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Thursday, September 24, 2015

This is my district. From left to right. Elder Wells, Elder Yolkum, Elder Bowyer, Me, Elder Bess, Elder Taylor, Elder Neff, Elder Sarkayde, Elder Hayden, and Elder Call.

Hello everyone!!
This week has been full of crazy experiences. The older missionaries in the MTC left on Tuesday, so in the entire MTC, there were only like 20 people, when there is usually closer to 90. I was disappointed to see the older missionaries leave because I was really good friends with a few of them. On their last day in the MTC, they hid a bunch of alarm clocks in our room to go off at different times. They thought they were super clever, so we decided to prank them back. Our district ripped up a bunch of paper and put it in a bucket, and taped it to a clock. We hid the clock in their ceiling, so when it went off, they thought we were pulling the same prank on them...So one of the elders jumped up and yanked the clock out, pulling the bucket full of paper shreds over, and sending small papers all over their room. Haha...After that had happened, we thought we had won. Later that night, they came into the kitchen while we were writing in our journals, with ties wrapped around their heads...They passed down a holy scepter....*Which I think was a piece they broke off one of their room's blinds.. to a new missionary. They then made us all write down a number between 1-100. My companion wrote down the closest number to the one they had thought of, so his punishment, was getting bideted in the face. A bidet is a spray toilet....used to clean yourself after you go to the bathroom. My companion gets on my nerves sometimes, so it was nice to see toilet water sprayed in his face...hahaha. 

This week has been full of spiritual experiences. The classes are going great. I think I am starting to pick up the language pretty well...Although I probably have the vocabulary of a 8 year old..haha. What is a day like at the MTC?  Wake up at 6:30 every morning....clean the kitchen, and then get dressed in our church clothes for breakfast at 7. Next, we have 1 hour of language study, 3 hours of classes. We eat lunch at noon, and then have another hour of class. At 1 we have physical activity. At 3:30 we have more classes until dinner. Then after dinner we have classes until we go to sleep at 10:30…..It is a super exhausting schedule. 

We went to the temple today in Spanish for a second time, and that is an amazing experience...Other than that...we have just been teaching practice lessons like every single day. Anyways, this Saturday we have the unique opportunity to practice our Spanish by driving to a area and proselyting for the day. They must have a lot of faith in my companion and I, because our zone is right next to the danger zone. The danger zone is marked off, because people have been known to get mugged and robbed pray for me! haha. I hope everything is going well in Utah! I love you all!

Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week
Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. -Spencer W. Kimball

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I am here in Argentina! I am alive! haha. The flight was super crazy! There were 5 other missionaries that left Utah with me, and when we reached the Atlanta airport we met up with 6 other missionaries. We then had a overnight flight and landed in Argentina at 9 A.M. As we walked through customs and baggage claim, tons of people were trying to ask us questions, and yelling things that we needed to do.....and I just stared at all of them....and did not say a word. The MTC here is pretty nice. There are about 30 american missionaries and 40 Latinos. Immediately we started attending classes and studying the language. My companions name is Elder Taylor. He is from Kaysville. He is the district leader, and so he is super strict on the rules....It has been interesting to work with him....I can't say that much about him..because he is practically reading over my shoulder...but lets just say we have very different ways of doing....everything...Anyways.On our second day in the MTC Elder Taylor and I had to teach a practice lesson to a pretend investigator. The lesson is called a IP. We had to do it in all Spanish....It was extremely difficult because we wanted to say a bunch of stuff, but we couldn't, and whenever the investigator would ask us a question....we didn't know what the question was or how to respond..haha. I have had tons of funny experiences this week, along with a ton of spiritual experiences.
Spiritual///Every single day, we have a devotional, and there was one that stuck out to me in particular. We talked a lot about life, and there were a ton of great quotes. I am going to share a little bit about what I learned. The race of life is not a 100 meter dash. We are running a long distance race. Each of us have different ways to run the race. Sometimes the race is easy, and sometimes its very difficult. At some point...we will long would it take you to get up? Have faith, and endure to the end.I know that my mission will be full of ups and downs, but I didn't come on a mission to start a race, I came to finish it.
Funny/// So this week in class we were asked to show pictures of our family and tell a story about them in all Spanish. We all proceeded to attempt to tell a story about our families to the class and show pictures. We got down to the last missionary, whose name is Elder Bowyer. He has a super serious girlfriend back home, and he is completely convinced that they are going to get married. Anyways, he walked up to the front of the class, and opened his book. As he was starting he yelled....Es Mi Novia! which means "Its my girlfriend". It was filled with pictures of him and his girlfriend kissing and stuff...and you should have seen the look on our teachers face. We all busted out laughing, and he flipped through page after page of pictures of his girlfriend. The teacher asked where the pictures of his family were...and it turns out...he didn't bring any. She got upset with him and said he was supposed to bring pictures of his family...He then tried to get out of getting in trouble by explaining that she was going to be his family...In two years. Another quick story is that the two strongest elders in the MTC, who are both wrestler, decided they were going to wrestle on the lawn. Everyone was watching them, including all the girls, and one of the elders python squeezed a very loud....fart...out of the other elder...It was insanely awkward...and everyone was silent for like a minute, and then we all just starting laughing until we were crying.  Haha. Anyways, there have been tons of funny moments, but its hard describing them because sometimes there are just things you have to be here to see.

The language is starting to come along. I try to talk to the locals a lot, but they speak super fast. There are lessons where I will understand every word, and others where I understand none of them...Learning the language is going to be difficult, but I am supposed to be here.

Every weakness you have is an opportunity for God to show His strength in your life.
Love you all,
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I am here! I am alive! The plane ride was super long..but it was ok because there were like 10 other elders flying with me. I only have like two minutes to write you guys this week, but I just wanted to tell you I am here, I am happy, and I am ready to serve a mission! Let the fun begin! I will try to include pics after the first week! Love you!
-Elder Vanderlinden
I will be here six weeks. The MTC mailing address is:

Elder Benjamin M Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Argentina Missionary Training Center
Autopista Ricchieri y Puente 13
1778 Ciudad Evita, Partido De La Matanza
Buenos Aires