Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 3 at the MTC ( 9/28/2010)

Zach and Elder Egan (a friend from Brighton High School)

Fake Hugs!

Spirit Bomb!!

Zach and Elder Bybee

Zach and Elder Young

Letter from Week #3 at the MTC dated 9/28/2010:
I'd like to start off with a little story from this past week. So on Saturday, I believe, there was what was called a teacher tornado. It happens every friday and saturday night where teachers from other classes come in and give a short 15 minute lesson on whatever. So one of the teachers was sister Chenina, who is a native from Russia, she was baptized at age 16 and served a mission at temple square and in Washington. So we naturally asked her questions about Russia and serving a mission. The last question that was asked was, "What advice could you give us about the culture of Ukraine?" Since she has been in Ukraine several times. She answered that while she was serving at temple square she met many people from different nations, all with different backgrounds and cultures. And although many nations have different traditions and ways of looking at things, there is one common culture and way to treat people that all nations share and that is love. This is true. If we can't be genuine and show that we really care as missionaries, what makes us any different from door-to-door salesmen who are only interested in getting your money? That is another lesson that has somewhat been stressed here at the MTC. I still feel like they could talk about it alot more. The main points they dry to drill in our heads is the importance of being obedient and the importance of working hard, I have yet to hear a whole lot about the importance of being genuine loving people. Although I have heard a couple talks on the subject, so this notion is not totally forgotten. I have met many people from all over the world here at the MTC. I have met elders and sisters from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, New Zealand, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan. And it amazes me how different we are, but how united and similar we are at the same time. We have gathered from all over the world to learn and study and do a very important work. Missionay work, helping others to understand and grow closer to Christ.

Anyways, tell Tyler that I wish him a happy birthday and that I'm sorry I couldn't say this to his face. But I'm sure he understands. As far as the language is coming we've just been focusing on grammar principles alot lately, which blows my mind. I barely understand English grammar, and Ukrainian grammar is way more complicated. There so much that I want to learn about this language and this country, but I can only take so much new vocab/grammar/phrases and other facts before I get headaches. At the end of every day I feel like my brain is totally fried.
I have another story before I sign off. There is one elder, Elder Vargin, who is from Russia, Moscow,  who asked us, Ukrainian district, and other elders in the zone to write there testimony in Ukrainian/Russian because his girlfriend is in Ukraine and her parents aren't members. So he wants them to better understand the importance of this work. It's funny because most Russians don't feel like they need to lean Ukrainian, but he has. When we asked him why replied in his deep Russian accent, " I lean Ukrainian because I love my woman." That's awesome. So I tried my best to write a sincere and honest testimony. It was pretty short but it was the best I could do. He was so stoked when I gave it to him. I could tell that this was very important to him and I was glad to help out. Tell the rest of the family that I love them and I hope to hear from them soon.

Elder McEntire

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MTC Week 2

Temple Naps..the highlight of our week!

Elder Phillips and Zach

Zach and Elder Bonous (serving in Russia)

Zach and Elder Tucker (a friend from Utah State)

MTC buddies    

Letter from week #2 (9/21/2010):

So even though this is only my second week here at the MTC... it feels like I've been here forever.Your sense of time becomes really messed up when you enter the MTC. Anyways, My Ukrainian is coming along really well. We started learning grammar principles, which kinda makes sense and no sense at all at the same time. I barely understand English grammar, let alone Ukrainian grammar. But, I'll just have to keep working on it until it becomes clear to me. Yeah, I got the package. Thanks! I really needed those things and the laundry bag. Last week I just carried my stuff to the laundry room, which was fine because it was only the first time and I had like just a shirt that needed to be washed. Other than grammar, I started to learn alot more conversational Ukrainian. And I learned how to talk about families. So I can keep up a conversation in Ukrainian pretty well, a shallow conversation, but a conversation nonetheless. Tomorrow, in the the TRC(Training resources class) me and my companion are getting to know the "investigator's" family and we are teaching the first discussion in English again. We do the lessons in English up until week 4, I was told. Then we do it in Ukrainian. Which makes me a little nervous, but I'm sure at the rate I'm learning the language, I'll be fine. I also learned some other cool phrases in Ukrainian like: "I'm a big deal" "Yeah, I'm awesome" and "I was born ready!" Which I'll probably never use while in Ukraine, but doing gym time while were playing volleyball and soccer n' such I say those phrases all the time. I would show you, but this keyboard doesn't have cyrilic characters. I couple things I learned are that in Ukraine there's an old communist saying that the older generation still believes to be true and it is "In contention, truth is born". So apparantly, Ukrainians love to argue and debate, which is something that I know  will not teach them anything. Also, they hold tradition very dear and close and they'll say that their parents were orthodox and their parents were orthodox, so I must be orthodox.  We're learning to get past these points and arguments. I know that if we present the truth and we do it in a way that the spirit is present, no arguing, they will accept this message better and be more receptive. Yeah, other than that, the MTC is great. Oh, the gym is closed till the 29th because it is being renovated. So for the time being we just play volleyball out on the field, which is still way fun. And I do bump into people from high school and college, like all the time. So it is really comforting to see friendly faces wherever i go. My district and zone is pretty awesome. There are ten missionaries in my district, eight elders and two sisters. Alot of them are from Utah but are couple are from Arizona, Washington and Hawaii. And the best days here, by far are P-day(Tuesday) and Sunday. Sunday because after Sacrament meeting, which ends at two thirty, the rest of the day is free time. We get to do pretty much whatever. We usually got to the temple walk, which is where missionaries go to the temple and walk around it and talk pictures with others, chat, and just hang out. I usually take a nap in the shade at the temple, which is heavenly. And p-day because pretty much the whole day is free time, well up until 7 where there's a mandatory devotional but those are really cool so I don't mind. Me and my district usually go to the temple and do laundry and plan how we are going to teach the discussions for TRC, which is every Wednesday.  Oh, and the food is sometimes really good and sometimes really gross. But usually pretty good, you just have to be careful what you eat, because eating some of the food there will result in some pretty bad consequences.. if you know what I mean. Oh and tell Erin that she could use these e-mails for the blog. I just sent it up for my friends who are too lazy to write me and figure out how I'm doing for themselves. So tell her she can pick and choose what she wants to update and post on it. Whatever she wants to do with it, I don't really care.  And tell her that I'm pretty disappointed that I have not received any mail from her or Cam, haha. Anyways, I have to go because I have like two minutes left on here.

