Wow, the first week has flown by. Ups, downs, all arounds. I don't remember all that I included in my last letter, so I'll say now that we have taught Franco (our first investigator) three lessons, in Spanish, and have another appointment with him in about three hours. !!! This lesson's focus is on the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel as outlined in 2 Nephi 31, which we challenged him to read and pray about last time. I brushed up on that chapter during personal study this morning so I hope it will go well.
My dad wrote in a letter to me the other day that my MTC experience would either be a Sinai or a Gethsemani experience, and at the end of the paragraph said I'd probably have a good mix of both. He was right. I've had so many spiritual highs and wonderful feelings as I've taught with my companion and as we've prepared messages and grown to love one another. And then I've felt pretty down sometimes, mostly because of the amount of things all of our teachers and other leaders expect us to do, with seemingly almost no time to do it. Fifteen minutes is a gift here, where everything seems to be moving on fast forward. It's hard to believe that I've already been here a week, and at the same time I think about it and say to myself "It's only been a week?!" But that's the way it will go.
I love my companion. His name is Elder Jones, from Lehi Utah. He's the oldest in a family of eight kids and he's crazy! He likes to quote movies with me, has an enthusiasm that I admire and sometimes envy, and a surety of spirit that I love working with, even if he can find ways to grate on my nerves a little sometimes. We've really grown together quite a bit.
Conference was great! At the MTC we all gather in the Gymnasium with overflow seating in the main administration building, and watch conference on big screens. I'll tell you though, those seats give you really bad bleacher butt, or TB (tired buns) after sitting on them for so long. In order to even get a good seat in the Gymnasium, we had to be there about a half hour early, so we were sitting in there for about 13 hours altogether over the sourse of Saturday and Sunday. My favorite talk was Elder Holland's during the Priesthood session of conference in which he gave an "in your face" talking to to young men to get ready to go on missions. I left my notes in my room, otherwise I'd quote some of it to you. I also liked all the messages that were presented on loving people, and I don't remember which talk this was, but one in particular mentioned that when talking with a member of another faith about the Church, we need to have a conversation with them, listen to them speak about their own beliefs as well, and so forth, then converse and not argue. Showing love is the most important thing we are taught here in the MTC. The investigators will feel if you're just trying to get another number on Church records, but if they feel that you truly and sincerely love them, they will be more open to the message and feel if more from you.
Through all the good times and the bad, we need to keep our heads up. I received a letter from a dear friend yesterday, in which she quoted from Mosiah 4:27 (I think is 27) in which we are counseled not to run faster than we have strength, and so forth. Look it up and take it to heart. It was a relief to read and hear at a time when I felt a little down, so heed its message.
I look forward to hearing from anyone and have had a few surprising letters come from people I didn't really expect to hear from. Thank you to those of you who have written and the messages and encouragement you gave to me. I love all of you and want you to know that I am serving the best that I can. Thank you all.
With Love, Go with God,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Chernichs: Thanks for the message and for the encouragement. I think of you all often!