Friday, September 28, 2012

Travel Plans!

Hola familia!
Oh man what an awesome week. It's been pretty hard but also pretty great. For some reason I can't really remember at all what happened, but hopefully something comes to mind soon. So I guess first off I got fired as district leader last Saturday. I guess they like to change district leaders every 3 weeks but I guess they kept me in a little longer. It's kind of weird not being in the leadership position anymore, oh well. So the big news of this week is that I received my travel plans this morning! I'm scheduled to leave October 8. I fly from Salt Lake to Dallas/Ft. Worth then to Buenos Aires Argentina then to Asuncion Paraguay! All in all I think it's a little over 20 hours of traveling! (The biggest flight is a 12 hour flight from Dallas to Argenitina). So I can call home as many times as I want from all of the Airports and for as long as I want (There are no rules about calling home from airports). I'll probably try to call home from SLC. Then I have some time to call home during my first layover, so I'll probably try then too. Then I've got about a 2 hour wait in Argentina that I can probably call home, then I think they'll have me call home from Paraguay to let you know I made it. This might be too much calling home. Write me and let me know what you think would be best. Also in order to call home I need a calling card. They sell them here but I don't know how many minutes they have on them, so if you send me a package this week be sure to send some of those calling cards. Also please don't send any food in this package, there is no way I'll be able to do anything with it if it comes this week, but thanks for all of the packages you've sent! It's been really nice getting things from home, and the packages have been super thoughtful.
So Davis left this morning which is kind of a bummer because He and I had the same schedule pretty much, so I liked running and doing things with him at gym, but I only have a few more gym times left so it's good. I don't see Andrew very often, but he's gained 10 pounds! He's really worried about it, it's funny. I don't know if I've gained any weight because I don't remember how much I weighed before, but I've been weighing myself this week and I've weighed pretty much the exact same all week. I may have put on between 2-5 pounds since being here, but I feel like as soon as I breathe some of that South American air all of the weight will magically fall off. I saw Luke last night, he's such a happy guy. I was way excited to see him. So I get to see my old roommate Gibson a lot and I love it. He and I talk, he's got a good attitude. The more we talk the more we both feel like we kinda want to room together at Snow again for at least one semester after our missions. I'm not sure yet but I think that sounds pretty fun. Also I realized last night while talking with a member of the Branch Presidency, he's a radiologist, that I might want to do something in the med-field. A lot of the people that I've meet here that I really respect do something in the med-field (like my teacher Hno. Lee). A lot of them have given us anatomy lessons and related them to the Gospel and I'm so fascinated by it, but we'll see how I feel later. I'm not making any decisions now.
Well this week has been pretty much the same as the rest. I did really finally take to heart what they mean when they say the way to get out of a slump is to work. I was thinking that as I worked in class and things and I thought that's what it was talking about, but I think it's talking about going the extra mile. It's when you start sacrificing your personal time to study a little more and serve a little more that the Savior's sacrifice can start working in you. It's pretty tough because our time is one of the only things that we have control over, but when we make the sacrifice to give it to the Lord, He blesses us so much. I have been so happy doing this during this week. My Spanish has improved and I have had the spirit more. It's hard to figure out when to do it but if you plan out how you're going to use all of your time during the day then it's easy to see how you could study the Scriptures for 10 minutes here or there. I think so much time is wasted when we don't have a plan on how we're going to use it so we have to think of things on the spot. Just some food for thought for you guys.
I love you guys so much! I miss you but I know I'm in the right spot. It's kinda hard to focus on being here when I know that by this time in 2 weeks I'll have been in Paraguay for a few days already, CRAZY! But I still have so much to do and learn here that I'm going to try and finish strong! Have a great week and keep being righteous. Also I don't think I will be sending home an email next Friday because I have in field orientation, but I will probably send one home Saturday.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Please do not come visit me at the airport and make sure no one else does. I'll call home so there is no need to come visit me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A whole week already‏

