I can't believe that I've only got 6 days left in the MTC! ...just in case you missed that...6 DAYS!! Where have the last 5 weeks gone? I haven't got a clue. I was laying...(lying? haha...who knows) in bed last night trying to figure out how I've been here for 5 full weeks and I just couldn't figure it out. It's crazy how quickly time flies. I'm so excited and grateful to be heading directly to Argentina, but I'm sad to leave the MTC. I have loved every second of my time here and I will miss the friends and teachers that I've come to love. I won't ever have an MTC experience like this one again, but I can't WAIT to go to Argentina!
Soooo....originally my entire district (with the exception of Hermana Kuhn and me) were going to leave on the 21st really early, but they changed all Argentina missionaries to the 23rd so we'll all leave the same day. My flight leaves Salt Lake at 12:30PM and we land in Dallas at 4:30. We have a three hour layover and then we connect to BUENOS AIRES!!! Our flight leaves at 7:30PM and we arrive in Argentina at 7:55AM. Now, originally I thought a twelve hour flight, right? Wrong. We land at 7:55AM Argentina time..so it's more like a 15 hour flight I believe. Remember how I hate flying? Ya...I'm gonna die. That's sooo long. But, if it gets me to Argentina, I won't complain toooo much:) Anyway, we're starting to pack up some things today...CRAZY!
So, last Thursday we went to the temple which was incredible as always. I'm gonna miss going to the temple each week for sure. We had dinner and then personal gym time. It's funny because we can't listen to music really here at the MTC, so the gyms have TV's and they play Mormon messages, conference talks, and sometimes church movies. Anyway, I got to listen to Elder Holland's talk, "None Were With Him." Great talk. Then we had language study time. My companions and I decided we wanted to listen to the Priesthood Session of Conference, so we got onto LDS.org and listened to a few of the talks in Spanish. I was very pleasantly surprised when I understood what was going on. I really liked Elder L. Tom Perry's talk about the Articles of Faith. I thought it was really powerful, plus it brought back so many memories of memorizing the Articles of Faith as a family all those years ago:) That night we had to clean our classroom, and Elder Jo (bless his heart), who is an only child and has never used a vacuum in his life (literally), was on vacuum duty. I'll say, it was absolutely hilarious. It took him a solid five minutes to get it plugged in...no joke. (we all stood by and watching innocently while trying to suppress our laughter) Then, when he finally got the vacuum turned on and going, he broke it. Those of us watching (so all nine of us) couldn't hold the laughter in anymore. It was absolutely hilarious. Once we fixed the problem, he continued to vacuum and eventually finished the job. Good times.
Friday was one of my favorite days at the MTC, why? Because our travel plans came. We all waited anxiously that morning throughout breakfast, personal study, TALL, gym, and lunch. When we finally checked the mail together as a district, we all squealed (the Elders included) when we saw the big stack of papers that could only be travel plans. We all quickly scanned through and were jumping for joy when we all got travel visa's to Argentina. So exciting. All the missionaries around us were looking at us like we were crazy, but they had no idea what was going on. We were too excited to care. Then we had language study which I have to admit was not the most effective study time we've had as a district. Our minds were in Argentina and with the people there that we've been preparing ourselves for.
Saturday was a long day. We had class with Hermano Waddoups in the morning which is always hard, but Hermano Waddoups is amazing. He is always so fun and energetic and we laugh so much when he's in class with us, but he also knows how to bring the Spirit so powerfully when he bears testimony. I love it. I'm gonna miss my teachers here at the MTC. Hermano Martinez and Hermano Waddoups will always have a very special place in my heart. I can't even begin to describe how incredibly grateful I am to have had the opportunity to learn from them and spend three hours of class time with each of them every single day. They're the best. I hope that one day I will be able to teach with the same humility, love, and power that they do.
On Sunday we had church at 7:15AM. I got called on by President Ditmar to give a three minute talk about the Atonement. Each Sunday, we have two missionary talks and then one member of the branch presidency speaks along with their wife. We never know who's gonna speak so we all have to be prepared. Well, I had a scripture and a quote from Preach My Gospel, but that was it. It was the Atonement though which is always really easy to talk about and bear testimony about. It went really well and I was actually really grateful for the opportunity. Everyone told me I did really well and that "it's amazing how well you can speak Spanish after only 5 weeks in the MTC!" That was Sister Gurney, our second counselor's wife. She's so sweet, but I think she forgot that we all had Spanish before coming to the MTC:) We had several meetings throughout the day and we had our temple walk which is always one of the highlights of the week. For devotional on Sunday night the speaker focused on recognizing the Spirit and the importance of the Holy Ghost in conversion. It was really good. For movie night we watched a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC several years ago called, "Missions are Forever." SO GOOD. He focused on immersing ourselves completely in the work and not wasting a single minute of the time we've been given so that we can come home with no regrets. I don't know how to do that quite yet, but I'm working on it. I think there's a quote by President Hinckley that says something to the effect of "Kneel and pray to God like everything depends on Him, and then get up and work like everything depends on you." That's what I'm working on right now, and I hope that I will be a more successful missionary as I do that.
