Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Week in the MTC

So first off.. I got my travel plans! We report at the travel office at 3am on Monday. My flight departs at 620 and we arrive at 10 in Dallas. Then we leave Dallas at 205 and land in New York JFK at 640. Then we leave there at 950 and fly to buenos Aries and arrive at 915 am. I haven't taken the time to figure out when those times are where, but i am planning to call the house when i land in Dallas probably around 11 or so be ready! Invite grandma and grandpa and Jean and Russell if they would all like to come over too! Ill get a calling card and call that way so it wont be for a super long time. Oh, also found out that My mission is ranked number......2 for most dangerous in the world, but can even tell you how excited I am!!!!
Now for the week! Its gone by so quick. We had another wonderful opportunity to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson this week. Sad to say but i will probably miss another apostle next week but its been awesome to listen to three so far. Sister Nelson spoke first and said something i thought was funny but also very true. Here at the MTC we compare in to being in prison sometimes. But she reminded us, what is so bad about being in prison if the Lord is the one in charge and we are doing his work. I could very easily just walk out the front gate here if i wanted but there is no way in my right mind i would walk away from this work.(especially after almost finishing my time here and finally going to the field). She also said "obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles." I think many of you know that i will need not only blessings but miracles in Argentina. So i promise you ill be doing my absolute best to be very exact in my obedience and working my butt off. The Elder Nelson said a few things that stood out to me. HE called 4 random missionaries up to sit with him and asked them, "Tell me in your heart of hearts what you know for a fact to be true about the Book of Mormon?" That's what i will be doing for 2 years. Telling people what i KNOW to be true. He spoke on the new Ensign that came out and we were the first ones to get it.(Its amazing) Read it all!
Now we had a sister in our district leave for health reasons and it was very sad to see her go right before she was to leave but she kept a very good attitude about it all. We all know that whether she comes back out or she decides to do other things she will be great at whatever it may be. But, I have been working on a project the last 5 weeks or so. Every Tuesday after the devotional we have a district testimony meeting. Each week i have briefly written one line of what each person has said in there testimonies. Then I bought different pocket size pictures of Jesus(For the elders its the fishers of men and for the 2 sisters its a picture of a young girl sitting on Jesus's knee) and on the back i have written what they have said in their own words so that if they ever get discouraged they can look back at what they have said and realize we can always keep moving forward. Nothing that comes across us will be too much for us to handle if we are on the Lords side. Who is on the Lords side?
Its been a great time here at the MTC but i am ready to get to Argentina. My spanish is better but not great. I will get made fun of, laughed at, doors slammed, and people robbing me, but i know nothing will bring me down. I know i will bring a joy to so many peoples lives. I know that strengthening their faith in Christ will change their life and they will be able to look at everything from a whole new perspective. I know its changed me. I know that I am going here for a reason. Whether it be for me or someone else I do not know. Also, I am very lucky. Ive been a little of a struggle for people but I am very lucky to have the people in my life that I do. A family who has loved me through everything. Grandparents who will always teach me things and tell me what i can do better and help to become better. Friends who step in when i need them most. Cousins who are there to pick me up. A best friend to be a brother to me when i need one(Curtis). Many more but each and every one of you have helped me so much and im so thankful for your love, patience, caring.
Dad- Thank you for the letters. I do feel like i have grown more then i can explain, but i cant pick a certain thing. I have been working on a different attribute every week to study, build, and become better at. Sounds like yall are very busy with all the meetings and callings.
Mom- OK. HEre ya go! :) Doctrine and Covenants 62:2-3,5-6,9. You can pick out of there what you want to put on there. Ill be sending home pictures in a while. still haven't taken a whole lot.
Samye and family- Dustin im going to try and write back today but im also packing. I pray for yall every night. Tell the kids i love them!
Nicki- I already wrote you this morning and ill send it off soon.
Alex- I also already wrote you and will send it today.
p.s. Dont mail letters here anymore. Im GONE!!! :) oh and im mailing a package home.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2nd to last week in the MTC!

