Quinto Semana – (Week 5)

Weekly Update from Elder Kitch!

Not much to report. Lots of Spanish for certain. Starting to learn to use subjunctive which is a type of grammar that doesn’t even exist in English, so that’s fun. Otherwise, not much has changed. Food is still hit or miss, and the district is slowly going crazy from being locked in the CCM. I would, however, like to share from D&C 121 “Thou art not yet as Job”. In all seriousness, I recommend reading the story of Amulek and Ammon, partly because I think it’s funny that Amulek feels it necessary to share that he is a man of no small standing, and also because it shows the importance of having multiple witnesses and knowing the people who you are teaching. Amulek had lived in the community that they are teaching. It’s Alma 8 through 12.

His toe is infected again. Darn it!!! They don’t have any Epsom salt or anything to help. Their bedside manner isn’t the greatest, probably due to the language barrier. They basically say here take these drugs and get out of here. πŸ™ ugh!! Not what a parent wants to hear. Thankfully, he’s only there for 2 more weeks, and he will be back in the US, and he’ll be able to get what he needs and possibly see a doctor who can treat it properly. He’s in good spirits despite everything. He has such a good attitude!

His BIG plan for the day is to take a long nap! πŸ™‚ They are still just studying all the Spanish all the time.

I gave him some tips on emailing everyone. One of which is to check his spelling and edit before hitting send. He said the computers there don’t have spell-check. I said, Come on now! You know how to do that yourself! LOL!!

Uncle Allen is down there for a work trip. He was saying he wanted to try to deliver a pizza covertly, but we weren’t sure if he’s allowed. Walker wasn’t sure either. Allen is also very nervous to travel down there and traffic is terrible. Logistically it may not happen anyway, but he was going to see. Walker said that’d be pretty OP! Pizza is his FAVORITE!

He loved the temple trip last week. It’s very Aztec-y. I’m not sure that’s a real word. Haha! His translation headphones worked, but next time he won’t use them. He probably didn’t even need them this last time. He is feeling really confident in his Spanish. The session wasn’t live like he’d been told. He was pretty disappointed about that. Apparently years ago the sessions used to be 10 hours long! I had no idea. That’s a long session… and we think 2 hours is a lot. LOL!

He was able to see more of the city which he was looking forward to. There are lots of colorful buildings and homes. He said bright pink seems to be a common choice. πŸ™‚

He’s always outside when he calls us and there was a little bird chirping pretty loud. I asked him if he had a little friend with him, and he said there are always birds around. A lot of them are green parrots. We thought that was pretty cool! We don’t have wild parrots in AZ! One of the teachers said everyone speaks Spanish here. Even the parrots! πŸ˜›

The MTC/CCM on Google maps looks like this oasis in the middle of everything. I love that the church tends and cares for all that we are given stewardship over. It’s a blessing to us as members and to those who live close by.

I asked if he’s heard any more gunshots? He said, “Well, I don’t know. I mean I can’t tell if they are gunshots or fireworks or what.” I have a feeling he’s trying to spare me from worrying. πŸ˜›

He has all his lessons memorized. He still doesn’t know what TRC stands for. He’s taken to Eli’s version calling it Training Real Chaps. He has another session of that scheduled for tomorrow.

They didn’t put on their “underground” arm wrestling match this week. They haven’t been doing much of anything. Just studying a ton. He said it’s been a weird week. They are really stagnating. The MTC/CCM is an old school that the Church owned and ran. It’s completely gated and secured. They aren’t allowed visitors or to leave the campus unless they get permission, such as with the temple trip they took. It can feel a little bit like a prison. There are some in his District who are climbing the walls and going crazy!! They want to get out!!! Haha!

He’s curious what native-language speaking missionaries do in the MTC for six weeks? He is learning a new language, and he feels he could be done by now. He wishes there was a three to five week program. He thinks he could have done three or four weeks. He doesn’t see what else they will be covering in the next couple of weeks. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s so gifted and blessed. He learns so quickly. Most people need all the time there in the MTC/CCM and some even need more!!

He doesn’t feel like it’s that bad. He definitely doesn’t want to stay longer than he has to though. He is starting to feel very ready to leave. He’s comfortable with the language now, or at least as comfortable as he can be. The Spanish he’s learning has given him a foundation, but it’s also not the Spanish he’ll need in Tampa. He is ready to get there and have conversations with the Cubans and Puerto Ricans so he can learn their “language”. There is an academy that decides what “real” Spanish is. Spain is at the top of the list. Cuba is high up on the list too. Their Spanish is very clean. Dominicans are really, really low on the list. However, even though Spain is at the top of the list for clean Spanish, they have the worst accents of all. For example, Spain is EspaΓ±a, but they would pronounce it Eshpania. They add in random sounds that don’t even belong in the word and don’t exist in Spanish. Mostly ‘sh’ and ‘th’ sounds. Another example is Barcelona which they pronounce Barthelona.

He’s just looking forward to getting out into the field. He leaves Mexico City on August 7th!

