Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Singing and a little Paintball Fun.

Hello!  Yes, the hotel was awesome but this week was back to reality. 

So quick update on our investigators.   J,  we didn't get to meet with him again until Sunday.  He had read in the Book of Mormon and had felt like it had blessed him in his work this week.  That was great!  He wasn't able to attend church, but he is progressing slowly and is an investigator of gold.

The lady with the crazy kids isn't really interested anymore, but we are teaching her son still who is like twenty five, and the crazy kids are actually his..  He's a little interesting.  Right after I shared the first vision and the spirit was strong he asked me if I believe in aliens?  Um....okay.  And then explained his belief about aliens and his philosophy.  We have a little more work to do there on connecting with him.  We are teaching some others, but those were the two you asked about.  More updates next week.

It has been a little difficult to find any new people this week here because they are always at the Catholic Christmas events.  We don't proselyte at those  We are slowly making progress and finding more prepared people every week.  Our goal is to get them to church.    It's really just been a normal week proselyting.

One cool little experience: 
While we were teaching this elderly lady and her son I heard the neighbor start playing ACDC and Aerosmith and all the music I like that I haven't heard forever so we went to meet him and ended up teaching him a lesson too!!  The music brought the connection.   He was super cool.   
The lady we were teaching earlier lives with her son who is near fifty and he is deaf.  My comp and I decided to study sign language so we can teach him the gospel too.  I'm excited to learn and hopefully it will help me learn Spanish faster too.

We had zone conference this week.  President gave us a lesson on planning which has really helped my companion and I.  We are doing better!

The Christmas traditions here are a bit different than America.  We sing a lot but the problem is everyone is terrible at singing, like unbelievably bad.  We have to play recordings of the hymns louder than the people sing here for church because...well it's bad.  But I love their bad singing here, I really do.  It's part of the culture. The Lord knows the hearts of the people and the spirit comes anyways.   Oh...for the Ward Christmas party we had to sing and let's just say I was the most talented singer, and you know my singing abilities.  :)  It's all good. 

For P Day today our zone went paint balling.  
It was so awesome!  Except I was wearing shorts!!!  I'll think twice about that next time.  :(

One quick funny moment:  A lady brought out rice and liver to eat, and it was tough, but luckily she had a dog who appreciated the food more than I did.   Discretely.  Thanks Dad for the tip.  :)

I really love the people here.  It's a blessing for me to among them.  I love teaching about our Savior during this Christmas time.  Can't wait to talk to you all on Sunday!
Elder Donaldson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Angels, Buffets and Big Macs...It's Christmas Time!

So first it was the Mission Christmas Party this week in Bogota.  The hotel we stayed in for 2 nights was amazing, we were so blessed to be in the hotel! It was by far one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in.  It was like a Five Star Marriott on the mission!  Go figure?  I had my own queen size bed.  I got to take a hot bath. I don't know why we were so blessed, but I like to think it was because we had the most prayers, so thank you for praying for us.  :)

At the hotel we got a buffet breakfast.  For dinner I had steak one night and the next night I had sandwich and fries.    And in Bogota the weather is always perfect.  It's not a million degrees like Ibague. 

After waking up in the celestial kingdom and filling my belly with delicious hotel breakfast that almost tasted like American food, we went to the temple. That was awesome. I love going there.  It's such a privilege we take advantage of in Utah.

After the temple, my comp and I visited his old area in Bogota, Soacha.  This is the same place where elder Amick was staying while we were here for the party.

Elder Amick, my pal,  had to stay in the poor part of Bogota an hour away from the activities, so he told me the first morning he didn't get breakfast, he had to sleep on the floor, and he had to wake up at 5am to get to Bogota and ride the transmilenio. I'll explain the transmilenio in a moment. Basically all the elders had conditions like these except me and my comp.

Again, a marvelous Christmas blessing.  I don't why, it's not like we deserved it....but oh how we enjoyed it.  :)

We took the transmilenio out to Soacha.  The transmileno is like a bus train.   It has two or three carts and its own lane in the road.  They pack it as full as it can get.  It's literally hard to breathe and the road is super bumpy so its kind of like wake-boarding.  Hang on and bounce around!!   Everyone is standing up so they can fit more people.   I cannot properly describe how crammed these buses are.  Anyways we were on that for an hour to Soacha.
For lunch that day we found a McDonalds and I had two Big Mac meals.  It cost me about ten bucks in American dollars for both (combos), and I consider that my Christmas dinner because it was soooo goood.

