Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas

What A Crazy Week!

I suppose Christmas is always going to be crazy where ever you go. The malls are packed, as is the post office, and the grocers, and so forth. People just go nuts! Guess thats true for missionaries too but for different reasons. Tracting within two weeks of Christmas doesn't seem to be very effective (Go figure) But people seem to be somewhat friendlier. I found that if I just smile and say Merry Christmas Even the people who are not in the slightest pleased to see us have to return the greeting. Or just pause awkwardly before they shut the door, which pleases me all the same.

I'm very blessed to be in the Cave spring area for my First Christmas. The members here are phenomenal! I can't recall all the times when different families would ask us if we had plans for Christmas Eve/Day because they wanted to make sure we had a place to enjoy the holidays. We were invited to a number of parties and get together. My Favourite being Chirstmas Eve night at the McBrides. The McBrides is one of those families that have many other branches out from a main ancestor. Their family includes the Andersons, Jones's, Roalies, and a few others which I didn't catch. One of the McBrides is actually a member of the Mission Presidency and happens to be in our boundaries. I love the Guy. He Reminds me of Brother Dick Low because he always has interesting stories and a vast knowledge of just about everything I can think of. He also was Mission companions with Mitt Romney!! Anyways, they had us over that night for their family tradition of playing out the Nativity while reading scriptures of The Birth of Christ. I got to be a shepherd. I was stoked! I guess I just really liked it because It reminded me of being home and just sitting around a Christmas Tree with family and good food.

Christmas Morning we opened our Presents and quickly headed over to the Vanderhovens where we would eat a hearty breakfast and be able to call home. My call home lasted about 3 hours...I don't recall if President had set a time cap or not but not much we can do about that now ;). It was Fab. My companion thought it was strange after we finished how much and how little seems to change back at home. Life flies at a very different pace out here in the Field. I'm not sure if thats good or bad yet but it is what it is.

That Evening we were invited back to the Vanderhoven's grandmothers house for a sumptuous Christmas Supper. It was Superb. We spent the rest of the night playing ping pong in the basement and having a snowball fight with the Kids! I rocked one of their Cousins in the Head. It was Glorious. Oh I forgot to mention. IT SNOWED CHRISTMAS DAY! and a good about too, for here at least. With the temperature hovering just below freezing the snow was perfect for snowballs and snowmen. And also horrible for driving... So I had a slight accident in the car that night. We were trying to pull into a parking lot and another car had just gone before us. I figured that I'd given them ample room however due to the slickness and steepness of the ramp they didn't have enough momentum to make it up. She started sliding down just as I'd crossed the lane and was at the bottom of the curb. I tried to throw 'er in reverse but it landed in park instead and she slid into us. Minor cosmetic damage. a one inch crack in our front bumper and no visible damage to them. But We'll have to see how serious its going to be when I take it up with the Vehicle Coordinator... Ike!

Anyways, Church was Canceled on Sunday due to road conditions (When all everyone has on their cars are M+S tires its not hard to see why!) So we spend the morning in personal study. By early afternoon the roads had melted enough and we went to the Eliasons family for Lunch. Sis. E is Half Japanese from California!!! HALLELUJAH! I had real rice and Japanese Curry. And its was LEGIT. I was so pleased I took a large second portion, which probably wasn't the best idea since we had another supper planed shortly there after at the Jones family. But It was all worth it. I sacrificed my stomach in order to not offend the offerings of those generous families who'd gone through so much trouble to see that we'd been taken care of. Not an easy task mind you when there was scarcely two hours between feasts. But I came out conqueror. And again I got to spend time with the Jones/McBride family. They are seriously the Sweetest family!

I forgot to mention before I pay too much tribute all to one family. Bro Shorter who's a member of the Bishopbric also took us out on Thursday. He picked us up in his Prized New Mach 1, Grabber Orange, Mustang and gave us a tour of the Back creek firehall!! He was soo pleased about it all too. It felt really good to be up close and personal with a firetruck again. We toured around and he took us out to lunch afterwords to finish it off. All in all a great week. We didn't get alot of mission oriented work done, largely because most people have enough on their plate this time of year they don't care much to take the time to hear us. But thats alright. Its a new week and we have lots of followups.

