Well, this last week has been kind of crazy. Starting Saturday, we had about 110 new mission presidents and their wives come live at the MTC for their Opening Seminar. It was great to have their Spirit present, but there were some difficulties. Primarily, they had to close of half of the cafeteria to accomodate eating arrangements for the MTC presidents. On top of that, the MTC is pretty much at maximum capacity with missionaries already. Needless to say, the lines were huge! It was like a Pioneer trek just to get a bowl of cereal on Sunday morning.
But, I can't complain. We had some perks as well. The MTC presidency gave us a very nice treat. We got to watch "The Other Side of Heaven" on Saturday night! Now it may not sound that exciting, but considering the past two months we've only been allowed to watch either "The Testaments", "Legacy" or "Joseph Smith:The Prophet of the Restoration", it was really awesome! Not going to lie, once the movie turned on, it was the equivelant of being at the Midnight premier for "Dark Knight Rises"---everyone cheered and gave eachother high fives! It was great. And even better, the movie really reminded us about how important it is to see other people, especially those that belong to a vastly different culture, from the eyes of God. He truly loves all of his children unconditionally.
Another interesting fact about the Mission President Seminar this weekend was that we were also in the midst of many of the apostles at the MTC. Now, they weren't really walking around the MTC campus all day, but you could feel something. And then we had a Devotional on Tuesday (we called it a Super Devo) where 10 of the 12 apostles were present! Once they walked in, it was incredible to witness the change in atmosphere. The Spirit was truly testifying that these men were called of God to help lead Christ's church here on Earth.
Elder L. Tom Perry privelaged us with a wonderful talk. It was actually a little out of the ordinary, he started of by simply stating: "The Doctrine is the same, in fact, Eternal" and then proceeded to not talk about the doctrines of the church, but rather a statistical presentation. Accoriding to surveys done by Pew, the Mormon community on a whole is happier, more healthy, have 40% less clogged arteries compared to people in the US (which is because of fasting once a month), and more family centered. LDS teens are among the top groups who are least likely to engage in risky behavior, Mormonsare the number one religion who have know the Bible, and actually practice their faith as a lifestyle.
Anyways, he was a lot more specific than what I laid out, but needless to say, the Church as a whole is an amazing organization that would not be possible if it were not God's kingdom here on the Earth. Elder Perry also noted that the only way to eliminate prejudices and misconceptions about the Church is through members being good examples to the world and letting their good works show--not necessarily a missionary discussion on the "Restoration". And if you think about it, people are more drawn to the type of person. People were drawn to Christ because he genuinely loved them unconditionally and with perfect charity. I only hope to develop that kind of love while out on my mission.
After the devotional, Elder Holland and Elder Scott blew tender kisses out into the audience of missionaries. The gesture really impacted me because it me realize how we stand shoulder to shoulder with the apostles of the Lord in building the kingdom of God on the Earth.
Really quick, I want to share an insight I've had this week. It mainly has to do with something a protestor said outside the MTC gate this past Sunday. But first, understand this: The main tempation that Satan has for each one of us is that every day he is subtly trying to get us to "doubt our divine potential". When Christ fasted for 40 days, this "doubt" was the primary temptation. "If thou be son of God, turn these stones into bread." The "if" is important. If Christ had turned the stones to bread, it would have meant that he himself doubted that he was the Son of God. James E Talmage explains it better in "Jesus the christ" but ultimately remember this: don't doubt your divine potential. Don't dwell on doubt. Sure, we don't have perfect knowledge of everything, but that's what faith is for. And the best way to avoid doubt is to consistantly pray and read the scriptures and attend church and be obediant to the commandments. It's incredible how much you learn out here!
I've learned so much here at the MTC, and it's quite exciting to think that by this time next week I will be in Oklahoma City proselyting for the Lord. I actually fly out July 3 at about 6 am. Just a heads up my mailing adress will be different by then. Here's my new adress,
416 SW 79th St. Ste. 210
Oklahoma City, OK 73139-8121 USA
Man I just can't explain how excited I am! However, it's a little daunting as well. I'm going to be working with real investiagtors. No more practice, it's time to really put my faith to the test. I know I'm inadequate. I'm only a 19 year old college boy who barely knows Spanish, yet the Lord calls me to preach hope, repentance and testify of the love of Christ. I know that through the Atonement of Christ, I can do all things and become whoever th Lord wants me to be.
Stay strong in faith. don't let doubt get you down.