In Soacha my comp showed me where he got robbed at gunpoint, and then we visited some of his member friends and investigadores.  Then we went back to the hotel for the night.

Angel Story
On the way back to the hotel, in the transmilenio, there was a man crying uncontrollably.  I asked him if he was OK.  He told me he was a doctor.  He then explained more in excessive detail about some terrible things he sees as a doctor everyday and how much pain he has in his heart for the people here. I felt for him very much.  I shared with him a little about the gospel and the atonement and gave him a card with the Christmas video.   He told me I was his angel and thanked me.  It was a neat experience.

I met lots of missionaries at the party and I realized how blessed I was to have my comp, and Elder Amick and Elder Vianna in my district.  Most of the elders here are from Peru, Brazil or other South American countries and then about 50 of us from America.  There are no American sisters though, only Latinas.
Back in Ibaque
We came back to Ibague after two nights and days in Bogota and got home around 11:30pm. Friday we did a lot of contacting. My comp and I don't have a lot of chemistry contacting. I don't mean that badly, it's just that he likes to walk fast.  I don't because I don't like to sweat.  Just some little differences like that, but usually we get along good.

We taught four lessons that day, but no one showed up to church. Trying to fill out forms, remember names, and needs of people in Spanish is especially tough.  Although, my Spanish is improving very fast. I can understand most things and express myself--though usually not with proper grammar. It helps that my comp doesn't speak English so we are always talking in Spanish.

As far as mission budget its not too hard for me.  I save a lot of money because I know how to cook!  We can save money each week and spend it on food later so I'm saving up to get a good birthday meal.

We met an interesting man named J. this week.  He told us he used to live on the street. There are a lot of people who live on the street here because they get addicted to drugs and then they just use all their money on that.  They go through people's trash for food.  I try to give them cinnamon rolls whenever I get the chance, but it breaks my heart seeing kids my age looking through people's garbage for food. J. though is trying to change his life.  He lives with his mom now.  He agreed to start reading the book of Mormon, and I have a good feeling about him.

Funny Stories for the week:
Elder Amick and I tried to make some BBQ Sandwiches but the meat here is too chewy so it was literally impossible to eat.
Everyone thinks I'm related to Donald Trump (who they can't stand) because of my last name.   
In Soacha, a lady brought out  a cheese and jam sandwich.  It had no bread---just blocks of cheese with jam in the middle.  You can imagine how that went with me.
A guy started yelling at us in the street and then gave us some weird blessing or prayer to free us from demons or something.  I don't know what he was speaking, not Spanish. It was very weird.

Anyways, blessed and happy.  It was fun week.  I love the gospel.

And I love you all,
Elder Donaldson

Monday, December 5, 2016

Suits and Service

Hello!  First answers to some questions.  Yes I can listen to music, the hymns.  I really appreciate having those with me.   I'll give you Christmas Day Skype time soon.  I heard we will be at the church around 5pm to use the computer there.  We have a small washing machine but we have to wash our clothes by hand first, and yes MOM, I am using the sheets you sent me.  Here in Ibague I don't use a coat.  It's warm.  So much so I despise wearing suits on Sundays because it's a million degrees.  In Bogota sometimes it gets cold enough for a sweater.

 I'm excited for this next week.  Can I say it is pretty much going to be like a vacation for me.  Why?  Well, all the missionaries are going to Bogota tomorrow for the Christmas party.  My comp and I get hooked up with hotel rooms!!!  We are the only elders that get that blessing.  The rest of the elders have to stay in apartments with other elders.   I'm going to enjoy every minute.

This past week was tough, not for me personally, but for our investigators.  Often times I feel very inadequate to help  people because of the greatness of their challenges.  One of our investigator's husband left her to live with another woman, and she kept asking if God could make her husband return.  Another has a brain tumor and 7 kids, no husband, and lives in what I would consider a large shelter at scout camp. I just can't fathom it.  Another has a lot of guilt and hate built up because of past experiences with his family, and past mistakes he's committed that are very difficult to repent of. I don't want to go into detail on how difficult some of the things are that I have seen, but I just want to say you are blessed to live in Brigham City, but please keep praying for the people here.

The language is coming.   Trust me, I  have mastered all the simple, helpful phrases, especially no entiendo. I have complete faith in the Lord that he can help me learn this language, and as I look back I can see how much I have learned.

I have studied a lot about charity.  I've even fasted and prayed to have genuine love.  I have been blessed a few times to see others and feel for others a little as the Savior would.  Just imagine how the world would be different if everyone understood the two greatest commandments.

