Sunday, September 28, 2014

MTC Week 3

MTC Week 3

Dear all,

This week has been another super good one. First things first, Elder Sanchez and I got "promoted" so we are now the zone leaders. Which is kinda cool I guess. Mostly just means more meetings and longer prayers but still I feel honored for the opportunity to serve even more people directly. Also it means that we got in inherit all of the old zone leader's food, and that was a lot. And its all good. We have a stack in our shelf about a foot high of bags of cookies... :)

So my teacher that I told you about last week. He is seriously the man. Like wow. If I could grow up and be like him that would be the dream. For the past two days he's taken like an hour of class each time he teaches just to talk about scriptures that he's been thinking about. Super deep and super powerful. That man knows how to study the word of God. Also, one of his companions was Adam Hine and he has been keeping me semi updated on the Cougs so there's some extra cool points. He also had another money quote this week. "Grace isn't the light at the end of the tunnel, but the train that takes us there." Wow.

We started doing this thing this week called TRC. I'm not sure what it stands for, but it's basically volunteers that come in and let us teach them. The first time we did it the people were members and just acting like themselves, so we just basically had a little devotional for them. The first guy we taught was named Doug, but he said his name didn't sound good in Spanish and told us to call him Pedro. He served his mission in 1961 I think but he said that he still knows Spanish cause every night he prays in Spanish and reads his Spanish scriptures. Cool guy. At the end he gave Elder Sanchez and I homemade cards with all of the articles of faith on em in Spanish. Also very cool. Then the next time we did TRC, we had people who were either real investigators of members of the church pretending to be investigators. And that's where we met Javier. He is by far the hardest investigator we have had here, and it's not like he's only hard for us, he has a legend around his name. It's good though, I've had to study super hard and learn lots of new Spanish to be able to answer his questions, which basically challenge not only the basis of our church, but all religion. It's frustrating. Plus he's from Spain so he speaks that weird lispy Spanish and idk it just doesn't sound right. That doesn't matter though haha

On Sunday we had a pretty cool opportunity. The Ogden Temple got rededicated and the Brethren authorized the MTC as an extension of the temple so we all got to go to that. Seeing 2,000+ missionaries doing the Hosanna Shout is a sight to behold lemme just tell ya. And then on Tuesday for Devotional, we got to hear Elder Ballard speak to us, which was way cool. He began by saying that he didn't have any notes, but he just wanted to talk to us like a Grandpa would speak to his Grandchildren. Tan poderoso.

Ok so some other things. I'm like 30% sure my toe is maybe slightly broken. But it's ok it only hurts when I walk weird and it's been less and less each day so I'm not worried. Also yesterday while playing basketball I got hit in the mouth with an elbow. I didn't think too much of it until I tasted blood and then I wiped my mouth with my hand and my palm was straight red. So yeah my right check is super swollen and half of my bottom lip is blue. Not purple, not red, blue. Navy freaking blue. It's awesome. I look so tough. But don't worry about me I promise I'm ok.

Ok so is BYU like making SportsCenter and stuff? Cause from what I'm gathering they are looking really really good. I wish I could just watch the games haha the Senior Missionaries all get to go. Maybe ill just buy and old guy mask and make elder sanchez wear a dress. Idk.

The MTC is really really awesome and I'm having a blast. Hope you are all feeling the same way. Also sidenote I found out that my branch is moving to Main Campus the day after I leave. So heck yeah I don't have to deal with that place. West Campus is where it's at.

Con amor,

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 2 in the MTC

MTC Week 2

Hola todos!!

Ok  so last week I felt like I was sending a bunch of little fragmented emails, so I'm gonna try and get everything into one this week to make it more efficient. Hope this works haha

First things first. Idk who the heck did the study that says that 8 hours of sleep is enough cause for real its not I'm so tired all the time. Which I'm kinda used to but still.

Another good thing. I've learned the Spanish equivalent to "fetch" so guess what word I say all the time now ;) I've also learned, garbage, straight garbage, total garbage, and seriously garbage. All useful. I also accidentally swore in class the other day, I was trying to conjugate a verb and practice saying it out loud and I did it wrong and the one Hermana in my district who is basically fluent looked at me like I killed the prophet. Whoops lol

We got a new teacher this week, and he is seriously the man, like if I could grow up to be him that would be the dream. The first day, he pulled us out one by one and interviewed us, and he talked to me a lot about charity and prayer. Direct quote from that meeting, "If we aren't praying for other people, why the hell are we praying at all?" That was on Thursday, so I've been thinking about it a lot this week. And then last night, Elder Richard G. Scott came to give a devotional, and he talked about prayer. It was so amazing, The one thing he said that made me think a lot is how all of us, even him, are so insignificant compared to God, but he has still given us the power to speak directly to him, and has provided a way to give us specific answers. So then we went to the temple this morning, and let me just say that sitting in the celestial room surrounded by other elders, all with their heads bowed, pleading with our Father in Heaven for whatever they needed, is one of the single most incredible spirits that I have ever felt. Nothing compares.

