Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas at the MTC

Hey everyone!

I finally have a P-Day! But basically I love it here. I was totally nervous coming in. Who will my companions be? What is going to happen? I had NO idea. But I love love love it here. 

I am in a trio/tripanionship. Elder Jaster is from Farmington Utah, and is headed to Long Beach California. He's super kind and observant, I have learned so much from him! My other companion is Elder Christensen. He's from Laguna Beach and has never been in snow before, so he is LOVING it here! He's actually headed to Anaheim as well! He's super enthusiastic and energetic about sharing the gospel, and he talks A LOT! But I love them so much. I have learned so much from them.
The rest of my district is stellar. There are 9 of us total is in district 29-A. Sister Anderson is from Highland Utah and is headed to Long Beach as well. Elders Poulter and Wiser, and Sisters Hooker, Jones, and Smith, are all headed to Calgary Canada. 

It's crazy how you can go from being complete strangers to basically family in a matter of days. I feel like I have know everyone here for my entire life. I definitely know I am supposed to serve at this time for a reason.

The other district in my zone is all headed to Louiville Kentucky. And they have to stay here for 3 total weeks instead of just 2 like me and my district. (haha)

The schedule here is so crazy, but so great. Who would have thought I would be waking up at 6:30 and going to 14 hours of class and instruction throughout my day. When 10:30 hits, I am totally ready for bed! 
I thought I knew a lot before the MTC. But I have learned so much, and learned that I still have such a long way to go.

I remember as a kid waking up on Christmas and running to the tree to open presents. Yesterday was so different, but it was so fantastic. We had the opportunity to email our families for 20 minutes. My district was in the first group, so we had to be at the computer labs at 7:00am! It was funny to see all these missionaries speed walking to the various buildings to our assigned computer labs and email our families. It was awesome to get to speak with my family, even if it was just for a little bit.

Another one of the highlights of my Christmas at the MTC was hearing from Elder David A. Bednar! It was cool to see him in person! You see the apostles on the TV all the time for conference, but I WAS IN THE SAME ROOM AS ONE! It was awesome to say the very least. We actually got to take part in a historical devotional. Elder Bednar has brought about 200 cell phones with him. He had them passed throughout the crowd. We got to text our questions into an apostle of the Lord. AND HE ANSWERED THEM! It was amazing! Granted he didn't get to answer all of the questions, but each question that he chose to answer was incredibly relevant and helpful. It was just so awesome, I can't even do it justice. I took so many pages of notes. Definitely one of the highlights of my MTC experience.

So we actually get real investigators here. How cool right?! Right now my companions and I are working with a man who came from a baptist background who thought that God didn't love and didn't care about him.

(Kind of irrelevant, but I'll tie it in, just give me a minute.) So, Elder Christensen has never been in snow before. One day in class, we were planning our lesson out for this specific investigator and it started to snow. Elder Christensen got distracted and was like "WOW IT'S SNOWING!! THIS IS SO EXCITING!" Right after he said that, our teacher came over and was like " Yeah, it is exciting. But helping your investigator have a powerful experience with prayer can be just as exciting or more." I didn't think much of it until after our next lesson with this investigator. The belief of God, and the belief that we can talk with Him was a huge barrier for our investigator. We invited him to say a prayer. He was super hesitant at first, but accepted the invitation to pray. It. was. amazing. Our teacher was right, having an investigator experience prayer for the first time is truly exciting. 

We keep on getting more investigators. We just met with one, who is an amputee. His story is inspiring. Unfortunately I do not have time to write it all down in this email. But I will write it out, send it home, and have my sister post it to my blog.

One thing that I have learned during my time here so far is the importance of individuals. In 3 Nephi 11, Christ appears to His followers. In verse 15, the words "one by one" are said. All the people there got to have a one on one experience. I don't know about you, but I think that is amazing. One of the speakers this week said that "for a split second, Christ saw our face, our struggles, our griefs, everything that we would go through. Individually." I know that to be true, and find such joy in it.
The idea of individuals also extends to the people we meet and teach. I'm not simply teaching a family of 4. I will be teaching 4 "ones." 4 people who have their own questions, own struggles, own beliefs. 4 different people that I can help.

Sorry this is super super long, but a lot has happened! And today is my only P-Day in the MTC. I fly out to Anaheim at 8:35 on December 31! I am so close to getting out there! Next time you hear from me, I'll be in California! 
Also, I have struggled all day with the photo uploader here at the MTC. So I will be sending all my MTC pictures in my first email from the field. Fortunately a sister in my district took some pictures and forwarded them to me. I'll be forwarding those off in a few minutes!

I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas. I love you all so much!

Elder Wong

ps. I sent this first letter out to everyone who gave me their email address. If you don't want to receive my letters weekly just let me know so I can take you out of the weekly email group!

A Quick Hello!

Hey! We had a quick minute in between meetings to email you guys! 

They just wanted to let you know that I will not be able to call while I am at the MTC on Christmas. There are so many missionaries here, it would just be impossible for all of us to call.

However! I will maybe, hopefully, be able to call at the airport on the 31st! Hopefully I can find someone at the airport nice enough to let me use their cell phone to give you guys a call. Would you prefer for me to call moms cell phone or the home phone?? My flight leaves at like 8:35, so I would be calling before that.

But, I will have my P-day on Thursday the 26th and will email everyone then!

I'm doing so well! I love my companions Elder Jaster and Elder Christensen so much! My district and zone is awesome! 

They keep us so busy here, it's crazy. But, I am loving the work, loving learning so much, and loving the people. We already taught an investigator and meet with him every day! We get 3 more REAL investigators this week.

Well we're off to another meeting!

Love you all so very much!

-Elder Westin Wong