Funny Stories this Week:
This one lady we teach I think Wo!  I've never seen anyone talk more or faster in my life. She can talk for ten minutes and I have no idea what language she is speaking.  Chinese, French, Spanish?    When she talks she uses a lot of emotion.  I just tell my self she just needs someone to listen to her, even if I don't understand what she is saying.  That is what the Savior would do. Anyways, she brought us this drink, it was milk with corn poured in it.  It was disgusting, and I had to have divine help to get that down, but I did it.
Another family brought us some rice and chicken that was delicious, and while I was thus enjoying the rice everyone looked at me and I wasn't sure why.  I'm still not sure what they asked me, but I got nervous and then I spilled my rice all over the floor and it was really awkward and embarrassing!!
Also while we were walking down the street a kid who was crying and being dragged by his mother was passing us, and as he went to hit his mom he punched me.....where you don't want to be punched.  I survived. :)  That's a wrap from my week.

Anyways, my time is up on the internet.  
All my love,
Elder Donaldson

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Prayers, Laughter and Courage!

This week has been a lot better. I'm finally getting the hang of a few things around here.  We had a few people attend church, and have been visiting more "menos activos" lately.  There are tons of them. I think it's like 80 percent in South America.  The problem with our investigators is we have many of them, but we are having trouble helping them understand the importance of the restoration. They always agree with everything we teach.  But they still think we are just like every other church and if they just believe in God they will be saved.  Everyone here is super friendly.
Streets of Ibague
You could help at home.  Please pray for A that he will be able to quit smoking.  Pray for F. and P. to be able to provide for their family. Pray for M to be able to share her testimony with her family. Pray for S that his family will be willing to hear our message.  Pray for L that her ankle will heal, and pray for N that she will be able to forgive those in the church who have wronged her.  Oh, and pray for E and his family that they will be able to know the truth of our message.

We teach a lot.  One discussion my comp was getting a little mad because the kids couldn't focus and were fighting over the pictures of Jesus.  He said something to their mother.  I have no idea what he said, but she had this look like, "You did not just say that."  It got really awkward so I just started laughing, and then she started laughing, and the kids started laughing and she realized that us Mormons aren't that crazy after all.   Grateful for the power of laughter. 

The members here are great!  The YM leader is the one who sends you pics on facebook.  He is such  a great guy.  Presidente Palma (the Branch President) is super outgoing and has a strong testimony, but my limited language skills mean I can never understand him.  He speaks faster than a rocket ship!!  The Vedolla familia and the Garcia familia and CD feed us weekly and they are all strong members who are a big blessing in my life. So pray for them too if you can!
Elder Amick and I worked as comps for a day for intercambio on Saturday.  It was a blast and also an adventure!  We got by with our little Spanish somehow.  All of our lessons were cancelled so the whole day was contacting.  We attended  a baptism for an investigate the Hermanas taught.
Funny story that Elder Amick said I could write home about.  So we arrived at the baptism early and both of us had to use the bathroom.  While we were in the stalls, a lady came in to clean so we both got really quiet and hoped she would just leave to avoid an awkward situation.  However, the doors don't have locks to the stalls, and she walked in on Elder Amick!!  She screamed and ran out!  He was embarrassed, but it was soo funny!!!  I'm glad he gave me permission to share because I am still laughing over this!

Also a big language blooper.  Hear this one:   When Elder G and I were contacting a man stopped us and asked me if I knew what I thought he said was "a Chinese Elder" .  I said, "Yes That is Elder G."  But my companion laughed and told me as we walked away that the man asked if I knew the Elder that got a girl pregnant?"!!   A huge different meaning in the Spanish language!  Whoops!  My first big language flop!   So sorry to Elder G for throwing his name around. 

We did not have any Thanksgiving celebrations here, but I did get a nice text from the Zone Leader that said Happy Thanksgiving so that was nice.
Our apartment is finally clean and livable.  I'm happy to report that I'm making good on my cooking skills.  I have found a couple recipes that I can cook that believe it or not taste pretty good.  I make Chili and Rice with taco seasoning and BBQ seasoning packets, and I've made French Toast Caramel Sandwhiches (Yep baby, you know it).  And Elder Amick and I even made French Fries so I'm eating pretty good lately.  
Sleeping Quarters.

Not too bad for our kitchen and wardrobe.

