September 4, 2013
The speaker for our devotional this week was Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy. He also serves as the executive over the missionary committee. It was interesting to me because he actually spoke in a devotional for the singles stake back in October. So this was the second time I have heard him speak.
The topic of his address was the importance of work in our missionary efforts. One quote of his stood out to me: “If you can put forth an honest effort in your labors, you will have days where our Lord will work alongside you.” It really framed the role that Jesus Christ assumes in this work. This was later reaffirmed when Elder Evans said, “I testify that Jesus Christ heads the missionary work.” As I sat in the Marriott Center, I imagined myself working in a huge potato field and having Christ work next to me digging up potatoes one by one. It was a nice way to look at missionary work and has helped make it more personal to myself.
Oddly though, the best part of the devotional was the ten minute talk that Elder Evans’ wife, Sister Evans gave. When she walked up to the podium, it was obvious she was having a spiritual moment. I was in the choir and the song we sang was “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, which she credited to her receiving the help of the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most sincere and real talks I have ever heard. The soft tone of her voice and subtle facial cues gave her a humble appearance like none I have seen before. It was extremely calming to hear her speak.
My first week at West Campus has been interesting. There are some benefits and some down sides to being here. The food in the cafeteria is much better than what they serve at Main Campus, however their portions are less than half the size, so it ends up being an even trade off. Housing is much better and we have control over the temperature in the room, so each night we make it as cold as it will go. The class room we were assigned is an apartment with a kitchen and a couple rooms. A new group of Russian speaking missionaries have their studies in the main or living room, where as ours are in a small bedroom. This has caused a bit of contention between us, because they always are too cold we are too hot considering there are seven people in an enclosed space. So we go back and forth over control of the thermostat.
I have another funny story with Elder O again. During one of our lunches he stood up to go and grab some ice cream. While he was gone, Elder C in our district started pouring salt into his drink. He probably held the salt shaker over it for a good 30-45 seconds which allowed for a disgusting amount to make its way into his Dr. Pepper. When he sat down, he went to take a drink. His face tightened a little bit showing us that he noticed something wrong with his drink, but then went on and kept drinking it. When the glass was empty Elder O put it on the table and said to everyone, “That was gross! Something was wrong with it.” I could not stop laughing at how perfect it was. None of us thought he would drink the whole glass, but he did.
On Sunday my companion and I taught a lesson on “The Gift of the Holy Ghost” for district meeting. It went pretty well. After we finished, the member of our branch presidency attending said to us, “You did your homework on this one.” It was pretty cool to get that kind of feedback, and was nice to make a good impression.
It is now half way through my tenure at the MTC. In no way is my language ready for the mission field and it will ultimately end up with me diving in head first, under prepared. Things are nice here and I am happy where I am. One more month to go.