Many things happened this week,
Last Thursday, I wrote about TRC over skype with someone in the Philippines. It was fantastic!!!!!! My companion and I taught a return missionary in Manila, who was actually one of our teacher's companions. He was very friendly and quite hilarious. It was so awesome to hear a native speaker and to hear what Tagalog is really supposed to sound like. I realized, however, that the teachers at the MTC speak quite a bit slower than Filipinos... Oh well, I'll be able to adjust when I get there. We have another opportunity for skype TRC tonight, and I'm sure it will go well.
On Friday, after lunch, our zone received our flight itineraries!!!!!!!!! I'm also the travel leader for my group, so that'll be interesting. We leave on Wednesday, August 17 and we depart from the MTC at. Our flight doesn't leave until , so there will be a lot of downtime at the airport. I'm so excited, but I'm also a little nervous, but I guess that's normal. This is actually my final "official" P-day before I leave the MTC! The countdown has begun and I cannot wait to head out!!
Saturday was class, nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Since this Sunday was fast Sunday, we had a mission conference and were addressed by the MTC presidency. They actually released our second counselor in the presidency due to health concerns, so a new one was called and he seems pretty neat. The presidency shared a lot of great messages, and the former second counselor and his wife shared their testimonies with us. It was fantastic, the Spirit was very strong. I won't go into detail with what they shared, but I do have it written in my journal. Then, that evening we had a devotional by President Holland, Jefferey R. Holland's son, and he gave a wonderful talk about Joseph Smith's life and all that he went through before even receiving the first vision. He challenged us to become students of Joseph Smith's life, and promised that if we did so, we would be able to more fully appreciate the Book of Mormon and the marvelous work and wonder that is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I realized that anything that I might come to experience in my mission will be nothing compared to what Joseph Smith had to go through in his life and mission to bring about the restored gospel through the power and authority of God. Keeping that thought in mind, I know that I can overcome any of the trials that may fall upon me on mission as the Lord is on my side, no matter how bleak the circumstances may seem.
Monday we had more class and nothing too exciting happened, our teacher was sick so our investigator lesson turned into a follow up kind of a visit.
As usual, we had a devotional on Tuesday, but this one was special. This devotional was broadcast to all of the MTCs in the world! Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke to us about missionary work. He shared many scriptures and gave a lot of great advice. I'll share a couple of quotes. The first was, "Learning how to be a missionary is not complicated, but it's not easy." This is definitely true. There are so many things you need to do as a missionary, and, while being pretty straightforward, it's difficult to have to experience such a new lifestyle and learn how to adjust so quickly. However, through prayer, scripture study, and faith, I know that I can overcome anything that is thrown at me. The next quote is "Don't be discouraged, have great courage." This was followed by him giving advice to not blame yourself if doors are slammed in your face or if a "golden" family suddenly decides to no longer hear the message of the gospel. You should feel sad, but you shouldn't blame yourself for their decision, each of us is given agency and those who decide to no longer hear the gospel exercise theirs, even if it was a sad decision.
That's all I've got for this week, I'm not sure if I'll have another opportunity to email you all before I leave for the Philippines, so if I don't, I want you all to know that I love you, and I'm so glad to have made the decision to serve a mission. It has been a fantastic experience so far and I know it will only get better from here.
Thank you to all who have sent me letters, packages, emails, etc. they have helped me so much and reminded me that I am loved ;)