Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last week in the CCM!

Dear people,

Today marks the last week mark of the CCM. Where has the time gone? I will be very discontent if my mission goes by this fast. :) I love you all, your love and support has been overwhelmingly awesome!! 

Being the big cheese around here has some perks, like all I have to do is ask Louis, the head chef and I get a little extra on my plate. Who knew that all you had to do was ask in Spanish? I eat very well and I´ll admit I'm not the first one to take their tray to the dish area thing (surprised?) I feel as though I´ve lived here my whole life, almost as if you guys gave me up at birth to be a monk. Can you see me with the robes and all? Maybe more of a Nacho Libro approach though with the little moustache. I mean my life is good, rrreeaall goood! I get to wake up at 6:30 take a cold shower, is the best! I get three square meals that makes me sick though it tastes wonderful, Fantastic!! Haha I do love it here and I wish I got to spend another month just walking the streets and contacting people. When we went to the temple we saw some missionaries jay walking and I longed to be where they were. Not about to get hit by 5 mini coopers and 2 motorcycles in the three lanes across, but working with investigators in Mexico. I really hope I get to use Spanish my whole stay in Phoenix. I just want to get the language down and keep it forever. 

My favorite part about the CCM....hmm thats a tough one. I think of two things, the first is how close I've become with people here. I do have a rep here as being clever and full of impressions. Shout out to Dan Harvey for helping with that. I hope you see this too. The second thing is how much the culture is alive. I don´t even mind the bajillion firework/cannon blasts every few hours for a saint day and I wish we had American flags hanging everywhere like they do here. I look forward to chatting with latinos who are here for two weeks. I learn a ton from them.

As much as I love my comp. he´s been getting on my nerves. He´s not an only child but he could fool you. This whole time here he will walk off and I´ll spend maybe ten minutes trying to find him. This week though it was consistently bad. For some reason he has been more chatty then usual and cut me off in couple of our lessons. We had a talk and I did some things that bugged him too. It felt good to have our comp. inventory(I know thats not how you spell it) this week and after we have been on the same page a lot more. I know that this is just a taste of what is to come. The Lord knows I have a hard time being patient and not so stubborn. I´m grateful for this opportunity to change that. Todd Houghton was always great at those things and I admire him. 

I treasure the few minutes of the day that I get for myself. I sneak a minute in every night before I turn out the light to read Jesus the Christ. Even if you don´t believe in Him or that He exists, He is THE most influental person to ever be. How many people don´t use our calendar system or celebrate Christmas or even use His name in a crude fashion. I understand more about the work that will forever continue until He comes again. I feel closer to God and I absolutely love it. Enjoy General Conference with me. If you aren´t LDS and you read this before this Saturday, I ask that you watch at least one talk. Make it the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I can promise that you will feel the truth of his words and it will bless your life to follow his advise. 

I get to write possibly this Saturday before I leave. I believe my flight is at 7:15 on Tuesday morning which means I have to leave here around 2. I am going to miss these Elders and Hermañas I call friends now. My spanish is broken but with the Lords help, I´ll be a fluent taquito in no time! I love you guys. 

yours truly,
Elder Bryan


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Para/por language barriers.

Dear all,

I really enjoyed reading the update. You guys are busier than me!

Mostly its homemade fireworks but theres been canons, pistols and all sorts of commotion. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is alive outside the walls. 

I can´t believe I have two weeks left here. Our district is now the oldest district in our zone. Its really strange when someone from 14B comes into our room and asks me a question. It's even more strange when I reply with the answer. I don't feel very confident in Spanish but its a miracle how much I've learned already. 

This week was humbling. You all know I have a huge head but now (hopefully) its less. I have been struggling to memorize, and grasp some concepts like por/para and why they don´t have a lot of conjunctives. Ive spent a lot of time on my knees and every other time, working as hard as I can. Hermaño Cayetano gave me a scripture because he saw that I was having a rough time, its D&C 89:3 I believe. My goal is to have 20 scriptures memorized. So far I have 4 so I have confidence.

There was only two days where it rained. It was unusual to have such clear skies. Because its always cloudy, there isn't sunsets really just gradual shifts in light, from natural to manmade. But this week we had three solid sunsets, and a double rainbow. Super gorgeous with all the palm trees and mountains. I'm going to miss how green it is here. The church has immaculate lawn care.

