"Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come" - D&C 31:3
I'm finally here! I have waited all my life... trying to prepare... and now I get to fully engross myself in what really matters!! I'm here in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to learn how to speak spanish, but most importantly- to learn how to be a true servant of the Lord.
I have two of the dearest companions- Sister Rogers from Utah and Sister Grimes from California. I am so excited that I get to have this time with TWO companions... that means I have TWO wonderful people to learn from... and even more help trying to find my way around. (Yes... I have NO sense of direction and it is terribly evident here. Oh well... should help with humility, right?) I am blown away by the MTC (Missionary Training Center) - there are about 2,600 missionaries training here from around the world that are being trained to be sent around the world!! I look at this sea of clean cut, pure, and sweet missionaries- mostly 19 year old young men- and marvel that such goodness and devotion is possible in our generation and in people so young. Every day walking down the halls and seeing the light of Christ radiate from the missionaries here is a testiment to me that the Atonement is real and that this truly is the fullness of the Lord's gospel. I get SO excited to think of the other 14 (I *think* there are 15 total MTCs around the world) MTCs full of missionaries just like those here that are uniting and humbling themselves to do the Lord's work. It's SO EXCITING!!!
A few matters of business. Andrew: In my district (the group of people I train with) - I am with an Elder Poston... who is Clark Poston from Greensboro, NC and he says he knows and VERY clearly and remembers the happy and inspiring Elder Clark. :) He sends his love and regard and speaks SO highly of the impact that you made in his ward, and to him as a young boy aspiring to serve a mission. :) Love you!
Joel: If you can find it.... read/watch/listen to Elder Holland's MTC address titled "Missions are Forever" - it will rock you. I look out at these Elders and beam with excitement to imagine you with them. I'm so excited for you to come. You will love it.
In my mission packet... it told me that I would be going to the MTC in Guatemala in 3 weeks... but when I got here... they were flustered and confused... and the information my Branch President has says that I'll be here 8-9 weeks... butta... we'll see what happens! The 3 weeks in Provo and then 6 weeks another MTC is a new experiment called "phase training"- everyone in my district is doing it. I'm the only one going to El Salvador in my district of 12 people- everyone else is going to Ecuador or Peru. I did come across a district all going to El Salvador West... and that was ridiculously exciting. I love my district so much. I feel like I have adopted 9 new little brothers (I mean that in a very respectful and in awe kind of way...) that I adore tremendously. They all have unique and special stories and events that led to them deciding to and being prepared to serve missions- and I LOVE IT! There is an Elder from Australia with us that has the most dynamic Spanish accent I've ever heard! ;)
I love being a missionary. I LOVE wearing my nametag- bearing and manifesting the two most important names to me. The sacred name of Jesus Christ and the honored name of Clark. There could be no greater honor for me.
I still feel like a baby missionary here... but that's ok. I love it. Love it all. I love being with young people again- especially those that are humble, happy, and are striving so dilligently to have the Spirit of the Lord with them. We've barely started working on Spanish... but of course it's going to be a lot of work and very trying. I know that is it possible- the power of the Lord is far too evident in my life and in this work to question the possibility of being able to become competent in the language- but my own worthiness for such a miracle is the task at hand. Please, pray for me... that I can be taught by the Spirit and be prepared for this great work.
I love you all so much!!!