Saturday, February 26, 2011

Eighth Week in MTC

I didn't get this posted on Tuesday. This is from Derek's letter of February 22.

"I think this week was also a lot about teaching me how to be a better disciple of Christ, I can't remember if I mentioned that we had a fireside here where the speaker spoke about becoming a disciple of Christ. He said we need to be so much more than just missionaries, that we need to climb above being just average to being incredible missionaries, and truly following Christ. I don't know, I can't really describe how I felt, but the spirit was there, and I think it was one of those times where it can be a life changing experience if I let it.

My lifetime goal is to truly become a disciple of Christ, beyond everything else, I want to be able to follow him with all my heart might mind and strength, in every sense of the phrase. It really inspired me, and it's become a focus of my studies these past couple weeks, or whenever I heard it, I'm not sure, all the time blends together here... But yeah, I've been studying this, how to change myself to truly become His disciple, not just a follower, or a believer, but a disciple, and this week the Lord really helped me out in trying to figure out how to do that.

One of the things he taught me was from the talk by Elder Holland I believe, entitled "The Grandeur of God". He talks about who God really is, and how we have to get to know Him. I'd definitely recommend studying it if you all can find the time. It's really an amazing talk. One of the things I learned, and really struck me about the love of God was how everything Christ did was exactly what God would've done if he were on the earth. All the healings, all the forgiveness, the occasional wrath, every single thing was exactly what God would've done. And then it hit me that that meant the Atonement as well. If God could have He would've died for us, he would've allowed himself to be hung on that cross. Our Father in Heaven would have been crucified for us, he would have taken upon himself every single one of his sins if he could. That's how much he loves us, that He, God, The God, Our Father in Heaven, The Almighty, would take upon himself all of our sins.

Elder Holland says something interesting as well. He says we don't understand how loving and merciful God is. Because when we feel His love in our lives, when we feel His Charity for someone all we want to do is take that person on our shoulders and carry them to safety, to peace, to comfort. And he said that's how God feels about us as well. He just wants to lift us up and carry us all the way home, no matter how much we've sinned, no matter how lost we are. It really is incredible to think about... And it taught me a lot about Charity and how I need to change."

"Um, to address some business. I will be leaving the MTC at 8:30 p.m. the 28th, my flight leaves at 1:00 in the morning and I'll arrive in D.C. at 9:00 a.m. their time after a one hour lay over in Atlanta. It's so crazy to think that I'm almost out of here! And I never thought I'd say it, but I may actually miss this place a little... My teachers, my district, my comp, they've all been great, and I've learned and grown a ton here. However, I do feel that it's time to move on, and that I've learned those things that I needed to here. I'm ready to preach the Gospel! And it's going to be crazy that first day, because I'll have a whole day of missionary work probably without sleep... Oh, and I'm the only Elder in my travel group, which means I'll be flying solo, and all the Presiden't attention will be on me.... Fun stuf... "

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Seventh Week in the MTC

We can't believe it's been seven weeks either! Here is what Derek had to say today.

"Crazy no, seven weeks, and I´m almost out of here. I´ve got to say, it´s a little sad to be leaving this place. It´s been great, my comp, my district, my teachers. Everything´s been great, minus the food, but other than that it´s been awesome and I´ve had some really good experiences. I just hope I can remember them and apply the things I´ve learned here to my teachings.

As for the rundown of the week, Friday was a tough day... Probably one of the toughest I´ve had here, but suffice it to say that after a lot of praying, pondering, and meditating I´ve come out of it quite a bit better than before. It´s like in that Joseph Smith movie, I guess my pride or something brought me low, and now the Lord has lifted me higher.

As for a cool experience, this Sunday in the fireside the speaker was awesome. He really focused us on what we need to focus on when we´re teaching our investigators. He said we need to get in line with what God is already doing with the investigator. It´s not like it´s a surprise to God that we´re going to be talking to that particular person today, He knows, and He´s been working with the person, we just have to be able to figure out what he´s been doing and get in line with it to help the person improve their relationship with God. It was a cool lesson, and he also had five missionaries that are recent converts come up and tell about the things they felt, their conversion story and such. It was amazing! They are definitely going to be powerful missionaries. Haha I almost wish I were a convert, it seems like they've got more power in their teachings, haha and then of course I remember I am a convert, just of a slightly different sort."

