Hola todas las personas! Como estan? Yo no tengo mucho tiempo porque I spent so much time reading your emails! We only get 30 minutes to read and write on G-Mail! I invite all of you who want to contact me through email to use Dearelder.com. I get a hard copy of it the same day and I don't have to use precious email time to read them. If this is not possible, then perhaps printing your emails and snail mailing them to me would be good. Also, my P-Day is officially Friday, so try to get your emails to me before 3:25 on Fridays at the latest. Muchas gracias!
Okay. Once again, I sit here with a blank screen in front of me and almost no clue what to say. I have been thinking all week what I would like to share with you in my email, but so much happens in such short time here at the MTC, and es muy dificil to summarize what has happened. First of all, the Spanish is coming very well! I cannot believe how much we have learned in only 10 days! A week and a half ago, I could not speak more than a few words, and now we speak nothing but Spanish from the time we wake up until after lunch every day, and we try to do so as much as possible afterwards. I believe I mentioned Cristian Nieva in my last email. I'm sad to say, after five lessons (taught completely in Spanish), we are no longer teaching him. His family back in Buenos Aires has been having troubles and he flew down to be there with them. In our last lesson however, he expressed his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and said he wants to have the missionaries in Argentina teach his family. It was such a great opportunity to participate in those lessons right off the bat here, in Spanish no less, so that we could instantly discover what it means to teach the Gospel. We have talked a lot about how it is not a missionary's duty only to teach. Everything we do is in an effort to point people to their Heavenly Father. We are merely there to help them help themselves along the way, providing any help and comfort that they may need. It's all about love.
I've been making it a habit of taking short notes throughout the week of things I want to share with you all as I think of them. Here are a few:
In our fourth lesson with Cristian, Elder Phelps and I were reading a verse from 2 Nephi 11, I believe, with Cristian. The word "Hosanna" came up and Cristian asked what it was. After a moment's thought, I responded, "Hosanna es alabanza" (Hosanna is praise), and he understood perfectly. Thank you “In the Heights” for teaching me so many Spanish words before my mission!!
This past Tuesday, we had an MTC-wide devotional. Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy spoke to us about four keys to becoming a "Preach My Gospel" missionary. It was fantastic. He listed,
1. Follow the Spirit
2. Search the Scriptures
3. Be obedient
4. Apply what you learn.
It was a fantastic talk. He shared a story about a missionary in the Bolivia Mission where he was a mission president. After some time in the field, one of the missionaries said to him, "President. I don't like the food. I don't like the climate. I don't like my bed, and I don't like my companion." Elder Clarke asked him to give him one month and see how he feels. The missionary (get this) said, "I'll give you two." Two weeks went by and sure enough the missionary came back and said, "President, I don't like the food. I don't like the climate. I don't like my bed, and I don't like my companion. But President, in the past two weeks, we have been teaching the most wonderful family, and we are seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ change their lives. For them, I'll stay.”
After the devotional, we sang a closing hymn, "Sing We Now at Parting." The last verse goes like this:
"Jesus, our Redeemer, now our praises hear. While we bow before thee, Lend a listening ear. Save us, Lord from error. Watch us day by day. Help us now to serve thee in a pleasing way."
Hearing more than 2,000 young men and women, having sacrificed time, family, friends, and many other things I may never know to serve the Lord, all joined in harmony was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. It truly felt like everyone in that building was not singing, but praying as we embark on this journey.
I wish I had more time to write you all, but I'm running out of time. I apologize that there are no pictures this week. I've taken plenty, but alas, I forgot to bring my cable to the computer lab. Lo siento. Next week I won't forget! Well, let me close for now.
If there is one thing I've learned here at the MTC (and I've learned many), it's that this work is all about love. That was the Savior's message. And that is our message. Dios es nuestro amaroso Padre Celestial, God is our loving Heavenly Father. We are his children. He wants all to return to him. The message of the Gospel is beautiful and simple. We invite all to come unto Christ. I wish I had more time to share more of my experiences here, but I think even if I did, I wouldn't ever be able to share them all. I know that Christ is my Savior. I know that this is His true church, restored upon the Earth. I know repentance is real. I have seen it work in my life, and I have felt the Savior wrap His arms around me in forgiveness. Family and friends, love each other, keep the faith, and keep me in your prayers. I appreciate all of your support and the many sacrifices you have made on my behalf. Until next week, adios!