Thursday, October 6, 2011

Final Letter from Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT

Josh and our Okinawa friend Troy were in the MTC together.  And their moms both thought they needed Route 58 shirts!

The famous MTC map pose.
Hey everybody!  :) Sorry, the MTC is pretty busy and I haven't had a lot of time to specifically write anything to share with everybody in general!
I'm really excited to be leaving; I've definitely needed all the spiritual growth (and more importantly, the Spanish classes) that I've gained here, but I am so ready to leave and head out to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! Did I mention I need to get away from the food? ;) I am going to miss lifting weights though, even if it is just on machines. 
I got my travel plans last Thursday and I'll be flying to Chile this Tuesday, October 11.  We'll be passing through Atlanta and it looks like we'll be having plenty of time to feel like missionaries in the real world, both in the airports and on the planes. Pretty nerve-racking! I haven't had my in-field orientation yet (kind of like our last crash course where they try to help us understand better what we'll REALLY be doing in the field), but I'm pretty sure we're allowed to call our families during our travel day. I'm also 95% sure we'll only be allowed to call family but we'll see. I like how they expect us to remember how to use a phone! ;)
I'm getting more and more excited...and more and more nervous every day. My Spanish is definitely going to get rocked when I have to talk to the native speakers but...I can teach the principles of the gospel and I'm counting on the Lord to help me with the rest!  I've studied so much, so hard, and I feel like I've done my part (thus far, haha, I still have plenty to do now and in the field).  I guess that's all I can ask for.
Yesterday was an interesting experience. My companion and I were asked to be one of the companionships to demonstrate how to start lessons for the new missionaries coming in to the MTC.  I'm sure this was supposed to be a kind gesture of confidence in us but honestly, it just made me feel like they were expecting things out of us that we didn't really have.  We have no experience with "real" people yet.  On top of having to "set the tone" in front of 30 new missionaries with an investigator we'd never met, we had to do the whole thing in English. I know it sounds lame, but that was actually REALLY hard. I've been practicing for weeks in SPANISH.  It's hard to stay as focused, clear, and simple.  It's easy to get derailed when we really just need to have Christ's love shining through us and the Spirit teaching the lesson.
Thank you so much for all your letters!!!  You have no idea how much they really make my day!  The mission is very rewarding and wonderful, but equally as difficult and discouraging. Hearing about how you're all doing and hearing your words of encouragement feels so good. You are my angels! I feel so bad for all the missionaries I didn't write consistently. I finally get it. :)
I love you all and hope you got to watch Conference!  It was so amazing and I wish I had time to share my thoughts with you all (and hear yours as well)!  Mom, could you post that awesome Book of Mormon one from Elder Clayton?  Elder Holland's was absolutely amazing, too.  Sister Dalton brought the house down. ;)
Okay, I'm over time!  Got to go!  Love you all!
-Elder Jones

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