August 14, 2013
A couple of housekeeping items before I get started.
1) I have been receiving the Dear Elder letters you’re sending, thank you. The way the letters are formatted makes long letters a little tough to read. The issue comes in figuring out when one letter ends and the next begins. Would you mind sending individual letters as separate Dear Elders, instead of putting them in a large one? It would also help with keeping them organized.
Side note: I will probably receive the Dear Elder letters the day after it is sent, or morning if it is early enough.
2) Would someone mind sending me some goldfish and peanut butter M&M’s?
3) I brought me leather man with me to use as a tool. It has been pretty helpful so far; however the knife on it classifies as a weapon and therein, is not allowed for missionaries. I have mailed this back home and, Dad, you will receive an orange package. Do not by accident assume this was meant for me and send it back to the MTC. If they are available, could you send both a small Philips and flat head screwdriver when you send my sweater?
4) Carol, am sending all of the photos I have so far so it will be your responsibility to sort through them.
This week at the MTC…
Two weeks in now. By this point I have adapted pretty well to the MTC schedule and am enjoying it quite a lot. Each gym day I run at least a mile then do pushups and sit ups. The first couple days here were obscenely long, but now it goes by pretty quick. Almost too fast, as odd as that may sound. There are only seven weeks before I have to go into a new country and I do not feel like that is enough to learn Russian. Without a doubt, the first couple months in Ukraine are going to be very tricky.
To give us practice in teaching and language, we began giving lessons to an investigator the Friday after our arrival into the MTC. His name was Edique and he could only speak Russian. This is what we had been told. My prediction was that at some point he would reveal himself to be our second teacher. On Thursday last week, my prophecy came true and Edique turned out to be Brat T. It was a pretty good feeling to call that one out.
On Monday I finally decided to set an eye appointment to get a pair of glasses. The MTC scheduled for me to leave campus, and head over to Costco for an eye appointment. Seeing the outside world was unexpectedly weird to me, but even more so was walking into Costco. Turns out my vision was pretty bad and I probably should not have passed my seeing test to have my license renewed. This is pretty disappointing, because I have prided myself on never having to wear glasses or braces during my life. Looks like it caught up with me…
An pretty unexpected moment happened on Monday night. I ran into Brittany’s old friend Sam, (I’m pretty sure that is her last name.) here at the MTC. She is going on a mission to Norway and has a classroom in the same building as mine. While walking past her she asked me if I was Chris Hancock which completely shocked me because I did not recognize her at all. We were able to chat for a minute or two before she had to go, but the whole thing completely caught me off guard. It was pleasant to run into her though.
Last night was pretty cool. Our devotional speaker was Elder Richard G. Scott, which they didn’t tell us, but the preparations they were making made it seem like it was going to be someone important. To guarantee a seat in the Marriot Center my whole district sang in the choir. We went to dinner an hour and a half early to get good seats. A couple hundred other missionaries had this exact same idea. We met outside by the flag pole to walk over with the whole choir. People were really pushing past one another to be at the front of the line, and therein get a good seat. When the choir director said we could start walking over, everyone was walking the fastest pace I have seen. Within a block the fast walk turned into a full sprint of both Elders and Sisters. My companion and I really pushed ourselves and made it there in time to get the fifth row from the podium. We were able to save seats for the rest of the people in our district. It was extremely chaotic. Fortunately, my choice to start running two weeks ago prepared me for this a bit.
Elder Scott’s topic was on prayer. He had a lot of interesting points to talk about. Including a warning not to rush through prayer, and to talk as though our Heavenly Father is in the room. Prayer should be vocal and personal. One comment he made has really made me think: “Be careful with what you do with the impressions from the Lord.” Still trying to figure that one out fully. The highlight of the evening happened toward the end. He made a point of addressing those missionaries that have been called to learn a new language. His words were, “By the apostolic authority I hold, I bless each of you here with the ability to overcome your challenges of language study.” At that moment, I felt a lot of pressure in my chest as though a wave was rushing over me. In our district meeting afterward, I asked what everyone else felt at that moment, and everyone’s answers were consistent with the feeling I had described. Both the Elders and Sisters. It was very interesting.
This was the second time I have been able to see Richard G. Scott speak outside of conference, and he has become my favorite apostle.
Time at the MTC is surprisingly nice. Not too awesome, but nice. I don’t quite get the bad reviews some give it. Language study continues and I am slowly becoming an effective missionary.