I've left the MTC and am out in the field! I loved the MTC, my teachers, my district, my branch presidency, and everyone else that helped make my whole time there wonderful. The MTC taught me a lot, I'm so grateful I was able to have what little time I did there in order to learn and grow. I headed out Tuesday morning though and now I'm out!
We stayed in Pennsylvania for a couple days at the mission home, and then went down to Philadelphia for the second day. President Shaefermeyer was telling us how we have the best mission, because without our mission none of the other missions would exist, namely because the majority of the Book of Mormon was translated, and the Priesthood was restored, in our mission. Exciting stuff right? Later that night we met our trainers, and mine for the next 12 weeks is Elder Tan (tah-n). Elder Tan is from Malaysia, so he speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, and of course English. His English isn't the best so we sometimes struggle communicating, but it's pretty good. He's been out in the field for a little over a year, and I'm the second elder he's trained. He's great, he has a ton of energy and a very interesting sense of humor, it's fun because I normally find his jokes funny just because they don't make sense.
We're in the Lindon, New Jersey area and it's BEAUTIFUL out here. It's about an hour and a half away from the mission home. We cover the coast of New Jersey, including Ocean City. Ocean City is basically one big tourist location, it's broken off from mainland New Jersey and is covered in super nice beach homes, tons of tourist shops, and has a beautiful view of the ocean and Atlantic City (which is basically a smaller version of Vegas). Ocean City is practically taken right out of a movie set, it is so beautiful. I haven't gotten any pictures yet, but I'll send some soon.
More about our area. Most of the people are wealthy and predominantly Catholic. The people here don't like talking to us, especially if we knock on their doors, so street contacting has proven the most effective so far. There aren't a lot of members, so we have a lot of work to do! We currently have one person with a baptismal date, Tyrone, who is trying to quit smoking and is having a really hard time. It's going to be a hard area, but I know that I've been sent here for a reason.
And guess what, Elder Wells is my zone leader! (along with Elder S). I was able to see him at our district meeting, it's great knowing one person in the area that I can call if we need anything. Our small district is great: Sister M (her last name is long and hard to say) is from Samoa and she's with Sister B. Elder DL is from Mexico, he's the only member in his family and he's with Elder K (also new). Elder J is training Elder R, who is a visa waiter for some mission in Brazil. We have a senior couple, Elder and Sister Ross and they're great.
Elder Tan and I are doing our best, and trying to meet with as many people as possible. The hardest part is probably the limited amount of miles on our car, which I drive because Elder Tan doesn't have a US license, so we spend most of our time walking, which isn't the most effective as our area is really spread out, it reminds me a bit of Maple Valley, clumps of neighborhoods spread throughout the city. I'm glad I got here before the heat hits, so I can get accustomed to the weather first. It has been warm a few days, and cloudy the past couple. We're supposed to have some thunder storms this week which should be exciting.
If you want to send me some letters (and I know you do) I'm pretty sure my new address is:
40 Chapman Blvd, Apt R-9
Somers Point, NJ 08244
Anyways, I love you guys and am loving the work. There is so much to learn and so much room to grow as I learn to best serve the Lord. I know the Atonement can change this people's lives and fill them with joy, and it saddens me that they don't know it.
Love and miss you, the gospel's true!