Bienvenidos! (a la clase de espanol... reminds me of what we used to say everyday at the beginning of class back in high school.) Como estan todos?
It's crazy to think that I've been here four weeks. It really doesn't seem like that much time has passed. One month down, 23 to go! That actually sounds pretty short. I know it'll pass quickly. I'll just have to make the most of it!
How is everyone? Me, I'm doing wonderfully. This week has been awesome. I've had some great experiences in the past few days. First, the Spanish is starting to sink in. More and more often I find myself saying things in Spanish without thinking about it first. Kinda like when Dad and I were in South America - our emails would be peppered with words and phrases in Spanish. It's stating to happen here too. Pretty cool.
This past Sunday was incredible. Church and personal study are always great, and then we had the fireside. This week it was Richard I. Heaton, the administrative director of training at the MTC (or something like that). He had a lot of great things to say. One was something he called the "perhaps" principle. He stated his talk by saying, "Isn't it great just to be a missionary? Isn't it wonderful just to serve the Lord?" He then showed us many examples in the scriptures of how we are called to preach the gospel so that *perhaps* someone may come unto Christ. That perhaps is key. We are extremely lucky just to be instruments in God's hands, and that is where we find our joy.
Some of the scriptures he shared were Alma 29, Jacob 5, and Mosiah 28. Read them when you get a chance. He explained to us that our purpose, as stated in Preach My Gospel, is to invite others to come unto Christ and help them receive His gospel. We are to invite and help, not make and force. That is where we find our joy in serving. He also said that none of us have as great a faith as Abinidi, and that still wasn't enough for King Noah, so as long as we do our best, we can't be disappointed in ourselves. Very inspiring words.
After his talk we had the opportunity to watch The Testaments: One Fold and One Shepherd. I hadn't seen it for quite a long time, but I love that movie. It's so powerful. See it again when you get the chance, because it's really inspiring.
We also had the chance this past week to visit the RC (Referral Center) twice.Remember last time how I had a chat with someone who had questions about Satanism? This time I had a chat with someone whose questions involved homosexuality, abortions, drinking, murder, and terrorism, mostly all wrapped up into one big situation. Kind of odd, but I did my best to share the gospel with him. I feel like I helped him a little, but he became pretty profane so I quit the chat. I hope he took something from it, though. (It's amazing how much you start to care about your fellow man when you start studying the scriptures.)
I had another experience in the RC, last night, and it was amazing. I took a phone call from a 65-year-old woman named Carrie Perez in San Antonio. She was calling for a free Bible because she said her health is failing, she just had heart surgery, and doctors don't know how long she has to live, so she needs all the prayers and blessings she can receive. I told her how sorry I am for her and testified that God will bless her. She replied, "Oh, I know He will. I know He will." I told her I would pray for her, and asked if the missionaries could come by to deliver that Bible and share with her a message about Christ. She said, "Of course! I would love that." :) How cool is that? It was such a neat experience. I felt so wonderful afterward - and I have the chance to be a missionary for almost another two years! It's so exciting to be able to share the gospel with others and learn from their faith and testimonies. I've remember Carrie in my prayers and I really hope she's doing okay. I feel such a love for her from just a few minutes on the phone. It's crazy.
So, in short, this week has been amazing, and I'm really excited to be hear. Life is great for me. :) Now for some comments and answers to questions from your letters. I am writing each of you, but I thought I'd toss out a quick "hello" this email....
Mom - Thanks for the Bishopric Message. I really liked reading it. My laundry has so far been good - I haven't ruined anything! What a miracle! :) As for needing any clothing... I'm pretty much good, I think. If you wanted to send something, ties would be cool. (I've learned that as a missionary, the only thing you can really collect or customize is ties. Ties and pens, actually. I've never spent so much time thinking about pens as in the last couple weeks. ha) Send a couple my way if you get the chance (ties, I mean). Otherwise, I'm doing great. (Oh, and maybe some Swedish fish... my district has missed the daily sugar rush. Haha.)
Gabbie - Sounds like you had a cool presentation at school about Grandpa Oliver! :) How's school going? Thanks for all the comics, by the way. I really like reading them. How do you like being in my room? :)
Miranda - Congratulations on getting asked to Homecoming! When is it? You'll have to let me know how it goes and what you do, plus maybe send a picture or two when you get them. Have fun!
Dad - what you wrote about D&C 84 and The Book of Mormon was very powerful. Thank you. I've really been trying to increase my meaningful study of the scriptures. What I'm doing now is reading straight through the Book of Mormon, but when something catches my attention (which is often), I write my thoughts in
this awesome study journal I have and do some cross-referencing and stuff. So sometimes I only read a few verses a day; other times, a few chapters. I'm going to try to finish before I leave the MTC, but we'll see. I'm also reading the Libro de Mormon with my companion; we read a chapter a day outloud. We're almost to the end of 1st Nephi. That's coming along really well too. Your story about Nikka was pretty funny. ("Do you do drugs, Nikka? Gooood.") I liked the story about Reagan as well. It's always awesome when he shows his personality and responds to something that we do (in a way other than running away, screaming, or pushiing). Oh shoooooo.
The new Spanish Bible is really cool. I like it a lot. It officially came out yesterday. There's an announcement on the Church's Newsroom website that's pretty interesting.
Did I miss anyone? Mom, Gabbie, Miranda, Dad... nope, that's it. :) Like I said, I'll write everyone a letter today, so look forward to that in the next couple days.
I love you all very much, and I'm always praying for you. Give Reagan and Nikka hugs for me (and each other, too). I hope to hear from you soon. Life is incredible - make the most of it.