7/30/09

Family! How is everyone? Things are going well for me. It sounds like you all got the pictures from Elder Sproul. I saw him a couple times, but I don´t know when all he took pictures. This past week was way good at the park. We go every Saturday, by the way. Our job is to do contacts, and try and give out either a pamphlet, Book of Mormon, and the best thing to be able to do is get their contact info. (phone number, address, name, etc.) and have the missionaries out in the field go teach them. Oh, also, they mix us up on Saturdays, so we´re not actually with our companion. They try to mix it up so at least one of the companions can communicate fairly well in Spanish. This past week I was with Elder Close. It was way good. We were able to give out two Book of Mormons, and we got the contact info. for both of them. They both seemed golden, so we´ll see what happens with that. Actually, I may never know what happens. I just get the info and pass it on, but it´d be nice if I find out someday that something happened. Who knows. So that was fun. Their names were Juan, and Carlos. Juan was a construction worker and at first told us he was tired and didn´t really want to read or talk to us. By the end though he just kept on reading scriptures that I was giving him from the Book of Mormon and gave us his contact info to hear more. Carlos was about 50 and he had just finished running and was sitting on the curb resting. We talked to him (and Juan too) for probably about 15 minutes each. It was good. Carlos is Catholic, but thinks that there could be more revelations. He wanted to take the Book of Mormon and read and pray about it. We were able to give him a few scriptures about why bad things happen to good people, because he was wondering about that, and also we left him with the pamphlet Family: A Proclamation to the World. He said the most important thing in his life is God, then his family. So hopefully things go well there. So that was fun. The other cool thing this past week is that we´re all legal residents now. They sent me and my district, plus two other Elders who arrived here late, to the government building where some lawyers did stuff, and then we signed a paper. So yeah. It was crazy, because I was in charge of the group since I´m district leader, so they sent me with an envelope that had over 200 euros, which is over $300, to give to the lawyers. I made sure I was hanging onto it the whole time. I didn´t lose it though, so that´s good. Things continue to go well for me and my companion, Elder Bodily. I don´t know if I told you this, but Elder Bodily is the one that was in Jen´s singles ward at BYU that I talked to for a bit on Facebook before my mission. So that´s cool. Let´s see, what else. Oh, Elder Bodily and I have our lesson plans for lesson 2 done. We´ll be practicing it tonight in the Pr├ícticas Sala Grande. That´s where we teach other missionaries acting as investigators. We have that every night, but twice a week it´s a full lesson, rather than just a principle. Tonight and Saturday night it´s a full lesson. So that should be cool. They give us situations and all. Not as cool as the park since it´s not real, but still cool. But yeah, we practiced it once, and lesson 2 is harder to teach than lesson 1. But I think we´ll be fine after a few times of practicing it. It´s hard to not share more information than we should. Because you don´t want to share everything we know, it´d just confuse them. But yeah. Anyways, that´s that. Our teacher, Hermana Viso has been out of town this past week. She´ll be gone next week too, but then she´s back. Oh, also, a bunch of people are leaving next Tuesday. So that´s weird. There´ll be a lot less people here. Two of them, the portuguese missionaries are really cool. They only speak portuguese, well, a little bit of Spanish, and a little bit of English, so we talk to them a lot. It´ll be weird having them leave. But yeah. I´m probably going to try and get some pictures developed, or put on a CD or something to send home to you guys soon, hopefully you enjoy that. I´m not sure when though. Maybe today, maybe next week. We´ll see. Oh, I got to go to the temple again today. I love the temple here. It´s really nice. One thing I love is the Celestial room. It´s so much whiter than most. Most are bright, but it´s kind of a yellowish bright, this one is like a white bright. Most of the light comes from the windows/sun. Anyways, I´m going to end this now. I can´t think of much else to say. I hope everything´s going well there. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

