Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MTC Week 4

We have less than two weeks left!!! It really started to hit my district and the Nordes because the Danes are leaving this coming MONDAY!! Its gonna be weird with them gone; definitely a fun group of Elders for sure! Thankfully our teachers are prepping us well! We get our travel plans this FRIDAY!

Days blur together here. One minute we are in meetings and class, the next we're eating dinner and going to bed. Starting back from last Thursday though, here's whats been going on:

So in response to the Nordes prank (who also pranked our other Swedish brethren in their room by swapping all their closets), we tried to plan out something good. It reached a point where we stayed up too late, and our wonderful Zone Leader Elder Johanson told us it probably wouldnt be a good idea to do this. The MTC Welcome pamphlet we were given also says "No pranks in residence" sooooo yeah...My companions and I didn't retaliate, and the whole thing blew over. We have better things to do. Elder White and Castleton-Rudolph however did scatter the Nordes socks and threw away their secret weapon: Rotten hard-boiled eggs. They believe we have them still though. Shhhh

Friday saw our first major Swedish language mistake in our lesson. Elder Richards was talking about the Priesthood Authority being taken from the Earth after the Apostles were killed, but accidentally said that they killed people, than the other way around. The difference is passive to active voice. "Dödade" means killed, while "Dödades" means were killed. He said the first one. Our teacher told us our mistake afterwards and we all had a good laugh about it.

Saturday I really learned how powerful role-playing is. It is such an inspired teaching method, and truly does invite the Spirit and strengthens our own testimonies. One of our teachers was doing a demonstration lesson with Elder Johanson playing the role of investigator. The lesson went well, and it was neat how the Spirit was slowly brought into the room. Soon the investigator stopped asking questions and by the end, he was committing to reading the Book of Mormon and everything. After the closing prayer was said, Elder Johanson got out of character and began to get emotional. I felt the Spirit so strongly as he talked about how it was impossible for him not to feel the Spirit while playing the role. The Holy Ghost testifies to us, if we just stop and listen. I hugged him that night in the residence and told him I appreciated his thoughts and feelings. He told me he could still feel the Spirit, an hour after class had ended.

Sunday was nice. At our temple walk, I ran into Sis. Morgan, the mom of a good friend of mine back home who is going to BYU. We chatted and she took some photos of me. I told her to tell her daughter I said high. What a small world it is. 

This week has been good so far. I am really enjoying choir. The director, Bro. Eggett, is AWESOME! He is hilarious and full of energy. He always has such funny insights about the Gospel. How Angels always scare people by saying "Behold!" and follow it up with "Fear not". He shared some cool thoughts about the book of Revelation yesterday. We sang "Glory to God on High" for the Tuesday Devotional. Powerful song. 

Some things I have been studying recently are the Savior's life and some selected chapters from Mosiah and Alma. I have read through all of Matthew and Mark, and just started Luke. So interesting to see the different accounts of the Savior's life. I am always impressed by the way he ministered personally to others. He was, and is, always patient with people. The Pharisees and Sadducees never seemed to pick up on the fact that if they just followed his Doctrine and stopped being so stubborn, they would have received his promised blessings and helped others.

I have also grown to love King Benjamin. What a perfect example of Leadership. I would encourage you all to read Mosiah chapters 1-7. Wonderful messages about repentance and baptism, and the joy we can feel in exercising our faith.

I appreciate all those who the Lord has continued to put in my life. I learn something different everyday. Be steadfast and obedient. 

Vi ses nesta veckor!

Äldste Reed

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MTC Week 3

Greetings one and all!

Another underbart week here at the Grand Ol' Provo MTC! Not too much to say this time around, but mostly some humorous stories.

So last Friday, Elder Hainsworth, myself, and Elder Castleton-Rudolph, our district leader, were jogging to gym, getting all pumped as usual. Sometimes we pretend to do parkour, and jump over cracks in the sidewalk and what not. On the way to Gym is a small black ramp covering up construction work (so much construction goes on here, always renovating and adding onto). Hainsworth got excited and did a Mario jump right at the peak of the ramp, banging his head against the overhead light. Of course we are all thinking everythings fine because he got up fine after slipping on the down end of the ramp. Suddenly he's holding his head and says he needs to check it out in a bathroom. As we get into the nearest building, I notice blood slowly making its way down the side of his head. We rush to the bathroom inside (he only got one drop of blood on the carpet) and we put what seems to be a hundred paper towels over his head for pressure. He soaked straight through 'em. Eventually the bleeding stopped enough, so we got Elder Richards and made a doctors appointment for him later that day; interesting that head wounds don't warrant immediate attention haha. In the end, he had to get a few stitches, but all is well. 

Lessons are going well, we learn something different we could have done better everytime. My companionship is focusing on teaching in unity and flowing the doctrine across each other. We've made a goal to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon in Swedish every morning, and that has been going great. Its nice to learn fun words like "abominations" in Swedish. 

Another funny story: We got pranked by the Nordes and Elder Bringhurst (Dutch Elder, flying solo right now) yesterday morning. Lets just say we learned a valuable lesson about making sure our door is completely shut. Pictures will follow.

Temple work is great, can't wait to do some more today. Last week we decided to do some initiatory work, which was great, excepted it seemed that every LDS member in the world was doing initiatories also, so we ended up waiting longer than the time it took to actually do the work. We ended up missing dinner completely that night, but at least we had a good excuse. Probably the best excuse you could ever give, even haha.