I hope everyone back home had a Grand Christmas and is still enjoying the Break before work and school kick back in. Thanks to everyone that sent Christmas cards and Well wishes. I cherish them all! Keep warm up there!

Elder Sunada

Monday, December 20, 2010

A few Christmas Pics

Ward Mission Party

The lights we put up

Awesome idea...addressed envelopes for the ward.

...5 more days

This past week has been awesome! For several reasons, most of which revolving around This Christmas Season.

Last Monday night My companion and I were invited to the "Empty Nesters" Get together. As the name suggests this is an exclusive club for those who've completed their primary roles as parents and convinced in one way or another all of their children to leave home. I finally Realize that with my departure Mom and Dad also fall into this category. Old people are awesome.

The night started out with a spiritual Christmas devotional in a Members living room where a legit fireplace was burning along. They're really big out here. Almost everyone has a wood burning fireplace and actually uses it! Then we were treated to a pot luck dinner. Luckily for us (and probably everyone else) we aren't required to bring any food. There was a wide variety of casseroles, Salads, dips pastas and other savory goods. My favorite being this sweet potato dish which was a layer of yams on the bottom and on the top was a kind of bread dumpling with melted brown sugar and cinnamon. Mom you would have loved it. I'm still trying to find out who made it to get the recipe. After Supper it was time again to gather around the fire, but this time there was live entertainment to be provided. A few of the members are talented musicians in the Bluegrass tradition. With 2 upright bass's, a acoustic guitar, a superb banjo picker and another instrument which is strummed in some manner. And let me tell you, They were good! Playing both Chirstmas classics and olds school southern music it set a great mood throughout the rest of the party.

Wednesday we had a Zone meeting/Christmas party. It was awesome as President Thornock and Sister Thornock had driven down from Charleston to attend. Pres. Gave us a lesson in the morning, while Sister Thornock prepared a lasagna lunch for us. After that we watched a movie about a man named John Tanner (I think that was his name) and how he'd given all he had to the service of the church and his fellow man. Many say that he is responsible for saving the Kirkland Temple! After we had a short testimony meeting. It was so great to see that we have such faithful missionaries in our zone. We then commenced with a game of human Foosball, which I'd never seen done before, But we did it.

Just as the activities where coming to a close President said he had one final Surprise for us. Each Elder/Sister was handed a large white envelope with our names on it. As I opened my envelope at first I was very confused. There was a letter from the Mission Presidency, another from the First Presidency of the Church, but then I found 15 envelopes. Each one had only My name and Merry Christmas in fine writing alternating between Red and Green. As I looked at the others around me I saw Christmas Cards of various shapes and sizes. No one else had the plain white envelopes that I had. But as I opened each one I began to realize what they were. As I read the names of family members and Friends my heart was filled with joy. I'd been in the Field for nearly 3 weeks and had received scarce little from North of the Boarder. Perhaps the mail took longer to get to me than I had anticipated I thought. I eagerly waited for Elder Pendleton to retrieve the mail each day. But upon reading each of those letters I understood why the mail did not come. It was the greatest thing I could have asked for. And to find not only family but friends and members of the ward had been thinking of me. I was not forgotten after all :D. I realized that I am very blessed to have a mission Presidency who would be considerate enough to do such a thing for me, as well as for all of you back home who have shown your love and kindness. I cherish each letter on each page. It has truly been a highlight of my experience here so far.

Being a missionary and living on a missionaries budget I'm constrained by what I can send home. But Many of you have asked questions about what its like out here and so the least I can do is attempt to address a few of the most frequently asked ones.

1#. My companion. His name is Elder Pendleton and he is freakishly tall standing at 6'7. He's from Auburn, Washington which is just a little south of Seattle. He's a huge sports fanatic and has facts about every player from every team it would seem. We get along pretty well and he constantly tells me that he's so thankful that President gave him someone "Normal" to train.

2# Do we have fun? Absolutely. Elder Pendleton is all about making sure we have fun while we work. I find tracting can be fun, just because of how ridiculous some people are. I try to make a point of laughing after each house to keep our spirits up. We also laugh it up in our apartment. Missionaries have their own brand of jokes. Often relating to scripture and biblical events. I'll make a point to write down some of them and share them in the future. A mission is lots of work, But Loads of fun!

