Hello Friends and Family!
This week passed by with even more speed than the week before! It seems like just yesterday I was heading to the Provo temple and writing you guys! Today, my companion and I did Initiatories, it was a wonderful experience to hear the blessings that I was given, and now others can progress in their eternal life. Throughout lessons in the MTC, a strong emphasis is placed upon becoming a missionary and not just going on a mission or doing missionary things. How can boys of our inexperience and youth become like Christ? Seeing the temple workers and feeling their strong spirit made me have hope that someday, I shall be like them, and that it just takes time and many years of prayer, scripture study and hard work.
Now on to more temporal things of the week, this week was Mission President's week, were 110 new mission presidents and their wives showed up to receive special instruction and counsel from the Apostles and Prophet. Throughout the week (Sunday - Wednesday) there were so many rumors of "oh I saw this apostle!" etc.. but no one actually saw any of them, they were well secluded within the main building, teaching. The only time we got to see them is during our Tuesday night devotional, when 10 apostles showed up on the stand, and the speaker was L. Tom Perry. His discourse was quite interesting: it was literally a 50 minute slide show showing statistics of how being a member of the church makes your life easier and better. Some statistics that I can remember off the top of my head are: 81% of LDS parents want to be a great parent vs. 50%; 73% of LDS members believe that a strong marriage is very important vs 33%; LDS Men live 10~ years longer, LDS women live 5~ years longer, and the most interesting fact: Those who fast regularly have a 40% less chance of having clogged arteries! Who knew fasting also could be part of the Word of Wisdom in a way!
On Friday's, we've started doing something called the TRC, or Teaching resource center, were members come in and let Missionaries teach them real lessons in their language, allowing no roll play or "fake investigators" that normally happens with our teachers. It allows us to try to convey our real feelings to someone in our language, wish I was able to do slightly, and it made the lesson so much more powerful, just conveying my emotions and impressions on how to help these people in their life.
My two new favorite things are now baseball and basketball. We get gym everyday besides Sunday for 50 mins, and I've been practicing my 3 pointers and layups pretty much the whole time every time. During this Mission President's week, the gym was closed, so everyone had to go out to the fields, that's were we played baseball, and it's extremely fun when everyone is awful, and we use a huge softball so everyone can hit.
Oh yes, speaking of fields, there have been many forest fires/house fires/ fires in general (not quite sure which, we don't have official news) and the whole air has been covered in the think smell of camp fire (family, you've probably noticed since you're in Utah right now!) One of the Elders in my district, Elder Norton, his family is in Colorado Springs were all of the arson fires have been going on. He says his house is safe, but they've taken on a lot of refugees from the ward that had their houses burned down. The Bishop of the ward that got hit hardest (200-300 houses burned says Elder Norton) told the saints just 1 month prior to "make sure you have your 72 hour kits ready and get your houses fire safe" What a prophetic warning! They say the saints were the first ones to evacuate because they were all ready. Follow your church leaders! They are inspired!
Time flies so fast, my Spanish understanding is always improving, and my speech as well, however it's still quite hard to understand anyone who doesn't speak at a nice slow rate, similar to my teachers, so I still feel like Spanish is a foreign language as far as usage goes. I have great faith that I can learn, an Elder from Chile who was called to the Spanish speaking Pocatelo, Idaho mission, didn't know any English, and even though he was called to speak Spanish, he is here for 9 weeks to learn English. He said he was on week 8, and he's completely fluent already. I bet it's easier to learn when that's all anyone speaks! I'm sure Peter will learn Spanish in a quite rapid manner down in Mexico, I can only hope the same for me.
I love this gospel and I'm so glad I'm out here to serve the Lord. I pray for you all everyday and i want you to know how much the Lord loves you and is watching over all of us.
Love you all!