I can't believe my experience at the MTC is coming to an end. It has gone by so fast, but I also feel like I have been here for an eternity. I've grown so much at the MTC in terms of my testimony and my ability to learn a new language. The Lord has blessed me so much in both of those regards. Right now I can have a decent conversation in Spanish (though, it would be better if it was a gospel-related conversation). That being said, I still have a lot to learn and I am expecting my entry into the mission field to contain a number of humbling experiences.
I received my travel plans last Friday. What's really cool is I will be able to call home if I have time once I get through security at the airport, which I'm really hoping is the case. I am getting really excited about going into the field and putting what I have learned to the test. During my time at the MTC, I have really gained a strong testimony of my Savior and how essential He is in this work. The entire Plan of Salvation is dependent on the things He did for us, and our ability to utilize this infinite atonement to rid ourselves of sin and bring us comfort in our lives. I am so grateful how blessed my life has been and how lucky I am to have this opportunity to bring this message to others so their lives can become better.
I have also gained a strong testimony of the Plan of Happiness. I have realized that if we stay strong and endure to the end, there will be a day where we will actually see our Savior. We will be able to look at Him eye-to-eye and embrace Him with confidence, knowing that we tried our hardest. I always knew this was true in concept, but I have realized how real that promise actually is. I am excited to see my testimony and the testimony of others grow as I bring this knowledge to them and watch the Restored Gospel change their lives. I am really trying my hardest to get as much as I can out of my mission and show the Lord that I am willing to do whatever He asks of me.
Something cool happened this past week when I met Elder Nathan Ellgen. I asked him where he's from, and he said northwestern Colorado. I asked him if the town was Craig (Colorado), and he said yes. I was like, " I am so related to you". I asked him if his Grandpa's name was Lorence. He said yes, and I said my Grandpa is his brother, Philip, and that I am one of Philip's daughter's sons. It was really awesome. I scheduled an appointment to teach him in Spanish and we talked about a bunch of stuff. His dad is Larry (Lorence's son), and he is going to the Torreon, Mexico, a Spanish-speaking mission. I think he just left today (Wednesday). Anyway, I thought that was really cool, and you can tell Grandma and Grandpa Ellgen about it.
Since this is our last week in the MTC, our Zone has a tradition-type thing called "teaching week" where our goal is to teach 35 lessons to other people in Spanish. So far Elder Samuels and I taught 14 lessons, so we're right on track for meeting our goal. It's really helping us polish up on our Spanish and teaching skills.
It's totally awesome that I am going to finish reading the Book of Mormon by the time I leave the MTC next week. Right now I'm on the last chapter of Ether-- about to start Moroni. I know with all my heart this book is true, and ANYONE can receive a witness of it's truthfulness through the power of the Holy Ghost, as long as you read it with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ, as Moroni promises in Moroni 10. This is the first time I've actually studied the Book of Mormon all the way through, and I plan to do it again as soon as I am done. I am so glad to be serving a mission, and I know if I put my trust in the Lord, I can be a powerful servant in His hands as I enter into the mission field.
I love you all and pray about each and every one of you every night. There couldn't be a better place for me to be right now.
Love - Mike