I cannot put into words how excited I am to leave this place in 7 days. I don't remember the premortal life, but there's no way I was more happy to receive a body and experience life than to leave this place. Ok, probably not really, but I am so excited for los Estados Unidos. Once again, I have a parable for you all concerning the food and the bathrooms here. This one was told to us by a missionary who for some reason was reading in Jeremiah (like, who reads the Old Testament anyway?) and thought of his girlfriend's complaining (who is in my district). If you can all handle it...:
And once again for this week, I have to tell you the latest of our attempts to have fun in the Spiritual Prison known as the MTC/CCM. This week we all decided to sabotage each other's hopes and dreams of being able to walk anywhere without fear of having your nametag shot off your pocket, into the air, and landing into the hand of the assailant. The other thing that is somehow worse than the constant fear of physical attack is constant fear of emotional trauma. Certain individuals think it's hilarious to write up a super mushy love letter to an hermana that someone has casually mentioned looks not too bad, add their email to the bottom, and deliver "at the request of the sender". Either that or just a lame pick up line with someone's email on it. I don't even want to know how many girls there are, probably some of them very sweet spirits indeed, that have my email now. It was some pretty perfect poetic justice when I convinced an elder to deliver one to a girl that had his own email on it thinking it was someone else's. I can only imagine the look on her face as she opened it and read his nametag along with the terrible pick up line, with him beaming down at her with his own perceived mischievousness.
There are some days that I really just hate Spanish and the complexity of language in general, but then I had a humbling experience. One of the teachers asked what to bear a testimony means. I said bear is to share, but past tense of bear is bore, not beared. There is also a bear that's an animal. And a boar. Then I realized that the story doesn't end there. There is to bear a testimony, a grizzly bear, to bear a burden, to bear down for something, to have bare skin, to have borne a testimony, to have borne a child, a boar, to bore a hole, to bore regarding interest, to be bored, to be a wooden or similar board, and to be aboard a ship. So, English sucks. But pause and think about how unbearable English would be without puns, like about bears and boars and such.
And now for the spiritual part of my letter. This week I got to play the investigator for our demonstrate teaching part. I played Chris Williams (if he weren't Mormon). There's a Mormon Message about him, and it is well worth the time to go watch. His car was hit by a drunk driver that killed his pregnant wife, his only daughter, and one of his sons. And he forgave him. Somehow, through the Atonement of Christ, he was able to forgive him. So I was playing him, about a month after the accident, if I didn't know about the Plan of Salvation. At the end, the teachers asked me to pray, sincerely and truly, and ask if what they taught was true. As I started to pray (as Chris Williams), I thought about my own family and how we would be without the Plan of Salvation. I prayed for the Lord to comfort me and my family acting as Chris Williams, but what I thought of was comforting my shattered mother and father who didn't think they'd ever see their son again. I thought of my siblings that wouldn't know 14 years isn't the end. I thought of how completely obliterated we all would feel not knowing our loved ones would be seen again. As I prayed about wanting so desperately to be able to comfort my family, I started crying a bit, to use some litotes. It's always fun to be the only one that feels the Spirit via tears, but it's alright. I want to bear my testimony of life after death. I have absolutely no doubt that there is life after death, and I believe with all my heart that we can live with our family members after this life.
Two final, mostly unrelated things, and I apologize that this, like always, is so long. First, Chris says in the video that he's grateful for trials, not because they're easy or because we want them, but because they help us love. Christ had the most trials, so Christ is capable of loving the most, infinitely so. Second, we were watching a video about the building of the Salt Lake Temple, and something really stood out to me. Our church has gotten a lot of criticism about how we do work for the dead, but in the video the prophet said "anyone that accepts the Atonement of Jesus Christ accepts the reality of vicarious work toward the salvation of others". How true that is!
I hope you all have a good week! I'll be on againevening since I leave early morning (like , it'll be brutal) as well as sometime . Until then, here are some more pics! I forgot to mention we went to the temple visitor's center last Tuesday, so here are some pics.
Of course, I had to include some graffiti and a catholic church (cathedral?) with a cop nearby, and some random square trees here in the CCM.