Jonathan Engle Sep 17, 2013
Week 2- The Clouds, the Mountains, and the Valleys
Week 2- The Clouds, the Mountains, and the Valleys
As of this Wednesday, we will already be considered a Senior district in our branch! A few of the seasoned districts are off on mostly re-assignments, and we're getting two new districts this Wednesday. Pretty wild!
I explained a lot about the MTC life and how it is, etc. in my first letter, so I'd rather focus on the spiritual wonders of this magnificent place. Although, the food is still awesome, people are great, etc.
On Sunday night, we were watching a "movie", a talk by Elder Bednar titled, "Becoming a Missionary". In it, I focused more on the spiritual promptings rather than what he said, which was wonderful.
We went to go get our laundry, and right as we got in the drier, the sky exploded with hail and in the basement of 1M, it exploded with noise. It was awesome. When you're stuck inside most of the day, that was pretty epic.
Throughout almost the entire talk, an Elder and Sister were behind me flirting. It was distracting and very much against the rules.
I felt a distinct impression during the talk that I needed to be ready to teach at any time in my life and always be ready to teach.
Almost 5 minutes after that thought, which I wrote down, I felt a powerful prompting from the spirit to turn around and look those two in the eyes and say, "Are you focused on your missions?" It was a scary thought, and it felt just like when I'm in a Fast and Testimony meeting and the spirit prompts me to stand up and bear my testimony. This familiarity helped me to act on this prompting, but I was still nervous, so I didn't act as quickly as I should have. They stopped flirting for a bit, and I felt another prompting, stronger and more forceful, telling me to say, "Can you hear the spirit? It's speaking to you. Listen." After this second prompting I turned around and said what I was prompted to say, and turned back around. I was nervous for when it would end, how I would be received.
I was amazed because the Elder asked me where I was from, where I was going, how long I'd been here, etc. and wished me luck. He never mentioned a single thing about what I'd said, but the spirit of discernment told me that I had blessed his life and mission. The spirit also told me that the sister definitely wasn't as positive about this experience. She looked at me as if I was self-righteous and manipulating her. That's fine. I know I acted on a strong spiritual prompting and did God's will. I'm thankful for this experience, and it's just the tip of the iceberg from all the experiences I've had here.
So why did I call the title of this email, Clouds, Mountains, and Valleys, you ask? Well, that's what Mission is like. The experience I just shared, however simple, was me acting on God's will, and blessing other people's lives. There are many opportunities and experiences similar, because there are many different degrees to which Elders and Sisters follow the rules. It's a shame but it happens. Loving correction helps these people to have better Missions. These experience are what I call clouds. Times where you're sky high full of the spirit and filled with great joy for all that we do. I shared a simple experience, and I've had much more "miraculous" experiences, but it's a great example of how God gives us these experiences to motivate us and strengthen us.
I liken clouds to Alma 26:12. Through God, we can do all things.
Mountains is where we usually are. It's a very spiritual place and I often feel like I'm on top of the world. It doesn't stand out in specific ways, but is rather of state of being. Overall, the MTC is a very happy place and I'm right in my element. Mountains- pretty straight forward.
Valleys are the unfortunate places we sometimes end up. They don't last long usually, but it's a very sad feeling. It's definitely very hard here. I could rattle any number of reasons, but in a nutshell, if you're focused on the work, there are no valleys. People often say something along the lines of, "Wow, you can see your house from our classroom? I bet that's really hard! How do you survive!?" If I'm focused on the work, I don't care if my house is next door. It doesn't matter. Besides, I'm blessing my home more by being on a Mission rather than wasting your time thinking about the "what ifs" of not serving. Those "what ifs" are not what we need. I love you all more and more, and I look forward to all that life will bring, but living in the moment, focusing on the spirit, and striving for revelation and further knowledge is what keeps us focused no matter what comes our way.
That being said, anyone not focused on the work is either wasting their time on their missions, or is not going to survive a mission. Any time I'm not focused, it becomes very hard to accomplish anything more than survive. I definitely understand better, "Lose yourself and go to work."
Anyway, a few shout outs since I have no contact information for anyone (AKA, I'd love your information please!):
It's funny to reflect on all the Journalism stuff we've done, etc. etc. because my English is terrible now! I'm swapping my English for Portuguese. I guess it's okay, because English is useless for the next two years.
All my friends attending BYU:
Good luck at the Y! I've got numerous fellow Elders planning on going to BYU after my mission, which makes me happy, since I love my District tons. I can see a lot of campus, which is kinda funny. They are having tonight's devotional over at the Marriot Center, so I'm curious to see if they combine that with the BYU devotional, in which case, I may see many of you! Please write me and lemme know how life is at the Y, etc. etc. I'm like a confuscious just waiting to heal all your collegiate stress with my spiritual experiences, etc. :)
It's pretty funny because a lot of missionaries in our district say stuff like "erry day", etc. so I get a good kick out of that. Oh, and Elder Shipley in our District is the blackest white guy I've ever met. He may be white on the outside, but he's straight up black. He can ball super hard, and his best friend from pre-mission life was his bro Atwuama (I spelled it wrong, but it's the sweetest name ever).
I can't wait for you to get here and partake of all the delicious food, hehehehehehh. A lot of Elders in my District love kingdom hearts, and most Elders here will have plenty to talk about, like the abridged series, etc. You'll be right at home just like me! When do you get here? I hope you're pretty solid with Japanese because it is NUTS! The Elders here doing it definitely got their work cut out for them and are here for 9 weeks. I think 6 weeks is as much as I can do and be sane :)
Please do whatever you need to in your lives to get on a mission if that's what you're supposed to do in life. It's the most wonderful joy you will ever partake of up to this point. I'm so happy here and missionary work is one of the greatest ways that we can show our love for God. My many experiences that have prepared me for this opportunity are paying off in so many ways. I'll have to write in more detail, but definitely shout outs to everyone I've grown up with, such as OH1 Ward, my fellow priesthood brethren there, all my primary kids, Niel Christensen, Brent Avery, and many more. Love you all!
Scripture of the week: Alma 25:26. Actually, the entire chapter of Alma 25. SO GOOD. This is a Christ-centered Gospel. ANY problem, concern, doubt, question, etc. can be resolved through Jesus Christ and his Atonement. Remember the Missionary Purpose: To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end.
In that simple statement, we find almost the entirety of the Gospel.
Here's a brief testimony in Portuguese (I'm lazy so I'm not typing it exactly correct spelling and switching to a Brazil Keyboard, because that's kind of a pain):
Eu sei que o evangelho resteraudo e verdade e muito bonito. Eu grato por o evangelho em minha vida. Eu sei que Jesus Cristo e meu Salvador e Redentor. Deus tem mutio amor para todas pessoas a mundo. Cuando ando com o espirito e cristo, posso fazer todas coisas, comparto o evangelho em portuguese muito bem, e ajuda meus irmaos para ensinar mais bem e sentem o espirito mais. Eu grato por este oportunidade para servir meu Deus com todo de minha coracao.\
Meu pais podem uso Irmao Fox o Wright para entender o que eu falo. Boa Sorche e chao!