Utica, NY

Friday, October 11, 2013

I have received a temporary RE-ASSIGNMENT to the ... mission

Final MTC Picture

Dearest Familia,

It is so good to be able to email you one last time while I am here in Provo. The MTC has been far too good to me, and it's going to be weird not feeling the security I feel here, but in the words of Bilbo Baggins, "I think I'm ready for another adventure."

Yesterday in the middle of in-field orientation presented by a Frenchman from Lyon (Josh) our entire district went to the mailbox. Inside the mailbox there was a neatly folded pad of papers. We rushed to the residence hall to go around reading our new mission calls from the prophet. I have been re-assigned to the NEW YORK UTICA mission. I was so extremely excited that it was hard to breath. I could not contain my excitement, so I ran into the bathroom across the hall to yell at the top of my lungs, but I kind of got into trouble for that.. Kinda like how sometimes people get frustrated with Jacob when he is loud.

The Utica mission covers Syracuse, Albany, and part of Vermont, and apparently that is where Parley P. Pratt was born. Most of the church history sites are in the Rochester mission next door, but it will still be crazy to tell investigators that the Prophet Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only two hours away. I hear it gets quite cold there too, so I will need to gather a few more long sleeve shirts. It's a darn good thing that I brought that giant coat and winter boots with me, mother. :)

I haven't a clue why the lord wants me there, but I am soon to find out. I have no ties there, at least that I know of. Maybe Heavenly Father just wants me to celebrate one last american Thanksgiving feast! Other missionaries were Re-assigned to Macon Georgia, Washington D.C. North, San Antonio (Don't worry, I told them about Jana and Don and the River Walk), and Nampa Idaho. I am the only Brasil visa-waiter going to Utica. Elder Henderson was re-assigned to Nampa and he was really upset about that. I know that there is a reason why the lord wants him there. We will all talk about our short missions when we get to Curitiba.

Conference was incredible, I was hooked. I enjoyed every message given by inspired men and women. I loved the emphasis on Repentence. Repentence is not a punishment, but a change of direction to hope filled future. I think members of the church needed to hear everything that was spoken. I particularly enjoyed the talks Given by Dallin H. Oaks, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Anderson, Uchtdorf's about learning from failures, and the Prophets in the Sunday morning session, I believe.

My (acting) investigators have improved so much. Antonio is going to be baptized on Saturday. He has learned to apply the atonement to his life and has completely overcome his addiction to cigarettes. Jessica, our more difficult investigator has developed a desire to read the Book of Mormon and can now recognize the Spirit and knows that God loves her.

Todas coisas sao indo muito bem aqui em O CTM. I amo e aqui, mas eu sou muito animado para New York e Curitiba. Meu missao e indo ser incrivel. (Please excuse my bad grammar and missing accents Jacob)

Eu amo voces muito,

Elder Kunzler O Novo Yorker e Brasileiro
Meu Russian amigo. Russians don't smile

Don't worry about me mother. I sleep well, with plenty of blankets

Cinco Semanas em O CTM!

Olá meu Amando Família e amigos!

Another week has flown by in the MTC, and it's crazy that I am out of here a week from Wednesday. I can't believe I am getting my reassignment in a week. I am SO excited about that though. It is so exciting to see where the missionaries here have been reassigned. Elder Spragg is going to Houston! Crazy because that's where Saeder is! We all guessed on the white board yesterday where everyone will get called to serve temporarily. Many people in my district think my destiny will be begin in Florida. No one thinks I will get my visa. Rofl. I will let you know where I'm going as soon as a I can, even though they will probably email you the travel itinerary before I have time to send you an email. My guess is Salt Lake City :)

By the way, don't Google Translate the parts of this email that are written in Portuguese. They won't make sense. Just believe that I am learning Portuguese, and allow Jacob to "poke" fun at me. It's easier to speak than to type or write.

Our "fake" investigators are progressing very well. We are preparing Antonio for baptism, and helping Jessica find faith in God and Jesus Christ. She still struggles with the concept of there being a god, so we've been moving slowly with her, but the lessons have been very spiritual.

Elder Henderson dislocated his shoulder in Soccer on Saturday, and it got really bad Sunday night. I gave him a blessing Sunday night and we pretty much spend the whole day on Monday in Hospitals and the doctors office. I had some quality time to write a few letters and read the scriptures while the smells of Rubbing Alcohol and hand sanitizer were stained in my nostrils. I studied a lot about Ammon and his missionary qualities. He is my favorite person in the Book of Mormon other than Jesus Christ, but not because he was buff and cut off a lot of arms. His attitude about service and Christlike attributes are very admirable, especially for a young lad of a missionary like me. Elder Henderson is doing quite well now.

