Greetings from the strange and distant land of South Salt Lake. Never could I have imagined that I would be called to such an unknown, primitive area. Just kidding.
As you know, I have been temporarily assigned to serve in the Utah Salt Lake South mission while I await my visa. I am currently serving in the town of Midvale (I think that's the name.) I have two companions again, Elder Zobell and Elder Echevarria. Elder Zobell is from Montanna and Elder Echevarria is from Oklahoma, but was born in Monterrey, which is exciting. Elders Zobell and Echevarria are the zone leaders, and they are great missionaries. In just one day I have already learned a lot. They have a lot of meetings (in fact, tomorrow they are going down to the MTC to help with the training of new mission presidents) so I will be going on lots of exchanges. I like that, it means I will get to experience many different approaches. By
the time I get my Visa, I will probably be the best trained missionary in history.
Yesterday Elder Puente, Elder Strobel, and I got on the bus at 6:00 am. We drove up to the airport and watched all the other missionaries get off, then we drove to our mission office, where we met our new companions. (We haven't yet met the president.) After that, I went to a zone meeting for the morning. After lunch, my companions had some meetings to go to, so I went on a transfer with Elder Zammaron and Elder Aparicio (who is from Spain.) The first lesson I taught was to a man who was sitting on his car drinking a beer. Honestly, I don't think he was very sober, but he agreed to let us come back, and to stop drinking, so we'll see what happens. After that, we walked about two miles to teach a man named Fidel. He hadn't read from the
Book of Mormon yet, so we read 3 Nephi 11 together with him. It was a great lesson. On our way back, it started raining pretty hard. So we walked 2 miles in the rain. It was great! The perfect first day!
In the afternoon, my companions returned from their meeting and picked me up. We then went to our apartment (which is tiny) and unpacked and ate dinner. Then we went out to teach. We taught four lessons, all within the same apartment complex that we live in. One of the men we
taught is getting baptized this weekend. I loved it. Teaching the gospel is great! And my companions are so good at it. I just wish I could better understand Spanish, but that will come.
I can't believe that I'm already out. My time in the MTC went by so quickly, and I'm sure my time here will too. I'm glad I didn't waste any time in the MTC. A lot of Elders didn't like it, but I loved it. I learned so much, I had great teachers and leaders, and there are lots of great resources there. The food there is good too, as long as you are careful . . . . I wouldn't have minded staying an extra few weeks at the MTC, I'm sure it would have helped me, but I'm excited to be out. President Boone, the MTC president, told us that if 1 day is a thousand years to God, than our mission is 2.88 minutes of God's time. I plan to sprint the whole way.
On Sunday, the entire First Presidency, 10 of the Quorum of the 12, all 7 presdients of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopbric were at the MTC. Unfortuantely, I didn't see any of them, but it was still amazing to know that they were all there and so close. I was hoping that one would speak at the fireside, but it turned out to be Brother Allen from the missionary department instead. It was a wonderful fireside though, and I can't complain (I have had many chances to hear great leaders speak at BYU.) Firesides and Devotionals at the MTC are incredible. They are always great speakers, and are very spiritual experiences. Before each one, all the missionaries sing 3 or 4 hymns as prelude, which is always a powerful spiritual experience. After each devotional, each district has a devotional review were we discuss
the things we learned. I love the reviews, they help me remember and apply [those things as I] feel the Spirit.
I was asked to give the prayer at the Fireside Sunday night. I was excited to do it, but also nervous. Imagine: you pray in front of 2,000 missionaries, plus about 50 mission presidents and their wives. You are on TV, and your prayer is being broadcasted to several other MTCs throughout the world. There are people listining very closely to your words becasue they are translating them in to one of several different languages. I know that a prayer is a prayer no matter when and where, but it was still scary.
Here are the rules for email as I understand them: I get one hour of internet use per week, on my preparation day (Tuesday). I am allowed to recieve emails from anyone, but I can only email grandparents, parents, and siblings myself. You can also contact me through dear
elder, or at
Elder Dallin Immanuel Rowley
Utah Salt Lake City South Mission
8060 S 615 E
Sandy, UT 84070
[I would like to] thank [everyone] for all the letters. I am trying to at least write a little note back to everyone who writes to me, but I don't know if I'll have time now that I'm in the field.