The food is still not great there. Most of the people are still terrified of it. His companion can’t wait until he gets to Tucson, so he can pound some Barros pizza!! The other day they had some sort of sausage in some kind of grey sauce. They called it mystery sausage. People who ate it said it was just rolled up beef, but he wasn’t about to try it. They have really good lentil soup, and he told everyone to try it. They were SO grateful they did! His companion had three bowls of it and thanked him so much! Everyone said this is the pottage that Esau sold his birthright for! Hahaha!!! (Genesis 25:29-34)

These are the things that make for great missionary stories. All the hardships and trials you have to go through. They love D&C 121, when Joseph Smith is in Carthage Jail. He’s crying out to the Lord… Why won’t you deliver me? And God replied, At least thou aren’t like Job. Basically saying, at least your friends don’t betray you like Job, and I will blast your enemies’ hopes and their aspirations will be hoarfrost under the blazing sun. So it’s become a “thing” among his District to say, “Dude, that guy just got his hopes blasted!” whenever someone gets roasted or something. Haha!

A cool quote Elder Moore shared with him was “You’re only saved as fast as you gain knowledge.” I had him expand on what he thought that meant. In one of Joseph Smith’s talks, he said, The major things we need for our salvation are to, first, understand God. Second, once we understand God, we understand ourselves and our purpose. And third, in order to do that, we need to gain knowledge. It’s often misquoted in the scriptures where it says, Faith is like unto a seed, but in the scriptures it actually says, The Word is unto a seed. And you use faith to grow the Word in yourself. 

Something else he pointed out is in the story of Nephi they didn’t build any fires in the wilderness. Not a single one. The Lord hath forbade them from building fires while they traveled in the wilderness. He just made the meat sweet to them, so they ate raw meat the entire time. I guess if the Lord can make it safe to eat raw, he can make it taste good to you too! πŸ˜› (1 Nephi 17:12)

We reminded him that today is our 22nd Anniversary!! Our veintidΓ³s aniversario! I actually only knew the number 22 in Spanish… lol! But it made me feel cool that I knew that much! πŸ˜› We had him guess what we were going to be doing to celebrate. I said I’m terrified. He thought we were going sky diving. I said NO WAY, but it feels the same to me. He couldn’t guess it, so we told him we were going to go on a hot air balloon ride, and he just laughed at me and said that’s nothing!!! That’s not scary! He just kept laughing at me. Love him! He always teases me. <3 

Earlier this week I was talking to Alayna in the car about courage. How courage is not the absence of fear, but being scared and doing the thing anyway. So I guess I have to eat my own words now. Haha!

He was sporting the new tie that he got on the temple trip. He loves it a lot. πŸ™‚ He said one of the Hermanas said it makes his eyes pop! Blue really does look very good on him. <3 It’s his favorite color too.

My good friend, Janna O’Laughlin, has a daughter who lives in Texas along the Gulf Coast. She keeps posting articles on Facebook for her daughter to read telling her to not swim in the Gulf because there are these algae that are killing people. She’s freaking me out, and I keep telling her to stop posting them because Walker is going to be there!!! LOL! He just said that’s pretty cool, but I don’t need to worry because he’s not allowed to go swimming anyway. Which I know, but it is still creepy!

He’s been working out and lifting weights. He’s enjoying getting back into that again. He weighed himself, and he’s lost 5lbs. He’s feeling really good about that! πŸ™‚
Hermana Rose made a little drawing for everyone in the District. Things that pertained to each person individually. Things they’ve talked about etc. This one was for him.

They spent the last day and a half talking about Avatar the Last Airbender. He loved and still loves that show! He assigned everyone an element. He was Air of course. πŸ˜› There are four Earthbenders. two Fire, two Air, and two Water. Jared asked how he decided, and he just said there are things that go with each of them. You can just tell. πŸ˜›  Hermana Gerlach and Elder Moore are the Firebenders. I knew he’d be one of them! He’s quite the character!

They do Book of Mormon shares, and they are doing them all in Spanish now. Every time they do one, they turn to him and say, “Walker, you need to talk.” They just expect him to fill up the time. They like when he talks because he can actually do it. A topic will come up, and he won’t feel like he has anything to say, and they say, “NO! You MUST!” So he ends up talking the whole time. He even gives spiritual thoughts, and they will be in Spanish. There are a few words here and there that he won’t know, so he’ll say it in English, but for the most part, he does it all in Spanish. πŸ™‚ He feels pretty confident in the language right now. He knows it might be a whole different story when he gets to Florida though. He’s mostly learning vocabulary. He’s got the grammar down pretty well, but they don’t study grammar that much.

He’s halfway through Alma in his reading. He’s getting through it but doesn’t think he’ll be able to finish before he leaves. He’s learning and making connections he hasn’t before. He’s fascinated by the individuality of the authors of each of the books. He’s noticed certain things that are kind of interesting to him. He feels that Nephi was very unsure of himself. He wasn’t sure what to write or what was important. He was like, “Ehhh… I’m just going to write this even though it’s not that important to me,” but then he’d specify really weird things. It made Walker wonder why those mattered so much?

