As soon as there are pictures to post, this space will be filled with a slideshow. Stay tuned! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

As promised...

Ok, as promised, here's an update! I'm going oldest to newest here, and this is only a few of the MANY things that need to be put here, but I have a massive headache and no more energy to get EVERYTHING up here all at once, so I'm going to do a few a day until we're all caught up instead, so that you have time to read it all instead of just skipping around. Before I do post this update though, I feel it necessary to add a disclaimer: Any misspellings, improper grammar, incompleteness, etc. have been intentionally left the way I found them in the letters, journal entries, emails, etc. You can point any flaws out to Elder Duncan...I types it as I sees it. Lol. Also, if you have ANY questions regarding needing translations of when he writes in Spanish, or terms and things that you may not understand even if you DO know the Spanish translation, or anything else you're concerned, confused, or just plain curious about, please don't hesitate to “ask your local Mormon” as Conor suggests, hahaha. Other than that, enjoy! :D

May 12, 2011 [journal entry]
Second P-day. Got a lot done for it being such a chill day. Emails printed, lots of letters written, laundry done. Did initiatories at the temple. Then yet another great lesson from Hermano Burrup. Doesn't seem like a lot, but 'twas a busy day for a P-day.

Friday, 13 May 2011 [letter to family]
Hello again, family,
So, I forgot to mention in my email how grateful I was for all of the letters that I have received. Please publish in whatever ways you can how thankful and appreciative I am for that, and I hope it continues. I'm pretty sure (though I bet the website would know better) that DearElder will still be effective in Guatemala. But again, I'm not sure, so I guess we'll see.
By the way, are you guys having a lot of troubles reading my handwriting? Let me know, because I can try harder to be legible, it'll just take longer to write these letters.
And, yes Mom, the package came, thank you so much, for both the essentials and the candy. It was really great of you to send all that stuff, though I sent the replacement head back because it's a Remington, and my razor is Norelco. Thanks though, the thought was much appreciated.
There's probably something else I forgot, so you might get a letter from me again. Just keep in mind the travel time frame I gave you, and I'll update you if there are any changes. Love you all!!!
Love, Conor
P.S. Hey Troy. Thank you so much for the shirt. It's so great to have been able to dress “normal” (aka button-up & jeans) sometimes. I really appreciate you giving it up for me. Love you.
P.P.S. Funny thing I forgot to tell you guys. Ya know that filtering water-bottle we got for me? They gave me the exact same one when I got here. I guess I've got 2. Hahaha.
Last P.S. The password to voicemail on the phone is [omitted]. [Lol, Troy gets Conor's cell phone line while he's gone, but he forgot to tell Troy how to access his voicemail system so that he could change everything for his own use.]

May 13, 2011 [journal entry]
After P-day, my second-favorite day at the MTC is Friday, because all our classes are done before dinner. Those classes were great, though, they always are. But then, after dinner all we have is TALL, then gym, then chill for the rest of the night, which has been great once a week.

May 14, 2011 [journal entry]
I was kind of upset with my district, myself, and whoever does some part of the logistics around here. Something happened that we didn't have a teacher for one of our 3 hour class periods. And I just went along with the rest of them in not telling anyone, and we basically wasted that whole time. However, Hermano Burrup turned around and did a great lesson, as usual. So the day wasn't a total waste.

May 15, 2011 [journal entry]
Yeah, I like Sundays. Meetings were great, this week focused on an awesome topic: repentance. And the Sunday Fireside speaker was Elder Cecil Samuelson of the Seventy, who was really good. Also, since this was our last Sunday in the Provo MTC, we got to go to Departure Devotional, which focused more on those entering the field, but was still great.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

backlog - part...uh...5...?

May 9, 2011 [journal entry]
The language continues to be learned, faster and faster, it seems. And during Hermano Burrup's class, he had us watch an address [Elder] Jeffrey R. Holland made at the MTC years ago. Even though it was given in the past, It seemed like like he said it just to me, right then and there. And I know I can't give up, no matter how hard and discouraging things get. Because like he said, it's supposed to be hard.

