I remember people saying if you were bad they would send you to Outer Mongolia. In this case it's different, because James is good he's going on a mission to Mongolia.

Friday, May 30, 2008

MTC week 2: Full speed ahead

Ok, first item of business, are you guys there! I have to keep reassuring the other Elders in my district that I actually do have a family by showing them pictures. I can understand where they're coming from, what with me only getting one piece of mail from them in two weeks! Haha, i fully expect a piece of mail from all of you! Especially considering the fact i'll be writing a bunch today to send home to you. :) Holy cow, so can you believe I've been here for two weeks already? That's amazing! Over the past week it's been really cool to meet a bunch of the Elders that were in my ward at BYU. It really is a blessing to see them all enter in to go out to the different places they will be serving. The other day one of the elders in our district shared a scripture in Alma 17:2. It talks about how Alma meets up with the sons of Mosiah after their long mission to the Lamanites. The greatest part is where it says, "therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord". I was thinking about how that relates to Elder Clawson and Tyler and Elder Miller and Elder Stock and Ryan. I'm really excited to come back off the mission and share all of our experiences and to come back as 'brethren in the Lord'. Hmm, lets see what else i did. Well on Friday we did this thing called the TRC where we go and teach lessons to volunteers so we can simulate the missionary experience. My companion and I taught the 1st discussion and it was AWESOME! Honestly I felt so good doing it, I was really really nervous but I was seriously so happy after finishing it because it felt so good to teach those basic, amazing truths. As you spend your time studying these principles and learning how to teach them effectively, you really end up learning the most about them and how absolutely necessary, and wonderful, the Atonement of Jesus Christ it is. I mean, I always knew how it was necessary to make it back to Heavenly Father, but as you teach it, and as you imagine teaching it to people that have never heard it, the beauty and power of it really begin to sink in. And although i'm not sure i'll ever fully understand the power of the Atonement, i'm really starting to and I am continually humbled in that matter. I just can't wait to actually get out to Mongolia and tell those people this wonderful message. Well, on second thought, I can wait because the language is hard! We're supposed to teach the 1st discussion tomorrow in Mongolian and it is definitely going to be tough. I've got a lot more stuff to go over to be prepared and hopefully i'll be able to! It really exciting to learn this language because it's so different. In a fireside on Sunday the speaker was talking about how Finnish is the hardest language to learn and so i wanted to find out where Mongolian ranks. Although i didn't get any official word or anything, most people said it's either 2nd or 3rd with Mandarin being the other factor. That's pretty cool. So I asked my teacher to find out what happened to the BYU Lacrosse team in the tournament. I thought maybe my loving family would tell me but it's ok :-P It was sad to hear how we lost to Michigan and all. Oh well. Another disappointing sports update I heard was that the Spurs beat the Hornets! But then I also heard that the Lakers are up 3-1 in the series so that makes me feel better. K, so just the other day I had some great experiences in the RC, that's the place where you call and take calls from people requesting church materials. I had a 40 minute conversation with this man named Aca from Texas. He had been looking for a long time to find the right church and he understood quite a lot about certain doctrine to the extent that he believed it. I couldn't just simply tell him principles about our church because he had ideas to counter it. The great thing was that he wasn't there to just bible-bash with me, he was sincerely looking for the truth and wanted to talk to me to see what I knew. So we talked, and at times I wasn't the clearest and at times we coulnd't come to the same conclusion, but I was finally able to bring it all around to Moroni 10:3-5. I told him that if he would finish reading the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know if it was true, the answer he would receive, whether or not it said the book was true, which I know it is, that would be the right answer. I committed him to finish reading it and he said he'd like to follow up on this conversation after he had read it. So now i'm really excited because I get to call him back in about a month and talk to him about it. Please keep him in your prayers so that he can feel the power of the Book of Mormon. I know it seems weird that I'd ask you to pray for a man that I only talked to on the phone with for 40 mins, but the truth is, he's just as important in God's eyes as each one of us and that if we were to not care about him, we could not say that we were Christlike or taht we treated everyone the way Christ would. Along with the experience with Aca, I had some other neat conversations. One was with this man that had been cheated out of a lot of money through real estate managers and such. I was able to tell him about the eternal riches Christ has for us and how worldly riches don't amount to much. I think that as I tell these people these things, I learn it much much more than I could have any other way and that's amazing to me. On Tuesday, we had Sister Ann Dibbs come to speak to us and she had a unique persepctive to share. She was the daughter of President Thomas S Monson. It was awesome to hear her intimate association with this man of God and the qualities that he demonstrated. I felt a deep desire to follow in his footsteps. I hope that I can find myself in the service of the Lord in some way or another my whole life because that is the labor that truly brings forth riches and blessings. Uhm, as a last thing that I was thinking of writing in a letter to the kids in Seminary, you can tell them this: It is absolutely VITAL that each and every one of them find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true. Read that book, treasure that book, pray to know if it is true. That is so very, very important and if they haven't already done it, they should! They'll be so glad they did. The prophets have urged it and for good reason, it makes so many things clear. K, so my time is ticking down and i've got to end this e-mail. I'll be writing again in a week but I'm gonna write some letters today to you all! I love you! ~Elder Cappuccio

