A glimpse into the life of a Mormon missionary (Elder Creer) as he serves a two year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He began serving in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission- Spanish speaking. On July 1, 2012, he was transferred to a new mission- the Utah Salt Lake City West Mission.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We are serving in downtown Salt Lake in the Liberty Park area...

Hola Familia!

Well this week has been crazy! To start things off we finished up at the MTC and said bye to all the guys in my district and our teachers. We traded ties like crazy! ( haha)  I think that I have 10 new ones!! Last Wednesday we got up at 4am to go check out and catch the bus which left at 6. We dropped some kids off at the airport and then we headed to the mission office building.
We got there at around 8:30am where we were met by President Winn (Sister Winn was in the kitchen :). President Winn emailed us to questions to help determine who our companions would be. He just said to tell about ourselves and why we came on a mission.  We only talked for a few minutes.  After that he just said he knew who my companion was, I don't even think he was finished but oh well haha. 
We then sat at the table waiting for breakfast (granola bars, fruit and pancakes) and we met this guy who calls himself Guapo.  Guapo's job is to marry people so if we bring him a couple that needs to be married to be baptized we get a "guapo tie" haha. Then we had lunch and got to meet our companions.
Mine is Elder  Avalos. He is from Mexico City, is 26, and is a convert since he was 18. He played college football in Mexico as a strong safety.  We get up every morning (except Sundays) and we run for at least 4 miles!!  I'm trying to convince him that maybe some pushups or something might be more fun but he's not buying it haha.  He is a great companion!!
 We are teaching well, mostly him -because I can hardly understand what is going on. It is difficult sometimes too because I am trying to learn Spanish and I thought it was going be sweet since I had a native companion but he is trying to learn English and likes to speak it a lot :)  So hopefully we can work something out so I can teach.
We are serving in downtown Salt Lake in the Liberty Park area. We cover like 3 or 4 English wards and 1 Spanish branch with approximately 30 people.
We did have a baptism last night. He is 10 years old.  I didn't start teaching him of course since I haven't even been here a week but I got to teach probably 4 times, in English. So he was baptized yesterday and I was asked to give a talk so I talked about baptism and gave him a blue tie with a message on it. He loved it!
Also yesterday I was asked to give a 20 minute talk (in Sacrament Meeting), in Spanish! haha It went good- I talked about missionary work and trusting in the Lord, and I didn't have to speak the whole 20 minutes because of time.
As far as food goes, it has been good but they all stuff you so full! (haha)  The first night we had dinner Peruvian style, the next 3 days were Mexican. I don't think I will be fed American food for dinner in this area but no complaints here!!  The place where we stay is not even in our area, it is in the hills above the capital building. We stay at a member’s house. He is probably somewhere around 80 but idk for sure.  He is really funny and served his mission in Germany so he always talks with a German accent. He also is a really good cook. Every Sunday we get to have dinner with him and some of his kids and their families. It is like a 5 course meal haha. He also owns 25 chickens so we are allowed to have a couple eggs a day which is cool. We get 110 bucks a month for food, laundry, haircuts and anything else we might need. We were told to budget 2 bucks a day for food! Good thing Brother --- has chickens haha.
For p-days everyone plays soccer, so no ball for me for who knows how long. And apparently everyone wears soccer jerseys so my companion gave me one from Mexico.
Mom if you have any room in that package do you think you could squeeze as much snacks in as possible? A nice mix of junk and good stuff please haha :) Well love you guys!

Siempre Crean,
Elder Creer

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A great experience, great memories and great friends...

