October 2, 2011

Hey, I'm almost outta here!

Whaddya know, I have like a little over a week left in the MTC. It's crazy. The Mexico City Elders got their travel plans yesterday. They also visited the Mexican Consulate. See Colton's weekly letter for expanded details. The moral of the story is this: I should be hearing news on my Visa soon. It probably won't be good news, but hey, at least I'll know. Anyways, I honestly won't mind serving somewhere else for awhile. I only have three conditions: one, that I get to serve. Two, that I eventually get to go to Oaxaca. And three, that I don't lose all the Spanish that I've worked so hard to gain. That's all I ask. We'll see if that comes through soon enough.

Well, it sounds like things are actually pretty exciting back home. I'm happy for Trevor, not only because it's good for him and his career, but also because it gave me something to throw back in all the Utah State fans' faces (yes, Utah STATE, not U of U fans; apparently only Utah State fans take extreme pleasure in going out of their way to be excessively rude to BYU students. You can tell Taggart that I am very disappointed in the representatives of his school). I like bragging about my cousins. It takes the spotlight off of my lack of athletic talent. A side note: can you believe that ULTIMATE FRISBEE is banned at the MTC? Like seriously, just go and ban the one sport I'm semi-decent at, why don't you. Boo on the MTC for that decisio

Anyway, I should probably tell you a little bit about my week, shouldn't I? Anyways, my day was totally made today when, while talking in Spanish with my District leader (Elder Edwards), the only Elder I can hold a full Spanish conversation with, one of the MTC employees, who happened to have served a Spanish speaking mission, told me that I speak very good Spanish and asked me if I spoke a lot before the MTC. Bomb.com. This is also after earlier this week, when talking to one of my BYU acquaintences who leaves on Monday for Argentina, he (the BYU acquaintence) seriously asked me if I was in the Advanced or Intermediate classes for Spanish, cuz that's what I sounded like. So yeah for learning Spanish!

Oh yeah, Russel M. Nelson spoke on Tuesday. We had gotten an Ensign Magazine specially dedicated to the Book of Mormon, so an Apostle came to talk to us about it. It was a pretty good talk, but here's the main message that I remember from it: the Book of Mormon truly is a SACRED book of scripture. We often forget that. We need to treat it with respect, love, and care, and realize just how great a blessing it is. Finally, while you are reading, acknowledge that you are reading the actual words of God (see D&C 1:37-38). Reading the Book of Mormon should be a sacred and reverent experience and we should treat it as such. The Book of Mormon is precious and it is a gift that we are given this companion volume of scripture to help us understand the mysteries of God. it makes the Bible so much more interesting and precious as well.

Oh, Old Testament things that I love (since you are studying the OT in institute): Chapter 32 of Genesis details a story of Jacob wrestling with an angel until the angel blesses him. Enos describes his great redemptive prayer as a "wrestle" (verse 2). Pray your heart out, everyone. The Lord will answer. It should be a exhausting, exhilarating, and ultimately, fruitful experience. Prayer is an engaging conversation, and if we can't feel the presence of the Lord as either a member of that conversation or a member of that wrestling match (yeah, He should feel that close), then we are not doing it right. The Bible Dictionary (what an under-utilized gem) says that prayer should come naturally to people, like walking and talking. Prayer is natural and if it feels forced, you're not doing it right. THe point? Pray, and evaluate your prayers occasionally. This isn't a wrote thing we are doing; this is a conversation with a living God.
Another cool thing from the Old Testament. You know that verse in first Nephi where it says, "And my father dwelt in a tent"? Well, I just decided to analyze that a couple of weeks ago and I found that it was referenced to all the parts in the Old Testament that described Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelling in tents. The lesson? Lehi was the great Patriarch of the Nephite race, as Jacob and the others were for the Jews. It all makes sense. There is a reason that scripture is including in the Book of Mormon. The Lord does His will and Joseph Smith could not have known to include that parallel detail on his own Judgment. He only did it through the power of God.

Well, I love you all and I'm out of time. I will talk to you next week!

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