3#What are the people like out here? Crazy. haha only some of them. Being in a small city I find its much like anywhere else. You'll always have your crazies. Though I must say the Southern brand of crazy is a little different than I've encountered else where. One man who is a less active that we visit falls into this category. I'll try to list some of his traits. He loves Nascar. He fed us man food (instant potatoes with hambergers and bacon on top, chili con carne from a can on the side), He loves his guns and has shown us how scary it would be if someone came up behind you and cocked his shotgun, He loves Nascar. My favorite line from his mouth thus far is a very enthusiastic "COWBOY UP SON!!!!" But Many of the people that we meet on a day to day basis are very normal and polite. The members of the ward are fantastic and are exemplars of Southern Hospitality.

4# FOOD. The one thing nearly everyone has asked about. And actually it hasn't been that bad thus far. Keeping in mind that most of the crazy dishes you hear about are found only in West Virginia. The strangest thing I have had was probably that man meal. Oh and it broke my heart the first night I ate here. A member family invited us out to dinner. For Japanese Food!! I was super stoked. But I will say this now. What I ate, was NOT Japanese. The miso soup was a clear broth. the Salad while resembling a spicy mayo sauce was very odd aswell. The main course which I has was chicken and vegetables was ok tasting, so long as you didn't compare it to what it could and should have been. And finally the rice...oh the rice. this is where I almost cried. It was what seemed to be bacon grease almost. I ate as much as I could to be polite. But as I have found out, Japanese is not the only cuisine to have suffered such monstrosities. I have learned that if you want to experience any kind of Ethnic food that is not Southern in nature, don't come to Roanoke. The Melting pot structure of America has even affected the food. Anyways, perhaps that was a bit of a rant but I had to get it off my mind. I think this outburst is a side effect of "Rice Withdraw Syndrome" I guess its in the Genes.

5#Finally where are we living. We are currently housed in the basement suite of inactive man and his wife. I'll explain a little about them. Jimmy is what I had imagined in my mind as a typical Virginian. He was of large girth. And spoke in an accent so thick I could hardly understand him. However I later found out that he was born with a flat cleft, mostly deaf and also legally blind. So my first impression had been horribly amiss. His Wife is Laura is a sweet Woman who is almost entirely blind. She even has a seeing eye dog! They are in their 60s at least and are super nice to us. They even invited us up for dinner once. We take the mail to them every night and occasionally Laura asks us to help her out with something that Neither Her Nor Jimmy can read. The Deaf leading the blind. But its cute and they're Wonderful.

Anyways I'm running over my limit to write by quite a bit now! Its just so hard to get everything in. And there's so much more I could say! But I should say that I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and Hope that you can keep in your hearts the True meaning behind all the Festivities.

As they like to say around here, "Christ is the reason for the Season"

Elder Sunada

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Its Beggening to look alot like Chirstmas!

