Monday, May 25, 2009

Sounds like your week was pretty good. Mine was great! The language is coming great. The other day we learned subjunctive, our last conjugation. Now all that is left is practicing and learning more verbs. This Thursday in the TRC we get to teach the first lesson in Spanish. There's a lot of work to do to get ready, but we already know most of the words. We just have to put them all into a lesson plan. With work, and help from the Spirit, I'm sure it'll work out.

This last week in the TRC was amazing! We were teaching the second lesson to a guy and a girl, and it went awesome. We smoothed through it all, and taught in almost perfect unity, which is tricky with a trio. The Spirit was definitely there, and did all of the teaching. I'm pretty sure about at least 95% of the words I said were not mine. And especially when I bore my testimony about the Atonement, the Spirit was way strong. I felt impressed to focus on the guy and talked more about Christ suffering for our trials and afflictions than I did about His suffering for our sins. I really stressed about how if we are going through a hard time that Christ can help us through it because he's been there himself. Somehow I thought that the guy needed to hear that. Maybe he did. We all could definitely feel the spirit.

Hermano Adams has been gone for a while, so we've had a few subs. The other day Hermana Peñaflor had us watch a DVD of a 2000 talk at the MTC by Elder Holland. Then last night after the fireside we went and watched another talk by him, this one in 2006. In both of them he talked about missions. He is way passionate about missions, and yelled a bit. Well, not really yelled. We like to look at it as more of a passionate cry. Both movies were really great. We've decided that it would be really cool if Elder Holland came to devotional tomorrow, just so he can yell at us. :) I love him. Elder Neuenschwander of the 70 spoke in last week's devotional. It was really good. I love the opportunity we have to hear all these great men and their wives talk.
I love our district and our teachers. Our teachers are always telling us how much they love us. The other day Hermano Huber walked in the room when Hermano Adams was teaching and we all went "Eh!!!" He got the biggest smile on his face and said that when he goes to other classes they're like "Hey, what's up?" But when he walks into ours we all yell "Eh!!!" It made his day. He was gone Saturday so we had a sub, cause he was going home for his brother's seminary graduation. But he said he's missing his brother's school graduation so he can be with us. I love Hermano Huber! And one of our subs, Hermana Penaflor told us once that out of all the classes she visits in a day ours definitely has a better spirit. And the next day, she told us that the other teachers call us the "celestial district." It's great how much all the teachers love us. And we love them all, they're great!

Some of the things we've been taught this week have really hit me hard. Hermano Penaflor talked about how as much as he would love to, God can't appear on someone's doorstep and teach the first lesson. So he sends missionaries to do it. Last night in the movie of Elder Holland he read Moses 1:39-"For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." He talked about how it is God's work and glory, and that if it is going to be done it has to get done God's way, and God's way is through the Spirit. So we must teach with the Spirit, having the proper power and authority, which we as missionaries do. Having God's power, we have more power than any cabinet, parliament, kingdom, government, etc. But we have to use it the right way.

Some of the other things that we've been taught have really helped me realize that people's souls and salvation are at stake here. We are not just teaching others, we are bringing them unto Christ and his gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Exactly what Preach My Gospel says is our purpose.

Speaking of Preach My Gospel, I really wish I would have read it before coming. We are learning so much out of it, but if I had learned this stuff before getting here I'd be that much more ahead. I highly encourage every young man preparing for a mission, and even the young women considering it, to read and study Preach My Gospel.

Well, I think that's about it. Not much else has happened. Just study, study, teach, study, RC, study, teach, ...... I'm really enjoying it here though. It's a great experience and I'm learning a lot. I love it here.

I want to close with my testimony:

Yo sé qué Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Sé qué Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador, y Él sufrió y motó por nosotros. Porque Jesucristo sufrió, nosotros podemos llegar a ser limio de nuestros pecados. Yo testifico qué José Smith fue un profeta de Dios, y él traducó el Libro de Mormón. José Smith fue llamar de Dios. El Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios y es verdadero. Thomas S. Monson es un profeta hoy, y tiene la autoridad y poder de Dios. Sé qué estoy en el lugo correcto. Yo testifico qué las familias son muy importante en el plan de Dios, y las familias pueden ser juntos para siempre. Yo amo mi familia. Sé qué el Evangelio es verdadero. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Feels like I just barely emailed home yesterday, and here I am, sending another one. Only four more, and then the next one will be from Chile! Actually, then you'll get a call from the airport.

The MTC's great. The weather's warm, well, hot today. The food's good. Too good, unfortunately, I've put on about 5 pounds. But I've heard we're a walking mission, so I'll probably lose it in the field. I got a haircut today. It was getting kinda longish, and it feels good to have short hair.

The language is going pretty good. This Thursday marks our halfway spot, so starting Friday class is 100% Spanish, unless we don't know how to say the word. And next Thursday we teach lesson one in Spanish. I'm really learning a lot of Spanish. Last night at the RC there was a teacher there who speaks only a little English, and she talked to us in way fast Spanish, and I understood! It was crazy how well I understood what she was saying! Tell Julie good luck with Spanish class. Classes are great. I love my teachers, and we're learning a lot of stuff about the gospel, and a ton about how to teach it.

I've seen Steph a lot. She eats meals at the same time as us, so I see her at least three times a day, and sometimes more than that. It's fun to talk to her some. But I'm not sure when her P-Day is. Possibly today, but maybe tomorrow. Soon, though. Crazy thing, though: My companion, Elder Andelin's sister went to the same mission as Steph, er, Sister Brady. Pretty cool.

