Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 8?!

Hi Family, and other readers, if there are any,



All those friends,

Sun Bears, Mouse Deer, Malaysian bugs,

Wow, last week I said I couldn't picture anything but my family sitting around the house while Mom went crazy.  I hope that's not actually what's happening.  However, every time I hear from the family, it sounds like every day is just packed with good things.  I really do remember it being like that sometimes, or all the time, but that life seems so far away right now.  It hit me this morning that I'll begin my eighth week on Wednesday.  That is so strange!  I remember the family dropping me off, about a million years ago, and I remember what my life was like in high school about 2 weeks ago, and I can't even conjure up an image of Icon, and I swear the little date-indicator on my watch jumped straight from Aug 7 to Sept 23.  Time is weird.

Mom, I remember you asking me to write honestly about my experience, including the disappointments and hard times, because a mission isn't just rosy and happy and fun all the time.  Well, maybe that doesn't apply to the MTC, or something, because I am honestly super-fantastic, every day!  Actually, there was a 2 hour period right after a lesson with Winnie, one of our "investigators," sometime last week, where I was bummed.  Our message hadn't been received (actually hadn't been given) very well.  I felt like I wasn't focused enough on helping her, or that maybe I hadn't listened hard enough to the Spirit in our meeting, and Elder Fletcher and I weren't sure what to do next.  Our teacher evaluated with us a little later, I prayed with my companion, and we listened to a great lesson, and before it was lunchtime, I was looking forward anxiously to our next appointment, and was my normal, happy self again. Sometimes I surprise myself with how well things are going.  I talked with Steve Durtschi  last night, who asked me: "How have you been, all this time at the MTC?" I said "I love it!  Every day is better than the last!"  He said, "Well, I'm glad.  Not everyone has that experience."  I told him, "I'm making it my experience."

I really think that things are going well.  Now that I think about it, I recognize some things that, if I had blown them out of proportion in my mind, as did a couple of missionaries in my district, could have been grounds for discouragement or disappointment.  As I review my day, before I go to bed each night, I don't even think of events like that.  This doesn't sound very humble of me, but I really know I have a good attitude.  I look forward to challenges, because I want to learn and prepare for "real life" out in the mission.  When I have this attitude, and the Lord's help, I step over the challenge with more ease than I had imagined, and I'm almost above it before I realize it could have been hard.

Speaking of hard . . . right now, it's hard to know how to prepare for entering the field.  I (obviously) still don't know what to expect when I get to Singapore and Malaysia, but I talked to Mu Laoshi, who served in my mission.  He said that when he served, one year ago, most of the Mandarin missionaries were in Singapore or East, not West.  He told me about some very
 . . . interesting . . . things.  Two quotes: "I wanted to call Science and tell them, 'Have you seen this place? The mammals are all way too small and the bugs are way too big!'" And, when asked about his most strange, bizarre, embarrassing, or defining moment, "It's definitely the best mission in the world.  And if it's not, it's certainly, without any doubt, the most interesting.  My whole time in Malaysia was just one big, continuing  crazy experience.  Every day, I would say to myself, about something or other, 'what? . . . that is just not supposed to happen to a person.'"  
Can you find a picture of sun bears, mouse deer, and Malaysian grasshoppers for me?  I don't know if it will comfort me or make me want to come home, based on his description.

Mom's note: Here are some pictures.

Sun Bear
Mouse Deer - Singapore Zoo
Sun Bear's - long tongue!

Malaysian King Grashopper


My jewel of truth from the scriptures this week:  In my own strength, I realize I can do nothing, because, left to myself, I'm the natural man, who is an enemy to God.  However, when I live in such a way that I "turn outward in love, service, and compassion, rather than selfishly inward," I put off the natural man, which leaves room inside me for the Holy Ghost to take over and guide my thoughts and actions.  I realize, from Nephi, the Brother of Jared, and other examples, that it's really not me doing the hard work, but it's the Lord's power, through me, because I've let him in.  I've learned this lesson all week but especially from 2 Nephi 1:25-27; 1 Nephi 17.  I think I've previously mentioned Elder Bednar's address to missionaries a few Christmases ago, "The Character of Christ."  I would advise the family to find it and watch it together, if you can.  It's one of the most direct, powerful, and meaningful messages I've ever heard the prophets give.  I watched it again last night, instead of watching a new film, because I love it so much.  I picture that Mom would really love it a lot, too.  I hope you find it!

Mom's note:  Here's a link to Elder Bednar's talk,  "The Character of Christ."  It isn't available to the public in video or audio format. 

I'm really doing great, every day I learn so much, and I feel the Spirit all the time, because I listen.  It truly is good, and I pray that life at home is good, too.  But let me know either way!



P.S.  Look up "Preparation with a Purpose: Life in a Mormon Missionary Training Center" on for a couple of familiar faces from Mountain Crest.  (Mom's note: watch the episode dated September 17, 2013)

I met Sisters Petersen, Bagley, and Fronk, all at the same time.
Elder Fletcher and I smell the Cream Soda Tree.

Elder Delicana poses with Elder Simmons and Elder Fletcher on his last day at the temple before he goes to his reassigned area in California.  (His district left for Taiwan about 2 weeks ago, so he's living with us now.  He's a hoot, and we all love him!)
Some poor pictures of a violent flash (2-3 minutes long) rain-hail-rain-wind-rain storm that tore through the MTC a few days ago.

 It was still sunny the whole time.  :{

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