Well i should get my travel plans today. We are all very excited! I most likely will be leaving a week from Monday with 4 other guys in my district to fly down. This week flew by like every other week. Sunday was a very cool day. For our fireside we watched videos on 9/11 and then watched the Mormon tabernacle presentation and it was very touching. It is amazing to think it has been 10 years but also to think how much it has done for our country. The main thing i took away from this was rise above. America rose above after the attack and became united in relief and helping out. I feel as if I have risen above certain times in my life. The problem i see with America sometimes is we don't keep that attitude. Individually i lose that attitude of rising above very often. It hit me that i cant rise above for certain occasions then go back down to where i was. I need to be constantly making steps forward although i know we all fall. I fallen many times most of all but it is all about if we can come out of it and what we learn from it.
Also this week on Tuesday we had the opportunity to hear from M. Russell Ballard. Its pretty rare i get to hear from a couple of apostles while being in the MTC but it is definitely a cool experience. First Sister Ballard started out by saying, "people don't understand how we do what we do sometimes, but they also don't know what we know." This made me think alot about Tannon. Many people included I did not know certain things that could have made everything much easier. It is a whole lot easier to lose your brother if you know he is working along side you and will be there after this life. I have truly come to believe that and see that help while i have been here. Then Elder Ballard spoke about a quote by Wilford Woodruf and stated, " No matter what comes upon you, round up your shoulders and bear it." Also, " Get over rejection, doubt, sadness, or any other negative feeling by having a picture of the savior on you at all times so that you can pull it out and sit and think for a minute. He went through the exact thing plus much much more. there is nothing that will be placed on our shoulders that we cant take with the help of the savior.
Its been a rough but good week. I'm still trying to learn as much as i can. the food is getting very very old but i have stuck to my diet most the time and am staying as healthy as possible :). This week I got a letter from a friend of mine that i haven't talked to in a while. It was one of the most exciting parts of the week and it helped alot to hear someone say something to the fact of if i work my butt off and be who i can be than there is nothing i cant do. I also to just hear from a dear friend was very nice.
Curtis, i know your reading this and i want you to know i love you man. Also please tell your parents. It means a lot to get things from your parents. Sorry i haven't written your mom back yet but i will try today!! I glad your home and now you can take care of business there. Your like a brother to me, even though your old now.
Please send grandma and Grandpa and Jean and Russell my love. I pray for them every night and am so thankful to have amazing grandparents in my life.
Family, give Brandon and Jaimie and the kids a hug for me.
I love you all!
Dad- Sounds like everything is going well. I didn't get a chance to read any of your letters yet seeing as they moved the post office and haven't printed out dear elders yet.
Mom- Its second Nephi 2. I sent you the verses in a far previous email i know. I don't have my scriptures on me and don't have time to go get them seeing as this is timed but its toward the end. if you cant find those then use DC 62:2-4 or so. Just be a good judge and use whatever. Um as far as pictures.. i haven't taken too many but ill work on that.
Samye and Family- I hope everything is well. I'm still waiting to get my drawings from the kids... but I'm excited :)
Nicki- i never heard back from you on that separate email i sent you. Just hoping you were able to take care of that for me. I also hope school is going well and boys as well. Even though i sucked at writing you, you should be the better person ! :). also all those papers you sent me. Wow its alot! and majority of the stories are missing half of them but i do appreciate it :) I have read alot of it every night before i pass out.
Alex- Ill be writing you today. I hope school is well and the boys are horrible. (nice to you but not good enough)
P.S. i learned something this week about mailing to me in Argentina. I couple people have told us you sometimes have to be sneaky if you send anything. @ tips i heard.
1-peanut butter jar and take most of the peanut butter out and put whatever inside of it.
2- Wrap whatever it is in paper of Mary. the people will be to suspicious and wont open it :). (hopefully)
Also if anything is sent to me that wont be here by the 26 then they will most likely trash it unless i can get someone to forward it to me in Argentina.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Only 3 weeks left!

