Sunday, July 8, 2012

"I KNOW Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God!"

Picture of the Book of Mormon sent to Elder Jenson from his 6 year old cousin Avery.

Wow I can't believe that I've already completed over 5 weeks in the MTC. It feels like I was just dropped off last week. So crazy. I'm loving receiving all of your letters and hopefully everyone is doing well. Tell Tay good luck for me in Nebraska. I know he'll do great. There's been a lot that happened this week! I know I seem to say that every week, but it's true! There's so much going on. There's no way that I can mention it all but here's the highlights of the week:
Saturday the 30th: The biggest highlight on Saturday was at night with TRC. TRC is short for Training Resource Center. It's when members from around the area in Provo come to the MTC. They  volunteer to talk with the missionaries in their language of the mission. There are two 20 minute interactions with 2 different members. You just get to know them for the first little while and then you share a brief message. This last Saturday I had an incredible experience. The first member that Elder Nelson and I visited with was a man named Jhonathan. We started talking about where he was from and he said he was from Chile!! I was like no way where? He said, the capital, Santiago. I'm like that's exactly where I am going on my mission in just a few weeks! He couldn't believe it. He said that he lived in the northern part of the city of Santiago. I couldn't believe that he was from exactly where I am going on my mission. I was really excited and I asked him how Chile was. He said that right now it's winter and a lot of people are at the resorts snowboarding and skiing. He said that he had just barely moved to the States 3 and a half years ago to study at UVU. He is now wanting to transfer to BYU. I asked him if he had been a member of the church his whole life and he said that he hadn't. He  joined the church about 10 years ago and is the only one in his family that is LDS. I asked him where his family lived and he said that his whole family is still living in Santiago, in my mission and that they are all Catholic. I asked him if it would be alright to get their information so that I can contact them when I get to Chile! He said ya definitely! He gave me his Brother's information. His name is Isaac Farias. I couldn't believe that this was happening.  Jhonathan didn't know his Family's address but he gave me the phone number of his brother.  Jhonathan also gave me his phone number. I actually used Hno Toledo's phone to text Jhonathan and tell him that we are going to be at the TRC on the 7th around 6. Jhonathan wanted to come give me the address of his family! I can't wait to get to Santiago and contact this family. I know that Jhonathan was put in my path for a reason to further the work of the Lord. What an experience.
Sunday: Today was a great day full of the Spirit. Since it was Fast Sunday, the whole mission got together for a mission conference from 10-12. The highlights of the meeting were:
President Roach: District President- If you want to increase your golf game, you practice it... if you want to increase your faith, you must practice it as well.
President Nally: Counselor in the MTC Presidency- In Revelations 3:20-21 it talks about how Christ has been standing and waiting for us to open the door and Come Unto Him. Christ can only invite us to do so, but we have to open the door ourselves.
President Brown: MTC President- D&C 33: 8-10 Open your mouths and let the Spirit radiate from your heart to theirs. He gave multiple scripture references for subjects such as Faith, Holy Ghost, Atonement, Baptism, Enduring to the End. I don't have time to write them all down. I have lots of studying to do on these topics and can't wait to learn more about these subjects.
After the Mission Conference we had our Sacrament meeting. I actually got up and bore my testimony and told the story from the TRC and Jhonathan and how it had strengthened my testimony. It was a great experience for me. The Sunday Night Fireside was also very good. It was given by Brother Ted Gibbons (a brother of someone in the Seventy). He did a reinactment of the Joseph Smith story through another person's eyes: Willard Richards, Brigham Young's cousin and also Joseph Smith's secretary. It was a very powerful talk, but the most spiritual part for me was the closing song. We sang "Praise to the Man" and about halfway through the first verse, people started to stand up in respect for Joseph Smith and what he did for us. This happened until everyone was standing. The Spirit was so strong that I started to get emotional singing the words in the song. I had to take breaks throughout the song, because at times I just couldn't sing any of it.... I don't believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God... I KNOW Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.
