Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fourth Week in the MTC

Sorry this didn't get posted right away. Here are some things Derek wrote on Jan 25:
"So it's been a month now! Crazy to think it's been that long already. It
hardly seems like a month, and it's terrifying to think that that month
means 1/24 of the mission is already over. It almost feels like we won't
have hardly any time at all to do what we need to! Nevertheless, I trust God has made sure we'll have bastante tiempo para hacer lo que necesitamos. To answer some of your questions first. My spanish is improving, and as a District we're getting better at speaking the language together, hopefully it continues...."
"We ... learned this week about Seeking Perfection instead of Perfectionism, and of course our goal should be seeking perfection. Seeking perfection deals with having hope that we can become complete in Christ, and it involves looking outwards in helping others etc. Perfectionism looks inward on one owns self and how we can improve ourselves, rather than in how we can allow Christ to improve us. It's definitely a cool perspective, and one I definitely need to develop more."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Third Week in the MTC

Derek is doing well and having great experiences. Here is some of what he said about this last week.
"Thank you everyone for the birthday cards, they were much appreciated! I almost accomplished my goal of managing to forget my own birthday, unfortunately it was a p-day which kind of locked it in my mind a little. Nevertheless I almost did forget! Last night I was writing in my journal and planning and I realized that the next day was the 18th and so my birthday, so casi, I almost managed to forget! But it's been a good normal day I guess."
"So some cool things happened this last week. Elder Holland came and spoke to us. It was frankly amazing, he's always so passionate, and he has a deep love for missionaries and mission work. He pretty much told us we need to be some of the best missionaries there have ever been... Frankly after his talk, though inspired, I felt deeply inadequate. It was tough, but at the same time inspiring. I was ever more determined to work hard and fulfill my responsibility and duty to God.
He talked a lot about Peter and how he changed from the fisherman to the apostle. When Christ had been ressurected the apostles didn't know what to do, they were kind of lost, inadequate feeling, etc. So they went a fishing (see John 21), Christ appeared to them and asked them if they loved Him more than all these, meaning their past lives, the fishing, and everything else. It was then that Peter realized what had to be done, and according to Elder Holland it was there that Peter stepped into Eternity and Eternal Life. Motivated by love for the Lord he was able to do all things. His love conquered his fears, doubts, etc. and enabled him to become the missionary, leader, prophet, apostle that he became. The man that people would hope even for his shadow to pass over. All because he loved the Lord.
That's what Elder Holland wants us to become, wants us to find within ourselves is that love. And the thing is, it applies to everyone, not just to missionaries, we have to have that same attitude after the mission. We leave everything behind and focus on feeding His sheep. Whether that's in our families, friends, work, etc. That should be the focus of our everyday. How can we feed His sheep, because if we love Him that's what we're going to do. And if that's what we're doing we'll be able to become the people Christ and our Father want us to be. It's intimidating, inspiring, and necessary all at the same time. I'd suggest studying John 21, it's good!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Second Week in the MTC

Sorry for the late update. Derek sent an email on Tuesday, and paper letters (yes they still exist) that we got on Friday. Here are excerpts from both and a picture of him with his companion.
"...this week has been a good one, and time is moving ever quicker. I hope it'll continue to move this fast for the next six weeks, I'm honestly
already sick of the food!..."
"My current goal in the MTC is to become more like Christ as well as learn how to teach, but definitely a greater focus on becoming more like Christ. Last week I focused on patience, this week on charity. I'll let you know how it goes!"
"All the days here blend together, but the general feel of it is pretty good, haha so I can't really tell if I've had any particularly stressful days because the whole last week just seems like one huge day! I've got some letters from some friends though which has been good! Oh, and I haven't gained any weight still! Still 148, and it'll probably start to drop... I think people that are only here for two weeks like the food because they don't have to keep eating it for another six! But it's all good!"
"The days aren't nearly as long now and I'm much more adjusted. You were right Dad, the days feel like weeks and the weeks like days."
 "My Spanish is alright... But I need to work harder at it. We set a goal as a district this week to speak solo en EspaƱol. It's a tough goal but we think it's what God wants us to do, so we're doing it. After all we've been called to be Spanish speakers. It's up to us to try as hard as we can so we can qualify for God's help so we can teach people in their own tongue."
 "That's one thing I've especially learned here is that our missions are times for us to become more like Christ  and then bring other people along as well."
 "The devotional Sunday was especially good by Brother Heaton. He had a bunch of missionaries who were baptized less than 2 years ago come and speak with us, or I guess they shared their conversion story briefly. It was awesome! It's incredible how the Lord has prepared people, in all cases the missionaries were just the end of the story. Friends, questions, examples, all led people to want to know Christ and the missionaries just came in at the end and filled in the gaps. In other words it's all the Lord's work. He is aware of his children, and he'll guide us to those who He has prepared. It's really awesome, and it just reminded me of how real this is! It's still almost weird to think I'm a missionary, but it's awesome!"
"In my district there are only 2 companionships. We're very small, the other companionship is two sisters. The missions are Paraguay, Argentina, and me, Washington DC! It's a good district and we're all willing to work hard, though everyone else seems more reluctant to want to take the leap with Spanish!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Week at the MTC

Elder Croft's p-day (preparation day) is Tuesday and he sent us a nice letter. Here are some excerpts.
"I realized why it is that missionaries seem to want mail so much, it's our only contact with the outside world! I enjoy hearing about all you're doing..."

"There's been a lot going on here in the last week, and I've gotta say it feels like much longer than a week.... So those first few days were hard... The thing is there's no break, you're constantly working and studying, no time to relax etc. It was definitely a shift. However, around Sunday I started to get in the swing of the things, and now the days have all blended together, but already they're passing quickly! I feel like in this first week I've also changed a ton. I think I'm now much more Elder Croft, and I really like the missionary lifestyle. While it is tiring at times, in fact very tiring, it's all good. We wake up at 6:15, and now 6:00 every day, and we're in bed by 10:30 that night. We shower, go to class and do personal study, breakfast, gym, more class, more class, lunch, more class, some study time, and more class...."

"Oh, today I was also sick. I woke up feeling kind of gross, and when we went to the temple, it's a good thing we did initiatories and not a session, because I threw up... Thankfully I made it to the bathroom though...."

"Um, que mas, the week has been super spiritual, and Sunday at the devotional we sang "Armies of Helaman". It was crazy, I can't really describe it, but let's just say it has a lot more meaning now than it ever did. We also watched the Joseph Smith movie, and my new theme or mantra for this mission is "Shall we not go on in so great a cause!" My testimony has already grown a ton, and I can only imagine what it'll be like at week 9, let alone at the end of two years! My faith in God has also grown as I've been forced to lean on Him more and more. To learn the language, and trust that He can show us how to teach the people and recognize their needs. There is no way a missionary can do anything without the spirit and God's help. We'd just be a bunch of random guys in suits on street corners."

"In short, I'm adjusting, and the mission has in every way met my expectations of hard work, and spiritual strengthening and while the MTC does sometimes maybe feel a little like a prison, it's a wonderful place to learn and prepare to better serve eople in the field. Elder Andreasen and I get along well, and I have a feeling he'll be a good companion. We work hard, and we're committed to becoming the best we can be by following all the rules, etc. I'll continue to miss you guys, and thank you for all your prayer and support. good luck with school and life!"