Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week 1 Letter that he sent us. Written 01/09/14

Zach sent us a handwritten letter so I am sharing some of it with you.

Dear Family,
     I hope you enjoyed the gift I left for you all. (He left journals for each of us with his personal thoughts and testimony written in them.)  My flight was really good.  We waited for a while before we could board.  The pilot got sick, so that is what caused the delay.  But it was ok because Elder Bennet and I (that was the missionary) just sat and talked for most of it.  He is really awesome.  He is the fourth brother to go on a mission in his family.  While we were waiting, a few workers walked by and asked us if we were missionaries.  We said yes and we talked a little.  As she left, she said "God bless you" and shook our hands.  That was when it all started to become real for me.  That was the first time I had been recognized as an ambassador of Jesus by someone not in our ward/stake/family/mtc.
     The flight was amazing. (First time flying that he can remember)  Half the people canceled so we pretty much sat wherever.  I had a window seat and I took some pretty awesome pictures.
I arrived in Salt Lake and oddly enough Elder Bennet and I received more weird looks there than we did in Spokane.  I'm so grateful that the Lord gave me sort of a companion for the trip before I even made it to the MTC.
     Phil picked me up and we went to Missionary Mall in Provo to swap out my coat.  On the way, we talked about his mission, how to dal with situations, how to listen to the spirit, and how important obedience is.  Missionary Mall was out of my coat so they gave me a more expensive on that has reflector strips on it.  Pretty Cool!!
     When I arrived at the MTC, I was immediately greeted by my host elder who is stationed there while waiting for his visa to Brazil.  I got my nametag, room key, and a bunch of other things.  The I was taken to my District classroom where I met my District.  4 Elders, 4 Sisters.  Elder Montoya (my companion), Elder Haubner, Elder Mansfield, and I am still learning the sisters names.  We are all getting closer already, which I love.
     We met our teacher, Bro Bryner, and he explained a lot to us.  We then went to a devotional where a couple Mission Presidents and their wives spoke to us.  Then the MTC President and his wife spoke.  I took notes and they just told us about how we will change, what to expect, things like that.  They also introduced all the foreign missionaries which was so cool.  We had a musical number by an Elder who I think has Down Syndrome. He played the most beautiful rendition of "How Great Thou Art" I have ever heard.  It just goes to show just how much love Heavenly Father and Jesus have for us, and that even though they give us trials, through the Atonement, nothing is out of our reach.  We then sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth", which has been one of my favorite songs since EFY.  They changed one very key line.  In the chorus, it originally goes "And we will be the Lord's missionaries", but changed it to "And we are now the Lord's missionaries" and that hit me really hard to say that "yeah, now I really am."  After, we went and ate Chicken Cord'on bleu (if I spelt it right) and rice and a bunch of stuff.  BTW, I'm writing this Thursday and the breakfast was great.  So any myths about cafeteria food or anything being bad, not true.  It's great.
     After dinner, we went and unpacked and set up our room, then went to something called the Wednesday Experience.  Here, about 80 of us were put into a room, and there was an investigator in there.  The instructor explained what we were going to do, which was basically a crash course in teaching through the spirit.  He told us about loving everyone and focus more on making a lesson personal to them, rather than just a lesson. 
     The first man was named George and his leg was amputated and he was in a bed at the hospital.  A lady he had never met before walked into his room.  He asked her what she was doing and she said "I'm her to see an amputee.  Are you George?"  He said yes and asked why.  She walked over and sat on his bed, looked at him and took off her prosthetic leg.  She smiled at him, set her prosthetic leg where his leg should have been and told him that he will walk again.  She then told him about the Church.  That was his story.
     The second lady was Susan.  She moved from Tennessee and left her abusive husband.  She is very smart, very very funny, witty, and has a southern accent.   She knows the Bible better than most members and she recognized immediately how, since we are the Church of Jesus Christ, there hs to be truth here because the Bible talks about how we must take His name upon us. She made a funny comment "I like you cus Christ is in your name and I understand Baptists, I guess.  But baptize is a verb! And I have no idea who Methodist was".  It's funnier in person :)  She was very angry at God however.  She loves Christ, but had a problem God.  Her baby boy was taken from her shortly after birth and it really shook her faith.  We were talking to her and she asked the impossible question "Why did he take my child if He loves me?"  The instructor passed and told us it is totally ok to say we don't know.  I then raised my hand, got the microphone, and asked her if she knew of the plan of Salvation.  She kind of did, saying Paradise and Purgatory, and how she knew her child was in Paradise because her child was perfect.  I told her she was exactly right and that she would see him again and that she would be able to raise her child.  That was a thing she hadn't heard before and was confused.  I tried explaining it but kind of lost my roll.  A sister had the mic and challenged he to pray.  Susan said she was scared so the sister decided to pray for her.  She said one of the most loving prayers ever.
     I am so excited to be here.  I can see already how powerful the Gospel is.  There are so many missionaries, it is awesome.  We really are the latter day army of Helaman.

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