Life here at the MTC has gotten much better this week. We had one elder (we'll call him Elder John Doe) who was just being difficult about everything. He comes from a rough background living on the streets in LA, but he fails to recognize that everyone has hardships and problems. He also hated his companions because he "didn't feel like he was spiritually helping [him] progress." First of all, that's not his companion's job, and second of all, he's a super lovable guy. He's big and cuddly, and just really funny. I really have no idea what Elder Doe's problem with him was. When we didn't completely side with this problematic elder, he took it as a personal attack, and got really mad at all of us for the slightest things. After a lot of arguing and heightened emotions and a long night discussion that lasted until 1 in the morning, I contacted our branch president because I just didn't know what to do anymore; none of us knew how to get through to him and let him know that we weren't trying to attack him, we were just trying to help him improve and grow as a person. The branch president interviewed me, this elder, and his companion, and decided to make a companionship switch. He's been a branch president for 4 years and has never had to do that until now. For some reason, this Elder Doe took to liking this one elder in our district who was in a trio with me, so we switched the two of them. This other elder wasn't crazy about the switch, but he agreed. I told him that if there was ANYTHING that he needed or went wrong to let me know immediately and I would do something about it. We only have 7 days left here at the MTC, but I don't want it to be the most awkward and miserable 7 days of our lives.
Despite this little hiccup, every day here has been pretty awesome. Last night, we had a devotional with two special guests: Richard Elliott (the organist for the MoTab Choir) and David Archuletta!!! I felt like such a fangirl when I saw him... Anyways, Richard Elliott played some pretty sweet organ pieces that he either wrote or learned, and it was really great listening to him. Then David Archuletta got up. That boy cannot speak in public to save his life, but my goodness, does his singing make up for it! He sang like 7 different songs/hymns, and then for the closing hymn, he had everyone stand up and sing with him. I can officially say I've sung with David Archuletta now.
I've been praying for the constant and continual conversion to the gospel that Elder Bednar spoke about in his talk The Character of Christ (great talk, look it up). He said we needed to be constantly and continually converted to the Lord if we are going to not only be successful missionaries, but remain active in the church afterwards. Every day thus far, I have had the Spirit manifest to me that this gospel is true and that this is the work of the Lord.
Since I've been here at the MTC, I've learned a very interesting concept about the Spirit. When it manifests itself to us in its most powerful forms, it does one of two things. One evening when I knelt down to pray, from the second I thought "Dear Heavenly Father," I was overcome with an immense feeling of joy and gratitude, and all of my energy was sapped out of me. My soul couldn't contain the overwhelming power I felt, and I began to cry. I was kneeling at my bed, unable to move and crying, and I LOVED it! It was one of the most amazing things I've ever felt! On the other hand, last night when everyone stood up to sing that last verse, I felt the Spirit burning within my soul brighter than I had felt it in a long time. I felt like I could blow the roof off the building with my voice, and right afterwards, I wanted to go push a mountain over! I felt so powerful, like I could do anything I needed to! I wanted to go baptize a million people all at once and raise someone from the dead!
In short, I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He atoned for our sins and was resurrected. I know He loves me as He does all His children. I know that the Spirit is real, and if we listen to Him, He will tell us all things that we should do. I love this gospel, and I love this work.
Iré y haré.
Rest assured that all is well, mother. Tell everyone I say hello and that I love them!
Hello to my friends and family,
I am doing well here at the MTC. The first couple of days were really hard, but I'm pulling through now. This is honestly one of the most difficult things I've ever done; not only am I trying to learn the gospel and the principles behind it, I'm trying to learn them all in Spanish. All of the other Elders in my district are native speakers, and I'm just sitting here all like, "hola... Soy Elder Gringo..." I also had a meal the first day that just didn't sit well with me at all, so I was having some stomach issues. But I'm okay now! It's been pretty awesome the past few days. It was snowing today, so we went up to the temple and built 3 giant snowmen! I'll probably send the pictures we took when Elder Manriquez sends them to me. I was also made district leader this past week, so I get to put the skills I learned in Global Leadership to the test. Thus far I think it's going well.
It's really amazing how spiritual everything is up here. I love my group of Elders and their testimonies. We're never short on things to say and spiritual insights to give, and our discussions are just amazing. Every day we have one on a different topic (just depending on what we're studying), and I'm learning so much. I can also already tell that my Spanish is getting a lot better as well; we've made a deal in our district that when we're in the classroom, if we speak in English, we have to do 5 push-ups. That way we'll either learn Spanish or be in the best shapes of our lives. Unfortunately, the temple closed before P-day, and we leave the day after it reopens, so we probably won't get to go to the temple while we're here.
I honestly feel like I'm ready to just get out into the field and start learning everything in the fray, but at the same time, I don't want to leave these elders. They're all so spiritually uplifting, and I've been able to give some pretty sweet pep talks by drawing off of their energy. They'll definitely be eat I miss most (if not the only thing) about the MTC.
In summary: lots of learning, tough stuff, district leader, awesome district, no temple, missionary stuff.
Until Next week,
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)