Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Letter # 6 from Danny in the MTC 07/0709
Greetings to Babylon.
I hope all is well outside the bubble I am in.
First off, I'd like to share some of the 4th of July festivities we had here at the MTC. We were surprised on Saturday to find out that we would be having a special fireside at 7:00 PM. It was very funny. The fireside was a historic look at all the parts in history that have prepared the way for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ; unfortunately, the entire thing was a fiasco.
It was pretty much two hours of non-stop laughing. It kinda made me feel bad, but we couldn't help it! The MTC presidency and other leaders acted out some of the ancient scholars such as Tyndail, Luther, etc.. Also many of the founding fathers were depicted. They "attempted" to dress-up in authentic garb of the period. They presented their message from another room with a background that was green-screened behind them.
Everything that could go wrong went wrong. The wig that Benjamin Franklin was wearing was quite possibly the silliest thing I've ever seen in my life. People kept forgetting their lines and way over-dramatizing everything. I wish you all could have seen it! Best comedy show I have ever been to. The green-screen went out several times, so objects would appear out of no where. At one time Thomas Jefferson's wig disappeared and then reappeared.
They should've just made it more patriotic. You know, American. Blow something up or sing really loud songs! Oh well, maybe next year!
Afterwards we went outside to watch the stadium of fire, we could see it because it was hosted at BYU. The mission president let us stay out passed curfew to watch the show. It was a mad-house. Missionaries were running around screaming and being completely ridiculous. Pretty good stuff. All-in-all it was probably the funniest day of my life.
Anyways, this week I have been thinking a lot about prayer. Last week our task in the TRC was to teach an investigator how to pray, why we pray, and what we are feeling as we pray. It was pretty difficult to do in Thai, but we got through it.
It made me think, why is prayer one of the first doctrines we teach as missionaries? Why is it so crucial? When Elder Holt and I teach the first lesson we almost always start off by teaching them about God and then teach them how to pray. This doctrine is taught even before we mention Jesus Christ. But why?
We are told in 2 Nephi 32:9 that we must always pray: But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. (This whole chapter is great, I would suggest reading it; it is pretty short) We learn that we are to pray always and that anything we ever do should be preceded by prayer.
This really got me thinking. I pray when I wake up. I pray before every meal. I pray before and after every meeting, class, inventory, lesson, and MDT. All-in-all I probably participate in over 30-40 prayers a day.
This idea made me reflect to my early days in church, even all the way back to primary. Before we started a meeting we would always have someone offer a prayer. The prayer was always very simple, and usually repeated the same things each time. Often times kids would say ridiculous things like "bless God that he can be Ok" or "bless the food" when there wasn't any food to be eaten. But the point that I am trying to get at is by saying a prayer, we are acknowledging the existence of God or at least the possibility of there being a God.
This is monumental! For us to submit ourselves to God and to say to God by our simple gesture, "God we know you are there, please help us". I know that when we say those prayers God will complete his promise as stated in 2 Nephi 32:9. He will consecrate our performance. Everything we do, we will do better. Everything we want, will be granted to us. Everything we have ever wondered about, can and will be revealed to us.
The other crucial aspect of prayer is that it invites the Spirit. The Spirit can only be present if you do something to get it with you. Reading the scriptures, praying, thinking about Christ, etc.. Prayer is an easy way that we can access the divine companionship of the Holy Ghost at any time that we want! What a great blessing that is! If we are feeling down, overwhelmed, or simple need someone to talk to, we can pray to our Loving Heavenly Father and he will comfort us in the absolute best way possible.
Reminds me of a President James E. Faust quote a good friend gave me, "I believe the Spirit of the Holy Ghost is the greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world. It can be more mind-expanding and can make us have a better sense of well-being than any chemical or other earthly substance. It will calm nerves; it will breathe peace to our souls. It can enhance our natural senses so that we can see more clearly, hear more keenly, and remember what we should remember. It is a way of maximizing our happiness."
Wow! What a wonderful apostolic promise! Through prayer we can invite the Spirit. Through the Spirit we can maximize our happiness. Sounds like a great deal, yeah?
I know that these words are true, I've tested it out. I've had days where I have forgotten to say my morning prayers, there is a HUGE difference. President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "Every morning..., missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit."
I know that this teaching is true, and that it applies to all of us; not just missionaries. As we pray, we will feel God's presence with us. We will feel His love for us. We will gain access to his Spirit that will help us accomplish seemingly impossible things.
Just as an update. I have started doing chats in the RC. They are very fun! On mormon.org there is a button on the bottom of every page that says "ask questions" when people click on that link they are directed to me in the RC. It is amazing to talk to people! It seems that the conversations that I receive over chat are much more meaningful. I really feel like I am changing peoples lives and directing them towards Jesus Christ.
I have three new progressing investigators that I haven't told you guys about yet. I am about out of time for my email this week, so hopefully I will be able to share those experiences next week.
The Thai language is coming well. I have a vocab of around 1200 words now and am progressing very fast with reading. I can read the Book of Mormon in script now, it is very slow though. This week we will teach our first lesson entirely in Thai. That should be fun!
Well I am out of time for this week. Keep writing to me and praying for me! I love hearing from all of you. I really can feel the effect of the prayers you offer in my behalf. Keep it up!