Another week down! It feels like I've been here for about a month and a half, but it's only been three weeks! Ha, so crazy. The MTC is a really weird part of a mission--I don't feel like I'm on a mission and I don't feel like I'm in Provo. I feel like I'm at a weird secluded boarding school in the mountains where we just study the scriptures and a foreign language and then try to teach what we've learned to strangers. Sometimes I forget that I'll actually be going to Chile after this rather than just finishing my studies and going home for winter break...
Last Friday night we had our first TRC (Teaching Resource Center) appointment, meaning we went to a specific building and met with someone "from the outside world" that had volunteered to be taught by missionaries. What's unique about that experience is that they don't roll-play or pretend to be an investigator. They are just themselves. Elder Welker and I met with an RM (returned missionary) who is currently a student at BYU. Since we knew this wouldn't be the first time he had heard the gospel, Elder Welker and I decided to just ask him what the biggest worry in his life was. He seemed rather taken back by the question, which I was secretly glad about. After some deep thinking, he told us that he doesn't know what he should study at BYU and he's really worried about dating and finding a wife with whom to share eternity. My first thought was to turn to the scripture that describes faith as not being a perfect knowledge. I bore testimony to him that we don't need to know exactly how everything is going to work out because we can have faith that Heavenly Father is watching over us and will place us where He knows is best for us. It was a nice message, but that's not my point. What's so powerful about this experience for me was that I was completely guided by the Spirit. My Spanish was flawless and fluent. My thoughts weren't my own. The words I spoke weren't from knowledge that I had. In fact, his worry was a huge concern of my own. I'm pretty sure I learned more from that meeting than our "investigator" did, because one of my own life questions was answered. I knew that I was directed by the Holy Ghost to know what to say to answer my own question. What a wonderful blessing it was that night.
As far as fun/funny things that happened this week, I bumped into the boy that played the young Joseph Smith in the movies of the First Vision. Turns out he arrived this past Wednesday as a new missionary! I didn't know he was my age! He dyed his hair red though haha. I kicked myself for not taking a picture with him, but hopefully I'll run into him again and will have my camera with me!!!
I have a request for Tyler: my teacher Brother Derek Adams is super into Scrillex and Dead Mouse and all that silly stuff, and he actually creates his own music too. So forward this to Tyler so he can look up the names "Karma Deeds" and "An Armed Desk" (both are just scrambles of the letters in his name) on the internet site Grooveshark. Let me know if he's any good!
Thats great to hear that Lacey had such a great time in Washington! One of the elders in my district is from Spokane. I'm very proud of Lacey for standing up for her beliefs. I remember having that exact experience when I was on the bus home from Nevada Boys' State. Except when I was the only one to stand up and ask the adult to change the movie, he cussed me out and told me to sit down. Soo.....yay for Lacey and Steph haha.
It sounds like Dad and Ben had a great time at scout camp! I'm glad they got to have such great bonding time. Some of my fondest memories are going on camp-outs with Dad. Wonderful times. And now he knows not to wrestle with sharp metal!!!
Mum, on the sticky-note I wrote down the log in information for my blog and Facebook account. It's not my email@example.com account. It's something along the lines of firstname.lastname@example.org or something. It says what to do on the piece of paper that I left for you and Lacey on my laptop. If all else fails, send a message via Facebook to Lynnette Yorgason. She's the blog-wizard that set it all up for me in the first place. Thanks!
I have some bad news. As I was walking to class, my wrist bumped into a metal banister and shattered the glass of my watch. I would very much appreciate it if you could send me another cheap one ASAP! The store here hasn't and won't have watches in stalk for another forever. Preas and franks! I would also still like to get Dad's international power transformer--unless you just recommend me buying one here at the MTC. It's just that they're really pricey. Dad, could you also please send me a copy of my line of authority. I thought I put my copy in the envelope with my patriarchal blessing, but I guess not. Thanks!
I've learned sooooooo many wonderful thoughts that I want to share with you, but my time is at an end so I'll have to choose one. During our Tuesday devotional from Brother Rex D. Pinegar, he told the story of a weekly email he received from one of the missionaries while he was a mission president. The letter said, "Dear President, could you please send me a list of the important rules? My companion tells me that we only need to obey the important ones. But until you send me that list, I intend to live them all." What great faith and obedience from a young man. I think his applies so much more to just mission rules, though. Re-read the message but replace the word "rules" with the word "commandments" and replace the word "President" with the word "Lord." There are no commandments that are more important than others. We must strive to obey them all. We cannot let ourselves pick and choose which of God's commandments we will choose to obey, which we will loosely obey, and which we will ignore. God's commandments and mission rules are not set in place to restrict us and control us. Commandments, rules, and laws are given to us to help us be happy. By obeying ALL of Heavenly Father's commandments, we can keep ourselves free of sexual sin, drug addiction, trouble with the law, and have better relationships with our families and friends. It's so simple. We can choose to be obedient and be happy, or we can choose to rationalize our favorite sins and be miserable. God has said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." It's just up to you to decide whether He's worth it to you, because you are certainly worth it to Him.
Take care, everyone! I'd love to hear from you! Please write me often! Have a wonderful week! The Savior loves you and wants you to be happy.
Elder Long :)