One more moment to share from the week.  We have a panedarie (shop) that has cinnamon rolls for like 5 cents.  I usually also get some of those every night.  When I was with Elder Amick on Saturday I bought 15 of them for breakfast because it was reimbursable.  He only ate one and I ate 14!  Then we went to lunch, and the lunches here are huge because we don't have dinner.  I had to eat everything on my plate.  I thought I was going to explode, but I did it.  In relation to food or anything else....whenever something gets really hard, I think of the Lord of the Rings theme song---remember the part when they show the gates of Mordar---and then I just buckle up and do it.   :)

I loved hearing about Ardis in the temple.  I wish I could have been there.  I also want to end on a spiritual note and share with you about Hermana J.  She is a seminary teacher here, walks with a cane, not too old and single Mom with her 15 year old son.  The night we visited her I was very tired.  It was getting late around 7:30pm.  We had done a lot of walking all day.  She had been talking to us for about ten minutes then she just started walking around to all of her neighbors and asked them if they would be willing to hear our message.  With tears in her eyes she bore her testimony to all of them about the power of our message.  Because of her that night we met a new family who is a young couple with a 5 year old.  We taught them the whole restoration and they have baptism dates.  We gave the Mom and son a blessing because they were sick.  It was powerful and spiritual.  I can also say it was the best lesson we have taught thus far all because Hermana J wasn't scared to bare her testimony.   What an example to me!  Let's all be as courageous. 

Thanks for all the updates on everyone and all your faith and prayers.  I love and miss you all. 

Keep praying and believing and finding something to smile about.

Love Elder Donaldson

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Area: Ibague: Si and Cinnamon Rolls

My trainer and companion is now Elder G.  from Peru.  He's been out for nineteen months, and he is 27.  He has a strong testimony, and he is really funny, but it's hard to talk much because he doesn't speak English and my Spanish is still pretty limited.  We are assigned together to open an area in Ibague.  It's up near the mountains North West of Bogota.  We took a long (6 hour bus ride) to get here.

We are opening up a new area so most of the day is walking around contacting.  We have acquired about 7 new investigators this week.  The branch president is in our area.  Elder Amick, my comp from the MTC,  and his companion  are in our branch and district.  That's been cool to still serve around him.  We are great friends.  And two hermanas are also in our branch.  It's nice being all together in the same branch. 
Church yesterday was very different.  Good but different.  The most surprising thing to me was that everyone SHOUTS "Amen!"after the prayers like they do in other christian churches.   I was like, okay?.?.   The branch president is super friendly and has one of the most uplifting spirits I've ever met.  He wanted me to thank you and Dad for all your sacrifices for me, and he really is thankful.  He sat me and Elder Amick down and made us promise to thank you guys in his behalf. So there you have it.
The members here have a lunch schedule for us.  Yay!  We eat.  We eat really big lunches.  We don't eat dinner which I'm still getting used to. I've been having super bad stomach pains because the food is different and the time when we eat, but the more walking I do the better I feel so it's good motivation to get to work.
Every night I make cinnamon rolls for the two of us though.  Well it's just bread with butter and brown sugar.  :)  But after walking around all day it tastes like cinnamon rolls.   Dinner = Cinnamon rolls.  Works for me!

Our apartment is pretty gross and infested with all kinds of bugs, especially termites.  Yup.  Everything is tile so I'm always sweeping.  Good thing I know how to clean! We spent the first half day we moved here just cleaning trying to make it a little livable.  The shower has an electric thing that zaps the water to heat it up, and its super hot and barely drips water so I take quick showers, but it's a shower and for that I am grateful. 
The people here are interesting, humble, kind, and very friendly.  There are some really nice people I've met, and some crazy people.  :)  Some houses we go to our very clean and nice, but others are like shacks. Every house has a nice TV and radio though, no matter where you go.  Priorities.  I was a little sad that none of our investigators attended church this Sunday.  A few of them started reading the Book of Mormon and said they felt happy. The big problem here is everyone loves alcohol and drugs.  There are people smoking all kinds of things all over the place.   Many people are always willing to hear our message though, and everyone we have taught likes what we are saying, but they don't quite understand yet.  They think we are just like all the other christian churches, and I am not very good at explaining it all in Spanish. 

I have definitely been learning a lot and have been humbled too.  It's not as bad as I thought it could be, but maybe not as easy either.  That's usually how life can go.  I am getting by with my Spanish.  Most of the time people talk to me and I just say Si.  I have little idea of what they just said.  My job right now is to bare testimony in our lessons.
Another hard part for me, too, has been adjusting to the music all around.   Everywhere we go they are always blasting music here.  And its straight up Spanish salsa. No Jazzercise play list here Mom!  Occasionally I hear an American song, but usually it's like the Spanish channel in Brigham.