On Monday we had service again...whoppeee.. We taught Angel that afternoon and we were focusing on the Atonement. He kept saying, "That's really cool. If it were true that would be neat." Finally I got tired of him saying that, so I asked him how HE could know. He said when he died he would know. I wasn't letting him off the hook so easy so I made my question more specific. He thought about it for a second and then said by praying and reading the Book of Mormon. BINGO. So, we testified one more time and then invited him to pray with us right then. He said no at first, but we weren't taking no for an answer. Hermana Ward told him he needed to demonstrate his faith and ask God. Hermana Kuhn said something similar and asked him again. He declined for a second time and said, "maybe on another day." I gently said, "Angel, God wants to hear you today." He gave me the 'how do you know' look, but finally agreed. I asked if we could kneel, and he nodded but not before trying to get out of it one more time. We all knelt together as he prayed, and it was the COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER. The Spirit was so strong as he asked God if He was there and as he asked God to answer his prayers. I love Angel. It's amazing to see someone exercise their faith and to help someone grow closer to Christ. I can't even imagine what that will be like with "real" people in Argentina. Ah. I'm so excited!!
Tuesday was an awesome day. We had skype that morning again for TRC. We talked with the same sister, Aye. She got all of our emails so we can keep in touch. She's so sweet and I feel like we're really good friends since I've only talked with her for about an hour in total. Weird how that works. We went to choir practice that night. For devotional we sang "Praise to the Man." I love that song. One thing that I've noticed here at the MTC is that I've never not had the Spirit witness to me that what I am saying is true when I testify of Joseph Smith, and singing is no different. What an incredible man! The choir director, who is amazing and always tells us about the song and shares a very powerful spiritual thought, told us a lot about the life of Joseph Smith and who he was as a person. I love the Prophet Joseph!! For devotional tonight we had....drum roll please....ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS. We knew it was going to be one of the Twelve beforehand, but we didn't know which one. He and his wife spoke. It was so good. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and essentially taught us the plan of salvation. I guess that's important right? It was so good. He talked about our pre-earth life and our potential in the next life. It was a really powerful talk. That night we had Brother Evans from the branch presidency in our devotional review meeting. At the end he talked to us about Argentina and gave us some advice which mostly centered around love. He said, "Just love them. Embrace their culture and their traditions. Love the people, because they will love you." It was obvious as he talked that those people he served in Argentina so many years ago are still very dear to him. It was really neat to hear him talk about them.
Wednesday was a long day. I had a doctors appointment in the morning because I've had a fever and sore throat since Monday. Fun stuff. The doctor told me to go home and try to sleep it off a little bit. I nodded and then left with my companions to go host the new missionaries and then have class with Hermano Martinez. There was no way I was sleeping through class. I can count the classes I have left with my teachers on one hand and you better believe I'll be there for all of them. Plus, I wasn't feeling that bad and the doctor said it was just a cold probably from the stress and demands from the schedule. We all had individual interviews with Hermano Martinez. I forget...have I mentioned how incredible he is? Ah. I love him so much. Last night we had class with Hermano Waddoups which was as always amazing. I can't get over how amazing my teachers are. They're so close to the Spirit, so full of love and humility, and they're just...well...Christ-like. That's the only way to describe them.
Sooo...that was my week. It was amazing. Just like every other week here at the MTC. Oh, and on my way down to email guess who I ran into? Sra. Petrie!! I was so excited!! We got to talk for a minute which was nice. I love love love her! So sweet. Thanks for all the dear elders. They make my day. Especially cause they give them to us during meal times. It's so perfectly Hogwarts-esque. I'm still waiting for my Nimbus 2000. I'll let you know when it arrives. Craig, congrats on your win against...wutang? I was especially excited to hear about that game. It sounded fun! I'm always cheering for you!! Unfortunately parents, my window was NOT wide open at either of those times on Monday night. I stood in the stairwell window on the south side for about ten minutes from 10:15-10:25PM but I knew you would still be at Craig's game. Anyway, I hope you're all doing well! Hope school is going well for everyone and the office for you dad. Mom, I'm sure you're still keeping busy:) I guess the next time I talk to you will be at the airport!! Please please PLEASE send me that phone!! I got your package today with everything in it! Thanks! But I want to be able to talk to you for as loooong as possible. I should have about 3 hours in Dallas and who knows how many from Salt Lake. I guess we'll find out. Oh...and someone wanna fill me in on the government shut down? We don't hear ANYTHING here...but apparently it's kind of a big deal. If that's the case, I, for one, am grateful to be fleeing the country in exactly 6 days. Peace out USA.
I miss you all everyday and you're in my prayers!! Love you forever and always!!