Well, I'm here! Absolutely LOVING missionary life so far!!! For those who were wondering, yes, Monday is Preparation day, so (until I hit the field on the 23rd) this is when I'll be emailing.
For those awaiting replys to letters, I'm only allowed to write on Mondays as well, so you should be hearing back soon.
After some last minute shopping and lunch with Uncle Jim, I arrived at the MTC and put on my nametag. Honestly, this was one of the greatest moments of my life. Donning a badge that for years has only been something in my minds eye felt wonderful, and my eyes welled with tears as I went through the rest of the check in process.
My district is Amazing. I have two companions, Elder R (first cousin once removed of my future mission president) and Elder C. Elder R is from Arizona and Elder case from SoCal. They're amazing guys, both with very strong testimonies, and though we differ in many ways, we have a lot in common. We all three have open minds and are soaking up every bit we can get.
So, Elder C isn't actually going to D.C. He and Sister O from our district are going to Minneapolis. Among the rest of our district, we have Sister J, who the Petty's know apparently, Sister E, her companion from Detroit, Sister G, who actually knows Sister O (her companion) from elsewhere, Elder M, who has the best smile I've ever seen, and Elder B from Utah here who is just solid. :)
Classes are fast paced and busy! They rewrote the curriculum in August, and we're part of a new accelerated program. In the 5 days we've been here, we've literally only spent about an hour and a half to two hours talking about doctrine. It's ALL about teaching with the spirit, and loving those we teach.
In fact, part of the new curriculum kind of surprised me. We were told on day 2: "time is running out. We need missionaries who can bring the spirit strongly." On more than one occasion, my companions and I have literally abandoned lesson plans mid-discussion and followed the direction the spirit would have us go. It's powerful, but satisfying.
One thing they talked about right when we got here is not to waste your mission. There is a lot to be done and very little time to do it in, so HURRY! Though you are sacrificing two years of your life, that time is not yours. That's the idea of a sacrifice. If you sacrifice a lamb, that lamb is not yours anymore. This time is now no longer my time. It's the Lord's. Time, Money, resources. It's all mine that I am handing over to the Lord. So why not make it worth it? Bottom line, if I waste my mission, I'm just "disappearing" for two years, and loosing $10,000. I need to make it worth it. By making it all the Lords, I find that possible.
A typical day consists of 3 meals, about 6 hours of classroom time and about 3 hours of study time. It's busy, but WAY worth it. We also have some gym time, but because of my leg, I have been taking it easy. It's doing fantastic, but I need to be careful, so I'm not overworking on it. This means that I'm doing a lot of upper body work and I'm really sore :P
As part of a lesson, they had us write the first discussion in 3 sentences, and I'd like to share that with you because of how simple it makes everything:
- God is our loving heavenly Father who, throughout the ages, has revealed His gospel to us, which consists of the doctrine of Christ and blesses families.
- Eventually, this gospel was revealed through Christ himself, who taught and atoned for us, but was rejected and crucified, plunging the world into apostasy like every previous dispensation.
- God, in His infinite love, once again provided us with His gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith, who also translated the Book of Mormon which we can pray about to discover its truth and divinity."
I'd just like to share that I know that this work is the Lord's work, and we are merely His representatives. I have felt His power within me as I teach and learn, and would not wish to be doing anything else in my life right now. I love this, and can't wait to get in the field . . . as soon as my 3 weeks here are done, because I'm not quite ready yet.
Stay close to the Lord. He is the way to true happiness.
-Elder Matthew Hodgson
P.S. - do some studying on the doctrine of Christ, I have an assignment coming up for all those back home ;)
P.P.S. - some good quotes:
- "Make your mission a WOW mission."
- "Teaching by the spirit is when your lesson stops and the Lord's lesson begins. And that is when the world trembleth."
- "There is a place in your life for the spirit, and if you don't fill it with the spirit, the world will be more than happy to fill it with something else."
- "At 211 degrees water is hot. At 212 degrees water boils. Boiling water provides steam which can power a locomotive. But one degree makes all the difference."
I love you all! Carry Forth the Banner of Liberty!