Sunday, October 30, 2011

My First Letter from the MTC in Provo, Utah.

This is my first email from the Provo MTC. I am only allowed thirty minutes to write an email, and I want to include as much as possible, so I hope you don't mind that I write one email to everyone. All is well. I have a wonderful companion named Hermana Xiomara Garrett from Kennewick, Washington. Do not let her name fool you. She is as white and English as me. Her father served in a mission in Honduras, and a common name of the people was Xiomara. He loved it so much that my companion's father named her that. She is also a Spanish Teaching major, although at BYU-Idaho, which means we are at about the same Spanish-speaking level. We compliment each other very well as we try to master the Spanish language. She knows words to fill me in when I do not know what to see, and I can fill her in when she needs it. There is so much to tell, that I am afraid I cannot put all of it in an email, but I will try my best. I have been assigned as the senior companion between the two of us. On Thursday evening, my zone met with our branch president, President Evans. After personally interviewing all of us, he assigned me. My companion kept telling me that she knew I would be chosen. I think the only reason why I was chosen was because the Lord wanted me to step up and start contributing more to the companionship. I certainly didn't want that much responsibility on my second day in the MTC. As senior companion, I am in charge of initiating everyone, companion prayer, companion study, and coordinating our daily and weekly planning sessions that we have each day at 9:00 P.M.
The rules at the MTC are very strict, but they are to teach us obedience. Dad, as you have always taught me, obedience is the first law of heaven upon which all things are predicated. That is dually enforced here. We must wake up at 6:30 A.M., be ready by 7:00 A.M., be punctual to all of our activities, be in our residence by 9:30, start quiet time at 10:15 P.M. and have our lights out by 10:30 P.M. During the day, we have three square meals, class instruction once or twice a day for a three hour block, conduct personal study time as well as companion study time. Our exercise consists of either early morning exercise classes (solely for the hermanas) that start at 6:00 A.M. and end by 6:30 A.M. and gym time. That is a little about my schedule.
I have had to memorize 2 Nephi 5:13 in both Spanish and English, a challenge from my mission president to know by Sunday. Addtionally, I have to memorize D&C 4 (the whole section) in Spanish and English before the end of my three weeks here. Not to mention, I have to memorize my purpose as a missionary on pg. 1 of Preach My Gospel which is called Predicad Mi Evangelio in Spanish. It will really aid me to keep focus to my purpose.
Aside from our routine, I feel the effects that the Spirit has on me. I have come to realize that what I thought I knew about the gospel is nothing. My knowledge of the gospel has increased 70 x 7 while being here only four days. As my companion and I study the lessons and prepare for our investigators, we are taught to always keep their needs in mind. We are here to teach people, not just lessons. The whole time we start and end with prayer to invite the Spirit and teach by the Spirit. I have definitely increased my use of prayer. I know that it is by the Spirit that we can bring others to Christ. That is why it is so important that I pray when I wake up, when I go to bed, when I read my scriptures, etc. Each time I feel the blessings of those prayers as the Spirit augments my ability to speak Spanish and rely my message to the investigator. Yesterday evening, we had our first lesson with our teacher who really acted like an investigator. He took every single investigator he ever taught and combined it into the character Pablo Chavez. We failed miserably in our attempt to teach him because we forgot to start our lesson with a prayer. As a result, we stumbled on our words. Today, we had a chance to redeem ourselves. I realized that what we had to offer him was knowledge that our church was different. We offer a chance for the person to enter in at the door of baptism and receive eternal life. Other languages only teach people to save their souls. As we teach the doctrine and foundations of this gospel, people recognize the truth by the Spirit touching their hearts.
I have grown so much in the Gospel and in my relationship with Heavenly Father. Thank you so much.

I love you all.

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