The MTC has been great but needless to say, I am ready to get out! This time next week I will be emailing you from the Philippines and may or may not be using my left hand as toilet paper. Things have gotten loads better with my district. I have learned a lot about patience and love. If anything, having this kind of a district in the MTC is a blessing because I know I will be able to better deal with elders like those in my district through out my entire mission. When you don't like someone, it's easy to just remove yourself from their presence. You can't do that here and so you have to work things out. The Missionary purpose states that we are to "bring others unto Christ..." It doesn't say investigators, or nonmembers, but "others." That means everyone. That means each other. "What we're really fighting for is each other..." to put it in the words of Civil War Colonel Chamberline.
I have been reading about Alma and the Sons of Mosiah this week. Their story has so much more weight now that i'm actually on a mission. I read Alma 26 four times in a row. I don't know how you could read that chapter and not have a testimony. I love Ammon's personality. He is so bold. Can you imagine asking an investigator a question and then waiting an hour for an answer like Ammon did with Kind Lamoni. I love at the end of chapter 26 how he says that if this is boasting then You bet I'm gonna boast! You take everything my Lord has done for me and then give me a reason why I shouldn't boast of my God! (This is just how I imagine things were going through his head) "For this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation and my redemption from everlasting wo." I almost imagine Ammon being a similar character to Elder Holland.
when our president spoke in sacrament meeting he told us this analogy about an old mule. So this old mule fell into a dried up well. The mule was old and the well was dry so the farmer figured he would fill in the well and bury the mule thus allowing him to get two jobs done at once. So the farmer began to fill in the well and as the mule felt the dirt hitting it's back it began to panic but then figured out that he could just shake of the dirt and step up. So surely enough the Mule continued the process of shaking of the dirt and stepping up until it was able to walk out of the well. Sometimes when we face adversity it's easy to panic but all we have to do is shake off the dirt and step up. Dad, I know what what you're thinking, because I had the exact same questions. (1) What kind of well is big enough for a mule to fit in it? (2) How in the world did the mule survive the fall? and (3) what kind of morbid farmer would try to bury his mule alive? Despite the flawed logic however, the message was good and I think I was the only one who thought about it enough to notice the flaws anyways.
we were taught about how "we invite, they commit, we follow up." One of my favorite parts was the concept that we must put the Doctrine of Christ in every lesson. If investigators can know the Doctrine they can understand the principles and know and have a testimony of why they must act accordingly. And along with that it is crucial that we always teach with a smile and always teach with peace. During afternoon class we discussed the things like tithing and church attendance that investigators must do in order to be baptized. We discussed the point that if we only try to commit, God will only try to Bless. This is about doing. And even if we fall short on our commitments we recommit. That's why we take the sacrament every week. He told us the story of a fisherman that he taught who was hesitant to go to church because if he went to church he couldn't fish and provide for his family. One he committed to come and our teacher and his companion went to church and awaited his arrival and he wasn't showing up. The meeting started and he still wasn't there. So naturally they were pretty disappointed. They were speaking so they sat on the stand and as they were sitting there he showed up. He hadn't had much success fishing and so he came to church. Overcome with joy because of his arrival our teacher and his comp. prayed later that day for a miracle for this man because of the faith he exercised in coming to church. Just a little background before I go on, These fisherman had these shallow buckets about 6 feet in diameter where they would put their fish. On an average day they would catch about 7 buckets and they would sell the fish for a living. They might catch 10 buckets on a good day. So the following , our teacher and his comp get this knock at their door early in the morning from the children of this investigator who had come to church the previous day. They brought them to the docks to show them that their dad had caught 25 buckets of fish!! God answers prayers and he blesses those who keep commitments.
Richard J. Maynes from the presidency of the seventy spoke. I sat by Elder Reid it was sweet being able to talk to him. Just some of the highlights: The Most successful missionaries are those missionaries who not only know their purpose but live it. We must always stay connected to our purpose because we are on the Lords errand and you never know who is watching. We can do this by (1) Understanding how important this work is. We don't really think about it this way often but Joseph Smith represented every investigator. He had the question that all investigators have. As missionaries it is our responsibility to allow the spirit to answer those questions through us. It is our job as missionaries to follow in the footsteps of the perfect companionship of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father when they appeared to Joseph Smith. (2)Remember How much our Heavenly Father Love his children. DC Those souls are his children, our brothers and sisters. Sometimes all it takes is a simple testimony. It only takes a spark to start a fire. (3) Be worthy of and sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Of course I want to be worthy but it's not about me. It's about those people's lives that I have the potential to change through the message of the Restored Gospel. Without the spirit I am nothing as a missionary. Mendy played the organ and so I talked to him afterwards. School started today. Anyways, for the opening song we sang "Called to Serve" and so everyone stood up but apparently we're not supposed to so the MTC presidency made us sit down. I love them, but I was very upset with them. I'm sure there is a good reason somewhere but even Mendy agreed with me that we should be able to stand during that song.
I love hearing from you all. I hope all continues to go well. Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey. Never hesitate to share the gospel. There is no reason we shouldn't share something that has brought us so much joy. I love you all and wish me luck as I depart to the Philippines!
Love, Elder Ethan Lowe