What a week I had! All I can say is wow! Seriously some the of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my life were all jam packed in this past week. I’m giddy even just thinking about it! Thanksgiving was probably one of the greatest days I’ve had in my life. Like ever. I don’t want to jump the gun too early but I’ll give you a little teaser: Elder Bednar isn’t as tall as I thought he was ;).
So I’ve got so much to write about, but I’m not even sure where to start… Let’s try going day by day and see how that goes. Actually a couple hours after I sent last week’s email we headed to our Tuesday Night Devotional. Guess who…Dalin H. Oaks! Our first General Authority speaker! He was great. He talked about a lot of things but to me his main focus was that through our faithful efforts we can be instruments in the hands of God. He used a nice little object lesson using a pen to demonstrate that we are like a pen in God’s hands: He is the one that leads and guides us and our actions are like the ink on the paper. My favorite quote of his was “the pen isn’t ever going to say, ‘I don’t really feel like working today because it’s my P-day!'” And he is so right haha. We must always be prepared to act in Gods name when we are prompted.
So now Wednesday, probably my second favorite day of the week. In class Hermano Página shared with my district a past General Conference talk of President Monson’s called “The Divine Gift of Gratitude”. I could remember it petty well as I watched it but it still was just as powerful as the first time. It was one of the most genuine and heartfelt messages I have ever seen President Monson share. He said that it is usually only after we give thanks that miracles can occur. And the key to giving thanks is prayer. Through that communication with our Heavenly Father we can express our love and gratitude and in return he blesses us. President Monson said: “Let gratitude penetrate your soul”. Penetrate. Wow, it was good to keep that in mind with Thanksgiving coming up the next day. So that was a great way to start off the day. But it only got better.
Later in the day we had just finished our third lesson of the day and we were pretty tired because we had classes directly in between them. We got back to class to find out that we were also scheduled to teach two more TRC “member lessons,” which is pretty self-explanatory. We got there with kind of the attitude to just get it over with and move on. We walk into the room where we would be teaching and I thought I recognized one of the two guys there. But I didn’t say anything just so it would be awkward. We got into the lesson and I asked him, what’s your name? David, he said. Hmm… “Did you both serve missions?” “Yeah, I served in Chile and my buddy served in Texas” Wait a second… I was almost certain it was who I thought it was, but I kept my cool and we actually had a fantastic lesson. So fast forward to the end, we wrap up, say goodbye, and head out. After every lesson my companions and I like to have a quick little meeting to assess the good and bad of our lesson. The first thing I said was, “do you elders know who that was?” They had no idea. Those of you back home I’ll give you a hint, he’s a really famous Mormon and almost won American Idol… Yep. I had just taught David Archeleta a gospel discussion lesson. When I told my companions that were all like what???? They had nooo idea hahaha. They jumped up and ran back to the room (much to my dismay) and asked for a picture with him haha. He confirmed our suspicion and agreed. I’ll attach it below if you don’t believe me. The best part was that Hermano Sí told us he was listening in after we left and David literally said he was surprised how well we kept our cool and that we weren’t nervous at all, which was obviously because my too companions had no idea who he was haha. So I pretty much took it as a personal compliment. This is going to be a great story to tell my grandkids when he becomes world famous. Bonus fact: now I’m one of the only people in the world who knows how he likes to study his scriptures :).
Now on to the best part! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better. Thanksgiving day! It started off with morning devotional. And who was it? Elder Bednar of course (remember I called it last week??). Honestly, wow is all I can say. He did something really cool/different where he handed out a bunch of cell phones that we could all use to text in questions we he that he would read off his iPad. It was even available for all the MTC’s around the world to do the same thing. And guess what?? He answered my question!! I heard him read it off and I literally felt a shock go through my body. It was so awesome. My question was “How can I have faith in something that cannot be proven by science?” And don’t worry, I only asked it because a buddy of mine was struggling with this despite me trying to be helpful so I figured what better source of an answer than an Apostle of Jesus Christ? His answer was that we need to put our trust in God, not the scientist! He admitted that science is a great tool for learning new things, but he specifically that that solely believing in the objectiveness of science is foolish. Our ultimate source of information needs to be God. With enough prayer and asking with a sincere heart with a desire to learn, in time he will always answer us. I wish I could spend all my time writing about each question he answered but sadly that would literally take hours to do. I think what I’ll do is I’ll address one question every week moving forward until I cover all of them. And all of them are so fantastic. There’s about 10 questions he answered so remind me in the coming weeks and I’ll do my best.
