Only 5 days left in the MTC! YASSSSS! I have enjoyed it here. I have learned a lot and I have been able to strengthen my testimony here. We study for 9 hours a day, 6 days a week (we still study on Sunday, but it is not as long), and we study everything. I am in the middle of Helaman (I read through Mosiah and Alma in, like, 6 hours easy), and I have started the other books, such as Our Heritage and Jesus the Christ. If you ever have time, read Jesus the Christ and cross reference it while reading. I have learned so much in the short time I have done that.
This weekend was one of the best General Conferences I can remember (probably because I am a missionary!). One of the biggest things I learned is that the gospel is simple. In our class’s extra study time, we have talked about the Book of Revelation, and other “deep” doctrine. Pero, I have had this strong feeling that, although it is cool to know that stuff, it is not important for us at this time. If I learn cool stuff, cool! Pero it is not important for me to spend time on that while I should be spending time in the basics. (“Pero” means “but.” So, “Pero por qué” means “But why?”) It may seem simple. You may say, “But everyone gets that! Why is this important to you?” I thought I understood, but I never did. I still don’t understand the significance of this. However, I am starting to grasp it.
As an example: When a pianist starts off, they learn to play simple songs, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” After some time, they can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and (fast forward several years because I have no patience to go through everything) they can play Mozart Concertos if they stuck with it. People hear them play Mozart and think, “They are gifted in music. I wish I had that gift.” But, while talent is involved, what the audience does not see is that the pianist focused on the basics and fundamentals first. Although they can play the cool stuff now, they could only understand it and learn it because they worked on the basics and the fundamentals: scales, chords, and lots of practice time. It is only through the small and simple things that great things come to pass.
Alma 37:6–“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”
I have chosen a scripture to ponderize this week (that really took the world by fire, didn’t it?):
Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-46–“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile–Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.”
The next thing I learned might ruin your day. I hope it will not. But you can yell at me on Tuesday if you want. [He is leaving for Florida on Tuesday, so he plans to call while he’s at the airport.] So, do you remember that Elder who only focused on his family stuff on p-days? That is me. I hope you won’t be offended when I tell you that I don’t really think about everyone during the week. One of the talks in Conference gave me something important: A desire to be exactly obedient. And the only way I have been able to do that is to not focus on anything but the work and the people, and that does mean that I rarely think of all of you. I know that thinking about my family too much is the easiest way to drag me down, so I need to not be selfish and think about my family while there are families suffering because they are making poor choices without the gospel. At this point, my family is less important to me because: 1) I will see them again in two years, and 2) if I do my best, I will be with them for eternity. I want to be with my family for eternity. I love all of you so much! But I cannot focus on my wants and desires when I know that I need to show others how they can receive the same blessings I have. Because I have been given much, I too must give. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven!!!! [From the Hymn, “Praise to the Man.”] I hope you aren’t offended. But that is something I felt was really important to me and I felt like I needed to share it with you.
That line is the one thing that I thought of for every talk of every session. Thank you for raising me with music. I know most of the songs in the hymnbook. The Spirit has taught me a lot using the lines of the Hymns, as well as a lot of the other music we played and sang in places like Zion’s Youth.
Vocal Point did our devotional Sunday night. It was by far one of the best ones I’ve been to! Also, we’ve been quoting Nacho Libre like no one’s business. [If you aren’t familiar with Nacho Libre you won’t get the next part…] People don’t think I know a buttload of crap about the gospel. But I do!!! Did you ever make a connection that the MTC is a Monastery, and the Missionaries are monks and nuns who have taken a two year vow of no flirting, courting, etc? It’s honestly really funny to realize that we really are monks while we are at the MTC: all study of the Gospel! 😀 (This had no point other than to show you that I am still the somewhat immature person I was when I left. 😀 )
I’m sorry I do not have pictures for this week. I got a haircut and it is super short, like, this is ten times worse than Dad’s haircut. Not that his haircut is bad. His is good. That’s why this is bad. Get it? Got it? Good.
Oh, and here is some hope for ustedes: people who go state-side foreign retain the idioma major than the others porque nosotros cambiar between the dos idiomas mucho, and we don’t get confused! (Unlike y’all. I’m sorry. I had to do that. 😀 )
Los amo. Espero ustedes tegan un semana bueno. (I know my Spanish, but I can’t type it bueno. I also struggle to English sometimes. Hehe….I just verbed a noun.)
Adios familia, amigos, y otros personas!