Holy cow the weeks are starting to fly by! I have been super blessed with a really cool district and zone, which helps time to fly by. We're all practically best friends all ready. It'll be hard when our 9 weeks are up and we all go our separate ways (Angola, Mozambique, and Portugal). But, obviously we're all going to have way more fun when we are actually in our missions doing work!
We had a very spiritual Sunday this week. Fast Sundays are awesome. So like I've mentioned in my last emails we have a fireside every Sunday night and usually it's a general authority that speaks with his wife. But, this Sunday we had a pretty rare fireside. A man named Ted Gibbons came and did a whole monologue type deal playing the part of Willard Richards. I had never heard of Ted Gibbons before, I'm not sure if you have... But, he's a super cool guy. I guess he's written quite a few hymns and books. So, his monologue was him recounting his experiences with Joseph Smith. I'm not going to lie, I had no clue who Willard Richards was. He was one of the 4 men in Carthage during the Martyrdom. It was the most amazing thing, I have never heard such a powerful witness and testimony of Joseph Smith. So Willard Richards was an apostle and the personal secretary/assistant to Joseph. One cool story he told was this: He talked about how one day while he was in his office writing, Joseph came in in tears, he said he could tell he was receiving revelation. And Joseph told him "Balls will fly like hail stones, your friends will being falling on your left and right, but you will not be touched by a single ball." (This was almost a year before the martyrdom). I didn't know this full story but he told it incredibly. He gave us the play by play of Carthage in his own words which was so cool. He first told of the death of Hyrum while they were holding the door, and how Joseph ran to his side devastated. Then how John Taylor was shot in the leg and temporarily paralyzed. As he was falling towards the window not being able to control his body, he was shot in the chest, but the bullet was stopped by his stop watch which pushed him back into the room. While all this was happening Willard and Joseph were continuing to fight off the mob through the door by hitting their guns with a stick. Joseph had fired the last few shots in his gun out the door, which made the mob think that they were armed. When Joseph saw that there really wasn't much of chance, and in effort to save the life of Willard, made his way to the window. When the prophet was shot through the window and fell, the mob stopped pursuing them and fled. Willard hurried and took the body of John Taylor and hid him under a mattress in another room, fearing that the mob would return. He said he heard the voice of Joseph more clear than he had ever heard before "Balls will fly like hail stones, your friends will being falling on your left and right, but you will not be touched by a single ball." In tears he continued to bear the strongest testimony of the prophet I had ever hear. He was asked how he still believed that Joseph Smith was still a prophet and he said "I don't believe that Joseph was a prophet, I know that Joseph was a prophet." After his monologue everyone sang praise to the man, HOLY COW. It was so incredibly powerful and spiritual. My testimony of Joseph Smith was strengthened immensely after that fireside, SO cool. (I tried to remember it as best as I could... You kinda had to be there...) Oh, and I saw the Mciffs again! It's always good to see some familiar faces.
Not a whole lot happened out of the ordinary this week compared to past weeks, but it was still awesome! I feel like the language is really coming along. Yesterday we tried doing the language the whole day... Sheeeeesh. It was super tough and involved a lot of thumbing through the dictionary, but it was super good practice. It helped us realize how far we have come but also how far we still have to go. haha. This week we had a sub for a few days because one of our teachers was out of town, we had a guy that served in Portugal. Which was nice because so far our teachers speak Brazilian Portuguese and have been trying to speak Continental (Portugal) Portuguese. They are fairly similar but it was nice to hear the accent that we'll be speaking in for 2 years. I guess he taught a ton of Angolans in Portugal and said that they are the absolute most humble, amazing people. I'm so stoked!
Oh yeah, I totally forgot! The 4th of July! It was actually a really awesome day, one of the best yet for sure. Most of the day was pretty normal but then at around 8 we went to a cool Independence Day Program. It was really laid back and fun, there were a few musical numbers. One girl sang, "You Raise Me Up". Man I love me some Josh Groban. It was the first time I'd heard a song not by the tabernacle choir in quite awhile. haha. They made sure that all of the international kids didn't feel left out so it was kind of just a celebrate the world day. Some Judge came and spoke to us about America and how blessed we are to live here and how the religious freedom of America allowed the restoration to happen. Pretty cool stuff. And then at the end they had a flag ceremony with all of the flags of the Elders and Sisters in the MTC. It was pretty cool. There were like 30 different countries. Super cool. Then after that they surprised us with ice cream and let us all go outside and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Waaahoooo! It was awesome, they told us we couldn't go back to our rooms until the fireworks were over, which was like 11:00. Lights out is at 10:30 so we were pretty excited we got to stay out a little later and party. It's funny, we have 3 international Elders (2 New Zealanders and 1 from England) and they were super proud of their countries all day. The one from England refused to participate in anything American. Haha He's a super funny kid. Watching the fireworks really made me miss and reminisce about the good ol' eaglewood fireworks, I think this is the first year I've missed in a pretty long time. I hope they were good this year!
I'm sending home a memory card today so watch for it:) I got a lot of good pictures of the 4th of July n' stuff.
Again, thank you for all of the continued support! I'm a pretty lucky guy!
Have fun in Bear Lake Fam! I think this is the first year I've missed it since birth... It's just not going to be the same for you guys, you might as well not go.. haha I joke, but still... Golf hard for me!
I love you all!!
Syd!! I'm so proud of you! That's super cool that you guys took first! You're going places sista.