Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Remember the pic like this from Jay's blog???

Holy cow, it's week five?! I cannot believe I've been here for this long! A very exciting week this one! First off, my flight plans are in! I'm leaving in exactly one week, at 4:30 in the morning (ugh) but the whole thing will take about 18 hours. We are flying from Salt Lake to San Francisco to Tokyo to Manila. We'll be driving to Baguio from Manila the next day. Very, very exciting stuff! I can't wait to get into the field!!!!

The MTC has been very good to me though. This is my usual day: wake up around 6:30am, shower, breakfast, class (progressing investigator, language skills, coaching) lunch, study block (personal, companion, and language study) gym time (the time in which I dominate four square) dinner, and depending on the day it might be evening classes or a devotional. The food here is SUPER good! It's been hard to keep healthy, actually. They try and fatten us up before sending us into the Philippines, I guess. The MTC choir sings for the devotional, but I haven't been singing with them very much. I still love singing, but it's not the kind of choir I participated in before I was called. You don't sign up or anything, everyone just kind of shows up. They do a good job, but the music (I'm not boasting or anything) isn't as difficult as I like, and there are just too many people.

The companionship's got reorganized by the branch presidency because someone had to go home, so I was actually in a tripanionship for a while, but my new companion is Elder Anderson who is great. He's from Utah. All in all, the MTC has been downright groovy. My favorite part, personally, is being able to attend the temple every week, being surrounded by people of your beliefs, and the Spirit that you get to feel ALL the TIME. Also, a great part of the MTC is all the nonsense the missionaries carry on throughout the years. We are, indeed, still in possession of the sword of Laban, (the blade forged of pure coat hangers by the mythical missionaries-that-had-way-too-much-time-on-their-hands-and-are-probably-home-early-now-ites). The stuffed rat who we named Scabbers is actually missing... it's my personal belief that it came to life and ran away. He's in a better place now though.

So, here's the really, really cool stuff that has transpired since last we spoke: I finished the Book of Mormon cover to cover! (Before my mission there was no part of it that was unfamiliar to me, but I had never read it from beginning to end on my own.) I have prayed to my Heavenly Father for the truth and have received a witness of the Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was not only a magnificent man, but a prophet of God. Finally........ so about a week and a half ago, in a zone leadership meeting, my branch president mentioned he would be conducting a fireside and that he wanted someone to volunteer for a prayer. Not thinking a lot of it, I volunteered. I later found out that the "fireside" was the weekly MTC devotional with all the missionaries from both campuses of the MTC there.... no pressure.... then, early on the morning of that devotional we heard that the speaker was..... President Holland!!!! We all heard that and freaked out but found that it's actually Elder Holland's son, Matthew Holland, who is the president of UVU (who we found out is JUST as powerful a speaker as his father, if not better in some ways). Jeffery R. Holland isn't a president he's an elder... we were a tiny bit bummed, but it turned out that ELDER Holland came to see his son speak! So, I did indeed have to pray in front of every missionary in the MTC (around 3000), the MTC Presidency, AND about eight feet away from Elder Holland. Good thing I did theater. I really wasn't super nervous though, just very excited.

Usually when the speaker is a man, his wife will introduce him, but this time Elder Holland introduced his son, so he went to the pulpit directly after my prayer. .......when he did he kind of turned to me casually and said, over the microphone, "Thank you elder, you'll be a world class missionary." And then proceeded to introduce his son.


I'm taking that as a prophecy. It was talked about very much in my journal that night. So, I got to spend an hour an a half sharing the stand with Elder Holland. Yup. Enough said.

Love everyone!!!! Don't just have a testimony, be converted to the Lord!

Elder Mikesell III

Monday, February 10, 2014


Hello all!

