Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Apple (AKA Ossining)!

Well I'm in New York now.  I made it safely, and both my flights went without a hitch.  I landed in NYC LaGuardia at about 5PM on Monday, and President and Sister Smith were there to meet me at the airport along with the Zone leaders.  After that we went to the Mission Home (which is very large and quite beautiful).  It's just outside the city, not far from the Bronx.  After we arrived, we had dinner and then some of the office missionaries came and talked to us about our bank cards, and about driving.  We had to watch a driving video so that we could drive in the future.  After that, we took some pictures with the president and his wife, and then went to bed early so that we could get used to the new time change.  In the morning, we woke up and had a little meeting with the President, and talked about the mission in general, and then after the meeting, we went to the Kingsbridge chapel which is right in the Bronx.  It is a huge chapel, and has a parkade underneath it.  There we dropped off some of the new Elders and Sisters who were going to be serving in the city, and picked up the Elders that were getting transferred to the upstate area.
That’s where I'm now serving.  I've been placed in the Ossining area.  It's the largest area in the whole mission, like 50/60 Miles tall and 30 miles wide.  It's definitely a driving mission.  When we got to the Ossining chapel where I was meeting my new companion, we all piled out, and got together with our new companions.  After I met my companion, Elder Maldonado, President Smith pulled us aside because he wanted to talk to me.  This was probably the most exciting part of the day.  When he pulled us aside, he asked my how my driving skills were, and then proceeded to tell me: "I've never done this before, but you are going to be the driving Elder in this companionship" (that’s not exact, but more or less what he said.)  Anyways, I'm the Elder who has to do all the driving, and it's still only my first day in the mission field.  It's pretty sweet.
Anyways, after we had gotten my car, and I had driven the 20 minutes from the Church to our Apartment, I unpacked, and then got the idea of how things go in this area.  Because the Spanish people are so spread out in my area, and the ward is English / Spanish, it should be pretty interesting.  But Elder Maldonado was saying that we end up with a lot of free time, because of how far apart the members live. 
Also, on Tuesday night we had two dinner appointments (the Spanish members love to feed the missionaries!).  The first place was super good.  We went to a member’s house from Peru.  She and her son live here in Peekskill, NY and her daughter goes to school somewhere further upstate.  Being here in the upstate area is amazing, you wouldn’t even think that the city is like 45 minutes south of here; there are SOO many trees, and the towns are all quite tiny.  We need to drive about 20 minutes to get to the Town of Ossining where most of the Spanish people live.  It’s a cool area.
My apartment is massive; my whole district lives in it (but that’s only 4 people).  It's half English, and half Spanish.  We're pretty much the outcast missionaries, because we never really see anyone around here.  I have some pictures that I've taken of the Apartment.  We also have an amazing view, a back porch, a BBQ, and a fireplace.  The missionaries have also set up a pretty sweet sound system in the living room as well.  The only real down side is that the floor boards creak like crazy.  It overlooks the Hudson River.
Anyways, that’s about all I've got for now.  I look forward to hearing from you, and I love you all. 
Love, Elder Dilling

I am here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just a little update

This morning we received a phone call from Elder Dilling!  He called from the Salt Lake airport.  He and a number of other Elders and Sisters were on their way to the New York North Mission.  It was exciting for our family to gather around the speakerphone and speak with Carson.  He shared some Spanish with us, which sounded very good.  He also shared an experience he had while at Temple Square last Friday.  He told us that as he was leaving the Celestial Room in the temple, he ran into Elder Jeffrey R. Holland!  Elder Holland is one of his two favorite apostles (his other favorite is Bednar).  Elder Holland shook Carson's hand and chatted with him briefly about his mission.  Carson said this was one of the highlights of his mission so far.  We know Elder Dilling will be a great missionary.  We are impressed by his testimony and love of the Gospel.  He has really grown over these past two months.  We appreciate that Elder Dilling has been blessed so abundantly by all the love, support and encouragement he has received from friends and family.  We look forward to posting Elder Dilling's first email from NYC!

Family of Elder Dilling


Friday, November 19, 2010

New York City here I come!

