Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Letterrrrr

With Elders leaving for Argentina
March 1, 2013
Hey I'm woody, howdy, howdy, howdy
             I have found there’s a lot of things that they don't really prepare you for here in the MTC and on your mission in general. Such things include but are not limited to: your inability to determine whether a sister is genuinely good looking or if you have been in the MTC for 3 weeks, your loss of concern for your outfit on P-day, the amount of time you will spend just listening to someone talk/instruct you, your body’s incapability to retain food for extended periods of time, andd let's not forget the dramatic shuffle of priorities. Just a few things that I have been thinking about this week as i have have been going through the days.

              I can't BELIEVE that i have almost been here a seems wierd to think that i only have 23 months left and it seems like i haven't even been out that long. Elder K (one of the guys from my district) found out last night that he is going to be leaving one week earlier than the rest of us so he only has 10 days left!!!! It's really weird, and it means his companion is gonna be a solo Elder for a week before he leaves. I can't imagine what it's gonna be like without him since we have all been together since day 1. But if we are being honest, he is the most ready to go. His Spanish is coming along great, he is learning the lessons, and he has the energy and excitement for missionary work that you really can't teach. But anyway I'll keep you posted on that.
"God Be With You Til We Meet Again"

           On Wednesday this week we got to do one of the most awesome things EVER! We signed our entire district up to HOST the new missionaries as they came into the MTC. So that’s like those people who were standing on the curb when we pulled up and helped us find our stuff and our rooms and then get to class. I was sooo glad I could help because just seeing those Elders and Sisters reminded me of just how terrible that first day seemed haha it's so overwhelming to say goodbye to your family knowing that you won't see them for 2 years! So i was glad to be there and assure the parents that we would take good care of them, and then once the parents left, assure the Elder/Sister that this place really isn't as bad as everyone says haha It was nice to see them kinda relax once we started talking about life here and the daily routine. I met one Elder going to the Hawaii mission. I asked him if he was planning on serving a real mission after he got back from the 2 year vacation. Then i also proceeded to use the same joke on a Sister i got that was going to the West Indies. Anyways, it was soo much fun and it was so cool to see the different reactions of people as their sons and daughters left. For some it was like in "The other Side of Heaven" when that dude dies and everyone is wailing and freeeeeeking out haha others it's like okay son I'll pick you up after school...even though they know it's two years. Just interesting to see the dynamics. And its also curious that it seems people have the hardest time saying goodbye to their brothers. They always cry the most at that point. Made me feel a little bit better about being such a wuss haha.It's wierd to think that i only have like 2 weeks lefter here in the MTC. I'll be leaving around the same time that all these new English speaking Elders are.

               So this week was all about Elder N who was pretty much dead. He got sick about Sunday or so and it was just a common cold kinda thing and he didn't go to the doctors and he didn't take it easy and what was a simple cold turned into a throat infection....soooo needless to say it wasn't the best week for him. But he is finally getting better and was able to get out of bed today. But the real trial came on Tuesday night. Tuesday nights we have devotionals and sing with the choir. This particular week we were singing "Consider the Lillies" and I was soooo excited to sing it because it sounded soo awesome when we were practicing it on Sunday. But with Elder N being sick we have had to switch off people staying with him in the room and other people going to class so that his companion (Me) doesn't have to miss class all day every day. So nobody really minded it but i didn't want anyone to have to miss the devotional and stuff so I reluctantly volunteered to stay with him. Wellllllllll it just so happens that on this particular night, at this particular devotional, a certain M. Russell Ballard of a specific quorum of the 12 came to speak to the missionaries  -_____-   So when they came back after the devotional and were like uhhh do you wanna know who spoke and i was like no....but you should tell me anyway. When i found out i immediately started to feel bad for myself. I had been waiting for one of the 12 to come speak and now i had missed it all because Elder N was sickkk. But then I took a step back and started to think about the situation. Elder N didn't choose to be sick and he had missed the devotional too! And meanwhile i was feeling fine while he was feeling gross. Plussssss, I'm sure he felt bad that he had caused me to miss the devotional too. So I thought and I quote: "What cause have I to be miserable when at least I'm healthy?" So in summary, everything worked out alright, and clearly i have been reading too much of the Book of Mormon because I'm starting to think and talk like I'm Alma.

                 So everything has been pretty good I guess. N got better, and then I woke up this morning sick sooooo hopefully i can keep this thing under control. It hasn't been too bad so far and I'm keeping medicine in me so hopefully it won’t detract from the work too much.

                  Anyway, before i go i just wanted to share a quick thought. So i have been reading as much of Jeffrey R Holland as i can get my hands on and there was a book i was reading in the doctors office that has all the general conference talks from April 2012. Jeffrey R Hollands talk was called "Servants of the Vineyard" or maybe "Laborers of the Vineyard". Either way I was reading and it was all about the parable of the servants of the vineyard. You should go look it up and read it because i took like 10 quotes from it that are awesome, but basically, the parable is about a keeper of the vineyard who goes out 4 times during the day to hire laborers for the Master's Vineyard. At the end of the work day, the workers gather to get their pay and the Master of the Vineyard pays each worker the same amount. Now the workers from the morning are upset because they have been working all day for this pay and there are others who have only been working for one hour and they are getting the same amount. There are many different insights that we can draw from this parable. "[God's] concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there." He doesn't care if you have only just arrived at great faith as long as you have arrived. The reward will be the same. "It is never too late so long as the Master of the Vineyard says there is time." "Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God, is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it, and often feel they don't deserve it." "Envy is the mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know." And the last great point that he makes is that the parable doesn't say that the workers of the morning were so mad that they threw their coin in the Master's face and stomped off without pay, but I'm sure some of them might. "We consume such precious emotional and spiritual capital clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck at a childhood piano recital." We need to let go of the things that are so menial but that we hold onto anyway. "The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of the earlier hours - real or imagined - fall away in the abundance of the final reward." It's such a good talk so go and look it up and read it!

                   Sorry this post hasn't been all that exciting this week but not much has happened. Although it seems that the days are passing quicker and quicker! I hope all is well with everyone and I'll be sure to post again next week!

Elder Josh Hamm

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