Elder Driggs left for Spain on Tuesday, along with two other elders from our district, so I got put into a trio with Elder Wiggins and Elder Andelin, the other two elders in the room. It's been pretty tough adapting, not only to a trio, but to being with Elder Wiggins. He was the kid in high school who picked on everybody, and even though he's not as bad as he was then, he's still tough to get along with sometimes. And being in a trio is way different. I kinda wish I could have Elder Driggs back, but I know that can't happen, so I might as well get used to it.

Elder Nelson spoke in the Devotional on Tuesday. That's two apostles in a row! Elder Nelson this last week and Elder Ballard the week before. Maybe we'll get a third one tomorrow. That would be really cool. It's awesome all the General Authorities, leaders of the MTC, and even branch presidents here that speak. All the talks are great; I have pages and pages of notes on them. It's like a spiritual high here 24/7. Elder Nelson said it best: he said that we are like car batteries, and we're going out into the field all the way charged. But like a car battery has a generator that charges the battery as it's being used, if we use the Spirit, then our "car battery" can stay charged our whole mission.

Ha, Thomas and Frack! Tell them hi for me, and that I feel sorry for them! I wish they could be here with me, but maybe that wouldn't be the best thing. :) I'm glad I'm here and not at home. Although today is really hot, and for half a second earlier I wished that I could be home and go to 60 or fluming. But then I repented of that thought and haven't thought it since.

Well, that's about it. The weeks and days keep getting better and better! I love it here, but I also can't wait until I can get out of here and go to Chile. Then the real work begins! I love you all and pray for you every night! Adios!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh how the time flies! Today starts the fourth week here. The first Wednesday through Sunday counts as one week, and then Monday started the second. So now we're on week four. Crazy! MTC time is so messed up: it doesn't feel like I've been here very long, but then on the other hand, it feels like I've lived here for years. It's weird. But I am enjoying my time here.

Sounds like Mother's Day was good. I wish I could have called. I guess I get to call from the airport, though, so you'll hear from me in 5 weeks. Not very long. That's nice that people are asking about me. Tell people thanks for me, would ya? Thanks.

The language is coming along really well. I can start a conversation and talk a little bit, get to know someone, talk about families, relate families to the Restoration, set up an appointment, etc. And next week we'll be teaching the first lesson in Spanish. Yikes! Hopefully I can do it.
It is way great to hear from the Apostles. And even other people who talk at our firesides and devotionals. They're always great and I get really good notes from them. Last night at the fireside the speaker mentioned something to the effect of this is a rare time of our lives when we'll get to listen to so many great men speak. It'll probably never happen again quite like this. So I'm trying to get as much out of it as possible. It's a great opportunity and I'm grateful for it.
Elder Driggs leaves tomorrow, so I'll get put in a 3-some with the other two guys in our residence: Elder Wiggins, and Elder Andelin. It'll be interesting, especially with teaching the TRC, but it'll be good. I really like Elder Andelin. But I'll really miss Elder Driggs. He's a great companion and a really hard worker. I know he'll do great in Spain.

Well, that's about it. Things are going great here. I'm picking up on the language and learning a lot! Sometimes I feel like someone opened up my head and got a shovel and just dumped a ton of information in and closed it up. But it's a great experience, and it'll help me in the field. I'm really grateful for the chance to be here at the MTC to learn before getting kicked out into the mission field. I love it here, and the weather's great. But despite all this, I am really looking forward to getting out of here and going to Chile. I keep having to tell myself to be patient; that day will come. There will be 7 of us from district C flying to Chile together, so it'll be great to be all together. I can't wait.
I love you all and you're all in my prayers. Good luck with everything and don't have too much fun without me!
Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 4, 2009

I bore my testimony yesterday. In Spanish. I was pretty confident, cause I've done it before, just not in front of a group. But I thought I could do it. Till I got up there and blanked. I was able to stumble through it, and got told that it was really good. I guess it was pretty good, considering I've been here for a week and a half. Well, almost two weeks. Wow, how time flies!
It's rained a couple times here, but for the most part it's been really warm. I love the weather! Yesterday for our temple walk it was sunny and warm. Really warm, but better than the snow last week. This morning we went to the temple again. I'm loving being able to go every Monday, even though we have to get up at 5:30 for it. It's a great experience to go. I hope I can go a lot in Chile.
We had TRC on Thursday. That's where we meet someone (a temple recommend holder pretending to be a nonmember) and talk with them in Spanish for a few minutes. We do this with a couple people, then teach the 1st lesson to one of them. The girl we got is a student at BYU, and afterwards we found out that she went to the Chile Santiago North Mission. The lesson went really well, and the spirit was really strong. I read Moroni 10:3-5 at the end, and bore my testimony about praying to know if these things are true. The spirit was way strong there, and I could tell she felt it. After the closing prayer I asked how she felt, and she said she felt peaceful. She really liked how she felt when I testified about Moroni 10. I told her that the peaceful feeling was the spirit, and it was telling her that what we said was true. It was a great experience.
I love being here. The spirit is really strong, and it's easy to know the church is true. Last night after the Sunday night fireside, we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. The spirit was way strong and testified to me several times that the things the movie portrayed really happened. I have always had a testimony of Joseph Smith, but that just really helped to confirm it even more so. I know that he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and that the church and priesthood were restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is true and was written for our day.
My time's about to run out, so I'd better head. I love you all and can't wait to see you in two years. but until then I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be and couldn't be anywhere better. Talk to you next week.
Elder Murdoch
P.S. Dear Elder's great, but hand written letters are even better, fyi (hint hint, wink wink) :-) I have come to know for myself how much missionaries love letters. If the time becomes available, that is. :)