Dear Friends and Family,
This week has been an interesting one. The Tarbets came in on Monday (The Tarbets are a senior couple--the parents of my sister's husband--for those of you that may not know). It has been really cool to have them here at the MTC at the same time as me. Obviously they have no real blood relation to me, but, to make the explanation easier of how we knew eachother, they are now just my grandparents. Funny story about how that came about actually. On Tuesday, Elder Neil L. Andersen came to speak at the MTC (Member of the Quorum of the Twelve, so it was a big deal). But, earlier that day the Tarbets and I had decided to meet up to take a picture together. Elder Cox and I had been helping with some stuff so we got a little late to choir, and they wouldn't let us in. Needless to say we lost our for sure locked-in seats for the devotional by singing. So, we found the shortest line waiting to get seats and miraculously found seats that were even better than what we usually get. So, we got there, got our seats, but needed to save them somehow while we went to go find the Tarbets. So, we left our suit jackets on our seats to save them for us (you're not supposed to save seats...for others :) ) Anyway, its pretty much common knowledge to always wear your suit coats during the devotionals, just cause. But, it wasn't going to start for another 30 minutes. BYU police told us to put them back on, and instead of giving them the round about story, I told them that I was trying to find my grandparents. He even held the door for Grandma when I found them and we headed outside for a picture. Anyway, all went well there and we heard a great talk from Elder Andersen that was really just 9 points that President Monson would have told us if he were there that night. They're in my journal, so if you want to know them, you'll have to find out later. But one of them was to smile. It sounds doctrinally correct because in Nacho Libre it says the same thing, "Smile and be happy. For today, is a special day." So, from two sources, I have now been continuing my quest of learning to smile. Better.
Smiling wasn't that hard last night when we checked the mail. Why? Because our travel plans came in! I will leave for Mexico on September 3rd, 2012 around 10 am MST. P.S. Don't meet me at the airport. They frown upon that. But, either way, still pretty sweet to know that you are actually headed to the field. I am the travel leader of my group--who I actually met while we were hosting new elders that came in last Wednesday. It turns out that there are 5 Elders in their district heading there and it only took me 8 weeks to find them. They are all in the begginer class for Spanish, so they're language skills as of now are...rough. Anyway, I thought maybe I got assigned as travel leader because my Spanish is better, but its just cause my name is first alphabetically. Oh well. Yesterday two people we met thought I was a native speaker of Spanish, so I guess that means I can't be too atrocious. Or however you spell that in English. One was a native himself, so that was cool. It is sure to be a different language in the field no matter what though.
Oh, and I lost my big toe nail this week. Elder Cox finally had to tear it out with my leatherman because it was hurting me so much. Don't worry, I didn't bleed that much and I already have 3/4 of a toe nail that had already grown beneath it. No medical supplies needed. Just an interesting thing to know.
In terms of other stories from this week, I have two. First of all, I saw another Elder get sent home this week. He was in our Zone and he was truthfully one of my favorite Elders. It was hard to see him leave, and if you can take it in the right heart, I think its safe to say that at that time I felt the closest to the Savior that I ever have. Because I would have done anything I could have to get him to stay. But, in the end, he is gone after being here for 8 weeks. I just hope he can make it back to his mission because I could already see his heart changing for the better. Seeing missionaries leave is honestly the most depressing thing that you can see here. To me at least.
But the next story is of a different nature. And I was not even there for it, but it has still influenced me each day since. It is actually about an experience Elder Milovidov had while he was hosting and he started out by saying that he would never be able to forsake the church because of an example he saw this day. Here Elder Milovidov was standing by his drop off point waiting to welcome a new Elder. Then, a car pulls up, nothing fancy about it, actually quite the contrary, it was a small, beat-up compact car that had some obvious wear to it. Inside are only two people, an Elder and his mother. You could tell that they had very little support from outside sources and that all they really had in the world was each other. Elder Milovidov tried not to notice as they shared their last hug while he unloaded the bags, but he still glanced over. And when he did, he noticed the Elder reach back into the car for something. As the Elder retreived the item, Elder Milovidov looked back at the mother and he said that for a moment it was like they were talking, without saying a word, and that the expression on her face just said to him, "Please take care of my son." Elder Milovidov looked back at the Elder a little confused at what had made this particular departure, such a grand occasion. The item that the Elder had retrieved was a walking stick. All this time Elder Milovidov had no idea that this Elder was blind. He said that he was the most humble person imaginable, that he always allowed people to help him when they noticed, but never complained when they didn't. And that he never complained or mentioned it himself the whole day.
The example of this Elder and his mother is wonderful to me. That they could give up so much, and go through so much to see him progress as a missionary. I'm sorry I'm already 4 minutes over in my email, so I hope it suffices to say that I know that this Church is true, and that the Savior lives today and that is what makes all of our sacrifices worth it.
I love you all,