Monday, June 25, 2012

Half Way through the MTC

Dear Family,

Thanks for the package this week. I always love getting sweets and notes. Thanks to everyone who sent notes and letters. I'm still in the process of writing back but I will try to do that quickly if I can find the time. And mom I have taken pictures but I havent sent any yet and I will do the map picture before Jake leaves.
The last couple days have been hard and its hard not to compare yourself to other missionaries. I had been pretty frustrated and discouraged and the only time where I would forget about that stuff and be happy was when I was teaching and sharing my testimony. I love sharing the gospel and there is no greater feeling. I love the MTC but I cant wait to be in Mexico.

I am learning so much here and my spanish has improved a lot. Yesterday when we taught a volunteer, he said my spanish was better than his when he left the MTC after 9 weeks so that was encouraging. Basically I have the slow spanish down but whenever I hear a native speaker I probably only understand about 10% but I know it will come. Hermano Davis always makes fun of me for my gringo accent though because I cant do the accented "o" sound for some reason so a lot of people in Mexico might be laughing when I get there.
The volunteer we taught yesterday in TRC is the convert from the movie The Best Two Years and the bishop in the Singles Ward movie so that was pretty cool and he gave us a lot of feedback that was really helpful.
For some reason I cant think of much to say this week other than I cant believe how much the MTC and mission is changing me. I have never felt this strong of a desire to just be better. Elder Robbins spoke in our devotional Tuesday night and at the end he made the point that revelation does not come when we are on our knees but it comes when we get up and go to work. I really liked that and I find it to be true. Another speaker we had a couple weeks ago made the statement to "Never drag main street again" and I see his point so clearly in that the mission is changing my life forever with the habits I am forming and the increased desire to always have the spirit with me. I wish I could have done a couple weeks in the MTC before freshman year of college because if you do what you are supposed to then you really learn how to manage time and study effectively.

Sorry I dont have much to say this week but I will make it better next week. I love you!


Elder Lythgoe

Friday, June 15, 2012

Estoy Feliz

Dear Family and Friends,

First off, thank you for the package. I love all the treats and the luggage tags look great. And yes mom I got my hair cut the day after Jake arrived and i would have sooner except I had to wait until P-Day. Also, Elder Kjar and I have moved rooms. 4 missionaries in our district left for Peru on Tuesday but Elder Bunker did not get his Visa. Elder Kjar and I are now in a trio with him so we moved into his room but its right next door to the room we used to have so it wasn't a big deal. Also, thank you to everyone who has been sending me DearElders. I am in the process of writing everyone back but I dont have a lot of time so it might take a while. I can't believe it has been three weeks already because the days go by like weeks but the weeks go by like days. I love it here but I am ready to be in Mexico. Estoy hablando espaƱol perfectamente ahora y no puedo esperar a servir el pueblo de Mexico. Thats a joke because obviously I am still a gringo and I cant say and understand much unless I talk with white people.

Yesterday, my companions and I made a goal to only speak spanish which I did for most of the day. At lunch I saw Elder Bramwell and was talking to him in Spanglish about the temple and a Latino missionary approached me because I was speaking spanish and he asked where I was serving and I said Mexico and he is serving in northern Mexico. He is from Columbia. After that short conversation, he started speaking in the spanish that I havent learned meaning way fast and I told him I dont understand anything. He laughed and just said hasta luego but at least I have the basics down already.

Yesterday I had another neat experience. We were teaching Alberto about the Word of Wisdom and I had a thought to talk about something else. I thought that it was just an idea and not the spirit so I didnt change our lesson plan. Right after that I basically forgot all my parts and how to speak Spanish. I talked with Hermano Peck (Alberto) after the lesson about this experience and he told me that those thoughts are the spirit. He shared a similar experience of being in Mexico and not following a prompting which resulted in him forgetting spanish as well. I learned a few things from this. First, don't ignore promptings of the spirit even if you don't know they are from the spirit. Second, the gift of tongues is real but I have to put in my part by working hard and teaching by the spirit. Later, we went to TRC which is where we practice our spanish with member volunteers and we share a short message. Our message was on prayer. As we were talking with our first volunteer, I felt i should share the story of Enos so I did as best I could and as I bore testimony that will faith in Christ God will answer our prayers, the spirit poured into my heart and into the room. Then in our second visit with another volunteer we talked with a man about his mission and then shared a short message. As I shared my testimony of prayer, I felt the same spirit again. My whole chest felt warm and tingly and I know without a doubt that the spirit confirmed to me that I will be blessed when I follow the promptings of the spirit and that Heavenly Father will help us if we just pray to him with faith.

