First email from Provo, Utah, Missionary Training Center (MTC)

July 15, 2014

The MTC is great! I just love it here! I hit it off quick with my new companions (I happen to be in a trio). One of them comes from Fairview Utah and he is a really hard worker. He worked on his Grandpa’s farm every summer and plays the trombone. Thus, it’s no surprise that we get along great 😉 My other companion is from St. George. They are both great and make me want to be better. We all arrived the same day and just graduated from high school. 

ByeCory1 SMALLThe best way to describe the MTC is it’s like drinking from a firehose. I don’t know how it was for you and dad 20ish years ago, but I am always so busy! The first two days I had no idea what was going on but I’ve got the hang of it now. On our second day here we had to give a full lesson to an investigator in Portuguese!!! I can honestly say learning Portuguese has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It is a lot like Spanish (thank goodness I took a year of it in high school) but the pronunciation is quite different. During our first lesson, my companions and I got to a point where we had no idea what or how to say anything else and we didn’t bring a lot of material to read either, so we just sat there in front of our investigator for about 5 minutes of silence before Elder Mayfield just said, “Deus amor voce,” which just means ‘God loves you,’ out of nowhere (which we thought was pretty funny after the lesson.) Then about five more minutes of silence past and I blurted out “O Espirito….aqui” Which directly means “The spirit…here.” And I just kind of pointed to the ground and had no idea what else to say. Finally I ended the lesson with my testimony in what we all call “cave man Portuguese,” And we ended with a prayer. Needless to say it was a humbling experience. I realized so much that me and my companions needed to humble ourselves more if we were to receive guidance from the Spirit. The second and third lessons went significantly better and I’m finally able to express my self now! I also had a miraculous experience during companionship study where I can honestly say I know the gift of tongues is real. I experienced it first hand, and it is amazing.

The food in the MTC is really quite good. I didn’t expect that there would be so many choices each day! I really indulged on the Creamery’s chocolate milk at first, but I’ve really decided to cut back. My zone is FULL of soccer players so we’ve been playing soccer for our gym time every day. With that kind of cardio abuse I don’t think I could possibly get fat here. 

A typical day usually consists of me getting up at 6:15ish – to get a shower and not have to wait in line. We head to the classroom at 7:00 for individual/companionship study until breakfast at 8:15. After that we come back to the classroom and have teacher instruction. Our teacher went to Brazil on his mission and is hilarious! Every day, he emphatically tells us that “Portuguese e muito facil!!!” (The “e” should have an accent on it) Which simply means Portuguese is very easy! I am simply blown away at how much Portuguese I actually can understand in under a week. It’s incredible. Also, most of the people in my zone are going to Portugal, but a few are going to Brazil and a couple are going to stateside missions speaking Portuguese. After class we head to lunch and go back to class until gym time. The actual gym is being resurfaced so everyone goes out to the park field. After that we shower again and go to dinner before finishing the day in the classroom. So pretty much it’s just a lot of classroom time and study.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I’m District Leader! It is a little more work, but helping the other members of my district has become such a blessing to me. I love it. I love the members of my district. And I love the Lord. (I’m also in charge of checking the mail twice a day so it’s kind of funny to see who gets the most mail and who has significant others who are writing them haha!)

It’s weird. I feel like I’ve been away from home for so long, but it’s only been 6 days. I’m so busy learning more about the gospel and preparing to serve the people of Portugal. I read my patriarchal blessing for the first time in the MTC last night and it means something totally different than it did just a few short weeks ago. I want to thank you and dad so much for preparing me to serve and helping me learn to keep the commandments. I love you both.

Elder Zwahlen

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About Elder Zwahlen

Elder Cory Zwahlen is serving a 2-year proselyting mission in the Lisbon, Portugal area, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He entered the Provo MTC on July 9, 2014. One of Elder Zwahlen's favorite scriptures is Alma 29:1-2 "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."
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