"You're all tools!" Brother B Yelled at us during a classroom session, before grinning and adding: "In the hands of the Lord." Ever since then, that's been our goal. Be tools.
It's been a BUSY week here at the MTC. I can hardly begin to describe everything that's happened. I guess I have to start somewhere though... so, here goes...
Tuesday, I spent my first day in the MTC choir. And guess who I sat next to in the choir? Magda Elder!!! It's been great catching up with him for a bit. I'm guaranteed to see him every Tuesday and Sunday now, plus we have the same meal times, so I usually see him then, but he's usually on SYL (speak your language) then, so communication is difficult. As I sang in the choir my first day, I was watching the monitor they were projecting, and I saw myself in the choir. That was when it first really hit me: "I'm a missionary!" Nametag, suit and all, there I was as part of the missionary choir. Holy Cow, that was weird. But amazing.
Thursday, the Branch Pesident pulled my companions and I aside, released me as District Leader, and put the three of us in as Zone Leaders! Wow! Two weeks, two callings. I can hardly keep up.
We stay VERY busy here teaching. I've been talking to other people. One Elder that was mandarin speaking has been here for five weeks and has one investigator. Blake has been here seven and has two. Well, here in the english speaking department, they don't spend time teaching us language, so they figure: "Hey! Let's make them teach more!" We just picked up our sixth investigator Saturday.
By far our most difficult investigator is Alexandre Paul. His character is a Haitian diplomat serving as a consul to Nasau. In doing some reading he found our church, called Salt Lake, and wants to know how we get people to pay tithing. He's tough though. He was raised Catholic, and since has lost his testimony of Christ. He sees Him as a prophet whose job it was to brush aside the Law of Moses and all things serving as barriers between us and God so we could communicate more directly with Him. Then he says that the Christians put Christ back in between us and God as a barrier to seperate the masses from the relationship they could have with God. He also says that we blaspheme Christ by saying the greatest thing He did was die. It's tough. Tomorrow when we teach him, we're not bringing a lesson. We're bringing the spirit and trying to dig deep and find out what he has against Christ. When we pray, he gets mad because we pray in Christ's name, and he won't let us testify of Him. He flat out interrupts us. "No, I don't want your opinion, I don't want you to impress me. I want to know." He says. We can't figure it out. Thursday, we taught him the first vision and it was going really well, then I recited Joseph Smith's account of the vision. The spirit was SOOO STRONG, and all he had to say was: "It only says personages. There is no proof that it was God and Jesus, and even if it was them, it's not true because that shows favoritism as God favors one prophet oveer another." Holy SCHMOKES!!! ( putting your beliefs and feelings into words can be hard!)
D. Todd Christofferson gave our devotional on Tuesday, and it was phenomenal. He spoke of the doctrine of Christ and what role each member of the Godhead plays in it. I loved it. Speaking of the Doctrine of Christ, I'm putting a collection of scriptures that include it. If anyone finds scriptures that mentions faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, send it my way! There's your challenge for the week!
Another challenge. Does anyone know what Abinadi is talking about in Mosiah 15:1-5? We couldn't figure it out...
One phenomenal thing is how the spirit will guide you if you are open to it. I cannot tell you how many times I have not known what to say, but He has. Feeling the Lord literally speak through me is undescribable. A few days ago, we were teaching, and I had an impression come to my mind of something to say, but I thought to myself: "That doesn't fit in with what we're talking about AT ALL. Why would I say that?" But I couldn't push it aside, and after my companions had said their part, what the spirit wanted me to say was exactly what needed to be said next. He is the one they want to hear.
The other day, we were talking about the temple complex that Joseph Smith wanted to build in Independence. He planned 24 temples that would all have different purposes. Temples like we know and have, temples of education, temples of the prophets. That's almost come true here in Provo. We have one temple operating, a second that just had its ground breaking, a temple of education (BYU) and a temple of the prophets here at the MTC. A prophet is described as anyone with a testimony of Christ, so we're all prophets with a lower-case P! :)
It's busy here. We're all learning and growing so much. Some of the sisters are struggling, so please pray for them. There are some with low confidence, some with homesickness, and one who, as a recent convert, has sacrificed everything to come here. She is the first convert from Detroit in four years, and nobody else from her family is a member. Her mother is fighting cancer, and here she is, working hard to serve a mission, getting NO mail, and fighting to stay afloat. The devices of the adversary are strong. She, as a convert has something none of us have, but she doesn't see it. PLEASE keep her in your prayers.
We said goodbye to the first member of our zone this morning as Sister B left for Canada. The rest of her district leaves either tomorrow or Wednesday. They will be missed as they were our "big brothers and sisters" here. We have new younger siblings already though, and we have two districts of cebuano speaking missionaries arriving Wednesday, so we won't be lonely or bored!
Please keep the people in my mission in your prayers as well. We fly the 9:40 non stop to Reagn on the 23rd!!
Also, thanks to the Hilton family for the Cinco de Mayo package, and to everyone for the letters. They are worth more value than money, or even ties here at the MTC. Thank you for the support. Until next time, Be a tool!!!
Lots of love,
Elder Matthew Hodgson.