7/27/09

7/23/09

Hello everyone! How are you all? Things are going well here for me. I´m liking it a lot in Spain. So we do get to go out of the MTC. Everyday actually if we want. For Gym if we play soccer or a number of other things we go to a concrete pit (kind of a medium stadium with grafitti and such all over) to play soccer, or we can go to the gym in the stake center right by us which is what I usually do. We get some pretty intense games of basketball going. Oh, so with pictures, I can´t open them here. The server´s too slow. They´ll let you open them but you have to go to President Hill´s office to do so since he´s on a separate server or something, but I don´t want to have to do that everytime. So yeah. Probably just don´t email me any pictures yet. Thanks for them though, I just won´t get to see them for a while. So yeah. Things are going well for me though. Oh, also, we can go running every morning if we want, and we can just run out and about Madrid. We have breakfast at 7:30 so we have an hour to get ready, which leaves time to go running if we want. I´ve been once, but I´ve been feeling sick this past week, so I haven´t gone for a couple days. I´m getting better though. I´ve just been so stuffed up and coughing and feeling terrible. I think I told you my companion, Elder Bodily, was sick, so a few of us got sick. I´m improving though. So companions, I was in a trio, but Elder Kellar go put into our district, so my other companion, Elder Cook, got put with him, so now it´s just me and Elder Bodily. We get along really well. It´s good. I don´t think we´ll have any problems really the whole time. Oh, also, I´m District Leader, so that´s cool. We have six elders and one hermana in our district. We all get along really well, so that´s good. Okay, so the park last Saturday. Every Saturday we go to this massive park in Madrid. We´re there for an hour just contacting. So I was put with Elder Cook last week. We got rejected so many times. So many people would just stick there hand at us saying to leave, some one just completely ignore us and stare in another direction, and some would talk, but then tell us they didn´t want to hear more or take anything. But, here´s the story, we had five minutes left, Elder Cook and I decided to do one more. So we started walking. Then we noticed a guy walking up from behind us, like walking for exercise. So we just walked at his pace and walked with him talking for probably 15-20 minutes. It was awesome. He used to be a Catholic, but had changed a couple years ago because he didn´t think the Catholics had the full truth. We went on to tell him that we believed the same thing. Then we explained a little about God calling a prophet in our day and gave him a Book of Mormon. We had him read Moroni 10:3-5 right there and so yeah. It was awesome. He was from Colombia. He said he walks there every day, so we´ll try and find each other this upcoming Saturday. So that´s really cool. Also, we take the Metro over to the park, so we have like 8 minutes either way to do contacts on there. My companion and I had 5 I believe. I had two, one each way, and he had three. So that was good. I´m looking forward to it tomorrow. Okay, so now for important visitors. Brother Allen was here this past week. He´s the mission director, or something like that. He´s the head of the mission department of the church. Since there´s only like 25 missionaries or so we all got to meet him and talk with him. He had Elder Bodily and I teach him, so it was just the three of us in a room, and he was playing an investigator. He taught us a lot about applying lessons to individuals. We´re not teaching lessons, we´re teaching people. We always wanted to get into the lesson and just start teaching, but it´s really important to get to know them really well, asking questions, and get them to open up to you, until the Spirit tells you, that´s the route you need to take this lesson. So that was way cool. Oh, my district´s doing the musical number in Sacrament meeting this week. We´re going to sing The Spirit of God, but in Spanish. It should be good. I think we´re going to try and do like one verse normal, then an acapello verse without the chorus, then a quick solo by the piano, then into the last verses. It should be good hopefully. Well, it sounds like you all had fun in Canada. That´s good. I´m glad you played horseshoes in remembrance of me. That´s always good. And there was only one ringer the whole time? Crazy. As always, remember to forward this to Jen so she can put it up wherever. Oh, I´m going to Sol today, it´s in the center of Madrid, a tourist area. I´ll be gone for 3 hours. I´m excited. I´ll let you know how it is next week probably. I´m going to send this so I don´t accidentally lose it or anything. Have a fantastic week. -Elder Sommerfeldt

