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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
subject: Elder Kurt M Sunada
Monday, November 29, 2010
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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,