Love you,
Elder Zach McEntire

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Zach goes to the MTC!!

The first Sunday with some of my district.

Free time: Balancing books on heads and having races. It's a great way to practice posture, pass the time and stay awake.

MTC trick: May the force be with you...

Zone leaders, Elder Noren and Elder Bangerter.

This says: Listen to me...

Elder Daniels, a friend from Utah State

Zach entered the MTC 9/8/2010. He was excited to learn the language. He was nervous to have a scheduled routine. But, he was ready!
His first letter home written on 9/14/2010:

My first week here at the MTC is going great! I'll start off with a little quote: "If I have learned anything it's not to mess with mother nature, Mother-in-laws, and Mother-freaking Ukrainians!" - The Italian Job. Anywho, I'm lovin it here. The first couple weeks were a little overwhelming, but I'm trying to be like a sponge and absorb up everything. My teacher, Brother Shelyakin, is a native Ukrainian. Which makes him a little more difficult to understand, because of his accent. But, I learned that it's gonna be helpful because I'll be use to the accent. The first day here shared an old Ukrainian proverb: "The two greatest lies are that you are better than everyone and that you are worse than everyone. Be yourself." And that's true because you learn at your own pace. The thing that I'm trying to get use to the most here is all the structure and rules because I'm not use to having every second of my life planned and on a schedule. My companion's name is Zach Shurtleff, so we have the same first name! He's a really nice guy, but our personalities are pretty different. He's more of a red personality, assertive and a take-charge kinda guy who believes all the little rules are important. And then there's me, white personality, laid-back, easy-going and I try to be more about the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it. But we get along great! We taught the first lesson yesterday, it was just on the fly, and our teaching styles are pretty different as well. I tried to ask the "investigator question to get him thinking and followed it up with scriptures. Compared to my companion who just lectured him the whole time. So we've got find a complimentary system were we can balance both are strong points. We giving the first lesson again, tomorrow. But I'm not worried because it's in English. As far as the language goes, we didn't start the first day, but the second! I already learned to pray, bear my testimony, contact people, introduce myself and read/write in Ukrainian. We don't pray in English in our class anymore, so they pretty much just thrusted me into it. I'm surprised at how quick the language is coming and how the Lord helps and blesses me. My district is also pretty sweet too. We are all Ukrainian speaking and going to the same mission the same day! We all got here the same day too. It's comforting to know that I will be with and go there with the same people. The rest of our zone/branch is Russian speaking, either going to Russia or other parts of Ukraine. We got a really warm welcome because the other Ukrainian district, before us, left week. So, they were all excited to see the new Ukrainian missionaries. The first night, in our room, everyone was like "Get out of the way, I want to meet the new Ukrainian elders!" Oh, and I was called to be the senior companion over my companionship. I wish I could write more but, I've only got so much time on here. Tell the rest of family that it would be better to Write to do dear elder rather than e-mail because I don't get a lot of time to e-mail people back. Oh, A couple suggestions for stuff would be: My Utah State sweatshirt because sometimes we have gym in the morning and it is freezing outside! Oh and my journal, the one with Jesus on the front. Thanks! I love you all so much

Elder McEntire

We love you Zach!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The church is true, see ya in two...

Well, I'm leaving this Wednesday for my Mission. So this will be my first and only post on this blog. After I leave, I will dump it on my family. I just wanna share a few feelings and thoughts in this post. What's gonna happen is that I will be set apart tomorrow and report for the mtc(missionary training center) on Wednesday at 1:15. Then I will go through training on teaching, the language, and the customs of Ukraine. I am definitely excited for whats gonna unfold for these next two years. People have come up to me this past weeks and have told me, "Oh, you're gonna change lives and change the world out there!" I have given some thought on this, and whether or not I will change lives will be up to God. So whatever happens and whatever experience I go through I will take with me for the rest of my life. So, here I stand, ready to welcome whatever I will face in Ukraine with open arms, unafraid and with faith. I encourage whomever may read this to do the same in your daily challenges and struggles. Welcome them and have faith that you will get through and be taken care of.
I can't promise you I will change lives or the world, but I will promise you that I will come back a better man and with a stronger testimony. Oh, and I will try oh so hard not to be awkward when I come home haha.
Anyways, my family will keep you posted on this blog with pictures, videos, letters, and anything else. The Church is true, and I'll see ya in two...