May 10, 2011 [journal entry]
Wow. What a day. Class with Hermano Catt was amazing. We spent all 3 hours studying personally about the Savior, which sounds awful and long, but I wish it could have gone longer. I'd never received so many new insights in one sitting before. And then at Tuesday Devotional, Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke to us. It was great, and strengthened my testimony of the Savior and our leaders so much.

May 11, 2011 [journal entry]
Service day again. I really don't like cleaning 5 bathrooms. But then I consider the purpose behind it, preparing us to serve ALL people of our missions, and it's not so bad. Then there's TRC. The Training Resource Center. It's where volunteers (usually BYU students) come in to be investigators for the training missionaries. And among all the missionaries I've talked to, it's the most dreaded thing here. But last week and this week, it really showed me how far my Spanish, knowledge of the gospel, & testimony have grown. And as I prepare to leave Provo next Tuesday, I feel more confident.

Subject: 2nd P-day
From: Conor Duncan (
Sent: Thu 5/12/11 4:27 PM
To: [Everyone]


So, it's my last week here in the Provo MTC (Missionary Training Center, since I believe at least one of you didn't know what i meant at some point). This Tuesday, May 17, I head out for the Guatemala MTC. We're supposed to report to the Travel Office here at the MTC at 4:30 pm. We'll be flying with Delta Airlines, leaving from Salt Lake City Airport around 8:00 pm, laying over at LAX in California for 3 hours, leaving LAX around 12:35 am, and arriving in Guatemala City at around 6:30 am.

Family, I'm not really sure when in this plan I'll be allowed to call, so just be ready for it from 4:30 on. I'll prolly call the house phone, unless I get a letter telling me a different number to use, up to you guys.

So, now my week. It was pretty awesome. Language just keeps coming, it's really amazing. And to those Church members who get this, you'll get a kick out of this. For Tuesday devotional, the speaker was none other than Elder Neil L. Anderson, of the Quorum of the Twelve!!! Twas awesome!!! other than that, nothing in particular to report. I continue to learn more about the Spanish language, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and myself with every passing day. I feel like I've grown so much throughout just the 2 weeks I've been here, it's strange to think about how much I might change over two whole years.

Thinking of you all, Miss you tons. Talk to you later, next time from Guatemala City!!!!

Elder Duncan

Thursday, 12 May 2011 [letter to family]
Hey family,
Here's the next installment of my journal. [posted above] Be sure to post it one way or another to the blog. Love you guys!!!

Love, Conor

P.S. I'm pretty sure I'll put this in the email, but our travel plans are as follows:

Airline Flight Airport Time Date
Delta Air Lines 814 LV: Salt Lake City, UT 8:10 PM 17 May, 2011
AR: LA, CA 9:11 PM 17 May, 2011

Delta Air Lines 457 LV: LA, CA 12:35 AM 18 May, 2011
AR: Guatemala City 6:10 AM 18 May, 2011

Also, in answer to a question of Mom's, on P-day I have one 3-hour class. Otherwise, it's laundry, chill, and go to the Temple. And on Sunday, there's no class at all. It's sacrament [meeting], priesthood [meeting], and lot's [aw...he put an unnecessary cute...] of personal study time, with a fireside and Church film to finish the day. Last week we watched The Testaments, and this week we watched the newest Joseph Smith one.

