Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Danny's 4th Letter from the MTC - tues-June- 23 -09
This picture was taken before danny left on his mission when Pres. Monson visited our stake conference!
Heading into the fourth week. I am now officially an MTC veteran. The English speaking district in my zone that came in on the same day as us left yesterday. Oh boy. It is weird to think that I will see another 3-4 English districts come and go.
Originally, I really wanted to go English speaking. I really think that there are great opportunities, especially state-side; but, I don't think it would have worked for me.
If I would have went state side, I would not have been able to realize how much I need the Lord to do this work. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a good speaker. They could've sent me out to an English mission, and through my sheer cunning words, I could've probably convinced a few people to come unto Christ with eloquent sentences and logic.
However, I am faced with a situation that is COMPLETELY impossible to accomplish by myself. Those of you who have learned another language will understand my thoughts.
Two months left. To learn a language. One of the hardest languages in the world. If I were to go to a school or university and tell them to teach me Thai in 3 months. They would laugh at me. It is completely and utterly impossible. No human can do it, regardless of their own mental capability.
Not only do I have to learn a language that is opposite and backwards from English in every way imaginable, but I have to learn the culture. The Thai language and the Thai culture are so tightly connected that without understanding how a Thai person thinks, it is impossible to predict how to structure a sentence.
On top of the culture, I will be in a completely foreign environment with completely different food. I will not know anyone. I won't run into someone I know from school; it will take about two weeks for me to even receive letters.
All of these things are great blessings to me. Stepping stones for me to grow on. Without these impossible challenges I would not need to rely on the Lord. Because he has called me to do the work, he will give me the ability to do it. Not from my own skill, but through his skill and knowledge.
I have really felt his help the last few weeks. Setting goals that are impossibly out of my reach is a very fun thing to do. When I set goals I think of what I personally could do. Then I double it. I know that the only way that I make my goals is because the Lord is granting my desire to learn the language.
The reason He is helping me learn the language is not so that I can look smart. It is not for my gain at all. The only way that he will help me is if my desires are pure. I need to learn Thai because I cannot teach the Thai people without knowing the language. I cannot bring their souls unto salvation if I cannot tell them about their loving Father in Heaven and his Son, Jesus Christ. For this purpose, He is helping me.
I can really testify that the Spirit is in this institution. It is the only way that any of this stuff is possible. We pray for the Spirit, he comes, and we learn insane amounts of material. May God bless me that I can stay worthy of his Spirit, without it, this work would be impossibly difficult.
This last week has been especially hard. Week 3 is the first slump for the 12 week schedule. It is when the reality of the work really hits you. I think I took it better than most people. I am really lucky that I have remained healthy.
The temple is closed this week and next week for cleaning. The mission presidents are arriving tomorrow. (interesting timing on closing the temple, wouldn't you think?) Feel free to write me about this subject if you think it is more than a slight coincidence.
Also, the Tuesday GA Devotional is canceled and rescheduled for Friday so that all the new mission presidents can be. Basically that meeting should be spectacular. There should be at least a couple of Apostles present, if not the Prophet himself. Except next weeks update to be very interesting.
The RC this week was very interesting. I talked to a lot of great people. I talked with a lady named RoseMarie for about 20 minutes. She has been Roman Catholic for 78 years. Her faith in Christ really impressed me, I sent her a DVD about the life of Christ and am calling her back on Monday to ask her what she thought. I plan to tell her the Joseph Smith story on Monday.
I also talked to a lady named Polly. She is an old lady, probably in her 70's. I was calling looking for her daughter, Deborah, but she was not home. I started talking to Polly. Her life really is so awful. She is 70+ years old and she is the only one in her family that even has a working body. Her daughter, Deborah, is completely crippled and can't get any medical treatments because she lost Medicaid. Her son, is in prison. Her other daughter is extremely autistic. I talked to Polly for a long time. She has great faith in Prayer. I told her that if she would pray every day for the strength to endure her trials that God would bless her. She agreed to me sending the missionaries to her house. They should be calling her today or tomorrow to set up an appointment. I'm calling her back on Monday to make sure that everything went smoothly. She desperately needs the gospel in her life.
This week I have been really thinking about the Book of Enos. It is a great book, one of the shortest in all recorded scripture. The message is very powerful and deep though. I would recommend that you reread it, it only takes a few minutes.
Enos is great. You can tell he was a great guy from the get go. First off, he thanks his parents. He acknowledges that the only reason he is in the position he is in is because of his parents. He then goes on to say that he really feels guilty for the mistakes he has made. He feels guilty because of his "conscience". The conscience lies inside everyones Spirit's. Because our spirits are created by Heavenly Father, they innately know the things that he knows. Thus, when we choose evil, we all know it.
Enos goes off into the forest. Away from the things of the world. Not only away from the things of the world, but closer to the things of God(i.e. nature). When he is there, he is very close to the presence of the Lord. He prayers for forgiveness of his sins. The word he uses to describe the situation is he "wrestles" before God. Not with God, but wrestles before God with himself. This really describes the repentance process. It is no easy thing, it really requires work and dedication from the person that wants the forgiveness.
God answers him and grants his forgiveness. Immediately he feels love for his brethren, the Nephites. This is great! True repentance causes a person to act; act in charity. As our understanding of the Atonement increases, our desire to share the Gospel will increase. Further in the chapter Enos prayers for the forgiveness of his enemies, the Lamanites! Not only is he concerned about his own soul, not only is he concerned about his friends, but he asks the Lord to help his enemies! This is amazing that Enos could have that much love.
I think this is is the key to ALL good missionary work. You cannot teach someone effectively until you are free from sin. Furthermore, you cannot teach someone effectively if you don't love them through the power of charity. People will not care about my message if they can't tell that I am honestly and earnestly trying to help them. If they can see the love I have for them and the desire I have for them to come unto Christ, they will listen to the message the Spirit brings them. People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Random Thai-Fact of the week: everyone in Thailand receives a nickname from their parents at birth. This nickname is the name that they go by for their whole life. They only reveal their true name to people that they love and trust. I thought that this was incredibly interesting in light of the temple. I am convinced that the people of Thailand had the gospel in ancient times. There are way too many cultural "oddities" for me to think otherwise. Wonder where the three wise men came from? Thailand? Probably!
Well, I am just about out of time. Sorry I rambled a lot today. I couldn't think of what to write. Ask me more questions! Tell me what you want to know! Any questions about missionary work or the MTC? Also any gospel/doctrinal thoughts, I'd love to communicate a message that is interesting and inspiring to you.
Thank you for all your letters this week, I truly am blessed with a great family. I get so many letters. It is great, it really keeps me going through the day.