Hey everyone! My first week in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) has been amazing! I arrived last Wednesday and about died. There was so much to do, I didn’t know where anything was, and everyone was saying,”Welcome to the MTC!” and all you can think is,”I can’t do this”……..And then you do it. Things start to pick up, you get acquainted with your District, and BAM, You Got It!
Our district is so awesome and we have a blast! There is District Leader Elder Gutierrez (It says in the handbook you have to call him District Leader right 😉 ), his companion Elder Evans, Elder Larsen, Elder Brockbank, Sister Pickett, Sister Freeman, Sister Slack, Sister Barrick, Elder Fochtman, Elder Hilbig, me, and last but not least, my companion, Elder Shull. Our Teachers are Sister Linford and Sister Badham. Sister Badham knows Dane Campbell really well and they served together, so shout out to Dane!
All the Elders and one of the Sisters are going to the Massachusetts Boston Mission and the other Sisters are going to the Maryland Baltimore Mission. Our Teachers are THE BEST! One teaches in the morning and the other in the afternoon and they bring the spirit. I have learned so much about myself and how to become a better missionary in only a week! My relationship with God has increased, our companionship is amazing (which is hard to come by), and I feel like a whole new person.
Dedicating your life to the service of God changes a few things. One, the mantle of a missionary allows you to learn so much quicker. I feel like it is still crazy, but I am taking in a lot of the information and learning that we are being taught each day. Second, the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost is more present in your life. Since we are doing God’s work, we need to rely on Him more than ever to receive revelation for the people we teach, and the Spirit is the means by which we learn from God.
We have been teaching a lot of people lately. Our teachers started role playing with us on the second day and it was a little scary at first, but the best feeling you can have as a missionary is when you are teaching with your companion, you have prepared, the Spirit is present, and your investigator is truly coming closer to Christ!
Elder Shull and I walked out of our first lesson and were like kids in a candy store! We had invited our investigator Vivian (aka Sister Linford) to pray to know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and she accepted! When you teach someone, the most important thing you can do for them is to love them. We can go throughout our lives focusing on ourselves and be pretty happy, or we can focus on others and have Charity, which mind us, is a gift from God and must be asked for, and our Joy can be more full than anything we have ever experienced!
I love it so much here in the MTC and have grown so much! One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is that everything has a purpose. Even with the Spirit here and it being the Missionary Training Center, Satan’s influence has ways of sneaking in. Whether it is jealousy of teaching ability or wishing you could be like Elder so and so, or being upset that you couldn’t play in the last game of basketball, or frustration with others, there are so many different ways it can come. We as missionaries may not realize it, but allowing those feelings to get to us is bringing us away from God and from our Purpose.
We watched the Character of Christ, which was a talk given by Elder Bednar at the MTC on Christmas morning a few years ago. He talks about a talk given by Elder Neal A Maxwell at a conference somewhere around the world, where he, Elder Bednar, was present. Elder Maxwell said,”There would have been no atoning Sacrifice if it had not been for the Character of Christ.” This made Elder Bednar think, and so he studied about the Character of Christ, He came to the conclusion that the Character of Christ can be summed up in one phrase: when the natural man would turn in and focus on ourselves, Christ would turn out and focus on others.
This is what resonated with me the most. I realized that even though these hard things had come to me, that it wasn’t because I was being a bad missionary, it was because I was doing my best and I needed to grow. I needed to learn to turn out and to serve others when it got hard. I needed to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and to be like everything that he is. That is how we become great missionaries. President Gordon B Hinckley’s father told him when Gordon was on his mission, “Forget yourself and go to work.” That phrase has never resonated with me more. Elder Bednar says, it doesn’t matter what you want. It’s not about you! Focus on others and then you’ll be successful. We have taught Audrey, Vivian, Brother A, and Brother B. Audrey and Vivian are our teachers role playing people they met on their missions and they are basically golden investigators! Elder Shull and I feel great around them and are very comfortable teaching them!
We have taught a lot about how God is our Loving Heavenly Father, Prayer, and Faith. They are really receptive and it is great teaching them! Brother A is a little tougher to get to. We’re still trying to figure out what and how we can teach him, but with the Spirit and the help of our teachers, we should be doing better. He’s from the Teaching Resource Center where we can go to teach real people with real stories. One companionship in our district is teaching Bubba, who is in a Mormon Message. Our other investigator is Brother B. He was really open with us about his family situation, and it was tough, but we taught him a lot! We taught about half of the first lesson and about half of the second lesson in about 30 minutes (where our lessons with Vivian and Audrey are usually only about 10 minutes, which is really short…).
The spirit was awesome and Elder Shull did an amazing job teaching and connecting to Brother B. He is an amazing missionary and I can’t even explain how well we bond as companions. Our expectations of each other and our wants as missionaries are aligned very close to each other and I feel that we work amazingly side by side. He knows the Bible really well and I know the Book of Mormon really well and we are both growing in each other’s strengths, which is a blessing.
We got to see the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the northeast parking lot of the MTC, and I have to say, I never realized how much sleep meant to missionaries. I was pretty dead when I woke up the next morning.
A funny note, Elder Shull actually knew the first investigator that Sister Linford was going to be and we all freaked out!
The food in the MTC isn’t terrible, I actually quite enjoy their food, I’ve seen pretty much everyone from BYU at the MTC, I’m actually sleeping very very well, probably the fact that I’m a missionary, our room is awesome (Elders Fochtman, Hilbig, me and Elder Shull), and the Spirit is strong! Stay strong and pray like you are really speaking to the Savior. Act like you are accounting of your day directly to Him and ask specifically. It makes a difference. Love you all!