First things first: I only have a half hour a week on this thing and it literally kicks me off after that. Next order of business: Since I have no time on this thing, if you want me to write you...send me stamps please 'cause as far as things are going now, I bet that is going to eat my wallet out of house and home. Well my first week has honestly been pretty great--and Jen, you can put as much or as little of this letter (and ones I mail to you) on the blog as you want, its completely your discretion. Anyway, MTC is actually pretty good. The food isn't that bad, the teachers here are awesome, and we have so many opportunities to learn from leaders of The Church. We have firesides every Sunday night, devotionals every Tuesday, and various random meetings with our branch leaders throughout the week.
My companions...yes I have two rather than one, are first: Elder Holtz--he's from Denver and kinda an interesting kid, but clearly called of God, and my other comp. is Elder Kautai (cow-tie) and he has led an amazing life so far, and left a lot behind. He's from Texas and most of his friends are Catholic, but he has such a great love for this church and a very good heart. I already have a great love and respect for him. They are both my roommates which kinda rocks 'cause we have a room for four people and only 3 in it. To be honest, I have learned quite a bit this week and don't type fast, so in the interest of time I'm going to give you my favorite moment first and try to fill in more after. Last night, we were taught by a member of the Seventy and then by our 1st Counselor in our branch and the spirit was literally the strongest I've ever felt it in my life after those meetings. Anyway, after the meeting, most left with tears in their eyes (for more details on the meeting ask and wait for a letter :) ) Anyway after, we were walking back to our residence halls and some Elders heading to Chile next week stopped us and asked to share their testimony with us (in Spanish). Granted, I did kinda have an understanding before, but as you know I only took up to Spanish 2 and it was quite some time ago. The amazing thing was not that I understood what they said to us, but what came after. I recognized that they asked us to bear our testimony after (and keep in mind that these are people studying the language for 12 weeks), but I gave my testimony and went on my way. As we were getting ready for lights out that night, my comps asked, "Chip, where did you learn Spanish?" I said, "What in the world are you taking about?" Apparently I gave my whole testimony and the conversation after all in Spanish (gift of tongues or what?), so now I have issued myself a challenge to constantly live my life to feel that strong of the spirit because that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far. I am still in awe over it.
Well anyway, besides that experience, the fav. of highlight can be summed up in a quote from Seventy member L. Lionel Kendrick's talk to us: "PRAY as though EVERYTHING depends on the LORD, but ACT as if EVERYTHING depends on YOU," "BE obedient," "Don't miss a minute it goes by too quickly," "Faith always precedes a miracle" (that isn't just a commandment, it's a promise), "Don't ask 'well what are we going to do today?' ask 'How in the world are we going to get it all done today?'," "No area/companion is hard. Everything is only as hard as you make it," "I can do hard things," "You are NOT 'serving time,' you are serving the Lord," "Don't be a Laman and Lemuel missionary."
Scriptures: D&C 10:47, D&C 8:10, Matt 19:26, Matt 10:34-35, D&C 18:18, Matt 7:21-23, D&C 130:20-21
Love you all. I am doing well, I hope you are too :)
P.S. Don't mail anything to the MTC via post office after Saturday, Aug 14th, or I probably wont get it. Send it to the Mission Office in San Jose instead. Please spread the word on that Jen; thanks. Love you all :)