Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 4 at the MTC

Hey Mom and Dad! How's it going?! This week was good and it went by so fast! Elder Johnson and I are both doing pretty good. Elder Comish was released as district leader yesterday and Elder Johnson just got called as the new district leader. So I know you guys wanted a breakdown of my week and what I do each day, but I don't have it on me....I will try and send my whole schedule next week. Here's a breakdown of what we did last week though.

Last Monday we had our first teaching appointment with the other district in our zone. It went ok.....I guess it was a bit hard teaching with Elder Johnson.....We had to teach someone who smoked Lesson 2 from Preach My Gospel. Then we had to teach the same thing to someone who drank. After the ZTA we went back to residence and then to bed.

Tuesday, we studied Lesson 2 more, by the way, lesson 2 is "The Plan of Salvation". I should have mentioned that before:) We also had class with Bro. May who went over how to teach someone how to pray in Tagalog. The language has been coming along great! Our district goal is to speak it 100% of the time now. Everywhere! It's hard though....That night, we had a talk by Elder Pearson and he kinda ripped on us. He mostly said that missionaries need to be obedient to exactness. So far, I think I have been doing a great job of that. He also said to forget yourself and focus on the work, which is said by everyone who gives talks, but it is very important. It was a great talk!

Wednesday, I sent the letters to you guys that day because I couldn't do it on Monday because my photos would only be developed on Wednesday, so I had to wait till then. Wednesday, we mostly studied how to share scriptures in Tagalog and we also had a lesson from Brother Molina about how to plan well and the importance of planning. We also learned how to use the word "please". He went over this because everyone was saying "paki" which we thought meant "please", but it doesn't. You have to put "paki" in front of a word to make it please, otherwise it doesn't mean anything.

Thursday we had the TRC (Teaching Resource Center). We helped someone move, then taught them about prayer. I forgot how to say some of the things, but all in all it went well. Then we taught him the first lesson and Brother Molina said we did good. This week we have to talk about food with someone at a "cafeteria", then schedule an appointment and then teach the first lesson in Tagalog.....It's gonna be a bit tough....

Friday, I decided to fast. We had a large group meeting about how to use the Book of Mormon. The LGM (large group meeting) was taught by Brother Collette (ex-missionary from LaSalle ward), which was awesome! It was a really good lesson, he told a story about his mission, which was awesome! The rest of the day, we had Brother May and we learned about foods. How to say different foods, and talk about flavours and stuff, which was the worst because I wasn't eating and I still had 3 hours till I broke my fast! We pretty much studied language the rest of the day...

Saturday, we studied language more, we finished going over Lesson 1 in Tagalog, then we had to give a lesson in Tagalog, which was a surprise. We did pretty bad, but we will get there, it's just hard to remember all the Tagalog rules and words and stuff. We have to teach it again tonight to people who actually know how to speak Tagalog. We also learned more about how to share scriptures.

Sunday I played two songs on piano, one for priesthood and one for sacrament. Elder Taylor (same zone, other district) and Elder Leishman all split up who does the songs. I also blessed the sacrament in Tagalog which was really kool! It's a long prayer though....That night, we had a fireside by Brother Nally, 1st counsellor in the MTC presidency and his wife on the importance of
hymns. It was an amazing fireside! They chose people out of the crowd and they got to get up and say their fave hymn and then we would sing one line out of that hymn. I wanted to get chosen because I would have chosen "Master the Tempest is Raging". I heard it for the first time here at the MTC a few weeks ago. It's a great hymn! There were a few other great ones chosen though, like "Nearer My God to Thee" and "God be With you Till We Meet Again". Then we did a different arrangement of "Called to Serve" with Sister Nally on the piano. She would tell us who should sing and how loud....it was really kool!

Today we went to the temple and I saw Timothy Babcock, who was a missionary in LaSalle like 4-5 years ago! I didn't recognize him at first, but he saw me and was like "Elder GAGNON!" I couldn't believe he recognized me! He's married now and lives near the MTC. I couldn't talk to him for too long because he had to go and so did I. It was really cool though! I also got a haircut today.