Alrighty, well my time here for learning at the MTC is almost done.  I leave on Monday the 22nd.  I get to the Travel office at 5:00 in the morning, and then here are my travel plans:
 LV. Salt Lake, UT - 8:45
AR: Minneapolis, MN - 12:30
LV: Minneapolis, MN - 1:00 (thats right, only a 30 minute layover which sucks)
AR: New York Laguardia, NY - 4:48

Well, that’s my travel plans.  If I call home, it will be in the morning before my first flight.  Hopefully security doesn’t take me very long because I definitely want to have the time to phone.  I'll try to phone from Minneapolis, but I doubt that will end up happening because I have very little time there.  Well that’s about all I can think of that you'll need to know.  I sent you a letter with a better representation of my flight plans.  It should get there any day now.
Alrighty, so Jessica is bringing my jacket.  Hmm… I've been told that people aren’t allowed to drop stuff off at the MTC on their own.  But maybe they'd let her and make an exception because I'm leaving on Monday.  Make sure she knows that.  Also, because I am an international missionary, i.e. from Canada, I get to go to Temple Square for a while tomorrow morning, so I won’t be at the MTC from 6:30 - 1:30.  I get to go to Temple Square, have a little tour, and then do a session in the Salt Lake Temple again.  I'm excited for that.  But yeah, make sure that Jessica knows that so that if she drops it off, that I am there.  Hopefully they let her drop it off for me somehow.  It's not that I've been cold; it'll just be nice to have a coat to wear in New York where it does get cold.  I hope my Mr. Mac jacket arrives soon.
Did you get the pictures I sent?  I sent them last Wednesday, so you should get them soon if not already.
On Tuesday we had Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the seventy speak to us.  He gave an amazing talk.  I wish I had my notes with me right now, because he has a couple quotes that I'd like to share with you.  But he gave a great talk about forgetting who you were, and becoming a disciple of God.  It was kinda funny, when he first took the stage, the first thought I had was, "Oh shoot, here's a sleeper!!"  I ended up being completely wrong.  His was one of my favorites again.  Really, it was a great talk.
I met a guy from Rexburg the other day when I was hosting the new missionaries.  He was telling me about how cool my Mission President is.  Apparently he has a really big house in Rexburg and is quite a well off guy.  I thought he was going to be a farmer or something.  But who knows, maybe he is a farmer?  And I'll have him for my entire time in New York because he hasn't been out that long.
This week on Sunday my district and I will be singing.  Whenever a district leaves, they sing a final song.  We're going to be singing "Because I Have Been Given Much."  Mainly because it's the only one that our district can sing together well. 
Oh, I just thought of something.  There are companies around that do MTC deliveries.  If Jessica can't get it to me herself, then she could use one of those companies.  Just if she does it on Saturday, the mailroom closes at 2:00 in the afternoon.  So I'd need it before that, because I won’t have any other time to pick it up.  So as long as she can get it to the MTC by Saturday morning, or Friday anytime, I should get it.  Hopefully she has no problems getting it here.
Love you lots.  Bye.
Elder Dilling

Elders and Sisters from my District at the MTC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Four's a record!

Alrighty, well, only about a week and a half left.  I still haven’t received my travel plans, but I will be getting them this weekend.  It's snowed a couple times, but it pretty much stopped after 15 minutes every time.  Yesterday I got to be one of the New Missionary hosts, and I helped some of the new missionaries get settled and figure stuff out.  One thing I want to let you know before I forget is that I might be able to call home when I get to the airport.  Missionaries are allowed to call their families when they're at the airport. So I’ll let you know more about that when I get my travel plans (next Thursday).
When I said for Jaren's stomachs sake in my last email I just meant that the food isn't very reliable for being tasty, and it gives you really bad gas, so that’s what I meant in regards to that.
Three Elders in my district are still waiting for their Visas.   I think they'll either have to stay here for some extra time, or they'll get temporarily reassigned. 
This last Tuesday’s devotional was once again really good (although I've yet to see an MTC speaker that isn’t very good).  We were talking to President Smith (MTC president) about the last few speakers, and he said that there had never been three apostles at the MTC in a row.  And guess what...that record just got made four.  My favorite apostle came and spoke, Elder.....David A Bednar!!!!!  Man, it was such a great talk; although I'll admit after it was over I had a bit of a headache, because his talk was so full of doctrine.  He talked to us about our teaching and the kinds of things we need to do to have our teachings stick.  He explained that you need:

