Hello Family and friends -
The weeks are going by so fast now. Im not sure if that is because I am numbed to MTC rules, or if that is because I am finally getting into a routine (hopefully the latter). Im in week 5 (I think?) now and that means that I am officially more than halfway done with my MTC stay. One would think that being 5 weeks into the MTC, I would have a pretty decent grasp on the language........ Nope. This is the hardest language in the world. If you dont believe me, try learning it yourself and tell me how it goes. My notebooks are full of "T-charts" and vocab and lesson plans for my investigators. Just last night I finally put together a master page. or a cheat sheet, with all of the charts that I have learned so far. Putting together one grammaticaly correct sentence continues to be a minute long endeavor. Its all fine and dandy to struggle with the language until we have to go teach our teachers a lesson in Shqip. Holy cow...... those are easily the most stressful 30-45 minutes of my day. I just pray that my trainer (the person who trains me for 12 weeks when I first get to Albania) is a patient man.
Anway, this past sunday I was released as District Leader (they change District Leaders halfway through) and my companion Elder Hald is the new one. We have very different personalities and I am curious to see how things in the district change. Tuesday night was another MTC-wide devotional and Elder Jensen (Emeritus member of the 70) spoke on scripture study. He gave a TON of tips on how to effectively study and how to mark your scriptures so that you can recall spiritual insights that you may have had while reading. He easily had the most powerpoint slides of anyone that has spoken so far. I was in the choir for this devotional again, and it continues to be a great experience to sing with so many missionaries.
Speaking of choir, the choir director Brother Eggett gave a spiritual thought 2 tuesdays ago that I want to share (Spencer has my notes on this fictional story).
Imagine this: You and some friends are going on a trip after you graduate to a foreign country to celebrate your accomplishments. You are traveling with 3 of your closest friends and there are no adults. The country you are going to has an unoffical tourist location that your friends insist that you must visit. After you land, check into the hotel, and get settled in, you and your friends go to this location. This "unoffical tourist location" is a big concrete wall that appears to have been freshly painted over. Your friends tell you that everytime someone visits, they spray paint their name onto the wall. They begin doing that and you notice that there are signs that say "Do not vandalize. Serious Penalties will occur". They encourage you to sign your name, but you decline. "You have to do it! We came all this way and you wont even sign your name?" Eventually you give in and spray your name onto the wall. The second you finish, the flashing lights of police cars turn on behind you and you immediately know that you are busted. The cops take you to the police department and fill out all the paperwork and hold you and your 3 friends there. The next day they let all your friends go back home to the United States, but keep you to serve as an example. Since it is a foreign country, the can have whatever punishment they want for crime. Your punishment is to have your hand nailed to the wall where you spray painted and to keep you there until you wither away. They will feed you and clothe you, but you are to never leave. Eventually the US Embassy catches wind of this and immediately shuts it down. You are taken back to the local police station and held there until they figure out what to do with you. A couple days later a US Embassy representative comes to the jail and tells you that you are allowed to go back to the states and live your life the way you want it, but that a family member must take your place on the wall. This family member volunteers themselves to have their hand nailed to the wall, but instead of staying there forever, they have the option to pull their hand through the nail and if they do that, they are free to go home. You get a call within the hour saying that your older brother has volunteered to take your place on the wall and he will be flying to that country the next day. So the next day you are escorted by police to the airport to wait for your older brother. (This next part gets me every time) Eventually you see him walk out of the plane terminal and you briefly make eye contact. He smiles at you and you know that He has everything taken care of and that you wont have to suffer anymore. You have that 3 second long moment before the cops dash over and beat him with the clubs in order to subdue him. They cuff his hands and drag him out of the airport right before your eyes. You fly home that afternoon and when you get home you are devastated. You arent sure when you will see Him again so you have a picture of Him next to your bed. You think to yourself, "Why would I do such a stupid and small thing? Now because of my mistakes my older brother, who did nothing wrong, has to suffer for me". This older brother is (figuratively) Jesus Christ. He is the older brother that sacrificed himself so that we can live our lives. He is the older brother that we should all strive to be. We need to constantly remember the things that He did for us and live our lives to be like Him.
That is my favorite story that I have heard here so far and I hope you all enjoy it like I did. I dont have much more time, so I will wrap up. I love all of you and the support that you give to me and especially to my family. Stay safe and enjoy the real world!
|I hate it when someone leaves the cabinet open so Elder Price opened all of them. Pretty funny.|
My super amazing Albanian sentence that I translated. It has no logic to it, so dont worry about that.