Thursday, June 18, 2009

First P-Day Email from the Dominican - 2 parts

Hola! Mi Familia Y Mis Amigos!?!?!!?

How is the Good ole USA?! haha! The Dominican is so sweet. I absolutely love it here! Before I talk about my week and what happened with travel, I have some business to take care of.

Allen! Congrats on your call to the Baltic States. That is so freaking tight. They send all of the really smart (both spirutually and mentally) missionaries there, along with those who have the most faith and who will work the hardest. I congratulate you on your call and I hope that you are excited to get out and serve the Lord! I hope that you are preparing now and you are studying the scriptures and PMG like crazy. The more you feel comfortable with teaching the lessons, the more time you can spend studying the language and it is such a blessing.

Steeby! Congrats on the call to Greece. That's freaking amazing. You're gonna love it! Again, study PMG and know it like the back of your hand and you'll be fine.

Thanks to all of you for the packages and letteres that you sent me before I left Provo. It was so nice to hear from you all before I left. And the cookies and treats were awesome. Grandma and Grandpa, thanks for tie. I look awesome.

Ok sorry I did that, now do you want to hear about the Dominican?

We were supposed to leave last Thursday so that we could get here Thursday night. We had to get up at 2 in the morning in order to get all ready to go and be off by three. We got up to the airport and right as we were about to board, they came up and said that our flight got cancelled. So we had to go get our luggage and get everything figured out! Everything went well and we got all our stuff and we got flights resheduled for the next day. So that's why we were a day late getting here.

Thanks for the news about the camera. I'm so glad that you all found it and I hope you like the pictures. Put them up on the blog because some of them are way sweet. And Jen, don't worry. I got a picture with your friend. I'll send it home soon.

Anywho, we finally left Friday morning at 4. And it was sad to say goodbye to the Provo Temple and the mountains. But all went well and it was finally nice to be leaving and getting started on my mission. When I sat down on the plane, I started talking to this lady in her 60s from Chicago, (that's where we were flying). Anyways, I found out that she had 2 daughters who had gone to BYU and were converted there and that her son in law had cancer and wasn't doing well at all. She said that she was really mad that she wasn't able to see her daughter get married in the temple, but she knew it was what they wanted. I taught her about the plan of salvation, which is a little hard to do on an airplane. Then I commited her to reading Moroni's promise that night! It was so cool to place my first Book of Mormon, it's such a huge high. Better than any drug you could ever take in your life. I learned something from that experience though, the Lord truly prepares people to receive the gospel. This lady was ready and I am so thankful that I had the chance to teach her.

We left Chicago an hour later and landed in Miami around 4. It was nice to be in first class for that plane ride but I had to sit by another missonary so darn, no teaching opportunity. We landed in Miami and then I went to call you guys. Thanks for talking to me dad! It was nice to hear your voice. Mom, I'm sorry you weren't home when I called. I want you to know that I truly love you!

After I hung up I noticed that there was this family watching me on the phone. I sat down and had a very strong feeling to go teach them so I grabbed Elder Ward and we went to teach them. I don't know why I was supposed to teach them but let's just say it didn't go well at all. It was a group of 4 African-americans who were very strong in their knowledge of the 4 gospels in the new testament. They were also very strong in all of the Anti-Mormon crap in the world. By the way, it is crap not truth, if you have let that stuff lead you away from the church, then I'm sorry, but you've made an awful mistake. Anywho, the lesson didn't go well and it was a bad place to teach. I felt so terrible like I had failed the Lord. And that I would be a horrible missionary. Elder Ward also let me know how horrible of a teacher I was, which is always a great help when you are feeling down.

Anywho, I was feeling so crappy and I prayed and asked Heavenly father to help me. When we went to our gate, these two Dominicans asked me what I was doing! They were so nice. One said that he was the king of tourism in the Dominican and that he would love to take us around town. He said that he loves the temple in Santo Domingo and was mad when they wouldn't let him go through. It was an awesome teaching opportunity so we taught them about temples and then we gave them a pass along card and challenged them to read the Book of Mormon.

I know for a fact that the Lord knows each and every one of you and that He loves us all. I know He loves me because He helped me get through a rough time and He lifted me up when I was down. I know He will do the same for you. Just Remember to pray.

The flight to the Dominican was a little frightening. It was over the Atlantic at like pitch dark of night, but it was fun. The flight was awkward because the two guys I was sitting in between were Dominican and spoke little English, but it was fun.

