took good notes. I've already filled up my journal and have bought two more with the 6.00 they give us a week. I forgot to say that President Clegg is in the mission presidency here and he served as the president of the dominican republic MTC for 3 years, so nathan may have had him and his wife for the 6 weeks he was there.I'm trying to stay focused over the last week. We've set some goals to keep us busy and try not to think about canada too much. Everyone is excited to eat real food at the airport. I'm just excited to be able to cook my own food and decide what I'm going to eat for at least 2 meals a day. Memaw- if you think that you can get my jackets and sweaters to Calgary before Monday, you can mail them to the mission office so that they're there when I arrive. The address is Elder CLifton Seth DunlapCanada Calgary Mission7044 Farrell Rd SECalgary Alberta T2H 0T2 the phone number is 1 403 252 1141 If it can't arrive in time, I should be able to send my address next Tuesday of my apartment. An elder said his mom mailed a small box and said it cost 30 dollars, so hopefully it won't cost too much. I love everyone and miss you! I'll send pictures soon after i get to Canada. Love you and miss you Elder DUnlap

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

August 10, 2009

Two more weeks left! We will find out this Thursday our details about flying to Calgary. Time has passed quickly over the last couple of weeks.My branch president was released yesterday. He has been here at the MTC for 4 years and so it was really hard for him to leave. Him and his wife shed many tears. He really is a great man and became a dear friend as I met with him over the last 7 weeks. My district especially grew close to him. Him and his wife brought us donuts from KRISPY KREME on friday night which was very nice. There are 10 elders in the district 12 donuts. The last two had to be fought over. As a district we committed to set specific goals for the Referal Center last week. As companionships, we set specific goals and prayed about them and prepared all week. Last Sunday I felt inspired to challenge the district to do this during our planning meeting. The Lord definetely answered our prayers. Our district had more success in the referal center this week in placing book of mormons and scheduling missionary visits then we have had the 7 weeks here combined. It was a wonderful, unifying, and uplifting experience. My companion and I spent the whole hour and 45 minutes teaching and testifying over the phone it seemed like. Usually, about 70 percent of the time, you spend recieving answering machines. One of the expereinces that I had was with a lady who i was calling to confirm the delivery of a lamb of god DVD. For some reason, she had not recieved it. I asked her what she knew about our church and it led to a long discussion where she asked me all types of questions. She had been given a Book of Mormon years ago by a neighbor and happened to still have it. She just happened to have a couple of hours free rigth then when i called. She told me that she had been wondering what she was going to do with her time when I called adn I had sparked her interest and she was going to read it right then. She asked me if there was a certain section she should read. We read some verses together over the phone and she comitted to erad it right then adn pray about it when she was finished. She accepted the missionaries and seemed very excited to learn more. This lady was definetely prepared by the Lord. I know that these weren't coincidences. She asked me all the right questions, I felt like I really didn't have to do anything. All the companionships had similar experiences. I'm thankful that he Lord provided them for this district. It's nice to be able to do real missionary work and experience the joy here, it keeps us excited and focused. The Tuesday devotional was the Provo temple president. I forget his name right now, but he's a former seventy. He spoke on the power of the temple ordinances for us in our calling. It was very, very good, I really enjoyed it. I'm still hoping that an apostle comes this Tuesday or next, I know I've been saying this since like 3 weeks into my stay at the MTC, but there really should be one soon. Our last Sunday here, on August 23rd, we get to participate via broadcast in the temple dedication for Oaqure(Oacker) Mountain, i'm not sure how to spell it. Everyone will be getting interviewed and ready for that over the next couple weeks. We're finished with all the Spanish grammar, so classes now are review and teaching. I don't feel like my Spanish is improving as much as it was in the beginning. I feel comfortable teaching the lessons and people can understand. I'm not sure how grammatically correct they are, but I can express my feelings. Right now I'm really just focusing on memorizing vocab and scriptures for my language study. Sorry if I don't respond to questions from Dear Elders that were sent over the weekend. On Monday evening, we recieve all the Dear Elders for the entire weekend and most likely Friday as well. Last monday we recieved like 30 for the district at one time, so I don't read them until Monday evening after I email.Hope all is well.Love Elder Dunlap

