Out of Isolation

So my last e-mail ended up being a lie, as I got placed in isolation that night. I spent five days in isolation. I was healthy for every single one of those days! It was extremely frustrating. I was sick with the swine flu for four days previous to my placement in isolation, and I was trying to get tested for flu, but they never tested me until the last night of my sickness! It made me really frustrated with the system they have going on here, but it all turned out well.

I spent my days in isolation reading and writing and studying. Overall, I memorized over 100 Spanish verbs, read 300 pages of Jesus the Christ, and set up my entire study journal for every principle in each of the five lessons. It was an extremely productive time.

But now I’m out, which is so much better! I’m back to studying 12 hours a day in a class with other people, so now I have some sort of social interaction. In isolation, I stayed away from most of the missionaries because they discarded their calling for those five days. Nobody really wanted to study, so I just stayed in my room and studied by myself. One of the days a few Spanish speaking Elders were wanting to teach, so my district leader (who left after I had been there for a day) and I taught the first lesson in Spanish! It was so cool! We’re not starting teaching in Spanish for another two weeks, so it was sweet to get a head start. We got through the whole lesson without having to use English! But it wasn’t the best lesson ever. But it was still Spanish!

So yesterday was my first time in the Teaching Resource Center (TRC), which is where volunteers come and act as investigators for the missionaries to teach. The lady that we taught was from Central America, and her Spanish was SO fast! (We do a 15 minute task in Spanish before we teach. We had to pick up the investigator and “ride the bus” to Church. We needed to ask about commitments and her family and stuff. She was really interested in baptism. She kept saying she had been “sprinkled” when she was a baby, and wanted to know more about baptism by immersion. So that’s mostly what we planned for when we taught her. We were supposed to teach the Plan of Salvation, but we only got about halfway through it. It was the coolest thing ever. We totally went off topic, but we were following the Spirit and we said something that this lady really needed to hear. And then at one point, I committed her to baptism, and she accepted. My companions said I gave the commitment perfectly and at the exact right time. It was cool. So the TRC is awesome. I wish we could go there more than once a week, but it’s okay. The times we get to go are so worth it.

I got to go to the temple today! I didn’t go last week because I was sick. The temple is so cool! I wish we could go more often, but as missionaries of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are commissioned to serve the living, not to do temple work for the dead. But it’s still nice to get to go at least once a week. The old men in there are always really funny!

The Puerto Rico Elders left yesterday, which means I’m in a trio with Elder Petersen and Elder Allen. Elder Allen is going to the Chicago South mission, so he’s kinda the oddball. The rest of my district is going to Ecuador.

Oh! I finally recieved a response from Elder Austin! The letter was dated May 5th, so it took a month for my letter to get there and a month for it to get back. It was awesome to hear from him! I don’t remember if I already talked about the letter haha. I think I did.

I hate getting haircuts. I’m always really upset whenever I have to get it cut. My companion is jabbering away with the ladies cutting our hair, but I just sat there in silence, thinking that my hair is about 4 inches too short. Once I get back from my mission, I’m going back to my long hair! (It hides the fact that my ears stick out haha).

It’s good to continually hear from everyone through Dear Elders and letters! I do get something almost every day, so I don’t feel completely left out. Elder Petersen gets at least 4 or 5 letters/Dear Elders a day. It’s crazy. He writes about 15 letters every P-day.

Everything here is pretty much going great! We’re not allowed to play soccer or basketball or any contact sport because of the flu though! It’s really frustrating, because I need to work on my soccer skills so I can challenge Ecuadorians and win! I’ll tell them if I beat them, they have to listen to the missionary discussions haha. But our district plays volleyball, which is pretty much the best sport ever! (Besides soccer and lacrosse, and maybe basketball.) I love playing at the net! I get a block or two each game, and a few “kills” every day. My kills are pretty weak, I just push it over to a spot where there aren’t any Elders. I’m working on my vertical leap so I can get to the point where I can smash the ball down. Mostly I just need to learn the timing.

Elder Petersen has physical therapy about 3 times a week, so Elder Allen and I switch off going. Only one of us goes with Elder Petersen so the other doesn’t have to miss class, so it’s pretty nice. They still don’t know if Elder Petersen will need surgery or not. I’m hoping his ankle will heal without surgery, because he’d have to go home for a few weeks if he were to need surgery.

Spanish is going pretty well! I can say most of the stuff that I NEED to say, and a lot of the stuff that I want to say. Sometimes we say some pretty funny things! Like in the TRC yesterday, Elder Petersen was talking, and he said I know that we can be clean from our pescados! Pescados is the word for “fish” hahaha it was so funny! The word for sins, which is what he was trying to say, is pecados. Sometimes we use the wrong words to say stuff that would directly translate and make sense in English, like Jesucristo es el Sol de Dios. “Jesus Christ is the ‘Sun’ of God.” haha. Spanish is great fun! You can say the same thing in so many different ways. It’s so much better than English! English makes NO sense compared to Spanish!

Well my 30 minutes are pretty much up. I think I talked about pretty much everything I wanted to talk about! I hope everyone is having a great summer! I’m excited because I’m missing my first summer in Ecuador since I’m in the MTC right now! It’s going to be so hot there! But I’m excited to leave! I’ve been here for over 3 weeks now, which is insane!

I love you all! Thanks for being great examples to me! I’m trying to make everyone proud!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Lane D. Sawyer

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