Monday, August 26, 2013

Called to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Mission to speak Portuguese, reassigned to Gilbert, AZ and speaking WHAT?!?!?!?

Hey everyone!!!
Man this week has been one of the most action packed of my entire life. There is some huge news that happened but you gotta keep reading, haha. So my very first day in the field was spent at an orientation type thing at a Stake Center (a larger church building) with all of the newbie to the mission that arrived that week. All of the members of the mission presidency spoke to us about of a lot of stuff. I really like the mission president, he is very easy to talk to, reminds me of Bishop Haycock a lot. So we spent the day at the building, getting trained, and members fed us. They feed us very, very well here, haha, its nice. This is for sure a weight gaining mission, if you dont watch yourself, haha. That night we spent the night at a members home with a companion we had for a day. I was at a bishops house, really nice family. I crashed at 7 oclock though, haha. I was dead tired. The next day was transfer day, which was super exciting because we would get our new companions and find out what areas we had ( more like what 2 neighborhoods we would cover, haha) (there are LOTS of church members in Gilbert). It was cool how they announced it. Everyone was in the chapel with the trainers on one side and us greenies on the other. Then the mission president announced one at a time the trainer, then the newbie who would be companions. It was super exciting. So my companion's name is Elder Macfarlane, a really great guy. Kind of quiet like myself, but we laugh a lot together already. In my first few moments with him I learned some news that would rock my world, haha. He told me that one, we had a car, and that there is only one reason we would have a car in such a small mission....we were the spanish elders!!!! holyyy cowwwww!!!! spanish????? I dont speak spanish!!! I hardly speak Portuguese!!! Well that just blew my mind. For the whole mission there are only 3 companionships that speak spanish, and I was one of them haha. So...after that we go to our home. We live in a home, not an appartment with another companionship. Its really nice actually. So I unpacked a little, got to know Elder Macfarlane some more, and then we headed out. We headed to one of the investigators he had an appointment with, really nice guy. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and about praying about its truthfulness (keep in mind this is in Spanish, haha). My companion did the teaching for the most part, then I bore my testimony in Portuguese. He understood most of it, which was really neat. The past week I have found out that I can sorta kinda understand Spanish. I can get the basic point of what they are trying to say and it's the same when I speak Portuguese to them, its really neat. I have also learned some basic Spanish, of course like how to greet people and stuff like that. My portuguese has really accelerated though. I thought I would loose a lot of it in the field here but turns out I have been using it non stop. The past few days have been filled with amazinggggg experiences. We went out with a recent convert of 2 weeks who is about 16. He bore his testimony and it was so powerful. We also taught a potential investigator who understood my Portuguese perfectly about the Book of Mormon and how to pray. That was so powerful too, especially when she prayed for the first time. The spirit was intense. Elder Macfarlane and I have had some amazing personal and companion studies, which are such a great way to start the day. I have learned so much with him, he is a great trainer. The scriptures have also never meant so much to me before, I can't read enough of them. We have had some great lessons. There is an area here called little Mexico, I have never met such humble poor people, they will listen to anything you have to say. It is amazing to experience the love I have for the people, like you hear others talk about. Its just a glimpse of how the Savior feels. One the other Elders in the house, Elder Duval actually knows the people that made Nacho Libre and Napoleon, he is my hero, hahaha. So we crack up nonstop about those movies, he is a hilarious guy. Elder Papworth (an Elder from his zone in the MTC) is in my zone here which is cool, I see him 2 times a week about. I really love the members here. There have been a couple I especially have connected with, that 16 year old covert, and a less active who we visited and me and him really hit it off talking about fishing and hiking and other stuff. Then we talked about the gospel, you've got to be people's friends, if you want what you say to stick. It has been an amazing week, I cant believe I'm actually in the field. I love you guys I hope all is going well back in Georgia. Wish me luck with Spanish, haha, I'm going to need it.
Elder Mountain

 A picture of Elder Mountains and Elder Macfarlanes study guides, 1 in Spanish and 1 in Portuguese!

                                                     A view of the living room.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tender mercies for Mommy

Last night, Nate's 2nd night in Gilbert, Arizona, but first night in the field, I received the following text message :)

"Hello Sis. Mountain! I'm Laura Runyan. A member in your son's area. Today his first day out and he has a great spirit about him!!! He's very faithful :)"

                                               Elder Mountain in a members home in Gilbert, Arizona.