Email received September 21, 2012

Hola familia, como esta
I can´t really type that great because the computer is in dutch right now and it´s having a very hard time switching back to English for some reason, so sorry about all of the weird characters! So first off I cant beleve how fast this week went by, it seems like I was literally just barely typing an email and now I´m doing it again, so sorry if this one is a little boring. But man this week was pretty much AWESOME! I was way stoked to hear that all of my cousins are getting some nice exposure to Spanish. Boo with his new comp and area then Sam giong on splits with the Spanish missionaries and Jeff with his dreams! This is awesome (so yes I am getting the letters forwarded from dearelder, thank you so much, keep it up!) So my Spanish has improved big time this week I´m pretty sure. We´ve been speaking sooooo much Spanish and it´s been so helpful. I even used subjunctive the other day without even thinking about it (and I think I even used it right!) And dad I loved when you sent me a letter that said "ojala" that is literaly my favorite thing to say in Spanish, I don't really know why. So as far as my visa and things go, I went to the travel office and they didn't know anythig. But I think I'm getting my travel plans this week! Then I'll know if it's come through! I can't wait to get to Paraguay! The MTC has treated me very well and I love it, but I can't wait to go apply everything I've learned en el campo. Also everyone complains about the food here but I like it. There are so many options so I can always find something to eat. Although my stomach has not been in a great place lately, but it's nothing bad at all.
The choir is so great! We get to sing in it as long as we're here! (But we are not singing in General Conference). I really like the song that we sang last week. It was a really cool rendition of Precious Savior Dear Redeemer, I loved it. Also we don't have this choir this Sunday because we get to see the Brigham City temple dedication! Tuesday devotional was so dang awesome! I believe the guys name was Elder Kaulliker from the 70. I honestly don't remember very much of what he said, but I recieved so much great personal revelation! Also we had a district devotional review with a member of the Branch presidency (brother pickering) and it was great. I always learn so much and feel so pumped and inspired after those. We sing called to serve every tuesday for the opening hymn, it's pretty awesome, I get choked up a lot during the hymns. They bring the Spirit so strong because they're simple testimonies of amazing truths.
So turns out big Jake Loitz is in my building, sleeps right under me! He has the weirdest district. Nobody is speaking the same language or going to the same place, I really don't get it. But I also see mrs. Jones a lot. It's nice seeing familiar faces. Yesterday I ran into brother Webb again. I love seeing him. He always gives me hug and makes me feel happy. He's a really great guy. Speaking of hugs I gave Jake Loitz a hug when I first saw him here.
Two things this week that really helped me spiritually. The first one is that I realized that I have been Way too uptight about things (big surprise right). So I was praying for help and I got some. Then I asked my teacher about the balance of not becoming a robot missionary but still being 100% obedient. He got really emotional and the whole district had a really good talk about this. Basically we can't do anything on our own, and it's only through the atonement that we'll ever be able to do anything. I was studying how Mosiah 3:19 and Ether 12:27 work together and my teacher brought up these same scriptures to help me. They're awesome (also use d&c 45:3-5). The other thing is I realized I really have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. My whole life I've always wanted a testimony of it, but I can't honestly say I had one. I never doubted that it was true but I just never really knew. But I used faith and for years I read it faithfully, I think I've read it through cover to cover probably 4 or 5 times, but I never knew. But now is the very hour that I need to know it, and I do! I know more surely than I really know anything that the book of mormon is true. I love reading it so much. It makes me so happy and it's so simple yet profound. I love that book more than any other book and I'm so grateful for all of the sacrafices that went into it. During the Sunday fireside that showed us the opening clip to the Book of Mormon musical on broadway and it literally made me sick. It was so disrespectful to the book and to all of the lives that went into getting us this book. Their point in showing us this was to show us all that the church did to make it a positive thing for us, it was actually pretty cool. It was a really awesome fireside. The book of mormon is true and Jesus Christ lives, I know this so strongly. I love you guys so much, have a wonderful week!
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey

Friday, September 14, 2012

Email: (No Subject)

