Hey everyone, I'm afraid this e-mail is going to be pretty boring because I don't have anything super exciting or funny to say this week. Well, one funny thing. I've told you about the golden retriever theme a lot I believe, as in we're never not talking about golden retrievers and how Hermano Ammons wants to be one in my district. The other day we left some "important" questions for him on the board while we went to dinner, the first asking about his trip to the zoo with his wife for her birthday and second asking how we can become golden retrievers. His answer was that we have to convert to Buddhism and then be reincarnated. Later, we were talking to the other Hermanas about this at dinner and Hermana Nielson was like, "So we're going to convert to Bootyism..." and she meant to say Buddhism but was unfortunately off-base and instead talked about THE RELIGION OF THE BOOTY. Chase, Tagg and McKay, I really hope you remember what I'm talking about or else this will just be a ridiculous side note. But anyway, I laughed.
Okay, now onto spiritual stuff. I've been working at being a more perfect servant of the Lord, as always, but I don't have much to report on that except that I'm still working. I've learned a few interesting things this week though. First of all, we have a weekly lesson by a companionship on a Christ-like attribute in our class and this past week's was on hope. The Elders gave it and the lesson, plus my own personal study after, really helped me learn a lot about it. I've kind of never known the difference between faith and hope, and I'm not saying I have a perfect understanding now, but we talked a lot about how hope is the belief that there are better days ahead of us, better things to come. There is some quote by Elder Holland that went along with that but I don't have it exactly. I really liked that though, and in PMG it says that hope is manifest in enthusiasm and optimism, which are two things that I could always use a bigger measure of. I've been thinking about this is conjuction with a discussion in Sunday School before I left about how when it says "Fear not" in the scriptures, it's actually a commandment, not just encouragement or comfort. So, I've been working on obtaining hope and keeping it. I like Elder Holland's quote because some people (not a lot) say that the MTC is the best time of your mission, but I have hope that there are better days ahead. Same thing about high school or college being the best years of our lives. There will always be better things ahead if we have hope in Jesus Christ.
I've also been studying prayer and I've learned some interesting things about that too, the most significant being (I'm sure I'm the last one to come to this conclusion, but when it clicked it was cool) that praying with real intent means we are willing to submit our will to God's. So when it says that if we pray without real intent it profits us nothing, it means that if we aren't willing to submit our will to God's when we ask for things in prayers, then the prayer is not beneficial. I've been thinking about that a lot and trying to implement it in my prayers. I still have a long way to go, I'm sure, but working on praying in faith while submitting my will to God's has been really interesting.
Okay last Tuesday night Elder Cook of the Twelve came to speak to us for devotional. It was really cool and the testimony he gave us was really strong. He also happened to mention offhand that many times when he's assigning missionaries to their missions he receives revelation on what mission president the missionaries should be with rather than the area. I thought that was interesting, and I'm a little curious about the missionaries who change mission presidents during their mission. Looks like I'm getting a new one in July, I've heard. I guess that might be why so many people just absolutely LOVE their mission presidents.
So Elder Cook gave the devotional on Tuesday and then Brother Mark Jarman, who is the director of training at the MTC, and his wife, gave our fireside on Sunday. I loved it. First of all, Sister Jarman told us the same quote by Elder Maxwell that you used at the end of your talk, Dad. I thought that was interesting and that quote is very powerful. Brother Jarman talked to us about likening the scriptures and it was EXCELLENT. Just since Sunday I've started to do it more in my study, especially of the Book of Mormon, and I've learned a ton more than just by reading it. The devotionals and firesides here at the MTC are so excellent, that's probably one of the only things I'm really going to miss about being here. Also probably the camaraderie (not convinced I spelled that right but I'm hoping, there's no spellcheck here) between missionaries. It's the most natural thing in the world to start talking to someone you don't know, find out where they are going and where they are from, and end the conversation two minutes later with twelve connections to each other. So cool.
Okay, now for just normal stuff. I printed pictures out here so I'm sending some home today. Also, I sent Tagg a postcard last week that him, mom, Talia and Schuyler all need to see. I hope it made it. I asked mom to send me my call packet, I really really hope you can find it because otherwise I don't have the address for my mission until I get there. I also want the pictures of our family that Mom/Dad said they'd send me a few weeks ago! Included in the pictures I'm sending home is one of our Saint Patrick's Day party. It was excellent and everyone really appreciated the package.
Grandma wrote me a card last week and said that Thayne is here and is wondering if I've seen him. I NEED TO KNOW IF THIS IS TRUE. I haven't seen him anywhere, and I pretty much see everyone in the MTC so I'm way confused. Someone (mom) tell me when he got here, when he's leaving, where he's going, etc. I obviously need to track him down.
Chase said in a letter that he's working on his papers and is hoping to turn them in a few weeks, but Dad said in a letter that he would have to restart them in a few weeks. Not sure about that. But I'm excited. Tell me the details asap, obviously. I guess for sure he won't get his call until after I'm in Chile, so make sure to e-mail me!
Still haven't heard from Tagg. Come on, buddy. Dear Elder is soooo easy. Just write me.
McKay, I can't remember if I responded to your last letter but thanks for writing. Have I told you how Sister Beeston is our RC teacher and she asks about you all the time? Apparently you got hired at the same time. I like her. Also, she's pregnant.
Annie, remember how you said your old seminary teacher (or something) was the new president of the Nebraska Omaha mission? Somehow I just made the connection that his daughter was in my room with me at the MTC until she left about two weeks ago. Sarah Kunz? Do you know her? I wish I had talked to her about you earlier!
About your letter, Dad, your talk was excellent, I really enjoyed it. I was just telling that story to my district and now tey can read allllll about it if they want. And, SUPER sad story about Milo! I was so sad when I was reading it: sad for Mom, sad for Milo, and sad for the rabbit.
Kevin told me he's getting to Utah on April 1st, which is next week I guess (Hallelujah!) and he said he's staying at our house for a few days?! Amazing. I'm insanely jealous. Make sure you all send me something excellent while he's there. :)
Last thing, the weather has been PHENOMENAL this past week, not that I would really know because I'm basically never outside. But I always want to be. Sometimes our teachers are very nice and allow us to play vocabulary games or make contacts outside. Love it. Temple walk on Sunday was the best thing of the week. The weather today is not so good, but I have HOPE that it will get better.
I love you all. Sorry this e-mail is boring. I hope you're doing well, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you all in this next week. Chase, I'm writing you a for-real letter because I'm out of e-mail time.
One last request: I want pictures from everyone. I've gotten no pictures since I've been in the MTC except from Kevin (and THANK YOU for those) but I want to see what everyone looks like! I'm starting to forget. Ha.
Love love love you all,