Monday, October 14, 2013

"The MTC Rocks!"

Hello Everyone!  
Thanks to everybody for all the kind DearElders and e-mails.  They are really appreciated! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers as well. So I guess I will start from the top.
On the flight I sat by an Elder who is going to Argentina, so sadly that shut down an airplane missionary opportunity.  It was fun though, we talked most of the flight and he was way nervous because he'd never been away from his family.  I think I helped calm him down a bit - everything happens for a reason, so that's probably why I was sitting by him!  I got to the MTC at like 10am-ish.  There was like a pre-orientation orientation just to kill time with the Elders who came before 12:30.  Luckily, since I came early I got to eat lunch in the cafeteria!  It was good. 
I later met my companion and my district.  I LOVE my companion Elder Cisneros.  He's from Orem, UT and is fluent in Spanish.  The only reason why he is here for 6 weeks is because he can't read or write in Spanish.  In fact, I can read and write in Spanish better than him.  And that isn't saying much!  My district has 5 companionship's, 2 Elder-ships and 3 Hermana-ships.  They all are awesome.  My Zone is super cool too, all the Elders in my Zone are all in the same hall as me and they are all super fun guys and I know just about all their names now.  The first day was pretty easy and fun.  We did a really cool "Teach Experience" workshop that was eye opening and really great.  I really started to learn how to recognize what the investigator is feeling, yet isn't saying - which is really important.  
After day one, everything has been in Spanish, which is great for learning!  It also made you have to try REALLY hard to listen 24/7.  It's tiring, humbling, and hard.  But I am loving every second of it.  I am taking full advantage of every minute of personal study time so I can learn everything I can.  It's crazy how fast I am learning things - especially compared to the rate I learned with Rosetta Stone pre-mission.  It isn't even funny how real the gift of tongues is, and the power the Spirit has in helping us learn.  In addition to learning lots of Spanish I have learned a ton about studying, my Savior Jesus Christ, The Holy Ghost, and just teaching skills in general.  
I taught my first lesson in Spanish on Friday.  Boy, it was so hard and very humbling.  The investigators here are so real, extremely good actors.  I had to fill 25 minutes of gospel and spirit filled time in Spanish. I was extremely blessed with being able to say a lot of the things I was prompted to say which was amazing.  However, I was reminded that I am a tool in the Lords work, and that I need to do everything I can to be the most useful I can be.  Saturday we had the second lesson with the same investigator, Shonna.  It went WAY better.  We talked all about the atonement and the healing power that comes from it.  We also taught her that Christ set the example for us to be baptized - along with talking about his life.  She seemed really interested and touched by the atonement, and when I testified of Eternal families I got all teared up and the Spirit was about as thick as pudding in the air!  It was awesome.  It so cool to feel the Spirit as I testify in Spanish.  I invited her to be baptized and she seemed interested but she want to change some things in her life first.  Tomorrow morning, we will teach her about the Restoration and Book of Mormon.
Last night, we had a sweet devotional all about the importance of the investigator feeling and recognizing the Spirit.  It was awesome, and I got to usher for it!  Pretty cool because then I got to sit in the second row in the very front!  So cool.  After that we watched the Elder Bednar talk "Characters of Christ".  Holy cow, it was amazing.  Everyone said, "It is so good, it will change your mission, and your life!"  And they were all true.  It's the best talk I have every heard and my love, appreciation, and desire to become more like the Savior grew so much.  I advise everyone to look it up and watch it, your guaranteed to cry your eyes out, I am getting teary just thinking about it!
I love the MTC, I love my Savior, I love my Companion, and I love this Gospel.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, I can feel them bless my life here.
I love you all!
-Elder Bender
Caminamos con fe

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