Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yo, yo, yo everyone!

 Our District

Hey everyone!

Well, week 2 of the MTC has finally come and gone (well, officially after tomorrow but still faster than I thought it would go!). There's an old saying here that the days go slow but the weeks go by fast here, which is pretty much true (but, it's not too big of a deal for me since things have been going pretty well and I haven't been too homesick!) 

Thanksgiving was really cool though. The food was, ehh... umm... MTC food so not amazing but everything else was! I know Mom's gonna be so jealous when I saw that Elder Jeffery R. Holland came and spoke to us Thanksgiving morning! He gave an AWESOME talk, it was mostly about how big missionary work is becoming with the new announcement (apparently, it's going to start spiking in mid-December with all the new people... then President Brown, the MTC mission president, sat with us for lunch and dinner one day and gave us the low down). Anyway, he was really encouraging and talked about things that we might not have thought about being thankful for before. A few of his grandkids (how cool would that be!?) and his wife gave talks too and there was a really great spirit throughout the meeting (throughout the day really). We also made these medical emergency kits and educational kits for kids in Mali (everyone piled up in the gym and we made over 3000 care packages or so. It was pretty cool!) At the end of the day, the MTC presidency surprised everybody with a movie (17 Miracles) and gave everyone big bags of kettle corn. It was a really cool movie and honestly, the whole day was really special. It wasn't the typical Thanksgiving (no football *sad face*) but it will be one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm excited to see what we're going to be doing for Christmas now! 

So, this week has been going good. Our district is actually getting a new sister tomorrow who is going to New Caledonia! Maybe I can ask Grandma and Grandpa to give her the low down on the country. The French has been coming pretty quickly for me... Right now, I'm just learning gospel vocab and brushing up on my French. Tomorrow we have our first PVL (parlez votre langue, or speak your language) which will be from the morning to after Lunch. So, it will be me and my district (who can't really speak French at a great conversational level!) speaking only French all morning... I'll let you know how that goes! Although, I'm really proud of my district because they are learning French way quicker than I would have ever learned it if I came in with no French! I'm really happy to help everyone though because it really helps me solidify my own French. 

Things with Elder Seidl have been going well. He is... an odd character sometimes! He has the weirdest taste in food! Hot Cheetohs with vanilla pudding? Ketchup and bananas? Peanut butter on every freaking thing IMAGINABLE!?!?! Are you kidding me? WHO EATS THAT!?!?! Haha, but I'm happy he doesn't make me eat the things he does. He has a huge thing of JIF PB to bring to Africa with him... glad he has his priorities straight! So far, things have been going well though. We get along pretty good but he's pretty quiet. It's hard to teach lessons with him because he doesn't speak very much French at all like the rest of my district, but we're getting better! But, there is one thing that gets on my nerves a lot... he loves to sing. Oh my goodness, it's like being with a male version of Sienna all the freaking time (kidding! Sort of...). I swear he hums and sings random hymns all the time and it gets super annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went to the music center today to get some music because he wants to audition for some upcoming solos. Thankfully, he got Oh Holy Night (one of, if not, my favorite Christmas songs). He's pretty good (sings pretty high for my taste) but it gets pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty annoying. I really hope I don't get sick of it this coming week! I'm trying my best to look at him through the eyes of Christ though, it's hard but it's making the singing more bearable. 

Comps being goofy!

Thank you so much for the suit! It fits perfectly. I'm going to try to get my other suit dry cleaned and fixed up this coming week so we can figure out what to do with it later. The shirts you guys sent me are nice, but they aren't wrinkle free! So, I like them but for my other shirts maybe you can get wrinkle free ones?! Also, could you send me my family tree? Forgot to get that! And I also need some family history stories too (maybe Grandma & Grandpa Koncurat & Hawkins could help with that?). Also, might need a box of Philly stuff to show my district (Tastykakes, pretzels, Birch Beer, etc... they're missing out!)

Thanks to everyone for their letters this week! I got soooo many it's going to take my all day today to reply to them all! Anyway, got to be finishing up now. I feel like I had so much more to say, so I'm going to start to keep a running tab of more experiences I've been having and such.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.


Elder Hawkins

PS Sending a few pics home... Sending the Christmas pic Fro asked for. Sending more pics in other emails because there's a limit! 

Elders Hawkins, Seidl & Kunz - the Benin Brothers

NOTE from the MOM, er Fro: You will all have to wait to see the Christmas pic Fro asked for *wink*. And yes, YES!  I'm SUPER jealous he got a visit from Jeffery R. Holland. For those of you unfamiliar with Elder Holland, let me introduce you.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Letter from the MTC!

