Hola, one and all!!
First things first. I'm tired of having things I mean to say, but not getting to them because I spend too much time on other stuff first. So hard to pack it all in! Maybe I need to stop keeping a list of things to write about. Anyway!
-Yes, Mother, I did get your DearElder! Thank you so much! It was great to hear from you and Dad and everyone again. I look forward to all your letters every week.
-Tell Austin his e-mail cracked me up and it was SO GOOD to hear from him. Tell him to hang in there and keep working hard. I'm super super proud of him, and I think about how great an example he has been to me all the time. And tell those other bum friends of mine to write me (letters preferably), because it turns out I left all of their addresses at home on accident!
-On the note of addresses, is there any way you could find the addresses of my former bishops for me? I never did tell them the results of my mission call and thank them for their hard work in helping me get it. They are the following:
-Bishop Kenneth Donahoe from the BYU 10th stake maybe? I'm not sure, because they rearranged the wards after I left. But his information should be in my iPhone.
-Bishop Something Horton from the Provo YSA 61st ward, I think. Again, his information is in my phone! If you could get me these (as well as my friends' adresses) that would be wonderful. I want to write them and thank them.
-Thank you sooo much for the luggage tags! Those things are wicked cool!! I've already attached them to all my bags. Muchas gracias.
-Tell Grandma and Grandpa I'm sorry I haven't written them back yet to thank them for the peanut butter bars. I struggled last week to write a thank you letter, but ran out of time. I will be sending one today, but in the mean time, let them know how much I really appreciated it, and how my district all raved about them!
-Did anybody ever ask about a Missionary Plaque for our ward at home? How does that work? If you need a scripture for it...umm, I actually haven't decided yet. I'll send one in my letter today, which will also contain a memory card full of pictures!
-Jenn and Dad!! Good luck in the 5K! I'm super excited for you Jenn, and happy that you're going to get the wonderful experience of running with Dad that I have so enjoyed on multiple occasions. Dad, I can't wait to run with you again when I get back! Ps. I appreciate that you always keep me informed about the current events. It's nice to remember there's a world outside the MTC.
-Thanks for the belts! and the melotonin. Hope it works. And way cool about the "I'm a mormon" stories. Loved reading them!
-Can you send me the lyrics for
1. No One is Alone from Into the Woods. Great uplifting song!
2. Seasons of Love from Rent - at some point in the near future I want to start writing lyrics to "1,051,200" minutes (in a mission).
-Last week I meant to say something about a song I listen to during TALL, but I forgot! It's called "Fuertes y Valientes," which means "strong and courageous." It is absolutely beautiful and I listen to it on repeat! Can you send that to me in the future as well?
-Some things I I've heard that have caught my attention recently:
-We have 2 years to serve a mission, and a life time to think about it. Make it count!
-The wife of one of our Branch Presidency councelors was talking to us during a district devotional review about Nephi's vision in 1 Ne. 11. The angel said "What desirest thou?" And Nephi immediately knew. She asked us if we really knew what we desire, and if those desires are what Christ would desire for us. Interesting thought.
-We focus A LOT in the MTC on the importance of teaching PEOPLE, not LESSONS. It's one thing to explain to someone why some principle of the Gospel is important. But it is quite another to explain (or rather have them find out for themselves) how that principle of the Gospel is important to THEM personally. We as missionaries can't do anything. We can't convert people. We can't solve their problems. We can't even teach very well. But God can do all things. The Spirit of the Lord can convert people. It can change their hearts. The Gospel (being primarily faith in the Lord Jesus Christ) CAN solve peoples problems. And the Holy Ghost is a perfect teacher. It all comes down to love really. If we love those that we teach more than ourselves, then God, who knows everyone perfectly, will witness to them through the power of his Spirit. I've seen it happen, and it is the ONLY way this Gospel can be - or ever has been - successfully taught.
-Some funny things about Spanish:
Tired is cansado. Married is casado. Not much difference one way or the other ;)
Wife in Spanish is esposa. Handcuffs in Spanish is esposas...Yeah.
Finally, el papa is the pope. La papa is potato.
Dumb, but funny.
Anywaaaay!!! Sorry this letter has been very formulaic. I was tired of not getting in everything I wanted to say, although I have no doubt that I will soon recall many things that I forgot to mention. (You all are just so dang good at writing all the time, it's hard to remember what all to say! It's a good problem to have.) I must be finished soon, but I suppose I'll first give a quick review of life here:
First, our District has been cut in half (almost)! We had ten Elders starting out, but last week four of them went on to finish their training in the Guatamala MTC! What a cool opportunity! I know their going to pick up the language so fast, being completely immersed like that. Here in Provo, the language is coming pretty well. Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting much better, but I have to remind myself of where I started three weeks ago. I don't have to look at my notes during lessons NEARLY as often, and I'm learning new tenses like crazy. I need to focus more on my vocabulary though. Unfortunately, I'm a bit of a grammar nut, so I have to remind myself that nouns and adjectives are important too. Anna asked me to write her a paragraph in Spanish in my letter to her, and I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to say. So far I only know missionary Spanish. So, if you want me to pray, bear my testimony, or explain a Gospel principle to you, I'm your man! But for almost anything else, I'm pretty useless hehe.
The lessons are going wonderfully though. Since the other Elders have left, we've all been able to teach twice a day almost every day. Currently we're teaching an 18 year old student named Kleyber whose mother is a member of the Church, and a 60 year old man named Jorge, who is really progressing quickly! He has a real desire to follow Christ and is very interesting in the Gospel. Elder Phelps and I are slowly but surely getting better at planning lessons and teaching in unity. I got chastized the other day by our teacher for talking to much and not giving Elder Phelps enough time to teach. I knew from the very start in the MTC that this would be a problem for me, but I've been praying a lot and trying to humble myself and let him grow, and it's working! We're a lot more balanced know.
Okay, I really need to be gone now. Our laundry is done! Les quiero mucho! I'm so grateful for all of your letters and support. I thank God every day for such an amazing family and friends. Next week, I'll try to share more experiences and less list-y stuff. Lest anyone doubt, I can tell you all from experience that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth. God DOES have a plan for us, and Jesus Christ is the center of that plan. He is everything. Sin La Expiacion, no podemos hacer nada! I love the MTC, I love my companion (truly, I couldn't have asked for a better one), I love the Lord, and I love this work! Anna sent me a scripture today that I'm planning on using in our lesson tonight with Kleyber. It's from Matthew 14, about Jesus walking on the water. He invited Peter to follow him, saying "Come." Petter followed, but in the midst of wind and storm, he was afraid and started to sink, yelling "Senor, salvame!" (Lord, save me!) Immediately, Christ reached for him and pulled him up. After this, those on the boat knew for a fact that He was the Son of God.
Christ has invited and continues to invite us all to follow him. He stands where we must excercize our faith, and says "Come." Sometimes it's not easy. Sometimes the winds blow and the storm rages. Sometimes our faith falters. But EVERY time we say, "Senor, salvame," immediately He is there to pull us up.
Christ is our Savior. And He wants us to follow Him. He wants us to know Him. If you haven't prayed, pray. If you haven't read his word, read his word. If you haven't studied the Book of Mormon, study the Book of Mormon! If you haven't exercized your faith, reach out, and Christ will wrap his arms around you. I know and testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, that our Redeemer lives. Hasta proxima vez, I love you all! Have a great week!