I love you all! I have missed and thought about each one of you everyday. I want you to know that while serving a mission is blessing my life, and the life of the investigators I teach, its also blessing you. God will bless you with comfort and love and I want you to know that what I am doing is right and it's important. I am writing each of you letters and have already sent one to the whole fam. I wont write much more to you each here because each of you will be getting letters soon. Please read this email though and know that I am thinking of you and love you.
My MTC experience here has been AMAZING!!! The spirit is a constant companion here, and can be felt so strongly ALL the time!! I met my companion Elder Huckvale on Wednesday, and he is so great!! We instantly clicked are best friends here. I have only known him for a short time but I can already feel the I have for him as a companion and as a friend. My other companions in my District are Elders Standley and Hayter, and Sister Ackley and Magleby. (Not sure if I spelled the sisters' names right but oh well! :D They are all so incredible.
Last night Elder Huckvale, Elder Standley, Elder Hayter, and I stayed up really late (12:00, that's super late for us!! haha) talking about our testimonies and how/why we decided to serve missions. I have never in my life felt the spirit so strongly. I want to share part of that with you:
I started off by reading a note my deceased Grandma Savage wrote to me years ago that somehow found its way into my luggage. I truly have no idea how it got there, and I believe she left the note there for me to re-read. As I began to read a portion of that letter to my companions I felt her presence and the Holy Ghost so strongly I couldn't talk or see. Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn't do anything to stop them. I finally gained my composure enough to read this small sentence to my companions: "...someone up above is always watching over you...", and I cant begin to express the spirit we felt as the Holy Ghost came over all of us as I testified of my Grandma's love for me and the truthfulness of the Gospel. My Grandma wrote that while she was still alive and reading that again I felt her with me and I knew that she was "watching over me". Each one of my companions then bore their own testimonies and personal stories, that lasted for over two hours!! I have never spent two hours better in my life! Each one of my companions had a unique experience and testimony that strengthened each one of us individually!!
Specifically Priest Quorum and other future missionaries,
The MTC is hard, It's really really hard. The blessings are amazing, but sometimes you have to look for them. Just remember to not compare yourself to other missionaries even if it seems like they are WAY ahead of you. For a while I felt really discouraged because I was behind the rest of the class in learning Mongolian. I learned that, while I'm not learning the language as fast as the others, I excel in other aspects in the MTC. We all have our strengths, so don't compare yourself, just know that God has chosen you, by name, to teach in your assigned area. No one else can do the job you have been called to do. If you remember in General Conference there was a talk that said something along the lines of the following:
There was a man called to serve in Presidency and when asked if he would serve he told the presiding leader that he didn't want to serve in that calling because for some reason of another he didn't feel he should. The presiding leader told the man that that position would remain empty if he turned it down. When asked why the presiding leader returned the question with another one: How I can call someone else to do the job God has chosen you to do.
You are individually called of God to serve a mission and that is something that is completely humbling and exciting. He knows your strengths and weaknesses and knows what you can and cant handle. He will give you a mission that will not only convert and inspire others, but will also help you to grow as a person and as a Child of God.
A little about the MTC. The schedule is stressful and you go to bed each night completely worn out. The food does stuff to your digestive system and makes your fart ALL THE TIME!!!! The people are crazy nice. you'll have people just randomly ask you about your life and where your going and where your from, basically your whole life story. If your learning a language, don't worry it will come. Maybe not at first but it will come. You will miss your family, its a given. If you dwell on them, it will make you miss them more, so focus on your studies; Don't worry you'll have PLENTY to study!!!
Finally I would like to bear my testimony to all of you that I know this church is true and its through God's grace and mercy that we have it on the Earth to know how to better ourselves and return to him. I testify to all of you that I know Joseph Smith restored the church and the Book of Mormon is God's words written through His prophets. I know that through constant prayer and scripture reading, our lives can be blessed. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.