Hello! This last week has been pretty crazy. The MTC is kind of intense as far as time vs. work allotment. But we've adjusted for the most part. It was really hard and intense like the first two days, but I feel like they might've given us less time to get things done on those days to keep everyone focused on the work and not on missing home. They really keep you structured and focus. So I made my flight barely, my luggage made it, everything worked out. I made it to Utah, and Brother Shiotani, picked me up from the airport and we went down to temple square to check things out for a while. We took pictures in front of the temple. We went to the church office building and got a tour and were able to go to the top and look out at the city. Then we went to the beehive house and got a tour. We stopped at a burger place called JCW's I think. We got burgers and small shakes and the small shakes were enormous and pretty good. And their fries were like deceivingly a large amount. Then he dropped me off at the MTC and all it was commotion from there, you keep going non-stop, get your id, get your books, drop your stuff off, I met my companion Elder Cobb, then we went to our classroom, we met the rest of our district and then went to the orientation. The other two Elders in our room were Elder Davis and Elder Skoubye (Sko - Bee) The sisters are Sister's Fisher, Bagshaw, Hoffman, and Mackelprang. We taught an investigator that night with like 40 of the new missionaries and they just gave you the mic if you wanted to say something, it was annoying because it jumped all over the place and had no direction. The food is ok. I just try and eat the kind of food that you can't really mess up and that seems to go ok, anything else is usually pretty bad. We met the rest of our zone, Elder Mitchell, Elder King, Elder Van Slyke, Elder Crapo (Cray poh), Sister Hammond, Sister Hill, Sister Beebe (She's from our stake, Sheldon Ward), and Sister Wolf. I noticed even the first day how strong the spirit was at the MTC, there are so many missionaries, all worthy and righteous, all with the same goal, all in one area. It's powerful. There's a constant buzz of the spirit in the air.
The second day that alarm went off at 06:30 and it was rough, the other Elder's in our zone were full of energy, loudness, and excitement so that really helped us alot. We were going like non-stop from 06:30 to 22:30. We had a lot of class and were preparing to teach the restoration to our progressive investigator. Which is a teacher that has a character than you teach like a real lesson. We had our meetings with the branch presidency and I was asked to serve as the District leader, which means I am responsible for the 8 Elders and Sisters in our district and keep everyone focused, and run meetings, and give assignments and such. I felt super overwhelmed already and as a "DL" it threw alot more responsibility my way. I felt like there wasn't enough time to get everything done. But I loved the atmosphere and I love everyone in my district. I feel like everyone is really good and brings something to the table. It's kind of weird here because we are like in a bubble, we are cut off from the outside world, our branch President talked to me about an oil spill of the coast of CA and I had no idea, so weird. I don't know anything that's happening outside of here, we could be at war with China for all I know.
The third day was good, the spirit was strong during our lessons. I have to go get mail twice a day once during lunch and dinner for the district because I'm a DL. Some of the Sister's in our district were really homesick and we decided to write letters for them telling them what we love about them. Like we'd each write a paragraph on a single piece of paper for each sister, not like individual letters. We taught our first progressive investigator "PI" but they accidently gave us the wrong one with the same name so we went in and had the wrong backstory and didn't know him and were completely unprepared but it didn't go too bad considering. Plus we weren't even supposed to teach our PI til the next day so weren't as prepared as we could've been. We found out who our TRC investigator is going to be so we'll be teaching him all next week, a TRC investigator is a maybe non-member, maybe member, that comes and is payed to be taught the lessons by the MTC missionaries. I felt like we were really bonding as a district and I was really making a difference as the "DL". I've never loved people so purely so quickly before.
The fourth day was really difficult not because I wanted to go home or the spirit wasn't there but I was feeling really sick. Like a bad cold or something and it had been building the few previous days and I felt like death on this day. It was a struggle to keep composed and I could barely focus, but I felt like I had a duty to the district to keep everything running smoothly. I do a lot more than I was expecting.
Sister Craft sent me an enormous brownie box from Dear Elder! She's so awesome and nice! Please get me her email so I can write her! :) I found out we go into the field on monday. Crazy! We're here for less than two weeks. I love the spirit here and my district but I can't wait to get into the field and do what I came to do. I wish the Sisters in our district were going to our mission, I'm going to miss them. We taught a new PI, her name is Kate and her dad died three months ago we really connected with her and decided to teach about temples early and how the church blesses families and the celestial kingdom. The spirit was strong.
Sunday, was really good, we met with the branch presidency in the morning and established goals for the next week and learned some new stuff. We had our district meeting which was cool and we went for a temple walk around the Provo temple. While we were at the Provo temple a older man named Lindsey asked us for a blessing and I assisted in it. It was awesome because even though I wasn't the one giving the blessing, the same words came to me that he was saying. We had our Sacrament meeting and I got to bless the Sacrament. Then we had dinner and gave the Sister's our letters and they really appreciated it. We had a devotional tonight taught by Brother Allen who is the managing director of the missionary department and it was awesome. It was really reassuring and my district really needed to hear what he said. He felt inspired to play Come, Come, Ye Saints and the Spirit was so strong. We all needed to hear it. Then we watched the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar and as per usual he was all fire basically saying Christ looks outward to help others rather than selfishly looking inward and we all need to stop looking inward at what we want and we're not here for us, it's not about us. I love Elder Bednar's talks. I hope he becomes Prophet some day :P And I basically forgot all Sunday that it was my birthday.
Monday was great, we woke up and were singing Hakuna Matata, and A Girl Worth Serving For, while we were getting ready at the top of our lungs. We had a 06:15 service project. Who cleans toilets at 06:15! Our TRC investigator did not show up so we get one less day with them. Two of the Elder's in my zone left that night, Elder Crapo, and Elder Van Slyke to the New York Utica mission. It's kinda weird because everyone was released Sunday so their district has no DL or ZL (Zone Leaders) in it. We had lots of study time and did two 5 minute spotlights were we just find out about a person and ask questions, about Elder Skoubye and Sister Hoffman. The district needed it and it was nice.
Tuesday was great we taught our progressive investigator and it went really well, she said she wants to follow Christ because of his love for her and atonement. We didn't get to what we wanted to but it went well and we answered lots of good questions and the spirit was strong. We met our TRC investigator for the first time and just talked to him about his life and ours for most of the time which was good because by the time we began teaching we felt like he was pretty comfortable with us. We had a devotional by Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve. It was awesome. I'll share some quotes I liked. "It doesn't matter how many baptisms you have I only expect one convert from you on your mission and that is you." "This IS real life Elders and Sisters." "You can never go back to anything you were before." "You're God's investigators. Don't turn your back on him." "Obedience is the first law of everything." "We don't do it your way, this isn't Burger King, this is the Lord's work, we do it His way." "The white handbook is the product of 180 years of missionary experience and after two weeks you think you can question it." It was amazing, afterwards we met as a zone with Brother Bliss from our branch presidency and talked about all the things that stood out. The last of the other district left that night. All to Ohio, Columbus mission and it was sad and we miss them.
And today is P-Day! We had a little study time in the morning, then cleaned the residence, I finally got all my stuff organized and have to start packing soon. We are emailing now, then we have to do laundry, we get to go to the temple later as a district. It'll be sweet. Later we get our new district in and a couple of the Elders are going to the Canada, Winnipeg mission. Maybe Maddy will see them!
Anyways everything is going great. And I'm happy here, but also ready to head to New Hampshire and start the real work. I appreciate everyone's emails, sorry if I don't get back to everyone individually because I have like no time.
I love and miss you all,