Poor Dylan had a rough beginning as he headed out of the MTC. He’ll tell you about that in the following email, but I have to also add my side of the story. The morning he was leaving, I was awake and tossing and turning from about 4:30 a.m. because I had no idea what time he would call us from the airport…so it was a really looonnnggg morning! Finally he called at about 8:00 a.m! I could tell as soon as I heard his voice that all was not right. He told me that he wasn’t feeling well, and after speaking briefly to his brother and dad, he had to hang up with a promise to call back. So we waited again, and waited and waited…
When he finally called, he informed me that his 500 minute phone card said all his funds had been exhausted with the first phone call! NOT EVEN POSSIBLE! I hold that these phone cards are a scam, and they charge an exorbitant fee just for dialing the phone. After trying about five times, he finally relented and called us using his debit card. The phone call was expensive, but I don’t care because it was good to talk to him, even if it was brief. He told me he was homesick (this was the only time since he left that he felt that way, but who doesn’t miss their mom when they’re sick?)
I was so relieved when his mission president’s wife posted some pictures and I saw that he was okay and smiling…and then I was so excited for him! He’s going to be a great missionary!
I have finally decided to emerge from my shell and actually write an email for once. Actually… I flew in to the mission on P-Day and, as such, missed a chance to email. So here I am. With a double feature and two weeks worth of material! I’ll go back to my time in the MTC and the weirdest thing that happened there:
Part 1: What Was in the Ceiling
MTC life was pretty monotonous. Like… Seriously monotonous. With a side dish of heavy spiritual content. We had a pretty busy week, class every day for six hours and such, in-field orientation (eight hours I will never get back), TRC teaching, etc. We did get off easy with general conference allowing us to get out of class on Saturday, so that was sweet.
One of my MTC teachers: Brother Pemberton
My other MTC teacher: Brother Van Bloem
Conference was pretty great. Learned a lot. And now absolutely everyone I meet that is a member is “ponderizing” a scripture. As missionaries, my new companion and I have taken it up, as well. I am excited to hear from the three new apostles in the future, too! However, I was very concerned when President Monson spoke on Sunday morning. That was incredibly disconcerting. He looked like he was gonna fall over any second. I hope he’s doing well.
Anywho, back to the MTC. In the resident halls in the MTC, there are these things call “Narnia Holes”. Essentially, it’s a hole in the rooms where missionaries leave stuff for future Elders to find. A couple of Elders in my zone decided to go looking for a bunch of other “Narnia Holes” after they finished packing. What they found was…unorthodox. It was a bag. Full of plastic bags. Full of rotten food. Where did they find it? In the ceiling of a storage closet. It had some weird Asian text on it, not sure what language. Oh, also, it smelled like death so the missionaries handling it (Elder Chapman and Elder Russell) were doing battle with it with shirts wrapped around their faces for protection from the smell. Keeping in mind this was in the MTC, there are missionaries from all over the world here. One of the Elders in our zone, Elder Peden, made a guess that what we found was a bag of kimchi. He explained to us that kimchi is a Korean dish made from rotten cabbage. They let it sit in the ceiling for a few months to rot. So, yeah. We found kimchi in the ceiling! How’s that for a first weird mission story?
The rest of my MTC stay was uneventful. The Anaheim and San Fernando Elders left the day before those of us on our way to San Francisco. Nothing notable happened until our departure date.
Part 2: The Other Side of the Tunnel
At about midnight on the day of our departure, I woke up feeling like death. I felt like death was somehow a force and it decided to exist in my stomach. So yes, I woke up sick right before flying out to California. We didn’t need to get up till 3:30, but I could not rest because it felt like everything on my inside wanted to be on my outside.
Hoping I would feel better by the time we left, I got up at 3:30 still feeling like death. We got ready to leave and found out we would be travelling by bus, Frontrunner, and Trax to get to the airport. Imagine my sweet jubilation in discovering I would be riding public transit with a stomach bug. Such sweet jubilation… Between getting off the bus and onto Frontrunner, I threw up in a bush…much like a drunk man. So that happened. Luckily, I was able to keep it all down all the way to the airport and into California. I passed out on the flight and felt a million times better upon landing, though nausea did plague me the rest of the day in little spurts.
We got to the mission home, which is right across the street from the Oakland Temple, took photos, got organized. All that fun stuff. Then we went to lunch…at an Asian buffet restaurant while I was still sick. With the cries of “Why Me?!” ringing through my head, I endured (somewhat ungracefully) to the meeting where we met our new companions and got assigned our area.
My travel group in front of the Oakland Temple with Mission President Frandsen and his wife.
To get to my area, we had to drive inland, away from San Fran and Oakland. A mountain separates the east and west sides of the mission so we have to drive through what’s known as “The Tunnel”. It’s basically just a big LONG tunnel that takes us to the more suburban areas in the mission.
My new companion’s name is Elder Weaver. He’s a goofy guy. We are a lot alike, personality-wise, and while we goof off, we still strive to work our hardest as missionaries and maintain a serious demeanor during lessons and appointments. My training area is…(drumroll please)…Clayton Valley 3rd Area in Concord, California. I know, I know, all that anticipation for nothing. But seriously, it’s a super nice area. We are in the Walnut Creek Zone (which is a very high-end, upper class area). Our area reminds me a lot of Simi Valley, California. It’s super hot here, very quiet, but still full of people. We are a biking zone (and man I was not ready for this exercise).
The people are great and I’m loving them. We are being fed well by members. The ward is very kind and willing to help with the mission efforts. It’s a wonderful quiet area. Also, a lot of people around here are familiar with Herriman, Utah, so that’s a thing.
I’m so glad to be here and I know there is no better place for me to be. Thanks for all your support everyone and stay tuned for photos!