This week has been a great week!! I've learned so much and hope that I keep learning this much! There's been so many things that have been spiritual, but also a lot that have just made my week socially.
On Sunday, we had our mission conference (whole MTC) because it was Fast Sunday. There were so many great talks that were given, but my favorite was probably Sister Roach's. She talked about the importance of taking care and showing respect for the Book of Mormon. She even had a shout out to President Clark! She was saying how her dear friend Scott Clark, President of the Joliet Illinois Stake, went on his mission to Japan where his mission president had all of the missionaries wrap their scriptures in cloths that protected them from whatever harm could come. I loved the idea and I loved that President Clark got a shout out! It made me feel really cool that I knew personally who she was talking about.
For our devotional on Sunday, Ted Gibbons came. Instead of giving a talk or lecturing us, he acted out the life of Willard Richards all the way up to the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum. It was probably one of the most amazing performances I've seen. It got me all hyped up to learn more about the restorationa and about church history. Right after his performance, we had the opportunity to watch Legacy for our movie that night!! I absolutely love that movie and was pretty much quoting along with it. I forgot how cheesy it was, but I still love it and had the main song stuck in my head the rest of the night. When they showed the Nauvoo temple being built, it made me miss home, but it got me that much more excited to go back and visit it after I get home in 17 months. I just love church history so much!!
On Sunday morning, I had an interview with Brother Dowdle, the second counselor in our branch presidency and, by the way, famous guitar player. He was telling me that the Book of Mormon isn't just Another Testament of Jesus Christ, but is a physical manifestation that God is real. If you think about how the Book of Mormon got here on earth, there's no way that you can deny the reality of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was an uneducated farmboy who translated the gold plates in about a month. There is no way he could have done that without the help of God.
On Monday, we had a really spiritual lesson with Miguel, one of our investigators. We talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power that it can have in our lives. Lately, Hermana Higgs and I have been struggling a little with trying to bring the spirit into lessons while using spanish. Towards the end of the lesson, Hermana Higgs and I both testified of the importance of the Atonement and had Miguel read an excerpt from a General Conference talk. The spirit was so strong that we almost started crying during the lesson. It was the first time that I truly felt that we could do this and that I didn't need to worry about receiving the Lord's help.
On Tuesday, we received two new investigators. This time, instead of being our teachers, the investigators are two of the elders in my district, Elder Ainge and Elder Tanner. They're impersonating two of their friends from back home who aren't members. It's really neat to teach them because we get to pretend to be investigators for them as well. It's interesting to be on the side of the investigator because it helps us realize what the investigators are feeling more.
Tuesday night, for devotional, Elder Tad R. Callister, from the seventy talked to us. At first, his talk seemed like it was going to be pretty factual and boring, but as it went on, it got more interesting. He talked about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the only church on earth that is exactly like the one in the New Testament during Christ's ministry on earth. I'll send my notes later, but it's amazing because all of the scripture references come from the New Testament.
It's crazy how fast time flies. I only have a week and a half left in the MTC before I finally head out to California. Whenever a district leaves in our zone, they have to perform a farewell song in Sacrament Meeting. My district has already decided that we're going to sing "I Stand All Amazed" in Spanish for our song. We've practiced a few times this week, but still have a lot of practice left to do. I'm really glad that the elders in my district are willing and enthusiastic to do this because most guys my age wouldn't be. That's one this that I really like about them. I'm surprised they still like talking to us even though we shed our hair all over the classroom floor and they find it in hairballs and have to throw it away! Everyday, though, the elders find something hilarious to add to the collection they started when we got here. This week, they started saying, "Le gusta Satanas?" which means do you like Satan. This may not sound that funny, but the way they say it is hilarious.
Last week, the older district in my zone created a zone handshake that we've all learned. I feel like our zone has bonded a lot this past week and it'll be sad to see the district leave this week. We all joke about how in 2 years when we're all back from our missions, we're going to see each other and first thing we'll do is do the handshake. It's pretty complicated and took a while to learn, but I think I got it now! :)
Yesterday, I started reading Jesus the Christ. I'm not that far into it yet, but I really enjoy it so far and encourage those of you who haven't read it yet to read it. It's all about Christ and his purpose and life and why He's important in our lives. Last week, Hermana Higgs and I started memorizing the Articles of Faith in Spanish! I've got 1-8 and 13 down! Once I've finished with those, I'm going to start memorizing the Family Proclamation in Spanish, which will be more of a challenge, but totally worth it!
So the Hermanas that trained us, Hermana Boyd and Hermana Lyons, were like the greatest people on earth and we used to call them "THE Hermanas." When they left we were bummed, but we tried to be the same way for the Hermanas that came in after us. Yesterday, they referred to us as "THE Hermanas!" It made me feel like I had been fulfilling my assignment as Sister Training Leader and becoming as great as the other Hermanas that trained us.
This morning, we were able to go to the temple again! Instead of actually doing an endowment session, we decided to do initiatories. It was really neat because I haven't done them since I first went through. As I was looking at the names that I was given, I realized that all of the women were from St. Clair, Illinois! It was really neat to be able to connect with these deceased women and make it more personal. I mean, there aren't that many people from Illinois that I meet. Which reminds me! The Busticker (sp?) girl is in my gym time! I didn't realize who she was until I asked what her last name was because she looked familiar.
I've ran into so many more people that I know this past week!! I ran into Brother Dowd's daughter at the bookstore this morning and saw Carmichael (Jacob Macmichael, the other temple coordinator in my ward) a few times this past week. Best of all, I SAW NATALIE DURING LUNCH!!! I was so excited to see her after a month!! It pretty much made my day!! Also, Michael Murdock is in my zone! Crazy! For those of you who don't know who that is, I met him first semester of college. My friends and I were fake campaigning for Obama and ran into him and his roommates in Wyview. Later, I realized that he was on drumline in marching band. I never thought I'd know someone in one of the incoming districts!
I'm absolutely loving it here at the MTC and it'll be hard to leave, but that doesn't mean that I'm not excited for California! I love and miss everyone and you're all in my prayers!