Happy holidays everyone!
And holy cow I’ve been out here for a month! Can you believe it? It really only feels like I got here in the MTC a couple weeks ago. Time is going by so fast and I have only 28 days from today until I leave for Argentina!!!
Alrighty! So last Monday: Pretty great! I love P-days especially since they’re right next to Sunday so it gives me a pretty good chance to reboot and get ready for another week of classes and study. Plus I LOVE the temple! Best place ever. Sad thing though: Since the temple closes over the holidays starting this Saturday, today is my last chance to go to a temple for two years. Bother. But oh well! I cannot wait to get to Argentina!!!
Tuesday: Tuesday was the bomb. Sort of. It did not start out that great. So when I woke up on Monday I was trashed. I felt awful and congested and just not great. But I got up took a shower and put on my badge all the same. One of the coolest things that you do in the MTC is going to what’s called the TRC, where members who speak your mission language come in and take a 20 or 40 minute lesson from you. Again I felt so sick I could hardly breathe. But when E. Jewkes and I sat down to teach an incredible member named Brother Underwood I felt miraculously better. If there is anything that I have learned so far in the mission field that the best way to enjoy yourself, pick yourself up when you’re down, or get your mind off of whatever it shouldn’t be on: work your tail off. The times that I have worked so hard that my brain almost explodes have been the best days of my MTC experience so far and I’m sure that the trend will continue. Also! Brother Underwood is from NEUQUEN!!!!!! Coolest thing ever! He was so excited that E. Jewkes and I are going to be teaching in his homeland. Ah! Get me out of here! Well, after I study a little bit more….
Wednesday: Somewhat uneventful, but let me tell you about the Spanish. We speak it three days a week as a district and let me tell you: It’s coming great! I’m getting more and more confident in my mission language every day but it’s also exhausting. We’ve been instructed to struggle as much as we can to do everything in our power to study and speak and learn the language, and few experiences have strengthened my testimony more than learning a language. I cannot believe how much I have learned in just a few weeks, and I owe it all to the help from the Spirit. But let me also tell you that unlocking the rights for the Gift of Tongues is work. But when you do all you can, the Lord makes up for the rest. Starting this next week, I’ll pretty much be teaching every single day, so the Spanish has become even more important, but I love it so so much. I love being a missionary!
Thursday: was a tad bit interesting. If you want to learn more, send me a personal letter. However I will say that one of the toughest parts of the MTC is that most of your coping habits and skills are more or less blown to pieces. With no rock climbing, no music, no walks, no hanging out, no movies it’s been pretty tough to be able to stay balanced every now and then. However, there is hope! Because the MTC really teaches you to depend on four things: prayer, scriptures, and your fellow missionaries/leaders, and the Spirit. Hymns are also quite handy. The bookstore finally stocked military style copies of the Book of Mormon (the tiny ones) and I never go anywhere without mine. It’s the greatest thing. My advice to anyone who is having a rough time: open your scriptures and get on your knees. Your Heavenly Father knows and always is ready to help you.
Friday: blew my mind. Here on the MTC there was a talk given by Elder Holland around 10 or so years ago in a devotional that has become more or less part of the curriculum of the MTC experience. We watched it in class and it changed my entire outlook on mission work. If you want some more in depth, again send me a letter. But the most important tidbit I walked away with from watching that talk was this: my mission is the greatest opportunity I have ever been given in my life. It really and truly is. I have the incredible opportunity for the next 23 months to help bring God’s children back to him, and I might not be able to see ahead what it’s going to be like, but I am so incredibly grateful for this gospel, and for the blessing in my life that my mission has already turned out to be, and for what it will continue to do to shape and change my life. There really is nothing better than going on a mission. If anyone is reading this and they are unsure about serving, please get on your knees and I promise you will get help and get the guidance that will lead you into serving. Ah I love this work so so much!
Saturday: Like Wednesday, Saturday is when I have 6 hours of classes in a row with a half an hour break for dinner. Ouch. I love my teachers, but 6 hours of lessons has one result: me collapsing on my bed as soon as I get home. It’s great though, I never have enough time to study or enough time to learn the language, so I’m always doing my best at improving my time management and planning skills, not to mention my study skills. I have never studied this hard in my life, but I can honestly say that I am improving thanks to some wonderful guidance of the incredible teachers here.
Sunday: I love Sundays. It’s hard to explain why I love them so much, but it is the greatest day. You get Sacrament meeting, Priesthood meeting with your branch presidency ( who are the best by the way) and then in the evening you get a wonderful fireside! We had the BYU Men’s Chorus over last night and it was incredible! That and it was quite the change to hear something other than a 4 part hymn. Can you tell that I miss music?
Alright well I’m running out of time and I want to leave you with a thought. One of my teachers, Brother Salisbury told me something that has really stuck out to me. When our district was pretty tired at the end of the day he said this: “Work your hardest. It will not be easy, and you will almost always be tired and tempted to give up: but you will never be happier.” It’s true on a mission, and it is certainly true in life. “Do your duty, do your best, and leave to the Lord, all the rest.” –President Monson.
I love you all! Have an incredible week, and happy holidays! Talk to you in a week!