What an incredible week. Probably my favorite in the MTC so far. It's so crazy I'm already 3 weeks down and 3 weeks to go. Time is truly flying right now here in the MTC.
Regarding all your emails, I LOVED LOVED LOVED them all! I would have to say my favorite thing was receiving Claire and Scotts wedding Video. Elise you did such an incredible job! You are so talented. I watched that today and I was crying my eyes out. Not just because I miss you, but because of how happy our family is and how much I love my new incredible sister in law Claire! How wonderful it is to know we can all be sealed as a family for eternity. You all are what bring me so much joy in my life. I love you Rachel and Claire, my brothers really scored!! The video was so awesome. As I was crying and laughing and just smiling, my companions were looking over my shoulder and they are like "HOLMES! What are you doing kissing that girl??" hahahaha I said "that's my brother!" I told them how Scott and I always get mistaken for each other, other than the fact that he is much taller than me. I'd have to say my favorite part of the video is when Scott is dancing to his Jam "Danza Kuduro" and just killing it! As fat Amy would say: "Crushed it." Love you Scotty. So happy for you two.
First off regarding the week, this week there were 126 mission presidents that came in to be trained by the 12 apostles. The main building was closed down just for them so we didn't get to go in and see them, but I had two encounters! I saw Elder Ballard jump in his car when we were walking to the temple so once we got to the other side of the street, I told all the missionaries to stand on the side of the road and wave to Elder Ballard as he turned our way! As he turned our way, he rolled down the window and gave us all a wave. I was SO JAZZED! Hahaha (I bet Christian is missing my lingo so I had to include that for him.) When we were walking back, we crossed the cross walk and there was a man in the car that waved to us so I just waved back not thinking anything, and then I realized that it was Elder Oaks! Haha funny. Anyway, super cool to have 8 of the 12 apostles on the campus. It shows me how important missionary work is to the church if the Apostles of the Lord come to train these Mission Presidents.
On thursday and friday every district in the MTC had a president seminar with a mission president for an hour each day. We have 4 elders going to Mozambique so their mission president, President Kock, came in. So awesome. He spoke a decent amount of english. It was hard to understand but I picked up a very good amount. On friday though, our teach Brother Nothum challenged us to a "Jejum do Englés" (English Fast) until Sunday!!!! It was hard but I learned so much and my portuguese really got a whole lot better! But that meant that friday with this mission president it was all Portuguese! He would ask a question and then call on someone so everyone had an equal time to share, but oh boy.... some of the elders and sister's in our zone struggled. I felt so bad! President Kock engrained in my head though the importance of knowing why the Book of Mormon has changed my life? Why am I teaching about this book I know to be true. Investigators are going to want to know why the Book of Mormon has really touched me.
On friday night after President Kock, we had the opportunity to meet our mission president Tevarez and his wife. I have meet them a couple of times in the cafeteria and always try to talk to them. T,hey are just so awesome. This was my favorite part of the week. Sister Tevarez shared an incredible story. She served in Lisbon as a missionary years ago, and when she was about to leave she felt like she would never return to Lisbon in her life and that made her really sad. But one night, before she was about to leave, she was reading the book of mormon and was overwhelmed with the spirit (that is why we read the book of mormon to feel the spirit) and had this feeling in her heart that one day, she would return to Lisbon to serve. Years and years later, she and her husband received their assignment to be mission Presidents: Lisbon Portugal. So cool.
Their English is poor and so they only spoke portuguese to us. I could understand a good amount but for the most part, our class was pretty lost. We finally had a translator come in and translate for us as the President spoke about our potential as missionaries. How in the MTC we can grow a good amount: the first 4 months if we work hard, we can become fluent with the language, and the rest of our mission we can meet and even exceed our potential and his expectations. What really touched me though, was what he wanted our mission Motto to be. He said that when the mission presidents were being trained, President Eyring held up a plate with the words "I came to Bless." He said, "You can put your sacrifice on the alter... you came to bless." I am going to Portugal to bless the lives of others. With this gospel, with my friendship and joy, and through service. Service service service. Through service we become Christ like which should be a goal for all of us in this life. I love the President already and I know I'll have a strong relationship with him and his wife.
On Sunday Elder Collette and I taught our district meeting. We taught about repentance and forgiveness. I taught about repentance and how we shouldn't delay this critical saving ordinance in our lives. Christ wants us to use his atonement so that we can return to God's presence and live with him. Through repentance we can have a fresh view about God and our lives, and feel forgiven for the sins we committed. Christ promises this. But you might ask yourself, why do I still remember the sins I've committed? Satan is a liar and tries to make us believe our sins are not forgiven after repentance, because we can still remember them. But President Uchtdorf has taught us that "…Remembering will help us avoid making the same mistakes again. But if we stay true and faithful, the memory of our sins will be softened over time." I felt good about the lesson we taught.
And lastly, we had an incredible devotional yesterday and then I had the privilege to watch Meet the Mormons again. While watching meet the mormons i couldn't stop thinking to myself, "why wouldn't anyone want this life style? If you live the gospel you are going to be blessed, you are going to be happy! You are going to have so much joy in your life and overcome your challenges." The video shows the lives of mormons all around the world. If you haven't watched it, I truly encourage you to. It brought me to tears when the last member is talking about how her son is going on a mission. How her mind keeps telling her he should stay but her heart knows the importance of the work he is about to be doing and how much he will touch the lives of others. How her son was on loan, how he is the Lord’s, and the Lord needs him to spread this great gospel. As I was crying, I thought of my Mom. Sending her 4th missionary out must have been hard, but she has such a strong testimony that what we are doing is for our Heavenly Father and is so so important. I love you Mom. You're the most incredible person I know. I miss you each and everyday. Thanks for shaping me into the man I am today.
Have a great week and remember your Heavenly Father believes in you. "I came to bless."