WOW. The last 9 weeks really have absolutely flown by. It's insane that in a week I will be out in the field doing real mission work with real people. Crazy! I won't lie, I'm pretty nervous to get out there and see what it is like. But at the same time, I am absolutely stoked to get out there and see what it is like. I don't know if you've heard this, but we got a dear elder from President Thompson yesterday that said that him and his wife are having Visa problems and that we are going to beat them there and that one of the Brazilian senior couples is going to be picking us up and all that cool stuff. The church must be true if a bunch of 19 and 20 year old boys can survive in Angola for over a month without a mission president in the country. haha.
It was a really good last week. With it being Pioneer Day on Tuesday and everything both of the devotionals were centered around Pioneers and how we can all be like them. Stephen B. Allen, managing director of the missionary department, spoke to us on Sunday night. He based his talk all around, "Come Come Ye Saints", it was super cool. He focused on a few lines from the song. The one that really stuck out to me and that I liked was "How can we expect to gain a great reward, if we shun the fight." The Lord needs missionaries out in the world, and we've got to join the fight in any way that we can. It was a super spiritual meeting, we sang "Come Come Ye Saints" like 5 times and everytime it was way powerful. The song really applies to missionary work perfectly. Our Tuesday night devotional was with Elder Coleman, an emeritus 70, he spoke about how we all still can be pioneers today and that we all need to be. It was super cool as well, he applied it a lot to missionaries in the scriptures and how they were out on the front lines leading the charge, and bringing the Gospel to those that didn't have it. We are so blessed here in the MTC to hear such powerful talks twice a week.
So yesterday we had "In-Field Orientation" where they got us super excited to get out into the field. They taught us a lot about the importance of members in the missionary effort. But, it's not only up to the members to give referrals out to the missionaries. Us missionaries need to be the kind of missionary that members will trust with their friends and trust us to help bring their friends unto Christ. We watched part of a talk from Elder Bednar where he talked about how a few Elders came to his house one day, ate lunch and stayed for about an hour, and as they were about to leave they asked for referrals. Elder Bednar completely shut them down and told them pretty bluntly how he wouldn't trust them with his friends because he could tell that they weren't very obedient Elders. He then went on to talk about how Elders should never spend that much time at a members house, they are on the Lords time and they need to spend that time working. I'm not exactly sure how it will be in Angola but I know in most missions members can be a major ally. And as Elder Bednar said, members can tell exactly what kind of missionaries we are. It's important that the members can trust the Elders, so I need to strive to be that Elder that people will trust with their friends.
It's all starting to get super real, today I took my first Malaria pill! I better get used to it too, because I'm going to be taking that pill everyday for the next two years. haha. So sad story, one of the Elders in my district, Elder Clifford has been having problem with his shoulder for that last few weeks so he decided to get it checked out, and I guess he is going to need to get surgery, which will put him back two months... He decided that rather than going home to get it fixed he is going to get it fixed here and stay in the MTC. It's a bummer cause me and him were super tight, but it's all good, he'll be out there in no time.
Yesterday was also the best day ever because I got 3 packages!!!! Wowzers. I'm definitely feeling the love. I got my most favorite thing in the world from Sam, Cinna Parts from The Pie! What a guy. They were eaten pretty dang fast. Then I got a package from Camille with tons of fun goodies in it. She is the best! And then on top of all that, I got a cake from Momma! The whole floor was very appreciative. Thanks guys!
Today we get to go to the temple for the last time for the next 22 months. It's going to be a very bitter sweet experience. Bitter because it will be the last time for the next 22 months, and sweet because it's the temple and I love the temple.
As I reflect back on these past 2 months, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I have learned so much about this gospel and about myself. This place is absolutely amazing, there is no other place in the world where 19 year old boys can learn so much. I have been super blessed with an incredible district that has taught me so much, and also incredible teachers that have helped us so much to get to where we are. I know that I still have a ton to learn and that I'm only getting started but I am so excited to start this chapter of the mission. I'm pretty nervous, and know that it is going to be a big adjustment for me, but I didn't come on this mission for it to be easy. Thank you for all of your continued support! I can feel your prayers!
It's crazy to think that next weeks email will be from somewhere in Angola. Wahoo!
I love you guys!