Hello from Provo West MTC! It is a pretty crazy atmosphere here -- days just blend together, and every day feels like a Sunday (until you get to Sunday and it is like "oh right, that is what Sunday is like!") Everything and everyone are just so focused on learning the language and learning about the Gospel!
Thursday (July 4) was pretty amazing! I started to learn how to pray in Shqip (Albanian) that day and it certainly makes a difference to be able to communicate with God in the tongue of the people you will be serving. We had a fireside that night too and I was just floored with the Spirit and my feelings of love for the Savior. At the end of the fireside and before the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire concert, we got to watch the movie 17 Miracles. If you haven't seen that one it is way good (I guess if you have seen it then it is also way good!) is just one of those movies that makes you want to be a better person and a more diligent follower of Christ. I am looking at my journal for that night and it is basically just a testimony with a date at the top. But, I guess the Adversary doesn't like those types of days. The next morning was really hard for me. I was just really terrified that I was not going to learn the language and that because of that I was not going to be able to communicate with God's children in Albania. As I look back on that I realize that I was in the MTC for less than 48 hours at that point and that to be worried about that when I am doing all that I can to follow the Lord's counsel, guidance, and rules is really not trusting in the Lord's timing. If I give all that I can give and try with all of my heart and mind to learn and become what He wants me to be, then in His timing that is what will happen. As easy as that is to say though, I have moments like that probably every day. I guess I would rather be worried about becoming what I need to be rather than not care at all though!
So on Wednesday at 12:30 we got into the MTC, and on Friday at 8:00 a.m. we taught our first investigator in Albanian....yikes! That was terrifying -- but at the same time it gave me renewed hope that this is something we can do and something we have been called and set apart to do. That is always a happy thought, that we have been called and set apart to do the work of the Lord and the Lord will help those that He calls.
My companion's name is Elder Acheson and he is from, as he would put it, "five minutes that way." He is the district leader and is a way good Elder (I am working really hard not to use the words dude, man, bro, or guy...that is pretty tough!) He knows everyone! I guess that is what comes from living in Provo and not Michigan though. He likes to sleep way cold which has been interesting for the rest of us in the dorm (Elder Richards, Elder Gunther, and I) but we were able to compromise on that. We have two Albanian districts in our zone with 12 Elders and 2 Motra (Sisters). We are pretty tight as mission, haha, sometimes it seems a little too tight! I try to work really hard, but Elder Gunther is definitely showing us up in the Shqip, but I guess that is why it isn't a competition and I am definitely receiving a humbling experience! Our zone is all of the Albanians, Fins, Hungarians, and Estonians in the MTC and our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders are way cool.
On Sunday we got to watch this address that Elder Bednar gave in the MTC a few years ago entitled "Coming Unto Christ" which was incredible! In it he suggested a way of receiving answers to questions or studying a different way. He said that instead of just going to the search engine on LDS.org, to get a paperback Book of Mormon and read it highlighting and underlining according to that question. I was able to go and buy one today and am really excited about doing just that in my personal study time.
Well, I love you all and hope you are doing just splendidly out yonder wherever you are in the United States right now! Keep the faith, the church is true, and missionary work is the Lord's work, we just aren't as good at it as Him!
Të dua dhe mirupafshim!