[I love how the P.S. was longer than the actual "letter" portion...hahahaha... :D ]


Sorry everyone...I really have been terrible keeping this up to date. D: Elder Duncan is now in the CCM (the Guatemalan equivalent of the Provo MTC; I forget what the letters stand for but I'm pretty sure Elder Duncan explains it). He'll be there for another week or two before transferring out into the country full time. I'm sure we have a new address for him, I just have to get it from his latest letters and such. I'll update that and get some more content up right now. I again apologize for letting things back up like this. I'll try to do better about it in the future. TRY being the key word...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

backlog - part 4

Thursday, 5 May, 2011 [letter to family]
Hey family,
So, a lot of this will prolly be in the email I send today, but I can't know for sure whether everything will, so here's a failsafe. Have Erin put it on the FB page or blogspot or whatever if you want.
So, first off, I'm really curious about where the package with my soap dish, TSA locks, etc. is. I hope you just sent it very recently, rather than it got lost. That would suck. Second, for the next 2 weeks, I'd really appreciate some real letters and/or packages. Every other elder in my district have been getting letters and stuff from friends and family, and some stuff from you guys might help with the occasional bout of loneliness. After the next 2 weeks, I'd still appreciate it, but I'll understand since I won't be in the country anymore.
But anyway, since I'll never be able to get this in an email, here's what my days are usually like. Keep in mind, every day is a different schedule, so I can't really put a "typical day". But most days have common factors.
Everyday, I wake up at 5:15 A.M. Most days there are 2 sessions of class, for 3 hours each. The exceptions to that are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays are Devotional, and Thursdays, P-day. We have one session of class on these days, and no class at all on Sundays. Meals are at the same time everyday, at 7:30, 12:00, and 5:00 respectively. Every day but P-day and Sunday we have gym, and TALL lab, which is Technology Assisted Language Learning, which is a very helpful computer program. And every day, bedtime is 10:30.
To better explain class, it's language learning, gospel study, and learning teaching skills, all rolled up into one thing. If I went back to school, this is how I would want it to be.
Now, about getting you my journals. I don't know if I'll ever have time in the MTC to type them out. So I'm trying something with this letter. I'm going to pay to have pictures of the pages developed, and hopefully you'll be able to find a way to read them.
So, know that I love and miss you all, but I'm doing just fine. Let me know, by email or letter, how you and everyone else back home are doing. Love you ALL!!!

Elder Duncan

May 6, 2011 [journal entry]
I really spent some time studying the Book of Mormon today. Nothing in particular, just sorta reading. But really for the first time, I paid attention to what I was reading. And it hit me so hard: The Lord promised the Nephite prophets that no matter what, He would preserve their records, and cause that the Lamanites should receive it. And that's what I'm doing!! It's so humbling, and I pray I'm up to the task.

May 7, 2011 [journal entry]
The days seem to be entering a routine, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. But they continue to be fun, filled with learning and new insight into the gospel. Hermano Burrup spent some time today have us study "Consecration, Sanctification, and Sacrifice." I'd never thought of them as the Same, or at least tied together. I've sacrificed so much to be here, but I don't know if there's more I need to sacrifice. And if there is more I should sacrifice, I don't know if I can.

May 8, 2011 [journal entry]
Today was really....normal. Which was nice. Just a church service. I helped pass sacrament. It was great. Then the really cool thing happened. There is NOTHING quite like it. At fireside, the entire gym full of missionaries sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth". The absolute most powerful song we sing here in the MTC. It was awe-inspiring.

5/8/2011 [continuation of letter to family]
P.S. I had to wait for the pictures I mentioned to develop. So I get to add a REALLY COOL experience from Sunday Devotional. One of the songs we sang was "We'll Bring the World His Truth", and there hasn't been anything more powerful to me than being in a gym full of missionaries singing that, especially with the change to the chorus that's on the back. Also, I'm including a pic of our weekly schedule. [Which I (Erin) will try to get scanned and post it later!] Hopefully it'll help.
[back of letter]:
We have been born, as Nephi of old,
To goodly parents who love the Lord.
We have been taught, and we understand
That we must do as the Lord commands.

We are as the Army of Helaman,
We have been taught in our youth,
And we are now the Lord's missionaries
To bring the world His truth.

backlog - part 3

May 2, 2011 [journal entry]
I've been praying a lot for help with the language, but Sunday night was the first time I did with so much sincerity. And that prayer was answered the very next day. Today, I'm so grateful for that.

