Missions are extremely hard

Hey family!

So the plane ride was awesome and I loved being out and about instead of being in a classroom. I even got to teach a lesson on the plane from Atlanta to Columbus to this awesome lady named Sandra. I did not ask her if her last name started with a D. Sorry dad haha. 

Elder Homewood
We met President Nilsen and his wife around three minutes after we got off the plane. They are awesome!! The Assistants are way cool and the mission home is very nice. 19 of us came in this transfer with 4 of us speaking Spanish. The night at the mission home we got grilled hamburgers and homemade mac and cheese. I about died from pleasure, it was such a good change from all that cafeteria food. I met my trainer in the morning and he is way cool. His name is Elder Homewood from Gilbert AZ and he has 3 months left. He asked me how the newest Batman movie was haha. I actually have a second companion. His name is Elder Arveseth and he is from Brigham City. He says Brigham City is smaller than Tooele but I don't know about that... He has been here for 3 months and this is his first transfer after his trainer. They are both pretty cool guys but they are not near as silly as me. Sometimes that's pretty tough but we still have fun.
Elder Arveseth

 I don't actually really like the tripanionship but it definitely has it's pros to compensate for the cons. I don't have to talk much during the lessons which is nice for me because my Spanish got much worse after trying to learn subjunctive. I can't seem to conjugate quickly at all and it's hard. I don't like that my Spanish ability declined after learning so much but I should get the hang of it. It doesn't help that I really don't like even hearing the Spanish language spoken. I hear it all the time and I hope I get calloused because it's driving me a little crazy.

I saw the funniest sign here! It is one of those yellow diamond caution signs and instead of saying watch for children, it just says "Watch Children". I think that is so creepy and funny! I have seen two of them and I still crack up about it. My companions don't think it's funny like I do though... Something else hard is that they always seem to ignore me. They hardly ever answer my questions the first time I ask them and when they do it's after about 12 full seconds of me just looking at them waiting. 

So missions are extremely hard. The first night or two with my companions were just so overwhelming. My companions never slow down either so everything I have to do isn't really explained to me. They just take care of it while I try to copy what they write in their planners. In all honesty I hated my first couple days. I was very sad and frustrated. There were some fun parts but I was still not happy. I was bummed because I thought I was supposed to be happy doing the Lord's work. Most of it I think is because I am supposed to do all of these things and progress, but I am supposed to do it in a language I don't know very well.
Elder Fivas

There are three stages during my day. The first one being, this is fun and I'm happy sharing Christ's gospel with others. The second is that I would rather be pretty much anywhere else but here. The third is that this sucks and I really don't want to be here,  Why did I even come out? I guess I am still trying to find out the answer to that question. I thought I knew but I would say I am only content anywhere from 10% - 40% of the time, let alone joyful. That is a much lower percentage. Sunday was great though! I was content all day and had some good times and learned a lot. 

I know pretty much every reason why I should be out here in my head but I have yet to fully feel it in my heart. This is by far the hardest thing I have done and sometimes it's hard to have hope. You can tell yourself all that you know but it is still different than really feeling it. I plan on working hard on Spanish so I can learn quickly. I think that is one of the biggest roots of my problems.

So I am in the Miami River 2 area. I live in Forest Park Ohio down closer to Cincinnati. We cover mostly Fairfield Ohio. The weather here changes on a dime. It was beautiful for a couple days and we even rode bikes one of the days and that was a lot of fun! (We have a car because Spanish areas are pretty big) Now it's cold and snowy again but that's fine. The snow here is a lot more wet.

I have learned that Hispanics are very different from white people haha. They are much more tranquilo and willing to let you in their door. But they are flaky and have some seriously crazy lives haha. They are pretty poor for the most part in our area. In fact I have not stepped foot into a neighborhood because we are always in apartment complexes haha. I don't even know what I am smelling when I am tracting haha because those complexes and trailer parks are crazy. 

Anyways, my address is:

1440 West Kemper
Apt. 307
Forest Park, OH 45240

Remember that changes if I am transferred but I have a feeling I will be here for 3 months. The mission office can forward letters if you want to make sure they get to me but they can't forward FedEx and UPS and stuff so I don't have any bedding haha. But my blanket is sure cozy so I don't mind! Oh and the bike I got is super great! 

Well everyone, enjoy what you've got and eat out often! 

Elder Fivas

Last Week at the MTC

It's the last week in the MTC and I am just so excited!! There is a whole lot I could say throughout the week but I never remember it when it comes to Monday so I am sorry. I have 5 dollars in quarters so I can make a call at the airport. They ran out of call cards in the bookstore... There are sooo many people here, it doesn't surprise me. Anyway, there are two things I want to talk about. But first, mom and dad, can you please post my mission address to facebook or something? I have no idea what to tell people my mailing address is. 