Howdy Y'all
What another crazy week! Its been pretty sweet though. We've been out doing lot more tracting and trying to visit with people. I Always have a hard time remembering what I wrote in my last letters home and where I should start. So things may not be in Chronological order but I'll just spurt out a few of my highlights.
I love teaching! Well we only have one investigator that I've been teaching but I wait excitedly every week for when we can go visit him. He's this 56 year old black guy who is pretty gansta. Sometimes he wears a wide brim ball cap off to the side of his head. He's a smart guy who knows the Bible Pretty well and really enjoys us coming over to talk to him. He has a baptismal date set for February but we have a lot of work until that point. He likes to challenge us to think alot. I have to be very care full about what I say because he'll always find a way to turn things on your head. Its pretty funny actually. He reminds me of Uncle Jim haha. But we also had a run in to a 17 girl and her mom who we are hopefully going to start teaching this week.
We were putting up Christmas lights for the Anders family. They used to be less active but we got the 10 year old twins baptised just before I entered the area and they've been coming to church. I was the one who got to go up on the roof to hang lights off the eaves trough. I think its pretty smart that we cheat and keep ours up year round at home. It took us two nights to get them all up. On the second day we went over this 17 year old girl named Charlotte came up to us and got all excited! "I love missionaries, you guys are awesome, oh yeah I'm Mormon" as she was smoking a cigarette haha. Apparently she was baptised when she was younger but her mom and her have been inactive for a while. So we stopped by to see them a few days ago and Charlotte is excited to meet with us. The mom probably not so much but We'll see what we can do there.
Oh On Friday we got to go to the Back Creek Wards Christmas party! It was alot of fun! I finally got to meet many of the members of that ward. The funny thing is that nearly everyone is related! Now before you start thinking they all married their own cousins they didn't. That's what happens in West Virginia apparently... I think it works something like It all started at the Ferguson family which had many daughters, who married the Christly's, McBride's, Anderson's and so on. The Youth hate it because all of the other kids in the ward are most likely their cousins (Hence no dating pool). But Most of them are super nice and all are friendly to the missionaries.
We are fed well on a regular basis. The Christmas party was no exception. As part of the program for the evening, and Unbeknown to us, the missionaries are presented with a large gift basket each. Both included gift cards for grocery's, Burger King, Panera Bread (like a fancy starbuckesque Subway) and a joint called Ruby Tuesday, varied candies, a mug with a variety of premium Hot chocolates, and many other goodies. Each basket also had a supper meal. Elder Pendletons had Cans of Chunky soup and crackers, mine had pasta boxes and fancy sauces, a long french loaf, Parmesan cheese, mild Cheddar cheese, a chipotle jack cheese, and a large hickory smoked sausage. I'm sure that there is easily $100 worth in each basket. The people in the area are fairly well off and receiving the baskets filled my heart with joy and gratitude. Also I'm determined to work even harder to help show that I'm worthy of such a grand gift.
Mom will be pleased to know that my Piano playing skills have been in much use on the mission. I had to play a bunch in the MTC. For a while I was the only one in the Zone who could play piano. I later found out that another member of my district could play just fine but didn't bother to let anyone else know! Since being out in the field I've had to play hymns in zone and branch meetings as well I played at a baptism that was set up by the Elders in the Salem Area. I started playing prelude because I thought we were going to start but they were waiting for someone else to show up so I ended up playing for nearly 15 mins, frantically trying to flip to hymns I could play on the spot without biffing! But I've had plenty of opportunity to keep it up, Hymns anyways. If you get a chance copy some Chopin Pieces or anything else out of what we have at home that I used to play.
Yesterday we were invited to go to see a children's Choral Chirstmas Concert! It was Fantastic! When I get home I'm going to try and get in an auditioned choir. I miss Singing alot. You can Let Mrs. Wood know haha! But this week has been a pretty good one. Didn't get any mail from home yet but I'll be keeping a close watch for that package!
I love you all and hope you are all enjoying this Christmas Season as much as I am.
Much Love,
Elder Sunada

Monday, December 6, 2010

A few pics...

Most of My Zone

Dorm With Elder Mataele, Elder Bettridge, Me and Elder Warren

Mission Home

really big Cricket in my Room (still trying to catch him and his friends...)