Received September 14, 2012

Hola Familia!
How is everything going?! Man this week has been quite the week. So I guess I'll just start with last Friday when I got a haircut. Man it was funny. When they finish up they get this super powerful vacuum and start vacuuming your head. After a little while it starts to hurt. Then as soon as it feels like your skin is about to come off your head they turn it off and send you on your way. The haircut turned out nice though, I like it. I loved getting all of the letters this week, especially from Adam and Maren. Adam I just realized this week that my teacher's name is Adam! This morning in the temple was so great. Elder Jenson and I did sealings (we're allowed to be proxy children and witnesses for these), and it was a blast. The names that we were doing were native American. My favorite girl name was "Good Haired Otter Women" (That made me think of the Otterstroms, pretty great), and my favorite guy name was "Crazy Horse or Worm" (It literally said that exactly on the card). Another cool part about the sealings was that the temple sealer served his mission in the Paraguay-Uruguay mission (He only went to Paraguay once for a mission conference though). But he did some of the sealings in Spanish for us and it was cool because I was pleasantly surprised that I knew what was going on.
So this week was really cool for me spiritually. Elder Jenson and I had been having a really hard time teaching good practice lessons for some reason. So on Tuesday night I prayed a lot for help, then on Wednesday I fasted and prayed a lot. The blessings that came are indescribable. We were able to teach a great practice lesson. It was a way cool experience. I had no idea what to say but for some reason I really wanted to say something. So I opened my mouth and words came out, I hoped they made sense, turns out they didn't. Our role player said he was really confused. So I opened my mouth again and more words came out, and this time he understood what I was saying. I was super confused while I was talking but Elder Jenson said it was good. And the help from the Lord didn't end there because the next day we taught another great practice lesson. Hermano Lee told us that he thinks the lesson was our best one since being in the MTC and he told us that we're really getting our role as teachers, it was awesome. I received so much personal revelation and testimony this week. I gained a big testimony of planning. When we plan then the Lord can use us in his way, which I've found happens to not be the way I planned a lot of the time.
That's awesome that Maren got to the movies on her own last week, I remember my first time doing that, it's awesome. And I'm sorry to hear about Emma's hand. I was thinking about when I cut my hand open and had to get stitches, no fun. But at least she was doing service and slipped in a puddle so she had a reason to get hurt. When I cut my hand it was because I was bored one night so I started playing with my Pocket knife (bad idea). So Mom my district is just the people in my class, and we found out this week that we might get a new member who is fluent in Spanish and is just waiting on his visa, I think that'd be pretty helpful. Anyways my zone (or branch if you will) consists of I think 5 districts, and they're all spanish speaking. Speaking of visas I have no idea about mine, but I'm really not worried. There's been a few Elders that have come and gone to Paraguay since I've been here and I'm pretty sure they haven't had any visa troubles so I don't think I will. i should find out about 10 days before I leave (which is approaching at a very rapid rate, YIKES!) I have both of my memory cards so thank you for those, I think I found a way to send pictures home now without having to send home the memory card, so I will possibly try that next week. I still am in choir, it's a nice break from normal MTC stuff plus it guarantees you a decent seat at the Tuesday devotional (Which are one of my favorite things they have here in the MTC). I don't know if we're singing in General Conference. My Spanish is coming along pretty well. We've been speaking a Ton outside of class and I think that's been helping, I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it. Also it turns out that someone in our ward was one of my teacher's seminary teachers in Wisconsin I believe. Small world, but pretty cool.
Well it's time for me to peace out and learn a bit more how to serve the Lord. I love it here and it's been my best decision ever to serve a mission. Elder Jenson and I realized today that it's Friday so people are all making their weekend plans, but we're here. But then we realized that we're totally okay with that, and for me I realized that I actually prefer it like this. I'm serving the Lord and receiving so many blessings from him that it's completely worth any kind of "sacrifice" that I have to make. I have learned so much about the Gospel it's crazy. I'm learning the simple doctrines so deeply, it's wonderful. I love you guys so much, keep writing it makes me happy and I don't have much time left in the States to receive mail so frequently so keep it coming. Stay golden
Con Amor
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Speaking of sacrifice I had this weird dream that we still did Animal sacrifice last night. All that happened in my dream was that i was trying to catch animals for some new apostles, it was weird.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Email: Halfway done already!?