So first is that the English Elders are stinkin pampered. We have class in the same room every day. It's pretty much where we live and it's older than Uncle Danny, I know it. It is crammed with 12 people in it always and it has smelled good only one time in 6 weeks and I don't know what the difference is. The air conditioning doesn't really work so all of the class rooms have fans that we stick by the door. Anyway, we hear about this other building where we should go to do TALL (the language program on the computers). We call it the Celestial Building. It has WAY NICE AIR CONDITIONING and it's all new and the bathrooms are wonderful and it puts our smelly building to shame haha. It happens to be the building with desks big enough for a notebook (unlike ours) and they have new comfy chairs. Guess who gets it? The people that have to live there for 12 weeks? No. 9 Weeks? no. 6 weeks? NO! The ENGLISH speakers get to spend their two weeks in luxury and teach the gospel in english, while we slave and stink for 6 in a building that seemed run down even when I didn't know about building 4M. haha

It really is no big deal but It's something to write about. I tease Elder Schofield about being there all the time :P 

The other thing is that I saw THE HAPPIEST old guy ever in the temple. He sat next to Elder Graf and just had this huge smile on and was just patting Elder Graf's leg and looking around smiling, not a word was said. His hair was barely existent and it was all wind blown and he didn't ever stand up. But he was SO COOL!! That dude smiled throughout the whole session and just made me so happy! This week we saw him again in the celestial room and it made me so happy! Elder Graf said he just wanted to take that guy and put him in his pocket so we could keep him forever. 

Don't worry, I do still grow every day here spiritually but it's so much that… Anyway it is hard to write what I learn because I am learning constantly and I can't keep up in my journal even :P I guess you'll just have to wait two years to see the difference and growth ;)

I sure love you all! Thanks for everything you do and send ;)
Elder Fivas

Travel Plans

I got my travel plans babay!! I am getting up at 3 AM to have my luggage and mi cuerpo at the pick up at 4 AM on March 20. I fly to Atlanta at like 7 and get there at some time... Not sure... But anyway mom and dad I can call you from the airport so expect a call early or something on the 20th.
I still don't know where my contacts are (I havent checked the mail yet today though) so I don't know whats going on there.
I am still just so happy here and learning in leaps and bounds. I had no idea how close God is to each one of us. I'm serious, He is the most generous person in the universe. He has SO many blessings just waiting to be sent your way if you exercise some faith or make some covenants. Gosh I get so churchy sittin in here for this many weeks!
Nothin too crazy has gone on here this week. I am seriously going to miss the Elders that are leaving tomorrow.
I just don't know what to say really... uuuhhhhh....

I do love all the dear elders mom and dad so thank you for that!!

Cheers fo now.

Elder Fivas

p.s. I sent pictures each equaling 1000 words so I am not feeling bad about only writing a paragraph haha

p.p.s Elder Graf's family is enjoying the blog haha. I love Elder Graf. He is such a wise Elder and such a cool guy. Totally relaxed and only says things that are meaningful. I could not have asked for anyone better.

The District

I made it past halfway baby!!

I guess we get our travel plans this thursday and I am pumped about that. I loved the care package that you sent me mom it was great!! So perfect, and you have no idea how awesome the legos are. Thanks for seeing that they were cool and getting me some. I totally was going to ask but I dont think I actually did. The mints are essential too :P 

Well we are really starting to have a dramatic district. I love them to death and I think we have the best district out of anyone [unfortunately one of our district members had a medical condition and needed to go home].  It is good that he is getting help and treatment that he needs. We miss him and hope the best for him.

The day after (I think) the hermanas quieren bendiciones so we all got to bless them one by one. It was a great experience and they told us that the blessings all had specific words they needed to hear. Just crazy business but it's all good.

I can tell you that my life changes every day I am here. Sorry for the sobering story but it was worth sharing. We're still having a blast here as a district and I am just so happy. Recently I have learned more the importance of doctrine. God's doctrine when understood, is actually what changes hearts. I have loved going through PMG looking at scriptures for doctrine I teach my investigators.

I am sorry if I don't answer questions when I email back. I never bring my letters with me to the computer lab so I dont have them in front of me. I pretty much just spit out what goes through my head. I saw Ben Cheney in the temple dressing room today. It was soo good to see him and talk to him. I also get surpises seeing people like Spencer Stubbs in the MTC with me. It's cool to see so many people from my school out here with me.

Lastly I just want to mention the importance of goals. I used to think they were estupido but I am starting to see the light. I want the character of Christ with me. If you look at it, whenever the natural man would turn inward and think selfishly, Christ looked outward at other peolpe's needs. I promise to come back a lot more like that.

I love you family!!
Elder Brayden Fivas