The rest of Thanksgiving day went as follows. Our Thanksgiving meal was during lunch, and it was pretty good. Not necessarily the quality but the quantity compensated. And they had some delicious pies, so I ate a bunch of those. After lunch my companions and I were in for a little bit of a surprise. Elder Moore had smashed his finger while lifting a few days before and wanted to change out his bandages, but basically it spiraled into an adventure into the outside world. They wanted him to get it checked out at the Instacare down the road to make sure it wasn’t infected (it looked pretty sketch) so that took about 30 minutes then they gave him a prescription to pick up which took another 20. Actually leaving the MTC was like an out of body experience lol. I had already forgotten what the real world actually looked like. At the Walgreens that we went to pick up his prescription at we met a worker there that actually went to the same mission as me a few years earlier! It was cool to hear about what it’s like and what I could expect. Definitely not wasted time. We got back in the middle of a Church humanitarian presentation that led directly into our service project. At that project we had a little assembly line going at each table that made these little meal packets for needy children. Lentil casserole I think it was haha. Here’s a cool story though, at the table that the Hermanas in our district were working at Elder Bednar’s grandchildren showed up out of nowhere and started working with them! Then a few minutes later our Hermana Foster felt someone’s head poke in above her shoulder. It was none other than Elder Bednar! After I had heard about this I was so mad jealous. He had come back to check out our project and ended up standing 5 feet away from where our Hermana’s were working. When he was just about to leave I got to catch up to him, shake his hand, and tell him thank you. It was so awesome!!! That’s how I know he’s short, he probably only came up to my shoulders. But I love him and I could feel his strong Spirit just standing next to him. Oh yeah, and I also got a selfie with him…sort
A few more things to finish up Thanksgiving (crazy day right?). Before Elder Bednar’s devotional the choir I was a part of sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It was so great! One of my favorite songs, and we also learned why it’s not in the hymn book any more. Don’t forget to appreciate something before it’s gone! After the service project there was kind of a cheesy Thanksgiving presentation where some missionaries acted out the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun though haha. And then after that they showed us a movie. Meet The Mormons! It was my first time seeing it. A lot better than I expected. But then also one of my favorite parts of the day came after that! The MTC presidency told us they had a surprise waiting for us outside and when we got out there all the Christmas lights were on! It looked so magical haha. I love Christmas. And that pretty much was a brief summary of my Thanksgiving haha. Trust me, I could get a lot more deeper into it but for the sake of time I’ll save it for later. What a day!
Now fast forward a little to this past Sunday night. We had a really awesome devotional in which Vocal Point came to sing for us and share some small messages. It was great and all, but I felt it was a little more of a feel-good/inspirational devotional rather than an actual doctrinal informative/spiritually uplifting devotional. They were still really good though. So the rest of the week was pretty normal. Here’s a few quick points though. The very next day after Thanksgiving we got right back to work. There’s no such thing as dilly-dallying when you’re a missionary. Hermano Página was out of town so we had a sub for a couple days called Hermano Day (Día because I love Español nicknames) and he was fun. He’s best friends with Hermano Página and showed us a bunch of pictures of their hunting trip together. Great guy, of course. There were two other videos that we watched this week that I liked a lot. “Safety for the Soul,” by Elder Holland and “The Light of Christ,” Mormon Messages based off Elder Bednar’s (of course) talk “The Spirit of Revelation”. Watch them both! They are powerful messages on the Book of Mormon and receiving inspiration and revelation from God. And then last thing. Just yesterday Hermano Página read Helaman 5, which has a great story on why less actives are so crucial to the work, with us. See if you can find the correlation. It’s pretty amazing. It’s definitely so,eating I’m going to remember when I enter the field!
That pretty much covers my week. You can probably tell it was a great one. But it can only get better from here right?? The MTC has been such a great experience for me. But I can’t wait to get out into the field! Only 2 more weeks! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving also. I can’t wait to get really into the Christmas season! This is going to be an exciting month for me. Hope everyone is well!