As a mother, this was an answer to many prayers. I so wanted to see his face. Know he was happy. Some type of reassurance. With him being our first chick to leave the nest there have been some difficult moments yet never a doubt that he is on the Lord's errand. I am grateful to a fellow sister in Arizona that felt prompted to send this concerned Mother a text message that would still my heart and fill my soul with peace. I love you Sister Runyan. I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

He arrived in Gilbert, Arizona!!!

We were so very happy to wake up to the following email and picture this morning! All is well.
We are so happy to have your sons in our home tonight.  Tomorrow morning we take them back to the church where they will receive their permanent companions and first area.  Let us know if you have a message we can deliver them at breakfast.
Thanks for sending your sons.  We will love them!!
Norm and Sue Watkins
Gilbert, AZ

Apostle, Gilbert Mission & got to host

Last Email from MTC - August 17, 2013
How is everyone?? Been an exciting week for sure. Forgot to tell you guys that Richard G. Scott spoke to the MTC at the Tuesday night devotional. It was so cool for hear from an apostle. He spoke about the importance of prayer and what a great gift it is that that our Heavenly Father wants us to talk with Him. I really enjoyed it. I like the way he spoke, different from the fiery way Holland or Bednar speak, he spoke very calmly and softly and simply. The spirit was so strong. I am sooooo excited for my my reassignment. Apparently some mission presidents won't put visa waiters with a trainer, they put them with another visa waiter from the MTC. So I could be companions with Siebers or Neu or Papworth, that would be so exciting. I doubt it will happen but it would be cool. Besides hearing from Richard G. Scott and getting the reassignment not too much happened this week. We have been teaching one another lessons in portuguese and english. It is actually hard to teach in english. Because I know so little vocab in portuguese it forces me to speak very simply. But teaching simply is teaching powerfully and with the spirit. When teaching in english its hard to keep it concise and simple. It'll be something I'll have to learn. Did you guys see a map of my mission? It's soooo small. I didnt know missions could be that small. It looks like the size of Buford and Flowery Branch. Gonna start packing today, not too worried about it though, I didnt take out anything I didn't need. Going to really miss the district when we leave. I've grown very close to them. They are great friends. I feel like I've known them for forever. Been talking a lot with the teachers about what Brazil and Rio is exactly like. Rio has a accent kinda like Portugal, so that will be tough at first to get used to. they talk quickly and slur words together and fill spaces between words with the shhh sound, haha. Sounds interesting. They talk very rhythmically like a song too. Learned today that we will be teaching during carnival, we just have to find the right places to find people. I thought we would be on total lock down, haha. My teacher told us its a great time to teach, everyone is so happy. I'll send some pictures later, dont have my camera on me. I'll send a pic of me and my two teachers. I'll call ya Monday morning, bought a calling card yesterday. Oh, I forgot I was able to host on Wednesday (pick up newbies from the curb). The whole district did, it was alot of fun. Kinda of funny how wide eyed and scared they were and to think that was me just 6 weeks ago. Glad I got the opportunity. 

Eu sei que esta igreja e verdadero. Eu sei que Jose Smith fui um profeta da Deus e Ele trazui Livro de Mormon. Eu sei que Livro de Mormon e palavra de Deus e esta testifa de Jesus Cristo e nosso Salvador. Eu amo esta o evangelho. Quando nos oramos, ei sei que Deus sempre resposta nos. sempre sempre sempre resposta!!

Love you guys!!!
Eu amo minha familia!!!
Elder Mountain

                                               Elder Mountain with his MTC teachers.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reassignment!!!! :):)

Stream of emails from MTC -  August 15, 2013

1st -Just got my reassignment 5 minutes ago.....Gilbert, Arizona mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! soooo excited!!!!

2nd - I fly out Monday, 6 in the morning. Apparently Gilbert is a brand new mission which is way cool. Man, I am so excited!!!!

3rd - Gilbert is by Phoenix I think. Its gonna be hotttttt, haha. Man, I'm so excited. It's gonna be great. 4 of the elders of the district are going there. Man it's crazy here, everyone is so excited. The other missions in the district were Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, and South Dakota.

4th - Love you guys!!!! I'll call you guys earlyyyy Monday morning. I will be having pday on Saturday so I will email then.

