Monday, February 22, 2010

Off to Pittsburgh

Ben left this morning for "the field". He departed Salt Lake about 6:30 am and we missed his call. He evidently tried to call the land line, but couldn't get through, so he tried the cell phones. One was on a wimpy vibrate, in a coat pocket, in the closet, the other was upstairs while we were downstairs. Nobody heard them. When we did get his voice mail we were extremely disappointed. "Cry Me a River" disappointed. He did say he would try again during his layover in Chicago. Dad and I practiced conference calls, just in case. It was worth it. He did finally call later this morning (11 or so). I got us all hooked up and it was great!

Ben sounds wonderful. He's equally excited and nervous. Now he gets to interact with real people, not just practice people. He is traveling with about 15 other elders. Some were Pittsburgh, spanish speaking. He sends his love to everyone. Keep those letters coming.

He said he had a great MTC experience. He learned alot, like teaching people, not lessons. Know the people and teach to their needs. I'm hoping now that he gets settled in he will be able to write longer, more meaningful letters, which I am ready to share.

Pray for him.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Monday, February 8th

My district is amazing! Three of the elders are going to Australia and the rest are going to Pittsburgh. All the Elders here are just great people with better testimonies. Oh yeah and I'm the only elder that knows how to play the piano so, I'll be playing every sacrament meeting. Which is nice, because I miss playing the piano every day already.

There was a devotional on Sunday that was the best devotional I ever had! It was AMAZING! And I'll tell you why! There was a musical number (and you know how I am with spiritual music) and it was of the hymn, O My Father. They showed the words up on the screen when they were playing it on the piano and violins. As I listened, I read the words and sang along in my head, and I started to cry. Not only because the song reminded me of Dad because it's his favorite hymn, but it reassured my testimony of Heavenly Father and our relationship with him, why we're here, and that he loves us and knows us personally. It was amazing!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

1st Letter

We got our first letter from Elder Serrano. It was hand written and everything. He's doing awesome. You can just tell from the way he writes that he is still so excited and enjoying everything. Even a companion who likes to get up at 6am to shower (that means Ben gets up at 6am too). His first companion is Elder Coles and was born in the Pittsburgh mission area.

Ben said replacing the words guy or dude with Elder is the hardest thing he's had to do so far. The easiest has been enjoying the food. He assures me it's not as good as mine, but.... He also mentions that when they gave them their sheets for their beds they came with instructions on how to make a bed. One Elder in his room had to use them!!! Pay attention all you moms out there!

They met with their branch presidency and Ben was really impressed with them. Afterwords he was called back in and he was worried that he'd done or said something wrong. It turns out they wanted to call him to be the District Leader. I guess they saw in Ben what we all know. He's an amazing young man.

No e-mails as of yet. I look forward to posting those in Elder Serrano's own words so you can feel his spirit as well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Mailing Address

OK, so I know it's 5:19 am, but I was told I'd be getting a e-mail from the MTC sometime after midnight and I couldn't wait. I haven't quite got the e-mail list made up yet, but when I do I'll send this out. For now all you who check the blog get the early info. Elder Serrano's new address is:

Elder Benjamin Luis Serrano
MTC Mailbox #196
PA-PIT 0222
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793


What a wonderful day Wednesday. Elder Serrano spent the week packing, not only his suitcases but his room. It's amazing the amount of stuff a 19 year old can accumulate. Yesterday we got up, did some last minute packing and left for lunch about 11:00. Tucano's, being his favorite restaurant (all the meat you can eat, you know), was our destination. Some one in this family assured me we would take a long time at the restaurant, but that wasn't the case. By 12:00 we had pretty much stuffed ourselves silly.

With an hour+ left we couldn't decide what to do, so we went to my office (which had no patients at the time) and lay around on the couches until time to go.

We left for the Missionary Training Center about 12:40. He needed to report at 1:15 and we were relatively close. We got there and into the parking lot across the street about 12:50. There was a lot of traffic, imagine! We were able to get out and go across the street to take pictures. It wasn't nearly as crowded as I imagined at the the entrance where the good picture taking place is. When we were just about done another family came up to take pics. The mom called out "Hey Elder, where are you going?" Ben answered, "Pittsburgh" and guess what. That is where her elder is going too! It was so amazing. We got a pic of them and Elder Serrano made his first new friend. Elder Jensen.

We went back to the car around 1:10 and drove into the MTC. They have this all worked out quite well. You pull into the left and they have all these spots numbered along the curb. There are elders directing traffic and showing you were to park. Then there is an elder at the curb who starts unloading your luggage while you do your final hugs and goodbyes. We had a very patient elder who just stood politely while we all gave him a hug (Mom gave him two, of course). When there wasn't anything more to say or do, off they went up the sidewalk.

For all you mom's out there, I've never been inside the MTC to compare, but I think this has to be much better. It really was such a whirlwind that I didn't have time to really think about what was happening, so I wasn't crying my eyes out. It wasn't until I got home and realized that not only was I not going to see Ben for two years, but I couldn't even text him or call him to see how he was doing or what he was doing, that I really started in with the tears. Things are much better today, but even while writing this I'm starting to well up.

Thanks again for all the support both for Elder Serrano and for his family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

e-mail addresses

Thanks to all of you who would like to be on the e-mail list. I am getting your comments and addresses but am rejecting the comments so your e-mail isn't visible for all to see. Please continue to comment.

We're on our way to lunch then it's off to the MTC. Ben was set apart last night so it's Elder Serrano now. I'll let you know how that went and post some pics.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

E-mail Forword List

If anyone who didn't make it to Ben's farewell would like to get onto the e-mail forward list, you can leave your name and e-mail address in the comments section below and you will be added!