Monday, June 29, 2015


This has been quite the week, so here goes! I never saw any apostles but I may well tomorrow night at the devotional. However, the next classroom over a guy talked to Elder Bednar for a few seconds and another guy saw Pres. Eyring. The cafeteria was taken over for the week so all our meals were in the gym which meant no volleyball this past week :( My district did go up by the temple and play sand volleyball though, that was fun. For the meals we had a bunch of catering which is why I saw James :D That was Taco Bell night, but we also had Subway, Costa Vida, and Chick-Fil-A. Yummo. I wish we had some different fruits like plums or peaches, we get a lot of cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple but occasionally grapes or strawberries. On Friday I met my mission president! Woohoo! It was weird for a couple reasons: One, I didn't have my companion. Two, I barely knew anybody because we met in the French classroom. But there is an Elder Zhu here who is going to Lyon and he's from China, so I've gotten to talk to him recently! I don't know what language was officially on his call, he has a French and a Chinese nametag which is kinda cool. I'd like to quote myself in my letter to our Branch President:

"President Brown told a story about an Elder he served with who met with his mission president two weeks before going home and told President that, because he had endured very nearly two years in the mission field taking pictures instead of gaining a testimony, he wasn't even going to pretend to try for the last two weeks because nothing would happen anyway. President told him, "Elder, you're exactly right. If you don't try, nothing is exactly what will happen in the next two weeks." President then sat back in his chair and didn't say another word. Interview over. The Spirit came and that Elder realized what he had to do to be able to live with himself. He told himself he would work as hard as any missionary for those last two weeks, and he did. One week later, the Elder and his companion knocked on the door of a beautiful French family and began teaching them the discussions. The night before this repentant Elder went home, he baptized that entire family. The next day, after dinner at the mission president's home, that Elder bore his testimony for the first time in two years, and perhaps for the first time in his life.

I didn't get the chance to comment, but the scripture that came to mind was one that I saw in a Mormon Message last night: "And as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me." (Mosiah 26:30) President Brown got a little emotional after he told this story and told us that we don't have time to waste anymore. The Lord has been hastening his work and we need to be the hardest-working missionaries we can for our entire missions. I really want to let this story and experience with my mission president change my behavior here at the MTC so that I'll be truly ready for the field, which means my prayers and effort both need work. I like to have a good time, but I also know that I need to be more responsible and accountable for myself. I'm excited for the blessings that I can receive and that I can help others receive, but I know it'll take work."

So yeah President and Sister Brown are super loving and funny and President Brown can be a little intense when he wants to. I think it's his eyes. He told us some other stories like being a greenie in Brieve-la-Guyarde where missionaries had never gone before, and now there's a WARD there! To quote my dear sister: "Gek." Last night we had an amazing devotional by Elder Stephen B. Allen who is I think the managing director of the missionary department. He called up an Elder from Guatemala who is headed to Brazil and told us a few things: First, that this is the first time they've met. Second, this young Elder is the son of Elder Allen's very first convert from his mission in Guatemala years and years ago. It was super cool. He told us stories from his mission, gave an awesome pep talk about why we shouldn't quit, was overall hilarious, and did a lot of "If you are _____/have felt ______ since being here, stand up." Really interactive, and the hour just flew by. At the end of the devotional a special 40-person choir including Elder Aaron Larson from InMotion and Elder Christian Broberg, a Sister from Fiji that I met the other day, an Elder I met going to Tonga, and poor Elder McKee who went to Fiji for HEFY and is the only missionary here going to Slovenia. I poked my head into the Slovene classroom the other day and saw him sitting very lonely-ly at the computer learning Slovenian. I learned some Malagasy recently! We've been making friends with Elders going to Madagascar and they taught us my second favorite word for "hello" in the world: Manawana. MANAWANA. HOW GREAT IS THAT?? And then "How are you?" is "Salamave?" (emphasis on "la" and "ve") to which you respond "sara" I think.

I know I'm forgetting a ton of stuff (busy week dontcha know), but I'm going to try to send some pictures to make up for it! My district hosted for the first time on Wednesday which was fuuunnnn but HOT. It's going to be around 100 this whole week, but since it's a dry heat it doesn't feel nearly as bad as 85 in Hawai'i. I hosted an Elder from Florida going to Arizona, one from Utah going to Taizhong, one from Mississippi going to Salt Lake, and one from uhhhh somewhere going to Utica. Speaking of which, that's awesome to hear about Sister Henstrom's call! I hear good things about the Utica mission :D On Wednesday a huge Taizhong group came in, a bunch of English-speakers, and Norwegians! I saw the Norwegian district at the temple yesterday so as they walked by I just said "hei sann hei sann hallo goddag hvordan gaar det?" and finally they got that I was speaking Norwegian at them. It was funny. I saw another guy that I think is from Camp Helaman going to Denmark, but I don't remember his name and I haven't talked to him yet. My English-speaking friends probably left this morning for Canada and Kansas and other places, craaazy.

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