Howdy from Virginia

I'm Finally here!!
What a journey it has been. Last Tuesday we woke up at three so we could finish getting everything together and be ready to leave the travel office at 4 in the morning. As we drove away from the MTC I felt that I was going to miss the place that had been my home for only 20 days. I'd learnt so much there! The Drive to the airport seemed to last forever. I did get a chance to make a few quick phone calls home though! Talked to Steven And Mis Padres. But I had to board so I didn't get a chance to call the sisters before we left. We had a layover in Detroit for a while, where I nearly got left behind. For some reason they never gave me a boarding pass to get on. And several of the other Elders only had Seats requested. After talking to the lady at the desk she was able to ask the captain and he said that we could allow 36 instead of 35 on the plane. I was that lucky number 36!
After a short flight we were getting ready to land in Charleston. As we descended below the clouds a land of endless hills, Tress and valleys was laid before us. Small roads going between the hills that led to small houses and yards. Landing was a little frightening as there doesn't appear to be any flat space in any direction. This is pretty much the case with the whole state apparently. The Airport sits upon a hill that has been leveled off just long enough for a short airstrip. It was raining pretty hard when we stepped off. Ever since Detroit I'd felt the Humidity. As I took breaths of air I could feel the weight of it in my lungs. Super cool. The Rain however was warm and inviting.
We quickly ran into the terminal where we were greeted by our President Thornock and his wife. I really like him and am anxious to serve under him in this Mission. We went to the mission office that night for a short orientation, then to the mission home where we would sleep. There were 13 of us from the MTC. 2 sisters, and 11 Elders. 5 bunk beds. Again I was the odd man out. As I was getting ready to sleep on the Floor Sister Thornock told me I could sleep in the room where they housed the General Authorities and other visitors when they stayed in the mission. I thought it was pretty cool seeing as Elder Christianson of the seventy had stayed there just the other week. Then someone reminded me that His Wife had also slept in one of the two beds, which was a little weird. But they were probably the most comfortable beds there! 
In the Morning we were given our assignments. President Thornock informed me that I would be Going to the Cave Springs Area, which is in Roanoke Virginia, and serving with Elder Pendleton. I was a little sad to be leaving the state of West Virginia so soon but still excited to see what this land has in store. The Landscape didn't change much. More hills, Trees and narrow winding roads. But the Area is super nice! Along the way we dropped off Elders serving in other areas such as Virginia Tech! I saw the stadium where the mountaineers play.
When we got to the Roanoke Stake Centre I finally got to meet my companion. Elder Pendleton is 6'7, Loves sports and has been showing me the ropes of how to be a missionary. Its been pretty sweet so far! Our apartment is in the basement of a less actives home and is relatively nice. We have our own washer and dryer, pool table and air hockey, but I haven't found much time to use the latter two yet. And Mother will be pleased to know that I have been cleaning the kitchen ever since I got there. In fact I'm planning on buying some more cleaning supplies later today to help the cause. I should have taken a before and after picture. Maybe next area lol.
The area that we cover is one of the nicer ones in the mission. Many of the people in the ward are very well off and live in nice houses in the hills. I guess everyone lives in the hills here, but these houses are particularly nice. At the moment We only have 1 investigator. Just prior to my arrival they baptised 3 people so now we have to go back to finding. Which means I've already been doing some tracting!! Sometimes its kinda scary. Some are very kind and politely turn us away and wish us well. Others are very abrupt and won't bother even saying hi. One man even answered the door with a gun in a chest holster and after we had introduced our selves he said something to the effect of "Get lost". We decided this was wise council. But It hasn't gotten me down yet.
I'm excited when people stop and talk with us for even a short while. We have a message that can help change there lives for good and bring happiness. However many of the people here are already in a church and have been warned against us. They don't call this area the Bible Belt for nothing! There are churches everywhere. And some of them are huge!! If you stood on a large hill you could easily count a dozen without having to turn your head. Most of the people here are Baptist, though we've also met Methodists, Lutherans and many other Protestant faiths. And being that it is a nice area it is hard to get people to listen as they feel they have all they need. But I Know there are people out there waiting. We will find them.
The Ward Members are wonderful. In this area we cover the Cave Spring Ward, as well as the Back Creek Ward. We get fed nearly every night and the people love the missionaries. I've met with a few of them who have young families and little children who remind me of the Grandkids. I miss Our kids so much. Those of you back home better be giving them extra hugs and kisses for me.
Check this out. So Saturday it started snowing a bit. Probably 3 inches in all, but most of it melting before it could build up. We get to church at 8:45 as church is supposed to start at 9, but there are only 4 cars in the lot. Apparently due to the snow it was to dangerous to get to church that morning so they had combined the two ward meetings and planned to meet at 1130. I thought that was pretty ridiculous. In all my years back home I can't remember a time when church has ever been cancelled due to weather. But to be fair the roads here are very sketch. There is no shoulder at all and they wind all over the place. Some of the driveways we walk up to houses are so steep that if they got more than a few inches of snow I'm sure they'ed never be able to drive even a 4x4 up them. So apparently this much snow is a big deal haha.
Anyways, I'm running out of time. I can't wait to hear from you back home! I've even got time now to write letters! But I need people to send me something first so I can have addresses!
The address that I'll have for the next few weeks is:
 3216 Lawndale Road
Roanoke, Virginia
Hope all is well back home. Keep me posted on whats going on!
Elder Sunada

