Utica, NY

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello Again Everyone!

Watching the BYU Texas game from afar

It's good to hear for you all again. Another week has gone by in the MTC, and time is FLYING. Literally. I can't believe I'm already in the third week and in three more measly weeks I will be out of here.
I am still loving every bit of the MTC. Portuguese is progressing well. Last week I was tired of having awkward Invesigator lessons and not being able to say the things that were in my heart and mind. I felt like I was saying repetitive things I learned out of a book. Then I prayed for the gift of tongues and for the ability to work with all my might to earn it. The next day my companion was very sick, so I taught the entire lesson myself. Neither of us had a clue what we were going to teach before the lesson either. So with faith, we walked into our lesson to meet Antonio, our new investigator who was our teacher in disguise. He is a single man who works as a construction worker. He has no children and his wife is Paralyzed on the left side. After getting to know him better I talked to him about religion briefly. He is catholic but shows interest in Jesus Christ, so we talked about him and his atonement, and how it can help us with difficulties such as with his wife being paralyzed. He was very interested and I felt the spirit strongly. I asked my companion to bear his testimony and pray with the little strength he had, and he did. Then I felt impressed to have him read Chapter 34 of Alma. He agreed, but wanted to know more about the book of mormon first, so I told him about it.
I after leaving the lesson, I was amazed with what I had just done. I realized that I am not actually a robot, but a missionary. I realized that the only reason I was able to say EVERYTHING I wanted to was because of my plead to god for the gift of tongues. It was amazing, and really strengthened my testimony of prayer. It is real. Overnight, my Portuguese improved to a new level, but I know I will have much to learn when I get to Curitiba.
Last Sunday we heard from Ron Tanner, producer of 17 Miracles, Only a Stonecutter, Ephraim's rescue, and the John S. Tanner story. He emphasized the importance of learning more about our pioneers and their sacrifice. He showed us a clip from Ephraim's rescue, and when there was a kissing scene, every missionary in the auditorium began to squeel. Elder Schwitzer of the 70 spoke to us in the Mariott Center on tuesday about changing from a good to better missionary. It was amazing. He gave it from a mission President's perspective. He was the mission president of the Yekaterinburg Russia mission not too long ago. I took some solid notes.

There is one more thing I'd like to mention before I close. Every day when I study in the hall outside my classroom I see missionaries with physical handicaps and I am amazed at their sacrifice to serve the lord with all their ability in spite of their weaknesses. I met one who had been out for a year already serving in the MTC. He is slightly physically and mentally handicapped, but this doesn't limit his ability to perform the lords work. For the past year he has sat on a computer desk in the MTC, skyping and online chatting people from all over the world and preaching the gospel to them. I was inspired by his sacrifice and dedication, and amazing spirit. Just like other all other missionaries, he only able to talk with his family twice a year. I met another young missionary who had very tiny legs and had to walk with special hand crutches. He is serving in the Provo mission. I was amazed at how much he sacrificed to serve the lord and how worried his family must be for him. I realized how little I have sacrificed compared to him. If I were an investigator in Provo, and this Elder taught me, there wouldn't be any way I wouldn't believe the message he would have for me. After pondering the amount of sacrifice he made to serve the lord, to lose himself and serve others and share a simple message with other families, his message must be true. That missionary will change the Provo mission.
I wish you all a very joyous week. I love you all and you're in my prayers. Eat plenty of Sun dried Tomato wheat thins, because I really miss those.
All my best,
Elder Kunzler
Part of District 69C

A warm hello from the CTM!

Oi Familia!
This is your very first email from Elder James Christian, and I cannot believe that today is my very first P-Day. In reality it has only been 10 days since I've chatted with most of you but it feels like 3 weeks. SO many things have happened since then and I really hope my feeble mind can process enough information to remember all I want to tell you! If not, I will have another 4.5 weeks!
With all honesty, I LOVE the MTC, everything about it! Ever since I've been here, I've been amazed to see how much the lord has blessed me. Josh's description of the MTC 15 months ago was pretty accurate. It is the happiest place on earth. Here, you don't have to stand for 2 hours a time for an amazing experience or even need fast passes. I've never felt the love of my heavenly father and my savior so much in my life as I have while I've been here. He has blessed me with such a humble and diligent companion, an extremely cool district, and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. It is so amazing. I wish you could all be here at my side to witness the spiritual aspects of the MTC!
My companion's name is Elder Henderson. No, he isn't related to Andrew Henderson from the famous "My name is NOT Fajulio" youtube video. He is from North Ogden and has a scholarship to play both Lacrosse and Baseball for the University of Southern Virginia, which many people call BYU Virginia since there are so many LDS students there. Aside his great athletic ability, he is one of the most humble people I have ever met. We always talk about our families, how we could improve as a companionship, and everything else I would need to talk to him about. He is very easy to talk to and get along with. We work well together, even though he likes baseball and doesn't quite understand my sense of humor.
My district of 13 is extremely close! We are all different, but other districts in our zone admire us for our closeness. We all eat together, work together, and play sports together. Probably partly because there aren't any sisters among us. Rofl. 7 are going to the Belem mission, at the mouth of the amazon river, and 6 of us are going to Curitiba. COMPLETELY different missions. I am the only elder here from Oregon, which was a shocker to me. We have missionaries from North Carolina, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Texas, and Louisiana.
Elder Henderson and I have been teaching a fake investigator named Claudemiro for 4 lessons now. All in Portuguese. It's struggly, but it's amazing what the gift of tongues can do. I already know how to introduce myself, bear my testimony, and pray in Portuguese. When it comes to spiritual things, I rule, but when it comes to holding general conversations, I am near speechless. In our first lesson with Claudemiro, I was amazed. We introduced ourselves, got to know him, taught him about Jesus Christ and his atonement, shared scripture, prayed, and bore testimony. I felt like I was immortal. Then after the closing prayer, we had no idea how to wrap up the lesson. Neither of us. It was extremely awkward. Then Claudemiro asked when we could meet again, and I had no idea what he was saying, nor my comp. He tried and tried to make me understand, but my brain didn't have enough juice. Eventually he pointed at my watch, and I realized he wanted to know what time to meet again, so I just said, "amanha a dois?" (tomorrow at 2?) since 2 was the only number I knew the portuguese word for. I have a long ways to go with the language before Curitiba, but in the words of tiny Tim, "I'm getting stronger every day"
I'm out of time, and I wish I could tell you so much more! I'll get to writing more letters! Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers. I really do feel them. I am in the lord's hands now, since the day I entered the MTC. I love you all and think about you every day. Good luck with your life, school, mission, and whatever you all are doing!
Tudo bem!
Elder Kunzler (jr.)
P.S. Y'all should send me DearElder letters! I only have so much time to read and send emails, but if you Dear Elder me, I will read them the same night AND experience the same level of joy as I would reading emails. Then I can write back with physical letters. I could use some stamps though. They are expensive here. I get 6 dollars a week which pays for hangers, laundry detergent, and nifty little toys that missionaries love.
All you need to do is create a free account on dearelder.com and use my address to write a letter.
Elder James Christian Kunzler
2009 N 900 E Unit 183
Provo, UT 84602
In case you need it, my district # is 69C, but I doubt you will.
P.P.S. My P-Day is Friday ;)