I do like it here in Ibague, however. It's a million times better than the MTC because we actually help people. I gave a homeless man an ice cream and a lady saw and stopped us and asked a lot of questions about the church. I try to find ways to serve people everyday.  Sometimes that is hard in a shirt and tie, but we try. 

Your emails this week were answers to my prayers. It honestly has been a hard week and I have felt lonely.  My companion is cool but when it's hard to communicate?   We go out and visit investigators and that helps to relieve the loneliness.   I said a specific prayer to Heavenly Father and he answered it through what you shared in your emails.  I loved hearing about your experiences from Stake Conference.  I can't think of a greater blessing for me than to know Heavenly Father gave you those special experiences.  Thank you for sharing with me.  I know the gospel is true and literally Heavenly Father answers prayers. My prayers. 

Until next week...I love you all!

Elder Donaldson

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Hey!  So I leave the MTC next Tuesday, and I couldn't be more excited!  I'm going to miss Elder Amick and my district for sure. And there are certain things I will miss about the MTC, but honestly I can't get wait to move on.  My district is all a bunch of fun guys and we laugh and prank each other all the time, but some of the other missionaries here...well.....

This week they told us we had to stop contacting people through the fence and focus on studying Spanish.   I was not too happy about that and tried to give president a presentation on the benefits of contacting and how much more Spanish we learn that way,  but in the end I just had to humble myself and accept it.

There really weren't any funny experiences this week worth writhing about, just lots of strange comments from the new elders...

However, this week I have been studying charity, and it is especially hard for me with some of the new elders.  I have learned charity is so much deeper than just being nice and loving everyone.  I've also been studying a lot about the atonement.  Alma 7:11-13 is my favorite scripture about that because you can relate almost anything in life to the Savior's atonement.   I have also learned how much better the scriptures are when you have a question you are studying.  I have lots to learn, and I'm grateful I've got plenty of time.
I was sad I couldn't email Mom on her birthday.  Elder Vincent's mom has the same birthday too. But I hope she got my early letter and had a good one!

That's really cool that you started institute.  Please keep me updated on all the symbols of the old testament because everyone here knows the bible, except me.  I should've paid more attention in seminary... oh well.

I'll let you know where my first area will be next week.  Thanks for all your love and support!!

Elder Donaldson

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Roomates and an Indoor Waterfall

I'm so glad the family is having some missionary opportunities.  I've been having them like crazy.  During language study Elder Amick and I try and talk to people through the fence.   I'm sure it looks crazy but we do it anyways.  We usually get about four referrals a day, and a lot more rejections. Can you picture us yelling at people through a fence in a language we don't know?  Somehow the Lord prepares people to hear our message.   It will be great to not have a fence barrier soon.  :)

I did get your package you sent with Elder Vincent!  Thank you so much. I shared my candies with our new Latino roommates one night.  They had never tried skittles, fruit snacks, Swedish Fish, or any of that.   Made us all happy. 
So last week we got a bunch of new roommates with the new missionaries that arrived here.  One of our new roommates is 25 and has a degree in teaching Spanish. He has a strong testimony and is so fun to be around.  He has been a member since he was 19.  His family is Catholic and they aren't very happy about his decision to serve a mission, though they support him.  He says he is here for them, and I imagine he has had and will continue to have a great impact in bringing them unto Christ.
We really got lucky because our roommates this time around are all really good.  One new Latino in our room likes to prank us.  This what he does.  He likes to set off the alarm early by our faces to scare us!!  He's really cool and funny though.  He gave me a sweater. I was really touched by his gift.
Elder Vincent and his companion are super funny and they come and talk to our district all the time.  It's been cool to see him and feel a little of BC here in Bogota.
Elder Vincent and I--Selfie!

My companion and I have become great friends and he has a solid testimony which inspires my own.  My district is all normal hard working missionaries, and my roommates are fun normal guys with good hygiene.:)
My testimony continues to grow.  I know the gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is true and that has carried me.  Had another special experience in the temple today.  I was overcome with gratitude and love.
The only other exciting thing this week was it rained like every day.  Elder Amick and I have an indoor waterfall right outside our room. Pretty sure we are the only MTC that has that...