Monday, November 29, 2010


We've just heard from Kurt's mission President in Charleston that for Christmas the mission office collects letters from friends and family and gives them to each missionary along with a small gift. Seeing as Kurt will barely get there this week, they suggested that we email the letters so he receives something along with everyone else. Please take a minute and shoot off an email so Kurt has some love from home!
I believe we have until Monday Dec. 6 at the very latest. Thanks!

Email address:
subject: Elder Kurt M Sunada

Last day in the MTC!

Hey Everyone!!
So tomorrow moring at 700am I'm flying out of Salt Lake City Airport and making a short layover in Detroit before finally arriving in CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA!!!!
Its pretty crazy how fast everything happens here. They days are long but the Weeks fly by. I'm in the process of getting packed and buying things at the store here while we can still get a ridiculous missionary discount on consumer goods. Oh! Thanks for the Tie racks Dad! My system of haning ties on a hanger just wasn't cutting it. having two allows me to hang all my ties, belts and misc. objects. I've been trying to take pictures of some things down here so I can show you what its all like. However we can't upload photos at the MTC which is just as well as the computers time us down from 30 mins so its normally a mad rush to get everything done in time!
I'm pretty jealous that you got some wicked cold weather back home. Its been snowing here at least but still not jacket worthy, in my opinion. Its funny to see some of the Elders who've never seen snow before. The worst part is seeing all the snow on the hills (Provo's so called mountians) and not being able to go climb them or go skiing. You all better get up and enjoy some of that Sunshine powder for me.
So My first American thanksgiving was pretty neat. The food was... well nothing beats home cooking. But the really cool part was that for our morning Devotional Elder Holland of the 12 apostles was the main speaker!! His theme was to make us all feel like we were surrounded by family so he brough all of his grandkids and had them sing a primary song for us. The Oldest was 18 and the youngest was probably only 3-4 but it was so cool to see them! Both Sister Holland and him spoke and they both shared how grateful they were for each other amoung the other things they were grateful for. I don't know if I've ever heard a more beautiful talk about loving each other. The rest of his message was pretty powerful as well. I sat maybe 35 feet away from the podium! That evening we did a mass humanitarian project making backpacks and school kits for the Churchs relief program. In all we made 33,400 kits between some 2000 Elders and sisters! It was deffs a good day.
However not everything here is fun and games. I'm starting to see how every Elder who comes home says its be hardest two years, and the best two years. It feels like a rollercoaster ride. Some days are really awesome and we learn lots and feel great about everything. Other days its stressful and challenging in ways I never though it would be. Especially having served as a Zone leader I've been exposed to even more of these challenges. As a leader I was given the charge to be a Perfect missionary and example. This means 100% obedience. As well I was responsible for the well being of the Zone. More paperwork, time, meetings, as well as making sure that the individuals in the zone are getting the proper help and support they need. Its been especially difficult to try and keep the zone in line as a whole. I love every member in my Zone, but sometimes they make it hard for me to get my job done properly. We are after all, between the ages of 19-23 and living an entirely different lifestlye than we ever have before. The Transition is easier for some than others. But all these extra responsibilites has led to some amazing blessings. After a few particularly troubling days where I felt the district was falling off track and I had done everything I could I turned to prayer and asked the Lord to help me out. It wasn't until a few days later that I had the answer to my prayer. During a time of contention among us, I sat quietly comtemplating what to do as the others bickered on. When It came my turn to speak I felt an uncontrolable flood of emotion as the words which had been in my mind leaped out of my mouth. I had expected to say things calmly and precisely but the spirit of the Lord took command and as I fininshed saying my part I could tell that it had effected those who where present in such a manner that they decided to change their attitude and do the right thing. It was an amazing experience.
With time running out I guess I'd better sign off. I wish the best to you at home and hope to hear from you all soon! Sorry if it takes me a while to reply to mail. I'll get more time to write out in the feild hopefully.
Elder Sunada
PS I love you all very much. I Enjoy and keep all the mail I get. Take care of those kids for me! Tell Fatty to send me his mailing address as well as other mailing adresses at home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Half way through the MTC!‏