Anyways, thanks for everything! Thanks for the package! I shared one thing with Elder Johnson and one with Elder Tomasi. Thanks for sending him a "Dear Elder" by the way...he told me to thank you guys. Also, please thank Fatima for the Krispie Kremes! They were great! Please thank Theresa for me and tell her I love her and all the "Dear Elders" I get from her. I'm not going to get one today, because it's a holiday and we also don't get them on weekends. I'm going to try and send her a recording today. OH! and one more thing, my memory card that you sent back isn't working. I don't know why, but I can't take any pics. Anyways, that's all for now! If you want to send me an email back, you can and I have till 6:00 to reply back to it! Thanks guys! Mahal Kita!

Elder Gagnon

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 3 at the MTC continued....

Hey Mom!

Class starts in 15 mins and I still have a bit of time left on the computer. I know I wrote that I was running out of time before, that was because we had to go to the office because Elder Johnson needed an interview for something....Anyways, I just wanted you to ask Justin and Andrew to check their emails, I wrote them a little something. I'm going to find out this week who I can and can't email because I found this new way where I can save a bunch of time sending emails, so I might be able to send more next week. Also, please thank the Glowas again. I got their package of Krispy Kreme Donuts today! Our district will have some tonight! Elder Comish also said that I got sampu (10) letters today which is like, unheard of! I will see who they are from tonight...Anyways, thanks for everything, I miss home sometimes but I'm really doing great!

Mahal kita!

Elder Gagnon


Kumusta Nanay at Tatay!

My week was pretty good. I will start off by saying though, I am really sorry for not saying Happy Birthday in my last email! Also, I am sending a letter with a few developed pictures.

So, last Monday we had the Zone teaching appointment and Elder Comish, Elder Morris and I did a pretty good job. We taught Lesson 2, the Plan of Salvation, then the other district taught us and they did well too.

On Tuesday, we had Elder Eduardo Gavarett from the Quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us about the Plan of Salvation and what we believe about this life and after. I learned a few things, but it was more like a lesson as opposed to a talk. We had a really good discussion with our 2nd counsellor in the branch presidency afterwards about the Plan of Salvation.

Wednesday, we practiced what we had to do for the TRC (the fake investigator) the next day, which is where our teachers tell us a task and we have to do it in Tagalog, then teach the Plan of Salvation in English to the persons needs. We pretty much practiced that all day both in class and during our study time.

We did the same thing Thursday, then the TRC came and we had to pick an "investigator" up and bring him to church and make small talk on the way there. We asked how he was doing, what he did that week and how he was doing with committments that we taught him in lesson one, the Restoration. We did alright with both things. It's a little hard to remember sometimes what to say in Tagalog though.

Friday was definitely the most crazy day that I have had in the MTC so far. We were in class talking about the Word of Wisdom, then President Taylor, our branch president, pulls Elder Comish, Elder Morris and myself out of class for an interview. So he was asking us how things were going with us, and small things like that, then he says, "You're having someone new in your district". So I'm thinking that's cool and stuff, then he says this guy is going to need a new companion, then he looked at me and said "Elder Gagnon, will you be his new companion?" And of course I said yes! He said he wanted me to be his new companion because I seemed patient, humble and sociable. He also said that he didn't think I would be a "Missionary Nazi", so I'm not really sure what that means....but I will take it as a compliment! So my new companion is Elder Johnson, he is from Arizona, he's huge, kinda quiet and he's been here for 7 weeks!!! He had 2 weeks left!!! He was close to leaving and then his old branch president (there's another branch/zone of Tagalog speaking missionaries that I didn't know of) gave him the opportunity to switch branches (for reasons I do not know) and he took it. So I don't really know what happened, but I have a new companion. So far, he has told me that he pretty much slept the whole time he was here.....Sooooooo yea......

