Hola Familia Y Mis Amigos!
I hope all is well back home in the United States. Here in the Dominican things are doing just terrific. I want you all to know that if you ever want to lose some hard core water weight come down to the Dominican and have some rice and beans and then go run around outside for a few hours. I've already lost 1-2 inches of my waist and I'm absolutely pumped :) But I'm not here to lose weight I just thought I'd let you know how my health is doing. Mom to answer your question the rice and beans here are nowhere as good as they were at the Weight's house. They serve us rice, and beans literally, that's it. Rice with a scoop of brown beans on top. So yeah, that's what they do in the MTC. But I'm sure when you get out into the real world it's all good.
I'm sorry that I have only been talking about food. Here! I'll talk about something better... MAIL!
Thanks to Mom and dad for your emails and dad I got your dear Elder letter yesterday. Thank you so much. Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you so much for your pouch letter. I loved it. It was so helpful. Thank you for the scriptures and your words of encouragement. Dad, as far as I know my family and friends can email me, but the email has to come from you. At least that's what they told us. I'm not sure if that means just don't let friends email or what, but as far as I know the email has to come from my family. I would be alright if people sent you emails and then you forwarded them to me because there is no rule against that. But again, I'm not exactly sure if the principle is no email from friends or no random email addresses. So yeah, whatever you feel comfortable with. I would say though today, since we've been trying to get this mail thing figured out, if someone wanted to drop a line through email it would be fine. Just have them send it to you and forward it to me. Yeah, it's a mess. I'll check my email right before dinner and print out any last emails. I love you all and I hope that you are doing fantastic!
Trent good luck with your eagle project! That's awesome. You are going to be a great man. Stay on the path that you are on and you will go far. An eagle project may seem tedious but the reward for such a small thing is pretty cool. You will be forever recognized as someone who can lead others and there is nothing wrong with being recognized as such! Good luck and keep me updated.
Now, I'll tell you about my week.
The weather down here is incredible! It's only rained at night which makes me mad, but oh well. I heard it's been raining up there like crazy and I'm sorry. I'm jealous, but I'm sorry. That really makes baseball a mess. Anywho weather has been good and the people have been even better.
On Friday me and Elder Zenger taught our first lesson in Spanish in a foreign country. It was definitely an interesting and faith testing experience. I loved it. My Spanish is very little at this point but when the Lord wants to get his point across he will step right in and help you. I can't tell you how many times this week that I have been talking to real person (like not just my teachers) and when I start to teach these words that I have barely even studied will pop into my head and my Spanish will just start to come alive. I am nowhere near where I need to be but it's amazing to feel that help come even when I am just talking with people on the street or people during our simulations.
BUT THE REAL AMAZING THING HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO IS GOING TO JOIN THE CHURCH.
I hope I told you this last week but every week we get to go to the university down the street and practice contacted and speaking in Spanish. The university is pretty big, like 125,000 students and so there is no shortage of people there to teach. And the cool thing is that people down here are so humble and so receptive to your message that, unless they are late for class, they will listen to what you have to say. I think Americans could really learn a lot from the people down here.
Anywho last Monday like the 22nd?!? We went back to the university. It's amazing how much your Spanish improves down here. Last week I could barely speak at all and it was bad because Elder Zenger was sick and couldn't speak either. So I couldn't communicate and it was really difficult. I promised myself that wouldn't happen again and with a lot of hard work and all the help in the world from the Lord I was feeling very comfortable about teaching this week.
So we got there and we went to the same spot that we were at last week and a few seconds into trying to talk to people I looked at my companion and said, "Elder, I'm not feelin it. Let's go to a different spot." He said he was feeling the same way so we walked down the street.
Right there we saw 3 brothers and we started talking to them. They gave us Los Libros De Mormon to give out so we were supposed to teach the first lesson and then find people who would take a Book of Mormon. We taught them the first lesson and two of them didn't seem really interested but the third one was way interested. He wanted to have someone to talk to about God and Jesus Christ so we gave him a pamphlet and then had him give us his address so the missionaries could go and talk to him.
