Hello family and friends!!
Where to begin?! I've learned so much already, and I can't believe it's only been a week. It feels like I've been here at least a month, but at the same time the days pass quickly. When Aunt Margie drove me down to the MTC, it finally hit me that this is it. We were a little early and so we drove by and then walked around the temple for a few minutes. I don't freak out very easily, but if my heart had gone any faster I think I would have exploded. So after breathing for a bit we dropped me off! The MTC is very efficient and I moved through, met a friendly host sister to show me where to go, got everything I needed, and then took a bus down to West Campus and Wyview/ Raintree housing. They're sending most of the English speakers there cause we're only there a couple weeks, but there's a lot of other missions here as well. I saw Alex Valencia, and a friend from Aspen Grove going to the Philippines! We eventually made our way to the classroom and I met my companion, my district, and my teachers who have all been tremendously amazing.
My companion reminds me of Sister Lauren Scott in more than one way. She is strong, motivated, spiritually in tune, a great influence on me, and has some other similarities in quirks and appearance. I love her. I could not have asked for anyone better. We work well together, and we have grown in unity and our ability to teach more effectively. We have helped each other grow, but I feel more on the receiving end. She's the heart of our whole district.
Speaking of our district, it's pretty much the greatest. We have 4 elders and 4 sisters. All the sisters are going to Houston, as well as 4 other sisters who are in our zone. The elders are going to Farmington NM and they're eventually going to be learning some Spanish and Navajo but they're only at the MTC for 2 weeks with us--crazy huh? We have grown together as a district as well and we learn a lot from each other and from our teachers.. who are some of the most incredible people I've met. Our teachers spend a lot of time preparing to teach us, and it shows in their lessons. We also get to teach them in a role play as progressing investigators. That's my favorite part of our experience here. My companion and I are teaching Brother Clegg--who's playing his friend Justin from his mission. We have had powerful experiences teaching him, and I have felt the direction of the Spirit in preparing to teach, and teaching him. I don't have time to write everything, and I'm desperately trying to organize my thoughts here as I try to convey the amazing Spirit that is here, the amount I've learned, how I'm growing, and everything else.
First, let me tell you about Sunday. I don't think experienced another Sunday quite as powerful, and spiritually enriching. I have the opportunity to be in the MTC for a fast sunday, and general conference. The only way this coming sunday could be better than this sunday was is if it were general conference... and it is! Anyway, on fast sundays we have mission conference, which means we get to hear from our MTC President, and a few other speakers in the presidency; there were talks on the Atonement, accelerating our learning, our authority and power as missionaries, patriarchal blessings, and the role of the Book of Mormon. I wish I could tell you everything, and I might be able to write more in a letter, but right now I want to focus on the talk we were given about how to accelerate our learning. I'm pretty sure this was the talk given by President Nally, and he told us that if we are consistent in this one thing that everything we do will be blessed. He said that we need a daily personal devotional and accounting to our Father in Heaven every night from 10:15 to 10:30 (for the missionary schedule) and use it as a time for accounting, gratitude, listening, and fervent prayer. Make sure everything is right between you and God at the end of that prayer, and you will finish your mission with no regrets. He said that you would never miss such an appointment with God. You would never be late for such an appointment. He promised that as we would do this, our hearts will change, and as we sought the gifts of the spirit, they would come more easily over time as we nurture our relationship with God. My prayers after this talk have been more fervent, and I have set daily goals for myself that I account to the Lord on. It is already blessing my life. I feel more in tune with the Spirit, and I am able to accomplish more.
The other experience I want to share is our third lesson with Justin. We had already talked to him about baptism in our second lesson, and he wanted to work toward that goal--we didn't commit him to a date yet, but he's enthusiastic about learning more. We taught him to pray, and he has felt God's love for him through prayer. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, although he didn't really know what it was yet. So logically I thought in our next lesson we should teach him about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. However, Sister Maughan was being more attentive to the Spirit and had a strong impression that we really needed to talk to him about families and focus on that. She kinda suggested that earlier, but I was too set in my mindset to really follow that suggestion, until she told me boldly 2 min before we were teaching him that we really needed to teach on families. Thank goodness I was humble enough to yield to her prompting at that point, and it was so inspired. It was exactly what he needed to hear. His sister had given him additional scriptures to read, and he read 1 Nephi 8, so we talked about Lehi's dream, and then families, and come to find out, his mom died a few years back, and he never knew his dad. He just saw the example of his sister and brother-in-law, and how happy they were and he wanted to learn more. I started crying. I was able to testify of the power of the Atonement, and the reality of eternal families, and how the gospel will bless families now and hereafter. I felt chastised by the Lord a little too, that I wasn't paying enough attention to recognize that prompting that my companion had. I made a promise that I was never going to be too focused on what I wanted to do that I wouldn't hear what the Lord needed to tell me.
I have had so many wonderful devotionals here. I have learned from them, I have learned from my teachers. Most of their lessons are on the fundamentals, and how we should approach things that way. There's not too much of a buzz about General Conference this weekend, but I'm sure everyone is excited, we've just got a lot of other spiritual things we're focused on too.
Family: I love you, I'm so glad you guys are continuing down the right path. I'm glad you're preparing questions for conference, and I know you'll be blessed when you do. I sent you 2 written letters already, hope you got them! I have some pictures I'll try to send later
Brothers: Way to go Truman, thanks for writing!! I still haven't heard anything from the rest of y'all. USE DEARELDER.COM it's like an email, but they print it for me. I love you I want to hear from you!!
Dad: I hope the questions you asked in your personal email were answered here, I tried to address them, especially since you're the only one who's asked specific things so far.
Mom: thanks for posting things to the blog and facebook!! Love you, thanks for the stamps... turns out I had one of the sheets of those in my wallet I just discovered :P but thanks!
Lots of Love!!