The MTC so far has been absolutely incredible. At times, it feels like BYU Basketball Camp. Other times, an enormous Youth Conference. But in actuality, it really is the extremely spiritual place that everybody talks about. If you can imagine the most spiritual moment you've ever had in your life and then multiply that by 100, you'll find yourself somewhere in the MTC.
You have your entire day for the next two or so weeks already scheduled out for you, and the first couple days I've just been trying to transition into that schedule. I've gotten pretty acclimated, now I just got to figure out where the heck everything is on campus.
My companion is Elder Hansen from Highland, Utah. We followed each other on Instagram before our missions, so it's pretty neat we ended up as companions. He went to Lone Peak, so that's pretty cool. What's even more cool is that he loves basketball too, which is greeeaaat! Our two roommates are Elder Blake and Elder Parkinson and they're pretty fun too. The first night, we stayed up just talking about random stuff.
It's a little funny because all the Utah Elders know literally everybody here (haha not really, it just seems like it sometimes) and then there's Elder Muh from Hawai'i. We'll walk the halls and some of the Elders from my District will see missionaries from their stake of friends from around town. I don't think there's another Elder here from Hawai'i. If there is, I haven't met him yet. But that's okay, because I have my li hing mui candy and generic POG in the cafeteria to keep me from getting homesick.
The food in the cafeteria is pretty legit, it's nice to have everything there all ready for you to eat. It's not going to be like that in Australia, so I better enjoy it while it lasts! The cafeteria reminds me of BYU Camp (especially since it's practically the same food) but the difference is at the MTC, there's close to 3,000 missionaries that need to be fed. Also, Brother Stockdale, I've had the chocolate milk and it is amazing.
On day 1, all the new missionaries met the MTC Presidency, but because there were too many of us, we had to split into two meetings. The opening hymn was "Called to Serve" and even though it wasn't every single missionary here singing, it was still pretty dang powerful.
Yesterday, we met our branch presidency for the first time and Elder Hansen and I were assigned to be the online coordinators for our District. It's a pretty simple position because all we have to do is teach our District how to log onto the Missionary Portal and send our weekly email to the branch president.
A lot of the MTC is just trying to retain as much of the information thrown at you. It's really only day 2.5, so it still is a little overwhelming and stressful, but I think I'll get used to it soon. One of the things that has been said a ton is our purpose as missionaries.
"My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end"
By the end of my two weeks here, I know this will be instilled in me, because it almost already is. It's cool because our purpose is really straight forward, it's exactly what our job as missionaries is. What we as missionaries need to realize though, is that this isn't our work. This is Jesus Christ's work. We have just been called as representatives of His church, and it is our privileged opportunity to represent Him on a daily to basis to carry out His work.
Another big thing that I've come to learn is about the conversion process. The diagram that corresponds with this process is a triangle that connects the Godhead with the missionaries, as well as the investigators. Elder Holland teaches: "everything in the conversion process needs to happen to you before it can happen to them". What he means by this is that I need to be a fully converted disciple of Christ myself, before I can convert an investigator to this church. Today in class, I learned that when I introduce the Book of Mormon to someone, I'm not just telling them about a history book. I am introducing that person to Jesus Christ, and that is so very true. We are so blessed to be missionaries of the Lord's church because we do represent him, and we have the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus Christ every single day.
Finally, I've learned a lot about personal revelation. Much of my time as a missionary will involve me relying on the Spirit to direct me in where to go and what to teach. Elder Bednar shared that when you receive a spiritual impression, you will know what to do. He also tells that if you're trying to do your best and serve the Lord, things will turn out, and the Spirit will guide you.
Next Friday, I'll have a full P-Day, so we get to go to the temple early in the morning and then exercise and do laundry. A good thing about the MTC though is that you have scheduled gym time everyday, so you still get to exercise even though it isn't your P-Day.
I look forward to talking to you guys again next Friday!