"Oh some things I've been studying, there are some good talks about the Holy Ghost "Communion with the Holy Spirit" by James E. Faust and "The Unspeakable Gift" by Joseph B. Wirthling. Oh, and something I've learned just sitting here typing. There are a bunch of natives around and I can barely understand a word they're saying. Yeah, I kind of feel like my Spanish skills have diminished this week for some reason. Not sure why, I've been speaking pure spanish still, but yeah, not feeling it. It's definitely going to be a bit like jumping into a freezing lake when we have that first lesson with a native El Salvadorian in the field. And I know how that feels, not looking forward to it. I've even been trying to try listen to conference talks with native speakers, I can understand them, but they definitely don't talk as fast as in a normal conversation. It's crazy, and yeah, I'm going to need that Don de Lenguas, because I definitely cannot speak Spanish as well as I need to... "

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sixth week in the MTC

Elder Croft's letter was a bit shorter this week. Here is what he had to say about life in the MTC:

"So It's been six weeks, we've only got 21 days left here now, and it's hard to believe the time has passed so quickly. When I first got here it felt like I'd never leave, but now we're almost there and I've realized I'll actually miss this place. It's made for some amazing spiritual experiences, and I'll definitely never have as much time ever in my life to just study the gospel. It's been an awesome blessing. Not much has happened this week though, it's been a week of internal reflection, and I've realized a ton of stuff that I need to improve on.

I've begun a more in depth study of the atonement and prayer this week, and it's been pretty enlightening, I'll keep you all posted on things I learn. It's been pretty cool. I think it was Elder Scott that suggested every member should make a personal study plan of the atonement, so I've decided to start it, I've figured it's a good way to further focus my studies.

Um, other things that happened this week, we've been speaking Spanish almost exclusively this week, and it's been incredible how much we've improved as a District. We're far more fluent than we used to be, and it's been fun to learn how to tell jokes and just tell about normal stuff in Spanish, as well as teach. We also taught a native speaker this week in the TRC. It was, to say the least, enlightening. She spoke extremely quickly, with quite the accent. But, amazingly enough we understood a lot of it, and we were able to teach to her needs and respond to her questions and concerns relatively well. She said our spanish was good, but was most likely just being nice... :) But we're trying and definitely improving. "

"I feel super fat, though I've gained only like 4 pounds. I think
I've lost a boat load of muscle. Oh, and the seat of one of my suit pants
tore, so clearly I'm fat... Yeah, que verguenza, yo se."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fifth week in the MTC

Here is a little bit from what Elder Croft said this week:

"Crazy, over a month has passed, almost a whole transfer. Again, I can't seem to believe it, time passes far too quickly here. Bueno Tengo algunas cosas para decirles. I've had some pretty cool experiences this week, actually it's been a really crazy week. The first thing is that if you'd all like to, I'd like to invite you to commit (Yes, I am extending a committment :)) to read Alma 32-34 and think about the seed not as faith, but as Christ and His atonement in our lives. It's pretty interesting."

He had an amazing experience teaching:

"I know God will provide a way, I know God is aware of us and our needs, I know we are doing God's work, and I know that we can in every way be guided by the Spirit. My confidence and trust in God has grown a lot because of this experience. The other part of this experience that was incredibly powerful was the love we were able to feel for Marcos. As representatives of Christ we were given a huge blessing, to feel in a very small part how Christ feels for Marcos. It was almost overwhelming, and I really can't describe it. Suffice it to say, if we were able to feel the full love of God for even one person as fully as God does, we would pass out, blow up, be translated, something, because our mortal bodies could not handle it. God opened our eyes for a brief moment and we felt His love for Marcos, were able to see in part His potential and God's concern and awareness for Him, and we were blessed enough to share that with Marcos."

He's still not liking the food any better,

"It's kind of too bad I'm not home for Chinese New Year, it's sad, because the food here is no bueno, and I would much rather have [Mom's] cooking... Alas, two years. And I don't remember us getting sick of your chinese food...."