Monday, December 31, 2007

The 12 Days of an MTC Christmas

From: Ryan Carreon (
Sent: Tue 12/25/07 5:18 PM

Merry Christmas! We do get to email today but my schedule will be different. I will try and email you all at least one more time. Word on the street is that L. Tom Perry is giving the devotional this morning, so were all very excited. We had a Christmas Eve devotional last night. We sang the 12 days of Christmas, MTC-style: 12 hours of class, 11 bags of laundry, 10 more commandments, 9 vaccinations, 8 hours of rest, 7 lukewarm showers, 6:30 wake up, 5 hours of gym, 4 chocolate milks, 3 new companions, 2 haircuts free, and a rock solid testimony. Well I have to go so I'll try to email you later today. Tell everyone hi and thanks for the ties, I really like them! Merry Christmas!

Just a quick bit of news, my companion and I were called to be Zone leaders for the rest of our time at the MTC, starting tomorrow. We're really excited, but please pray for us because we know it will be hard work. Also if you could email or write me the blog address so I can tell my friends about it that would be awesome. FYI I email every tuesday at about 8 a.m. and around 4 p.m. Utah time ( I think we're an hour ahead). I'm not allowed to email anyone other than family members. I saw Sam McGavin from Arcadia the other day, he leaves for the Peru MTC tomorrow. He said he's really excited. Also, tomorrow is when Ryan Palmer is supposed to come in (he's headed to Florida), so hopefully I'll be able to see him a few times while he's here. Hope to hear from you soon!

Christmas at the MTC

December 25, 2007

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas! Ours was awesome. We had L. Tom Perry come and give our morning devotional. We then had a workshop on how to mark scriptures. Our final fireside was a musical one, and we all got to to play the chimes. It was an awesome and very memorable Christmas.
Last Sunday was Joseph Smith's birthday, so after the usual devotional my companion and I decided to go see the Joseph Smith movie that was playing in one of the other buildings. When we got there, there were about 700+ other missionaries. About half way through, there was this quote by Joseph that said, "When we are doing the most good is when the forces of evil work the hardest." About 2 seconds later, the movie suddenly shut off and it cut to live T.V. (Which we are not supposed to watch.) It was funny and ironic. A bunch of missionaries had their hands over their ears and their eyes closed and such. My companion and I just left.
I can't believe I have 3 more weeks until I'm in Texas! Keep me updated on everything. Happy New Year!
Love, Ryan

Called to be a Zone Leader

December 18, 2007

This week has been fairly interesting. As you know, we were called to be Zone Leaders in our Zone this past Sunday, which basically means we have even less free time than before.
Thanks for the CD you sent me! I really enjoy it. One of my roommates has a bunch of movie soundtracks and stuff, and I recently found out he had the soundtrack to "The Fountain" which was that sci-fi movie we rented a few months again. So we listened to it and talked about the movie.
Tomorrow we get a whole new batch of Elders. Our Zone is getting way big because we got a new group last week as well.
The package the ward sent me is full of contraband items. They sent me a hand-held racing game, Uno cards, and gum among other things. I'll send you some pictures of Lyle and Monica's (fake) wedding announcement sometime soon.
This upcoming week is going to be exciting. We have general authorities give devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday. This Sunday is Joseph Smith's birthday and this Tuesday is Christmas, so we're in store for some awesome devotionals! I hope you guys are doing well. Tell everyone I say Hi and Merry Christmas!
Love, Ryan

Referral Success

December 11, 2007

How's the horrible winter? It snowed again the other day. Yesterday was a crazy day. First, in gym one of the missionaries dislocated his ankle. He wasn't even supposed to be in gym because he was supposed to leave today. The Fire Department and paramedics came and everything. He's going to be delayed 2-3 weeks.
Speaking of delays, one of the Elders in our zone was supposed to leave for Argentina yesterday, but his Visa was delayed, so he's stuck here awhile until it clears, or until they decide to send him somewhere else for awhile. The same thing happened to one of my friends, and he ended up in Kentucky for three weeks until his Visa cleared.
Yesterday we went to the Referral Center. Our goal was 35, but over the weekend 3 people in our district got the flu. We still decided to keep our goal of 35, which meant we each needed about 5 each. What made thing worse was about half way through, all the computer crashed, so we could only take incoming calls (which are less frequent) and we had to take the info by hand. I was still able to get 2 referrals. By the time me and my companion left, we only had 12 total, so we were kind of bummed out. When we got back to class, we noticed that the sisters were gone, and one of the Elders said "Oh yeah, one of them was still on the phone when we left the RC, they'll be here soon." Thirty minutes later they came in, and we asked them what kept them. One of the sisters said she was talking with this one lady on the phone, and asked her if she knew anyone else who would like to hear our message (it's our policy to ask) and the lady gave her 16 referrals, bringing our total to 28!
Hope all is well. Tell everyone that I said hi!
Love, Ryan

