Today is technically the start of the third week. To think that I've already been here that long is insane.
OK before I forget, I want to tell you about a cool experience I had. It wasn't that large or impressive but I felt the Spirit so strongly and I felt impressed to tell everyone.
We were sitting in class the other day and Hermano Snyder asked us "Have you ever seen someone that you can just tell that they have NO hope? That they're just competely abandoned all of it.. you can just see it in their eyes?" He told us about a time when he was on his mission in Mexico and they got out of church. They saw a group of men sitting on the curb, some pretty scary looking guys that "(they) normally wouldn't have just walked up and talked to them because they were pretty scary." But they felt impressed to and they started talking to them about repentance and all of the men with their cigarettes started saying how they really wanted to change their lives around and be better people. Then I basically got punched in the face by a scene in my head of Latin people in a busy city, so hopeless but searching for something, and I also thought about Kurt Vonnegut and how he was hopeless in a sense because he abandoned religion from the very beginning of this life. Then we kept talking about how bringing people to baptism is literally giving someone the gift of hope and how wonderful it was that we can offer that. And Hermano Snyder looked back at me and could tell I was crying and I felt super embarrassed but it was still such a cool experience.
The gospel can bless other humans lives more than we can even see or understand. Bringing people to baptism is what WE AS MISSIONARIES focus on because that's what we can be a part of and help them with. We can't actually help them pray, or read the El Libro de Mormon (the Book of Mormon) or feel the spirit but we can actually perform the ordinance of baptism with them. And the other awesome thing we talked about is how, if we give our best effooort in bringing people to Christ, God fill in the rest of the work because it is HIS work and it's an incredible and glorious opportunity for him to allow us to be a part of it.
WOAH! So the MTC is going really well. I have already sifted into the rough yet rewarding schedule. I can't even believe it's techincally the beginning of the third week for us. I'm a practically a third of the way through. So cool. The language is coming along well. Elder Waite had a cool experience like Wednesday of last week. We were teaching an investigator (not really, just a teacher playing an investigator) named Isabel and we were teaching the Book Of Mormon lesson and somehow, we put down our notes like 10 minutes into the lesson and were just talking to her for the last 30 minutes. After committing her to read some portions of 1 Nephi and 3rd Nephi, and she said she would, we closed and left the room. We went out and high-fived and realized that we didn't really know what we were saying but she understood everything and we answered all of her questions really well. Somehow it happened. God works in the coolest ways ever, and we hardly ever realize in the moment, that it is Him stepping in and guiding us.
The food is OK at best. Let's just say it destroys your bowels and turns them into a blender. I'm not really gonna go into detail. OH but I don't drink any soda (No diet Coke here, sorry Tanner) and I prety much only have water or juice. I do push-ups and crunches every other morning and I play basketball and run on the track during gym. But sometimes basketball sucks because 90 percent of the elders here are incredible and they know it and they get mad when they lose and they get super competitve when they play real long games.
One day this past week, Elder Waite and I were doing some personal study and we were sitting on couches opposite each other. Elder Waite started laughing becuase he read in Jesus the Christ, something about "Bare neccessities" and then we remembered that while I was pretending to be an investigator, I said something about how my family was going to Sea World at the exact date when I was supposed to be baptized and it was stupid and we were exhausted from studying all day. So we busted up laughing for like 15 minutes and we were both crying because it was so hilarious and stupid. It felt so rad and theraputic to laugh that hard for so long though.
I have seen a few people from Timpview and from other places that I know. It's weird and awesome knowing that we're both here for the work. UNITED IN PURPOSE. Cool.
EVERYONE MAKE SURE YOU PUT YOUR RETURN ADDRESS ON YOUR LETTERS BECAUSE I WILL WRITE YOU BACK.
CHRIS! Write me when you get back from INHUT. PLEASE.
TANNER: WRITE ME.
BAYLEY: WRITE ME.
BEKAH: WRITE ME.
STILSON SISTERS: WRITE ME.
Hayley: It's memorial day so I won't get your letter til tomorrow and then I'll finish MY letter tomorrow. So you'll get one in a few days.
Emily: write me soooooon.
Bryn: I'M SENDING YOUR LETTER TOMORROW. Hope you're doing well.
FAMILY: make sure you send my camera. I NEED it. Also I'm sending a letter to you guys too.
I love you all so much for your support and emails and wonderful words of advice. I can't write any personal emails write now or til next week cause I'm out of time.
GOD lives. Jesucristo es mi Salvador y su Salvador.
Elder Niels Christensen