Last week, I worked with one of the teachers during "coaching missionary study." During it, he told me to look ahead two years and see the missionary I want to be at the end of my mission and the man I want to become for the rest of my life. I realized I want to return home where the gospel is by far the most important thing in my life with Jesus Christ at the center of my life. I want my greatest desire to be to serve others always and bring people the happiness of the gospel. I don't want to look back and share stories about how great my mission was but I want to keep doing missionary work when I get home. God loves everyone on this earth equally and I want to bring people back to Him. I picture the smile on Christ's face when someone repents and is baptized into this church. There is no greater feeling than making my Savior happy since I have already caused Him so much pain. Christ sees my potential and I know the mission will help put me on the path to reach that potential because it has already started to.

If you have not watched the Mormon Message titled "A Father Indeed" please do. That is a humble priesthood man. I hope someday I can be like Bill.

The first week or so I never really saw much messing around here, but now I have seen what Elder Remmington was talking about. He is right that I should not judge others but it is sad to see people waste the Lord's time. Furthermore, I am not doing anything for myself here in the MTC. Sure I am learning a lot and my testimony has grown a ton, but I am studying and learning for the people in Mexico. I want to enter the field ready so that I don't miss out on any oppportunity to bring a child of God back into his fold. I don't want any Mexican family to approach me after the resurrection and say, "Elder Lythgoe, why didnt you try harder in the MTC. We were ready to hear your message but you werent ready to share it" That would be awful, so I am working hard every day so I can bless the lives of people in Mexico. I love this gospel and I love this work. I want to share my testimony in spanish. If I make mistakes I'm sorry but hopefully that doesnt matter and you feel the spirit behind its message.

Yo se que Dios nos ama mucho y quiere ayudar nosotros. Dios quiere oir de nosotros y podemose recibir revalacion por medio oriacione y el Espiritu Santo. JesuCrist ha sufrido mucho por nuestros pecados y amo my Salvador. Este evangelio es verdadero y estoy agredecido por la oportunidad a servir la iglesia de JesuCristo. Siento fortaleza caundo pienso sobre mi Redentor.

I love you. Thank you for all the support and love.


Elder Lythgoe

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Elder Lythgoe and Elder Bramwell are Reunited!

 A great reunion between best buds at the MTC! Elder Lythgoe and Elder Bramwell!
Elder Lythgoe had lunch the same time as Elder Bramwell was to arrive.  Elder Lythgoe and his companion, Elder Kjar decided to see if they could find Elder Bramwell.  As they walked out of the building the first car they saw driving into the MTC was Elder Bramwell!!!  Tender Mercies!

Week 2 - in the MTC!

Dear Family,
     First off, yes I am getting all the dear elders and thank you. I love getting them! Sorry if I forget to answer any questions but I feel like every letter has 50 questions in it.
     So last Friday one of the teachers Hermano Fosset told Elder Kjar and I that a teacher here served in Tuxtla. He wouldn´t tell us who it was though. Then on Saturday, we met Hermano Peck who has been acting as Alberto. He served in Tuxtla and got home last May. Alberto is someone he taught while on his mission so essentially we have been practicing on someone from our mission. Amazing! I love teaching Alberto and the Mexican people just sound amazing. I love hearing about the people there and I am already beginning to love the people I dont even know yet. Hermano Peck hasn´t told us too much yet because he wants to bring pictures but I had to ask about food and he said its a lot of beans, rice, chicken enchiladas with spicy mole, and chicken tacos. He said the worst thing he ate was mushrooms so that made me feel a lot better. He had one white companion and that was his trainer. Every other companion didnt speak a word of english.

     Yesterday we started TRC which is where we go teach volunteers to help us practice spanish. We taught Wendy who is from Mexico and barely speaks English. She has been to Tuxtla and thats about all I understood. She talks so fast its ridiculuos. The spirit was so strong though when we bore testimony. I love teaching. I dont even understand that much and I cant say everything I would like to I feel so happy and filled with the spirit when I testify of my Savior, Jesu Christ. My purpose the next two years is simple. I am inviting others to come unto Christ. There is no greater message out there. I look forward to seeing people CHANGE through Jesus Christ. He is our older brother and Redeemer. I can feel him put his arm around me whenever I am struggling with something here in the MTC.