Thanksgiving Feast

November 27, 2007

Thanks for the DearElder Package. I got it today, and now we have so much food in our room. Speaking of tons of food, Thanksgiving was awesome. Jeffrey R. Holland came and gave us a devotional in the morning. It was really great, he's such a good speaker. For lunch we had our all-you-can eat Thanksgiving Feast. Afterwards we had a devotional by the Church Humanitarian Director where he talked about all the stuff the church does around the world. After the Devotional we assembled 10,000 First Aid kits for the church to use. For our dinner, we had a brown paper bag filled with a stale turkey sandwhich and caffeine-free coke.
It started to snow about an hour ago. The thermostat in our room doesn't work, so the room is always 65 degrees.
Sam McGavin (From Arcadia Ward) is coming in to the MTC tomorrow. He is going to Peru. Kayla left last week, and Ryan Palmer comes in a few more weeks. Time flies by so fast here.
Yesterday we were at the R.C., which is the place where we answer phones. We also call people to see if they got the items they requested and ask them if we can send missionaries over. Of the 12 referalls we go, I was able to get 2! I also talked to this lady who was a history teacher in Illionois, who said she was teaching her classes about Nauvoo and the Mormon movement, and showed all of her classes the Restoration DVD! I personally feel that the DVD is the best and most powerful one the church offers.
I know it's a bit early, but here are some things that would be good Christmas gift ideas:
1. Any or all CDs by Steven Sharp Nelson
2. Any CDs of instrumental of hyms, preferably piano, violin or cello
3. Lot and lots of stamps
Well I have to go. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and I hope cousin Josh's broken arm gets better soon.

December 4, 2007

Thanks for the packages, although I can't believe you trust me enough to send me Christmas gifts weeks in advance. My companion won't let me open them. I got the cookies last night.
This week has been fairly normal. A few highlights were: one of the Hermana's in our district was getting a procedure done at the hospital and asked me to give her a blessing. We also were able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional Sunday. It also snowed like crazy on Wednesday, and now all the snow has pretty much melted away.
One big experience I had was yesterday the the Referral Center. Our goal as a district was to get 30 referrals in 1 1/2 hours, which is about 3 per person. We set this goal many days in advance, and I personally had been praying hard so that we could meet our goal. I was feeling confident because last time I got the most.
What we do is call back people to make sure they got the things they ordered (DVDs, Bibles, Etc.) Most of the time we get answering machines, but if we get a live person, we usually (depending on the order) ask if we can send representatives over to deliver a Book of Mormon, and a message. As I was making calls, I was hung up on at least five times, I had people mad at met, etc. The time was almost up and I didn't have any referrals, and I was feeling kind of bad. Then, on my last call, I got a referral. We ended up with 25 total. Starting in January, our district gets to spearhead the live chat feature on

And So It Begins

November 16, 2007

So, they're forcing us to write to our parents after our first day, ha ha :). Our P-Days are Tuesday so I'll probably send most of my letters then. The MTC is really cool so far. We have mostly been at orientations and meetings and such so it's been a very full day. Tomorrow we start classes and stuff. We also have an hour of gym time five days a week. My companion, Elder Maynes, is from Spokane, WA. We also have two other Elders in our room who are going to the Long Beach mission Spanish speaking.
I ran into Kayla Green (from Seattle singles ward) in the cafeteria at dinner. She still has one more week before she leaves. I hope all is well, tell everyone I say hi. Love, Ryan

November 20, 2007

I hope this letter finds you well. Today (Tuesday) is our first P-Day. We just got back from the temple this morning. The Celestial Room reminded me a lot of the Seattle Temple.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I'm sure that we will, mostly because we get bigger meals and more free time. Every day we wake up at 6:30 a.m. and pretty much have class from 7 a.m. to 9 or 9:30 p.m., with meal breaks and one hour of gym time. So needless to say, we have a pretty full day each day.
I'm learning Spanish really fast. It's amazing how much I can remember from High School. We do these things called "English Fasts" at lunch, where we can't speak any English for the entire meal, so that really helps. We also use this computer program called TALL to help us with words and phrases. They challenged us to learn at least 25 words a day.
I had an interesting experience the other day. We went to this placed called the R.C. (Referral Center) and basically whenever someone sees one of the commercials that the church puts out or calls the phone number on the back of a pass-along card, the call is directed to the MTC and missionaries and BYU students get to answer the phones. We get to go once a week for about an hour or so. They have a lot of great resources for missionary training here, and I can only imagine how well I'll be able to speak and teach in January.
There are so many missionaries here! If you send a letter or something expect an extra days delay in me receiving it, because they have so much mail to sort through. A few missionaries receive mail through, which allows you to e-mail letters to the MTC and they print them out and hand deliver them. This brings me to some bad news. Since there are so many missionaries, we aren't able to call home on Christmas. However, they said if there is enough time when we go to the airport to fly to Texas, we are allowed to use the pay phones at the airport to call family, so I'll let you know what my flight plans are as soon as I receive them. As of now, my estimated departure date is Jan. 16th.
We have e-mail capabilitiy here at the MTC, but they have this program that times you, and when it counts down to 0 it shuts off the computer whether you've sent your e-mail or not, so I'll probably stick to writing letters for a while.
Every night we have quiet time at 10:15 and then lights out at 10:30, and for the past few nights at about 10:25 or so, somebody outside throws water balloons at all the open windows on our floors. Nobody can figure out who is doing it, but they do it almost every night.
Since we don't have much media, we have to invent things to keep us occupied, so some of the elders make up games, like trying to steal your name tag off your jacket and stuff like that. A bunch of the Elders in our zone also like to see who can find the most attractive sister missionaries in the cafeteria. It also gets super competitive during gym time. We have tons of different games we can play such as volleyball, soccer, and basketball, but the most competitive and popular game, and game with the most injuries is four-square. They said almost all of the gym time injuries come from four-square.
I hope all is well in Seattle and tell everyone I say hi, and that we need their prayers. I'll try to write as often as I can.
Love, Ryan