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Week 5 – Provo, UT MTC

Its been a busy week here in the MTC. Last Wednesday was our first time hosting the new missionaries. I was able to host Elder Morrel: Tampa Florida Mission (mom you may know him as Ammon Morrel from Lake Stevens) Sister Blondquist: New York City New York mission and Elder Zhang: San Jose California Mandarin Speaking. All of them were very excited to be here and serving missions. We get to host again tomorrow and are hoping it will be a fun experience this week as well. Skyping went really well last week too. I was able to understand every word that the native brazilians said but I could tell they were speaking slowly for us. They were this old couple from Recife, Brazil and they were crazy nice to Elder badger and I. After hearing I was from the Seattle Area they asked where from seattle. I told them Everett and it turns out they have a son that lives in Everett and another that lives in Marysville. It was really cool to talk with them and we all shared our favorite scriptures from the book of Mormon and talked about why we liked those scriptures.

Other than that this week hasn’t been very exciting. Just a lot of time in the classroom studying and preparing our lessons. I don’t think I told you this but Elder Badger and I have now gotten 2 baptisms with our investigators. Both Vinicius and Anna Paula will be “baptized this Saturday. I did run into Mike and April (our aunt and uncle who will be serving in the Liberia Monrovia mission) last night and was able to talk to them for a few minutes before the bad food started getting worse. They are excited and look very happy to be here. One of our teachers Irma Connell has a brother coming in tomorrow and she is going to look for one of us to host him. That will be kinda cool.
Today is the last day that I get to go to the temple for 2 years and that kind of bums me out but oh well. I’m ready to get going to Mozambique and start teaching and serving the people there. \
(NOTE: We got Elder Nate’s travel schedule this last weekend. He’ll be leaving on Sunday, March 2nd at 2:20 pm.. He will be flying from SLC to Dallas, from Dallas to London, from London to Johannesburg, South Africa, and from Johannesburg to Maputo, Mozambique – finally arriving at 10:45 am on Tuesday, March 4th. Whew! He will get to call our parents from each airport, so that is pretty exciting for us.)
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Week 4 – Provo, UT MTC

It’s great that you all got to spend Sunday with Mike and April. They must be getting excited about going. As always if anyone desires to send me something I will not discourage it. It’s always nice to receive something in the MTC. Thank you all for your support as I take on the new calling. Its gotten a lot better and I’m able to focus on learning the language and the gospel again. We did find out last Friday that we do get to host the new missionaries coming in this Wednesday and next Wednesday. We are all extremely excited and juiced to welcome the new Missionaries to the Compound…I mean the MTC.

So in exciting news we had a devotional the 16th of February and the speaker was President Matthew Holland, the president of Utah Valley University. He is the son of a Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Elder Holland also came to the devotional!!!! He introduced his son and then his son gave probably one of the best devotionals I have ever heard. President Holland spoke about the moments in Joseph Smith’s early life leading up to him reaching Palmyra, and how we all need to become students of the life of Joseph Smith because without a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet we can’t have a testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon or any of the principles taught in that as well as the Doctrine and Covenants.
Every Friday in the MTC we do something called TRC which is where we go and speak to real members of the church that are having troubles right now, whether its with church or with school and things like that. Anyways all of ours speak Portuguese obviously, its just a really neat experience. Well we found out last Friday that this Friday we will be skyping with people from Mozambique and Portugal. So its going to be really tough but at the same time really cool to hear how they actually talk and what not. In other cool news we have an Elder in our zone named Elder Zwick, and last Tuesday the speaker for the devotional happened to be an Elder Zwick as well. It turns out it was our Elder Zwick’s uncle and our Elder Zwick got to sit in the front row. It was also a good devotional.
Now on to things I’ve learned about Mozambique. Irmão Workman who served in Mozambique told us that for 3 of his transfers, he and his companion had to build their own house once they got there. He also told us that we will spend a lot of time building houses in our areas while we serve as well, so that will be cool. He also told us that ties down in Mozambique start at about $0.45 and can be haggled down to $0.30. So obviously I may be coming back with a lot of ties. Dad and grandpa If you two want me to pick some up for you I’d be more than happy to do so. He also told us that you will get robbed at knife/gunpoint a few times if you serve in some of the bigger cities, but he told us how to avoid losing all the real money. He said to get a cheap wallet and keep about $6 in it and just if you get robbed to give them that money. You keep your real money tucked away in your planner or missionary handbook so they don’t get that. He also told us that our houses can be broken into as well but that’s never a huge deal because each apartment will get outfitted with a safe where you keep all of your real valuables such as a camera, passport, etc. There is a picture in one of the buildings here at the MTC that is of a baptism taking place in Africa, and it shows the two people in the water doing the actual ordinance, and then to each side there is about a line of 6 people all holding spears and harpoons and whatnot in case of any alligators trying to disrupt the baptism.
Don’t let any of those things worry you though. I am extremely excited to get going to Mozambique and start doing the real work there, even if it is a little dangerous.
Love all of you, Elder Keck
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Week 3 – Provo, UT MTC

