Nametags and Elder Holland!
Hey there family and friends!
It's been a good week here at the MTC! The best parts of the week having happened yesterday! For one, our district got our new nametags (With our names all Russified, very classy) which was super sweet. On that same note, I signed my visa app yesterday along with most of my district (which we take as a good sign) and we should all be getting our travel plans tomorrow (which is pretty dang sweet!). That was all good and splendid, but the best part of my day was when Elder Holland came and gave the Tuesday night devotional! It was such an amazing talk and I got a ton from it.
The language is coming along really well. As usual, I'm excited and distressed at the amount of time I've got left until I go to Russia (12 days! Woo!). We've gone over all of the "task sheets" that have been given us in our language training, so from here out we're just reviewing over them, and specifically verbs of motion (which I'm pretty good at, though no one else seems to like them). Grammar and conjugations is becoming more and more natural to me, which is very nice, and I'm becoming more accustomed to using flash cards and in applying them to the lessons.
Mom, I got your letter today! I love the Pixar forever stamps! My favorite by far, though the Mark Twain ones are a pretty close runner up.
Gosh, I don't have too much to write about. Each day is really the same as other days, just like weeks are like other weeks, but I become better and stronger each day and week that I'm here. It's hard to show that in an e-mail (especially when I can't write Russian in it), but I really have worked and grown a lot here. The MTC has been an experience that I've simply needed in my life, much less for my mission to Russia. Elder Holland spoke a lot about how there was only one thing that mattered to him more than his mission, that being his wife and his kids.
I'm not sure if I ever told you this, Mom and Dad, but really the only thing that has been a higher priority to me than going on a mission was having a family. you probably knew that, but I was reminded of that yesterday when Elder Holland was talking. More so than Russian, what I've been trying to learn here at the MTC has been love. To see others and myself in the way that God sees us. I'm told, and I've often times imagined, that the love that a parent feels for a child can (and should) be among the strongest loves anyone can ever have. And I believe it too. I know that when I have children I am going to love them with all my heart, and do everything I can do for them. And maybe a reason God wants me to go on a mission first is to help me realize and feel that love for all of His children before I have my own.
Faith, hope, charity and love. Really simple words, not too hard to spell. But among the hardest things to develop, even harder than Russian. Progress in Russian is awfully tangible and clear. You can make a mistake in Russian and be corrected. You can memorize principles, words and verbs and apply them in creating sentences, paragraphs and lessons. But even more powerful than the words themselves is the meaning and the feelings behind them. A perfectly worded lesson with pristine grammar and eloquent phrases most surely can and has existed in the mouth of missionaries preaching in Russia. Yet if that message is delivered without any true feeling, intent or knowledge than it's pretty useless.
My goal is to initially deliver the message of the Gospel with pefect feeling and knowledge to those I'm preaching too. But my next goal, not my first, is to do so with perfect grammar and words. A nice little realization I had this week.
Anyways, my time is nearly up. Good to hear about Baby Brett and everyone! Stay good, eat your veggies, and know that God is with you always, as He is with us here in the MTC.
With love, as always
Elder Brian Peterson