Received August 7, 2012

Hola Familia!
How's the greatest family this week?! Man have I had an awesome week! Today has been pretty good. Elder Jenson isn't feeling to great (I think he has the bug that's been going around here) but on the plus side I feel completely fine, no ear-infections or anything! Also we still went to the temple this morning and it was awesome! I learned a lot of new things and I noticed that whenever I learn something new in the temple, I always have a lot more questions after. That's a really good thing because it helps me have something to look for in the session. I loved the donuts you sent me, my favorite flavor of donut is glazed from daylight donuts and I was just saying the morning the package came that I really would like one of those. They came on Wednesday, the same day Davis (Elder Lundberg) came in. Davis and I study right down the hall from eachother and he sleeps on the floor right below me, also we have the same exact schedule so I see him alot (we played volleyball together in gym on Thursday). But anyways I thought he might like a donut to remind him of home, so I brought them down stairs so I could give one to him, but as I was walking to his room, herds and herds of different Elders pretty much attacked me for a donut. I gave them some but by the time I got to Davis' room they were all gone (don't worry, I made sure I ate one before I brought them downstairs). I thought it was really funny, I think there was an Elder from France, one from Hong Kong, and one from Peru. But as far as packages go, I'm doing pretty good pretty much everything, also I don't need any moleskin because I don't blilster (I sure hope I don't find myself eating those words in a few weeks).
I do not think I'm prepared to leave here yet! I have so much to learn still with my Spanish! I can't believe I'm already halfway done here! It's cool because the days are long, but before I know it it's time for bed. And the weeks go super fast, but when I look back on the week I did a lot. Time is a really cool thing here in the MTC. But as far as Spanish goes, I can pretty much stumble my way through saying just about anything I need to, but I have so much more to learn! We started subjunctive this week... Yeah. It's actually pretty easy, I just can never remember when to use it or how to properly conjugate the verbs all of the time. But it's cool because people won't come unto Christ because I properly conjugated a verb in the past subjunctive, they'll come unto Christ if I invite the Spirit. But the one piece of advice that I would give to anyone preparing to come here to learn a language is study and really know the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel in English before you come in here. That way when you come in here you will understand what you're reading in Spanish (or whatever language) a whole lot easier and you'll be able to learn faster.
Being a district leader is really cool, but kind of hard. I have to go to a lot of meetings (which I actually enjoy, I learn a lot from them), but I'm also supposed to try to keep enthusiasm and reverence up. That's really hard to do because what makes one Elder excited probably doesn't make another one excited.
Well family I love you guys a lot. I love this gospel a lot. It brings so much happiness and when you can share that happiness with others, your happiness only increases. My teacher told me that he's not worried for me to go out to the field because I have found joy in missionary work and he said that's the most important thing to be successful, so you don't have to worry about me. You all are in my prayers always. Keep writing me and keep choosing the right. I really love what Russell told me in his letter, "don't fret dog". I love that so much, life gets super intense and stressfull, but don't fret dog because the Lord is in charge and if you're choosing the right, then everything will go as its supposed to.
Con Amor
Elder Hulsey

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Email: The Outside World!!!