The reason I am emailing so late in the day is because we just came back from the temple. What a beautiful temple, even if we only got to be outside (renovations). Their visitor center is crazy cool and way high tech. Its a maze that I got lost in several times. The thing that blew my mind was there was bookshelf of copies of the book of mormon with a tv screen in the center. "Pick one!" the screen said in spanish, "and we will read to you." You picked up a copy and the screen started reading Moroni´s promise in whatever language the book you were holding was in. Haha I was like a little kid. They showed us a video about families and wow it was powerful. I felt very peaceful in a city that never rests. The ride to the temple was also exciting. Since there wasnt enough room on our bus, Elder Sperry, Nykamp (my comp that I never had but is super funny and can always crack me up. He makes this face that cracks me up anyways), and Elder Clyde who is going to Salt Lake City West, we all got to ride with the latinos. Holy cow did they get vamped up about sitting and singing with gringos. There was this one guy from the Dominican Republic who spoke the fastest spanish Ive ever heard in my life. He did D&C4 in like 45 seconds. They made the cramped ride enjoyable and something I dont want to forget. 

I forgot (I think I dont remember what happens) to say that I saw Jonas Johnson here. He left a week ago but before he left we got a picture and talked for a while. I didnt have my camera or Id post it. Trever Wilkey arrived and besides Parker, thats it from Davis. Not much of a reunion pic like the famed one Ben sent me.  Ah ok so this week I really wanted to give a talk in church and I asked the ZL to tell Presidente Rodrigez that I volunteered and I got so excited about it, I even had a cucumber turning into a pickle story. Sadly I wasnt called and I felt sadish. I mean it was a dang good pickle story too. Oh well I have one more opportunity before General Conference which Im excited out of my gills about, its unreal. To answer Dad´s question, we do have large group meetings, all the missionaries fit into the auditorium now, but mainly theyre prerecorded talks from the Provo Mtc. Last tuesday night though, we had a live broadcast of Elder Holland. I think I had three pages of notes from that one, it was immenssly powerful and uplifting. All of the apostles that weve heard from have said that their missions was where all of their joy has come from and that they wish to have personal interviews or something of its kind with each missionary. Its really neat to know that the apostles and I share the same calling- to bring the gospel to the world. Im really excited for this week and the week to come. This whole thing is just really cool. Can you tell Im in a super good mood? I love this church and the message I have to share. And of course I love you guys. 

¡Adios por está semaña!
(right por/para?)
Elder Bryan

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week Three, Happy Independence day!

Week three is over! (not in a bad way but a, "wahoo! Im still rockin it" way, you know)

New illness? not really but we all have had some stuffy noses, it feels like Im back in school. We are too far inland to get any huge storm from the hurricane but even so it rains like a Missouri rain, sudden and heavy. The raincoat I have is perfect, I love it and keep it with me always. Mainly because I was caught out when it started pouring and got soaked to the bone running for shelter. 

The language is coming. I feel very strongly about the power of the gift of tongues, never have I grasped a concept so fast as Spanish. I'm now in that awkward place where I can´t think or speak in either language. My journal looked pretty rough last night because of it. Like why do we have so many weird things in English? 

This week was a frustrating one, but a productive one. We, as a companionship, went from a train wreck where Sperry spoke the entire twenty minutes about the commandments and the law of Chasity for a first lesson, to us having a very strong discussion with "Alberto", a man who is out of work and knows nothing about God. It feels really good to have an investigator, no matter how fake, feel the spirit and understand that Heavenly Father loves him and that he can pray to him. Teaching someone to pray is my favorite activity. Most if not all of my prayers are in Spanish and I'm working on expanding my vocab. 

    This Monday if you already knew, you historians you, was Independence Day for México. Holy cow do they party. There were consistant fireworks going off from Saturday Morning to today and still lighting them up. We had a cultural dance group come and perform the many dances of México. Remember Bryan family, those chinese candies that Dad brings home and probably brought home whenever he got back? Well they have similar things here. I tried one that had the texture of eating pure sugar and the flames that Devils Spit wish it had. I guess when the guy giving them out told me I was brave, he wasn't kidding. Hermaño Tenoco, gave all of in the district mustaches to wear, which we did all day. The grounds and foods crew all took pictures with us. A cool day for sure. 