Monday: My comp and I were able to teach Luis. It was a great lesson given about Prophets in the olden days with Moses and the 10 Commandments, Joseph Smith and part of his revelation about the Word of Wisdom, and then also our Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. The lesson flowed very well and our plan was followed nicely.  Luis said that he would live the 10 Commandments, the Word of Wisdom, and also follow the modern day Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Luis said it all made sense to him since God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever.
Tuesday: We got a new investigator! It's actually someone from the TRC. His name is Jorge. He's from Mexico City and he's been a Baptist for about 20 years now. He had 5 kids. Jorge told us that 9 years ago, one of his children passed away. We were able to teach Jorge for 50 minutes about the Plan of Salvation. He is really depressed about his son and believes God is punishing him for something that he had done. We simply told him that that was not the case and shared what God's plan was for each one of us.  Jorge's faith has really been down the last while because of his son's death. Jorge wants to know how he can increase his faith. We also told Jorge that he will be able to see his son again after this life.  Jorge's face lit up as he heard us say that.  Jorge brought up a scripture in Matthew 7 that talks about the way to Christ. He said that if your church is the way, then I will follow it. I said it is Christ's church and that He wants you to follow Him. After our lesson with Jorge, there was a Devotional given by Yoshihiko Kakuchi: Emeritus Seventy. He was a lively person. Some of the highlights are as follows:
After you have your morning activities and you have your shower, it is imperitive that you find your "Sacred Grove". He said that you need to find your quiet place and have a sacred prayer with God.  He said, "I promise you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ that your lives will be changed." Very powerful. He also had all of the Elders and Sisters stand up. He said: Make an "O" with your arms above your head!, Then make a "Y"!, then breathe out and make an "M". He then told us to do it a second time and said OPEN YOUR MOUTH! That was a great demonstration that showed the importance of this. Our personal study should be 30 minutes reading the scriptures and 30 minutes studying Preach My Gospel. It was a great talk and I really felt the Spirit. I am implementing these things into my life and it is helping me greatly.
Wednesday: Happy Fourth of July!! This was a special day for me and also for the whole MTC. In the morning, my comp and I were able to teach Edwin and his wife, Diana! It was so great to talk to them again. Our main focus today was on the Word of Wisdom and The Law of the Tithe. Diana has some trouble with the Word of Wisdom. She really likes tea. We told her the blessings promised her if she would obey the Word of Wisdom. Diana finally said that she would obey the Word of Wisdom. I testified that she would really be blessed if she did so. Tithing was also a little difficult for Edwin and Diana to do because they don't have a lot of money. We told them about the Law of Tithing and they said that they didn't have any money for that. I said that Jesus Christ gave his whole life for us so that we can repent of our sins and have the opportunity to live with God again. I said that this tenth of your money was all that Jesus Christ was asking of them. It's just a small sacrifice for them to make compared to what the Savior did for us.  Edwin and Diana both agreed and said that they would keep the Law of the Tithe. The night of the fourth, there was a special Fireside for the whole MTC. A nearby Judge came and talked to us. He had just finished serving for 4 years as a Branch President in the MTC. He talked about how the Joseph Smith story could have only happened if this country was able to have freedom of religion. After that, we enjoyed a flag ceremony with all of the flags of people in the MTC. Someone played the bagpipes.. it was pretty sweet. Then after that, we sang "Praise to the Man" again. I really love that song now. President Brown said that there was going to be a fireworks show and that we were not to return to the dorms until the show was over. Well it didn't start until about 10:15 and we didn't get to our dorms until about 11pm. Usually we have to be back to our dorms by 9:30. We didn't get to bed until after 11:30! Yesterday was a tough day on little sleep but it was really fun. We watched the fireworks show from the Stadium of Fire. Im so grateful that I live in a country with religious freedom and can worship what I want. What a great blessing.
Well my time has come and gone. I will answer your questions in another letter and send it today. I am getting your letters and packages and I thank you for them!! It's really nice to read letters on how everyone is doing. I only have 3 weeks and 3 days left until I leave for Santiago! It's so crazy to me but I am so excited to be out serving the Lord.

A special thank-you to my cousins Avery and Connor for sending me pictures in the MTC.  Love you!
Have a great week! I love you worlds.

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