To first close off my experience in the MTC, let me just say that the last week rolled by quickly. Elder Hagen recovered quickly, but we were all very grateful that we were headed to Tennessee. On the last Tuesday I joined the MTC choir in singing Hope of Israel for Russell M. Nelson who would later speak to us. Apparently my face was broadcasted to every MTC in the world. It was a good thing I told one of my companions who was standing near me to shave. But yeah Elder Nelson was fantastic. He quoted himself which was pretty awesome. Also during my last week I got to meet Brother Christiansen (not sure if that's spelled right) who was the same Elder Christiansen in The District II. That was pretty sweet. But then finally it was time to leave. As we said goodbye to Elder Pedersen (we decided that if he and Elder Hamling came up to BYUI we would all be roommates) and Elder Hardman at 3:30am, we boarded the bus to the SLC Airport.
When we landed in Nashville on Monday we got to meet the President and his wife. President Andersen is an awesome guy who's really strong spiritually. He kinda looks like a Mormon Elijah Wood too. We got to meet the three AP's who were all excited we were there. On Tuesday I went to the stake building where I was assigned my trainer, Elder Leavitt who is from Provo area.
He's an awesome guy who has the voice of an angel. We've been teaching a lot of people and he constantly says how grateful he is to have an eager companion. We currently are teaching around he city of Antioch which is cool cause in Biblical times that's the location (in the old world of course) where disciples were first called Christians! But yeah you get a little bit of everything from the stuck up rich people to the humble poor. It's been great teaching a bit of both.
Elder Leavitt and myself meeting for the first time
Here's a few pictures of what I've seen/been doing.
Walking in Nashville
The Nashville temple at a whopping two stories high
All the green!! All the hills!
The apartment. Beds are basically from where I'm taking the picture.
Traveling by bus, bike, car, and walking!
Elder Leavitt and I have been performing musical numbers this past week. He sings and I play a guitar we borrowed from a member of the Nashville Tribute Band. It's been really sweet and even President was impressed. Sister Andersen posted the video to her Facebook.
But yeah I've also been amazed how many people I've heard have been reading this stuff. Didn't think that many people would care! I don't really have anything that spiritual to share other than maybe "humility is the key to inspiration" (for those of you who know where that's from you're awesome) and that literally the people who are most likely to accept and retain the gospel are those who are continually searching for answers. I've taught people here who have so much guilt in their hearts. It's been amazing getting to see their faces when they hear their questions answered.
One last thing I wanted to add. For all members in the church that are reading this, guess what? Your mission (whether or not you served) is not over. The Lord is hastening his work and the best type of missionaries are those who have a strong foothold in the gospel. Go out and talk to your friends! Invite them into your homes to teach them! One of the most common things I've heard is that most non members really don't know what we believe because we keep a lot of what we know secret! We are not a secret church! Go for it!
And mom to answer your questions:
1. How are you doing? Doing great. Could use a tighter belt cause I've lost a lot of weight.
2. Where are you? What area/ward? Antioch, TN, Nashville Stake, Smith Springs Ward.
3. Who is your companion? Elder Leavitt.
4. Where are you living? What is it like? Apartment complex, can't tell you really.
5. Should I send care packages to your apartment or to the mission home? Always to the mission home.
6. Did you receive your box of bedding and stuff AND your bicycle? Yes, thank you.
7. Did you receive your new watch? Yes, thank you so much.
8. Do you need me to send you anything else? Other than maybe a belt not really. Thanks!