...and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 122: 7-9)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

First Week ! 08/10/11


It feels so good to be writing home today! It's been a long first few days here in the MTC, but let me tell you I have absolutely loved it. I have learned more about myself, the gospel, and teaching in the last six days than I think I ever have. I don't have too long allowed to write, so let me tell you a little bit about life here.

I used to think going to school seven hours a day was tough. Here, we have a 15-hour work day. We wake up at 6:30 am, and we have an hour to get ready, run (if we want), shower, etc. before breakfast at 7:30. We have meetings (full MTC and district) from 8-noon with short bathroom breaks in between. The we have lunch for 45 minutes and go to class from then until 5, when we have dinner. After dinner, we have investigator study and planning until 9:30, after which we have an hour to prepare for bed. Lights are out at 10:30.

It seems like a ton of work and it is, but I have already realized that when I follow the schedule exactly, I am blessed with endurance, and when I neglect to follow the schedule, even going to bed at 11 instead of 10:30, I feel really groggy and unmotivated the next day. Sometimes (a lot of times) I goof off a little too much, too, and then work is hard to get done as well. That is mostly because there are so many great missionaries here and we all love to have fun. Believe me, it's not the idea of a mission to suppress all fun in a 19-year old boy's life, but we are on the Lord's time and He doesn't exactly condone laziness.

Most of the time we just try to have fun with the lessons and that's usually okay. Like, we have to pretend we're investigators a lot so the other elders in our district can practice on us, and we usually end up goofing around when we're pretending to be another person rather than take it totally seriously. I was a man named German yesterday and I accepted baptism halfway through the first discussion. The missionaries practicing on me had no idea what to do. It was funny, but really doesn't' help the practicing go along. Another time I broke out laughing in the middles of a serious discussion because of something one of the elders in my district said earlier.

I love my district a lot. There are eight of us, so four companionships. Two of the elders in my district don't speak great English, but they are great missionaries. Elder Reina is from Madrid, Spain, and probably knows just a little more English than I know Spanish, but he is one of the funnest elders I know here, and Elder Methorst is from the Netherlands, and he is very gospel knowledgeable and is also really funny. In fact, most of the elders here are funny. We all know how to have fun, and I love that about the group of guys here. It'll probably change when we get into the field and get paired up with guys who have been on their missions forever and actually know how to prioritize. But I'm excited for that, too.

Having a companion is something to get used to. Like, really used to. Some companions hit it off really well right at the start and work super well together. That hasn't been the case for me so far. My companion, Elder Kelly, is probably the quietest guy here, with me being one of the loudest. He has a good testimony of the gospel though and we've gotten him to open up a bit. He has some great stories to tell from his life. It's just getting him to speak up and make conversations happen that he needs to work on. But we get along pretty well.

Because the MTC here is so much smaller than Provo (like, ridiculously smaller), we know basically everyone here, including the MTC presidency. President Walker is a really great man who knows the scriptures better than possibly anyone I've ever met. And guess who his wife is? President Hinkley's daughter! Yea, like Gordon B. We didn't find that out until Sunday.

We also listened to a Provo MTC fireside broadcast with Elder Bednar, and it was a really great fireside, probably topping all the ones I had at BYU even. He talked about knowing when we were actually feeling spiritual promptings and when it was just us, and the basic answer was that as long as we're good boys and girls and going out and working, it'll be the Spirit. We can be guided by the Spirit without even knowing it at the time, which I though was really cool. In hindsight, we can see a lot of things we do were guided by the Spirit. We just have to be obedient and always try to be like Christ.

Well, we do't have a lot of time to write and I wish I could send pictures (forgot the card upstairs), but I love you all and please write letters! Please please please please please! I'll write again next week.

See ya in (almost) two!

Elder Winder

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