Devotionals continue to be great. Last night we heard from Elder Cook of the Twelve. Such a neat experience; the Spirit seems to fill the room, and filled myself as well. I learned from he and his wife's words to always make invitations, because they are never unsuccessful. You can never know the impact behind what you say and do, and how it influences others. 

I've really learned a lot about the Holy Ghost this past week aswell. I am thankful for His constant companionship as I strive to be obedient and righteous. He can witness to us knowledge and truth if we are willing to listen. He truly is a God, and bears witness of Christ and Father. Some scriptures that have benefitted me are 2 Nephi 3,31, and 32, as well as several chapters in Alma. Its always interesting to me how I can read the same scriptures over again and gain new knowledge.

Well, I guess that's about for this week! My companions and District continue to grow in humor and love together. I hope everything is well in the outside world! Oh, I also just got a haircut today! Feels much better! Plus its free! The MTC really is a mini city!

Jag älskar ni! Gud hjälpar er på alla ni göra!

Jettä kärlek!

Äldste Reed

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MTC Week 2

Hello There!

Picking up from last P-Day (P-days now feel like the start of the new week), our branch was able to attend some sessions in the Provo Temple. What an awesome experience. Now I have been through two temples. I like the layout of this one, with the large circle wherein all the session rooms are. Missionaries of course get free temple clothes, including tie, pants, socks and shoes, and packet. My companions and pretty well the rest of our district did an endowment session, but my Tri-pan (as our teachers have come to call my companionship) also did a sealing session. It was very interesting, as this was my first time doing one. It definitely strengthened my testimony of eternal families, and gave me something to look forward to in the future when I start my own family (Don't worry, I'm not thinking about that too much haha). Today we will definitely go through again; looking forward to feeling that special spirit again. 

The first and last Fast Sunday was a fun experience. Sacrament meeting was awesome! Hearing all our fellow Elders and Sisters in the branch bear their testimonies in their language brought the Spirit in so strong. I should mention that our whole branch consists of around 30 missionaries, and includes those called to serve in the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish speaking missions. I felt really good to stand and bear my testimony totally in Swedish to my brothers and sisters. That Sunday I was called to the calling of Sacrament meeting coordinator, so now I get to make assignments on who blesses, prepares, and passes the Sacrament. Nothing the Lord knows I can't handle :) We'll see in time where this first calling takes me. 

I can now say I've gotten the flow of my schedule down. Its true what MTC veteran-missionaries say, the time does fly after the first week. Language is coming along well; I love learning new grammar rules everyday. Our district set a goal of using SYL (Speak your Language) in class and getting better about strictly speaking in Svenska. We are reaching it superbly, and my companions and I are doing our best to speak to each other in the language and learning at least 2-3 new words each day. 

Speaking of companions I'll give everyone the scoop, starting with Elder Hainsworth. He hails from Seattle, so of course we are WA bros. He has four siblings, one of which is married with kids, so he's a proud uncle. He is a cool cucumber, enjoying alternative music and the dorm life that he had at BYU-Provo. Its fun to hear the stories of all the pranks his building pulled on the other Freshmen. He and my pal Jimmy would be thick as thieves. Oddly enough, I asked Elder Hainsworth if he knew Jimmy, but said he had never met him. 

My other companion, Elder Richards, has a very interesting tale. He has been through the six weeks of MTC training before, about two years ago. He hadn't entered the field yet, so hasn't experienced the land of Sverige yet. Its very cool to hear from him how much has changed in the MTC training. He repeatedly tells Elder Hainsworth and I how much more progress we have made in the language in one week alone then his original district had in the whole six weeks! CRAZY! The SYL thing is definitely an inspired program. Elder Richards is a Kung Fu master, halfway to his black belt. He worked at KFC before re-entering, so he and I reminisce on the joys of the food service industry. His prior knowledge of Swedish has helped alot in our lessons and helping us understand words and grammar.

Our lessons with Isabel (really one of our teachers, but, you know, roleplay) went progressively better. At our final lesson, I invited her to be baptized and she agreed! It felt so great asking that invitation in Swedish! The Spirit was so strong in our last few lessons with her. I've really learned to focus on the investigators needs and love them and their growing faith. It truly strengthens my testimony as we bear our simple Gospel truths to them. Now that we have finished teaching our first "investigator", our teaching really picks up; we have TRC meetings lined up tomorrow, and our teachers have scheduled us to teach pretty well a lesson each day. The MTC is such a great place, I am loving it everyday more and more. 

The Scandinavian Zone has now become the rulers of Four Square. With the leaving of some Italian Elders that shared our gym time and were regulars of the game, we now have complete control haha. Those Elders were a little rougher anyway, so I can't lie and say that I wasn't a little happy to see them go. In all seriousness though, it is a joyous and sad occasion to see fellow servants head out into the wide world. One of our Zone Leaders, Elder Solomon just left this morning, as well as the previous Sacrament meeting coordinator Elder Jardine, who left Tuesday morning. Though our district only knew them for a short time, the bonds of friendship form quickly here at the MTC. I have been blessed to have joined into a very tight-nit branch, and I thank Heavenly Father for it. From our bi-weekly devotionals, I've learned so much about obedience and planning and praying for the needs of others. I have prayed so much lately for stronger faith in Christ and the Book of Mormon, and my prayers are swiftly answered as I am refreshed by the testimonies of my District family and our lessons in class. I know this is what the Lord wants me to do. Until next week, True Believers :)

Med Kärlek,

Äldste Reed