Friday, October 11, 2013

Elder Bishop Arrives: FIRST WEEK IN MTC


Yes, my P-day is on Friday, as you now know. The first week here was pretty tough, and extremely humbling too. I've always felt comfortable in my knowledge of the gospel, and of my ability to share it with others, but doing it in a whole different language never struck me until now. I've prayed for the gift of tongues every day! What amazes me the most is that I have begun to see a definite difference in my ability to speak and understand the language, especially when my companion, Elder Garcia, and I teach an "investigator" (they have RMs act as investigators for the missionaries to get a little practice). Our lessons have gone amazingly smooth, considering how inexperienced both of us are with the language. When we take the time to pray, asking God to bless us with the Spirit and the gift of tongues, there is an amazing increase in our comprehension of what we need to teach, and how we need to go about it in our language.

Grade A District:

Now, about my Grade A district. Everyone in my district has very strong ties to the gospel, and we've all learned so much since coming here. The best quality of my district is their good-natured humor. Everyone is so funny! It's been a hard week for us though; one of our Elders, Elder Clark, made the tough decision to go home, so he could work some things out in his life. He is a very good man, and as soon as he got home, he wrote a personal email to everyone in the district, promising each of us that he would re-apply a year from now, with a clean slate, ready to serve. I extremely admire his courage to make this decision. From his experience, among other stories I've heard in the MTC, it's very easy to see how the adversary is trying to slow the work effort, but I do not believe for a minute that all the elders here will not try their best to fight against the threat. God will provide.

The Elders I live with are great! Elder Anderson, from Ohio, is a spiritual giant, and a natural leader. All the elders in our district, including our District Leader, Elder Holmes, will stop to listen to his advice. He has a funny passion for Lego's, because he plans on becoming an architect. He's learned how to build sound structures in Architecture School, but I believe he also builds sound inspiration in the other Elders. He also strangely reminds me of Uncle Jeff. He definitely has his humor, and he laughs the exact same way.

Elder Benitez, from Virginia, is a real fighter, and he has a great desire for knowledge. He must have every important scripture memorized known to the missionaries! He also had some extremely hard trials to go through early in life, and he came through them all the better. He knows how to deal with hard things. Finally, my companion, Elder Garcia, from Pennsylvania, has a profound understanding of the gospel and a unique willingness to serve, because he is the first missionary in his family. His parents converted to the Church before he was born, and raised him in righteousness. He often has very helpful insights on questions that the missionaries have, and he likes to couple that with his hilarious quick wit. Every joke he cracks is so smooth and quick. He has real bazofia (swagger). He is also fluent in Spanish, which is really helping him pick up Portuguese.

Conference was great! It was also the first conference where I was able to stay awake the whole time. My favorite talk was Elder Dubee's talk, not just cause of his awesome accent, but because his message really hit home with me. I often revel a bit too much in my own accomplishments, and his talk about "Not Looking Back" really helped answer one of the questions I had, about how I could attain humility in my mission. I know that if I focus on the work ahead, instead of getting caught up in how many people I baptize (and once you think about it, the people I baptize will not make that decision for me, but for Christ), Heavenly Father will bless me with strength and courage to continue in His work.
My time is about up. I look forward to sharing my experiences in the time to come with all my family and friends. Chow (bye) and boa sorte (good luck)!

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