Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 3 - Becoming a Missionary

Hey everyone!
Week three has been sooo crazy!!! It's hard to believe that in about 45 minutes, I'll be in my residence packing for the field!!! Elder R described time out here perfectly: "The days go soo slowly because so much happens it seems like multiple days. But then you blink and the weeks have just flown!" It's so true. Long days, short weeks. Time has almost no reckoning here...
Tuesday night, we had an MTC devotional by L. Tom Perry who talked about the priesthood. Tuesday was the 183rd anniversary of the restoration of the priesthood, so it was a fitting topic. Wow. He is soo good! I've noticed too, apostles and other speakers feel okay saying things they wouldn't normally say in conference... it's pretty awesome.

For reference, here in the MTC we don't teach real investigators... at least, not that they let us know. We are to treat all of them as real. Our teachers Brother W is an investigator named Joe, Brother B is Keon, then we have had Alexandre, Melvin, Sherry, Betty, Maria and Amy in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and I've taught Charlie, Colton and Corbin as investigators among our zone.
Thank you all who have prayed for  Sister E. Last week she asked me for a blessing. Dad, thank you for writing her. Your letter arrived within two hours of her finding out her aunt and uncle died on Mothers Day. To everybody, please keep her in your prayers. The reason for her blessing is because she was given permission to call home, where she found out that her mother had checked into the hospital, likely for the last time due to her advancing lung cancer. So, the Elders of our district circled around her, and the Lord gave her a blessing that I was honored to be the mouthpiece for.

That night, we had our last lesson with "Keon." He has committed to baptism, but is still living with his girlfriend. So, we taught him the law of chastity, but never used the word "chastity." Sister Clark, one of our teachers really gave a new perspective for us as far as preparing lessons goes. It made things much more about Keon, and much less about chastity. Hence the interesting take on the lesson. The entire thing was about eternal families and the importance of marriage. After, we usually say goodbye in character, then get notes later, but he shut the door, told us to wait, then with tears in his eyes told us that was the best lesson that he has been taught by missionaries since he began working at the MTC. The spirit was sooo strong, and just has a way of communicating that none of us can. I mean, we're 19 year old boys, what do we know about marriage?


We had in field orientation Friday. We literally spent all day learning how to contact, keep records, work with ward leaders, etc. It was sooo cool!!! We almost just went home and packed that night, we were so excited.
Scary thing happened yesterday. Our branch president, President W had a bout of low blood pressure yesterday and, when he stood up on the stand, just fell over! It was really scary. We got him back up and made sure he was okay, then about two minutes later his wife walked in late. I could see him begging his counselors not to tell her, but Brother G did, and he went home for a couple hours to recuperate. He's doing well now though.
We had our two new cebuano districts come in Wednesday, and one of the new missionaries was Elder C from my BYU ward! What a coinkidink! They're all great, and it was a busy week getting them settled.  One of them in particular we became particularly close to. Elder S had a need to contact President Whetten his first night here, so we were at the front desk with him until about midnight. He's a great kid and he's worked really hard to get here. Then two days later he pulled his ACL, and he went home Saturday. It was really sad. We went to go see him off, and as we were waiting for his dad to show up, an MTC office guy walked in. "Can I help you?" we responded "Oh yeah. We're his zone leaders. We just came to see him off." And he replied "ok, you've seen him. Say goodbye and leave. Go back to class." So we had to say goodbye as we were getting rushed out. It hurt having to say goodbye so hurriedly and so humiliated. I expect people to treat us like we're still boys, but at the MTC they're always talking about how since we've been called of God, we're so much more than just boys and we should treat each other differently because of that. Then to have some guy who works for the MTC turn around and still treat us like boys just made us feel really small.
Blake and I auditioned for our song last Thursday. They said they loved it, but it was too long and they didn't have time to fit us in before I left... So, no dice, but it was fun seeing Blake and preparing it with him.
Last night, our fireside was the Provo temple president. wow.... That's it. He gave us such great stuff!!! We started a fast last night, then went to the temple this morning with his words in mind, and I don't think I've learned that much in one session since my own back in February. Holy Cow!
Dad, in answer to your other question, we don't HAVE to memorize any scriptures. Our guidelines are: "memorize many scriptures, but master many more."
Also, mom, we are allowed to make phone calls at the airport, so I'll likely be calling Wednesday morning. Our shuttle is supposed to leave around 6, so I'd expect to get there, get settled, and call by around 8, so 7 your time.... maybe... just stick near a phone. I won't have long, but I'll definitely call.
Well, I'm off to pack. Love you all!!! Let me know if there is anything you need. I can't do much, but I can write words of encouragement and I can pray, for there is one who can always help us.
-Elder Matther Hodgson

We fly out Wednesday AM so please send letters to:
Elder Matthew Hodgson
Washington DC South Mission
5242 Lyngate ct.
Burke VA


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