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 :)