Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 5? Week 6?

 When we have the chance to escape the MTC we use our time wisely by running in the sun. It feels so good. :)
I really cannot remember what week I am in but if I have another week to go I am gonna go with 6 weeks. They really do all blur together. The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. It's the MTC time paradox theory that I still don't understand. So to start things off...ELDER MERRILL (from my district...district g-hetto) GOT HIS VISA just 10 minutes ago. He went through the San Francisco consulate. That consulate is just handing them out like candy. Today was miraculous because I think I saw about 10 visas being handed out ....or more. Thats a small percentage compared to the near 4,000 missionaries here but that is more than any other day since I arrived. So the good news is, they are coming and they are coming quick. I really want mine really bad but if I receive a reassignment to Billings Montana or Boise Idaho then I know that is where the Lord needs me to go. But really...I want that visa. So I'm not saying pray for it...I mean you can if you want to, I don't think it will hurt my chances. visa visa visa visa. Our Branch President told us not to say four letter words. At  first when I heard that I thought it was a no brainer...duh, i won't say those bad words. But he was talking about the words dude, guys, and visa. So I just say I want my visa...s so that I am not breaking the rules hahaha. Saying 'hey guys' is a really hard habit to break or dude instead of elder. I struggle with that sometimes and I try to always catch myself. My Branch President rocks, though. I love going to Zone Meetings with him and discussing game plans on how to help our our Branch (Zone). He's super straight forward but loves to laugh and have a good time and get to know us better. He is alot like Dad so it's fun to be around him. :)

We all love each other. We are super tight - like unto a dish - and we all get along so well. It is kinda like we were brothers before this life and all just met up with each other in the MTC. They really are some of the funniest guys that I have met but they all know how to get it together. Whenever any of them bears their testimony mine is strengthened immensely. I have grown more spiritually in these 6 weeks than I have in the last 19 years of my life. It is also weird to think how I'll be 20 in 5 months. I certainly don't feel that old. I still feel 16 or 17...like a baby. 

The infamous Elder Merrill. The man is a stud and flies to Curitiba this next Monday. It is so awesome!!

Popcorn popping on the apricot tree

The food is getting better and doesn't tear up my bowels like it used to. After every lunch I felt like I digested a hedgehog. Are those the soft ones? If not...it felt like a seriously sharp animal. So either the food has improved, or my stomach has become iron, or i just feel crappy all the time and don't realize it. All three. 
Being a zone leader is some pretty fun stuff. But 80 people to keep track of is sometimes pretty strenuous. Scheduling my Branch President interviews for Sundays and finding all the missionaries to contact them is insane sometimes. I am so proud of all my District Leaders. They are on top of things and are solid guys....elders. See i just did it. The meetings with the Branch Presidency are super cool and seeing all of the Elders in my Branch at night time and checking up on them is a really cool experience. 

ELDER SCOTT CAME TO THE MTC. Pre-Devotional all the missionaries were chatting it up and it was that classic white noise effect where you can't really hear any of the conversations around you except for the one near your neighbor. It was very loud but I believe it was for a lesson. Casual conversation carried out by the whole missionary population was followed by the roaring of folding chairs and then silence. I didn't realize it at first but it felt like I stood up involuntarily. The MTC presidency walked in and following behind them was Elder Richard G. Scott. The silence in the gym was indescribable. The Spirit was definitely there and I have never felt so close to heaven (other than the temple). The spirit of love that Elder Scott held was able to touch the hearts of every missionary in the MTC. Even those in the overflow felt it because that was the word on the street for the next couple of days. At the end he gave all those learning a second language an apostolic blessing that we would become masters in our mission language if we were able to have the spirit with us everyday. Worries = gone for everyone. Even those that felt in the absolute doldrums of the learning process gained a new feeling of confidence. It was what a lot of people needed. I loved it. 

Our district gets to use skype next week and we are the first ones to ever test it out. For TRC we get to skype with Member Brasileros and just have some nice conversations with them and then teach them a post-dinner like lesson. I really can't wait for the feedback that they will give us. Here in the MTC we are so isolated and the only way I can find out if I sound even the slightest bit legit is from my teacher and even then I want more grammar and accent correction. So, as you can see I am pumped for this opportunity. It is a serious blessing. Plus we are feeling really cool since we were chosen out of all the Portuguese speakers to use skype as a learning device....sup. Stay humble, Elder stay humble. 

Oh yeah, by the way I already feel like an awkward missionary. Which is good. Every time I hold a conversation with someone it somehow ties into some gospel doctrine or general authority or something. Missionary Nerd Status is upon me. I got to host the newbies last Wednesday and hatch them into the MTC like little chicks. There were so many tears left on the curb that day. Sisters have the crying genes it seems. It was fun to be the first impression of the MTC for some of the new Elders. It is crazy to think that was me only 5 and a half weeks ago. After that Wednesday the MTC is an exact 50/50 split. It is intents...like indians. Dumb joke. 

So thats the recap. I love all of you so much. I am so stoked to find out where I will be going for a little while before I take on Brasil. I find out tomorrow or Thursday and I'll get to call home at night time. So prepare yourself. It will probably be sometime on Thursday. So that means you, mom - keep your cell phone with you por favor. Everyone in my district wants to go to the East coast since everyone is either midwest or west coast I'm the only one from the east. Speaking of which I still get the..."Phillly?!?! No way! Cheesesteaks...am I right? So good, I had one at Subway one time. It was so choice." or "Does Rocky live there?" I say yes everytime. I also get "Oh nice, Philadelphia! What part of the state are you from?" I can't stop laughing. So many people think Philly is a state of the Unites States of America. 

I love all of you.

Elder Ian Forsyth
p.s. stay sweet 

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