Well, unfortunately, I am not leaving for Australia as soon as I had hoped. That is okay because.... I GOT REASSIGNED TO THE SALT LAKE CITY SOUTH MISSION!! WOO!! I am so incredibly pumped for this opportunity. I basically get the chance to serve two missions in one. Score. Anyway....
This week has been amazing. There have been so many experiences I don´t even know where to begin. I guess I´ll start with telling you about conference. General Conference was so inspiring! Every single message was towards the Family, it´s importance, how to be a better spouse, and most importantly how it all centers on Christ. It´s amazing to me how attentive I was at conference. I learned that if you go in with questions in your mind and heart that you will have them answered no matter what. My role as a future husband and father has never been more strengthened in my life and I look forward to that time, but until then I will continue to be humble and continue learning as I ponder, study, pray, and listen for those promptings.
As for my investigators, Elder Reese and I have had some great progress with them! One of our investigators Mark has committed to be Baptized! We thanked Heavenly Father endlessly after he said yes because it was such a hard realization for Mark of what he needed to do in his life. Unfortunately.... we are leaving to go to our respective missions so we have to leave them behind for other missionaries who will be just as amazing. Jorge brought his wife to our lesson so we taught her as well! We taught them about the importance of prayer and how the only way to know if these things are true is not to believe the words we speak, but to pray with real intent not for what he wanted to have done, but that he would follow the answer he received. It's been an amazing experience here at the MTC in all honesty. I love the ups and the downs and I cannot wait to go out to the field. Even if it is Salt Lake City Utah I'll take it for now, to grow and learn.
Anyway, let me explain that there is no way that a person cannot gain weight here.... there is so much food and so much sitting. We exercise for about 45 minutes every other day and then nothing on weekends. I have probably gained 2-3 lbs since being here, maybe less, it just feels like more. Then again, I'm always go on about that kind of stuff. It's so weird thinking that I leave in about 2 hours to begin my life for the next two years minus two weeks. I cannot wait for the blessings, challenges, and growth that will come from this experience and that already has. For all those who are planning on serving a mission, PREPARE NOW, and get yourself ready. It's not that coming into the MTC without much experience is a bad thing but you're progress will be exponential. I promise you, if you study and pray daily and read Preach My Gospel, (Perfect Marriage Guide), <---- Such a true statement by the way, and you'll be ready to hit the ground running. I cannot say I've had any extremely amazing experiences to tell you about, but I will say that each day presents more and more reasons for me to be here. The days are so jam-packed with stuff that I cannot even write in my journal that much. Getting up at 6:30 in the morning is always something that is hard but the routine becomes just that, a routine. Now that I do think of it, there was one experience that I had that changed me perspective and made me realize the importance of humility.
Early in the week, we had a district lesson taught to a guy named James. He was from Texas so he had a southern accent and he was baptized in another church. Long story short, we all got a little cocky and thought that we were well on our way to his personal desire to learn more about the Gospel, which ended up not being particularly true. We sort of offended him a bit and we all felt terrible. The worst part was that this experience led to another experience where my companion and I had the opportunity to teach a man named Alan. It started out nicely with getting to know eachother, but once the discussion began I found myself unable to articulate any words that I wanted to say. I have never had an experience where the words just would not come to my mind or mouth, and I knew that it was because I was thinking I had all the answers for his questions. Turns out humility comes in a variety of ways and this was a BIG one for me. I hated the feeling. My companion saved the day and we got him to take a copy of the Book of Mormon to read for himself, and committed him to read two chapters that night and pray about it. I came out discouraged knowing that I was not being the humble and receptive representative of Jesus Christ that I was suppose to always be. I remembered later that I had prayed for opportunities to learn, grow, and become more humble and that's exactly what I received. I truly am grateful for the experience because I learned it in the MTC, and not when I was actually out in the area I was assigned. The MTC provides essential opportunities to learn and for that I am so happy. It's exactly what I needed.
By the way, thank you all for the emails. I LOVED getting them all. Sister Wilson, if you get this, I want to thank you so much for your letter to me. I don't have your address so I could not write back but I want you to know that it was the first hand written letter I received and it meant the world to me. "Be Obedient" is my new moto, all because of you. Thank you for all your prays and all of your words of encouragment and advice as I soon depart, 2 hours 21 minutes, into the real world.
One quote I wanted to share with you from a Tuesday Devotional was from a man named Craig T. Riverwood, (I think), of the Quorum of the 70. He said "Love is the celestial respiration of the air of Paradise" from Victor Hugo in Le Miserables. Never has a quote made more sense to me. Love is the very essence of Heaven, and that's why we all cherish the love we have and give to those we know. I hope that everyone takes a moment to ask themselves if they could be more loving and kind to those they see daily. Smile, wave, say hello, do something to uplift someone else and I promise you your day will be that much brighter.
Keep emailing and writing! I love reading all the letters! Sam, my adopted brother, is serving a mission in Taiwan and he even emailed me. LOVE YOU BRO!
Chase, Papa Gish, Mama Gish and Gage---> I hope you know I think of you often and miss spending time with you. I'm thankful for the mail received from you Papa Gish, and I hope you know I sure do Love you!!
On a side note.... My Bracket for March Madness WON!! WOO!!! I don't know what I get, or if I even get anything (which I don't really care if I do), but I'm so stoked to be able to say I called it.
Mom, I love you. I hope you got my letter I sent. Also, if you ever happen to see a belt that you might happen to want to send me, my other belt is kind of falling apart. I have another one that I got for Christmas but I need another.
Thanks for all you do, I'll keep you posted on my life next week! LOVE YOU ALL!!!