Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First Letter from the MTC!!!

The District:  (left to right) Sister Kohler, Sister Mellor, Sister Tebbs, Sister Richardson, 
Elder Hagen, Elder Felix, and Elder Peery
Hi Mom and everyone else! 
Things are going really well at the MTC. So after getting escorted through everything and getting my badge and stuff, I got to meet my TWO companions. Elder Felix from South Weber, and Elder Hagen from Colorado. Felix is kind of a headstrong guy but at some points is a little weak and Hagen is pretty much an Elder Calhoun from The Best Two Years. He just needs to learn to open his ideas a little more so that we can feed off him. In my district, which is made up of 7 people including the three, are four sisters. Sister Tebbs goes to BYU and is a cheerleader. It's been pretty fun getting to be a bit of a body guard for her as she tends to get a lot of elders who flirt with her. (Guys if that's one of you remember sisters are there to work too. Also you have a job to have "an eye single to the glory of God" and not an eye single to the hotness level of a sister. Don't forget it.) Sister Richardson goes to Utah State and is one of the more on-task sisters. I'm not sure where Sister Mellor goes but she's pretty much a born leader and can sometimes be a little intimidating with her spirituality. Sister Kohler is a great companion for Sister Mellor and she goes to BYU-Idaho. She has a lot of great ideas and insights. Her cousin is Kylie Denning.
We have two teachers who are very similar to each other. Brother Corbitt is one of my favorites and he's very funny. Every time someone says something spiritual he says "It feels like getting a slice of some sweet spiritual rhubarb pie!" Everyone loves this guy. Brother Harward is about 6'10'' and played basketball for BYU. He's also a great guy.
Our zone is comprised of 2 districts including ours. The other district is comprised of all guys. Elder Pedersen (No known relation to Maddie Pedersen but it is said the same way) and Elder Hardman are the only two not going to Nashville out of the whole zone. Elder Frei, Elder Hamling, Elder Tsosie, and Elder Brown comprise the other district. All are really fun guys to hang around with.

Left to Right:  Elder Hamling, Elder Frei, Elder Brown, Elder Tsosie, Elder Pedersen, 
Elder Hardman, Sister Menlove, President Menlove

Elder Pedersen is a monster on the court as well as practically every other sport. Elder Tsosie is part Navajo and is super respectful. Elder Hardman is part of the national guard in Utah. Elder Hamling is a major mechanic guy and will be heading to BYU-Idaho after this mission. Elder Brown reminds me of one of those Hallmark Missionaries. He literally looks like the perfect guy.

People said the MTC was going to be brutally hard and that the days would seem like weeks and the weeks would seem like days. Well they were half right. In my opinion the correct word is frustrating and stressful. Companions can sometimes be hard to get along with, especially if they don't have the Spirit. One of the saddest things I noticed was how many missionaries are here because their parents told them to go rather than them choosing to go. One elder actually is here just to cause trouble and it's really sad to see him flirting with the sister missionaries and just setting a bad example.
One of the other sad things that happened was Elder Hagen's immune system dropped due to homesickness and finally was diagnosed with a bad case of strep throat. I actually probably shouldn't say that since we visited the clinic today and discovered it wasn't that but rather something similar, but it's pretty close. All elders including myself would take shifts watching him as he slept, making sure he wasn't choking on whatever was inside him. It was a great bonding experience and I'm really grateful for Elder Hardman who took him to the hospital.
I hope from this email/blog that you don't get discouraged or worrisome. I'm learning a lot in the MTC but mostly on how to be a leader. With Elder Hagen being sick, I've had to step it up a little and it has been wonderful feeling the Spirit strong as I teach. I hope the same feeling comes from Elder Felix.
The food is fantastic actually. While some people hate fried food, it's pretty much one of my favorite things. First night in we had fried chicken which was amazing. No real complaints there.
So for some reason my camera doesn't connect with this computer so no pictures can come through. It is super annoying. Also the "wifi" option doesn't really work since you can't connect.
Advice for anyone thinking or serving: If you have thought about serving but have seen blogs, emails, videos, Facebook groups, (you get the picture), saying "The MTC was hard and it was brutal! I never should have served! Why did I go?" The sisters have said it best. "You get out what you put in. If you are willing to work and be obedient, the Lord will not only bless you, but give you the comfort you need to progress." Only you and the Lord know if you are to serve. But it is up to you if you want to join the cause. If you do, just remember you have to commit. Don't forget that feeling you had when you started. One of the sisters had thoughts about quitting and just going home during the first week. But honestly she stopped thinking about herself and just went for it. She said since then she hasn't felt homesick and is excited to go to Nashville.
Another huge piece of advice is that everyone at some point misses home or some part of being away from the mission and that's okay, but it's important to focus on the work and commit yourself to the Lord. That's why we're here.
Advice for people with calls and prepping to head to the MTC: Brace yourselves. The adversary is strong and knows your weaknesses. He will combat you with all the forces imaginable. The couple of weeks before my mission were the hardest. But don't let that discourage you. The harder he pushes you and tempts you, just means the more important you are to the Lord's work. The field is large and the workers are few. Will you join the cause? Then commit yourselves today to get to work. Study hard Preach My Gospel and you should survive the first few days. But be prepared for long hours and exhaustion. However the Spirit will be there (as long as you have it) to support you. Also don't forget you are among worthy (hopefully) priesthood holders. In the past few days I've been the elder to get blessings from, giving blessings of healing to Elder Hagen and also of comfort to Sister Kohler.
I don't know how long it will be before I figure out how to send pictures but one thing is for sure. I'm having a lot of fun. Thank you so much for all the letters I received. I'd love to get some more if possible. There's so much more I could talk about but I feel that the Spirit wanted me to just give you all this advice rather than just talk about how "hard" it is. It's only hard if you make it hard. To all my friends back home in Idaho, Virginia, and all other places, I love you all and would love to hear from you. To everyone preparing to serve or even thinking about it I echo what I said earlier. Will you join in our crusade against the powers of the adversary? The Lord has need of workers and I can't even imagine the blessings he will pour out upon his helpers when the work is finished. If you have that desire, then suit up (or dress up). Love you all!
Elder Peery

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