     On Tuesday, Elder Marlin K Jenson spoke at the devotional and it was amazing. His message was amazing and powerful. He encourage us to open our mouths. He tied that into the Law of Consecration and I am excited to open my mouth, share the gospel, and serve others not just now but for the rest of my life. I always wanted to be a doctor because i find it interesting and I liked the idea of the status of a doctor. I realized who cares about status. We are all the same in God´s eyes and I just wanted to help people. If I can just change one persons life on my mission I will be happy, likewise serving others on my mission has helped me realize that I want to be a doctor to improve people´s lives.

     Now the good story. Yesterday was crazy. I couldnt focus because I was so stoked for Elder Bramwell to get here. At 1225 I told Elder Kjar we should walk out front to wait or see if he was there. The Bramwells pulled in just as i walked out. It was so exciting to see B and everyone else. Then I waited with his Host while he got his stuff to see which dorm he was in. He comes out and says he is in 13m which was my dorm then room 325 and I am room 341. We are right down the hall!!!! Crazy! We were so stoked. His meal times are about the same as mine so we see each other a bunch. His companion and roommates all seem like great guys and he is loving it here. Seriously! What are the odds he would be staying right down the hall from me. It will be an awesome three weeks.

     I cant believe I have seven weeks left here because I just want to teach people already. I don´´t know if Ill want to come home in two years. I´´m happier than I have ever been because my life only focuses on the gospel. Something to think about... Jesus Christ has done everything for us. The scriptures, our baptismal covenant, and Moroni´´s promise tell us to only remember Him. How long do we go before we arent thinking about Him. I know for me before my mision that other things would weigh on my mind as soon as church ended. I encourage everyone to remember our Savior. His sufferings were so exquisite we know not. He BLED from every pore so we wouldnt have to. We are weak and need Jesus Christ so turn to him, love Him, and REMEMBER Him.

     I love you and thanks for your letters and support.
Elder Lythgoe

Friday, June 1, 2012

Week Numero Uno

Dear Family,

     I cant believe my first week is already over because the days here are incredibly long but that was a fast week.

     There are 11 missionaries in my district and 4 are going to Portland (including Elder Heap y Elder Winitana), 3 to Peru, 1 to Ecuador Guayaquil South, 1 to Mexico City East and then me and Elder Kjar to Tuxtla. Our teacher Hermano Davis is absolutely amazing. I am in the beginning spanish class but the only difference is that we have more teacher interaction rather than personal language study so I am in the right class. My spanish after a week is WAY better than it was after four years. I can hold simple conversations and teach simple lessons and my comprehension is improving rapidly.  I love spanish. Nephi taught that everyone would learn the gospel in their own language and I know the gift of tongues is real. The spirit here is amazing.

      My district leader is Elder Bunker. He is the most patient and loving missionary in our district. The other day we were talking about families and I mentioned Brooke has Down syndrome and Elder Bunker had a little brother with Downs who passed away. I almost broke down and cried when he told me that. We are so blessed that Brooke has been healthy and she truly is a special spirit.

     So my first lesson in Spanish was AWFUL. I didn't understand more than 5 words and it was frustrating but I felt the spirit so i guess that means it was good. The fake investigator "Alberto" told us about his problems but I dont know what he said so I responded with que bueno. However, the second lesson the spirit was so strong as the gift of tongues was manifested to me. I understood probably 90% and I was able to say everything I wanted to. Since then the lessons have been up and down but when I bear my simple testimony in spanish I feel the spirit strongly.

     On Sunday we watched a video of an Elder Bednar devotional about Recognizing the Spirit. It was amazing and I learned to not worry about it and to try my hardest, be obedient and go to work. Then today when we were waiting in the chapel at the temple for our session I read in the words of Mormon verse 7 about aligning my will with the will of the Lord. In the temple, I felt the spirit so strongly and had an increased desire to serve my Savior. I would sacrifice ANYTHING for this work. There is no greater work out there and I love my Redeemer Jesus Christ. I can already tell that I won't want to come home in two years. I love sharing the Gospel. I am striving to be like Alma and Amulek who literally sacrificed all they had for missionary work. My faith has increased so much. We watched a video in class about missionaries who converted a hispanic family in San Diego and got to go to their sealing a year later at the end of their mission. I want nothing more than to see families sealed for eternity and partake in the blessings of the gospel.

     Gracias por su amor. Yo se que este evangelio es verdadero y la iglesia de JesuCristo les trae bendiciones a nuestra vidas. I love you.


Elder Lythgoe