(Here is our first email from Zach, he's been at the MTC one week. My comments or additions will be in parenthesis)
Well the first week has been a good one! Please forgive me for lack of proper English punctuation, I only have 17 minutes left to... scratch that, I've only got 14 minutes left on the computer and then I'll get booted out of my email. (Computer access is limited at the MTC due to the high number of missionaries waiting their turn, and so that the computer doesn't become a distraction to their studies)
The first day was really cool, we had to drop everything off at our residences, NOT DORMS, we can't call them that; the buildings have been set apart for the training of missionaries, and then all ~400 of us 'dotters' (newly arrived missionaries get a dot on their nametags) got all of our materials and were forced to walk around the campus, arms full of books, until we found our class rooms. Then we spent 2 hours learning Spanish. After that we had dinner and then we all went into a huge meeting room and were introduced by country/state of origin. It was cool, there were a few from Missouri and of course half the room stood when Utah was called. Elder Gerlach (he is Zach's MTC companion) and I are becoming better friends and companions and we both are struggling to learn Spanish. Mom as it turns our we may be related, since you printed me a 5-gen chart instead of a 4 we found that #55 C D B S Gerlach could be a relation to his great grandfather from Prusssia. I'll have to send you his name soon, like before you fly back here to get it. I luv you mom.
Beyond that there isn't too much to talk about, we eat three square meals a day and have gym time for an hour everyday except pday (preparation day, Zach's p-day while at the MTC is Wednesday) and Sundays. We spend about 7 hours a day learning Spanish so I could probably out quiz Katie after 5 days! It really wipes you out though. If you could send me some envelopes and my black shin guards I would appreciate it. I had to get a Tdap Booster when I went through the immunization line so I'm sending an insurance claim form that they gave me. I'm betting that they won't pay it though because the church wants missionaries vaccinated every 5 yrs and the standard for that vaccine is 10 years. But just in case: we're blessed.
I'm gonna send you part of the pictures that I've taken and before I get kicked off, Dad do you remember who we ran into when we went to the temple in St. Louis? I do his name is Cameron Hendricks and he is one of the 11 elders in my district (at the MTC the missionaries are organized into smaller, organized groups called Districts. Members of the district will follow similar schedules and meet together for classes), no one else in my district is going to Mexico-West.
hasta luega y vaya con dios