Until next week....all is well, sending my love.
Elder Donaldson

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Downtown Bogota Drop Off

    Thank you so much for the snacks!  My companion and I have been skipping dinners sometimes because the food this week was something else.  One night we had Baked Cheese Blocks and the night before that Hot Dogs!  (Ugh!!  You know me and food tastes....)   I commented to my companion jokingly that sometimes the Lord just expects too much.  :)   And to answer you, no they don't have any snacks we can buy while here at the MTC.  I bought a Coke when I was at the immigration offices because they had a vending machine!   But thank you so much for what you sent.  
I have two laundry days a week, and I have spent hardly any of my Colombian money.  We have a date to go into the field I just don't know it yet, mid November.   Thank you for the conference talks.  I really appreciate them! We found one here by President Nelson called "Millennials"  It was so awesome to read, I thought he could read my mind.  
My classes here are mostly all Spanish language classes with a little bit of doctrine mixed in. Today there are only five of us in the MTC.  It's kind of awesome to have it so quiet.  The new people should be arriving tonight from 9pm to midnight. I'm looking forward to seeing Elder Vincent from Brigham City. 
Some good news. We finally got to go outside the gates and practice teaching real people.  They just put us on a bus and dropped us off in the middle of Bogota.  On the way there, we saw a guy going the bathroom right in a park, right in front of lots of children and people, and he wasn't concealing himself at all because I could see everything from the bus.  On a good note, my companion and I gave out two Book of Mormons and talked to at least 10 people Saturday morning.  We only got two hours but it was the best two hours by far yet!!!  I can't wait to be doing that full-time.  We taught one lady the whole first vision in Spanish, and she gave us her contact information because she wanted to meet with the missionaries. We helped her change her flat tire, and she had like a million dogs.   Made me really miss Romeo.

We got to go to the temple again today with just the 5 of us, and it was so great.  I say that every week but really this time was by far the best time yet!   I love being in the temple.  There were a bunch of missionaries there who are coming home in two days, so it was fun to talk to them.  I was amazed they could speak Spanish so well, but my Spanish is getting better. 
Sunday night we had a bunch of devotionals.  My favorite one was Elder Bednar.   He talked about how we can know if it's the spirit or just us, and I think his answer will surprise you.   I recommend his talk highly!  
Thanks for all your love and support.  I love being a missionary.
Elder Donaldson

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Music to the Soul

So this week was an adventure!  Elder A and I got our first contact, we were studying outside and decided to try speaking our broken Spanish to people through the huge fence. There is a busy street right outside the MTC.  We were told if we get anyone's contact information we can give it to the President and he will send missionaries to them. His name was M. He gave us his business card which had all his contact information on it.  He is a drug dealer...

Also one of the elders in our district likes to draw lots of doodles during language class.  Elder A and I found his notebook one night, so in the bottom we wrote "you need to pay more attention in class" and signed it from President Duvall.  He was so embarrassed the next morning, and it was so funny when we told him it was us. All morning he thought the president hated him.
Another funny story, the rapper elder in our room Elder E, saw a picture of my companion's sister and thought she was cute.  He started calling my companion his "cuñado", meaning brother in law!  We agreed to play him and his companion in 2-on-2 basketball.  If they won Elder E got my companion's sister's email, if we won they had to write apology letters for staying up and talking all night long. Ha!!  Of course, we won!!
Other than that life at the MTC is pretty uneventful.  Usually just classes and trying to find things to laugh at or be grateful for. I'm pretty sure I've lost about ten lbs since I've been here.  The weather here is awesome.  It's springtime year round, always between 55 and 65 degrees. I love it!!  The food actually isn't too bad here, the bad thing is we can only eat in the cafeteria and all my snacks were gone the first week, so now I just get my three meals and that's it.  I miss snacks, a lot. Pretty soon I'll be out in the mission field--and snacks!!
We got to go to the temple again today.  Loved that. 

My favorite part of the day is right after my meals, because I go to the chapel and practice piano. I used to hate piano, (Mom made me do it),  but now it is the most relaxing moments of my day. Mostly because the only music I get to listen to is what I play on the piano. There is always an audience of about 5 or 10 other missionaries who come and listen to me play. It's hard without music here. One of the teachers told me I couldn't play my Hallelujah song because it wasn't a hymn.  But I  talked to Hermana Duvall, the President's wife, and she said it was fine. I have been playing it ever since!  That teacher hasn't heard yet.  He might not be happy if he does...
Also my testimony has grown a ton. Everyday I wonder if I'm really supposed to be here.  Each time, as I have studied the gospel and continued to try my best, all of my questions have been answered. Sometimes it's like Heavenly Father is right there talking to me. 

Love you all!  
Elder Donaldson