Another week has gone by in the MTC and it has been another good one. :) There hasn't been too much of note that has gone on recently, but every day I've learned something new either about the Gospel or about the Spanish language. One of our teachers was on vacation all week and the other missed a few days because she was graduating so we ended up being taught by about three different teachers this week. The craziest and probably the funnest one was Hermano Jarman. To be perfectly honest he's a bit of a nutcase, but aren't we all? ;) He made the class entertaining, but still taught us a ton. He's really good at teacher Spanish grammar so that's mostly what we learned from him. We were reviewing subjunctives and he told us this stupid story in order to help it along. It was about fat kid subjunctive. I won't tell you the whole story, but just know it had to do with a fat kid at a pool. If I recall correctly, someone questioned Hermano Jarman's story and he replied "It doesn't matter! He's fat!" It was pretty much hilarious. :)
Now when it comes to how we teach, it's a little different. We have the doctrine and the language is coming along, but our presentation is... lacking. Hermanos Pepper and Jarman both said, and I quote, "You're lessons are terrible." I think it was Hermano Pepper who told us a story about this kind of problem. There was a mission president who was having some sort of zone meeting or something to talk to the missionaries. He brought out a nice chocolate cake that his wife had made and set it on the table. He then asked who would like a piece of cake. All the missionaries raised their hands and he picked one to come up and get a piece. As the missionary walked up, the mission president grabbed a handful out of the cake and hurled it at the missionary, hitting him square in the chest. Everyone was shocked. He then asked if another missionary wanted a piece of cake. Tentatively, one other missionary raised his hand. This time, the president cut out a nice piece, poured a glass of milk, and even pulled out the chair for him. He said, this is how our teaching should be. That story (I know I probably told it badly) helped a lot. As missionaries we've got this delicious cake of the Gospel, but we need to learn how to cut it and present it rather than just chucking it at people.
I've been reading the Book of Mormon a ton during my stay here and it's awesome! I read it in both English and Spanish, but I've been reading a lot more in English. I'm through the book of Helaman and have started 3 Nephi. I love the stories about Samuel the Lamanite and Nephi preaching to the people. What great examples of missionary work! If I could preach with just fraction of that power and conviction, I'd be a happy missionary. Reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish has been such a cool experience! I'm understanding more and more of what I read. I usually read a verse or two in Spanish and try to translate it. Then I read the verses in English and see how close I was. A lot of the time I'm right on the money! The Lord is definitely blessing me with the gift of tongues!
Now for the reason for my title this week. We have four elders in my district that are headed for Colombia: Elders Laws, Perrenound, Andrew and Dahlin. They're all a bunch of amazing young men and I feel privileged to have met them. Today was there day to leave. Unfortunately, only three of them actually left. Elders Laws, Andrew and Dahlin all got up at 3a.m. and left to catch their flight. We set our alarms so that we could get up and say a quick goodbye to them. Elder Perrenound will be staying with us at least for the duration of our stay due to some medical issues. He's got an infection of some kind and the doctors are worried about some growths on his neck. We're all glad he gets to stick around with us longer, but it was probably bitter sweet for him. It's going to be weird not having these elders around. They brought a lot of light and laughter to the room. They'll be spending three more weeks in the Bogata (probably spelled that wrong) MTC. Apparently, they'll be proselyting their first week and of course everything will be in Spanish. I'm not sure if I should be jealous or not. :P
Anyway, I'm growing a lot here. Every day is a new spiritual experience and a new learning experience. We've been teaching each other as investigators now as well. That means that we teach six lessons a week now. We switch off every day either being a teacher or being an investigator. It's been fun and has given us a lot of much need practice. Every day this week has become a "speak your language" day. We've been trying to speak Spanish as much as we possibly can. I can understand nearly everything any of our investigators say to me, but I'm still having a bit of trouble conjugating everything correctly when I speak. That's what I've been focusing on in my language studies.
I want to bear my testimony on the importance of obedience. I know that if we do all that is in our power to follow the will of the Lord, we will be blessed. Every blessing we receive is based on the law upon which it has been predicated. For example, every day that I've been in bed on time I feel more energized in the morning and ready to face the challenges of the day. I know it seems like a simple rule and that some of the commandments and counsels of the prophets seem like simple rules too, but if we keep all these commandments to the best of our ability we will be blessed more than we know. I know this church is true and that we have a living prophet today who receives revelation for the entire church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I've grown to love it's words. Thanks for all the support and your prayers! I love you all! Choose the right! :D
-Elder Sean Horrocks