Well, hello all! First, exciting/funny thing... my companion and I were called as zone leaders! Haha, so my zone has two districts, 16a and 16b. 16b is leaving today, like we just said goodbye, so my entire zone is just the seven elders of my district. But TWO new districts arrive on Wednesday! There will be four sisters and twelve sisters... which is kind of a problem because there are no sister training leader (basically a female ZL) to help them... its just us... so that will be fun, haha. Oh, and we have to pretend to be more confidant than we are because we've only been here for two weeks if that...so that will be fun.
Funny goings on - Elder Anderson, in our district, had his birthday on Sunday, and his mom basically sent a party in a box; candles, streamers, matches, balloons, cupcakes, party hats, donuts, like everything. We decked out our room and had a party, sooo much fun. So, there were only two elders in the district that just left, Elder Wooden and Williamson, funniest guys ever. When they left about two hours ago, they passed all their stuff down to us. That stuff included:
-a stuffed rat that (according to the legends) has been passed down for five generations
-a full life sized sword made entirely of wire coat hangers (called the sword of Laban, crafted by the most disobedient missionaries to have ever walked the halls of 16m)
-a Nerf basketball hoop
-assorted tennis balls and Nerf footballs
-and some pretty awful ties.
-and the "scroll of the oaths of zone leader"
the scroll is really an index card which outlines the ceremony with which the title of zone leader is passed from one generation of Elders to the next. I'd tell you what the ceremony is, but it's a secret. (quit freaking out, it's pretty tame, haha)
We're all going to miss them super bad, haha.
I've started to understand that the MTC has a weird way of making things that aren't even funny into absolutely hilarious. I think it's because we are all so tired and worked that it feels good just to laugh.
The Tagalog is going pretty well. Here's my prayers in Tagalog at night! All from memory!
ama po namim sa langit nagpapasalamat po ako para kay jecucritso at para sa aklat ni mormon at ebanghelyo ng diyos. paki-basbasan po ninyo ako na kaloob ng mga wika at ng maramdaman espiritu santo. nagpapasalamat para sa nguyoun araw mugundung. si pangalan ni jesucristo amen.
It's super crazy that I've been here two weeks already. MTC time: the days go by waaay slow but the weeks go by super fast. It's the weirdest thing ever.
Now for serious time. I would like to bear my testimony to anyone who might be reading this. If you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I highly encourage you to seek out the missionaries! I can testify and promise that the message they can carry to you will make you happy. It can solve any problem, it can lift you up to overcome any obstacle. However, as great as the missionaries are, my testimony is not of them, it is in the Lord and redeemer Jesus Christ. As an ambassador of Him, I plead with you to come unto Him, to gain faith in His atonement, to repent of your sins, to be baptized by a holder of the proper priesthood authority of God, to receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. I can witness that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of not only mankind, but to YOU, whomever is reading this, I mean YOU. He loves you, knows you, and cares about you. Come unto Him, and be healed.
If you are a member of the church, I have some words for you as well! Something interesting you learn in the MTC is that our purpose is not to convert people. It's to bring others to Christ. Conversion is a consequence, not the sole goal. Here are my words to those in the church-
You don't? pray, study, ponder, with a deep desire to gain one, and you will gain it. I can promise this as an Elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
You do? Good for you!
But that's not enough. If all you have is a testimony you will fall away from Him when your trials become great, or your pride overcomes your humility. You must be converted. Being converted unto the Lord is what you must now obtain. A testimony is knowing that your beliefs are true. Being converted to the Lord is consistently living what you know. I believe I know people who have been truly converted. They are amazing Christ like people.
To close my letter, I'd like to leave you with, what is in my opinion, the most beautiful word in the Tagalog language I have learned so far. It takes up an entire line in the Book of Mormon.
It means the Lord omnipotent, or is another title for Jesus Christ. My favorite so far. Love you all! Defend the faith!
Elder Mikesell III