The Lord blesses His missionaries because all of our bags were in the Dominican all safe and sound, which was such a relief to me. We got through customs just fine and then we met our drivers.

We have to go to a service assignment now, but I will get back on and tell you about the Dominican MTC in a few hours. I hope all is going well back home. I love you all so much.

I haven't gotten any letters, and I think it's because we can't send them straight to the Dominican MTC. They have to go through the pouch system. I left the address to the pouch in my last email, but I don't know if you have it. Will Mom or Dad email me back and let me know if you know how that works, and if not, I will find out how it works.

I love you all, got to go serve the lord! BYE

Eternal love,

Elder Oviatt

Hola again! I´m sorry that I had to get off the computer. We had to run and do a service project on our P Day. Anywho, back to the story.

Ok, so I think I left off at when we landed. We landed in the Dominican and the minute we walked off the plane I could tell that we weren´t in America. I think that Mckay said that Brazil smelt like marshmallows. Well, the Dominican smelt sticky and old. Like Trents candy. Anywho, we got off the plane and we got our bags and then we walked out of the airport. We walked out and OH MY GOODNESS! haha! If you´ve ever been in a place with 100% humidity, you know what I am talking about. Within the first 5 seconds of being outside our clothes were drenched with sweat. It was way cool. We loaded up in our vans and headed to the MTC. The temple was so beautiful! When we pulled up I felt right at home. It was so cool. I was reading a talk this morning from last conference about the boy who told his grandpa that you are never lost when you can see the temple and it´s true. I felt right at home as soon as we pulled up. We got here at like 1 but the mission president and his wife still fed us and welcomed us in, it was so nice!

The next day we got thrown into our new home, no english, pure spanish. It´s so so so so hard but I am absolutely loving the opportunity that I have been given to learn this new language and to learn to love the people. We went to class and had lunch. Lunch here is the same everyday, a huge plate full of rice and beans and chicken and beef. It has taken me forever to adjust to the food but I think I am finally coming around. Luckily, they have good water here or else I think I´d be dead.

The MTC is right next to the temple. It´s cool because all of our rooms and classes are on the 4th floor and then we go down to the first floor for meals. I really like it here. It´s a lot more personal and one on one than the Provo MTC is. Of course it´s awesome to look outside the window and see the beautiful temple and then the ocean right behind. It´s a sight I never thought I´d be able to see.

I want you to know that not only am I learning spanish, but I am learning a little french too! The MTC is the MTC for all of the Carribean which means all of the Elders that go to Haiti or that are from Haiti come here. The Haitian elders are so awesome! They speak french and they have to have a translator, but they are so humble and so strong in the gospel. It was cool to hear their testimonies on the first night because they said they found out the church was true the same way we do, through prayer and the Holy Ghost.

That´s one thing that I really love about this place. The Church is the same worldwide. That´s something that you can´t find anywhere else in the world. Even thousands of miles away, the doctirine taught in here and in the temple, even in Haiti, is the exact same. It´s truly a testament that this is God´s Church upon the earth and that this is the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don´t have very much longer but I will tell you about a cool experience that we had this week. We got to go teach people at the University the 3rd day we were here (I think it was Monday). It was so awesome, but so hard. I don´t know a lot of spanish so it is very difficult to get my point across and to get to tell the people what I want them to hear. But what is cool is that they still feel the spirit and they know that what we are telling them is important and even if we absolutely butcher the spanish, they still want to learn more. I love it!

Anywho, besides that I think this week has just been class and sleep and eating. I miss you all and I love you so much but I want you to know that I am so happy to be in the Dominican serving the Lord and His children. As much as I love you all I still know that this is where I am supposed to be and this is where the Lord wants me to be.

Before I go I´ll give you the information on the pòuch system. Like I said I know you have been trying to send letters but I haven´t gotten any. I'm not sure how the pouch system works, so I am going to have to ask Mom or DAD to try and find out but here is the address

Elder Jonathan Sterling Oviatt
Dominican Republic MTC
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City Utah, 84130-0150

And a lot of elders are getting Dear elders too, so that system works for sure, but i don´t know if it´s still free here.

Anywho, I have to be going, my time is almost up. I think I may be able to check my email again later so if you want to say hi drop a line. I can´t respond but I would absolutely love to hear from you all.

Mom and Dad, I´m sorry that I didn´t respond to your emails. Thank you so much. Your words really touched me.

I love you all and I hope that God is with you while I am away, I know He is with me.

With eternal Love, Your Son, Grandson, Friend, and Missionary...

Elder Oviatt

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