Dear Everyone who reads this blog:
Well I have no idea if my mother has posted anything onto the blog yet so I will give you a run down of the past 2 weeks in the MTC.
Arriving at the MTC was a lot easier than I had imagined. My best friend told me that the morning of is a daze, but for me that morning was like any other day. We pulled up, mom cried, they took my bags, mom cried, and then we were hugging and ready to go, mom still crying, and then they were gone. The rest of the day was mostly a blur after that, they checked us into our rooms and went right to class. We sit down and one of the teachers in the room comes up to me and says " blahblah blah blha blah blah ". All I could think was, please let this not be Romanian. We went to the computers and she talked some more, I still had no idea what she was talking about. Long day short, Romanian is difficult to understand the first day of class. Go figure.
Day 2 in the MTC was awesome. Let me just tell you about my two companions: Elder Whitehead and Elder Poulsen. Power Trio!!! Both are really great guys with strong testimonies and awesome humor. Elder Whitehead is seriously the 2nd smartest man I have ever met (can you guess the first?) and he has that sly sense of humor, the kind that people dont realize its a joke till they have fallen for it. Elder Poulsen, man what can't you say about that Elder? If his family is reading this, they know that arguing with Elder Poulsen is like arguing with a 5 year old ( I mean this as a compliment). You will always lose and it will never make sense. The sisters in our district have learned this very quickly.
Day 3 in the MTC was incredibly discouraging. Its ok for you future elders to become frustrated in the MTC as long as that frustration pushes you to be stronger. Discouraging however is not God's work, its the other teams. We taught our first investigator in all romanian and I couldnt understand a thing that he said. I was also really sick, so not only did I not understand, I was really really really cold. Not being able to understand what questions he was asking was hard, but not being able to tell him what was in my heart was even harder. Sora Wilson, the teacher I talked about before, reminded us that we were promised many things when we were set apart. All we have to do is try our hardest and the Lord will do the rest.
Day 4 and the Spirit just keeps on going, the language was a little bit better and we were able to teach him a lot. The Spirit is so helpful when you cant understand someone, because even though you dont understand, God does and, through the Spirit, we can understand his needs.
First Sunday at the MTC, best thing to look forward to when you are here. Priesthood was amazing, we talked about how to know if it is the Spirit talking or just your mind. As Elder Bednar put it "Don't Worry About It". If any of you know the story of the 20 Marks you will know of what happened when he was on his mission, if not look it up. He tells of how he gave 20 marks, a lot of money for the missionaries, to a general authority for dinner. This money ended up saving the general authority from prison. Elder Bednar never knew that the spirit was impressing him at the time. We had a devotional on Mormon Helping Hands during hurricane Sandy. We have 2 sisters from New Jersey, Sora Gerhartz and Sora Kelly. I already love all these people. My teachers, my companions, my sisters, pretty much everyone you meet. We watched a movie on the SLC temple being built " temple to the Lord" I believe it was called. Lots of respect and admiration for those saints.
Day 5 and Hallejulah or however you spell it, I woke up, felt hungry for the first time and was able to eat a full breakfast. Day started out great and it just kept getting better. One of the Sisters needed a blessing of comfort, and I was able to perform the blessing. How great is the power of God, to know the heart, fears and desires of any person. The Spirit was so strong as the blessing was given. In my journal I described the Spirit as " a bucket under a waterfall".
Day 6 was another good day, praying to the Lord to bless everyone that I knew. We invited our investigator to baptism and we were pretty sure he said yes, its still kind of hard to understand everything that is going on. You will focus on one thing and then you will realize that the conversation is still going. We also had Elder Paul B. Peiter of the Seventy come and talk to us during a devotional. He talked to us about things that act (us) and things that are acted upon. We as missionaries need to remember that investigators need to act, and not be acted upon. Our Mission Branch Presidency talked to us about Adam-ondi-ahman. It is amazing to think that we are really in the last days.