Anyways, another big thing that happened on Friday was that Elder Tomasi found out his sister died. She was hit by a car, it was a hit and run. So he hasn't been doing too well. He said that the week was going great because he had gotten letters from Elder Leishman's (his companion) friends and family all week and the one letter that his parents sent him was the one telling him that his sister died. I was talking about it with him and it is really sad. I actually cried alot...
Anyways, so if you guys and anyone else who reads this, please send Elder Tomasi a little letter or something and keep him in your prayers. He is a great guy, the nicest person I've met out here.

AND please thank the Blakemores, Tyler Paxman, David Jones, The Glowas and Anson for their "Dear Elders"! I love them all so much!

Also, please let Theresa know that I love her so much and I love all the "Dear Elders" she sends me AND I read her note in the frog today AND tell her I said Happy Valentine's Day! I will be sending her something today for V-day.

Anyway, my time is up, sorry I didn't get to talk about Saturday or Sunday. I spent Saturday writing my talk and it didn't end up getting used. The branch Pres. picks one of us, right before the speaker speaks, so we never know who it is going to be until he says, so we all have to write talks :P Oh....and it has to be in Tagalog! Elder Tuitama and Sister Young from the other district in our zone were chosen.

Please let me know how everyone is doing, I miss everyone a ton! And please send a little letter to Elder Tomasi, he needs support more than anyone right now.

Anyways, I love you guys! Mahal kita!

And thanks for the "Dear Elder" and the package! Everyone loved the Ringalos! I will also be sending pictures this week...

Salamat po!

Mahal kita Nanay at Tatay!

Elder Gagnon

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Email from February 7th, 2011

Hey Guys!

That's so disappointing that there was nothing on that card.....I know I sent the right one! :( I only have 2 other ones, one is empty and the other one is in the electronic photo frame. It's weird that there is nothing on it....I'm not sure why that is. It had pictures of me and my mga kasama and the other guys from my district. One of them has a picture of the seven of us holding a philippino flag in front of the temple. Yes, I did get the package, thank you so much for everything. I haven't opened Theresa's letter yet. I'm going to be sending her a letter today and I'm hoping to get out a package for her for V-day. But I have to find out how before 6:00....

So to answer your question in the last dear elder....Elder Tomasi (Tongan boxer) is 21 years old and he boxed in both Beijing and Sydney for the Olympics. He is really kool, him and I are the only 2 in our district that are not from the States. He is sick now though. I have been taking quite a few pics while here. I'm going to send the card as soon as I get the other one back. And yes, I did buy the simplified hymn book. I'm going to be playing this Sunday in sacrament.

This week has been pretty good. I stopped getting up early now because I find I'm too tired during the day. But Tagalog is still coming along really great. I'm starting to use it more often, but I'm finding it a little hard to form sentences, but I think that's just because I don't know enough words. One goal that we made as a district is to learn 20 new words a day and to try and have them memorized by the end of the week. Another goal is to try and only speak Tagalog from the time we wake up till 11:30. And if we don't know the words we have to use the same Tagalog sentence structure. Their structure is different from ours....In ours we would say "I am going to the store". In theirs that would be "Going I am to the store".

Anyways, enough of that....We had a lot of role playing last week with lesson 1 in Preach My Gospel. We taught a TRC which is where we teach a fake investigator, and we did really good.

Last Tuesday, we had Kevin R. Duncan of the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife give a talk. His wifes talk was about how important it is to teach by the spirit, and how we should talk to everyone, because no effort is wasted. Kevin R. Duncan's talk was about how God loves and knows all of us better than we know ourselves. He also went in to detail about how important questions are while teaching, to find out where our investigators are at.

Well today is the last day that the older district is here, so we will be the oldest Tagalog speaking missionaries in the MTC, which is weird because I feel like I just got here.....The Zone leaders are Elder Masterson and Elder Leusa, who is from Australia. They are both awesome guys, I know they are going to do an awesome job. It's really too bad that the older district is leaving. There are only going to be 13 guys from our zone now....and there used to be 21. We're only getting new missionaries in 3 weeks.

