Well, the first full week here at the MTC has come to an end! Time sure flies when you are running a tight schedule. There were many highlights this week as well as some inevitable challenges, but that’s alright.
Last Sunday, my district and I went and watched Elder Bednar’s 2007 talk titled “Characters of Christ.” I’m fairly positive the talk is reserved only for missionaries, but what an experience for our group. Bednar let it loose on us and gave us tremendous insight. The talk centered around examples of Christ’s Characteristics. One of which was ‘Turn out instead of In’ — In Matthew 4, Jesus fasting for now 40 days, and being tempted by the devil to give up, taught us what this truly means. In verse 11, it says, “Then the devil leaveth him and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” In the footnotes we learn that these angels attended John who was cast into prison, not Jesus. In the midst of all His suffering, Jesus turned out instead of in, and sent angels to minister unto John.
Tuesday was such an awesome day for our district. Elder Hole was able to give his first priesthood blessing and right after he finished, he turned to me and said, “That got me pumped.” Haha such an innocent remark but so funny. Later that day we had a MTC choir practice in prep for the devotional that night. The devotional highlighted Elder and Sister Rasband! It was so cool to have an apostle of the Lord in the midst of us, better yet, to have the opportunity to sing a song to him. We sang “Nearer, My God, To Thee.” During our 90 minute rehearsal, I was able to study the words of this great hymn. I love the line “E’en though it be a cross That raiseth me. Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to thee.” As they (I hummed) sang this song, I was reassured that trials can always bring us closer to our Heavenly Father.
Elder Rasband centered his remarks on his talk given in April 2010 General Conference, titled “The Divine Call of a Missionary.” He talked a lot about the gift of the Holy Ghost. He reflected back on an experience where had the opportunity to assign missionaries with Elder Eyring. He shared that while they were discussing one particular future missionary, Elder Eyring turned to him and said, “So Brother Rasband, where do you think this missionary should go?” Brother Rasband was confused and basically made the remark, “I didn’t think I could know.” Elder Eyring then said, “Brother Rasband, pay closer attention.”
Here at the MTC, one of my biggest struggles has been planning for investigators. Coming from college to here and having to plan 30 minute lessons with two other companions, desiring to meet the needs of an investigator you barely know is hard. I’m positive that true preparation can only come through the gift of the spirit. It can’t be done by personal wisdom. I’m trying my best to live worthy of this gift, and most of all, I’m trying to ‘pay closer attention.’
Some of Elder Rasband’s thoughts on the Holy Ghost:
“You pray for it, you remain worthy of it, and you depend on it.”
“The answers are sure and precise.”
Despite our planning concerns, our lessons have been going great. Our second lesson here at the Mtc, we were able to commit Valentino to baptism, which was a moral booster from our first lesson haha. Although a mock investigator, it was still exciting for my fellow companions and I.
My district and zone are so awesome. My zone (also branch) is made up of elders and sisters going to Poland, Czech, Bulgaria, and the Adriatic North mission. Earlier this week we sent out the Poland elders (our roommates) which was neat to see. In just 9 days the Czechs and Bulgarians will be heading out which means we will be the oldest in the branch – Crazy! Such great missionaries we are sending out and I’m happy for them all – We are all so close and I love learning from each of them. Most of us elders play ball together during gym time which has been a blast – no ankle injuries quite yet.
Not much else has happened to be honest. We are in the class learning croatian for 10 hours a day, with doctrinal study for about 3 hours. It’s a grind but I’m realizing quickly that I don’t have enough time during the day to complete all I want to do. The language is coming haha. I have turned to the old-fashioned method of notecards and I’m trying to pick up at least 20 words a day on my own time. I have seen the progression within me already. Listening for key-words has allowed me to better understand my investigators but formulating sentences is a beast. Big highlight: My missionary purpose in croatian is memorized and everyone in our district can pray in their language with ease – Exciting!
Anyways, I’m doing so well. Enjoying the process and trying to be the best missionary I can be. I’m so grateful for my divine call to be a missionary and for the chance to bear my testimony constantly.
Please know I pray for each of you everyday. Love you guys so much and hope all is well!