Ye people of the outside world,
This week marks the half way point of my time in the MTC Gah. Not good. For some reason time moves really, really fast in the MTC, even though it seems like the days are as long as centuries. There is not enough time to learn everything! I don't know what I'm going to do; I am so thankful for continued study in the field.
This last week as been pretty awesome at the MTC, as to be expected. On Sunday we had a really awesome devotional that just focused on missionary work, which seems like it would be a common topic, but it's actually not (for devotionals, that is). The speaker had everyone who had been a member their entire lives stand up, and then asked a few of them if they would be baptized if they were non-members and approached by the missionaries, and why. Then he had all the converts of the MTC stand up and asked a few of them why they had been baptized. Wow. There are a LOT of converts in the MTC. Hearing their experiences were amazing. There was one Elder from Samoa who went to church for 3 years and never got baptized because his parents wouldn't let him. He finally was old enough to be baptized, and then he went straight on a mission. The third group he had stand up were people who had either left the church and come back, or had been inactive in some way at some point. Wow, were there a lot of those as well. Their stories and testimonies were so powerful. The thing about the MTC is that it's not full of people who have easy testimonies. I say that in the best way possible, of course. But it seems like everyone in the MTC, at some point in their life, really had to sit down and figure out what they really believed, whether they were raised in it, a convert, or had left it at some point. Eventually, we all have to figure out our priorities, find where our faith really lies, and what truth really is.
My district here is great. I realized no one knows anything about anyone except my companion, so here's the run down. My zone has 4 districts. I have no idea if that's normal or not. Each district has between 5-8 people in it. There are 2 districts of Hermanas, 1 district of Elders, and 1 district of 3 Elders and 4 Hermanas. I am part of one of the Hermana districts; we call ourselves sistricts. Get it? :P In out sistrict we had me (naturally), my companion, Hermana Concidine, Hermana Weeks, Hermana McMurray, Hermana Clay, and Hermana Horne. Hermana Weeks is 1/4 Samoan, 1/4 Black, and 1/2 Mexican, and is literally the funniest person I think I have ever met. She's sassy and intimidates all the Elders haha :P She's from SoCal and knows the most Spanish out of any of us, although she disagrees. Hermana McMurray is her companion from Las Vegas, and is the 2nd funniest person on the planet. The 2 of them combined make for some very hilarious and embarrassing times. Hermana Clay is from North Carolina and is the only one in our district not going to Mexico- she's going to the Twin Falls Temple Visitor's Center. She is simply amazing and is going to BYU, so we will definitely be friends when we get back. :) Hermana Horne is from Orem, and has no sense of humor haha :P So we're always playing practical jokes on her and teasing her. She loves us, though, and we love her. She's probably the most innocent out of all of us, and I have no idea how she's going to survive in Mexico, but she has such a sweet spirit:) I just love them all!
Our branch (zone) presidency is also ridiculously awesome. All of them are converts to the church, and have served various missions in different places, as mission presidents or otherwise, and have THE COOLEST insights and stories to tell. I feel like my knowledge is expanded just by being around them.
During my time at the MTC, I've learned a few things. First, that ties are used as currency at the MTC among the Elders, and can be used to trade for other ties, food, or needed items like socks, etc. However, not all ties are created equal, and some are worth much more than others, depending on a lot of different characteristics. Overall, I find the whole situation hilarious, and it gives me constant enjoyment and amusement, listening to the Elders talked about the latest trends in tie economics.
I've also learned that missionaries are the only reason the US Postal Service is still in business. Seriously. I bet if they got rid of missionary letters, the PS would flop in a month. :P
Also, not everyone does everything with a companion in the outside world. It's gotten to the point where I have a heart attack any time I see someone walking alone, and a double heart attack when I see a guy and a girl walking together. Heaven knows I'm going to be extremely odd and weird when I get back off my mission. Hopefully someone will be willing to go everywhere with me, because I don't think I'll be able to handle being alone.
Friday I'm flying to Vegas to get my Visa! :D This will be pretty interesting, since my family avoids Vegas like the plague, and I've never been. I'm excited, but also a little apprehensive.
For all those worrying about my knees, they are fine! This week I was very careful with them, and just did a lot of stretching. Which turned out great, because now I can touch my toes for extended periods of time, which I've never been able to do in my life. So that's been cool.
There was a point in time this week when I sat in my class room and was listening to class, and I thought, I just can't believe that God trusts the Salvation of His people, or the world, to 18+ year-olds. We aren't qualified, we really don't know that much, and our communication skills really aren't that great. But then I realized a few things. 1. Because God is God, if he says we can do it, he's right. 2. It is our youth and (hopefully) humility that lets the Spirit work so closely with us. 3. This work really has nothing to do with us. A few days ago one of our teachers pointed out that whenever the Lord talks about the gathering of Israel, He always refers to Himself doing it. He never says, "I'll send my missionaries out and they will gather Israel." He always says "I am gathering Israel." Seriously. Look up every scripture you can find about the gathering of Israel, and you will see. Missionaries are simply the facilitators that help people on their path towards God. As another teacher said, the best missionaries aren't the ones who are the best teachers, or the best at speaking Spanish. The best missionaries are the ones the most like Christ, and who never stop trying to be more like Christ. So. While we are on missions trying to heal people and help them feel, know, and understand the truth, our biggest job is simply to bring them to the Great Healer, who is Jesus Christ. Think, this week, about what it means that Jesus Christ is the Great Healer. That characteristic is rapidly becoming my favorite thing about Him, and encompasses all that He stands for.
Well, I have no more time. But I hope you are all doing well. :) I love hearing from each of you.
Only if you are unafraid of the truth can you find it,