"Used 30 minutes of my time, gonna write again later today. Kinda rushing this one off, but will send another one. I'll try to think if I need anything else. With the food you sent, I probably won't need any more food again.
Had so many good spiritual experiences. I probably will need to have you start a blog or something for me and refer family and friends to it, so I can write to everyone. I'll try to attach some photos today, but haven't really taken many. Never much time to coordinate them.
Oh yeah, I wanted dad to try to send some of his mission stories in emails, cause I think they'd be inspiring as well. His message about Jesus The Christ inspired me and I've read 20 chapters, now on page 327. Wish I had studied more instead of played video games, but that's how it goes I guess. That'll probably make you laugh.
Cya later today!"
I have to admit that I was hoping for a little more than that, and was a little discouraged, but very late last night, another email showed up in my in-box. Hayden and I had also decided during the day that we would start this blog, so that I could post group emails for him.
"Hi family. This first part will be for you. I've been writing the events of each day in my journal everyday, but keep it safe in my room so that I don't lose it. Maybe I'll bring it next week to write an email out of.
I can't access the blog link mom sent me because the missionary accounts literally can't do anything. We can't even use google, unless you type in URLs to navigate. So I think I'll have mom add emails to the blog for me. (Below I will try to start it...) Also sorry no pictures today cause of chaos. Next week I'll try my best...."
First group email-
"Hello everyone! These first two weeks at the MTC have been busy, spiritual, frustrating, tiring, touching, and powerful. From hunger pains to anxiety of not knowing what to say in Spanish to an "investigator," (a teacher posing as one) to the joys of spending time with friends and the great joy of the Spirit, this is a busy place, literally and intangibly. Since this is for everyone, I better run a character call.
My district is composed of 7 missionaries, 4 Elders and 3 "Hermanas" (Sisters). Nos llamamos Elder O, (My companion) Elder Schaff, Elder J, Elder T, Hermana K, Hermana G, y Hermana K2. Our first teacher was Hermano Jake, who is absolutely amazing. His father grew up on the Navajo reservation, and the promises to faithful Lamanites in the scriptures was an inspiration for him to believe in it at first. (I'll elaborate this story later.) Hermano Jake is still our teacher. Our second teacher is Hermana Tolk, who was our pretend investigator the first week. She only speaks Spanish with us in our classes which is good practice, but we still haven't started to learn anything that I haven't understood beforehand. Oh well, I'm sure it will get tougher soon.
So that's everyone. I've written down the best spiritual experience of every day in my journal so far, because there are so many. I'll plan on sharing those next email. But for now, the best experiences our district has had so far seems to be the film session allotted to us missionaries everyafter the devotional. The first week we opted to watch "The Character of Christ," an exceptional talk by Elder Bednar to the MTC on some Christmas day. Apparently it's only shown in the MTC, which is a shame because it's rather inspiring. It taught to be humble, to forget ourselves in the work and take up the character of Christ. So, find examples of Christ's character! One example to get you started is that after Christ's Atonement, he was betrayed, and was to be taken by the guards to be crucified. In defense of Christ, the Apostle Peter, drew his sword and cut off the ear of a guard. After suffering the sins of the world and being betrayed by one of His own, Christ takes the time to forget about himself and heal the guard's ear. Christ turns outward when any normal individual would turn inward in selfishness. Try to reflect that! It's tough! Second, we saw the new church video on the Restoration of the Priesthood, apparently only available in the MTC or at those actual sites. If anyone is nearby, I believe it was Harmony, PA and Fayette, New York. It would be worth it! The video was so touching and was from the point of view of Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, and how God worked miracles for them and through their hands as they had faith to know if the Book of Mormon was true; this faith was of course rewarded. It was amazing to see the testimonies of people grow, in a few instants after hearing the truth of the Book of Mormon, even if they were actors. My district all agreed afterwards we felt a strong Spirit from that, and that this very feeling of the Spirit was why we wanted to become missionaries, to share that happiness with others.
Hope that gives people a taste of what I'm up to. I know my testimony of the church has grown, and especially my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Even our teachers pretending to be investigators say they follow our teaching commitments, and that by reading the Book of Mormon every day they have found great joy in their lives. I know this is true for everyone and would invite all to shrug off their doubts and take the challenge.
Hope you know a little Spanish to read the titles!
Til next week everyone!"