Monday, September 19, 2011

Michael's weekly letter

 Dearest Mother,

Thanks for the bolded questions, that makes things easier for me.
 How are you doing? 
Usually I'm doing quite well, but as any returned missionary can tell you, the Mission is full of crazy ups and downs, but I'm the happiest I've been in the longest time.  Super excited to hit the field.
  How’s the District? 
Well, the district is better now.  We have a couple of missionaries that really don't know why they are here and can be bullies sometimes, but they have changed a lot in the last 9 weeks and I know the lord will continue to change them for the better.  Fortunately I really like my companion, so things aren't ever too bad for me.  But just like you predicted the hardest thing for me in the MTC has been getting along with the other 19 year old boys here.

  Are you enjoying the home-like weather? 
It's crazy, I've never seen it so rainy and cloudy this time of year in Utah.  I really appreciate it though, its a nice change from the hot dry summer days.  Some of us enjoy the rain ;)
  How’s MTC Choir?  
I really love singing in the MTC choir.  Its a lot of fun and 10 of my 12 district-mates all sing in the choir together.  My only wish was the music was harder, the hymns they sing are really really simple.  Oh the MTC choir won't be singing in Conference this year, the director said they only do that once every 2-3 years.  So at least I won't be missing out on that opportunity.  The choir directors are really awesome here, and every rehearsal (we have rehearsal twice a week) is a really spiritually uplifiting experience.
 Seen Elder Abrams? 
Nope again, if someone isn't headed to Brasil they are on a different schedule than I am (and even if they are going to Brasil they could be on a different schedule because there are over 300 of us here now) and so the chances of our paths crossing are slim to none.

  How’s Elder Horrocks and Elder McDonnell?
Elder Horrocks seems to be doing good.  I see him about 2-3 times a day, but other than basketball there isn't really too much of an oppertunity to spend much time with him.  I see Elder McDonnell as well every now and again usually during a mealtime and we'll stop and chat.  He's seems to be doing fine as well.
      That's so crazy that you had a fire in the church!  That would be a real shame if some of the paintings/drawings/items that bishop has on his wall and in his office got destroyed because of the fire damage.
     I really enjoyed reading your testimony, thanks for sharing it with me.
     This week we had ANOTHER apostle come speak to us.  It's almost unheard of to have two apostle speak in just 2 weeks separating them.  I feel really blessed.  Elder Russel M. Ballard gave an excellent talk on the basics of being a missionary.  Who we needed to be, how we needed to prepare, and what we needed to study.  It was all really helpful to all of us.  Although it was interesting to notice a completely different style of speaking from Elder Holland.  I guess growing up I always just lumped the 12 apostles together as one, and didn't ever notice any difference between them, but as I study their words more I see that they definitely have different methods of teaching.  Its a real lesson in just being yourself, the Lord wants the best you can be, not the best you can imitate someone else.
     This past week we've been really focusing on Teaching People, Not Lessons.  They have a brand new curriculum in the MTC that came out right when we came in, focusing on 8 fundamentals of missionary work.  They are:
 The Doctrine of Christ - The missionary purpose
The Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion
Revelation through Prayer
Revelation through The Book of Mormon
Revelation through Church Attendance
Teach People not lessons
We invite, they commit, we follow up
How to Begin Teaching
      Every week we've focused on one of those fundamentals.  It's really helped me to focus on what exactly are the foundations of missionary work, or rather what do I need to do as a Missionary to be able to point people to Christ.  Each of these fundamentals are focused on doing just that.  I'm really excited that we have the freedom of Preach My Gospel rather than the memorized discussions.  It takes a lot more diligence and hard work to do this correctly but I know that this will bless peoples lives.
       Oh and I saved this for last because I know you are all dying to know where I'm going for the next few months.  My reassignment will be given to me on Wednesday so you'll just have to stay tuned.  Also send me a Dear Elder with when the best time for me to call home is.  I get to call this week after I get my reassignment.  Either Wednesday at 7:30 your time or after 5:15 on Thursday would work best for me.

I love you lots,
Elder Henry

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