And Then.... Oh Baby!
We walked down the street a little more and I saw this guy sitting on the wall. As soon as I looked at him I knew we had to teach him. I walked over as fast as I could and asked if we could share a message with him. He said "yes" so we began to share it.
We started talking about God, families and prophets and then we started talking about Jesus Christ and how he was killed and so were his apostles. He totally agreed and he told us that it made him sad that his apostles died because that meant the true church was lost.
I was Pumped...
We couldn't communicate with him perfectly so he kept drawing little pictures. The picture he drew here was of Jesus in heaven and the people on the earth sad. It was pretty sweet. After we talked about that we went into the apostasy and then I had the opportunity to talk about Joseph Smith. I want you to know that the first vision is powerful. The spirit just swells up in you whenever you are telling it to someone for their first time. It's even better in Spanish if you can believe it. I talked about how confused Joseph was and then I said "in his words" and the first vision came to me like it never has before. I said it perfectly and with such clarity that I had no idea what was going on. The guy's reaction was amazing he said "YES!!! OF COURSE!! FINALLY"""
He literally started clapping his hands and started to tear up. I can't tell you how the Spanish flowed from my mouth after that point. I was spitting out words that I have NEVER NEVER EVER EVER studied in my life and so was my companion. It was amazing! And how clear and how fast we both were speaking and I know for a fact that neither of us were speaking but it was in fact the Spirit of God helping us to reach out to a lost Child of God and bring him into the Fold of Jesus Christ.
He drew another picture that showed me and Elder holding hands with Jesus and then coming to get him and taking him to Jesus. I'll draw it on my letter home today. It's really touching. My companion told him about the Book of Mormon, and he said that it makes so much sense that Christ would appear to the people in the Americas. He told us he would be done with the Book of Mormon in a week and we challenged him to read 3 Nephi 11 and pray about it and he said he would for sure.
It was probably one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had in my life. It was awesome to come back to the CCM (MTC) and not be able to come even close to the Spanish that I was just barely speaking. It just bore even greater witness to me that Me and Elder Zenger were not teaching that lesson, God was.
I am so thankful for my mission and for the opportunity that I have to serve the people of the Dominican and the people of Puerto Rico. I can't wait until I can get out there and serve the people of Puerto Rico. I love this work so much and as much as I miss you all at home and as much as I love you, there is no place I'd rather be in the world then under the Caribbean sun, in the middle of the ocean, serving Him and His children.
The rest of our week here was just studies and sleep. My Spanish is slowly but surely increasing everyday and I am so thankful that the Lord helps us every step of the way.
Tuesday we got to have a Seventy come and talk to us and he talked about becoming truly converted on your mission. It was really cool to hear him speak to us and I really enjoyed his talk. I hope that all of you are living every day like you know you should and you are taking every opportunity that you have to serve the Lord and His children.
I am so thankful for this gospel. I have never once felt lost on my mission even in the middle of a strange airport or even a strange country. A totally different feeling then what Jesus talks about in Matthew 15:14 "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." This is the Church of God and if you are in a position where you feel lost or alone then you need to come unto Christ and be baptized under His true authority. His cleansing power is real and his atoning sacrifice is real. Anyone who rejects the opportunity to truly become clean is making a mockery of everything Christ talked about.
I am so thankful for everything you all do for me! I love you so much. Go ahead and send an email to my dad today if you want to say Hi. I haven't heard from a lot of you in a while so drop a line!
I love you so much and miss you all but again I want you to know that this is His work and His Gospel and there is no other place then here that I would really be. If you were all here, it would be so awesome! But it's pretty darn good without you too :) I love you family and friends. Don't you dare forget the things you have been blessed with and the love that your Savior and Redeemer has for you.
Drop a line, Stay Strong, and remember to pray,
With Eternal and MUY Fuerte Love,
Your Missionary, Elder Oviatt
PS looks like Dear elder will work the best but the pouch works well too! Love you all MUAH! Write soon!
God Be with you until we meet again