May 3, 2011 [journal entry]
I'm so grateful for today. It started kinda bad and discouraging, because we really messed up teaching. But at devotional, Elder Ellis of the Seventy and his wife spoke. And they spoke on faith. And it was an answer to my prayers like no other I've ever received. I realized that for all that I've been trying to be a good missionary, I've been trying to do it alone, which is impossible. I must rely on the Lord, put Him and His plan for me first, trust and have faith, then everything else will come after. I hope to keep this in mind and strive to do what He would have me do.

May 4, 2011 [journal entry]
One week down.
The Lord really does humble you when you think too much of yourself. We thought we finally had this down, but today and yesterday have really made me question myself, my real convictions, and even my being here. I'm not sure I have the faith to do this. But taking part in our first missionary service helped, and the continued support of my companion and district sustain me through all my struggles. I'm so grateful for them, and pretty sad I've only got 2 weeks left with them.

from Conor Duncan
to [everyone]
date Thu, May 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM
subject First P-day, second email


Sorry about Saturday to those who only got a tiny snippet from me. I'm only allowed a half hour per week to look at and reply to emails, and I had to prioritize. But I was smarter about it today, so I have time to be a bit longer. First of all, you all need to get my email address out to everyone you can think of who might want to hear from me, and either send me the address, have them send it to me, or, heaven forbid, WRITE ME A REAL LETTER ONCE IN A WHILE!! I'm not trying to harsh there, but EVERYONE in my 12-elder district but me have been getting letters and packages from their friends and family, and since email is only once a week, while you can read letters whenever you get them, I've been feeling rather lonely sometimes. I'd love to be able to hear from everyone more than just all at once, once a week, and since I'm still in the U.S., snail mail is still reliable. But I'm only in the States for two more weeks, so you're running out of time to do that. I've heard here that one of the easiest ways to do this is on There you can type out your letter, and they'll get it to me by mail. I don't know all the details, but just check it out, please. (And Mom, you said something about sending me stuff, including that soap dish. If you sent it, I didn't get it yet.)

But anyway, except for the occasional bout of loneliness, and the more frequent bouts of frustration and discouragement, I'm doing great here in the Missionary Training Center!!! Spanish is coming so fast, it's really strengthened my faith in the Lord. I've learned more in my week here than I ever did in 2 years of high school. My companion and district are great, too. There are 3 of us off to Guatemala in 2 weeks, 2 of us in my mission, the other in Gua C. North mission. The rest of the 12 are off to either Panama or Honduras (someone find out and tell me the name of Elder Rivas's mission, I wanna know if it's the same). We all get along fantastically, and we're progressing so rapidly, it's amazing.

That's all for now, let me know what's up with you guys.

Till nxt week, LOVELOVELOVE,
Elder Duncan

May 5, 2011 [journal entry]
First P-day!! It was so nice to just unwind and do laundry before lunch. the love among our whole zone is so great, they're all so great. Then going to the temple was great. I said a prayer in the Celestial Room, and I'd never felt the Lord's presence so strongly.

backlog - part 2

[I should take this opportunity to note that since he writes to multiple people via snail mail as well as his weekly emails, some information may be repeated. Just thought you should know. Carry on!]

April 28, 2011 [letter to family]
To my dear family,
I'm on Day 2 here at the MTC. Things are going well. The food is good and plentiful. The residences are spare, but comfortable enough. I've yet to find an unhappy person, or hear a mean or disparaging remark. My companion, Elder Houston, is great. We're both going to Guatemala City Central Mission, and we're supposed to go to that MTC after 3 weeks ("in theory", we keep being told). So we might end up companions in the field as well. He seems to be just as quiet and reserved as I am, which is either good or bad, we'll see. It already seems to be good, because I feel the need to be more outgoing myself, so we can learn more about each other. The other companionship in our room, Elder Larssen and Elder Rich, are great guys too.
Yesterday they started us right in, with meeting our language teachers, Hermano Burrup and Hermano Catt. Then a very warm welcome by the MTC Presidency to all 343 new missionaries who came in, who all came from and are going to places all over the world. After dinner, a very Spirit filled session where got to begin to learn how we need to feel as missionaries when teaching, and how to observe how the investigator feels about what we are teaching, and how to perceive their needs. It was a wonderful experience.
So, in short, things are going well. I'm doing fine, and I hope you are all doing great too.