Also, on Sunday, Elder Sanchez and I got home from church and went over to our "classroom" to get ready for district meeting, and when we got there, Brother Wolfert was waiting for us. He interviewed each of us and then we all waited for the Hermanas to get back from Relief Society. But they were taking way longer than usual, so after a while he invited Elder Sanchez and I into our investigator room to teach him the first discussion. The only problem is that he doesn't speak Spanish, so we had to do it in English. Somehow that was way harder. I kept having to translate what I wanted to say from Spanish back into English. And then we got to the first vision and out of habit, I said the first couple of lines in Spanish before my companion stopped me haha. He did say that the spirit was very strong when we taught, that we taught with strong unity, and that if he were the mission president in the missions where we are serving, he would be so happy to have Elders as prepared as we are. So that's a good thing.

Another cool thing: right now it looks like there will be an MTC choir for at least one session of General Conference, which means that I have a decent chance of going, especially if it's preisthood session because then they can basically take every single elder with them. So that's exciting.

All in all, the MTC is just great, just great. 

Love you all, hope you're doing just fabulous.

Elder Rawlings

Sunday, September 14, 2014

First Letter Home

MTC Week 1

Dear All,

The MTC is one heckuva place. The spirit here is so strong and everyone is so helpful and willing to lift each other up because we all know that we have the same struggles. It's like BYU on roids.

This first week has taken forever I swear, but I have learned so much. I have my missionary purpose memorized in Spanish, I have the first half of the first vision down, and I have the first 4 verses of D&C 4 down. So that's all coming along nicely.

Because I am in the intermediate class, I got to start teaching an investigator the second day I was here. Elder Sanchez, my companion, and I have taught the first two lessons so far and asked him to be baptized yesterday. He said he would pray about the things we said and give us and answer tomorrow. (Of course, he's not a real investigator, but it's still intimidating trying to speak only in spanish using words I barely learned.)

So there is a sister in my district who is very shy and very hard on herself when it comes to speaking the language. She knows how to speak nearly perfectly, but she is so afraid of speaking that often she doesn't. I have been praying as her district leader for some time now to try and know how to help her.

So then last night, a member of the branch presidency stopped by my apartment, I''m not sure why, but he asked us how she was doing and how he could help. I asked him to join with me in praying for her, and he said he could do me one better. He showed me the scripture that says "for the Lord knows that ye have need of all these things", and told us that one of the gifts of the spirit is that we can pray to know what to ask for.

So Elder Sanchez and I went to our room and got down on our knees and offered some of the most sincere prayers I have ever been a part of. The spirit was so strong. After we finished, we sat up and talked about what we felt, We came up with a plan to help this hermana, and then we got back onto our knees to ask if it was the right plan. Overwhelmingly yes. It was amazing, I can't even begin to describe it. 

In summary, I love being a missionary.


Elder Rawlings

***Side note from Mom.  President Wolfort who had been serving as Mission President in the Atlanta North Mission, and was just released this past July, is serving in Jenson's Branch Presidency in the MTC.  Jenson has really enjoyed working with Pres. Wolfort and being able to discuss many of the missionaries he worked with in our Ward.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

No News is Good News :)

Jenson entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah on September 3rd, 2014.   One of the hardest parts of letting him go, is not having the daily contact with him that we have grown accustomed to.  We are anxiously awaiting his first letter/email home and excited to learn a little of his life at the MTC.  We do know he arrived safely and are so grateful for Grandpa and Grandma Litster for taking him to the MTC.  We are also so grateful for ALL the family members who supported Jenson and came to his open house in Utah.  Thought you might enjoy a few pictures from his last moments before entering the MTC.

At the Atlanta Airport, final goodbye with his brother and sisters

Grandma fed him well for his last "home cooked meal" for a while

On his way to the MTC

Entering the MTC

Goodbye Grandpa

And he is off....