Dear family and friends,
It was a pretty good week this week. Lots of our good friends have headed out to the field but I've only got 3 weeks left then i leave. This next week i should get my travel plans and hopefully its not like those going to Hong Kong where they leave Monday morning and after layovers and so forth get there Wednesday night. Yes we definitely heard about the BYU Miss game. A guy in my district is in love with sports and byu. He is seen on the byu sports annual catalog giving jimmer a blessing... And this week i am excited to hopefully see Texas beat Byu. Elder Embley, same guy i just mentioned, is also going to the San Antonio mission so he cant decide who he wants to win.
Yesterday, another elder in my district had an interesting experience. Since our third week he has been one of the only elders left here going to the Dominican republic because of the lack of space in the Dominican MTC. Yesterday morning they paged him and said he was leaving at 830 that night. He spent all day getting packed and getting ready, then a couple hours they called him back and said never mind. He was a little frustrated but he is still happy to be here.
Umm, not much else has gone on here. I'm still studying all the time and trying to get the language down but it wont happen for a while i know. I did go to the temple today and ended up talking to an elderly guy who served in my mission back when Argentina was all one mission.
A couple thoughts from the week:
In a Fireside by Richard Heaton, i realized that as missionaries sometimes we focus too hard on the wrong things. My purpose is not to baptize people but to strengthen there faith in Christ and possibly (hopefully) bring them into the gospel. Sometimes we miss the spirit, the promptings, and the feelings of those we are teaching. God has been working on these people i will meet. I need to make sure what i teach coincides with what they have been feeling and with what will help them.
On Tuesday, we had Jay E. Jensen come speak to us sort of on, "Decisions Do Determine Destiny." I have realized that in my life, but i have always learned that decisions are made everyday. Decisions to change can correct past decisions through time. When he spoke to us he said that he didn't plan to go on a mission at first. He was going to marry his girlfriend, now wife, and not serve. It wasn't til a return missionary spoke in church that it hit him that he needed to go no matter what. Now quickly, what is the first scripture that comes to mind about success? In i think D&C 18:15-16, it talks about if you bring save it be one soul, how great shall be your joy. Who is the "one soul"? As I've learned here, that soul could be me. This mission i am going on could not change another persons life but my own. And if that be the case, then how great will be my joy? It could be a companion. It could be the people in Argentina. My point is, I need to be an impact whether it be on myself or others. Also, on a side note, it wont necessarily be what i say that effects people but what they feel because of what i am telling them.
I am still excited to be here and time begins to fly. Ive learned so much and already feel completely different. I am so happy to be able to have this opportunity to go share this amazing happiness. I haven't known this all along, but this gospel can bring so much happiness into your life. Christ can bring so much happiness, help, comfort, peace, guidance, and etc. I plan to do my best as a missionary and get out there. Be bold with everything i say and teach knowing that angels, God, Jesus Christ, and my older brother are right beside me helping me the entire time.
Last little note. I didn't go to choir this week because i wanted a chance to actually hear the choir instead of myself. But trust me, i will be singing alot down in Argentina. I ever heard that even if i have a bad voice here, ill sound great over there. Either way ill try my best.
Dad- Thank you for the letters! I think the 11-13 they wont print out dear elders because they are moving buildings. Sounds like everything is good and your busy with the missionaries as well.
Mom- Thank you for the letter even though 90% of it was a talk. :). Sounds like everything is also going well for you. I had something i was gonna ask but i forgot...Oh, and i told you like 4 weeks ago what the scripture is i wanted! Its in 2 nephi. I don't remember where though.
Samye and D- Have fun on your little get away trip and Happy Late birthday Samye!
Nicki- Thank you for the package! umm and all the papers. I don't know if ill ever get a chance to read them but thank you! I hope school is going well! And remember, if something very significant in your life happens in the next 2 years, i better like him.
Alex- I hope you got my letter and everything is going well! good luck in school along with everything else you plan to do. Just remember that you have the light of Christ and the best thing you can do it is by sharing it. You know how?! SMILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the time! It is actually proven that it is impossible to stay mad if you force yourself to smile. So DO IT!!!
I love you all and you are in my prayers every night.
Oh, and tell Jean and Russell I am writing them today. And Thank you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whatever week this is!!!

