So three weeks (ish) from today I'll be on a plane to the Philippines!! Pretty stoked about that. I'll have my flight plans next Friday, so you'll get them in two weeks. And of course, a long layover in San Fransisco means plenty of talk time!
This week was.. welp another week in the MTC to be honest. After 6 of them it gets a little monotonous. I mean that in the best way possible. There's just less to report on. The Spirit and the truth of this Church are still 100% true, and the reason I am here.
The highlight was definitely Elder Holland coming and talking to us on Tuesday night. He is so good! Again, I was only a few rows back. I'm positive we made eye contact, which pretty much makes me famous. Sorta. Anyways, he delivered the most powerful talk I've ever heard. Hands down. I guess you can say stuff in front of all missionaries easier than you can to the whole world. So he didn't waste a moment before chastising us that we don't study hard enough, plan well enough, or teach well enough. It seemed like a lot of the missionaries took it kinda hard, but I didn't have a problem. I study hard, plan well, and teach by the Spirit. But there's room for improvement in all things. He then went on to talk about the "Age of Preach My Gospel". Apparently the Church has been having a big problem over the last few decades, in that missionaries come back from 2 years of dedicated service just to fall away from the truth. Elder Hinckley (President's son) was there, and mentioned that his dad (President Hinckley) said the missionary program needs to be changed. Thus, Preach My Gospel was birthed. It was created to help missionaries be converted in their hearts before they recited wrote lessons to countless investigators. We are taught 100x better, and expected to be 100x better, than Elder Holland was as a missionary. That's paraphrased. But what really hit me was when he brought up the story of the Savior coming back to talk to his disciples after the Resurrection. Peter and friends were fishing, not being apostles basically, when a man told them to cast the net on the other side. Once Paul recognized who was talking, he rushed overboard and swam to meet his master. You can find this story towards the end of John. But the point is, the Savior had to repeat 3x "Do you love me?" to Peter before He got the emotion in the answer he was looking for. And when Peter said, with passion and true love, "yes," all Christ had to say was, "Then feed my sheep."
Don't you get it? If you love Him, freakin get to work!! That was the theme of Elder Holland's talk, and it will be the theme of my mission and the rest of my life. I could hear Holland scream at me, "DON'T YOU GET IT?" over and over throughout the talk. Though he didn't actually say those words, that's all I heard. Don't you get it? If you really understand His love for you, His atonement, His infinite sacrifice, you would love Him unconditionally too. And once you've established that (and it's black and white, either you love Him, or you don't), you need to get to work.
Oops. Got a little carried away there. But that was the best thing that happened in the last 6 weeks here, hearing those words from an Apostle of Christ and a messanger of God. I love this Church, I love my Savior, and I am going to feed his sheep. In three weeks!! So stoked.
PS I won't get mail too often in the Philippines, so if you've been meaning to write do it soon!
You can always email, too. Just leave a return address so I can write back. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Love you all and thanks for all the support!!
Elder Trevor Todd Brown