Elder Mountain

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Awaiting reassignment!?! (where he will serve stateside until Brazil VISA comes)

Email from MTC - week 5
Hey everyone!!!
I hope you guys had a good week back at home. Another great week at the MTC. I can't believe I only have one more week left. Time really flies here. We will all be getting our reassignments on Friday assuming we dont get our visas. I am super excited for that. Its like a whole new mission call. Recently the reassignments have been going to Billings, Montana and Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Not all of them, but quite a few from our zone. Both of those would be awesome. I'm really, really excited to find out. I had some boiled peanuts this week, haha. Elder Blalock from mississippi got some sent to him, reminded me of home, they sure were good. I luckly haven't been sick once my time here. Most people in the district  have been passing a cold around but so far I'm good. It's funny because I'm one of the only ones who doesn't take vitamins daily, don't sanitize my hands every 5 seconds, and have a MTC diet of french fries, haha. I got my hair cut the other day, its the shortest its been in a longgg time. I think it was the number 4 clipper all the way around haha. I like it a lot though. The fireside tonight with everyone is being broadcast to all of the MTCs around the world. So there is rumblings that its gonna be one of the twelve or something. All the firesides are super, super amazing. It would be so cool to hear from someone like that though. I really enjoy Elder Evans, he has taught me so much and is a great example. He feels like a brother almost. The portuguse is continuing to progress. Its still a challenge of course but the basics are beginning to really click. We have been learning a lot this week and how to teach and how to best find people. Its super important that the people you find feel you are trustworthy and they see you as a friend sharing the gospel not a salesperson who doesn't care about them personally. One of my teachers said some of the best lessons that he taught were walking home with an investigator after playing volleyball or soccer. Once they realize how much you love and care about them, the teaching is so much more effective. Our district has gotten to be really close, I see them all as friends I feel like I have known for forever. As you see in the pictures, we laugh a ton and all have the same sense of humor.  It'll be tough saying bye to them but luckly they are all going to Rio so we should see eachother once and a while. We started teaching each other this week, and we act as one of our close friends as an investigator. It really is neat especially as the investigator. I am acting as Z---, it is really cool to think how he would respond and how he would feel the spirit. Thanks for the package you guys sent. Packages are the best. The khakis fit great, and thanks for the ties. There is a black market of tie trading at the MTC, hahaha. A good looking tie is like gold, can get you a whole case of coke if you wanted, haha. Anyways I love and miss you guys, love hearing from you in the dear elders. Oh by the way, I can call you from the Salt Lake airport. I dont know when that will be, could be anytime from Saturday to next Wednesday. but I will be able to email you guys again when I get my reassignment to tell you when I'll be in the airport.Then I'll be able to call ya when I fly to Brazil in the airport again I think, so thats exciting. I miss you guys a lot. Tell Solo I say hey, and I miss fishing with him. He is gonna be so grown up when I get back. All of you guys are. Love ya!!! Rae Rae the garden looks super! great job. Thanks for your letters Ali and Dee, they are so great to read. Miss you guys. and you too Ma (good luck with your calling, sounds so exciting!!) and Pa, and thanks for raising me in the gospel. You guys are great parents. love ya!
Check out Ether 12, its my new favorite chapter.
I know this church is true and it has the restored gospel of Christ. I know that Christ lives and that if we turn to Him we have ever lasting life. He has open arms waiting for us, all it takes from us is small steps of faith. I know the Book of Mormon is true, I love reading out of it everyday. I know that this is what the Lord wants for me. I know that the gospel can bring such happiness and joy into peoples lives.
Elder Mountain

                                        Elder Mountain's name tag in front of Provo Temple.

                                                       Some of the elders acting silly.