So to start it off, This was one of the hardest weeks i have had in a very long time. I was just struggling with everything but at the same time trying so hard to stay positive and motivated.
Everything seemed to be going wrong but at the same time i know it wasn't. It was until Tuesday night Heavenly Father answered my prayer and gave me a big boost. (Now that's my catch for everyone to read the rest of the letter).
This week i got released as District Leader which is kind of nice although i do miss some meetings i got to go to. My new branch president is amazing. Whenever he talks to us he just goes off on stories and scriptures he knows. He can quote just about anywhere in the scriptures it seems. He also goes back and looks up and studies what words mean individually. Like "Hand Shake" in Hebrew was Yad-yad. Turns out yad-yad means beloved friend. That is where the hand shake came from. Kind of awesome! We also found out my previous branch president got called to the Costa Rica temple presidency as his next assignment in the church.
Now let me tell you some of my teaching experiences. So my companion and i were teaching on the steps of repentance to our investigator. remember its all in spanish and we still struggle alot with it, but turns out the entire time we were teaching her "los patos de arrepentimiento" and not "los pasos". They are completely different but might work if we are teaching families with little kids one day! We have been teaching an investigator Gloria for 13 lessons now and just taught her spouse, or boyfriend she lives with, for the first time the other day.
Now to talk about Tuesday. I have been in the MTC choir every week and it paid off finally to get a seat. Elder Holland came and spoke to us. He had nothing written down or physically prepared ahead of time and it was amazing. let me share just a couple things i got from it. Oh, and he started off talking about how old he was and how, "I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peal." I hope i have his vigor when i am his age...Now something he has said in many of his talks is "my mission meant everything to me".
-this will be the only dispensation in time that wont end with apostasy. The Church will not fall again.
-prophets in the old testament new testament and book of Mormon all worked til the end of there lives never being able to see much success. The kept going, kept hope, and knew the day would come.
- It is ok for people to think missionaries are perfect. Of course we aren't but we need to try our best to be especially these 2 years.
- I don't have the right to damage the image of a missionary. If the church were to have a symbol (but we don't and don't believe in them) it would be an image of 2 missionaries. When i come home, don't forget what i have been doing and dont forget what a true missionary is.
Then he went in and did a Q&A with us.
What is the most important thing Christ wants us to know right now?
-he told the truth
What are the best ways to invite the spirit in my life?
-Diving into scripture, Prayer, and don't lose the spirit in the first place.
Whats the best advice i have ever received?
-go on mission, marry who i married and how i married, get as much education in whatever i was to do.
what is the comparison of being a missionary and a general authority?
- A a missionary i am an apostle. He is an Apostle. He holds many more keys and responsibilities and so forth but we do very similar things.
What is the greatest gift i can give to the savior?
-My heart.
Why does God love us?
-"I am not perfect. Not even close. But i am almost perfect in the love i have for my children...If i love them as much as i do then the love the savior has for us is indescribable."
God gave the only perfect child for all the imperfect of us.
Dad- Now i thought alot about you this week. The log cabin sounds awesome. get it done before i come home please! i also saw Hermana Martino right before she left early this week and it was exciting to see her go! My companion and i are doing very well. We are loving it here and continually trying to grow. Now for why i thought about you. In the book of Mark while Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane, he says one word in particular that stands out to me. "Abba". The closest translation to that is poppa or daddy. I have realized two things. First is my relationship with god. I need to look towards him as my legit father. He is my spirit father and i need to communicate with him that way. Second, is you. I need to start off apologizing. We have had our differences i know and i know i haven't been near the best of a son i could i have been, but i want to have that same relationship with you. I want it so that we have that relationship where i or you are the worst of circumstances and can come to each other as daddy or son.
Mom- Thank you for everything. Socks would be very nice but that is all i can think of for now. You do need to step it up if you want to catch up with dad though! Love you!!
Samye- I am very excited to get this pictures and letters!!! i wait every day and I'm very excited.
Nicki- thank you for spending time with Allie. i love you
Alex- I'm writing you...