Salutations Family and friends,
Another week has come and gone and it's weird because I think i'm about at the hump day of my MTC experience. It's neat because as the summer progresses I've seen more and more friends shuffle into the Missionary Training Center. This week's sightings include Gabe Smith, Gentry Evans (both going to Korea), Heber Teney (come and gone and in Mexico by this point), and I was so excited yesterday to run into Prescott Conway who showed up yesterday. Yesterday was pretty fun because my district helped host some of the new missionary arrivals. We had over 650 newbies yesterday!
Ok, the 4th of July was so terrific. We spent most of the day going about on the usual missionary schedule. You know, study, some comp study, language study, additional study, lunch, come back and have class for three hours, more additional study, then dinner. The evening though, was different because we had a campus devotional to celebrate our independence. It was sweet! there were special musical numbers and clapping and singing. It was awesome, during a fiddle piece, Sister Nally (MTC sister mission president) got out of her chair, went out the door, then came back with fiddle and bow and started soloing! So choice! One of the executive secretaries of the MTC addressed us and it was an eye opening 4th of July address because he talked about freedom, but not emancipation from Britain, rather out freedom from sin and death though our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him we are:
· free from the natural man
· free to choose
· free to live with God again
It's always so great that the truth shall make you free and I have the blessing and privilege of going out and sharing that truth with my favorite Asian brothers and sisters. Brother Gubler (the speaker) also addressed how all true heroes are disciples of Jesus Christ and also freedom is never free. I love that: Freedom is never free! How true that is. I think of my founding father homeboys. How I love those brethren and all they did for us. As I studied there writings and thoughts last year at school I really came to know how truly Christian our founding fathers were. There was ne'er a document I read that God wasn't was recognized and hailed directly in some way or indirectly thanked for some blessing, occurrence, or what have you. I love that they recognized and talked about deity so freely and I love that in being a missionary, recognizing, thanking, and preaching of deity is my life! I know He lives and I know he loves each and every one of you. He is aware of what you're going through and is cheering for your success. As we do what he wants and make his wants our wants (think "thy will be done") our lives are better and happier. Everything will work out!
Where was I? the 4th. So we heard from Brother Gubler and then settled down because we then got to watch 17 Miracles! So choice! I love that movie. I love those pioneers who gave so much and who went through so much so that we could have the lives and heritage that we appreciate today. It was so awesome to watch the miracles in their lives, but what I thought takes the cake is to look back and see the hand of the Lord pushing us along. I submit that everyone has miracles in their lives every single day. The trick is recognizing them. I think that the more you recognize the miracles that happen, the more you will come to see. And the more that you can expect the Lord to come in and help out. If you know how to see his hand in your life then you will be able to see it more often. cool principle. After the movie, and after my whole district wiped our tears away with our ties (don't judge. It's a sad movie. I still can't believe that George dies! so sad! But then when the caption rolls right before the credits and you read that part about President Faust and how he had them sealed it just yanks at those heart stings! Truly, "it will all be worth it in the end!" Following the film and following the conclusion of Sister Carrie Underwood's performance at the Stadium of Fire we filed out of 19m picked up a Dove ice cream bar and then watched fireworks light up the sky. It was picturesque for sure! It was a 4th I will always remember.
One thought from our mission conference this past Sunday: everyone needs to be studying Preach My Gospel. It is the inspired words of the brethren. It helps with missionary work, sure, but it is critical for all for all of us to read (and I mean "all of us" in the specific sense. you should think I mean "you") because its purpose is to convert the missionary so that they can go out and by the spirit invite others to come unto Christ. If you will study that book you will become more converted and your testimony will become more sure. It's such a special book. I love what Boyd K. Packer said of it: "I believe this book was put together on the other side of the veil and we were allowed to assemble it here on earth." It is special. Read it.
Also, I want everyone reading this to go and practice the piano. Oh my goodness. Our speaker for Sunday night was Brother Josh Wright. He is a world class pianist (the best that I've ever seen) and he is truly gifted. It was amazing and all I kept thinking was "Sorry mom for not practicing...."
It was fabulous. So all of you out there, follow the moms. Practice the piano. It such an amazing tool for bringing in the spirit and such a blessing to your life.
Some thoughts from this week.
From an old MTC address of Elder Bednar's I learned some great things. I learned of the relation between doctrines, principles, and applications. A doctrine is a revealed truth -it's simple and it's foundational and it's good. It answers the "why" questions of life and the gospel. Think atonement, plan of salvation, etc. Principles are the parts that make up the doctrines. They're more specific. It is a guideline from a doctrine. It answers the "what question. Applications are what we do to put the principles and doctrines into practice. They are the "how" of the gospel. I think they are the things we deal with the most such as daily scripture study, or prayer, or paying your tithing. or those 10 commandments. They are critical but what is most critical is the doctrine. If you understand a doctrine, if you get the "why" then putting the "what" and "how" is easy. Study of true doctrine improves behavior faster and better than a study of behavior improves behavior. That was almost a quote from my friend Elder Packer. The answer to any question you have can be found in the doctrine. The doctrine is always the answer. In your studies, look for the relationship between doctrines, principles, and applications.
You know, the atonement not only cleanses us from sin, but strengthens us to do hard things. When God says that he will make our burdens light I don't think he hardly ever will just take away those hard and heavy things, rather He will strengthen you and I so that our burdens are light in comparison to the strength from which we draw. The answer is always in the doctrine and I love the doctrine of the atonement.
If you are a parent (or whoever. this thought was bednar's. I just liked it) and you want to help a child to do something or to stop doing something, what doctrine if understood would help them? It is understanding doctrine that really helps. It can help them practice the piano or be chaste or protect them from those fiery darts that Satan shoots at us.
I know and I love that the Savior's atonement gives me the strength to do all things! (Philippians 4:13) In his strength I can do all things! that blessing is promised to all of god's children who enter into the solemn covenants and promises with him. He will help you do all things.
I love all of you. You are in my prayers and I feel yours for me. Keep praying...Korean is pretty tricky. The church is true and Thomas Monson is the Lord's prophet. God loves you and will direct your path.
Keep the faith. Onward and upward!