Last night what we did was because the older guys are leaving, we sat around the residence hall and sang mga himno (hymns) in Tagalog. It was really spiritual. I got some of it recorded on cassette. All 21 of us singing. It was really awesome! The last song we sang was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". Then Elder Taylor, the ex Zone leader gave a prayer and we went to bed.

Anyways, to end this letter I have to let you guys know that I can't bring silk ties to the Philippines because they will all get ruined.....so I have to send some back. I traded a few ties for other ties. Anyways, I need polyester or microfibre ties, so if you find any lying around please send them :) I'm going to be sending all my silk ties home the day I leave the MTC.

Oh, and please say thanks to the Glowas and Blakemores for their awesome Dear Elders for me! Thanks guys! I love you!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Another letter in the mail....From Jan. 31, 2011

Hey Guys,

Sorry I didn't have time to say all that I wanted to in the email! I was going to mention that we also go to the temple on Mondays. We didn't go this Monday though because elder Morris is "sick". I really wanted to go today, the rest of the district is there now. Lucky!

Class is today with Brother Molina, he is a great teacher! He used to be Catholic up until he turned 16, like me! Also he is Filipino and his parents spoke Tagalog, so he is fluent. Then we have Brother May, who doesn't speak as fast as Bro. Molina, but he will ONLY speak Tagalog to us in class. Everyone likes Bro. Molina more, but I actually can't choose, they are both awesome teachers! I have been learning a lot from both...

Anyways, write me back! I always have time to read letters at the end of the night and it is always the perfect way to end a day of hard work. The language is coming along really well, I am starting to make my own sentences now.

Anyways, as I said in my email, I love my district. I already told you about Elder Tomasi and Elder Andrus is a cool guy. His brother-in-law is Lance Topham, who served where we live! He was the missionary that helped us with our backyard. We both thought that was really kool!

Anyways, I gotta get going! The only thing I really want is A&W's address. That would be nice. Also, let me know how everyone is at home! Thanks for everything guys! I love you!
Mahal-kita kayo.


Also! Just to let you know we have taught a few lessons in English and we pretty much have the first lesson memorized. We taught a fake investigator and he said we did really good. The one thing I need to work on is smiling while teaching, surprisingly....I didn't think I would have a problem with that...Anyways...Mahal-kita kayo. Ingat!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The rest of Chris' first week at the MTC....

So, Chris writes home to his family each week by email...we're the only ones he can actually email and everyone else gets a letter. So today we just got an actual letter from his first week at the MTC trying to make up for the fact that he didn't realize he only had 30 mins. on the computer that first week and didn't write that much...So here's how the rest of that first week went....(Nancy)

Hey Mom and Dad!

I didn't have time to finish my email so I am going to write a small letter. The MTC is great, I am loving it here! Just so you know, my district is all the missionaries going to the Philippines at the same time. So in the first picture (we didn't actually get the pictures because he sent home the wrong card from his camera:)) you see of one pair of missionaries is Elder Andrus and Elder "Vegas" Tuitama. Both of them are really funny and I am good friends with both. Andrus is from Utah and Tuitama is from Vegas. The next companionship is mine with Comish and Morris, they are both kool. And the last companionship is Elder Leishman, from Bountiful and Tomasi from Tonga, he is really funny! Leishman and Tuitama were both in bands before the MTC and both of them played bass!

I went to the temple today doing an endowment session with both comps. It was really great and I felt the spirit so strongly in the celestial room. It was really beautiful. Anyways, this is my letter, OH! and thanks for all the goodies and treats, my comps/district really enjoyed all of them! OH! Sorry.....Guess what? I saw Elder Colette (an old missionary that served in Montreal a few years ago) he works here....And! I saw James Peterson and I spoke with him And! Tell Justin and Andrew that the kid who is on the bus with Napoleon and asks him "What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?" from Napoleon Dynamite is here at the MTC!! I haven't met him yet though....

Anyways, tell Justin, Andrew and Granny that I love them! Thanks for everything again! I love you both!

Love Chris