Day 7 at the MTC, how the time flies, already one week down 8 more to go. I watched Patterns of Light on Mormon Messages by Elder Bednar. Amazing to think of the Spirit in that way. D&C 50:24.
Day 8 at the MTC is Thanksgiving. We wake up at 5:15 to do laundry, only time I have felt negative thoughts in the MTC is when an elder steals your washing machine. On the other side we had Elder Holland come and talk to us during the Devotional. It was amazing, he opened up really funny which was really strange for him. In the end though, he brought the fire of the Lord to the meeting. We made humanitarian and school supplies for Mali? That evening we had amazing music by missionaries, including one sister who tore up on the fiddle. We watched 17 Miracles and it brought to mind the trials in our day, although not physical, are just as demanding then if not more now. It is always inspiring to see the way the saints in that company had their faith tested . My favorite part has to be the end when they talk about how they would always look behind them to see who was helping them push their carts, but no one was there. Angels.
The next few days at the MTC were a complete blur to me. They still are, but in my journal I described the way that time keeping at the MTC works. Is it breakfast yet? Do we have lunch or dinner next? Oh man I'm starving whens dinner, you just had dinner...no joke, its how its done.
The next Sunday at the MTC was slightly bittersweet as most of the elders on our floor were leaving for their missions in Australia or New Zealand. All of them were amazing elders. We watched Joseph Smith: the Translation. I invite all of you to watch it if you have not done so. Your testimony and respect for Joseph Smith will grow exponetially.
Monday Elder Christianson came back from the airport. He was part of the group that was supposed to leave for their missions. His visa didnt go through, so he sat in the airport by himself and just waited. They had to bring him back to the MTC, but he went to McDonalds first, lucky dog. If any of you are planning on going on a mission, eat Arby's as much as you can, cause I'm craving it almost as much as my mom's food. Ok thats a lie, I would take my mom's food over anything else any day of the week.
We'll just skip Tuesday, it was just plain bad. We did fairly bad in our new investigator and we were all down except Elder Poulsen. The next day however was entertaining. We taught another investigator and she was all sassy and, well it was just comical relief after the previous day. You learn to look on the bright side of things here at the MTC. We also recieved a new shipment of boboci (ducklings). Oh I forgot to tell you Elder P is the District Leader ( there's only us, the power trio, in the district) and Elder W and I were called to be Zone Leaders. So we had the privilege to teach the new missionaries. Its so funny to think that we looked exactly the same only two weeks prior.
I just have a few spiritual things that I would like to say before signing off. The first is on Marriage/Divorce. I know that this is a touchy subject, but I watched a video by Elder Holland on this topic and a few things stuck a chord. Turn to the Lord, repent and kneel together in prayer. The second is the "Women in our Lives" by President Hinckley. He says, " when you offend any Daughter of God, you offend God himself." What powerful words. As a missionary, I see the reasoning behind my parents council on treating women with respect. It is fairly hard for some elders to separate themselves from the world and respect all of God's children. The next is just a quick shout out to my dad. There is a story on Mormon Messages that reminded me of him. Its called A Father Indeed. I invite anyone to watch it and thank their Heavenly Father for their dad. I love my dad, just as in the story, my father is a very hard working man, who has sacrificed much for his family. I am so grateful for such an amazing example, and I hope that I can one day be like him.
Last thing is a talk by President Uchdorf (probably spelled that wrong) called Continue in Patience. He says " Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. Patience is not simply enduring, it is enduring well." We can remove Patience and replace it with anyone of the Christ-like Attributes. It is a great talk and a good "forget yourself" story.
I am so grateful for the oportunity to go and serve the people of Romania. I have so much respect for each and everyone of them, partially because they know the language. I love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. I can't wait to learn all that I can, both spiritual and worldly knowledge. În numele lui Isus Hristos, amin.
P.S. please use dearelder.com or just send a regular letter, you would not believe how excited us elders get when we recieve a letter...or a package.