Elder Brandon Leslie

Elder Brandon Leslie

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week #7

Dear Family and Friends,
I'm doing well and working hard. This MTC is experience is monotonous because we only see the same classroom, soccer field, cafeteria, and buildings all day but I am learning lots of new things and I have no place to feel "stuck" in here, especially after hearing about what was going on in Chile with those 33 miners in that collapsed mine for months. It truely is a miracle that they are alive.
This week I have learned that our message needs to change people. It's nice to sit down with someone and talk about God, to share a scripture, and feel good, but that can't be it. What we say needs to really affect the people we meet. I need to talk about Christ in such a way that they are motivated to change themselves for the better. We can all talk about how great it is to eat healthy, but if we never actually do it then all that talk is wasted breath. (Breath that should've been spent in the gym haha). 
Over the past couple weeks we have had the opportunity to teach "latino" Elders (apparently "native" refers to indians in some spanish speaking countries). It is a great experience to practice listening to their speed and to get used to the fact that some mumble just like us. Also, we met an Elder from Villahermosa and he said that in mexico they will usually leave off "S"s from their words. Especially with "pues" they will just say "pue". So that was good practice. It was exciting to teach  Elder Diaz from Lima Peru because he told us that he had only been a convert for 3 years. He also said that the Elder who baptized spoke terrible spanish, if any, but that it didn't matter because he had felt the power in his words and efforts to communicate. Years later that same Elder picked him up in the airport for his mission and they spoke really fast and clearly. 
On Sunday we watched this really great movie called the Testaments that I think I had seen before but didn't remember much. It was about the Book of Mormon stories in 3rd Nephi when Christ came to the Americas. I liked it a lot! 
On Monday we had the opportunity to help Senor missionaries move their luggage up to their rooms. One of the couples was going on their 6th mission! wow! Thats pretty crazy. One the couples from Missouri had a bumper sticker in their window that read "Pray for Obama" I was confused at first because they were from Missouri and Mormon. But then I read on and it said "Psalms 109:8, Let his days be few; and let another take his office"   HAHA we all laughed so hard and loved it!   
Elder Russel M. Neslson came and talked to us last night at the devotional! It was powerful and a very inspired talk. My favorite part was the scripture he shared in Doctrine and Covenants 136:32 It is important to be humble to learn.
Love you all! Thanks for all the support and prayers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week #6 - message from Brandon

Dear Family and Friends,
Sometimes it's hard to remember what happened this week because they all seem to blend together. We have such a routine life that all the days feel like one. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, just hard to remember experiences. Because of this scheduled out life I am getting a lot of studying done and am learning spanish and doctrine faster than i ever could in my life. This week we are teaching the Restoration in Spanish again and it will go even better than on Saturday. On Saturday my companion and I taught in the "TRC", basically just an assessed teach, and we did very well. Our spanish was pretty good but more importantly we cared for the "investigator" and wanted our message to help his life. One thing that our teacher, Hermano Scoville (Brother Himmer's nephew, pretty crazy) told us was that instead of trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book through scriptures like John 10:16 we should try to help investigators through it. Find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that will improve their lives and help people get through trials. 
Well that's pretty much it for now. I'm still studying well and trying to use time efficiently because I know that I am on the Lord's clock and I won't be clocking out for 2 years. Talk to you next week!
Elder Leslie

Week #5 - message from Brandon

Dear Family,
I've never paid so much attention to general conference before and taken so many notes. The whole thing was great and I especially liked everything President Monson and Elder Uchtdorf had to say. Also, the first talk about missonary work during the priesthood session was great! I am exctited for the November Ensign and Liahona to come out so I can read my favorite talks again in English and Spanish!
This week our class is preparing to teach about The Restoration in Spanish. This will be our first time teaching in Spanish so I'm studying a lot to prepare and tomorrow we have a "zone teach" which means my companion and I need to be ready to teach it tomorrow. We typically have a few "zone teaches" and then on Saturday we teach in the "TRC" (not sure what it stands for) and we are evaluated by our teacher. The TRC is exciting because we teach volunteer "investigators" instead of just missionaries all the time.  To prepare, I am studying out this little red book we have that has lots spanish phrases about all aspects of missionary work, in my case i'm studying the Restoration lesson, and I am also reading through the Preach My Gospel book in spanish.
I can't remember if I mentioned this last time but my companion and I memorized Joseph Smith's first vision in Spanish last week, so this week we made a goal to memorize Doctrine and Covenants 4, the chapter on missionary work. It's fairly long but as of now I almost have the first 4 verses memorized. I'm still just studying and eating. Although 5 days a week we have gym for about 50 minutes so I usually play basketball.
Well that's all I got for now so I'll talk to you all next week. Thanks for all the support and prayers.
Elder Leslie

Week #3 message from Elder Brandon Leslie

To whom it may concern,
Well I don't really have much to say because that's who I am and also because not much has changed from last week. Our schedule is the same pretty much from week 2 - week 8 and this makes time go by really fast. I think the routine of waking up at 6:30, studying, breakfast, studying, lunch, studying, gym, studying, and going to bed at 10:30 is helping time to sail (i use that verb for uncle jay) by. Also, time is sort of irrevelant because I have no where else to be but here.
Besides that, I'm learning the 2 lesson right now which is the plan of salvation. (already have taught the 1st lesson, Restoration, a bunch). We still haven't taught in spanish yet but I'm sure that challenge will come soon. As a district (12 guys in our class) we set a goal to speak only spanish from 6:30am until lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Most importantly, I'm learning more that how to teach the lessons. I'm learning how to teach the people and meet their needs with my knowledge and by the confirming witness of the Sprirt.
Hope everyone is doing well!
Elder Leslie

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week #4- Still at the Provo MTC

Thanks for all the letters and packages! I don't have much to say back, but it's nice to hear about what's going on with the family. It's nice to know that I don't have to worry about any septic tank issues while I'm away in Mexico. lol  And on a more delicious note, the scones souded pretty good and it sounds like andrew had fun at the fair.
I don't really have much to report here. Our schedule hasn't changed; I'm still studying, going to gym, and eating. I guess the only difference is now my district is playing basketball because the gym just opened up. During class, devotionals, and talks though; it's hard for me to stay awake most of the time. Anyone who knows me, knows that I fall asleep really easy so this 6:30am-10:30pm schedule is a challenge for me. Hopefully, I can get used to it and be more alert but as for now I'm dozing off alot. This is just something I accept as part of who I am, I'm too tired to do anything about it. lol
This week we are still going over the Plan of Salvation Lesson and I can't remember if I told you all this yet but I'm trying to read my Spanish Book of Mormon with my English one right above it when I get stuck or don't know a word. I'm glancing at my English scriptures a lot but each day I read more I am noticing that I understand more words and phrases each day.
Thanks for all the support!
Elder Leslie
P.S. If you plan to send me a package can you put a sweatshirt in there because it's going to get colder in Provo. Sometimes we pick up "sack breakfast" in the morning so we don't have to put on church clothes yet and those mornings can be cold. As far as treats go, I don't really need any but you can send if you want.