Wow. These last 12 days or so have flown by like crazy. The days here seem long, but the weeks are short. This past week I've been dealing with a pretty messed up cold. right now I don't have much of a voice. So I've been taking vitamin substances and other medications trying to fight it off. So I survived my first real week as a Zone leader. Its been a struggle I'm not gunna lie. When called to the postition we were to be examples of Perfect missionaries. This is not as easy as it seems. Particularily near bed time. I try to make sure I have enough time to write in my journal but I've missed a few days thus far. The Good news is my teaching is improving! Its strange how you can get in a room and not know what to say, then if your listening to the spirit words fly out of your mouth!
Perhaps I should tell a little more about the MTC. Mornings always start at 630am or sometimes sooner. We have Gym once a day where we can either play a few sports or run track and lift weights. The meals are dece so far. Though I'm not sure if its because its American, or if its because its cafeteria food that everything just tastes sub par next to Canadian food. I'm trying to educate some of the Elders here on the proper use of the word "Eh" though they're still kinda missing the point. I also get alot of flack for my little Canadian flag, but If anyone tries to take it down I'll Fight them. Classes are way cool! We are taught in our districts meeting in the same little room everyday often twice a day for up to 3 hours at a time. One of two teachers then takes us over the lesson material which is normally some teaching techniques, church docterine, or other helpful tips they can show us. My Zone is part of the Pilot program, meaning we're testing out a new curicumlum which the whole MTC will be doing come May. The Biggest difference is the emphisis on teaching. For instance, all other missionaries teach 6 lessons at the Teaching resources center whereas we will be teaching 24! This means that it will be harder for us here but Much better in the field. I feel blessed to be in the program. And also to have the teachers that we do. Brother Taylor is 67, and used to preside over the Las Vegas mission. He's one of the ones who helped develope the program and I have learned a great deal from his style of teaching. Our other teacher is Sis. Payne, who got back from her mission 2 years ago and has lots of useful insight on how to apply the things we're teaching to our investigators.
OH! Being an international Missionary means that I was privileged to go to the Salt Lake Temple last friday!!! It was soo cool! Its absolutely beautiful. As well we got to tour the temple grounds. In the tabernacle they were doing a organ recital. I've never appreciated the organ so much. The sound that the Tabernacle creates is full of overtones and the sound hits you from all points of the room. Then we got to see the Chistus Statue in the Visitor center. Over this past week especially I've grown to understand and learn more about the Saviors atonement. In fact it opened my mind to see just how little I understood about it. The tour was short as we had to get back on the bus  and back at the MTC before 1:30, but I got to meet Elders serving from Canada, Tonga, Germany, Norway and a bunch of other cool places around. A sister was also kind enough to take a picture or two of me because I had neglected to bring my camera. I gave her my address so she can send them to me later though.
After getting back from that we had an interesting incident within the District. A member of our district had a break down. He was very upset that he felt he was not doing well enough and that the lesson had not gone the way he'd wanted too. He takes things very personally. He's of polynesian decent and he's the most passionate member of our district. The Moment we heard he was having a problem we all rushed to see him. Just then Elder Mauo'if'e (spelt something like that) came around the corner and met him. As soon as I saw him I was greatly comforted as I knew he was the only one at that time who could reach out to our strugleing companion. He was comforted and given a blessing and has seen dramatic improvment since. To me it was a testimony of how the Lord looks after his children. I've also learned that because we don't think we are as talented as others, it doesn't mean the Lord doesn't need the talents and skills and personalitys that we have to do what he wants us to do. This Elder may not have been the best teacher, but I know he has more love and spirit than Anyone else in the District. He will be a great missionary.
Anyways my times Almost up. I still love it here and hope to improve even farther! OH! I have almost no mailing adresses. So I need people to either write me a letter or send me their address. All I have is our home one! Hopefully this gets posted to the blog too as I don't have time to write more than one email of this length. I hope everything is goig well at home. I can't wait to hear from all of you! I'm going to get started on writing some letters as I don't have near enough time to email. But I'll do what I can. I love you all very much and keep you in my prayers.
Elder Sunada

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#1...First Week!

