Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving was too good

My teacher Wu Di Xiong (on my left)
This past week was full of excitement. Before coming here, I'd often heard that being in the MTC
during a holiday wasn't too great. I thought it was awesome, and lot's of fun. It all started on Tuesday. As you already know, every Sunday and Tuesday night we have the privilege of having a devotional. General Authorities, MTC presidencies, professional athletes, it switches every time. Up until Tuesday night, we hadn't had a member of the quorum of the 12 come speak to us. We were told that it happened pretty frequently, and yet we hadn't heard from one our entire stay.

This week we had two of the Brethren come and speak to us. The Tuesday night devotional was given to us by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. So cool. He talked about how important it is to have a testimony. One of my favorite things he said was an analogy using a pen. He explained how missionaries need to be instruments in the hands of the Lord, the same way a pen is an instrument in the hand of an author. The pen in itself needs to be in working condition, the same way missionaries need to be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Obeying the rules, and listening to the council of my leaders is what I thought that also included. Then he said the ink was our testimony. We can't 'write' the Lord's will if we do not have our
My other teacher, Sun Lao Shi - she's hilarious
testimony. We also have to know that it's not what we want, it's what the Lord wants. If our faith is strong enough, we will be used as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Helping him do his work, or 'writing His book'.

Thanksgiving came around and we all knew it was going to be a good day. What we didn't know is how good it was actually going to be. First off, they had a nice breakfast for us. Right after breakfast, we had a Thanksgiving devotional by the one and only David A. Bednar. Now being here at the MTC has strengthened my testimony of MANY things. One of the many being my testimony of a living prophet on the Earth, Thomas S. Monson, as well the members of the quorum of the 12 being special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They are each true men of God. It was awesome having the opportunity to listen to Elder Bednar that morning.

The sickest socks ever! Thanks mom
The biggest surprise though, was that he turned the devotional into a question and answer session. He passed out over 100 cell phones, put a number connected to his ipad up on the big screen and told everybody to start asking questions. He is a man full of knowledge, and more importantly, his testimony and his faith literally make him glow. He talked on a wide range of subjects from "How do I help my investigators increase faith?" to "What are the technicalities in priesthood blessings". He had many great instructions, council, and insights. What interesting and spiritually uplifting moments those were. I also never knew he and his wife had such a great sense of humor.

After the devotional, we had our Thanksgiving dinner. It was really good, but it wasn't anything like Mom's cooking. (side note: I really do like the food here at the MTC, but one of the things I miss everyday is your cooking Mom!). After our Thanksgiving meal,  all the missionaries were split up into two groups. Our zone was part of the first group so we took part in the service project first. We made thousands of meal packages for shelters. The meal they had everyone make was lentil casserole. Each table had an assembly line putting the packs together. It was really fun. They also had some hip hop versions of primary songs playing on the speakers. super interesting, but it got us all pumped.
Fake Turkey Bowl
More fake Turkey Bowl
If I can find some pictures of us doing it, I'll be sure to send them. As soon as we finished our part of the project, Elder Bednar was walking through the cafeteria checking things out. As he was leaving, everyone made a huge line and he shook most people's hands. So yes, I had the chance to shake David A. Bednar's hand, it was so sick.

After the service project, we went to our classroom and ate our sack dinners we each prepared earlier. We then went to the gym for a Thanksgiving program. It was very.. interesting. It threw me back into the primary days. interesting. There was first a harp solo by a sister that went to Lehi (I had never seen her before in my life). interestin.They had some missionaries dress up for a play about the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving dinner. interesting. Then they had a sister sing a solo. She sang a song from a musical i think..? I think the name of the song was 'maybe this time'... very interesting. Hahaha it was a good time though, lots of good laughs.

Best pic of us seeing the Christmas lights
After the special program, the rest of the missionaries joined us in the gym and we watched Meet the Mormons. Awesome movie. No mom, I didn't cry, but I thought about you guys a lot. I feel like they should have thrown the Matua family in that movie, but it's okay. haha I loved the movie. After the movie they mentioned to us there was a special treat outside. We walked out and the Christmas lights were turned on. Everybody went crazy. Some people were calling it the 'dance'. sort of an inside joke, surprisingly we have TONS of those here. I'll attach some high quality photos that Elder Sagapolu took for me. (what a goof ball).

Yeah Thanksgiving was great though. We even had the opportunity to go on an additional temple walk. We also had our own turkey bowl. I will admit, the entire day, I was really missing my family. As soon as I heard you guys had your own turkey bowl, I got super jealous. I've been dying to spend time with my brothers....and throw a rugby ball!!!

Last night, for our devotional, they had Vocal Point come and sing to us. They are so cool. really funny, and they sang really great pieces.

Mom, it makes me heart broken that you're not feeling to great.  I'm praying hard for you. Make sure the little boys take care of you.

I'm going to send some things home. not too much just things I don't have room for. I'll also send that sweet book back, If it was in Mandarin, I wouldn't be sending it back (yes, i forgot how to read in english...sike.)

Me and my bro Elder N. Uhi
Dad, it's great to hear you all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you get injured at all in the turkey bowl? ...hahah jokes jokes. Mica's so lucky he get's to play some rugby. Has the boy's bball season started up yet? It brings me joy to hear Lehi 41 is doing so well. I have a suggestion for you considering the inactive members of the youth. I only say this because I've been where they've been before. Very recently. If there is one word of advice I have for them, it is to diligent read and study the book of mormon every morning and every night. Along with personal prayer with true intent. Mom and Dad, you are great teachers. I want to be parents like you guys some day. You guys taught my brothers and I to read and pray every day. Due to my laziness, I didn't read my scriptures everyday, and I didn't pray every day. For that, I sincerely apologize. As I look back now, If there was one thing I would change, it'd be a more intensive DAILY study of the Book of Mormon, and a more faithful use of the power of prayer. DAILY personal prayer.

Dad, I encourage you to help the youth, mica, kenyon, and quinn, understand the importance of these two things. Those who have a true testimony of the Book of Mormon and Prayer, will never fall away from the Church. That is a promise I continue to hear from General Authorities and other leaders. Mom and Dad, I think it'd be super fun for you guys to do a book of mormon read a thon for the youth. I know it'd be very beneficial for them.

Our zone on a temple walk
Things here at the MTC are still going great. The confusion with the visas is still going on. I got reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia. Fun huh? Well, we went into the travel office to get more information and they told us to disregard our reassignments. They told us "your visas are coming in sooner than expected. Oh but wait, you'll have to wait in the MTC for another week or so. Just stay on your toes and we'll give you more information when we get it." ...so we don't know what's going on, and I have a strong feeling that neither do they. But I know who does. And He's really got something special in store for us. Who knows, I'm just praying and patiently waiting.

I love and miss you guys dearly. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about my amazing parents and my best friends--my brothers. Mom, the package was legit! Today being the 1st, I started that awesome count down to Christmas. It's so cool! And i didn't get the December Ensign, but it's okay, i can get one here.

I hope things continue to go swell. You guys are the best, and I couldn't be here without knowing I have the best family supporting me as I go. I pray for you guys every day. I am so blessed to have amazing parents who prepared me for this part of my life. What a blessing it is to be a missionary. I thank Heavenly Father for everything He has given me, including the Atoning sacrifice of His Son.
I love you guys so much. You are in my prayers. The Lord is watching over you.

Elder Chase Matua
More from our zone temple walk
Two missionaries from my district who left for Australia today
We have too much fun
Waaay too much fun

I love this place!

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