Date: June 23, 2015 at 1:05:21 PM MDT
Subject: Getting the Hang of this!!
From: Lee Holmes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What a week. I'm really getting the hang of this place and I'm loving it!! The days get long at times, but I've just been laughing and smiling and having a grand time.
To start off, it was kind of funny the other day when I was buying some lunch. This guy who was working in the lunch room looked at my name tag and said "Elder Holmes?? I remember when I was in here there was an Elder Holmes with an Elder Watson! They had to have been lined up on purpose! haha Someone was getting a good laugh." And I said “Yeah that was my brother Scott! Haha I guess Scott really made an impression on that Kid ;)
Twice a week in here we also have to do service which can get a little ridiculous. With so many missionaries, I think they have a hard time finding userful things for us to do in the MTC. What they do is there's a zone that cleans each building every day so pretty much we are cleaning rooms that were just cleaned the day before and they are spotless! haha This week Elder Collete and I had to vacuum these rooms for an hour and 15 minutes that were literally spotless and every time we finally ran over a piece of dirt or something and the vacuum made some noise, indicating that we picked something up, we would just cheer and then start laughing! It was also 6:15 in the morning so we were a little out of it.
This week was a blast when the new missionaries came in. We had lunch and then after lunch there is a hall way that all the new missionaries walk through so Elder Collete and I got on each side of the hall way with like 10 other Elders including Elder Easton and Elder Namok and were just so pumped for the new Missionaries coming in. It was hilarious. We were all just so jazzed. My friend Elder Mingus from BYU is in my zone now so it's been super fun with him this week and of course it was a party seeing Elder Curtis. He didn't walk through our line though. Must have missed him. Probably the most fun part of the week.
The Portuguese is coming slowly but surely. I realized right off the bat that the MTC is a missionary training center and not a language training center and so I'd say I've been focusing a lot more on becoming more spiritually prepared and how to teach and what to teach. But, I do study a lot of vocab and do feel like the Portuguese is really coming along! I was a little frustrated the other day in our "investigator" lesson because I could literally not think of one word to say. I don't know why. It humbled me and that's what it's suppose to do, I guess. But then last night i was just on fire!! Everything was coming to me and although the sentences might not have been perfectly worded, I could get my Point across. Last night after our lesson, the "investigator" gave Collete and I some feedback and he said we taught him the best he's ever been taught while acting as an "investigator.” He said our zone compares perfectly to a zone he had years ago for how prepared and motivated we are. Super nice of him and he had Elder Collette and I JAZZED!!
Elder Collete, Namok, Easton and I are really getting along. I love them. They are already some of my best friends. It is going to be sad not living with them in 4 weeks but I am just so excited to get out to Portugal!!!
This week we also saw our Mission Presidents in the cafeteria!! Elder Easton spotted them and so we all went up and I asked him if he was President Tevarez serving in Lisbon!! He got up with a big smile on his face and gave all of us the Biggest Hugs!! They don't speak English, well the husband speaks probably as much English as I do Portuguese so that'll be a little hard. But the wife was so happy and and was so excited to meet all of us. I already know they are going to be so great and I'm excited to grow closer to them over the next two years.
Lastly, I want to leave you all with the thoughts I had after Sunday Night’s devotional. First we heard from Brother and Sister Littlefields. Brother Littlefields is the Pre-field Missionary Service manager who oversees all the mission calls to the general authorities. He shared how the people of our missions, the people of Portugal, have been prepared by the Lord for us to come and teach them. He said, "Where does it say in the scriptures the field is brown already to plant seeds? No where! It says the field is WHITE! Already to HARVEST!" I know the Lord has been preparing them for me and I know Portugal is where I'm suppose to be. Brother Littlefields finished and said "if you don't believe you are going where you are supposed to go, oh boy. The stories I could share with you."
After the devotional, we watched the devotional given by Bednar on the "Character of Christ" a couple years ago to the missionaries in the MTC on Christmas. It was unreal! It was all about how are lives should be centered around Christ and finding out the character of Christ. By the time we die we should have 400-500 Book of Mormons on a bookshelf all answering a question we have about Christ. Bednar said how the Character of Christ is to turn outward when the natural man would turn inward. How when we lose our self and turn outwards to others we will find our self. But if we turn inwards to ourself, in the attempts to find ourselves, we just can't find ourselves. Only through turning outwards will we be able to. Turn outwards and put others first. He shared several stories about Christ that truly had an impact on me and my life. He shared how one can have a testimony of Christ but not be fully converted; Fully converted to Christ, who he was, how he acted, how he loved, how he healed, performed miracles, thought, believed, and so on. You need to live to become fully converted to our Savior. He finished his remarks by saying, "I am personally not capable of being one of the 12 apostles, but through Christ, he strengthens me." The spirit was so strong and I am Motivated. I wrote down in my journal, " I can do anything with the Lord, Lee, anything!" I will always remember this devotional in my life. So powerful. So real. I truly need to turn outwards to others when I'd naturally have the desire to turn inwards, even in my weakest, hardest, most vulnerable moments in life. I need to become like Christ.
I love you all and hope all is well. I'm loving the MTC and know the importance of this place to prepare myself for the people of Portugal. I love this Gospel, I love my Savior, and I know without a doubt in my heart this Church is true.