    Two things that I learned this week is that Preach My Gospel or Predicad Mi Evangelio, is devine and when the church took 7 years to make it, they took good care of us missionaries. That thing is our bread and butter and the second thing is that "Jesus the Christ" is its companion. The truth that is in every word is incredible. I look forward to extra time so that I can whip it out. Talmage knows his stuff. 

   I most certainly got that "other package". It was scrumptious and I shared with the district that is in our casa which has been having a rough go. The Hermañas in their district rip on every person at the end of the day about how bad they are and how they need to shape up. Definitely stressing the guys out. The doughnuts were a nice tension reliever and from everyone at Casa 33, we thank you.
I'm not going to lie I felt homesick this week. Im sure you are all partying now that the guy who lived in your basement is gone. He didn't even pay rent, the nerve. :) I want to let Zach know that it's good to take AP but Music Aesthetics is the way. Im proud of you dude. Its an honor to be apart of this family. Bryan Gang or go home. or something idk we can work on the logistics- Dad any ideas? 

Dad btw, how did you do rice and beans for 2? Im feeling like I need cake or something with a lot of preservatives in it. Then again I can't complain, Costco pizza is tonight. maybe. who knows, they might change their mind and give it to a Monastery or something. Speaking of which I'm trying to get a team together to play against the nearby Catholic church. Should be a good game that will never happen. Some of these guys play like they could go pro. They want some of the glory, see what it tastes like. I say this because Sperry sprained his ankle when a tryhard kicked him down. He´ll be ok by next week-ish but still, come on guys, just because I elbow and bite doesn't mean we need to get rough. 

SundaySunday was a wonderful day. The first part was that I got to bless the sacrament for our zone which was a neat experience. Something that I forgot to share was that in Spanish if you didnt know, its shows more respect to pray as if you're talking to a close friend. Informally I guess you could say, or the Tú Form. I love it. Absolutely love it. The other thing that happpend was this last week our Hermañas have been crazy sick so we decided to ask them if we could give them a blessing. Elder Sperry and I blessed Hermaña Jones, who is from Mesa. Really funny and cool, her and all the hermañas are going to Houston South. Really cool. When I sealed the anointing, I felt the power of God like never before. I dont remember what words I said but I´ll never forget the feeling that was in that room. By then end we were all crying because of the spirit. I felt the air get heavy and just this pure love washed over me. I can´t wait to get out into the field. God truly loves us and hears our prayers. I love this Gospel. I have already changed so much its incredible how the Lord is shaping me to be an instrument in his hands.

Till next Preparation Day,

Elder Bryan.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Forty years in the wilderness makes one grateful for manna from heaven

This week has been very spiritually uplifting and extremely challenging. Not an hour after I sent my last email to you I started feeling funny and by dinner I was very, very sick. I´m not sure what I had and the doctor didn't care to tell me. Whatever it was, it was vicious. It hurt to sit, walk and lay down. The thing that really got me was this headache that made it hard to focus in class. Since we are going at it from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. it really was difficult and the medication they gave me didn't work completely. The nice thing was I got to take an hour nap every day which really did good. I don't think Elder Sperry complained either. I spent a lot of time praying and I could feel the prayers from back home. By Saturday night I was feeling better which was good because I really wanted to fast. 

Fast Sunday was one of the best days I've had here. I can kinda relate now to the Israelites who waited forty years to get to the promised land. The whole week was the trial before the beauty. It was especially beautiful not because of the LDS made videos Sunday night (which is such a treat) but because I bore my testimony in Spanish without writing it out before. It wasn't your basic testimony either. I felt Gods hand guiding my every word and I felt really close to Him. He does exist and I can't keep it to myself. 

