Thursday, August 18, 2016

I Have Survived Week 1

Dear virtually everyone I've ever met and some that I don't even know,

As the subject suggests I have indeed survived my first week at the MTC. My District is fantastic, some of them are going to same mission as me while others are going to Mesa, Arizona and Richmond, Virginia. I've managed to run into all my friends from back home at various points in the week so Ty, Triston, JD, and Kimball are also alive and well (in case no one had heard from them). It's kind of funny actually, I spent so much time thinking about what Hawaii was going to be like that I didn't even give much thought to the MTC, now that I'm here getting to the mission field still seems so far away. It's been along week but everyone and their companion has told me that once you're through the first week it all flies by, guess we'll see.

Anyway I've been learning tons of stuff here, they really don't give you much time to take it all in before you're thrown right into the fire. The biggest thing that's hit me is that it doesn't matter how many stories you quote from the book of Mormon or how many scripture mastery references you know by heart, it's about teaching by the spirit. We alone as missionaries can't do diddly-squat by ourselves, but when we teach by the spirit and preach according to the needs of those in front of us then it doesn't matter how well spoken you are, you can change the hearts of anyone. I feel like I spent so much time figuring out the answers to the hard questions that I forgot that it's the easy ones that are the most important.

So my time is incredibly limited, with any luck I'll be able to write another Email later, didn't have enough time to write down everything that I wanted to, but one last thing, If anyone wants to keep in contact with me use Dear Elder, ask my mom if you don't know what it is)

Church is true,
Elder Smith

Excerpts of an email to Mom:

Howdy. Alright so first off sorry its been a whole week, obviously they weren't going to give me the first Thursday off, but Thursday is in fact my p-day, at least until I get out into the field. I'm gonna keep this relatively brief so I have more time to send out details in the big group email. So here's an answer to you questions. My companion is Elder Johnson, he's from Pueblo, Colorado and he will be going to Hawaii with me. I share a dorm with Elder Mawby and Elder Campbell who are also going to Hawaii. There's another group of four Elders in my district: Elders Muir, Checketts, Dodds, and Empey who are all going to the Mesa, Arizona mission (also Elder Checketts is the younger brother of the Elder Checketts that taught my mission prep class, so that was a weird connection). There are 4 sisters in my district: Sisters Wilson, Lee, Bate, and Mooney. As you already figured out Sister Wilson is going to Hawaii and the other three are going to Richmond, Virginia. Honestly it's amazing how close I've gotten to all 11 of them in the short week I've been here, we all keep forgetting how little time we have actually known each other. We all plan to keep in contact during the mission and hopefully meet up after it all, but we'll see. I've managed to see everyone from Clovis but never at the same time: it's easier to find people on Sunday because schedules are a lot closer so we're gonna try to all get together then for a picture. My schedule is basically a 4 way rotation between eat, learn, study, teach. That's really it (I'll go into more detail in the big email). Outside of my district I have not met anyone else going to Hawaii but I have heard that there are at least 2 elders and 2 sisters that will be on the plane with us. Sunday was really great, went to priesthood, went to sacrament, and had to prep a talk because they randomly call on people for sacrament talks (didn't need to give it though). Anyway I'm running out of time so I'm gonna zip through these last couple. Biggest thing I've learned is that it's better to have the ability to teach simple principles than complicated questions. Got the treats, loved them, so did the other elders. I went to a choir practice but couldn't make it to the performance. I met President Burgess briefly the first day and yes I told him I was related to Sarah, I have taken some pics but forgot to put my camera in my pocket so I can't send any right now. Elder Holland being here was a well circulated rumor, we heard from Sister Oscarson instead, still a fantastic talk and got me more pumped to get out into the field. I'm really running low on time, I need to sign off so I can write the group email, just know that I miss you all but I'm not homesick, you don't need to worry about.

Love You all!! (make sure you tell the sibs I got their letters and love them too)

Elder Smith

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