Email received August 31, 2012
Hola Familia,
So this week I did it, I busted outta here! I had to go to Smith's grocery store with Elder Mull to pick up some stuff for his Diabetis and holy smokes was it weird being around non missionaries (I can only imagine how weird the feild is going to be). So this week has been quite the week. But first off I have seen Elder Mortenson, he's doing quite well, his companion seems really nice and excited. I have not seen Elder Rivers though, but I am sure I will soon. I think that''s awesome that you guys might go to the canyon for FHE, I love doing that so much. I have such a nice view of Provo Canyon here, I wish I could go there so bad, but it''s cool. Also You asked me if I wrote Emma''s letter on a non P-day, the answer is of course not. Do you really think I would break a rule?! I got her letter last friday night so I quickly wrote her one back before I wen to bed, I just sent it a little late. So Mom as for your questions, I love Sundays so much. We get to sing hymns and relax, it''s super nice. I haven''t had to speak yet but I''ve always got my talks prepared so I''m not worried about it. Our branch president (or one of his counselors) normally tries to make a visit to the residence halls once a week and talk with us briefly. Last night the one I talked to is a retired radiologist. That seems like a cool profession, maybe I''ll look into it someday. So the reason I go to the temple so early is because the MTC schedules your temple time, I personally would prefer to go later but it''s also cool in the mornings. We get to eat delicious breakfast in the temple cafeteria so it''s all good.
Alright so now why this week was so amazing. So we had to get a new District Leader and this time around, the branch presidency decided to pick the best looking Elder in the district to be the leader, so I was the obviouse choice ;). But in reality they called me as district leader and I was super nervous. I''ve never really thought of myself as a good leader, but I know whom the Lord calls He qualifies so I was really banking on that. Well the first couple of days did not go very well at all. Everything I tried to do kinda backfired. I was struggling with that so I was grumpy. On top of that I got a really bad cold this week where I just felt clammy and tired and like I could barely move. My motivation was kinda gone (but I never wanted to quit, I just wanted something to change). I wasn''t really geting along with anyone and then I realized a few things. 1. I hadnt been reading the Book of Mormon as much as I had. I had been pretty busy studying other things. I know for a fact now that there is special power that comes only through reading the Book of Mormon and that it can make us happy and strong. I was reading in 1 and 2 Nephi about Nephi being a leader over his brothers and it was so easy for me to apply that to my life. I really felt like Nephi so I was reading about what he did and it helped a lot. Whenever you're in a funk, read the Book of Mormon. 2. I really learned the power of studying the simple truths of the Gospel. I am a firm believer that if you just study the simple truths: Faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, then you will know and learn all that you have to in order to be able to make it back to live with our Heavenly Father and be happy in this life and the next. 3. The last thing that I really want to say is that I gained a very strong testimony of the power of conciously deciding to have a positive attitude. On Tuesady when I was super sick and not geting along with anybody, we taught an inverstigator named Nicolas and it went awfully. I was not getting along with anyone and I was having an awful time. so that night I decided that I would just always have a positive attitude while I'm serving my mission. I'm a missionary for crying out loud! I'm bringing people the happiest message so I should be happy. So I prayed that night that no matter what happened I could just be happy. It was amazing because I fell asleep that night with a smile on my face, and the next day everything was just so good. I was so easily able to forget about the bad stuff about people and see them for the good qualities that they have, and it was so much easier to get along with them. We taught Nicolas again and this time was a million times better. he was interested and we taught him about nothing that we had prepared for, but that he just had questions about. the spirit gave me so many words and phrases and scriptures to use, it ws awesome (same thing happened with Ronaldo this week too. I think we'll be able to commit Ronaldo to baptism tommorrow!). A concious effort to have a positive attitude goes such a long way, I can't even describe how great it is. Also one other random thing is during the Tuesday devotional, all of the missionaries sang How Firm A Foundation. Holy Cow was that powerful! I started crying in my seat because when all of the missionaries were singing, the spirit came so strong. I'm getting a little teary eyed right now just remembering how amazing it was. I can't wait to sing more hymns. Also there's this way cool hymn found only in the Spanish hymn book, I don't remember what it's called but it's number 88 in the Spanish book, you should try to find it, it's awesome.
Well my time is up. I love you guys so much. I love the MTC so much. Being a missionary is awesome and I've grown and learned a lot. Keep praying for me and I'll keep praying for you. I love praying for my cousins on their missions because when I do that, it reminds me why I'm here and how we're all trying to further the Lord's work. It's awesome, keep being amazing.
Con Amor,
Elder Hulsey
P.S. Dad have a wonderful birthday on Sunday, have a big piece of carrot cake for me (I know that's the cake you're going to request).
P.S.S. Remember big Charlie from my dorm? He came in this week, he lives on the floor right below me, it's pretty fun. We're going to take a big picture by the map with everyone that we were friends with at Snow on Monday, I'm pretty excited.