Thursday, December 29, 2011

MTC Week 8!

Hey so there's not much to report this week except for somebody got the idea that my laundry supplies would work best when used on their clothes, so those are gone... Also our district gets to go clean the Provo Temple today, so that will be pretty cool hopefully, but it's for 3.5 hours so I wonder what they are gonna have us do. We have 2 new teachers, and 2 sub teachers, one of our new permanent teachers was born in Russia and she is still learning how to speak English and she won't speak to us in English hardly ever, so when I thought it wasn't really possible, we speak even more Russian during the day. Anyways, I want to thank you all again for the Christmas stuff, and all of your letters, I love the CTR ring! It's pretty classy, I also loved the marzipan and the beef jerky, those are my favorite things to get. I liked it all though. The gospel and language stuff is coming along better and better but it gets more and more complex every single day. We play UNO now at night time in our room, it gets pretty competitive haha.
By the way, Aunt Cheri's tree looked great, that was really nice of you all to do that for her, I'm sure she loved it! As far as the "tunnel" thing goes, I've looked around and I haven't found anything, I'll need more specifics. Can you send the address's again that you sent me in that one dear elder from a little while back, the one with address from people in the ward and family friends? I'm sorry to hear about Dave Pugh, I hope he's okay, I'll be sending him a letter soon, I did manage to find his address.
So if you do end up sending me a package, could I just have some beef jerky and/or marzipan, I don't need anything else, I'm just loaded with sweets in our room, beef jerky is like gold around here, because it's so rare to get it sent to you apparently. This is a really random email haha, I just have a lot of miscellaneous things to say. I love all you guys and I'm planning on writing you all letters when I get the chance. And what did you all get for Christmas?  Thanks for everything, until next week!
Elder Skene

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hey they are actually letting us email on Christmas! So I just wanna wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We heard from Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles today for our devotional. That means that I have already seen 3 of the 12 Apostles since I've been here. I think that's pretty cool! I hope that you can all still remember the true meaning of Christmas, which is remembering the Birth of the Savior, as we usually all try too. I can remember Christmas passed from when I was younger or even last Christmas and the one thing that usually occurred was the fact that I would always be most excited to get things and receive things without appreciating the real meaning of gift giving, which is an expression of love to one another. I'm thankful that you all have supported me through love and that that is the one of the best gifts that I've ever been given.
This Christmas here has given me more of a perspective on helping others, and being more Christ like in everything that I do. One of the best things that you can receive from a mission I think is the ability to be humbled and rendered like a child before Christ, which is a way that he can bless us. We got about 10 minutes to open presents this morning because we had to be in a leadership meeting haha, but it gives you a better appreciation for what you are doing in a way, you lose yourself in the work, you hardly ever get any time to do literally almost anything for yourself here. That can allow you I think to get a better appreciation for others and for all the things that you have been blessed with. Ha I don't intend this email to be like some lesson, I just think that It was interesting perspective that I was able to kinda see and look at.
I love you all and I hope to call you soon, thanks for all the stuff you sent me!!! That was awesome, I really loved the trolling present that Jake sent me, it made me laugh, everyone in my room loved it! Well, I don't have much time here to send this, but I want you to all know how much I miss and love you all, and that I'm alright here and everything is groovy. I'm on the home stretch to get to Russia here, only a few more weeks and I'm on my way. Well thanks for everything and I'll be emailing you next week! Tell everyone I said hello!
Elder Skene

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MTC Week 7!

Okay so we ran a little late today as far as laundry and email stuff, we were doing other stuff in the morning and all, before today there was only 7 people in our whole zone and district, now there is over 40. Anyway, I got a new name tag because I lost my old one and then found it after they had made my new one so I'll be sure to send it home to you guys so you can have it. Nothing super eventful other than that has happened this week other than something that I'll maybe have to tell you when I get back home, as it's pretty spiritual that was truly incredible and It's not something you disclose through an email haha.
Thanks for all the letters and guitar though, I love it! Could you guys go to Ultimate Guitar and find the highest rated tabs for the songs "If You Could Read My Mind" and "Sundown" by Gordan Lightfoot and "Mrs. Robinson" and "Dangling Conversation" and "The Boxer" and "Scarborough Fair" By Simon and Garfunkel and "Bleed to Love Her" by Fleetwood Mac and "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors and anything else you think would be interesting, they may be up in my room. Thanks a bunch, I'm not 100 percent sure if those titles are spelled correctly and if those are the exact titles but I'm 99 percent sure. Make sure to find the highest rated ones and print them off and send them to me if you could, and if there is an option for "Chords" and "Tabs" for any one of these songs, please print out both of them and send them so I have a Chord and Tab rendition for every song.
Elder Wimber and I are doing great, pretty much everyone here gets a kick out of our pranks and shenanigans except for the no fun on mission crowd, but oh well. I'm not sure what else to say, the language is coming well and so is the Gospel stuff. I can't wait to see all you guys again in 2013. I hope you can have an amazing Christmas and I love you all! Oh hey did Dad ever look into that 1971 Chevelle? Awesome buy possibly? Haha. But for real, have an awesome Christmas and tell everyone I said hi. I'll miss the traditions we always do every year but I know I'm doing the Lord's work and this is where he wants me to be.
I hope you have an Awesome Christmas and I love you all! Iwill write to you next week, thanks for everything!
-Elder Skene

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facebook link

My family is keeping my facebook page updated, including photos that I take on my mission.  Check it out at:

Wishing you all a great holiday season!