1. Doctrine - which answers questions of why
2. Principals - which answer questions of what
3. Application which answers questions of how 
He explained using the example of Home Teaching, he said you can come up with all sorts of ideas that can get the elders to do their Home Teaching, but that’s just focusing on application.  You need to teach the doctrine, and if they understand the doctrine, they'll want to do Home Teaching.  He said that in the church people focus too much on application when they need to be focusing on doctrine, then principal, then finally application.  Anyways his talk was really good and had a ton of info in it.  But I don’t think I'll be getting any more apostles or prophets while I'm here.  He also left us with more apostolic blessings which are too long, so I won’t include them in this email.
So far my MTC experience has been nothing like I'd expected.  The hardest thing about the MTC is that every building looks pretty much the exact same with a couple of exceptions.  My classroom is in one of the newer buildings, and has the nicest desks and chairs of any other building at the MTC (that’s pretty sweet to have).  The food here is pretty bad sometimes, although you do get some good foods.  My favorite breakfast is the biscuits and gravy.  Every other day they have waffles pancakes, or french toast.  Lunch and dinner are very similar, not a whole lot of good.  Pizza night is every Friday, and we get ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays.  The best ice cream is Strawberry Sundae Crunch.  It pretty much tastes exactly like strawberry cheese cake.  The other elders in my district are Elder Lee form Kaysvill, UT; Elder Mower from South Jordan, UT; Elder Barton from Peoria, AZ; and Elder Garrett from Fullerton, CA.  Elders Garrett and Barton are the other ones in my room.  I got some pictures printed off, and I'll be sending them out today.
When I teach people like Bro. Arnell it's in a thing called the teaching evaluation, I teach them while they pretend to be an investigator from their mission and then give you feed back through your teacher.  It’s a super great resource for missionaries to practice teaching.
Oh yeah, please go ahead and sell my car.  But I wouldn’t complain of you didn’t sell my amp and sub...  but anyways go ahead and sell it.  It does need an oil change soon.
That’s about all the time I have for today.  Again, I look forward to hearing back from you.  I love all of you.
 Elder Dilling

Thursday, November 4, 2010 Spanish

Holy cow, I can’t believe I've only got like 2.5 weeks left here in Provo.  I should be expecting my travel plans this weekend or on Monday.  I am super excited for that.  The weather here has still been pretty nice, but now that Halloween has come and gone, I think it's time to bring on the snow.  I want to see some major snow before I leave Utah, because it's gonna be so wet in New York.
I spoke with Jaren last Sunday.  He told me that of the 24 people going to Peru, 6ish of them had their papers lost, and he unfortunately was in that group.  We were joking after that it would be funny if he was temporarily reassigned to my mission.  But there's definitely a reason for that to be happening.  Hopefully for his stomachs’ sake he doesn’t have to stay for 11 weeks - preferably just 9.
Spanish is still coming.  We've started talking a lot more in Spanish, and I am trying to start thinking in Spanish and speaking only in Spanish and then using an English word only if I don’t know the Spanish one.  On Tuesday we taught a guy named Juan in the TRC (His real name is Hno. Arnell).  He was probably the hardest person I've ever taught, because of the person he is.  But yesterday he took me and my companion and gave us some feedback and helped us to find different ways to understand someone who speaks really fast Spanish like he does.  His TRC character is really quite hard, but Hno. Arnell himself is probably one of the more helpful teachers myself and Elder Maybury have had at the MTC (except for our actual teachers of course).  Anyways, Spanish is going pretty well all in all.  My companion is still struggling a lot but I've been trying to help him as much as I possibly can.
This bed bugs thing does not sound very nice.  That could make my time in NY a little less enjoyable.  Hopefully I have clean companions and we can keep those things out of our apartment, although I don’t even know what they look like.  I will be going to NY before thanksgiving.  My estimated departure date is the 22 of November, so I'm in the MTC for a total of 9 weeks, but my first week was only like 4 days long.
It's been sweet to have the apostles come and talk to us.  And guess what?!?  We had a third one on Tuesday.  This time elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us.  His talk was definitely the favorite one I've heard so far, it was all about becoming a great spiritual communicator.  He also left us with some apostolic blessings.  1. To have a realization of how great the work we are doing is, and 2.  He blessed us that we would have the ability to become great communicators.
What was everyone for Halloween?  I'm sorry to hear about the blue truck.  Tell Sarah that I approve of her driving Shirley [Carson’s car] as long as she is careful and practices a lot.  But she better not hurt her anymore [as she learns to drive standard].  On the bright side, if she's driving Shirley, she'll have a much easier time driving in the winter, because the truck sucks for driving in the winter.  It slips everywhere.  Or what you could do is sell the Honda and my car, and then get a nice little SUV, preferably something like a Rav4 (Toyota).  That, or don’t get anything and have her take the bus to school; she has barely had to all three years!  JK 
I've been getting a pretty good amount of treats, but if I were to say something, I'd say that I love tootsie roll pops, and pretty much anything that is gummy  i.e. Wine Gums, Fuzzy Peaches, Swedish Berries...I don’t need anything really, and I've been getting at least one letter a week, so I'm happy.  I just can’t believe how long it took for you all to get the first letters I sent.  I sent Sarah’s and Dad’s a week after Daniel’s first one.  Did Sarah like that Spanish chart thing I sent her?  Hopefully it helps in her Spanish class, I know it's helping me a lot.
Love you all, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Elder Dilling