More than halfway through the MTC!
This week has been awesome, busy, fun, fast, and everything in between. This week is the mission president seminar, so schedules are moved around like crazy, and 1M (the main building) is off limits for missionaries cause that's where they are holding the seminar. About 12 of the 15 general authorities have been and will be coming down here for the seminar until Sunday. They keep 1M locked up pretty tight... it's been difficult resisting the temptation to go full out black ops on 1M to scope out the apostles. All I want is a handshake...and maybe a quick blessing from Pres. Monson...nothing too crazy ; ) I actually had a sick dream last night that I was walking by 1M and Elder Bednar came walking out. So obviously I run over and I'm like "Elder Bednar!" So then we chat a bit and he says "follow me." So I go with him to the gym and there was a devotional going on, so we sit down in the audience together and he looks over at me and says "we were hoping you'd come." Whaaaaaaat? I've been trying to decide all morning if it actually means something or if it's just the MTC apple juice doin some funky stuff to my dreams. Still not sure, but it was cool either way!
Cool experiences this week:
Sunday we had choir practice. This week for the Tuesday devotional we sang a cool version of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer." The choir is made up of about 90% of the missionaries in the MTC, so there's just a ton of power behind our songs. The spirit is so strong when we sing, and Brother Egget (the chorister) tells us the most amazing stories and really breaks down the meaning of the songs we sing. I could listen to that man for hours. After practice I found Sister Streetman (Matisse) and said goodbye. She left for North Carolina on Monday. Tisse is the best. She carries the spirit so strongly and she's going to do so well in North Carolina. I'll send you pics we got.
Sister Bishoff, Sister Streetman, Elder Jolley and Elder Petersen
After choir practice we had a devotional from Brother Littlefield and his wife. Brother Littlefield is over the mission call department, so he's super involved in the work. He gave us an awesome talk about fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. He and his wife actually have a daughter in the MTC right now. Their daughter didn't know they were coming to speak so it was super cool. When his wife got up to speak she looked out in the crowd at her daughter with tears in her eyes and the first thing she said was "Hi sweet girl...we miss you." Ahh. It was so sad, and she had the same "emotional voice" as you do mom so I almost fell over haha.
After the devotional we went to watch the new Joseph Smith movie. I love that movie so much, gets me every time. My testimony of Joseph Smith has really strengthened during my time here in the MTC so watching that movie really hit home. I think often times we forget the magnitude of Joseph Smith's experiences. So amazing. Just like Dad said, I can't wait to meet him someday.
Tuesday came fast and we did a quick choir rehearsal before our performance in the devotional. I got a head cold at the beginning of the week so I was a bit congested. I always sing Tenor 1, but this week with my cold it was getting pretty hard to hit some of those high notes. If you haven't already guessed by now, I'll just say I probably had one of the top 3 voice cracks of my lifetime. I almost shattered some windows and I'm pretty sure I knocked a few guys around me back into puberty haha. Elder Petersen was crying next to me from laughing so hard and Elder Nowjack on my left just muttered "Wow...that was bad." I was trying so hard to keep my composure, but I know I looked red as a tomato haha. Whatever... at least the church is true. ;)
Our performance went super well and my voice cooperated (thank the heavens). I kept the sheet music they passed out so I could always remember that song. It's seriously beautiful. I wish you guys could have heard it. After our performance we heard from Elder Nash of the Seventy. He gave an awesome talk about the Plan of Salvation and how everyone in our areas is going through trials, and that we bring the ONLY way to overcome those trials. That really hit me, I loved it.
Things are going super well with our investigator Jamie, and we got a baptismal commitment from our other investigator Ivan. Woop woop! Jamie is probably my favorite to teach. She asks really good questions that are sometimes hard to answer in Spanish, but this week Elder Arnold and I worked together really well and were able to answer a lot of her questions and get through some good lessons. She doesn't want to get baptized yet... emphasis on the yet. :) She had a really cool experience with prayer this past week. Her husband took the MCAT on Tuesday and was super nervous over this last weekend. She remembered what we said about prayer and that God would listen and help her in her trials. So she prayed and asked for Heavenly Father to help her husband. He had gotten a 12 (pretty bad) on a practice test last Saturday, so she was putting a lot of effort into her prayers. Her husband ended up getting a 23!! That's about 95%. She was so happy when she told us and so grateful to Heavenly Father. I could feel the spirit so strong and was so grateful to Heavenly Father for helping Jamie and her husband. It was awesome.
Halfway through our lesson on Thursday, they made an announcement asking all the Sisters in the MTC to come for a meeting in the gym. We were all super jealous thinking that they would be getting a talk from President Monson or something. Nope! Turns out a girl in 17M (the new building where all the sisters got moved last week) woke up with a bat on her shoulder. HA, what? So they asked all the sisters to go pack up cause they were going to evacuate 17M haha. All because of one bat! I told Elder Mikesell that the bats planned the whole thing out just so they could have 17M to themselves. He laughed so hard and we've just been exaggerating the story more and more the past couple days. There's not too much comic relief here in the MTC so when you find something funny you just gotta run with it. haha
Anyway so after class we went and got in a huge line of Elders to wait to help the Sisters take luggage back to their old buildings. It was so refreshing to do some REAL service. Everyone was helping each other and having a great time and we pretty much got everything moved in like an hour. It was awesome. I even helped a Sister from Bahia Blanca! I freaked out when she told me and then I asked her 200 questions about Bahia Blanca. Her accent was so beautiful and it made me so excited to be with the people. It was all I could do to not hug her haha. Probably creeped her out a bit... whoops :)
With the mission president seminar going on, we had an activity as a district where we all got taught by some new mission presidents on Thursday and Friday. President and Sister Perez were with us for both days. They're from Chile and it was so fun to speak Spanish with them. They're accents are awesome and they both have amazing testimonies.
Mid-lesson with President Perez
President and Sister Perez
Friday night I got to meet the new mission presidents for Bahia Blanca!! President and Sister Cifuentes. They are a power couple and I have no doubt in my mind that they're calling is inspired. It made me so excited for my mission. At the end of our meeting with them they just said "See you in Bahia Blanca!" and I almost collapsed haha. I'm seriously so pumped. I wish I would have gotten a picture with them, but I didn't cause I'm an IDIOT, why do I always DO THAT (name that movie...ok it's tommy boy).
That's pretty much it for my week! Sorry for the novel. I love missionary work. Really the only trial in the MTC is just trying not to be lazy. Sometimes I have to kick myself in the butt to use my time wisely, but overall I am learning a lot and loving it. President Sweson gave us some awesome advice after Tuesday's devotional about becoming the fourth missionary and turning your heart to the Lord. (President Swenson is my role model, I try to soak up everything he says). I really want to be able to do that and say that I did that when I finish this crazy adventure, to get to a point where I don't hold anything back from the Lord and completely follow his will. I know that that is really the most and only intelligent decision I could make out here. He then showed us a cool youtube video called "Facing the Giants." Look it up, it's awesome. Also look up a video from a company called "Thai Life Insurance." I'm not exactly sure what the video is called, but it's in Chinese with subtitles. It's about giving and is an awesome example of Christ-like love.
I love you all! Thank you for your letters, love, and support.
Elder Jolley IV
Photos from the traffic hosting on Wednesday
Skyler, Elder Mikesell, and Elder Petersen