Hey Family!
Wow I can't even explain to you how busy I've been since you've dropped me off. It has been non stop classes, teaching, study and eating. Which is good. We've already learned so much. Guess who my companion and roomate is?! Elder Heninger from Magrath!! They put the Canadians together. He is really a cool Elder who's excited about the work and we get along just fine so far.

The rest of my district is awesome as well. I'll discribe how it works a little. Companions are assigned to a district, (there are 11 Elders in our district) then there are 2-3 districts in a Zone. The Zone is actually a branch and who we go to Chuch on Sunday with. Also the Zone is all is the same residence hall so we see each other fairly often. Our district sticks together mostly all the time. We have classes together and our schedules are all the same. Sorry if I'm rushing through this, we only have 30 mins online and my clock reads 23mins left! Within our district a district leader is called. It happend to be a roomate of ours named Elder Gurney. He's the youngest of us having only turned 19 on Nov. 10th, But he is doing a great job at leading the district.

The classes are so intense! The amount of information we're recieving is massive. Even more impressive is that I'm retaining more than I ever think I could have done in school. And I'm enjoying them! Our teachers are experienced and loving, and really do bring the spirit to the class. Thats one thing I've learned I have to rely upon. Without the Spirit attending, I don't retain what I need to know, or work effectivly as I should. For the most part our District is on the ball in our meetings, however we occasionally break out and get a little goofy. We're cautioned not to talk about home to much, as it promotes homesickness and also distracts from studies. We are constantly told that we are working for the Lord now, and its not our time, but his.
As I think about why I'm out here and what I hope to accomplish, I realize that obidence to the rules is essential. Some of them include: Quiet time at 10:15, Lights out at 10:30, Waking up at 6:30, proper dress code at all times, using planning and study time effectively, and on and on. It really is tough to try and keep all these rules, Especially when you can't understand why they are even there. But I'm positive that there is a purpose, and even more importantly, If I want to be the best I can be I need to be obedient. It also ties into what one of our lessons was on this week. Why should your investigators live a law that you do not? We must be examples in all things as we are representatives of Jesus Christ. We wear his name on our tag. We have to keep the all the laws in order to live up to that name.

Oh Here is something that is rather exciting. Yesterday moring before Church, my companion and I were pulled out of personal study to meet with a member of the Branch Presidency. As we walked in the room I saw on the desk a binder reading: Zone Leaders Manuel. And our suspitions where confirmed when we were told that we had been assigned to that position. The purpose of Zone leaders in the MTC is to Love, Lift encourage and inspire all the Elders in our Branch, as well as take care of other matters in the building and duties for the branch Presidency. Its Crazy! We haven't even been here a week yet and we have been called to lead our Zone in order and righteousness. But I feel like I can handle it. I know its going to be tough, as now we must complete other duties on top of thoes we already have. A task that is difficult seeing as even though I try to use all my time effectivly I still find I'm always short on studing what I need too. Also its our job to take care of all the new Missionaries coming in this week and next. We have to complete the same job of orientation that was presented to us just a few days ago! Things move quickly here. Maybe Brian was right, its not always a good Idea to pray for humility.

Aside from all the business and crazyness of everything that I am doing, I am loving it here. I feel better than I ever have. I know this is where I need to be. I'm learning to pray more earnestly. I'm hungering after the scriptures. In our roleplay with investigators I'm becoming concerned and moved by them. I know I have a lot of work to do but I feel that if I'm Faithful I'll get it all done. I Love and miss you all from home! And am so grateful that you supported me from the beggining in my decision to serve. Next week I'll try to give you more details about what the faculties are actually like here but I'm running out of time. Lets just say that for now the food is dece, the showers aren't as bad as I was expecting, and Its like no other place on earth.

With much love,
Elder Sunada

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to Kurt's Missionary Blog

We'll be using this to share updates on our missionary
and also to document his journey along the way.
Thanks to all of you who have supported & encouraged Kurt!

We welcome your comments :0)