July 20, 2011
Not gonna lie, at home I never really appreciated breakfast. Sure, the occasional biscuits and gravy at BYU-I were delicious, but far from necessary, but one of the things the MTC has made me need and appreciate is a good breakfast. So, that's why after waking up this morning I was very surprised and pleased to find that the cafeteria people here actually do have compassion sometimes. I had a very hearty and healthy breakfast of two bananas, a huge pumpkin chocolate chip pancake, a (albeit weak sauce) breakfast burritto and a bowl of fruit. A very excellent way to start the morning, if I do say so myself!
My companion has been sick with strep this week, so during a lot of the personal study times we've had he's been sleeping and trying to get better. Hence why, in part, I've been really good about letter writing this week! I just want to say once again how much I appreciate all of your letters and support! Whether by regular mail or dearelder, it always brings a warm smile to my face and often some tears to hear from family and friends. Thank you so very much again :)
This week has been such a wonderful week. We've continued to teach our 2 investigators and we've made good progress in the lessons. We've been trying to read with our investigators fromt he Book of Mormobn in Russian, which has had very mixed results, but overall a good experience (the investigators get to teach us how to correctly pronounce words, and we get to teach them the Gospel. Success!). In addition I came up with and idea that I'm rather proud of for TRC (where you teach members that speak Russian a lesson or two from the Gospel and you get recorded and all that jazz). Me and my companion were trying to figure out what to teach when I was flipping through my newly bought Russian hymnbook and came across "Did you Think to Pray?" A thought entered my mind that I should use that to introduce the lesson, and so we did. It surprised both of our members that we had asked to sing, but it brought such a strong Spirit into the room when we did it. In addition, when we were teaching an investigator about Christ's ministry on the Earth, we sang "I Believe in Christ" in Russian. Though he didn't know the song, he tried to sing along and by the end such a feeling of peace and happiness were with us, and though we stumbled over our words, he knew the message we were teaching and the the Spirit bore testimony to his heart.
That's all that really matters in the end, you know? We still stuggle and stumble all over our words in teaching in Russian, but our message and our true intent in bringing this Gospel to them is able to surpass all barriers, even a language barrier, and allow for the Spirit to come in and work on their hearts. I know these are just fake investigators, but there is a blessing here at the MTC that allows it so that a true and real experience of teaching and helping the Holy Ghost come into a lesson that helps teach not only the investigators but ourselves too.
How wonderful it is to have this Gospel. Everytime I read the Book of Mormon during my personal study I discover and feel something new. I was writing up a testimony to my friend Jeanette about the Plan of Salvation and a lot of connections started popping up in my mind. How precious the blessing of choice is to us, and how God has chosen to make it a full gift, one that He will never violate or take away. How incredible it is to be able to come to this Earth wtih a body modeled after the very God that created all things. It makes sense why, in coming to this Earth and in having a body, why it is so important for us to take care of it, to think hard and be responisble for the many choices we make. It's why baptism is such an essential thing for all of us. Christ showed us by himself being baptized, that in all things we should follow Him. Baptism makes it possible for Christ's infinite Atonement to work on us, something that became vital and crucial the minute we came here to Earth and gained bodies. How wonderful it will be to, after we die, once again be reunited with our bodies, and have them made whole and perfected again, having a body and soul cleansed of sin and made bright and glorious, even like that of Heaven;t Father.
Of all things I've learned in my years of existance, it is that God knows us indiviudally and that He loves us. He loves us so much that he gave us, His literal children, the opportunity to come and gain a body like Him. To have joy and be happy! To have the same joy that he does in having a family and teaching them and wanting the best for them. How great the mercy of out God to show us the way, to allow us to enter into everlasting covenants with Him that will allow us to come back to Him.
I know the Book of Mormon and the Bible are true. I know the Jospeh Smith is a prophet of God and that today we still have a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides us with love as did the prophets of old. God is still a God of miracles, and He loves us, and as a result of that love, Jesus Christ came to this Earth and lived, died, and lived again, that we may gain immortality and Eternal Life.
God be with you, my family and friends, until we meet again.