Hey everybody!
So I've made it to the MTC and it has been a crazy week to say the least. It has been pretty short actually (meaning it felt like yesterday that I was just back home!).
Yeah... so I'm not sure if some of you heard but... I ripped the seam of my pants right before I got into the MTC getting into Ben's truck. It wasn't bad at first, but then it started to get bigger and by the time I had to meet with my Branch President, it wasn't looking pretty. Thankfully, I channeled my inner-Fro quilting skills and have managed to completely sew it shut (the hole was like 3 inches long so it took forever). Needless to say, I'm a little worried about what's going to happen when I dry clean it. So, yeah, PLEASE send me my other suit! I told Sienna to tell you before I got into the MTC but it hasn't come yet so I guess you haven't sent it. 
Anyway, my companion is Elder Seidl from Post Falls, Idaho. He's a pretty cool dude (whoops, I mean Elder since I'm not allowed to use slang haha). He has a schnoodle too! His parents are moving to Arizona so he kinda hasn't heard from anyone since his family is moving. He also has no French experience, but he's doing a great job in really trying to learn the language. The MTC is pretty much trial by fire so I give credit to people who come here with no prior French knowledge. Also, Elder Seidl is going to Benin with me!
So, my district includes Elder Evans (from Utah... somewhere... and going to Paris, France) and Elder Ihalmo (who is from Finland and going to Lyon, France) is learning French as his third language (he is honestly the funniest guy. We started keeping a book about Ihalmo-isms because he says so many funny things. He's also obsessed with cookies). Elder Adams is also really funny and is going to Lyon, France (he is from Plano, TX and sounds EXACTLY like George McFly. You could close your eyes and you would think you were in Back to the Future). His comp is Elder Kunz (from Utah... somewhere) and he's awesome too. We run together during gym and talk about pretty much everything, especially since he is also going to Benin (so, in my district, there are 3 of us going to Benin). We're actually pretty lucky because we have sisters in our district. Soeur Allred (from Utah... somewhere... and going to Lyon, France) is really nice and then we have Soeur Hoar (going to Paris, France), who is from the England so we always love to hear her speak (we especially like to make her do Southern accents haha). Our disctrict is actually awesome, we're pretty much always laughing and having fun (but being serious when we need to be!). All our personalities gel, so we get along great. 
Life at the MTC is pretty cool though. Honestly, the waking up at 6:30 and going to bed at 10:30 doesn't bother me because with the time difference, it just feels like going to bed at midnight and waking up at 8:30. Aside from my pants ripping, everything has been going great. I've noticed that right after I get into bed, I'm always smiling and am in a great mood. I definitely feel like this is where I should be and I'm so happy to be here. The spirit at this place is amazing and it's so cool that I get to share it with so many amazing people. Including my roommate Mike from last year! I got to see him a few times and that is cool. We still need to get some pictures together before he leaves in December.
Anyway, this first week has been amazing. We're already teaching our first "investigator" (coughbyustudentcough) in full fledged French. I've been doing really well (I already memorized the First Vision in French, which is amazing since I'm so awful at memorizing). Soeur Hoar and I are pretty much the go to people for French, since we've taken French before (everyone else has taken very little of it or none before). So, even though the level might be a little easy right now, I feel like I'm with the right group of people and we all use each other's skills to our advantage. It's amazing these Elders and Sisters can do with just a little faith. I don't think I could have given three lessons if I was in their shoes!)
So, the MTC doesn't sell short sleave button down shirts in November (go figure) so PLEASE, PLEASE send some shirts! But more importantly the suit! Hold on, let me say that again: SEND ME MY OTHER SUIT! We have to wear a suit every day and I don't want to tempt fate by continuing to wear this suit that I sewed up! Oh yeah, and my 100 ft water proof watch? The digital stuff stopped working the third day after washing my hands. So, the analog clock still works but maybe a new one would be nice for Christmas (hint, hint).
Wow, time flies writing these things. I just wanted to say thanks do you (Mom), Dad, and Mrs. Hunter for the Dear Elder letters. They make the missionaries' day when we get them! It makes us feel loved! I'm going to try to send pictures of my district next week because the only computers that let you upload pictures are in the laundry room which is packed.
Well, hope this letter is long enough to let you know how I'm doing. Just want to say I love you guys and hope to hear some responses before my next letter! (although respond by Dear Elder and not email, because I get Dear Elder the next day)!
Alright, time is officially up! Talk to you next week and Happy Thanksgiving!
Elder Hawkins

NOTE from the MOM: When Trevor refers to his "inner-Fro" he's actually talking about his Mom.  I'm either Fro or Mo, or sometime Yo. He has different names for all of his family members, which may pop up from time to time! ;)