With love,
Elder Duncan

April 29, 2011 [journal entry]
As of today my arms no longer bothered me from the shots. We had classroom study twice today, which was hard. But we all continued to learn a lot, of spanish as well. The two classes were outweighed by our first gym session, which was awesome. But before that was TALL; Technology Assisted Language Learning, which is a very useful computer program for learning our language. We had a long section of time between gym and bed, in which we mingled and learned more about our district and zone.

[This is definitely a repeat from a previous entry, but I'll post it again anyway for continuity's sake.]

Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2011 13:29:07 -0600
Subject: First email
To: [everyone]

I Don't have long to type something. Just letting you all know I'm still alive, not starving, and have somewhere to sleep at night.

Love, Elder Duncan

April 30, 2011 [journal entry]
Today was personal study, in which I'm reading Jesus the Christ. It's making a lot more sense reading it this time, and I gain greater insight into Jesus himself from it. Then TALL, which continues to help with the language. Then gym, then lunch. After that was a 1/2 P-day, our first opportunity to do laundry and email. I was very happy to see I'd gotten emails, because I have yet to receive any other mail. Kinda sad about that.

May 1, 2011 [journal entry]
First Sunday in the MTC. And it was fast Sunday. Mission conference was amazing. So many wonderful speakers, which cited such powerful scripture. It put the fear of my Lord in me, that I hope to never disappoint, and also the hope and faith that I am where I need to be.

backlog - part 1

Ok, so, as previously mentioned, there was some confusion on just how much we should include and how much of everything Conor wanted us to include here on the blog, but we've got that all sorted out now, so travel back in time with me ever so slightly to April 22, when he started writing in his journal. He's been doing pretty well with writing at least a little bit every day, or almost every day so far. The trick was, however, how he was going to get those entries to us to update here. His first attempt to send them to us involved taking pictures of the journal with his digital camera, printing off the pictures, and sending them to us with his letters. Unfortunately, he didn't take very good pictures, and so the very beginning and very ending of some of the lines got cut off, and a couple of the pictures are VERY difficult to read at all due to being VERY blurry. But! Never fear! If I absolutely couldn't figure out what was missing, I'll use brackets, but for the most part, I was able to translate things pretty well, if I do say so myself. xD

Now, since there's so much that needs to be posted, I'm going to break things up, since blogspot only allows you to post so much at a time anyway. I'll put things in chronological order and indicate what type of communication it is. Enjoy!

April 22-24, 2011 [journal entry]
There's hardly been time to write for a while, which is why this is 3 days in 1. But Friday was hectic, finishing packing, then getting set apart, which was a great experience. In between I said a few more goodbyes, after was a great dinner out with the fam, and more hectic packing. The drive to St. George on Saturday was long, but enjoyable enough. The [hunting?] at CTR Clothing was great, got everything I needed and then some. Then Dad and I went through the St. George temple, a beautiful building, and great experience. We went to church in Las Vegas today [Sunday] with Dad's mission president, Marlan Walker. Their ward also had a missionary reporting on this Wednesday. His talk also helped comfort me about some of my worries and doubts, and I hope to see Elder Fox of the Brazil Sao Paulo Mission again.

