Arizona Mesa Mission Address

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MTC is Awesome

Its been a week here in the MTC and things are going great for me.  It was a pretty rough start but after the first 3 or 4 days things really started to get a lot better.  The spirit is so strong here and it is such a great environment to learn. My testimony has grown so much already.

The first two or three days were really busy and I had no time to do personal or companionship study.  I spend at least 6 hours a day in class and sometimes 10 hours.  Obedience is really stressed here (as I knew it would be) but for some reason its really not that hard to obey all the rules, and the Lord has even blessed me with a motivation to strive for obedience, which in turn gives me more blessings.  We learn that our obedience does not only affect ourselves but it influences the obedience, happiness and even salvation of others.  We must define ourselves by our obedience and if we do that, the Lord will bless us with a successful mission.

The teachers here in the MTC are SO AWESOME.  My teachers are Hermano Welling and Hermano Lowe and they are so great.  You'd think, especially in my case, that I would have more than a lot of trouble focusing in class but I seriously find that class time goes by so quickly because it is so engaging and our teachers make everything so interesting.  They both have such powerful testimonies and teach with such conviction it is hard to believe that they are just a few years older than me.  They are truly a great example to us and I hope that I can be as good a missionaries as they were.

I have found that as time progressed and I got past the severely overwhelming stages during the first few days, that the Lord has blessed me with a great attitude when it comes to missionary work.  I have realized that I am on the Lord's time and slacking off or not paying attention aren't options.  I really do miss you guys but I am so busy here that it is hard to really dwell on the past and get sad over missing home.  I have taught myself already to be more in tune with the spirit, and when I do that it opens up more doorways in my learning and progression both in the language and my testimony.

Our class is divided into two basic sections.  We learn about the language for half the time and the rest is spent learning the doctrine and practicing how we can convey our message with the power of the spirit.  I haven't taught anything in Spanish yet but I can say a prayer and teach the first section of Lesson One in Spanish at this point.  I have found that I am pretty good at picking up the language.  I know that if I trust in the Lord and stay in tune with the spirit I will be speaking great Spanish soon.  Though I have never felt like such a nerd as I have here -- I now have two notebooks and two pens in my front pocket at all times . . . its pretty funny.
My district is really great.  We have three sister missionaries, and one of them is named Hermana McKinney which I thought was kind of interesting.  My companion's name is Elder Samuels from Liberty Corner, New Jersey (about 2 hours from NC).  He is an avid skiier and a good companion.  We also have Elder Duke in our companionship which makes us a "trio companionship" (since Elder Duke doesn't have a companion yet), which could turn out to be another challenge for us as we prepare and try to teach with unity and fluency.  We've been told that we will have to work a lot harder in a trio.  Elder Duke wants to become a captain in the military and has already done two years at the University of Arizona.  He is a good leader.  He makes this homemade beef jerky seasoned with soy sauce and Montreal steak seasoning.  It is literally like black gold -- I love it so much.  Dad, if you could, you should try to make like a ton of jerky and send it to me that would be great, because I feel bad eating so much of Elder Duke's.  He says that London broil is the best meat you can get for it, but I know (since your such a great cook) you would probably love to try and make it your own way or something.  Also I would like you to send me a wallet photo of the family and a wallet photo of Frankie por favor.

Last night we were really blessed by having Elder Holland (one of the 12 Apostles of the Church) come and speak to us for devotional.  As you can expect, it was such a powerful talk.  He challenged us to do a lot of things that he knows will make us better missionaries.

I only have like two minutes left, so I gotta go fast.  Also I need a p-day (preparation day) sweatshirt since it's kinda getting cold in the mornings here.  Also I realized that I'm really get bored of my ties, so if you could send me a couple good ones that would also be great.  I love you guys so much and I know that this is the true church and that what I'm doing is the right thing to do.  I miss you.

Love - Mike

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