Hello everybody! It is always great to hear from you. The dear elder is nice because I get to read the letters throughout the week, especially the talks because they go onto several pages and so it looks like I am getting like 5 letters. My district leader doesn't like that as much though... Plus that means I get to spend my whole hour writing my emails.
So the story about my phone isn't super great. I just walked in with it without realizing it. Josh called me as they were putting my name tag on. I told the lady that I just realized I had my phone, so I turned it off immediately and asked if I could go give it to you guys. She said no and that I would have to give it to my district president or something. One of the district presidency came by our rooms that night so I asked him what I should do and he just told me to bring it to the front desk and that is what I did. It was kind of funny though, as I had it in my room the first day I wanted to make sure nobody saw it. It was like a tiny little tinge of guilt whenever I saw it.
So to answer Mom's questions, I am doing well and I am confident. My emotions fluctuate a fair amount but in general I am happy. My district and I definitely laugh. As we are attempting to learn from Korean culture we make fun of the Japanese. My favorite comment I made was about the Japanese. Korean has several forms of formality. As missionaries we always honorify others and never ourselves. Most Koreans would do something similar but would probably not honorify kids or people younger than them. When we were asking about that somebody asked if we would honorify like a little kid. Brother Driggs said yes. Then somebody asked if we would honorify babies and he said yes. Then I asked if we would honorify Japanese people and Driggs just shook his head while everybody else laughed. Also, my companions and I have some heated discussion over which fruit is actually superior. I argued for oranges, raspberries, and watermelon at different times. But that is always fun as well.
I think it is harder to have a sense of mission and purpose in the MTC because my lessons, although I am supposed to take them seriously, are just with my teachers, and everybody around us is Mormon. Though I still feel like I am working toward worthy goals. I have been going to choir.
The first week the normal conductor wasn't there and so we mainly just sang through the song. I thought to myself it wasn't that great, I am not sure why everybody loves it so much. But this last week the normal conductor came back and he is pretty awesome. We sang a child's prayer with some children of the MTC presidency for one of the devotionals. He talked about what it really means to be God's children and I felt like I had a slightly bigger sense of God as my father. It was beautiful. This next week I guess we are broadcasting to all the MTC's in the world, so I am guessing it is going to be one of the first presidency or quorum of the twelve. I guess Elder Holland came like 9 weeks ago, so that is really too bad. I wanted to hear him speak. Then the week after that I guess we are singing with a band called the National Tribute Band. I have heard of them but don't know any of their songs. I guess they are pretty cool, so that is exciting.
The language is coming slowly but surely. It is basically just memorizing a bunch of words. The grammar is annoying too since the verb always goes at the end of the sentence, so our purpose directly translated goes something like this. "Other people,to Christ through his atonement faith repentance baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end...etc. invite" Then we have to learn all the conjugations for the different tenses and situations. So for me to actually string some sentences together takes some time. You just have to really know what you are saying and be thinking ahead. But I learn around 10 words a day. Actually being able to use them is harder.
It is cool to be in a Korean branch. Our Branch President is from New Zealand so his voice is pretty awesome. And you still hear his accent when he speaks Korean so that is pretty funny. They ask us all to prepare a 3-5 minute talk in Korean each week on the assigned topic. Then they call on two people randomly each week. That is nerve racking but probably good. I feel like they encourage looking good and appearing intelligent and stuff. But I feel like they sometimes think they have all the answers and are expounding their knowledge on us which is kind of annoying. Plus is makes everybody want to impress them (including myself) so I felt like even testimonies and stuff were said while the person is very aware of the audience. That isn't all bad but I at least realized how quickly my pride becomes a problem.
P-Day is great just because I feel like I actually have time to review things I need to review and can workout for longer and stuff. Normally we have workout first thing in the morning. Since you have to stay with your companions, we end up generally just going to the gym or field, and the MTC only lets you do half court and there are normally way too many people so it is often not a great work out, but it is still refreshing and helps me wake up in the morning. But I am getting used to waking up at 6:30 and 6 hours in class a day. It is tiring but also feels lazy. We pray, study scriptures, pray, sit in a classroom, pray, pray, eat, pray, sit in a classroom, pray, eat, pray, go to bed. You get the idea. Mostly sitting, eating, and praying. So it can feel lazy but it is also tiring so it is an interesting combination.
My companions are great! Elder Litster, who is half Korean, if his mission president allows him to may be moving up to the higher class and leaving like 4 weeks early. So there goes our understanding of what our "investigators" are saying to us. So that is too bad. But we all work hard and want to obey the rules. I realize how much I say "guys." We aren't supposed to use slang, and I guess that "guys" is slang. I am not sure I agree with that, but I am trying to stop using it. Elder Litster corrects me most of the time. We have made it a little game in class where we tally every time a person says "guys." I am one of the worst.
So I had several spiritual thoughts this week. I have started writing a "large and small plates" if you will. The bigger journal I just write what happened throughout the day or anything noteworthy. Then in the little journal I write what I learned spiritually that day.
The problem is I didn't bring it here, so I am trying to remember my thoughts. I loved D&C 76 and 84. There is so much good stuff in there. It is amazing how merciful God is. When most people talk about heaven they talk about one of the two lower kingdoms. And that is normally what we talk about when we say hell, as Elder Rees said. A lot of D&C is focused on missionary work so that feels very applicable to me. I listened to just a portion of Elder Hollands Talk "Lord I believe. And I love how he said that what mostly matters is how you act based on the truth you do have, not on how much truth you have. And I love that. Some people have had miraculous experiences that seem to be very direct answers to their questions or about if the church is true. I haven't, however I have received many small answers and impressions. And either way it doesn't really matter. What God wants to know is if we will act leading with the faith we do have instead of leading with what we do not know. That is what I am trying to do and will try to do every day for the next two years. I also loved both Brian's and Dad's talks. The quote Brian shared with me is super cool. I certainly am pulled in both the direction of God and of the world. I am interested in what everybody thinks about that quote and how we can begin to turn solely towards God. Anyway I love each one of you. Sorry I feel like this letter was long and scattered.
Hurrah for Israel!