Friday, July 27, 2012

Last Weeks of MTC

Week of July 19, 2012

This week has been super long, and I am constantly nervous. I feel comfortable with spanish with white people but natives speak way differently. All their words just mush together, plus I only know church vocabulary and basic other stuff. I'm interested to see if I get a native speaking companion or an American. My teacher who went to Tuxtla had only one white companion and that was his trainer so we will see. We are flying with about 10 other elders to Mexico City but they are all serving in one of the Mexico City missions.

Thanks everyone for all the letters. I am sorry I am horrible at writing back. I have a huge list of people to write back to and I never seem to have time but I will try to do that before I leave for Mexico. I love you.

Week of July 12, 2012

The last week has been great but super busy. I'll start with the bad news. I dont have my visa yet and the travel office said I will find out by next wednesday. If I dont get it, I will be taken up to Salt Lake to the consolate but they do that on their schedule so they have no idea how long I could be here if I dont get my visa. I'd rather just get a reassignment if that happens. Its frustrating though because all the Veracruz Mexico missionaries went up to the consolate two days ago and got their visas and they have been here the same amount of time as me. The travel office said Mexico is always up in the air and visas are random almost. That was pretty frustrating because everyone else will be getting their travel plans soon and Elder Kjar and I have no clue if we will or not.

That was the only bad thing that happened in the last week but I cant control that so whatever happens happens and I know it will be for a reason. As zone leaders we have completely different jobs than if we were in the field. We have meetings all Sunday. We have to do orientation for the new elders on Wednesday nights and meet with them and the Branch Presidency on Thursday night. Every night we have to check up on each district and report to the Branch President. Basically, we babysit when missionaries dont know how to handle a situation or have a problem with a companion. Last night the orientation was crazy though. We have two new districts this week so Elder Kjar and Elder Bunker went with one and I went on a split with my district leader (Elder Winitana) to the other district. The new district I had the orientation with had another Elder Lythgoe. Crazy right? We tried figuring out how we were related and he recognized Grandpa's name and said his grandpa was Dale. His dad is Todd Lythgoe so him and dad are cousins right? Which would make us second cousins? Apparently, there is also an Elder Watt here in the MTC right now who we are related to so the other Elder Lythgoe and I are going to try to find him to get a picture because I'm sure grandpa would think that is great. His name is Taylor Lythgoe. How weird is that to have such close names too? He said he is from Vegas but his family just moved to San Diego before he left.

I think I have learned more the last week than I have my entire life. I remember the first week here be so happy and excited and ever since then I would have up and down days and it finally hit me. I was so happy at the beginning because I was truly focused on serving the Lord and I didnt know anything so I was constantly turning to the Savior for help. I realized that since than I had been too worried about improving myself rather than serving the Lord. And I know for a fact than we are focused on ourselves it only leads to unhappiness. I have been feeling all my desires completely change here on the mission. Doing what is right has always been important to me but I have never had a stronger desire to watch every single little action I take so I can always have the Holy Ghost with me. Before the mission, I kind of thought missionaries were exempt from temptations from the devil. But I have felt more pressure from Satan in the last seven weeks than ever before. Satan will do anything to discourage us as missionaries and distract us from bringing souls unto our Heavenly Father. Something else I have come to realize after watching an MTC address by Elder Holland. As a missionary, I have to be willing to put in a couple minutes in the Garden of Gethsemane and take my cross the first few steps on the way to calvary. When I heard this, I pondered and imagined myself kneeling and suffering in the Garden for maybe two minutes and my pains were gone because I looked over and my older brother and Savior was kneeling next to me saying "its ok. just give me all your sins and pains" and then he bled for me. Then I imagined myself carrying my cross to calvary and after I had made it probably three steps, my Savior put me and my cross on His back and carried me the rest of the way and I know He has done the same for EVERYONE. I cannot wait for the day when I get to worship at the feet of my Savior.

As I shared that experience with my district during a district meeting, I realized something else. There are so many people in the world cheering for and praying for the missionaries but I often fail to remember my biggest fan, Jesus Christ. Better yet, Christ says "You run your hardest for the first ten yards and then I'll help you score a touchdown." There are a lot of things we have to do on our own and I know I cant expect the Savior to do all my work for me, but I do know that if I just turn to Him, He will help me.

I am loving the mission. Temple is still closed today and we had to do laundry yesterday so I have all day to write letters today. I had a lot to say this week so tell McKell I will email her next week or write her a letter today. Thank you everyone for all the letters. I love you.