Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week 7

Note from June - Thank you so much for your support by following along on Alex's journey with his mission.  I would love to encourage you to leave comments on the weekly entries that have touched you in some way - Alex will be reading each and every one of them when he returns home from his mission.  What a great surprise is in store for him!!!  Please feel free to forward this blog address to folks - especially those within our ward... I added a quick slideshow of when Alex opened up his mission paperwork in the gallery section - check it out!  I'll be updating the gallery with MTC pictures and video soon, now that I've figured out Movie Maker!  Tee Hee - I'm so NOT tech savvy!

***********  Now on to Alex's letter ***********

Hello everyone!

Another great week at the MTC! Thursdays are so great because it's Preperation Day, which means Temple time! I just got finished with my endowment session just a few hours ago and I loved it (like always). Each time I go through a session, I learn something new, but there is so much to learn it's amazing! I love it so much:). President Laney told me that out of a whole table of knowing what the endowment is and what we can learn from it, he probably only knows about a corner, so I'm glad that I don't feel totally lost sometimes! I'm glad that I have the opportunity to even be endowed though! It is such a touching moment in my life that I will never forget. This church has brought so much happiness in my life I have no idea where I would be without it. It certainly has made me a better person and is helping my discover who I am supposed to be. What an opportunity it is to serve a mission for the Lord, to invite others to come unto Christ and help them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement:). Just planting that seed would be totally fine with me! I know that someday that seed will grow and they will find the church some way or another, the Lord always seems to help others in mysterious ways:). It is such an amazing feeling to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ trust 19-24 year old people to go out and spread His gospel. Why, I don't know, but I do know that I am doing the right thing by being out here. I feel the spirit everyday, and my faith is continually increasing. I've been on a spiritual high since the day I arrived at the MTC, and I honestly don't think it will ever go away... At least I hope it doesn't!

This past week has been a big blessing for me. I have been having some of the best personal study sessions I have ever had. People would tell me that I should start and end with a prayer (which I have always done) and to also ask a question about what may be on your mind. This whole week I have not gone a day without my questions being answered. Oh how the Lord works in mysterious ways! I finished 2 Nephi and all the other books leading up to Mosiah. When I first joined the church, I would cry reading through Second Nephi, but now, it's my favorite book! Once you figure out what Isaiah means and how his symbolism works, the stories he tells are absolutely GREAT! Granted, all the books in the Book of Mormon are great, but I'm going to have to say Second Nephi is the best hands down. Read 2 Nephi 25 and it talks about how you can understand Isaiah better :)!

There has been A LOT of contention in my district lately too :\. Four or five guys out of the eleven are yelling at each other constantly, starting fights, calling each other names and other stuff. It gets ridiculous and instantly kicks the spirit out of the room. Elder Fiala and I have to resort to leaving to a different room to study almost every time. I don't know why the contention has started, but my guess is that 7 weeks is too long for them to be together. To be honest, I love it all! My companion is great, the studying I've had since I've been here has been the best, and the food helps me gain weight and upset my stomach, I mean, WHO WOULDN'T want that?!  Haha :) , all jokes aside, I am ready to go to the field! Only 12 more days, and I'll be off to Washington baby! I can't believe that it has gone by this quick! Good thing my companion is going to the same mission as me, because I would have missed him the most. I just hope we will have the opportunity to be companions out in the field one day! Who knows!?

Sunday night I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in Spanish since it was fast Sunday. I talked about eternal families, how I will have one with my own, and my wife someday :). I also talked about Joseph Smith and the troubles he had to go through just to keep this church alive. If it wasn't for him, this church would not exist today. My Spanish has improved so much, and I can only thank the Lord for doing so. He has helped me receive the gift of tounges, and I know that it is real. There is NO way I could have learned as much as I know in seven weeks time if it wasn't for Him and the different gifts of the spirit. I cannot thank Him enough for the price He had to pay for us and for the blessings He has given me in my life. The church is His church - no one elses. If it wasn't for Christ's Atonement, we would have no way to return to our Father in Heaven. It is because of Christ that we have this opportunity; but we must use it. In Preach My Gospel it says that we should repent daily, and I have been trying my best to do so. No one can have a perfect day no matter how hard they try. None of us is perfect, except for our Savior Jesus Christ. He was the perfect example for everyone on this earth, and I am so glad that I get to share His gospel to the people in Washington.

There was a talk I read the other day called "Teaching By The Spirit" by Elder Lund. See if you can find it, it was very inspirational and very very good! Also look up, "Slow to Anger" by Gordon B. Hinckley, and "Meeting Your Goliath" by Thomas S. Monson. They are each so amazing and inspirational and I love them so much!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a New Missionary Host! WOOT WOOT! It was SOOO fun! I got to show the missionaries around and help them when they got dropped off at the MTC. Remember when you had to do that to me, Mom? :)  I almost started crying seeing how many mom's that started crying. Such a sad sight! But I know that they were tears of joy for their beloved son or daughter! They are all in the right place! I KNOW I am in the right place! I thank you all for your support and love!  :)  It is such an amazing feeling to know that I have a support group back at home cheering me on. Trust me, it helps a ton!

Anyway, I love all of you and thank you for being an awesome example to me :).

Elder Alex Annand

*********** UPDATE **********

Here are the links that reference the talks mentioned above for your convenience.  Just put your pointer over the author's name to activate the link and click away!  They do contain powerful messages, and I can understand why Alex was drawn to them -

"Slow to Anger" by Gordon B. Hinckley
"Meeting Your Goliath" by Thomas S. Monson

I could not find a talk given by Elder Gerald Lund titled "Teaching by the Spirit" - however, I did find one given by Elder Dallin Oaks titled "Teaching and Learning by the Spirit" which I found to be most excellent!


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