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Elder James' First Email

Hi! So this is my first chance to send an e-mail out. It's pretty cool! So wow, I don't know what to write, so much stuff has happened here in my first week. Lets start with the language. Mongolian is an amazing language and definitely one of the most challenging things I've come across. It's so different from any other language i've come in contact with. I thought that maybe it would be like Chinese or Russian, but it's not at all! The sentence structure is very interesting, it goes subject, object, verb. So, instead of in English where you can just listen to the first part of the sentence and pretty much know what's going on, you have to listen to the whole thing! Our teacher says that when we get really good we can just catch the beginning and end but I don't think that's going to be any time soon. Besides the fact that there are a bunch of different rules, they have an entirely different alphabet! Basically, they use the Cyrillic alphabet that the Russians gave them and then added a few more. There are 35 letters! Anyways, there are a lot of rough sounds in the language and I'm sure you'll get a kick out of me speaking it when i get back. Lots of kkkh sounds haha. We've already transitioned into saying our testimonies and prayers in Mongolian. We're not able to say as much as we can in English but it's pretty cool. The ability to learn this much of the language is a great testament to me of the power associated with missionary work, especially the gift of tongues. We spend a lot of time studying the language but it definitely feels like we're not doing all of the work. K, so enough about the language. Uhm, another cool thing is my District. We have a lot of great Elders in the district and they're all pretty different. My companion is Elder Finuf and he's actually from Phoenix. He went to Desert Vista, ran track, and played soccer. He's a good Elder. We've really gotten along well. It's kinda funny because the first few days we were just amazed at how many similarities we had. We both had the same pinstripe suit, we were both from Arizona, we both played soccer, our dad's both work at Intel, we even had the same mini-hymn book! The teachers and leaders here are often talking about how it's hard to get along with your companion because it might seem like they are the exact opposite. Whenever they say that, Elder Finuf and I just look at each other and laugh. I love it here. I cannot think of a better place to be learning and growing in all aspects. The days are long but they seem like they just fly by. I remember the very first day I was here it seemed like an eternity yet now I've already been here a week. It's amazing! The Spirit is really strong here too. In every setting I am able to feel the Spirit, in the classroom, in my residence hall, in the firesides and devotionals. It's constantly just this overwhelming feeling of God's love and the importance of the work. I've definitely grown to a better appreciation of Jesus Christ's Atonement and how necessasry and how absolutely vital it is to us. I've also gained, and i'm working on growing it, a greater love for all people. We're all God's children and to treat one less than the other just doesn't make sense. I have the ability to experience this in the RC. That's the Referral Center. Basically you call people that have requested Church materials, follow up on it, and try and get them to visit with the missionaries. It's a great opportunity to feel the Spirit and touch people's lives through your testimony and sincerity. I was able to talk to a middle aged man the other day from Louisiana that wanted to bring his family closer together and so he watched a video by the Church called Family Answers. I was then able to talk with him about it and how families don't have to end with death, but that the joy we experience here on Earth with them can continue on in the next life and I sent him a copy of Together Forever (i think that's what it's called). It was an awesome experience. Uhm, like i said in that letter I sent you, the Branch Presidency called me as District Leader for our district of Mongolian Elders. This calling has really been an experience that has humbled me and brought me to call on the inspiration of the Lord. They definitely stress that in my calling I am here to lead but also to serve. That i am to lift, encourage, inspire, and bless the other Elders in my district. As I've tried, it's been amazing to see what the Lord has been able to accomplish. The district, like I already mentioned is filled with excellent Elders and they have helped me so much to bring the district closer. As I've been here, I've really began to understand how very, very important it is to be worthy. That is a huge thing both in the MTC and anywhere in the church. If i had not been worthy, I would not be able to experience the Spirit as I do now, and I wouldn't be able to go forth in this great work. Uhm, so i don't know what else to put, I see friends of mine almost everywhere here and it's really exciting. I LOVE getting letters and packages so please do send me some! The other day one Elder got a package of cinnamon rolls delivered through the service called DearElder. I definitely suggest that you send me some Mom! Alright my computer time is almost up so I've got to go. I'll write more next week. I love each and every one of you Cappuccios! Joseph, Cali, Crystal, Amy, Dad, and Mom! I love you! Thanks for being such a great family to me and giving me all that I have! ~Elder Cappuccio It was great to hear his excitement about learning Mongolian. I know he will work hard to figure it out. I also liked the subtle hint about cinnamon rolls...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Checking into the MTC

Yesterday James left behind his cell phone, mp3 player, facebook friends and the world as we know it and entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. I am sure he is doing okay, but I had an attack of missionary mom blues when he left on Monday. I hope he will get to email me soon so I can post his first letter on the here. If you would like to write him sometime during the next 11 weeks while he is at the MTC, here is his address: Elder James Ammon Cappuccio, MTC Mailbox #96, MON-ULA 0728, 2005 N 900 E, Provo Ut 84604-1793 By the way he gave a nice farewell talk, which made it the best Mother's day for me. He started out by talking about his friend Ben Clawson's mission call to Provo Utah mission. He said Ben's mom was very happy with the call because it was an answer to her prayer that he be sent somewhere close. James then said, " I wonder what my mom was praying for!" He talked about how I helped him prepare for a mission throughout his life, but I think he came to this earth with a strong missionary spirit already. Well that's it for tonight.