Buenos Dias.

5 May

Hola from the MTC!

I’ve been here a week now and am very much enjoying my stay. Everything es bueno here so far, and I’m sure it will be in the future. My time is limited, so I’ll do my best to surge through all the details I can think of before the clock runs out.

First of all, my companion. His name is Elder Keith Gwynn, and he is hilarious. When I first got here, I asked him if his name was Welsh. His response was, “I think it’s Wale-ish. Or Scottish. Or Swedish. Or something like that.” Yes, he is a nut, and every day with him since has been just as much fun.

There are eleven missionaries in my district. Our district is unusually large, although about half of them will leave in two weeks to finish out their stay at the Peru MTC. We’re great friends already, which is somewhat of a distraction, but also a great blessing. There are several districts in each Zone and zones are separated by language. Thus all the missionaries in my residence hall speak Español well and help all of us new elders as we practice.

So far, I have seen four friends here at the MTC: Elders Erik Anderson, Nicholas Herman, Scott Heninger, and Matthew Jackson. These are the only four that I knew would be here, and I’m not particularly expecting to see anyone else that I know. Elder Tyler Cox, of course, has already been in the field for about a week.

It’s 16-hour days here of spiritual overload. We wake up at 6:30 and go go go until 22:30. Every hour is planned out, and there is rarely a moment where we are not rushing about trying to get to this place or that place, or to get something done for our next appointment. We mostly attend class and have study time here, although we also have the privilege to attend the Provo Temple once a week, a General Authority fireside once a week, a “temple walk” to unwind, and a service activity each week.

When I arrived, I was immediately rushed into a ‘racetrack’ of sorts, where volunteers give you your things and try and get you on to the next station as quickly as is possible. I smiled when I walked up to a woman holding a seamripper who checked my jacket pocket, then passed me on to the station where I got my nametag. I’m glad to now be an Elder, serving the Lord 24/7 as His representative and emissary among His people.

Spanish is coming along quickly. I can already pray and bear testimony en el idioma, and we are challenged to speak in as much Spanish as possible while communicating between companions and district members. I’m pretty happy with how I’m progressing, although you always feel a little slow because the departing misioneros are practically fluent.

The diet is pretty good here. It’s Cannon center food pretty much, so not much different from my freshman year at college. The MTC is run by BYU, so our payment cards, laundry, residences, etc all pretty much work in a familiar way.

Exercise is also good. We have 5 gym periods a week, and I’ve become pretty friendly with the elliptical. :P We can also play basketball or volleyball, run around the track, lift weights, or use the bikes, but so far I like ellipticating best.

Some great quotes and scriptures I’ve received thus far:

D&C 123:12, D&C Section 93, 1 Nephi 15:24, and 1 Nephi 14:1-2

I thought the reference from 1 Ne 14 particularly interesting, as it perhaps gives insight as to why so many LDS members belong to the tribe of Ephraim. Also, the reference from 1 Ne 15 explains why we ought to read the Book of Mormon. Just one internal reference to its importance.

Also, “No man is as good as he could be, but this one really tried.” King and I
MTC President Smith: “Decide to be obedient. You don’t have to learn. Don’t give me that nonsense. You’ve known how to be obedient for years. Decide.”
C.S. Lewis: “I find it funny that any man would deny Christ’s divinity but exalt Him as a great Humanist teacher. That line of thinking is ridiculous. Study Christ’s words, and you’ll see that if Christ wasn’t God, then He was a crazed man. He could never have been a ‘great humanist teacher.'”
Bruce R. McConkie: “The most important thing to know is that God exists, then the next most important thing is to know how He exists.”

Lastly, a quick story. An Atheist said “There are millions of galaxies. Of course, chances are that ONE of them could develop human life, without any ‘God’ interfering.” To which a nearby man replied, “There are millions of trunks in Britain, but I’d bet if a human body turned up in one of them, you’d want to know who put it there.”

That’s all for now! See you next week.

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