Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Day at the Office

Well hello family!

These letters stress me out because we have this timer that starts ticking in the corner of the screen and it makes it hard to remember things, so just forgive for very scrambled thoughts. It makes for a fun challenge every p-day. Another good week has come and passed, holy cow it is crazy to think that we're getting close- relatively close that is to leaving. Seeing the 'older' group take off really puts the bug in you. But I still really enjoy the MTC, which creates a very strange love hate relationship with this place. But it is a special place. We had a pretty special night last night. It is the 50th anniversary of the MTC and so to celebrate, Elder Holland and Elder Nelson dropped in. I gotta tell you the story because we got so lucky to be in the auditorium with them. So it all started with flying through dinner and going to join the masses that were waiting to enter the auditorium. Everyone knew it was the anniversary to celebrate last night, so everyone wanted to be in early because you never know who is going to come. So we get in line and basically all they let in are the international missionaries and the choir members, basically turning us all away to sit in the overflow because of all the unknown guests that were coming. It was so disappointing. So then we waited around for a second and were some of the last people to get in the overflow in the other building. With about ten minutes until the meeting began, some security guys snuck in and quietly told the last four rows to go to the auditorium! It was so awesome we just took off bookin’ it. I felt like I was on a movie trying to get out without any of the other missionaries noticing. So, not only did we get in, but we were hooked up with some close seats. I sound like I'm describing a rock concert. But really it was awesome. It was my dream to hear from Elder Holland in the same meeting...and I got to last night! He and Elder Nelson are some pretty solid guys if I am able to say so myself. At the end, Elder Nelson also offered a dedicatory prayer on some renovated buildings that were recently finished in the MTC. It was a pretty special spirit that we were able to partake of last night. Good times on the mission. The best part is, I am only in the MTC. I can't wait to see what the 'real' mission brings.

Other than that, there really is not a ton of things to report. Sometimes it is a little robotic going from class to food to class to gym, but its a good schedule. Sunday is still my favorite day though. I got to participate in blessing the sacrament and got to bless the water in Russian. Again, more of that special spirit that is felt here. It meant a little more to try and say words perfectly and try and pick up on some of the translations. This Sunday was a little more busy though as we met with the branch presidency basically all morning making for not my most restful sabbath, but I'm not complaining it is a good tired to be. We had to prepare for a Ukrainian speaking district who Elder Davis and I are going to meet tonight and then help out with an introduction type meeting with the branch presidency tomorrow. It will be fun to have some fresh blood and some more people in our neck of the woods. On Sunday we had around 20 people for sacrament meeting. It was kind of fun though to get a little closer with the other district. And then two weeks from now we will get another two Russian speaking districts and do it all over again! Which reminds me that I saw Tanner Larsen yesterday! I was so torn because I was on my way to class and had to get going so we just had a quick bro reunion and I got on my merry way. It was so fun I can't wait for him to come in a couple weeks.

I have really enjoyed this week studying preach my gospel. Wow I had no idea how inspired and great that book really is. I believe, like we've been told, that preach my gospel was written on the other side of the veil. We watched a President Uchtdorf talk on Sunday evening in which he talked about the first principles of the gospel. I loved this quote, "never tire of the first principles of the gospel." How true I am beginning to learn this to be as I study it out in preach my gospel. The reason preach my gospel is so good is because it focuses entirely on those first principles. 'My purpose' as stated in the beginning of preach my gospel is to bring others to Christ through these principles. It is so easy to look over the value of faith, repentence, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. And don't forget enduring to the end. However, when we really think about these simple principles, everything falls into place. This is my purpose. This is how I have come closer to Christ and I know it's the true way anyone can come closer to Christ. I love the simplicity of the gospel. I have also loved to find the many simple invitations to come and see. All that is asked of us is to come and see, come and feel the goodness of Christ. Allow these first principles to work within us and to feel the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father in our lives. This is another principle which I have loved to think about through the day. It is simply this: God loves us and wants us to be happy. What power is in just a simple statement like this. I love this gospel because, as we teach and as preach my gospel says, it is given to us because God loves us and it will make us happy. As Alma states, it becomes delicious to me.

I am very fortunate to have this gospel, to have a family with the gospel, and now be able to share it. Hopefully I can make a family smile like I see ours in my pictures on my desk. I know it's because we have the gospel. It is so fun to teach in Russian and try and allow the spirit to guide my words. Because I need that. We continue to progress and work every day to do our best. In the end, that is the variable we can control. Simply doing our best, I know Christ will make up the rest. That is why Christ performed the Atonement, because He can make up the rest. I love you and love the support Elder Davis and I feel literally every day from home. We love the sandwiches. And most of all, love you.

Elder Nielson
Tanner Larsen and Elder Nielson run into eachother at the MTC! The happiness in Chris' face is apparent how he feels about seeing his friend. Tanner will enter the MTC in two weeks. Thanks for sharing the pic with us Tanner!

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