It turns out that Roque is more than a member, he's also our afternoon teacher. His real name is Hermaño Cayatano. Man I have such studs for teachers. He served his mission in Guadalahara and had an investigator named Roque who does indeed exist. Hñ Cayatano and Tinnoco will now be different investigators each week at the same time. It is incredibly difficult and our first lesson with Miguel (Tinnoco) yesterday was such a bust I cant believe anything good happened. They arent going easy on us and its pushing some to their limits. Especially now since everyone is sick with different things (I promise I didnt do it, no one in our district has what I had). This week will be trying but I am sure we will grow from it.

The food...oh the food. It is very good, then again this is coming from the kid who would eat anything. On fast sunday they served Burgers and Steaks, low class of course, but manna from heaven indeed. I shed a tear or two. I try to stay healthy and eat my salad like you would want me to Mom. Luckily I like salad because last week while I was sick I wasn't allowed to eat anything bread and spicy, which of course is everything but bananas and lettuce. Some of the best meals I heard happened last week and I long to go back to that. but oh well. 

It feels like a Mountain Crest reunion up here. Theres so many and I run into Elder Thomas every day..well till yesterday when he left for the field. Jonas Johnson is here and were planning on getting a picture before he leaves next week. I finaly have become a veteran working on my third week. At the peak there was over a thousand missionaries here and now we are under 800. by October it will be a ghost town. I feel for anyone who has to be here in November. Then again they would get a lot of playing time in Cage Futbol and all the food they want so I envy them actually. Man that'd be cool.  

Its rumored that Elder Holland is going to be visiting soon so were trying not to be excited so that if he actually comes it´ll be sweeter.
Yes its true that I get to call from the Airport before I leave. Im not sure the logistics but when I get my info I´ll be sure to pass it along. Its so good to hear that everyone is doing well. Im positive that Zach is king of Davis by now and Ellie the star of the show. Jake, my man. How is it to be so cool? You must take it with grace Im sure. 

Mom, have you sent the package? if you havent there is a couple of websites where you can go to send it without the tax and all that (I feel like ive said this before, deja vu?) Just look up mexico ccm missionary package or something. They do a good job. 

Speaking of jobs, whats Zachs plans? is he going to TriCity for the fall while the window business slows down? Even if he doesnt I need him to go to Tricity and ask him what tree is all over here at the CCM. It looks like a Zelkova but has the bark of an oak. It grows not straight and look ridiculously cool.

Oh and to answer Dads question about the rain, yes it rains almost every day. On Thursday it rained so hard (pictures to come) that some of the parrots were floating down the street. Quite a sight if you can imagine. I always have a weather gadget on Kaysville when Im in TALL, I remember that it was raining there and I wondered what you were all doing. haha weird stuff. 

I love you all and I think about the sacrifices people made for me, from spending time with me to helping me work on something, you have not gone forgotten. Stay golden 

Elder Bryan.


This tie was given by a good friend from his mission. It is called the Green Poodle. Believe it or not there are many missionaries who would like to trade for this tie, but he's not trading yet.

Apparently, it rains a lot there. Chase said the parrots were floating down the road.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


 Elder Bryan and  his companion, Elder Sperry enjoying some fruity concoction in front of the CCM

Elder Burwell and Bryan at the airport. Elder Burwell is from Kaysville. Unfortunately, he hasn't seen him much since.

Chase's first letter from the MTC!

WOW! Where do I start? Well I'll start with the fact that I cant change the keyboard to english so my punctuation is shot. 

The plane ride to Dallas was rough, no one got any real sleep and we were all quite sore, not to mention that in Dallas most of us got McDees, quite honestly the worst move in my career. This one Elder, Elder Schmitt was looking to buy a umbrella while in the airport while we were all exchanging money. I look over to see that hes talking to the cashier about the Book of Mormon, and more importantly, he was alone. I quickly rushed over there to help him out. The guys name was Michael and was the most perfect investigator anyone could ask for. We both wrote our testimonies in the book and he even asked for all of the elders y hermanas to write in it. Unfortunately we were about to get on our flight but it one heck of a wake up call that this is what my life is about now. 