Hola Famila!
This was quite the eventful week! To start things off, thanks for the snacks Every Sunday night we get an hour and a half for movie time, and we have fiestas while we watch and eat all the snacks that people receive, so that's been fun. The last movie we watched was the biography about Thomas S. Monson which was sweet.
My hip is doing better; I am playing at like 75% now with no pain. Buuuuuuuuuut I broke my nose last Thursday playing ball haha. This 300 pound Samoan guy nailed me and it hurt really bad. The funny thing was right after he hit me he pulled out a tissue or napkin or something like he knew something bad was going to happen so he was prepared haha. Anyways to make a long story short, it was supposed to look like this ( l )  but instead it looked like this  ( L )  so it obviously needed to be fixed so I did it the old fashion way so we weren't late for class. I just put it back to straightness which hurt worse haha but now it’s straight so it's all good! I just had a headache for like a week so nothing too bad. Anyways other than that ball is going good. I am playing well and my jumper is falling from pretty much everywhere. Speaking of basketball it sounds like the NBA knew that I would be gone for the next two years because they are messing everything up and knew I wouldn't mind. Hopefully they still have a season, if not have fun with that Bry. If not there is always the WNBA..ha!
For the Spanish update, we started playing a new game because everyone was speaking so much Spanish that the "el Nativo" game wasn't working because nobody could ever tell who it was. The new game is called "La Mariposa"..the butterfly. If someone is caught speaking even one word of English they receive a card with a giant butterfly on it that says mariposa and they have to keep it until they hear someone else speaking English. Whoever has the card at the end of the day has to wear a super ugly leaf tie we found in the free bin the next day. It's been fun and my Spanish is improving! I haven't got the card yet either so that's good too.
Another exciting thing that happened was that we got our travel plans last Thursday! Those of us that are going to salt lake are leaving next Wednesday at 6am and then we go and have breakfast at the mission home or office or whatever it’s called so can't wait for that! We have met 7 other elders this week that are going to SLC Spanish. 6 of them just got here two weeks ago so they won't be out in the field for a while but the other one we met at dinner yesterday is from Chile and had to come to the mtc to learn English for 9 weeks and he seems like a really nice kid and it would definitely be nice to be companions with someone like him who is a native so they can help me with my Spanish.
It's crazy to think it's time for the field already, can't wait! Looking back the MTC has been a great experience, great memories and great friends. I am grateful for the district I got and know they will all be great missionaries. Looking back I am really grateful that I have a supportive family and friends. Not everyone has that and I have realized how lucky I am. I am also grateful that I was always counseled to never get a girlfriend before my mission and I am glad I followed that advice. I have seen how missionaries are distracted and don't have their minds on the work; totally not worth it because we are on the Lord's time not ours. So Bry, I advise you to do the same, trust me it will be worth it! Also Happy Birthday Aunt Arne and Mom!! Hope you have some good treats without me! Hope all is going well there, love ya!

Siempre Crean,
Elder Creer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It is like watching grass grow...

Hola Famila!

Hope everything is going well there.
Dad- thanks for getting my bike situation taken care of.
Mom- it sounds like your brownies made you pretty much famous. Even the guys here love them, but Turtle Bars are their favorite, I looked up how to say it in Spanish because our goal is no more English and it is, los tabletas de tortuga haha.
Bry- sounds like basketball is going good there. You better keep practicing because I am going to whoop you when you get home from your mission even if you are 6´5 haha. The basketball here is not as fun as it used to be. There is a new district in our zone that all want to play basketball. We were really excited when they came in and heard that we would have some new competition, yeah that excitement lasted until the first game we played. A bunch of them think that they are better than Michael Jordan or something and never pass the ball. It is not very fun if you get stuck on their team because of that. We used to just play for fun and have a good time while still playing hard, but now there are too many kids out there to prove themselves. Don´t worry though, Elder Black and I kicked their trash when we played against them. I don´t know how much we will be playing with them from now on, we might just go shoot by ourselves or go lift or something.
When we went to the temple last week Elder Shuster and I did sealings, it was my first time so I thought it was cool. There was a family in there that had a kid who is reporting to the MTC in a week and he is going to the Kennewick WA Spanish speaking mission. So we talked backed and forth about the fact that I am basically going to his home and he is going to mine and just different stuff about the areas. He seemed pretty cool and his family was nice. His name was Elder Gray and he is probably 6'2, blonde hair and looks like a linebacker. So if you ever run into him, treat him well...emphasis on the "treat" haha.
The Spanish is still improving like a turtle, but I am learning a lot. It is cool to look back and see how much progress I have actually made because it doesn't seem like I am making a lot day to day but when I look back I have realized that I have made a lot. Our teacher said that it is like watching grass grow, if we just sit there and watch it; it will take a long time to even realize that something is happening.  But if we evaluated or check it every couple of days or every week we see how much we grow. That just makes me think to lose myself in the work and have the Lord do the rest. I have been working a lot on vocab and practicing the grammar when I talk. I feel really comfortable giving prayers in Spanish but that is because I have been trying to do all of them including my personal ones in Spanish from the beginning so I have had a lot of practice. Hopefully the rest of my Spanish will get to the same comfortable stage once I practice it enough. The more practice the better we get. I know that learning Spanish will require me to do everything I can first, with faith, and then put my trust in the Lord and he will take care of the rest.
Elder Shuster and I have been doing really well teaching together, even though we are not much alike. We have been using a lot of visual aids when we teach because we feel that it is helping the investigators become more involved in the lessons and they are more fun to teach. I would make some cookies or something like you mom but we don't have an oven and I don't have money haha.