April 25, 2011 [journal entry]
Today was productive. Got all my immunizations done in St. George, and I do mean ALL of them. 4 SHOTS!!! Two in each arm. Man, my arms still ache as I write this. Then we took a trip to Wal-mart for more supply shopping, and then off to Provo, where I met my dad's cousin Pam, her husband Kim, and their son Steve, whose attractive friend Celest was rather aggravating for a guy who can't pursue girls for a while. Oh well. Pam is great, she helped dampen down these doubts still rearing up in my head. By the way, their house is HUGE!! And really nice.

April 26, 2011 [journal entry]
Another productive day. Finished getting all my stuff together!! Arms kept bugging me all day, but now they're better. Kim treated us to a great pizza place for dinner, and he and Pam brought Steven along, who'd served his mission in Chile. He helped keep me from freaking out too much. So I go to sleep (hopefully) ready for entering the MTC tomorrow.

April 27, 2011 [journal entry]
Oh my...What a long, great day. My last few fairwells [hehe...d'aww he misspelled it...ok sorry, back to the entry ^^;], a few more pics with my parents, and then...the MTC. They started us right off, met the 12 elders in our MTC district, and our language teachers, Hermano Burrup and Hermano Catt. Then a meeting and intro by the MTC Presidency to all 343 new elders and sisters. In between all this we dropped stuff off in our rooms, and met our companions. Elder Houston is great, he's about as quiet and reserved as I am. After the pres. meeting was dinner, which was much better than I thought it would be. Then straight into our first session of learning how to teach. It was excellent, and filled with the Spirit. These elders and sisters who entered with me will be great, I am honored to be learning with them, and grow more confident in myself as well.

April 28, 2011 [journal entry]
Day 2, done. We started with an exercise that was meant to help us connect with people and their different needs. Then a "language study" session that was a little confusing, since we did not really have much to study. But we had a great chance to learn more about the elders in our district. Then classroom instruction, which was language learning, learning to teach, and testimony, all-in-one. It was great. After dinner was meeting our branch presidency, and interviews with them. Elder Woods was made our district leader, and I was made senior companion. I hope not to disappoint. Then a tour, and back to our residence hall.


Ok, so, I'm so sorry that there's been a long break between posts. We've been getting emails and letters and he's been writing in his journal, we just weren't sure exactly what we should include and what we should exclude, and with all the updates building up I got busy and couldn't find time to get it all up to date, and I didn't want to skip anything. I happen to have the day off work, so, I figured I'd spend the day getting everything caught up to this point since Elder Duncan is transferring down to Guatemala tonight. I PROMISE I will do better about getting things up as soon as we get them from now on. Watch for multiple updates later on today once I type out everything and scan in some pictures and such. Unfortunately there aren't any pictures of him or what he's been doing. I don't know if that's because he hasn't been taking any, or he hasn't printed out the "good stuff" yet or whatever, but I'll be writing to him and asking him to take more pictures of him and/in his surroundings so that we can see what he's up to as well as hear about it.

For now, the most important info is that, as I mentioned, Conor will be in Guatemala very early tomorrow morning. They're leaving the Provo MTC this evening around 5pm, heading to the SLC airport for an 8pm flight to LAX, where they'll be laying over for three hours before catching a 12:35am flight down to Guatemala City, where they're scheduled to arrive by about 6:30am. We were told he will be allowed to call home once during all that craziness, which we're all excited about since the only other times missionaries are allowed to call home are on Christmas and Mother's Day. I think. Maybe Thanksgiving too but I don't remember. Either way, the number of times missionaries get to call per YEAR can be counted on one hand, which may seem horrible, but honestly, they don't have time for anything more, because they're so busy out there and focused on what they're supposed to be doing.

One more thing before I start tackling the little stack of letters and emails and stuff that's piled up un-posted here. At the dearelder site, Conor now has another place that will be kept updated with information and such that you will want to check as well as this blog:

There may be repeat information occasionally, but it's another way of keeping track of Elder Duncan that may even have better info than here, occasionally.

That's all for now, until I start posting a big group of updates back-to-back later. ^^;