Elder Travis Skene

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week 6!

Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well, I'll tell you what's been happening here. So the older districts left and that was pretty hard, friendships form pretty fast here so it's hard to say goodbye to people who's company you enjoy, but I got all of their contact info so I'll be talking to them after the mission, and two of the people that I talked to a lot are going to Rostov, Elder Smith and Elder Roberts, and they're way funny, I hope I have them as companions. Some other funny and interesting stuff goes on but I'll save some stories for when I get home haha. Also, on Saturday, I injured my shoulder while playing volleyball, just like I did a few years ago, remember that? Except this time it was worse and they thought it could be kinda bad, because last time it took a few months to be totally back to normal, and so I was scared that it would be even worse this time, I got a blessing though from my district and literally right after the blessing I could move my arm without almost any pain, it was incredible, and now my arm is almost completely healed. The doctors and and the physical therapists are all surprised.
Also, Elder Sandoval is no longer my companion, we did something rather unusual and we have done companion transfers this week that will be permanent for the rest of the MTC because we are now at the halfway point. Elder Sandoval and Elder O'Neill are companions and Elder Wimber and I are companions, Elder Wimber is the one who looks kind of like Sean Hannity, me and him get along really well and like a lot of the same stuff, I'm pretty sure we would have been friends outside the mission if we would have met, but after the mission he wants to get some Star Wars stuff with us when he gets to BYU. Elder Isabell left last week too, he got reassigned as you might remember and he went to Long Beach, California English speaking but apparently there are an okay amount of Russians in Long Beach so that's good, hopefully he will get some opportunities to speak it. I am District Leader now too, so I'm gonna try to do that well. Russian and Language study are going along good and I'm liking it more as time goes on. I'll tell you more stuff in the next email! I love you all and the Church is true!
Elder Skene

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week 5 MTC

Okay so there's not a ton to say concerning this past week other than a few things. The old districts leave next week which is really kinda sad, I have made a lot of good friends with them. Also, sadly, Elder Isabell can't go to Russia anymore, he should be getting his call to somewhere in the US later today, he can't go because of his back problems, and Rostov was literally the mission that he wanted more than anything else before he even got his call, and when he got it he was ecstatic, and now it has been taken away from him, I guess the Lord is trying his faith, and because Elder Isabell is leaving, Elder Sandoval is my only companion and it has taken nearly all of my energy to motivate him to work and follow rules. I guess I didn't notice his lack of work before because Elder Isabell and I must have been doing almost all of it haha.
I just have to stay positive and even though it already has probably will continue to be a trial of my faith, I'll have to trust in the Lord that this is all for a good reason, because at the MTC it is incredibly difficult to deal with laziness and apathy, there's absolutely no room for them in missionary work. Anyway, tell everyone back at home that I said hi, and tell all the grandparents and Aunt Linda and Devon that I loved their letters and Dear Elders. I like all of your letters and Dear Elders too, but I can't write letters back very often, we are really busy here, and mail takes a day or so to leave the MTC, so I apologize that they didn't come super soon haha. Also, did you update the companion section on the blog? You do it by clicking on the little hammer and wrench icon next to the companion section box, also remember to copy and paste everything into the blog haha, not just parts of a post, thanks! Keep Elder Isabell in there, even though he is leaving. I'll try to let you know what I want for Christmas next week, I'll have to think about that one. As far as my debit card goes, we mostly buy Russian grammar and Gospel books, and then like a drink or something, and I have to get my clothes dry cleaned, and also I had to pay for a doctors appointment for like a swelling I had in my jaw and he gave me some antibiotics that I had to pay for. So now you know.
Anyway, I'm still trolling here and everything, one of my favorite things to do is shut off the bathroom light while people are in the stalls because there are no windows in the bathrooms here and no safety lights, so it's pitch black, and it's not like they're gonna get out of the stall and turn it back on, so it's hilarious to see their reaction, most of the time they become like desperate and call for help. Haha maybe it's way rude but oh well, it's priceless and we all do it. Also, we meet new missionaries on Wednesdays and I go greet them in different voices like Tim Gunn haha, it's so much fun, because their super paranoid and nervous because they just came in so their reactions are so subtle and they'll go along with anything because they've never been here before, haha you have to make fun where you can here, we do a bunch of other stuff too but I'll have to tell you maybe some other time. I also have to play the piano for Sacrament and Priesthood meetings on Sundays now.
Russian is coming along pretty well and so is the Gospel stuff, but it takes a lot of studying and practicing to get it down really well, especially with Russian, its' grammar is ridiculously difficult, and we never even had a lesson on the alphabet or how to pronounce words or anything, they just kinda assume you know it and they just throw you into it and immerse you into it all day basically. I think I might of told you that, it's been like that since day one, and of course by now we can pronounce things and read and write pretty well. Did I tell you that Russian literally has no helping verbs? So there are no words for the words "is" or "are" or "the" or "of" or anything like that, you can just tell where they would be depending on how each word in the sentence is conjugated, so literally each word has like at least six different ways to spell it due to the fact of there being six cases, sometimes like 15 different ways depending on if it's a verb or not. I'll tell you more about it later but you get kinda used to it after a while because you speak it so much.
Well I have to go now. I love you all! Talk to you next week.
Love, Elder Skene