Hello family and fellow readers! Just completed week 3 of the MTC and I'm at the halfway mark! Before I continue I must inform everyone that my unit was wrong. Some Argentina Sisters on West Campus have been getting my mail so for clarification, my unit is 129. Now this week has had some ups and downs. From my previous email I talked about our first investigator that turned out to be our teacher. Well, this past Saturday was his last day teaching. They only let you teach for three years in the MTC, and it was an emotional evening when he broke the news. Brother Robinson meant a lot to me with his hilarious charades and excellent teaching skills. He was the beginning of my mission in a way, he helped me gain a love for others and deepened my testimony. Words can't really convey the feelings that night, but it was truly bittersweet. Also, somewhat saddening is that the Danes left on Monday. Elder Higby is a strong Elder, 20 years old, and a great example to me, so I wasn't looking forward to saying goodbye. The Swedes and Nords leave next Monday too, so the Icelanders and us Dutchies will turn from "newbies" to the seniors in our zone in a matter of two weeks.
The language and teaching has been going great. Our trio taught two lessons to our two investigators yesterday, and we learned all sorts of past tense Dutch verbs too. My language and grammar skills have been increasing exponentially, I'm picking up new vocab words all the time. I've easily learned more Dutch in three weeks than the three years I spent sitting in Spanish class. I also committed to memory the missionary purpose in Dutch. I will recite it to you, and you'll have to take my word for it. Anderen uitnodigen om tot Christus te komen. Door met uw hulp het herstelde evangelie aan te nemen. Met geloof in Jezus Christus en zijn Verzoening, bekering, de doop, de gave van de Heilige Geest en volharding tot het einde toe. I can also give you a direct translation for those who are interested in Dutch grammar structure. Others invite to Christ to come. Through with help the restored gospel to receive. With faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end to. What's interesting is bekering means repentance and conversion. There's a lot of cool bits like that that I love figuring out. That reminds me, Elder Daw has a sister in Russia and apparently the translation in "Come, Come Ye Saints" from the verse "All is well, all is well" translates to "Not so bad, could be worse." Hilarious! Supposedly that sounds better to them.
In my personal study I started reading "Our Heritage" from the Missionary Reference Library. I love the history of the Church and it's really incredible how much revelation Joseph Smith received even after translating the plates. During district devotional I brought up something that struck me as an incredible test of faith from the book. A teenage Saint was sitting by a campfire alone when a mob member came from behind with a gun and told him to denounce his belief in Mormonism. The boy refused to deny his faith even in the midst of total peril. Made me really think about my own faith and how it's growing. I've spent a while pondering Alma 32 lately, too. It talks a lot about faith and how anyone can plant a seed of faith and decide whether to grow it or not. I'd highly recommend reading it. I also have a collection of tidbits from the devotionals I've attended. I'll note inspiring lines in no specific order. "Your character = moral qualities." "Learn of Christ, not for Him." "To sin is to turn from God." These are my favorite two: "We are representatives of things not seen" and, "God's power is exercised in response to faith." Last one, "There is never a mission accomplished with a new convert."
Hope those lines are of interest, they are for me. Our district has been doing a lot of beach volleyball. Great fun. Starting to love volleyball surprisingly. I neglected to mention this but sacrament meetings can be a little stressful. They randomly pick two missionaries from the zone to give a five-minute testimony on the assigned topic. The idea is to help us have talks prepared for when were out in the field, but I don't buy that for a second. They must like making us anxious, at least a little. I also met an Elder who was assigned to a sign language mission in California. Sign language! I had no clue that kind of a mission existed! The ASL missionaries are always up front during devotionals attempting to model their teachers signing during the hymns and such. Also exciting is the temple is finally open. It has been closed since I got here but today will be my first time the Provo temple so I'm looking forward to that on P-days. Oh Uncle Bruce, I was talking to a Sister in our zone going to Sweden and I remembered she mentioned her Dad was an FBI agent and she was from Virginia. I asked her where in Virginia and she replied, Fredricksburg. I asked if she knew you and she remembered working in the primary and you played the piano. Hah, crazy! Her name is Sister Sorenson and she attended your wedding reception apparently. We ended up talking about your family and everything and it was great to finally have a connection with someone.
My wish list is a bit lengthy this week, but I've been thinking about it a lot this week. I'd like some family photos from back home, conversion stories of grandparents/ancestors, couple more t-shirts/shorts, an outlet converter for Europe (the ones here are pretty expensive), and maybe a Badger's t-shirt. I think it would be hilarious to walk around the MTC with big old Bucky Badger or a Packer's jersey. Perhaps a lapel pin with the Netherlands flag for my suit, I just saw Elder Steenblik with it and I looks awesome. I did get your package mom and am very grateful to finally have my own sheets! Thanks Aunt Kara for the cookies, that meant a lot to me. Also Uncle Craig for the weekly update. It was nice to hear about what's going on with your trip Dad, and the pictures. The DearElders have been nice this week.
Thanks everyone for keeping me in your prayers. Have a great week!