Wednesday, July 13, 2011

13 July 2011 Letter (MTC)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011
I have now been in the MTC for three weeks!  I saw another familiar face today, Sister Perry, who is preparing to serve in the Argentina Mission.  Also, and more importantly, all the Osi came into our class today and each bore their testimony on the importance of the work and our Lord, Jesus Christ.  It was a very powerful and spiritual experience.  They started their Consecration Week after lunch, and will only be speaking Hungarian until next Wednesday, so communicating with them will be fun and probably involve lots of body language.

Thursday, 7 July 2011
Today was a very emotional and crazy day.  Everything from this morning feels a little distant.  I’ve always liked to think of Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son, and Heavenly Father as our Eternal Father.  Sometime soon I hope to explore Mosiah 15 and better understand how the Nephite prophets referred to them, so I can better understand the scriptures.  This morning one of my companions, Elder Harvey, received word that something has come up back in Michigan which required that he return home.  We spent the evening taking pictures, singing, hugging, and wishing him the best of luck.  It is strange to think that I’ll be in a companionship of two tomorrow.  It feels strange and sad, and made me wonder if this is partially what some of the transfers out in Hungary will feel like.

Friday, 8 July 2011
This morning, at the start of class, we just sat in silence and thought for a little while before moving into the lesson.  Near the end of class, President Gamette came and pulled a couple of us aside.  Sister Hudspeth has been called to be a coordinating advisor; Elder Rosen has been called to replace Elder Swett as District Leader, so that Elder Swett and I can replace Elder Walker and Elder Knight as Zone Leaders.  I’m excited for the opportunities this calling will bring to work with new missionaries, but am also a little sad to lose the many hours of Personal Study Time each Sunday.

Elder Harvey should be in Michigan by now.  In three days all of the Albanian District will be leaving, and the following week all the Americans in our Zone, and all our beloved Osi will be leaving, leaving the four of us: Elders Swett, Rosen, Snyder, and me as the only ones in our Zone!  Quite possibly the smallest Zone in the MTC!  However, these next two weeks won’t be completely sorrowful and empty.  Two days after the Osi leave, we’ll receive a new Albanian District and probably a new American District.  The following Wednesday our Hungarian District (our future Kicsi) will arrive, filling our hallway once again.  But, for now, that’s 2½ weeks away.

Last, but not least, Elder Swett and I taught two lessons today.  The first was with Andi.  The lesson was great and both of us did a lot of talking with very little confusion or misunderstanding.  It was the most spiritual lesson we have taught since our second lesson with Jozef.  The other lesson was with Gyula.  That lesson proved equally as spiritual, with both of us talking large amounts as well.  While the language was not as fluent as with Andi, we accomplished everything we aimed for, and he has started keeping commitments!  He read the scriptures, prayed, and committed to continue reading, praying, and plans on coming to Family Home Evening, as he cannot attend Sacrament Meeting.

Saturday, 9 July 2011
There was little out of the ordinary today.  It was our second day in a companionship of two.  We taught Lilla her second lesson, teaching her of prayer, faith, the Holy Ghost, and the Atonement.  She seemed to understand what we were trying to tell her about prayer and the Atonement, but at the same time, she said she wasn’t sure if she actually has faith in Christ.  We’ll teach her again on Thursday.  Today was also our last gym time with the Albanian District, and resulted in an amazing game of 4-Square, which I was able to stay in the King’s Square 21 turns in a row! J  I will miss their District.  Tomorrow’s schedule seems incredibly busy as I will have to attend five additional meetings for being called as Zone Leader.  Finally, I wish we got mail on Saturdays.  (And I’ve found the downside of Girls’ Camp.)

Sunday, 10 July 2011
Today was a busy, but good, Sunday.  Brother Pinegar was the speaker during our Priesthood Meeting.  I really enjoy him as a speaker.  This week he spoke of Adam and The Fall, explaining that Adam was preordained to be the first man, the first Prophet, the Archangel; presiding over mankind and over the priesthood, both Aaronic and Melchizedek, and preordained to fall.  It was under his instruction that John the Baptist, along with Peter, James, and John restored the priesthood to Joseph Smith.

The fireside proved equally as interesting with Richard Heaton being the speaker.  He spoke of Daily Repentance and how over time Satan has changed the sound of it from the positive Hebrew “Schub” meaning “Turn towards God”, to a neutral Greek “Metanoia” meaning “A change of mind”, to a negative Latin “Paenitieve” meaning “To feel regret or contrition”!  Lastly, all the shadowing of Elder Walker and Elder Knight at Zone Leader meetings went well.  We also found out Elder Kay will be heading to Canada to serve until his Visa comes through.

Finally, I found the answer to my question of Christ being referred to as “The Eternal Father”.  While Heavenly Father is the father of all things spiritual; Christ, as the creator, is the father of all things physical.

 Monday, 11 July 2011
Today was the last day with the Albanians.  4-Square was empty and many pictures were taken this evening.  Also, my pictures and multiple letters came today =).  Elder Swett and I had a chance to teach Gyula today.  We focused on the Creation and Purpose of Our Life Here on Earth, and introduced the idea of baptism.  As with the previous couple lessons, I was able to teach as much of the lesson as Elder Swett.  I think I've finally caught up with many parts of the language (but he still has better grammar and a slightly bigger vocabulary).

Tuesday 12 July 2011
Today we received a third companion again.  While it will only be for the next two to six days, Elder Kay (one of the Albanian missionaries) will be in mine and Elder Swett's companionship.  This morning we had the opportunity to teach Gábor.  Once again, it was a good lesson, and I was able to keep up in all the conversations, and give a large part of the lesson (which was on the Restoration and Baptism).  Unfortunately, Gábor is not a religious man, and it looks like it may be some time before he even considers baptism.  The Devotional tonight was by Richard H Winkel of the Seventy, who spoke on the Atonement and Crucifixion.  While it is incredible (overwhelming) how much physical pain Christ endured, it is even more unbelievable what spiritual pain he must've gone through.

Wednesday 13 July 2011
This morning, Elder Kay, our temporary companion was called over the intercom in our residence hall.  They announced that he has been cleared and will leave tomorrow morning to Albania, arriving only two days behind the rest of his District!  He's been excited ever since.

Serettel (with Love),

Shipp Elder

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