His brother Jacob was a studious individual. He didn’t even end his book with Amen. He says, Brethren, adieu.

Alma was very disorganized. He’s the only one to leave a correction in his writings. He was explaining this battle and said, “And they cleared the land… (oops)… More correctly the bank.” πŸ˜› (Alma 2:34)

There have been studies on the Book of Mormon which contend that each book is so different that there is no way it could have been written by one person.

He loves to understand what makes people tick. He thinks it’s so neat how people are drawn to and love different books in the Book of Mormon. One of the Hermanas really likes Mosiah. It’s written so well. She just loves him.

Walker loves Omni. It’s one chapter, and it covers more than two centuries of the Nephite people. It’s written by five different people. The book was passed down, and they each gave a few verses of things they found important. Some weren’t even “active” in the church and even say, “I was a wicked man. This is the end of my writing.” Another one said, “I don’t know what more to write that hasn’t already been said, so this is an end to my writing.” I said that would be Walker’s entry! LOL!

He also feels like Jacob got ripped off. In 2 Nephi, Nephi is just writing what Jacob said. He feels like Nephi was writing it and then said, “Ok Jacob I’m about to die, here ya go.” And Jacob said, “ok let me see what more I need to say? Wait… you just ripped me off! You stole all my teachings.” Haha! πŸ˜›
There are two books of scripture in the Old Testament that the prophets are featured in the Book of Mormon. Zenock and Zenos. The allegory of the olive tree wasn’t even Jacob’s. It was Zenock’s. (Jacob 5)

He’s also been looking through the apostles and almost thought he found an inconsistency with a lot of the paintings because Simon the Zealot is sometimes called Simon the Canaanite. But that’s incorrect. In the King James version, he’s called Simon the Canaanite which would mean he is black. In other versions, it states that he was Cananaean. He was from Canaan, but he wasn’t a Canaanite. (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18)

The Sons of Thunder are still his favorite. (Mark 3:17) That’s James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were so intense in their beliefs that the Lord named them the Sons of Thunder! There were a couple of scriptures he liked that talk about how intense they were. First, there were people who would not accept the Gospel, so they asked if that could call down a fireball on them. (Luke 9:53-54) LOL! The other is when they saw a man performing miracles in the Lord’s name but would not follow them, so they forbade him and banned him from being in the church. (Luke 9:49)

He feels Thomas gets a bad rap. Thomas is the one who said, “Tell us where you are going Savior so we can die as well.” He thinks that Thomas didn’t think that the Savior couldn’t come back. He was just worried that a false prophet or demon would try to impersonate the Savior. So he needed to feel the prints and the wounds to be sure it truly was Jesus to be sure he was following the right person. (John 20:24-25)

I asked him if he’s dreaming in Spanish yet? He said not really, but he had a funny dream the other night. Elder Wurtz, his companion, and Walker were out in the mission field together, and Elder Wurtz was going around slandering him to all of these Mexican people and jokingly telling lies and making jokes about him. Walker had to explain to everyone (in Spanish) that he was just kidding and they were jokes and none of it was true!! Haha! He says he speaks Spanish in his dreams, but he’s not dreaming in Spanish. There’s a difference. He’s translating from English into Spanish in his dreams.
He’s still salty about their eating schedule. Their District eats last at every meal, so there are days where they run out of food. Tuesday is pizza day and there have been a few times where they didn’t get any. Meanwhile, the groups earlier in the day have eaten an entire pizza to themselves!! There should be a limit on slices, and if you are still hungry you should eat cereal. That’s what they end up having to eat most of the time. πŸ™ I tried to lift his spirits by reminding him of the scripture, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” (Matthew 20:16) Haha! He said they actually say that one when it happens. πŸ˜›

He had forgotten to mention that a couple of weeks ago, his bottom permanent retainer that he had re-glued before he left, popped off. We’ll have to figure out what to do about that, but the orthodontist thinks he’ll be fine if he is diligent with his night retainer.

His companions are very grateful for his CPAP machine. When he was sick a couple of weeks ago, he fell asleep without it, and they felt too bad to wake him up. He was snoring SO loud, they couldn’t sleep! At one point they were all awake waiting for him to get quiet and stop snoring. πŸ˜› Haha!! I said “well, and I”m sure you were all congested and that makes it even worse!” They were getting power outages on Tuesday which was weird. So he said, “OK boys… if my machine isn’t running, get it off, so I don’t choke to death in my sleep!”

His District has been talking about their plans after their missions. They all want to meet up and do karaoke and take a road trip across Canada. He said that he’s leaning towards philosophy for his degree. He’d be in the philosophy department, but he wants to include religion which actually falls under the philosophy department.

It rained last night and they were all in the laundry room. They shut all the doors, so inside, it was a sweat box. There was a layer of water on top of everything from the humidity! It was SO hot! He said it was VERY uncomfortable in there, but it gave him a glimpse into what Florida is going to be like! Haha! I have no idea who thought closing all of the doors was a bright idea? πŸ˜›

That’s a wrap for week five!

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