Surprise! We get a short chance to email home today, because of travel plans tomorrow. Today is almost like a mini PDay.
So, here's the update:
This week has been so cool as we all get ready to leave. We're all just in awe of how close we are to hitting the field.
We had In-Field Orientation on Thursday, which is a day-long activity for departing missionaries where we learn about the Doctrine of Christ, Finding People, and Member-Missionary Work! It was soooo very cool, and it just gets you pumped about getting into the field.
Side note: huge shout-out to my MTC teachers Frere Pehrson and Soeur Johns. They are so very awesome. I'm inspired by them every day, and they're amazing French teachers. They have such a deep love of the Gospel and so many cool miracle stories from their missions.
Saturday, Frere Pehrson had us write down our goals for our first 6 weeks and our first year (based on key indicators), and so that was such an awesome experience. For one key indicator goal, I felt impressed to set a certain number. I wrote that number down, and then I really started to think about that number. It was a very high goal. If you know me, you know that sometimes I can be very naive, and so I was really examining myself to see if this goal was realistic, or just me being naive again. And then, I asked the question "Do I have faith that the Lord can do this?" and the answer was Yes! When missionaries reach goals, it's not about what they cannot do, it's about what the Lord can do. When I set that goal, I felt legitimate faith (not naivety) that, with the power of the Lord, I could accomplish that goal in a year. It was such a cool experience.
Sunday was so awesome. It was my last sacrament meeting in America, so that was super cool. I really enjoyed hearing a member of our branch presidency speak in English, because I think that'll be the last English sacrament talk I'll hear for two years. Wow.
We did our last Temple Walk that afternoon, and that was so awesome as well.
Our final Sunday devotional was: the Nashville Tribute Band!!!
They were such a legit band. They sung a lot of popular songs off their albums (they started out with "Children Go Where I Send Thee," and it's even funnier in real life). It was like a concert setup, mixed with a devotional, so it was definitely the most unique devotional I've ever been to. Since we were in the choir, we got to sing a couple numbers with them. "I Was Born" was the first one, and the second one we sung with them was called "John's Song" (it's a song with a lot of Gospel influence). Believe me, there is nothing cooler than the Nashville Tribute Band, backed up by a choir one thousand strong, singing a Southern Gospel song in the MTC assembly hall.
Elder Critchlow, our district leader, is from Nashville, and so the lead singer lives in his ward, so we got to go up and chat with him (the lead singer) for a bit afterwards. He's a legit dude, he's got a solid testimony. And he served in the Las Vegas Mission, Dad!
That evening we watched "Character of Christ" again, and I got even more out of it the second time. One interesting thing is that our district has heard Mosiah 3:19 over and over and over again while at the MTC, from different speakers and teachers. And we noticed it in Character of Christ again. I finally think I understand it now. The scripture says "The natural man is an enemy to God...unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man". The natural man is supposed to put off the natural man. So, in order to become a saint, you must put yourself off. Don't say "My will be done," say "Thy will be done".
That evening I also gave my first Priesthood blessing. It was a blessing of comfort and counsel, and it just brought the spirit into the room immediately. It's so cool how, when you give a blessing, the Spirit just brings words to your mind. I definitely felt a lot of the Spirit that evening.
Well, this is my final day in America. I love you all very much, and I'll keep y'all updated as much as I can.
The MTC has been probably the greatest experience so far in my life. How the MTC goes for you is largely based on your attitude. Your attitude doesn't make it any easier, but you'll enjoy it a lot more if you're not wishing for it to be over with.
You'll meet a few natural men at the MTC, but you'll also meet a lot more saints. I prefer to hang out with the saints. And, if you're open enough to people correcting you, even if you think you're right, you'll get a lot of hypocrisy rooted out of you. Still a long way to go for me (a LONG way to go), and a lot of work to do, but man, am I grateful for the Provo MTC.
I love you all. Savor America for me! Pray that traveling will go well and that Elder Herring and I, and our district, may arrive safely in our missions and be ready to get to work. My next email will come from Africa!!!
Avec un beaucoup d'amour,