Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MTC Week 10

Sorry if my spelling or grammar slips, the less I'm using my English the worse it gets. Strange, it's the last Preparation day in the MTC. I can still hardly believe that in a week I'll be in Albania. Speaking to Albanians. In Albanian. I'll eventually order new tags for myself, since they don't even have a "w" over there. The new tags will read "Elder Uivër", which I think is pretty cool, because not only will it sound like "Weaver" when they say it, but it has an umlaut in it. I'm kind of jealous of Elder Johnson, though, his tags will read: "Elder Xhonsën". I mean, come on! Xh! I think I'm going to name my first kid Xh.

The trip there will be an adventure in itself! We have to report to the travel desk at 4:00 AM Tuesday, April 6th (heh, what a great day!). We fly from Salt Lake to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Munich, and finally Munich to Tirana, arriving at 12:00 noon Wednesday. But with the time zones and all, it'll be around 8 at night there, I think. 29 hours of travel time with a 15.5 hour flight right in the middle. Yay! (?). I'm going to brush up on my German so I can at least say a few words on the plane and in the airport (Wo bist meine Lederhosen? Hab Ich meine Lederhosen verloren?!?). [Note from Mitch's mom: For you non-German speakers, Google Translate says “Where are my trousers? Have I lost my leather pants?!?]

I'm getting more and more confident as the Lord prepares me. There's not much else to say! Like the scriptures say a billion times: It'll be hard, but if you do your part, God will help you. I just keep that in mind, that God will be with me the whole way, and there's no real reason to be scared or discouraged.

P.S. Congrats to my pal, Ben Oborn! Going to Warsaw, Poland! You'll be learning the language just a few doors down from the Albanian room. Good luck, talk to you soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MTC Week 9

Phew, only 13 days. I'm dedicating the majority of my energy reserves to the language, because everyone we've talked to has said that's probably the biggest hurdle in the field. I know I'll barely be able to hold a conversation, but I also know that if I have faith and just open my mouth, the Spirit will fill it with the things the Lord needs me to say. We've been doing a lot more "street contacting", just walking up to people and getting to know them and their needs, and I feel we're doing pretty well at that. Of course, when I get there, it'll be real Albanians with real questions and not teachers with an easy-to-discern concern. All of our teaching appointments go well, as long as we do as much as we can to have the Spirit there to witness to the investigator that what is being taught and what they're feeling are eternal truths. Of course, when I get there, it won't be a nice, comfy building with returned missionaries eager to listen to us try to teach them in Albanian. I'll have to put a lot more effort into genuinely caring about the people we teach. I'll have to put a whole lot more, in fact, all of my trust into the Lord. I'll need to do all I possibly can to be humble, pray constantly, and not worry about myself and what I'm going to say next. But you know what? (Well, you probably know what. You probably know a lot of things.) I'm really not that scared. There's a bit of nervousness, of course, but like I think I said before, there's a lot more excitement than fear. The MTC is a great place, don't get me wrong, but I think I'm ready to get out there.

Until next time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MTC Week 8

Wait, what? 3 weeks from now I'll be 6,000 miles away where people speak gibberish and gypsies sell milk in coke cans they found in the trash? Sweet!

I realized I only have 2 more devotionals, 2 more P-days, and saddest of all, only 2 more temple visits. Of course, one would always like to be more fluent in the language, but this one thinks that he'll do just fine anyways. As long as the Lord is helping me, I've no reason to be nervous, afraid, worried, or any other of those unpleasant feelings. I am EXCITED to go serve the Lord in bringing the Albanian people the fullness of the Gospel.

Yesterday we had our first apostle speaker! Quentin L Cook spoke about how the recent economic "situation" has humbled many people and we are blessed to go out at this time when lots of people are ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, my time runs short, sorry to disappoint, but I'm sure I'll have much more to say when I get in-country.

Maybe I'll share my opinion on gypsy-milk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MTC Week 7

All right, it's not even funny anymore how fast time goes by. Only 27 more days or something like that. I'm to the point where if time were personified, I'd give it a roundhouse kick to the knees to try and slow it down. I'm enjoying every minute, and that's the problem: There's too many good things to do and not enough time to do them. The language is still coming slowly but surely, we're learning what I hope is the last of the grammar we'll need. Every time we teach I find myself surprised at what I can say. That's the Spirit there, helping my little brain remember what I've studied. We've pretty much learned all we need to learn about teaching; all that's left is to practice and develop our skills. Of course, you can never reach a point of perfection or adequacy; you can always be stronger when it comes to the Gospel. You just try every day to be a little bit better than the day before, and at some point you'll look back and realize that you've come a long way.

Hey, congratulations to my good friend Chris Heiner, who got his call to Tacoma, Washington! Man, there are a LOT of Elders & Sisters going to Washington; it sounds like the happening place for missionary work! I know Chris will convert many people and invite the Spirit with his infectous laugh.

Oh, and happy birthday, Mom.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MTC Week 6

It's grind time! Just a bit less than 5 weeks and I'll be in Shqipëria. We taught our lesson in only Shqip and it went pretty well. I know as we learn more language the frustration will go down and we'll be able to get the message across more efficiently. We know what we need to do; we just need to put in our part and work like oxen (oxes?)

After 6 weeks, you'd think I'd go crazy in here, but maybe I'm just weird. I'm very happy here: the food is still tasty and varietous (varietieous?), devotionals and firesides give you something to chew on, and in general learning the language and how to teach isn't getting old. I might change my tune by April 6th, but I highly doubt it. For anyone looking at a long stay here, or even a short stay, don't listen to the sadsacks who just complain about their stay. Have a good attitude and you'll have a good experience.

Not much else to say, really... I expect my posts will get much more interesting the closer it gets to departure and especially when I get in country. Have I said that before? I think I have, but I'm not sure. Man, I don't have a good reckoning of time anymore. Hey, congrats to my buddy Ben Oborn, I hear he's close to having everything in order for his call! Looking forward to where the Lord needs him most!

Aaaaand... I'm out