Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kevin's First Letter has Arrived!!!!! (Week 2)

Well I have just finished (basically) my first week, and wow what an experience. I must admit there were quite a few surprises since getting here. So when I first landed (as I am sure my mom has probably told everyone told everyone by now <3) one suitcase got lost in transit, and although it was a little worrying for the first day, I got it by the end of the night (all be it a half an hour before bedtime). Surprise number 2 was that I would not be leaving in 3 weeks, I would be leaving in 12 days because the mtc does not provide language training for those in the advanced section. I really didn't know how to feel about this, but I guess I am happy because even if I ahve difficulties teaching, I think I would learn more spanish and be a more efficient teacher if I am in the field than if I am here for a couple of weeks. Having been here for about a week I think the description of it as hard, really doesn't capture it. So far, it has not been overly stressful or difficult in any particular way, but the days are extremely long, and there is absolutely no time to relax, whatsoever. I will mimic what everyone said, you just have to get to Sunday and the days progressively shorten. With this in mind, the MTC pushes you in ways that you are different from being pushed. I have to throw in some kind of analogy, if college is like running 3 or 4 400 meter dashes, then the MTC is like a marathon. I will not lie though, some of the rules like not singing non church songs and not giving high fives to hermanas is a little hard, but you get used to it. I love both of my teachers, one believes that no matter where we are in the mtc that we should speak only spanish, which believe it or not is really quite difficult, and will cause you to accidentally speak to lunch ladies in spanish only to get blank looks of impatience. However, I really want to testify in the gift of tongues, because I never could talk with natives before I got here, their accents were just too heavy, and they spoke too fast; but as soon I got here, I was able to not only understand what they were saying to me, but able to respond and say just about whatever I wanted to (although in a little bit of a roundabout way because of my limited vocabulary) My companion's name is elder Windsor, he is from Arizona and really just a big softie. He is pleasant but pretty quiet, and does not like interacting with too many people (needless to say I end up doing most of the talking). He had never really worked out much before coming to the MTC, which really changed because I cannot be focused at all if I don't. So I've convinced him to run and lift weights and all that good stuff, and I cannot describe how important that gym time is to both of us, because it is our time to unwind from constantly learning, and just get our energy out. Oh by the way, I learned from my companion. and everyone else around me, I am a little chipper and energetic in the morning, which is apparently rather unusual, but I tried being a little glum, and it really just didnt work that well.

He and I really struggled with the lessons at first because we really were not thinking about addressing the needs of the people as individuals, we were just trying to teach lessons. I think the biggest lesson I've learned so far up here is best summarized by a quote from Elder Bednar, "who cares about you". This really is not about me, and it really does not matter if I am tired or sad or upset or missing home, who cares, that's not what's important. There are real people out there who are struggling with their lives, and who I not only have a responsibility to help, but want to help to. Once I realized this, and that there is no one without problems, which the Gospel would help resolve and fix, the lessons really started going better. I think that is the real essence of Preach my Gospel, is helping people with the problems in their lives with the Gospel. We as missionaries come to where the investigator is, and bring them out of darkness and into light with an example, just how Christ did for everyone he encountered. This is so important because we are representatives of Christ and we must follow his example in our teaching, and our relationship with our investigator should have a similar relationship with us to what we have with Christ. We beg them pray earnestly, study their scriptures more diligently, and keep the commandments given by Father, and Christ wants us to do all of those same things. If we are not setting the example, how can we expect anyone to follow us. If we set the example and do our best to be the best we can be, then Christ and the Holy Ghost inspire us with what we need to do, and where we need to go to serve his children. With that said, the Holy Ghost, while it will occasionally guide us through a strong feeling or impression, it more often just guides us without us knowing that we are being given an impression. This means that we just need to do everything we can, and not worry if something is our own thoughts or an impression, and just trust that if we are doing our best, and doing what is right that we will be guided. Anyways, that was just my little rant on my thoughts since I've been up here. This is definitely my longest email since this is the only time that I do not have to email my mission president.

Oh by the way, my companion and I were made Zone Leaders (Mom, ask someone what that is) for our time here at the MTC, which really is not that big of a deal since there were like 20 elders total in our zone, and 10 were leaving soon, it just means that we host orientation, resolve conflicts/help people who need it or are stressed and are in charge of organizing other missionaries so that they get to their flights without issue, and preferably with a companion. Anyways, I am going to go up to Mexican consulate today, to try and sign some stuff to get my visa, which unfortunately means that I will be missing the only time that I have to go to the temple, because I am going to be leaving Monday morning at 2 AM from the MTC for Veracruz, probably arriving at the airport at 630 pm local time. Let's see, oh Bro. and Sis. jones, I got to see Sister Jones and on the Sunday devotional, which was nice, and however difficult it may be, or long the days, I have never seen her look happier in my life. Since being here, I miss home unlike how I felt at college, but I would not trade being here for anything because this is where I know I need to be at this point in my life. I love you all more than you can know, and I really miss you all. I hope to hear from you guys soon.

Elder Standridge

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