                             Provo Temple
                     Love this picture of him!! Although he was in the background of someone else's photo, that smile is exactly what we imagine when we think of him <3


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Playing the cello!?! & Super Elder ;)

Letter in the mail - arrived Friday, August 9, 2013

Dear Family,

I just finished emailing you guys but I forgot to tell you some stuff because of the time limit. Elder Evans plays the viola really well, he took private lessons and stuff. So we were talking and I said I used to play the cello. They have two violins and a cello and a flute here for missionaries to play for musical numbers and such. So we decided last week to practice. It was the first time I had played in forever (since 9th grade!) but it was a lot of fun. Since there were no violas he had to play a violin so we both sounded a little rough. There is a tradition that the last district here every Sunday does a musical number so we may play depending on how much we practice.
Another story, we were taking pictures as a district because it was Elder Arnold's last day. (his visa to Brazil came.) I was wearing the Brazil flag as you can see in the picture I sent. I began to "summon my eagle powers" like in Nacho Libre, if you remember with the flag. It was hilarious. Any Nacho Libre fans like Elder Evans got a kick out of it.
On a different subject, I have learned to read the scriptures in a whole different way. Elder Evans and I both have been reading the Book of Mormon and marking it according to different topics like the atonement, repentance, Christ and stuff. It is really eye opening, you really get a lot more out of it. Try it sometime.
Rae, good job on the garden! (they planted a garden together before Nate left)
Love and miss you guys!
Elder Mountain

                                                       Super Elder Mountain

                                            Elder Mountain and his MTC companion, Elder Evans

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Doing well, be like Ammon & testimony

Email from MTC - Week 4
Alo minha familia como esta?
How is everyone doing? It has been another great week at the MTC. It is crazy, the days are soooo long but time flies by at the same time. I can't believe that I will be in the field in 2 weeks. Elder Arnold left this morning, he got his visa, so he will be in Sao Paolo for 2 weeks then off to Rio. 25 visa came this week alone, so there is hope. Thanks so much for the pictures you guys sent. It is so cool to see the garden. I printed off the picture of Rae and Solo (he is our neighbor but more like a younger brother) and have it on my desk. I miss playing and messing around with them all day at the pool, I bet solo is a fish.  The tubing trip sounded like alot of fun. I bet it was a circus so packed. Tell Pa thanks for firing Ol Red up, haha. I miss working on it with him alot. I have told alot of stories about working on it to my friends here. The BYU-I thing sounds like its going to be awesome. (college class for Ma) The Book of Mormon class would be very interesting. Randee sonic sure sounds busy. I remember those days haha, they were exhasuting. I remember my biggest drop was $450. Hopefully people will start tipping better. Tell the sonic people I miss hanging out at sonic 24/7 like I used to. I hope they are all doing well. Boiled peanuts sure sound good! I have got to get some somewhere to give to Elder Evens. No one here has any idea what they are missing, haha. There is an Elder in the zone named Elder Blalock from Mississippi, super super southern boy, he is the only other one that understands, haha. I've gotten to be good friends with him. Fast sunday was really nice here as well. The fast was killer (26 hours) haha but the meeting was one of the best so far. Very powerful. This week I made alot of progress with the language. Elder Neu (an elder in the district) and I have been studying alot together and I have been learning quite a bit. Elder Evens is doing great, besides he had a bit of a cold yesterday. We are laughing together as much as ever haha. I have been reading in Alma alot lately, about Ammon and King Lamonhi. I have learned alot from the example of Ammon, how that serving and loving the people is the best way for them to see the Spirit and they will want it and want to learn more. Sister Shaw that we stayed with sent me a package this week. That was super nice of her, she sent me some treats and a BYU teeshirt. Very thoughtful. They have a very nice family. Thanks for the package you sent. Some outside food is sure good. They food is good here but its the same stuff alot of the times. 
 Aunt Cindee: That's a beautiful testimony!! It really takes some guts even for a missionary to bear their testimony. It is a amazing experience. You learn alot about what the gospel means to you and see all the many blessing the Lord has given you. I hope to be like that missionary you were talking about.
I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith indeed saw God and Jesus Christ, and that just like him our prayers can be answered, all it takes is a step of faith. I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be. I know that it is important to follow the prompting of the Spirit, I have learned that alot in teaching lessons, and that at times we don't even recognize actions we take as Spiritual prompting but when we look back they most definitely are. I know of the joy and happiness the gospel can bring people and families. I know that any problem can be fixed, any trial can be overcame if we rely on the Lord. I know that the scriptures contain great truths that we can learn and most importantly apply in our own lives. I know that Thomas Monson is the prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it testifies of Christ and by reading it we can grow closer to Him.
Love and miss you guys every day!!!
Elder Mountain

                                         Nate's district at Provo Temple

                                          Elders in Nate's district. They have such a fun time together. :)