Sunday, August 30, 2015

Halfway through the MTC?!?!‏

Hola familia!! Como esta?!

Man, I cannot believe I am already more than halfway done with my stay here at the MTC. When I first got here all the elders always told me that the days would seem like weeks and the weeks would seem like days. I never really believed them, but wow, it is so true!! It seems like yesterday I was bawling my eyes out saying goodbye to everyone, but at the same time it seems like yesterday morning happened 20 years ago!! It’s insane how time flies when you are having fun!! :)

So, I guess I should address the THOUSANDS of questions mom had in her email!! Haha jk mom, I love you sooooo much!! I have tried to take as many pics as I can, but here at the MTC there aren’t that many opportunities to get a ton of good pics, but I sure am trying!! The camera isn’t the best there is... all the pictures are way blurry and stuff. It is probably just because it has already been through the ringer! Haha Mom don’t stress about the white strips or the shout cleaner. I got it all figured out! The wash is going fine. The first week was rough, but now I am getting the hang of it! Thanks mom and dad for the poster!! It was most certainly for cuters. Mom, always being so creative! I love it!! I did get my hair cut last p-day. It actually turned out pretty good and basically exactly as I wanted it to be, so I am pretty happy about that. Not even close to on the level of Mads haircuts though!! ;) I was able to see Andrew Keeley this morning, but I have not yet seen Nater boy! I’ll keep a good look out for him though! It was so great to hear about their farewells and how amazing they did! That’s cool, the story about Josh’s car wreck. Seriously... we are looked after if we are obedient. It’s so true - the blessings we receive when we do what is right! I hope you all have the best time at Strawberry this week! You guys are so lucky!! I miss that place! Have fun and be safe! Make sure to send me a bunch of pictures!! Oh and thank you Brittany and fam for the package!! You guys are seriously so sweet! It’s the best part of my week when I hear from you! Thanks to Lacee as well for the “Dear Elder! I hope you are getting settled in and are doing great! BE SAFE!!! “Dear Elders” are the best... just letting you all know ;)! 

How am I really doing, you ask?? I’m seriously being dead honest when I say I am doing amazing!! Obviously there is going to be struggles and hard times, when you say you want to quit, where you just want to take that stupid Spanish book and throw it at the wall because it doesn’t make sense. However, even thru those struggles you feel the Savior’s love. It reminds me of that story that Grandpa and Grandma have in their downstairs bathroom. I’ll give a quick run- down of the story for those who don’t know what I am talking about. The story kind of goes like this... Ahh, it’s hard for me to remember the details, but basically there are two pairs of footprints in the sand.. one is the footprints of the man and the other is the footprints of the Savior. The Savior is always with us. But the man notices that during the hard times of his life he only sees one set of footprints. He asks the Savior, "Why during the hardest times of my life are you not there? Why do you leave me to fight the struggles by myself?" He is kind of angry at the Lord. The Savior then replies to him, "Those times when you only see one set of footprints are when I picked you up and carried you when you were struggling." Obviously, this isn’t how the story exactly goes and I know I didn’t get it exact, but I hope you get the basis of it. I think that story is a perfect representation of how my stay at the MTC so far has been like. Yeah, I have had some hard times. There are times in the lessons where we just stare at the investigator because none of us know what the other is talking about. Or times when kids in the class are being annoying and won’t let you study. Or even when you are just sitting there missing home. Those are the times that the Savior carries you. I have felt it and I know that it is true. A mission would not work solely off the power of an 18 year old kid, but with the Savior we now can do anything, just like Philippian’s 4:13 says. So, how am I actually doing? I’M DOING AMAZING!! I’M BEING CARRIED BY THE SAVIOR! WHAT’S BETTER THAN THAT?!?! (I hope that kind of puts it into perspective for you mom! :)

Here at the MTC, you don’t teach real investigators, but you do teach your teachers who are acting as people that they taught while they were serving on their missions. We teach this lady named Ines! I love her to death. And even though they aren’t real investigators, that love is still there! At first when we started teaching her we were kind of doing rough. Elder P. wasn’t really saying much and so I was trying to answer her questions when I barely knew what she was asking. It was really hard and I was very discouraged with myself. One of my teachers noticed that I was discouraged and brought me aside and we talked and he gave me a lot of good advice about what I should do and how I should approach my lessons from now on. So we changed the way we planned and we changed the way we looked at our investigators and we prepared in a way that would invite the Spirit into the lessons. The next day we had another lesson with Ines and I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I honestly couldn’t tell you what was said in the lesson or even what we taught about but I do remember the Spirit that was there. We asked her to pray, which she did willing, and then she just broke down in tears... embarrassing to say, but so did I! Haha! We invited her to be baptized and she said yes, and wow, I can’t explain just how much joy I felt after that lesson. Although she might have just been my teacher, I know the Spirit touched Ines's heart as well as Hermana M’s. All of our lessons after that day have gone great! I know the spirit guides us as missionaries. I know that it isn’t the words of 18 year old boys, but it is the words of God. 

I want to share one last thing. There is something that I really loved when Elder Ryan Ham gave his farewell and I remember it very well. He said in the scriptures it never once says fun. But it does say joy over 500 times. This applies directly to what I am doing here on a mission. I’m not here to have fun. That’s not why we are sent across the world. But they do call it the best two years for a reason. The joy that I felt after we taught that lesson to Ines is what the mission is all about. I will say it a thousand times and I won’t stop, but I love the quote in our living room about what a mission is. A missionary is someone who leaves their family for a short period of time so others can be with theirs for eternity. That is why I am out here, to bring people the same happiness that I have because of this gospel. I’m not going to New York to see Times Square, or to get really great pictures, but I want to share joy. I hope you guys feel through this letter the passion I have about this! This is the true gospel and it does bring happiness to every single person who lives its teachings. I want to share my testimony with you guys that our Savior lives and loves us. He is carrying us. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it does bring joy! I love you all so much!! Till next week! 

Much love, Elder brown 

Laying down during Temple walk

The zone

Ugly tie day. Sorry Mom!

The living quarters. (Sorry so messy, I have messy roommates!)

My nicely made bed every day!

The tie exchange box, hahaha!

The dudes

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