HOLY COW. There ain't nothin' like flyin' time here at the MTC. Days are weeks. Weeks are days. And I can hardly believe that it's already P-Day!
We had the opportunity to go to the temple again this morning and that was wonderful as usual. Of course, I look forward to the temple breakfast afterward because they really have the BEST omelettes and Belgian waffles. I can't remember his name, but the temple worker that runs the cafeteria is a lil' Asian man who is hilarious and is always so gracious to the missionaries. He's definitely a highlight of temple visits as well. Anyway, I HAVE been getting the dearelder.com <http://dearelder.com> letters. I've written Aunt Janine a couple times through dearelder.com <http://dearelder.com> and that's been really great to hear from her (thanks Janine!). Here at the MTC, missionaries LIVE for mail. No joke. Some missionaries in my district get like four letters or some kind of package every day......and then there's me. Like one letter a week. Haha it's ok though. No hard feeling to anyone out there. Elder Fitzner in my district hasn't even heard from his own family yet! As a joke, another Elder Kimball asked his grandma to write Elder Fitzner and SHE DID. We were all dying of laughter when it arrived because Elder Kimball's "Grammy" is a riot. She sent pictures of herself with the funniest little captions and then a nice little note with plenty of jokes to go around the district for a week. Ahhhh......good times.
Thanks for sending me Christian's e-mail. It's nice to read his words as he continues to adjust to the Germany life. It will be so cool for him to speak German fluently by the end of all his time there.
This past week I've been fighting off a minor case of strep throat. Well, the strep was never confirmed but I'm pretty sure that those nasty little white spots are a sign. I believe I got it from one of the elders who was staying next door to us as he was temporarily assigned to our district for a few days. He had to stay behind his travel because of strep throat. But the oils have really been helping and I've been using a lot of herbs to really keep me healthy and well throughout the week.
Right now I have three "investigators" who we're teaching. All three are my teachers but it's been a really good experience to treat them as real people. At first I was struggling with the fact that they aren't actual investigators, but one of my teachers provided me with some really great insight. He said that by playing the roles of real people who he taught while on his mission, it helps remind him of the love that he has for those people. Sometimes, the lessons we teach as missionaries are even answers to his prayers to questions or concerns in his own personal life too. That's evidence to me that these mock lessons are really just powerful testimony building experiences. Elder See also told me about how since he treated the "investigators" as real people while at the MTC, it has really helped him as he actually teaches real people while in Guatemala.
The language is also coming along really well for me. I've already pretty much finished going through the whole grammar book with like 42 chapters or something. Everyone in the class recognizes my talent for Spanish so it's a really great opportunity to teach my companions and fellow district members. I'm kind of in this awkward stage where I'm sort of in between the advanced and intermediate classes. I can understand Spanish almost perfectly, but my speaking is still getting there.
Anyway, for my spiritual thought I just wanted to share a really cool story that was given at the last Tuesday devotional. Paul E. Koelliker of the Seventy spoke to us and I believe he currently serves in the South Africa area. He told us about a missionary from South Africa who was called to serve in Uganda. Elder Holland was scheduled to speak in Ethiopia to the members there andthis South African elder was called to put together the arrangements for Elder Holland's stay. After arranging the hotel, restaurant, travel, etc. Elder Holland spoke to the Ethiopian missionaries and mentioned that at times missionaries have been faced with arrest, persecution, etc. but that the Lord would always deliver and protect them. After Elder Holland's visit this young South African missionary could now go back to Uganda. While at the airport, the Ethiopian officials arrested him becuase his visa had problems. This missionary had done nothing wrong, but the officials saw it as an opportunity to insult the Ugandan government. This elder was sent to jail, and was placed with the thugs and ruffians overnight. Church officials did all they could to get him out of there the next day but the jail wouldn't release him. They couldn't get him out for three weeks! They were finally able to hire an attorney who aided in the missionaries release on that third week. This missionary, however, was not shaken. When he came out they asked him how he'd been and he said "I taught the gospel everyday. I didn't get any baptisms, but I was able to teach many investigators." I admit that I teared up a little when I heard this part, because I found it so inspiring to me as a missionary for this gospel. I don't know how I would react in a situation like that. The best part of the story was that the attorney who rescued the elder from jail actually took the lessons and was later baptized because of this experience. The Lord can really take unpleasant situations and bring out incredible positive results.
Anyway, that's my spiritual thought for the week. I'm way over time, but I just wanted to share that with you. I will be sending another hand written later to answer all of your questions and to let you know about my visa and other things I might need.