August 17, 2011

Riley letter number two!

Well, I'm still going to try to balance much better than I did before, but it will be a challenge. I don't have ready access to a scale here. Also, I'm much in the same boat that you were. I love the principle behind the rule, but often not the rigidity of the rule itself. That being said, I have already realized how important it is to use your time wisely here. If you aren't using study time for study, you are not getting the Spirit as much as you should. It's that simple. Follow the directions and you will have a wonderful (if not exactly exciting) experience at the MTC. I'm pretty cool with wonderful, so that's what I'm aiming for right now. If I find a better way (I highly doubt it), I'll let you know.

To Taggart: thank you so much for your letter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the way, well that incredibly large amount of exclamation points might have offended your more reserved eyes, I just wanted to give you a taste of what it was like to live with Cody Larkin Tuma. He talked that way, he walked that way, and he ended every sentence with a similar or greater amount of exclamation points. Every. Single. Sentence. Anyway, I really appreciate your words of advice. I'm feeling more comfortable with Spanish right now, although I still have a lot to learn. A lot. But you're right: my Spanish four training is the most in the district and I can speak my mind pretty regularly these days. However, I can still do better at learning. Mostly, I need to start taking your advice and Hermano Estevez's advice (he's my teacher here; a little, round, jovial Honduran who is the kindest, most sensitive, most compassionate, and most demanding teacher I think I've had. He kicks our buts with the Spirit and with a smile): I need to speak Spanish all day long with my district. It's hard to do, especially when most of my sentences go over my companions' collective heads, but I need to do it more. If I really dedicate myself to only speaking Spanish, I'm going to be that much more prepared for Oaxaca. I think. I hope.
Moving on: Elder Wheeler (whose motto is: "Es SUPER-bueno and I love it) and I got our mock investigator to commit to baptism on our second to last meeting with him. That is not a good thing. We really need to invite on the first or second lesson. The problem was, we were preparing our lessons in an English mindset. In English, we can teach a lot and we can teach the subtleties and intricacies of each topic. In Spanish, we can stutter and pause a lot. Anyway, we needed to stop confusing our investigator regardless, so one day last week we decided to teach an entire lesson just on feeling the Holy Ghost. It went spectacularly well, if I may say so. The Spirit was definitely there and for the first time, I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish without having to modify any of my sentences. Talk about the gift of tongues. So, from that point onward, we taught simpler, clearer, bolder, and more powerful lessons. We ended our time with Juan Hernandez by talking about the Restoration and the wonder that is the Priesthood. I like teaching, even in Spanish. Anytime any of you have a chance to teach, take it. You will never learn more or feel inspired more than when you are trying to do the Lord's work. That's my lesson for the week, by the way. Do the Lord's will, not your own. The more you think about how it will be inconvienient for you to do what the Lord wants, the less blessed you will be. If you just give up on your personal needs and do it the Lord's way, you will find happiness and a few other blessings that you didn't even know that you needed or wanted. But the Lord knows. I know it sounds surprising, but the Lord always knows what we need.
Well, now for the good stuff: MTC life is starting to go by faster now. My district and I are officially not "the new guys" anymore. Yeah, we're veterans here with one whole week under our belts. But we still need all the help we can get. We also got into our normal schedule on Monday. From now on, we do the same thing week after week after week. Which is okay with me. Our schedule rocks! We have gym time at night three days and week and let me tell you, there is nothing better in this world then spending a whole day in a white collared shirt, slacks, and tie while sitting in a small, stuffy, hot classroom bent over scriptures and spanish dictionaries and then being able to change into shorts and a t-shirt, and heading out to a field to just run around. The cool night air is EXACTLY what you need. It's freedom and it's wonderful. Perfect way to relax and detox.
Love, Riley

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