First off, my apologies to those of you who have written to me and I haven't written back. My letter writing window is small on P-Day and y'all know I don't write very quickly. I'll try to do better, but I still haven't replied to at least two letters I received my first week. I should be getting those out today, but again, I apologize in advance if it doesn't get out as quickly as that.
Second, even though DearElder.com is supposed to be same-day-delivery to the MTC... It's not. My mom sent me a letter that way on Monday that I didn't get until yesterday, so it can take anywhere from an hour (Meg's was like that the first week) to probably three days. Physical mail can take up to about 5 days. I got a letter from my dad yesterday that was mailed on Saturday... So... Plan ahead.
On that note, thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. I love hearing from y'all and look forward to replying.
This last week was pretty sweet. Our investigators are... moving along. But the highlight was when we had Elder Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy gave our Tuesday Devotional. He and his wife devoted their time to the topics of prayer and the Holy Ghost. In both talks the comment was made that "you are never alone." The only time you will feel alone is when you want to be. I've heard it said that "if you feel further from God today than yesterday, who moved." When you ask for the Spirit, it will be there, provided you are worthy to receive it.
On the subject of my investigators, I'll begin with Macarena. She's now really receptive and has accepted the baptismal invitation (keep in mind that both of these investigators are our teachers). But, while she now wants to be baptized, we've hit a wall with the Word of Wisdom. We were prepared on Monday to teach her about the restoration, but at the beginning of the lesson she mentioned that she was going to a Halloween party that night, at which she'd be drinking. Neither of my companions picked up on that right away, but I was stopped in my tracks like a deer in headlights. With Tati, we've discussed the Word of Wisdom from the point of a smoker, but none of us have even really thought about it from the perspective of alcohol. The best (or worst) part is that, while we know it's bad, we don't yet have the language skills to explain what we need to. Its frustrating, but we'll rigure it out. Tati, is coming along well. We've been doing a better job with him and we feel like he's really progressing well, but he still has a little trouble quitting. We've given him a calendar on which he can check off whether or not he smoked, drank, read from the scriptures, prayed, or other things, and that's helped him to see his progress, but he still has a little trouble with the temptations. The last time he smoked that we know of was on Saturday, but we have another visit with him tonight, so we'll see how he's doing with that. We also had to push his baptismal date back by two weeks, so we have enough time to teach all the things we need to and to help him overcome his smoking habit.
As far as the MTC goes, it's starting to blend together. It feels like I just wrote my last e-mail yesterday, so the time is really flying. And I'll be getting my travel papers either next week or the following (though I'm pretty sure it's next week). In four weeks from today, I'll be in Argentina. Sooner, even, and that just feels weird. But it's where I need to be and I'm anxious to serve the Lord.
I love and miss you all!
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Meg and Marvin: I'm sorry I haven't yet written, and I got your letter last week after I got out email on Thursday and I wasn't able to write anymore. There will be one in the mail this week.
Mom: As I said, I got your message yesterday. And I really did laugh at your quote... "Ohhhh, someone's been doing some really dark magic in there..." ;) Also, would you be able to send me another three pair of my white atheletic socks? I'm having to double up since we have gym time every day... And if there's any way I can get the family picture from thanksgiving two years ago, that'd be awesome! The one where we're all wearing black shirts and jeans.
Dad: I also just got your letter yesterday. I hope you're feeling better by now, and if not, know that I pray for you and all the family every day. Thank you for your example and encouragement.
Joseph: If you can, try having your Teacher's Quorum start reading Preach My Gospel now. Ask the Bishop if you all can get copies. I'm sure he'll give them to you or can get them. Also, I'd recommend starting to read Jesus the Crist. It's a really heavy read, but once you become accustomed to the language, it'll move along quickly. And you have an advantage that I do not. You can look up the words he uses. I don't have access to either the internet (at least not free access, only email and lds.org) or a dictionary. But doing both a study from Preach My Gospel and Jesus the Christ is helping me develop a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven.
Sarah and Brandon: Do you have a family picture of the three of you that I could get somehow? I can't print things off here, but if it's possible, just a 4x6 picture woud be great! Love you! I hope Singers is coming along well too, and your classes Sarah!!!