Elder Andrew

Elder Andrew

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eli Mail 7/9/14 (MTC: Provo, UT) Letter 2

Hello everyone! Another week has flown by out here in Provo. Hope the Fourth of July was swell for my fellow Wisconsinites. We had a very pleasant Friday evening here. The day started as usual, powered through 6 hours of teaching and learning Dutch, attempted not to indulge in the unlimited MTC buffet, and we proceeded to gather in the enormous gym at around 7pm. I admire how quickly they can transform a gym into a chapel. They roll in a large, oak pulpit and set up about 2,000 seats with an array of TV's, projectors, and cameras. Anyways, they announced we would be enjoying the film "17 Miracles." It was an excellent depiction of the Saints traveling to Zion, I highly recommend it. The MTC staff was very clever, keep them all in one building on a holiday with a great movie. At about 10:15 they let us lose and we enjoyed Magnum ice cream bars while watching the finale of fireworks from the "Stadium of Fire." Elder Shaw from our district attempted to rally all the missionaries to sing our national anthem. It failed hilariously and all the missionaries began to sing it about 5 minutes later. We were all gathered on the west side of campus, like a herd of well dressed sheep, desperate to see anything from within the our well protected sanctuary. As the fireworks concluded I discovered I was softly singing to myself. The primary song "I Hope They Call me on a Mission" came to mind and my eyes welled up as I walked back to the Res Hall. I fell asleep to the gentle rumble of fireworks and distant cheers.

As I said last week, days are long but the weeks fly by. We prepare and teach lessons with investigators daily. It's actually a lot of fun. On Saturday afternoon we were preparing for our last lesson with our first investigator when he walked into the classroom with a teacher's name tag on. I was a little embarrassed to be honest. This guy had heard a lot of broken Dutch come out of my mouth and now he was teaching us. Yes, the investigators are pretend but there's no reason to not take it seriously and teach with the Spirit. I genuinely love my teachers. We have almost 8 surprisingly, with around 2 per classroom session. A few just got off their missions and are teaching because there's going to be a large influx of "Dutchies" coming after we leave. I also got news that we're getting 4 Suriname missionaries next week! So exciting to not be the only Dutch district. They're the only other mission that learns Dutch. Our Branch President told us that the first Suriname Sisters arrived this May, and it makes me feel like a pioneer of sorts. To keep ourselves sane on a daily basis, we have nightly rap sessions. We have a "Nord" in our zone who has an incredible beatboxing talent and a few Elders who love to freestyle rap. A group of about 10 of us gather in a dorm with only one lamp on, everyone sprawled on the upper and lower bunk beds, and we jam out to our own beat. It makes for an exciting conclusion to the evening, despite going to bed almost an hour after "lights out". 

During my 2 weeks, I've had a dream 12 nights out the past 14. Typically I'll have maybe 2 dreams a month I can even remember, but something in the MTC is stirring my subconscious mind. I suppose it could be from the new people, different food, learning new locations, and exercising a lot of brain power during a loaded 16 hour day. I even had a full length dream during a half hour nap, crazy! And about Magic Tuesday, we have some Paris, France missionaries coming in today who serve in the lower half of Belgium, so the legend will continue! I haven't seen anyone I knew from back home. Not a glimpse of the Joncas brothers. Which is sad since my Utah companions are high fiving High School friends left and right. It's not a problem though, I have no worries.

We've also had the privilege to listen to 3 general authorities. 2 from the Seventy and 1 from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! One Seventy message was very entertaining, he worked on the "Homefront" Mormon message videos from back in the 70's, so we got watch a lot of heart warming (perhaps a little cheesy) TV commercials. The musical numbers have been wonderful too. We had an entire Sunday night devotional featuring Josh Wright. For those like me who are unfamiliar, he is a professional pianist who served his mission in Nebraska from 2007-2009. Brother Wright has played at Carnegie Hall and is working towards his Doctorate in musical theory. I have never seen someone play piano like that before! It was like a toddler pounding his fists on the keys, except the music was absolutely beautiful. Anyways, we had the opportunity to listen to Neil L. Anderson last night. He spoke powerfully about how Holy Ghost works and how we can be more sensitive and worthy of it. I'd like to share some of thoughts I wrote down after the talk.

"As I contemplated Neil L. Anderson's words, I came to an understanding. When he started talking about pornography, I rolled my eyes. But after the devotional I thought deeply about why this message appears so often in general conference messages and so forth. If pornography was an epidemic, a plague of sorts, our human race would be near extinction. There is nothing that can more easily take you away from the Lord's presence. Our world is and has very quickly become tainted with the instant access of the internet." I share this thought with you because when I was looking over it during our devotional discussion, I had a burning in my chest like I've never felt before. It was incredible and I felt the urge to share the note with the rest of the district. As I learned during Elder Anderson's message, you can't choose when your going to get a confirmation from the Spirit. I was expecting to have an overwhelming feeling of the Spirit during his talk and I didn't. My confirmation of his words came later, during deep contemplation.

Thanks so much Grandpa and Grandma for the package! I just got it today and these paisley ties look amazing! My district has already started making offers on them, which I gladly denied. The letters and DearElders have come in a nice steady flow. I will have to take a picture of of the amount of food Elder Steenblik's mom has sent him, we have almost two shelves loaded with a variety of candies and chips. It's fantastic. Wow, first you get the new car, then a practically new fridge!?! It almost hurts to hear about that but I suppose I'm happy for you. Hope your trip is fun Dad. Sounds like you guys are gonna have a busy summer.

Love you guys! Hope your weeks goes well.

The load of candy and chips sent from Parr and Steenblik families!

A close up of the loot!

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