Crean Simepre,
Elder Creer

Friday, August 5, 2011

I struck out 3 times in a row; I decided I had to redeem myself...

Hola Famila!
Thanks for the letters this week! Dad I’ll start with you. Thanks for the advice on the Spanish. And my hip is feeling alright. It's getting better but I also haven’t been playing above 50% in basketball. It is still really fun though. Elder Black and I dominate every time we are on the same team. There was one game earlier this week where we kept a running score against some other Elders from a different court that challenged us and we beat them by 30! haha I had 7 or 8 threes in a row and Elder Black did really good too. Some kids try to get really competitive when they start losing but I have realized that it is more important to play team ball and make sure everyone is having fun rather than win every game. I met a friend this week during ball. He is from Florida and his name is Josh Keintz I think. He is serving his mission in Ogden Utah and wants to try and play at BYU-Hawaii after his mission. He is really fun to play with because when I drive I can either take it myself or just throw it up and he'll go dunk it. It sounds like your golf game is still way better than mine
Mom, I want that recipe for that pizza, I can't wait to cook again!
Bry sounds like your still growing but you are still not as tall as me yet, good luck! Tell me about this kid who just joined our ward, Mom said that he wrestled. And is Spencer still playing ball?
Jessie I will just write you personal letters since that is what you like best, k?

So on Friday Elder Rockhill wanted to play softball outside so our whole district went out to play softball against another district in our zone. My last memory of baseball was when I shared in my talk about howsel I struck out 3 times in a row; I decided I had to redeem myself haha. The first pitch I swung out wasn't even close, I was ahead of the ball by like 3 seconds, but then I crushed it. My first two at bats were a triple and a homer. So it looks like I still got it haha. It was fun to play as a district and be out in the sun for once. The rest of the days we just play basketball though since the rest of the people like that better. Elder Black and I still dominate, he threw me a sweet alley oop yesterday.
We started this new game this week as a district to help us learn Spanish. It is called the "Nativo" (native). The whole idea is to speak the most Spanish you can so you convince everyone in the district that you are the Nativo. How we keep track of points is at the end of each day we all go around the circle and say who we think that Nativo is. If you aren't the Nativo but someone guesses your name, you get two points because you spoke enough Spanish to make people think that you were the Nativo. If you were the Nativo and someone guesses your name you only get one point and if you guess who the Nativo is you get one point. It is a really cool game because it helps me try to speak as much Spanish as possible even though it isn't very good. After two days I was in first place with 12 points!
We had some tie trades this week. I got a sweet green one from Elder Black and a sweet gold one from Elder Blakely who just got it from Elder Lowry. I also decided to give Elder Shuster my green and blue tie because he doesn't have very many and his favorite color is green.
We got to watch a church film about Johnny Lingo and his 8 cow wife, I never knew what Kyle was talking about when he would ask me how many cows so and so was, but now I do haha. Well that is pretty much all that is happening here right now.
Crean Siempre, Con Amor
Elder Creer