We sorted out the *my companion is in a different room* and now Elder Sperry and I are companions. Which is really amazing. To describe him is to say Hawkeye became mormon and is now my companion. Honestly he is the spitting image of that guy. We get along like two gloves, or another analogy that actually makes sense. Also in our casa is Elder Robinson from Bountiful who has an amazing voice and Elder Frampton, that basketball star from Lone Peak. Such studs. Our room is a runt compared to other rooms in casa 33 but we have an amazing bathroom and everyone always piles into ours for a hymn riff off, crazy story exchanges, or just plain talking. Oh before I forget, Elder Heiner brought 65 ties. Ya I know right? I may or may not have received some. :] 
I absolutely love it here. Everything is so exciting. Just on the bus ride to the CCM was a trip to remember. People were selling this mango square thing all over, on the side of the road, in between cars and anywhere a person could squeeze. All of these crazy colors..its incredible. Can we move here? 

Several times I keep thinking, is this real? am I really here? This is two years!! I still cant get over it. 
I am so grateful that I get to learn spanish in a place where spanish the the primary language. It would have been much harder to function in provo. The church is so smart this way. There really is no faults in the Lords church.

The food is not bad at all and I can{t believe some people complain about it. It makes me more grateful for you guys (my family) and how you raised me to be. On a physical note, the game of choice here is Mexican Cage Futból. Oh my goodness what a rush. We play in a basketball court that has metal soccer goals in it. No rules, 5 on 5 and first goal switches the losing team out for another team. I don{t want to toot my horn but in my first gym time (which is every day for 30 min) I had 2 assists and 1 goal. Guess these people didn{t hear that I was coming. 

Even though the food is wonderful, it can still bite. They say that you only get the runs once while your here and you keep it till you go home...he he he....little nervous. We came at a geat time because the whole CCM just went though a nasty bug that stayed with you for three weeks. Its when I get sick, not if. Personally that make things more fun. Haha I know that terrible but it is what it is.

The rumors are true, on friday we had to teach our first investigator in spanish. Totally mastered spanish by then so it was a breeze. Being serious it is hard. Spanish is such an easy language compared to Korean or French/Taihiatin. (looking at you Ryan love you). and I{m grateful but I get pretty frustrated and Elder Sperry took ap spanish so he spits mad game. Roque our investigator is a member of the church but is a volunteer, since he was converted recently which makes the experience as real as it gets. Roque has two burger shops, one here in Mexico city and one in Cali where his wife and two kids live. The way he speaks (i can understand every word now) reflects an entire people. Their testimonies are so heartfelt and I love them. He is such a rad dude and I hope we get to stay in touch with him after this. 

Sunday was a new experience that I wish will happen often. Elder Sperry, I and two others were asked to administer the Sacrament to the Cooks and other works in the Camedor. (I porbably speeled that rong) Such a sacred moment. and humble. For everyones sacrament, we use normal ish bread that you might have and then we get some water bottles from la Tienda (which is a beautiful place btw, so much goodness and unhealthy food) I have given maybe 5 prayers in spanish in front of people before that and for some reason as I was saying the closing prayer I forgot Spanish. Completely. Not even a bien or a Padre Celestial. I stood there for maybe a solid minute and then I felt the most peace Ive felt since being set apart. Started to cry and then my spanish came back. For me it was multiple things but the biggest is that Heavenly Father loves me (and you, and you, and you..) and hes blessing me and everyone here every day and that I need to recognize that more. This place is a special one, very beautiful, and very busy.

Our District and several others had recieved special permission from Presidente Pratt to have FHE together. Everyone is required to bring some snacks from Tienda (usually chokis, a better version of Chips ahoy) and then we had a blast listening to some slam poetry from some of the people in our districts. I havent felt as happy as I do here. Its going to be hard leaving it. 

Dad I can tell why you look back on your time here as a small child with fondness. 
Well, my time is up so until next Pday

I love you all,

Elder Bryan

>Ps. Im going to try to send some pics, let me know if it works

First e-mail letting us know he had arrived Sent Wednesday August 27th

Hey Familia! 

I just arrived at the CCM here in beautiful Mexico City. Can I say, I friggin love it here. I've already placed a BoM at the airport (details later). My pday is Tuesdays so expect stuff then :)
My companion is Elder NyKamp, who hasn't arrived yet because they had to do two trips. He's probably the only person I haven't met yet so well see how it goes. 

I love you all and I can't wait to fill you in on all the juicy stuff.

Elder Bryan

Ps. The orange juice, "Boing!" is actually delicious.