Hello Friends and Family!
So much has happened the past week! I cant believe how much I have learned and grown. I love the MTC. Its hard, but its wonderful. There is sooo much for me todo an hardly any time to accomplish it, but with practice and through Christ's help I can do anything. Like Nephi said, "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commanedth them."
I'm in district 44D, which pretty much means that I'm with other English speaking missionaries. We are incredibly close to each other. I feel like I have know everyone for years, but it has only been a week. I consider each person one of my best and closest friends.There are 4 other companions in my district. There's Sister Write and Sister Habner, Sister Garlitz and Sister Harington, Elder Reeves and Elder Harmon, Elder Scully and Elder Zvirzdin ( Ze-verz-den).
My favorite part about the MTC is probably the overwhelming optimism from everybody here. Every one is so excited to serve the Lord. There is a special Spirit here that just brings comfort, peace, and happiness. Its weird how friendly everyone is here. I also really enjoy teaching investigators in TRC (Training Resource Center). Its where the MTC brings in people to act like investigators so we can practice teaching them. Not all of the TRC trainers are LDS. Some of them are actual investigators so it is a completely real experience. One thing I'm learning is that every missionary has a set of experiences in his/her life that helps them connect to the investigator. I believe that's another reason missionaries are in companionship. Im also learning that missionaries need two things to be effective: Love for the investigator, companion, and gospel; and hard work. If you love the people around you and honestly try your best the Lord will turn your weaknesses into strengths.
When I said our district is close, I mean really close. Several of the Elders, including myself, have had the opportunity to give priesthood blessings to some of the Sisters and Elders. There is really no better way to describe being the voice other than Love. We were terrified, inexperienced, and feeling inadequate, yet as soon as we built the circle, there came an overwhelming sense of love for the individual. It has been, to this point, one of the most sacred and honored experiences of my life.
To anyone preparing for a mission, learn your purpose as a missionary. You will be called to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through 1) Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, 2) Repentance, 3) Baptism, 4) Receiving the Holy Ghost, and 5) Enduring to the End." Learn how to truly make this your purpose in life and the rest of Missionary work will come naturally because the Spirit will be guiding you and helping you along the way. I may wear Jesus Christ's name on my badge as an official representative of Him, but each of you wear his name in your countenance. Adopt the "Character of Christ" into your life! I also know that it will help with what ever part of life you are struggling with.
There are quite a few people I have run into at the MTC. I have seen Elder (Preston) Palmer, Elder (Stephen) Funk, Elder (Daxton) Wixom, Sister (Sara) Frandsen, and Elder (Zach) Valliere. Some of them I didn't even know where going to be here.
The only things I need are some stories about our ancestors. I have an investigator who is looking into the Church because of the genealogy program. If you use DearElder.com I will get the emails within a day instead of a week. You will need one of these numbers, I'm not sure which.
I love you guys,
- Elder Shill
P.S. The MTC handed out the wrong schedule. I will be in the MTC for 3 weeks instead of 2. The date I originally gave the bike shop was correct. Sorry for the confusion, but nobody really knew what was going on. My departure date is still the 8th.
P.P.S The computers at the MTC are super locked down and I can't upload photos to the email. Ill try to figure out how to send photos as soon as possible.