Monday, August 3, 2009

Seth Saw a girl from Joyschool (Preschool) at the MTC August 3,2009

Hola!This has been another good week. Thank you for the letters! Sara asked how teaching is going. It's pretty good, I feel pretty comfortable teaching the basics of the lessons and I think that I'm understood fairly well, at least by other missionaries and teachers. I sometimes feel like I know the definitions of more words than I use though. It's hard to think in English and translate in my head into a small vocably of spanish words that I know. My companion is doing well too. He has some basic phrases in Spanish and has struggled with the language, so sometimes it is hard because he'll get lost in the lessons and jump around some because he doesn't understand what is going on. He's worked hard though and has made some great progress in the language. We're starting to be able to make lessons personal to the investigators with our extended vocabulary. Preach My Gospel is about teaching to the needs of investigators and helping them come unto Christ. The biggest challenge is being able to do this on the spot when situations arise in lessons. We've memorized words and phrases to teach the basic doctrines, but good lessons apply those doctrines to the investigators lives and helps them understand how any problem they face can be solved or made easier to bare through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We get along very well though and are both pretty easy going people. Tonight the oldest district leaves and so for the next three weeks, we will be the oldest district in our zone. There is 4 districts in our zone or branch, so about 40 elders. Being the oldest district means that we will have 3 weeks in which it is very likely that we will speak in sacrament meeting. No one in my district has gave a talk yet, but I'm sure several of us will get the chance. Everyone writes a 3-5 minute talk and then the bishopric announces who is speaking every Sunday when the meeting starts. There is two speakers every sunday and then someone from the Bishopric or their family will give the large talk in sacrament meeting. I'm glad to hear that you recieved the pictures in the mail, I was worried that they were lost. Every fast Sunday we have mission conference, so instead of a branch priesthood meeting, we have a 2 hour meeting with all the elders at the MTC. The MTC presidency and their wives speak usually. Yesterday one of the wives gave us a check list of things to do to prepare for a baptism. One of them was to remind the new member to bring extra white underwear adn towels. It seems even at the MTC, the Presidency wives have a motherly attitude towards us, they always reminding us of the practical motherly type of things. The Tuesday devotional was by an emeritus member of the seventy- elder Dellenbach. He spoke on the Book of Mormon and it's role in conversion. I realized last Tuesday that we've had all former members of the seventy, because July is the month that the general authorities take vacation and rest. So, this next week we should start again with general authorities for the devotionals. I'm hoping that we get another apostle before I leave. I don't know yet when I depart. This should come in the mail about a week and a half before I leave, so I should recieve it one week from this Thursday. I have 3 more weeks here. My district will be hosting the new missionaries the next 2 Wednesdays, so showing them to their rooms. I'll be standing out in the hot sun all day conducting traffic in a suit since I'm the district leader, my branch president said this isn't something that I'm allowed to dellegate. We only have one more very tense to learn and then we're pretty much done with our language instruction here at the MTC. We'll be reviewing adn teaching a lot over the next couple of weeks. Saturday at the RC, I made a call in Spanish. I was confirming a book of mormon delivery. My teacher was listening on the line as well and translated what I couldn't understand for me, but I responded totally in Spanish and was able to bear my testimony. The lady said that she had a bible and book of mormon but didn't have time with work to read either right now, but she said that she wanted to read the book of mormon and would contact us when she did. I was just glad that she was able to understand my spanish and I could pick out bits of what she said. I recieved Sara's package. Thank you Sara and shawn. I love the tie. There's a missionary in my district who had been showing off his Trump ties and raving about them, so he liked the one that you sent to me.When I was picking up Sara's package, a girl in the mailroom asked me if i ever lived in Florida. I said yes a long time ago and she sadi she went to joyschool with me. It was raquel delgado. She recognized the last name. I didn't have time to talk to her any other than tell her where I was serving, but I thought you would find it interesting that I ran into her here. Everything is overall going well, I'm becoming closer to my district and will be sad to leave 4 of them in 3 weeks, but I'm ready for some real food. I don't need anymore snacks, I should have enough to last until I leave. Thanks for all the love, food, and prayersCon amorelder dunlap