Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 7 in the MTC – Can you believe it?

David’s departure date from the MTC is coming quickly.  It looks like he will not have a visa delay at all.  The time is coming.  The good news is that he can call and talk with his mom and dad during the layovers.  According to Regan, that means he can call and talk to his mom.  No room for dad in those conversations.  We’ll see about that.  I know technology….

We found David’s instruction from Elder Bednar particularly inspiring.  Not to mention the challenges for the family.

Hello all! First, let me start with a quick spiritual thought because I don't want to run out of time while writing it. Several weeks ago I mentioned a talk given by Elder Bednar here at the MTC. I would like to elaborate a little on that. In this talk, he answered what he said is one of the most frequently asked questions in the church: "How do I know if it's the Holy Ghost or just me?" His answer was fantastic, so I would like to share it here. In as close to his words as I can recall, he said this: "Quit worrying about it. Press forward with faith, be a good boy or a good girl, keep the commandments, honor your covenants, and your steps will be guided and your words will be inspired... Many times we think we should sit and wait to make a decision until we are under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Well I have news for you. When you are sitting and waiting you are not under the influence of the Holy Ghost... Somewhere in the culture of the church, not in the doctrine, people have learned that every time the Holy Ghost prompts us it will be a dramatic experience. This is not so. These experiences may happen, but the vast majority of the time you will be guided without even knowing it." I love this answer, because I've thought a lot about that as well. He said a few other things which I won't even try to paraphrase, but basically he said that as we center our lives around Christ, shouldn't we start to think and act as He would anyway? And as the Lord starts to trust us more and more as we choose the right, "He should not have to smack us with the Spirit" every time he wants us to do something. Most of the time, he said, we will end up saying something, or doing something, and have no idea that the Spirit prompted us.

As an example, he talked about the story when he was a missionary helping Elder Packard get on a train and decided to give him a twenty mark bill. Look up the story if you don't remember it. But from Elder Bednar's point of view, he says the only reason he thought he should give it to Elder Packard was because he thought they might get hungry along the trip, and would now have a way to pay for it. He didn't realize that it was a prompting from the Spirit until years later.

One more quick thing, in Section 80 of the Doctrine and Covenants, there's a sort of missionary call to some missionary. It's one of those random sections that we sometimes wonder about because it seems irrelevant, but in verse 3 it says something like this (I memorized it in Spanish, but I think this is roughly the translation): "Therefore, go and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it matters not, because you can not fail." It doesn't say the Lord doesn't care where he goes, it says it doesn't matter, because when we are close to the Lord and are allowing the Spirit to guide us, we cannot do wrong.

Okay, now back to me :). And you of course. Family, you're all awesome. I want you to all do your best to be as close to the Lord as possible so that you can be under that influence, and not the influence of the devil. That influence is evil, nuff said. Whether you're an anchorman in Ohio or a teacher in Arizona, fight against it this hour. If you don't actively try to fight against Satan, than you're apathetic, and he's won. Just my two cents real quick.

Okay, now REALLY back to me. I finally saw Elder Duzzett today! I was starting to think he didn't actually come in, but he was in the laundry room this morning, and I passed him in the temple, too. I guess we have the same P-Days, so that's fun. Speaking of the temple, it was awesome again. I love that place. We were going to try to do initiatories, but they were full, so I went through a session, which was fantastic of course. Plus the person I was proxying for (if that's even a term) was from Peru and had a crazy awesome Spanish name. And by the way, I love Spanish people. I had an Elder from my district (Elder Juan Carlos Roque) who is a tenor singer, apparently. Look him up on Google, you might find something on him. And actually his mom apparently translated a bunch of Hymns from English to Spanish, so they might be in the newer versions of the Spanish Hymn books. Crazy! But he's way funny, and I've learned a lot from him Spanish-wise. But he left today, which is why I mention him. How sad. But now he's in the field, which I guess is good.

I hope you're all still striving to get better. I know a lot of times in the summer we get apathetic, but if you start identifying things you want to accomplish and set goals toward it, there's some amazing things you can do. That's one of the things I've gained a testimony of here. Goals are incredible.

Steven, swim like a fish. That's the best advice I can give, since I was never a swimmer (by the way, did you get anything in the mail recently?). Michael, I don't even know what you're up to, but do it well. Just find something important and focus on it. Julie and Dave, you're still awesome, and I love hearing about Julie's human infection. Stacey and Kyle, if you haven't found it yet, you missed it, but I hope you're taking care of that dog. Lindsay and Mike, I hope the new job is treating you well. Emily and Dave, that package you sent was so great! I loved getting the photos and the hand-drawn pictures especially (dav-hav-fun-on-you-hcrip). SO cute. Say hi to all of them for me. Mom and Dad, I have a surprise for you. During my layovers I get to call you. So I'll have to find out when that will be and let you know so you can be ready. I'm so excited to talk! I should be getting those travel plans this week, by the way, and the travel office said there shouldn't be any problems with my visa, so I should be out on time. I love you all so much, and can't wait to see you all in two years!

Elder Arrington

PS: While I was writing this, some construction people set off the fire alarm. Awesome.

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