We left the MTC campus a few times that day to go to the hospital and physical therapist on a shuttle. It was extremely weird. As we drove by LaVell Edwards stadium and a Taco Bell, I felt like I was in a new realm. The song "funky town" from Shrek 2 was playing in my head. I wondered if I would run into Jacob, but I didn't. Then when I got back, I felt like I was home. It was weird. But honestly, there really is an amazing spirit here in the MTC. I could feel the difference.

On Wednesday I hosted a bunch of missionaries who checked in to the MTC for the first time. It was so much fun. Two were going to the Salem mission. I told them that Sister Kunzler would feed them the greatest Salmon they would ever have. Don't them them down, Mother :) It's so crazy that I was in their shoes just a few weeks ago, even though I felt like I knew everything about the MTC and that I grew up here. The mission is flying! I have already been here a month! Weird!

There was a warrant for my arrest for a couple days! I guess I never registered for Selective service when I turned 18, and the government treated it as me refusing to register. I took care of it with the front desk, so now I should be safe, but if I end up spending my mission in Prison, I will still try to be the best missionary I can be. My teacher laughed at me and said that I was a communist.

Hopefully that's enough information to get you all updated on my life here in the MTC. I still love it. I learn so much and experience extremely spiritual things every day. I miss you all, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere than in the hand's of the lord. I have never been so happy in my entire life. You don't need to wear a name tag to feel this spirit. Get involved with the missionaries by finding people they could teach, and help them teach them! It's the BEST thing in this beautiful world we live in.

Eu amo vocês muito, e eu esperança vocês têm um feliz semana!

Elder Kunzler

My struggling companion, seeing animals for the first time in a month.

Me trying to be cool

Already over halfway done with the MTC!

Meu Districto!

Oí Familia!

This past week was another good one in the MTC, but not much different than past weeks. I still love every aspect of the MTC. Thank you so much for all the emails and letters you all have graced me with. I love them all. Every time I get a letter or package it feels like5am Christmas morning, when I get to sneak out to see all the present Santa brought me. It is very difficult to make time to respond, but I promise I will get back to you. I wish I could wave a wand and have a bunch of letters written to drop off at the mailbox, but for now, just know that I couldn't be doing better.

We have two investigators right now. They are actors, but these are real situations that the teachers experienced from their missions. One is named Antonio, and the other is Jessica. Antonio is a construction worker, but very poor. He is worried about finances and supporting his wife, who is paralyzed. He has a great heart and is always cooperative with the things we invite him with. He came to church and is reading the Book of Mormon. He always has really good questions for us. Sometimes it's difficult to respond with my small Portuguese vocabulary. Needless to say, our lessons with him are going quite well.

Our other investigator is quite different. She is very difficult to teach, especially in Portuguese. Teaching Jessica has been a learning experience for Elder Henderson and I. She does not care about anything we've taught her so far, nor does she talk very much. She is not religious, nor does she want to be. She just wants to get married to her boyfriend José Luiz, an illegal immigrant. We think she is living with him too. We regret talking about things that she doesn't really care about and learned we need to start with the basics, such as God's love for her. So we planned on returning with a simple lesson. We are not going to move forward until she understands that God is real and loves her. We did just that yesterday. We worked so hard for that lesson and wanted it to go well so bad. We prayed for her a lot. The spirit was so strong, so so strong. I about broke into tears teaching my Teacher acting as one of her investigators. She had tears in her eyes and said she would try to pray to find out the truth. I cannot wait to teach REAL investigators! I can't imagine the spirit I will feel in each lesson.

Our district is getting smaller! Two good friends of Mine, Elder Maw from North Carolina and Elder Anderson from Dallas Texas got their visas and are now in the Brazil MTC. There is much more room in the classroom though :)

I need to go, but I love you all and wish you a happy week. Keep Praying and reading the scriptures. I love reading the Book of Mormon. Right now I am in Alma reading about the sons of Mosiah and their missions. I love reading the Book of Mormon finding ways I can be a better missionary, like Ammon, Alma, and the Sons of Helaman. I know for myself that the Book of Mormon is just as Joseph Smith described it as. It can bring you closer to the savior than any other book. I love the spirit I feel as I read.

Eu Amo Voces! (Bad grammar, sorry Jacob. I am using an American keyboard)

Elder Kunzler
I can't decide if I want to be a Jedi in training or a Brazilian Stormtrooper here in the Star Wars training academy