It's down right strange that it's been a month already. The MTC goes by FAST. Things go well at the MTC. I'm afraid that this update might be a smidgen smaller than the ones that have preceded it... I'm very hungry this day. I am verrrrry excited to get out in the Philippines. It's been snowy and rainy and cold here,which is my favorite weather, (which is awesome, but there will be a dramatic change once I hit the Philippines)
....I don't know, I guess I'm usually a lot more interesting than this. I'm just learning, studying, praying, and being a beast at four square, really. I'm so hungry that its hard for me to think right now though!
For any sisters contemplating a mission, do it. The blessings are incredible, the MTC is hard but fun, it's an amazing experience that will bless you, and your future spouse.
ooookkkaayy........ that's about it........ sorry to be disappointing this week.........
OH! I forgot something very important! In my opinion I've had a very weak testimony throughout my life. Some people may argue with me, but I've mostly walked on the borrowed light from my parents. Well, when you hit the world outside your home, there is no borrowed light. I love the MTC, but I've been struggling spiritually for a testimony. I wish to be truly converted to the Lord, but I can't do that without first having a testimony. I realized something a few days ago- that I've never, or hadn't for a very long time, felt the Spirit on my own. I've felt it through my parents, the testimony of others, the scriptures, church, testimony meetings, music, conference talks, camp outs, everywhere. But with me and only me, no other influences, no people, no recordings, no words, no writings, nothing, I have never felt the Spirit. I have been repenting, studying, pondering, obeying, and praying for that witness. Last night, I got it. I received a witness by the still small voice, that is the Holy Ghost testifying unto me, that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God, that He atoned for my sins, and that God the Father loves me. 
I have learned that there are three things that only we can destroy, that no on else can take from us - our experiences, our testimony and our conversion. No man or woman on this earth with any amount of money, scientific degrees, cunning words or hostility can take away my experience last night, when I knelt before my maker and received my witness. Our testimony- people can believe what they want. They can even believe that I am a liar or that God is not, but I have a testimony in God the Father and Jesus Christ. Our conversion- a testimony is not enough. It is shaky ground when Satan hurls at us his hurricanes and firestorms. In order to overcome those things we must be converted- and someone who is truly converted will never and cannot fall away. 
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


Week three, still going strong!
Again to all the old people who shook their head and chuckled when I told them I would NOT be homesick, I say to you HA. Still going good. Maybe it'll hit me when I'm in the Philippines, but I'm quite fine right now, thank you very much.
Week three has gone well! The two new districts came in, finally! We were getting super lonely. So, funny goings on with that! Four missionaries found out that the are related... in one district Sister Vaka and Elder Vilingia... super cool Tongan missionaries who are actually first cousins! They opened their mission calls and found out they were going to the same place on the same day, got here, and found out they were in the same district! They bicker all the time. So funny.
So there's an elder in my district (our zone has three districts, my 'old guys' district and the two new districts,) named Elder Cook. One of the sisters, Sister Fuester, is actually from London and was adopted from out of the Philippines. They found out Elder Cook's uncle married her sister, so Sister Fuester is technically Elder Cook's aunt... they had never met before, and Elder Cook is actually two years older.
AND we found out a sister in the new districts.. is 28!!!!!! The cap age limit for sisters is 28 and for guys it's 26! We had no idea! She looks super young, but she has a career, a masters degree, and her own house! Her companion is barely nineteen! Sooo funny. We are a big weird happy family.
At first I was running, but then I got into four square, because it's WAY more fun than running. At first it was like six people and then all the sisters in the gym would get in on it day after day. (Most of my elders are basketball players.) Then MY elders got in on it, we separated into two courts because the elders got really serious about it really quick, and now we have the most intense four square games ever, day after day. A very popular comment as we play and argue and yell is,
"Yeah, I totally know it's just a game. It just also happens to be my life."
It's pretty intense. There's one sister who plays with us because she's hardcore and the sisters court is too gentle for her. We call her Sister Mulan, very funny stuff. She's actually pretty fierce.
Beyond that, the Tagalog is coming along very well. In TRC me and my companion spoke to a native Filipino, all in Tagalog, and we managed pretty well! I feel very good about it.
My testimony is growing. Because of the sacrifices I'm making, I can feel the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I've gained huge insights into obedience, the atonement, faith, and my purpose as a human being and a son of God.
I love the MTC! Love everyone! Defend the faith!
Elder Mikesell III