Not much news this week. From his letter to Mom:

The teacher here at the MTC that went to Mozambique, Brother Workman, says the only snake he came in contact with was a Spitting Cobra that almost got him but he said that that isn’t too common. The thumb is better, it doesn’t have a full range of motion yet but it doesnt hurt at all which is good. Thats crazy about the snowstorm, we had one about 5 days ago.

From his letter to Dad:

The MTC is a lot harder than people think. You spend 12 hours a day in class with teachers that don’t speak English, you start teaching an investigator in your mission language the third day you are here and the food gives you bowel problems. You can’t come in here thinking it will be easy because its not. …Speaking of leadership positions, they thought I did such a good job as a district leader they put me in charge of the whole zone.

Please keep Nate in your prayers!

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Week 3 – Photos

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MTC district selfie at the Provo Temple (Elder Keck is 2nd from the front)

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MTC District (one of the elders is going to Lisbon, Portugal and the rest to Mozambique Maputo

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MTC district at the Provo Temple (Elder Keck is on the far right)

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“roommates in the compound” (Elder Keck is on far right)

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Elder Keck’s zone in the MTC (Elder Keck is on bottom right. He said his first official act as zone leader was to call a pre-P-day party!)

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Elder Keck and his MTC companion, Elder Badger (Elder Keck is on the left)

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Elder Keck and his first “investigator”/favorite teacher, Irmao Roberts

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Week 2 – Provo, UT MTC

I’m going to be pulling pieces from all the various emails he sends to us – they are all fairly short, but he tells each of us different things.

From his email to Mom:

As for devotionals we have them Sunday nights, and Tuesday nights. As for speakers no one of real renown has come and spoken yet but we are hoping one will come tonight. If your interested see if you can find one of Elder Bednar’s devotionals called “Character of Christ” Its incredibly good. We don’t have cultural class until  our last week here but one of the teachers on our floor served in Mozambique and he came and talked to my district last week. Not gonna lie made me a little sketched out about the bugs there. He also said to tell our parents that their will be times where you wont receive emails from us. He said that more than once power would be out for a few days or someone would cut the internet lines. So be prepared for that and if you don’t hear from me it doesn’t mean I’m dead or in the Hospital. And for P.E. I don’t play foursquare. Instead I play volleyball which is way more fun. That is until someone jammed up my thumb pretty bad on Saturday. I haven’t been able to bend it much but one of the members of our branch presidency (a surgeon who has scrubbed with Elder Nelson on multiple occasions) looked it over and told me that it just needed some time. So since then I have been lifting weights but I’ll probably just play volleyball again when its better. Don’t worry though because every morning when we wake up our district does some strength and flexibility every morning for about a half hour.

From his email to Dad:

So P.E. is awesome the only structure there is how long we are there for. Once it starts we can play volleyball, foursquare, basketball, run, or lift weights. I’ve been playing volleyball every period until last saturday when someone almost nearly broke my thumb. Instead they just jammed it up pretty good, so I’ve started lifting weights again while it heals. I did hear the Superbowl was a blowout which is fine with me since we won. I cant upload pictures. You are gonna have to send me a cord of some sort or an SD card USB reader thing. The computers here don’t have slots for SD cards so i cant just pop it in and upload pictures like we hoped. As for the language our 3rd day here we started teaching investigators in Portuguese and continue to do so on the daily. One of the elders in my district gets like a different package of snacks every day. Luckily he is more than willing to share with us.

From his email to me:

My companion is a country boy from a tiny town called Willard, Missouri. His name is Elder B and just to kind of get an idea about him, he didn’t get a cellphone until he was 18. When he was in high school he sang in the choir and was in the drama program. Never kissed a girl or been on a date. But I freaking love him. He is one of the nicest kids in the world and he is super excited about teaching the principles of our gospel and says hi to everybody. As for being district leader it entails extra meetings on Sunday, interviews almost everyday, my district (jokingly) threatening to impeach me on the daily by holding up 3 fingers and whistling Katniss’ whistle from the hunger games. It also includes saying about a 15-30 minute prayer every night. Its not fun but its not very hard so I don’t mind. As for pictures I need an SDcard reader to plug into the computer or a cord that goes from computer to camera.