My Dear Family,
Thanks you soooooo very much for your surprise gift inside my winter coat. That photo book of our last few days together is honestly probably the best gift I could ever recieve. I even used it in one of my progressing investigator discussions to help illustrate how much we love our families. I miss you guys terribly; not to the point of depression, but I just remember so many fond memoies of each one of your individual personalities.
A few things... Alex, don't complain about getting grounded :), honestly the MTC is like being grounded for 10 weeks: no cell phones, no music, 8 hours of studying, and no hanging out with friends, and curfew is at 10:00.
I am so sorry to here about Rachel's leg. Is she ever not in a cast? I guess she is just to skilled to play at such a young age level. She should be training with high school students:) Rachel, I hope you pray to God for comfort' he really loves you and wants to help you through your trials, you just need to ask:) Also a priesthood blessing never hurts.
Anyways I love you all. Give Jane a kiss for me.
Well, things are going great. It's hard to believe I've been here for 2 weeks. I'm still progressing in Spanish, and we recieved some more ongoing investigators (they're really our teachers). One is a non-member, catholic, amiable, family man named Javier, while the other is named Antonio. Antonio is a little different: he's jobless, depressed, a les active Church member, mom is sick in the hospital, and I think he has a drug addiction as well (they aren't the best actors). It was interesting, when I met with Antonio, I just felt this overwhelming sense of compassion and love for the man; honeslty Christ loves everyone regardless of their sins. You could tell the man was depressed. We asked him what he expected to get from meeting with Elder Morrell and I, and his answered really touched me: "I just want to be happy."
and that's the thing about this Gospel... it really makes people happy. I've never met Christ, but a must assume he must have been a happy person to be around.
I love my zone. We have this awesome tradition playing soccer every gym time we get.. I'm sure our playing methods are enough to make my little sister Rachel cringe :) there's basically no "offsides" rule, headers are illegal, no one knows how to score, and we all just run around like chickens with their heads cut off. This one time I was literally standing in front of the goal about to kick the ball, and I literally pulled a Charlie Brown moment and missed the ball; my foot didn't even make contact:) But it's fun and a great outlet from studying.
Oh, I totally need to rant about the MTC's rules on music. Basically, we aren't allowed to even listen to music inside our dorm rooms...including Motab or any kind of hymn! It's so lame. The Branch President tried to explain to me why, and when he did his explanation sounded reasonable enough. But sill... I mis listening to good music from Motab, Jon Schmidt, alex Boye and so forth. I also tried out for a musical number "Onward Christian soldiers"; the music board loved it but they said I need to work on not "performing". I think the rules with music are meant to humble me as a missionary; and it's working.
I will obey the rules. I've learned that obedience helps you feel the Spirit because you are more at one with God's plan for you. And honeslty, he knows whats best for you regardless of how sure you are of life.
I'm loving life right now though. Elder L. Tom Perry ( an apostle) gave an awesome devotional this week. He's like 90 years old and he literally jogged up the stairs to the podium. I don't remember much of the talk, but I do remember his powerful witness of preesthood authority and power! When he bore his testimony, his voice rose louder than it had the whole night. There is NO way he is lying or disillusioned. I can't explain what I felt that moment.
Tonight is my first night at the TRC. For those who don't know, th TRC is a training center where volunteers come in and role play investigators. They have Spanish speaking individuals, and the discussions are pretty realistic: non members even sometimes volunteer to come down. no pressure:)
Anyways, real quick, I want to bear my testimony that god lives and gives revelation through the Holy Ghost. It's never a huge vision or dream, but more of a quiet thought prodding you in the right direction, accompanied by a warm feeling in the heart.
Until Next Week,
Elder Andrew Powley