Hello family and friends!
This week has been an busy week. It definitely went by faster than the last one. They are keeping us really busy here at the MTC. They have every second scheduled out. You don't really have a second for yourself besides the 30 minutes they give you at night to write in your journal and pray to your Heavenly Father. I am very exhausted and sometimes doze off in class. I really try hard to stay awake though. Sometimes I just stand up out of no where and start walking around to stay awake. I have some great teachers too that know how hard it is and put forth an extra effort to keep their students awake. Some of them have us dance, sing songs, or just go out and get a drink.
I am becoming really close with a lot of the missionaries here that aren't in my district. I am really close with a companionship that is going to Finland. Their names are Elder Batey and Elder Jefferies. Batey played basketball for Weber and is an awesome kid. Jefferies went to BYU Hawaii and danced for the PCC. He is crazy buff. Jefferies and I have become really close because we both value are health. I told him that I want to be as fit as I can before I get to the mission field and there is a goal weight that I am shooting for. He has put me on a strict diet. Each morning I usually have a bowl of shredded wheat or grape nuts (the grossest stuff ever) and I slice a banana in it. Then I have 4 boiled eggs (just the whites) and 3-4 cups of water. Those are usually the only carbs that I have throughout the day. For lunch I usually have just protein, and then at dinner I try to have just veggies. I try to not eat anything else after I have dinner. It is tough. If I am going to discipline myself in every other aspect of my life then why not discipline myself in the way I eat? I have only lost 5 pounds so far but I am noticing a change in my body and the way I feel. I run every day to try and get out all my anxiety. It is one of the few releases that I can find here in the MTC.
Sometimes I long for my guitar. I miss my music a lot. We sing a ton in the MTC. I like it a lot. I feel like I have become a better singer since being here. Even though I don't have many ways to release my feelings I am learning how to do it in other ways (I am sure that this was the intent of the people who designed the MTC). Prayer, scripture study, and writing in my journal have been what has been getting me through these past two weeks. They give us 30 minutes to ourselves each night and I cherish those 30 minutes. It gives me a chance to reflect on my day and my feelings. It helps so much to write them down. It clears up all the jumbled thoughts that build up throughout the day. Then I get a chance to read my scriptures and ponder on those. My favorite of all is getting on my knees and praying to my Heavenly Father. Sometimes in the MTC you feel like you have no communication with the outside world, and no communication with people that you know truly love you. When I pray I know that I am talking to somethone truly loves me, cares about me and knows what I am going through. Sometimes the at the end of the day the burden seems so heavy that all you can bear to do is kneel. While praying I can feel that burden being taken off my back, and I can feel his love for me. Most of the time, that is just all that I need. Love.
Yesterday my companion and I taught out investigator. His name is Nickson. He is from Kenya and talks really quietly and so it is hard to hear him. The MTC brings in investigators for the missionaries to teach. Sometimes those missionaries and members acting, or converts acting like their investigator self, or they are real people that get paid to be there. Nickson is real. A lot of the time you can tell because you can see if the person is endowed or not. Nickson is not. Yesterday Elder Price and I talked to him about the restoration, and talked to him about his Heavenly Father. While going through the lesson I was explaining to him prayer, and how his Heavenly Father wants to hear from us and loves us just as an Earthly father would. After I told him that he said, "If my Heavenly Father loves me then why doesn't he just tell me that this is right, or show me what to do? Why doesn't he, or an angel, reveal themselves to me and assure me that there is a life after this and that the church is true." Sometimes I have wondered this, and sometimes I have wondered why sometimes I don't get an answer to my prayers or have a whisper in my ear as to what I should do. When I answered Nickson I realized I was answering that question for the both of us, and at that instance the spirit was filling my mouth. I told Nickson to imagine he had a son. I told him that it would not be wise to hand your son money and tell him to go buy what he wants. I told him it would not be wise to tell your kid what to be and hold his hand until he becomes what you want. I told him that these are not wise because they do not show love and they do not build and strengthen people. He understood. I told him that you show your kid how to work for what he wants encourage him to work towards his goal. I told him that you let your kid decide for himself what he wants to be from his own experiences and encourage him and show him love as he strives to be the best he can (and sometimes we do have to make course corrections for our children). These will make him strong. He understood and agreed. I told him that it is no different with out Heavenly Father. He will not give us the answer to all of life's questions for ourselves without doing the work to earn that answer. He will not hold our hand and tell us where to go or what to be without going through those life experiences to decide for ourselves. He does that because he loves us. He does that because he wants us to become strong like him, because if he didn't we would learn nothing and we would be nothing. Nickson now understood as did I. I realized at that instance that my mission is going to be tough. It is going to be the hardest two years of my life, but they are hard because my Heavenly Father loves me and he wants me to be like him. He wants me to be strong. He wants me to go through my own Garden of Gethsemane to grow and understand the atonement. He loves me so much that he gave his son for me so that I can make it through this and so when I do make a mistake he can help me make my course correction.
Well, time is up. I hope to hear from you all the over next week. I love you all so much. I leave to Atlanta on the 10th.