7/16/09

Hey, how is everyone? This keyboard is way weird, it´s European, so yeah. Anyways, I´m in Spain now. The flight was way long. It´s good though. We landed just before 10:00 Madrid time. The MTC President met us there and we got on a bus and took a fifteen minute ride back to the MTC (CCM, in Spanish). So that was good. My P-day will usually be on Thursday´s just so you know, but I don´t think I get one tomorrow. They´re having us stay up until 7:00 PM tonight to try and help with the jet lag, and I am so tired... The flights felt like they took forever. From Salt Lake to Atlanta was 3 hours, then it was another 8 hours to get to Madrid. It was only dark for about 2-3 hours, since we´re traveling backwards with the time and all. I don´t know if this email makes a ton of sense, but I´m tired, so sorry if it doesn´t. Oh, I´m in another trio companionship. My companions are Elder Cook (Who was actually the companion I was supposed to have in Provo, before they moved me up to Intermediate) and Elder Bodily. Elder Bodily´s the one that was in Jen´s BYU ward that I talked to a little bit on facebook before. So make sure to tell Jen he´s my companion for my stay here. Anyways, so that´s that. We´ve had lunch already today, so that was good. Oh, I think I may not write individual letters today, if I have time I will, but if you don´t get any, don´t worry. so yeah. Oh, something that´s kind of lame, I have a ton of US stamps, right? Because my call packet said to bring enough postage for my whole mission, well it´s pretty much useless. So I´ll have to be buying all new stamps here and such. I think I´ll probably mail you the stamps back, because I think there´s like 50-60 stamps or so. But yeah. Oh well I guess. It still feels weird that I´m here. It hasn´t quite hit me yet. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow and have had more sleep. There´s 24-27 people here in the CCM, so that´s kind of cool. Lunch was a lot different than lunch at the Provo MTC. It was a lot nicer, like the room and all, because it was so much smaller and such. I get to go to the Madrid temple tomorrow, so that ought to be fun. I´ll be going every week, so I´ll let you know how that goes next time I get to write home. So at the Provo MTC they would put money on a card for us, $6/week, but here they just give us 32 euros every 3 weeks. We already got our first little bit. So that´s cool. We do any shopping we need to just at like grocery stores and such around here. We´re allowed to leave the MTC/temple area, so that´s a big change. Oh, for gym, they have volleyball, but one of the best things is they have Tennis! So I´m excited about that. There´s five of us in our room, and one of them used to play for Timpview. He wasn´t ever Varsity though, so I imagine we´re fairly similar on our ability. So I´ll play him as well as another guy from my district back in Provo. So that´ll be fun. There´s some Russian missionaries here too. Apparently every three months or so they have to fly out here to Madrid to get their Visas renewed, while they´re out here they just stay at the CCM here. So that´s kind of cool. My teacher seems pretty cool, but it´s hard to understand her. Everyone speaks so different from what I´m used to. I´ll get the hang of it soon enough though, hopefully. I´m glad I was able to call for a few minutes to talk to Pete from Atlanta, I guess that means Kevin was the only one I didn´t get to talk to in our immediate family. Such is life I guess. Kevin, I hope your accounting thing went well. Well, I´m going to go now, but good luck with everything. I´ll talk to you maybe tomorrow, but probably not until next week. ¡Chao!
-Elder Karl
Ryan's Provo MTC district (before Elder Stull came) from left to right: Elders Astleford, Cannel, Hartle (DL), Figueroa, Kellar, Carlson, and Sommerfeldt
Elders Astleford, Sommerfeldt, and Carlson - trio companionship



7/14/09

So how is everyone? Today's kind of like a half P-day for me. It's weird. I'm still trying to go to class and such, but the three of us that are leaving are doing our laundry and writing and all that fun stuff as well. It's good though. So how is everyone doing? It sounds like you all had fun at Bear Lake. Hopefully Canada's fun for everyone next week too. With the exception of the drive it usually is. Make sure to play horse shoes in remembrance of me while you're up there. I leave here tomorrow morning at 5:00, and I imagine I'll be calling you from the Atlanta airport. We have a 4-hour layover there, so sometime then. I have all the calling card info. from dad, so that's good. Thanks for the accordian folder by the way dad. It's really nice to have to separate letters and such. That's crazy about Joe's boat. It seems like something happens to it at least yearly these days. Hopefully things work out with the truck, I'd hate to have it die. Let me know what ends up happening with that. I'll be curious to know. The only lame thing about leaving tomorrow is that it means I can't go to gym today, but oh well. I played volleyball on Saturday, and it was probably my best day yet. Good way to go out. We played indoor volleyball the past week and half or so. It's a lot of fun. On Saturday one of the MTC gym workers played with us, so we were setting each other up all day, so both of us had a bunch of good spikes and such. It was fun. Well, let's see what else is new. I saw brother Cardon again on Sunday. I don't know if he'll tell you. I can't remember if I told you last week, but Brother Croft was the one that helped me at the temple last Tuesday. So that was kind of fun. Things are going well for me. Oh, biggest thing probably, on Friday Elder Stull and I set up a teaching appointment, and we taught the entire first lesson in Spanish!!! I was excited. The people here still have 3 weeks before teaching in Spanish, so yeah. It was fun to get to do that. I wanted to do it at least once before going to Spain. We did pretty good too. Afterwards, when they tell us how we could improve, he said that we needed to focus the lesson more on him as an individual, we were thrilled to hear that, because we were just trying to be able to say what the basic principles were and describe them in Spanish. So that's good. Well, everything kind of blurs together these days, so I can't really remember everything. I have pictures, but I probably won't send them until I'm in Spain, no time today. I might mail some actual pictures (as in, not email attachments) today. We'll see what time brings. Well, I can't think of much else to say, but thanks for all of your emails and I love you all. Don't worry about me, I'm doing just fine. I'll talk to you all (well at least family) tomorrow.
-Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt

7/8/09

Hey everyone, things are going well here. I don't have nearly as much time as I did last week though. I used half my time reading all of the emails... Things are going well for me. I leave here a week from today. I leave the MTC at 5:00 a.m... So that'll be a bit earlier than usual. I fly through Atlanta, but I can't remember the time I'd be calling. The papers are in my room. I'll write a letter and mail it so that you know about when I would call. I assume I'll be calling from the Atlanta airport sometime in the afternoon. We'll see though. Anyways, this week has been good. It feels like I've been here forever, but it's only been two weeks. I got my haircut today. That was fun. Oh, so with swine flu, I can't remember if I told you, the quarantine area is directly beneath my floor. A few times this past week they've been out in the hallway with the doors open and everyone gets mad because we don't want to get sick. I'm the only one in my district that has my visa, but hopefully the others get them soon enough to fly out the same time as me. We'll see. So I got a new companion. His name is Elder Stull. He's really cool. He was on BYU's Track and Field Team as a thrower. He threw shotput and javeline. He can bench 320, and squats somewhere in the 400's. So he's pretty strong. I always tease him that I'm just as big and strong as he is. We get along very well though. So now for the spiritual experience of the week. In class our teacher had us each draw a name and then prepare a message that we felt they needed to hear, after praying and asking for revelation. I was way scared because I didn't think I'd come up with anything. I prayed though and had some thoughts come into my head that I wrote down. Anwyays, long story short, while I was teaching him the spirit was so strong, and it even brought him to tears. I don't know what it was I said, but he needed to hear it. It was way cool. Anyways, volleyball's still good. We did get to watch the fireworks. They were good. I think you guys probably left early. There was about 5-10 minutes with no fireworks, then they came back. The second half was way way good. My companion and old companions wanted to leave early too, but I said let's wait, so we did, and they were way good. We didn't get to bed until 11:00 that night, but they told us that was okay for that one night. Anyways, I need to go, and I'll write you that letter about my travel plans.
-Elder Karl

7/1/09

Hello everyone, how are you guys doing? It's my first P-day,so I can finally email. I only have a short amount of time, and I'm doing laundry at the same time, so it may not be too long. I'll write as long as I can though. Mom and dad, if you can forward this to Jen so she can put it up on facebook and my blog if I have one already that'd be great. Thanks. Anyways, my first day here was a little weird. They changed where I was. I was originally scheduled to be in beginner spanish, but they tested my spanish and I'll be in intermediate spanish. I'm not in advanced. Advanced spanish speakers are already fluent. They don't learn anything with the language at the MTC, just how to teach. They're also only in the MTC for 3 weeks total. Intermediate, what I am, does the language, but ahead a bit. It's good. So I got put into a 3-some companionship. It's really good though. We all have fun. Each day we have two classes with instructors. They're each several hours long. My companion just came up to me and said there's a new guy coming in tomorrow. They're going to put him with our companionship and split us up into two companionships. So that's kind of cool I guess. I wonder who they'll put with the new guy. Hopefully he's cool. He gets here tomorrow. So we'll find out then. Anyways, we have to classes, then we have a few hours of personal study, companion study, and language study every day. It's pretty fun. I got us to start playing games to memorize some of the vocab. words, and that's been a lot of fun. Life is good here though. I can't think of much else to say. I play sand volleyball almost every day and it's a ton of fun. Elder Holland, not Thomas S. Monson spoke at the devotional on Friday. It was really good. He said to all of us, "Welcome to the work of angels." It was really cool. I liked it a lot. I can't think of much else to say, but yeah. Oh, Jen, I forgot to say in your letter, thanks for the little book thing. I've used it a ton already for taking notes and such. I've also used the quote/scripture book a lot too. Well, just a note for everyone, you can write me as often as you want. I can read letters every evening. I can only write back on Tuesdays. Anyways, I'm going to send this now. I hope everything's going well for everyone back there, and know that I am enjoying my mission and I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I'll talk to you later.
-Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt