Week 2: Lessons from the MTC

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I have learned a lot at the MTC—and have had many great experiences and some bad experiences.

Let’s start with the bad.

I managed to sprain my ankle so now I have a crutch, but honestly it’s not that bad.  The story how I got it is amazing, though.  I was playing basketball, and I just took a shot, sadly I didn’t make the shot and the ball rebounded.  So, as I was “walking” to pick it up I stepped on the side of my foot and sprained my ankle. As a result, I also had to cancel one of my teaching appointments because of that so I missed out on a lesson.  My companion also refused to do any prep for our next lesson and because of that the lesson didn’t go as great as it could have gone.  Also we were fed Taco Bell for dinner (the agony that the toilets suffered that night).  And to top it off the fire alarm went off and we had to wake up, get dressed, and leave the building.  Oh and that all happened in one day.

But despite that day, and how basically everything went horribly wrong, I wasn’t that bothered.  In retrospect you could easily call that day the worst day of my life; but it wasn’t the worst day of my life.  In fact, I would call that day a good day.

Why?  This is hard to explain but I do my best. While I was hobbling around on my crutch I felt like I was being comforted the entire time.  Not by my companion, he’s was not interested in helping me out. Not by the success I had that day, because they were few and far between.  Not by my teachers, they didn’t really teach us much that day.

So then what was I comforted by?

To all of my friends from school this might sound odd, but I felt like I was being directly comforted by Jesus Christ (No, I am not being forced to write this).  I felt like I had somebody with me even when everybody else was somewhere else.  And I was happy: when I rolled my ankle I was happy; when I had to cancel my appointment I was happy; and when I woke up in the middle of the night, and had to evacuate a building on a crutch I was happy.  Not because I enjoy pain, but because I had the comfort of Jesus Christ around me.

Mormons (the real term is Latter-day Saints btw) believe Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, the son of God, the messiah and so much more.  He was perfect and lived a perfect life; but despite that he took upon him the sins of the world so that we could return to God in heaven.  But Jesus didn’t take only the sins of the world, he also took upon him every pain and affliction as well.  So that he could understand every single person, and every single issue that they have ever had in their life.  Which means that if you ever feel like there is nobody that knows what you feel like, you can be comforted with the knowledge that there is somebody that knows exactly what you are going through.  I don’t think that words can express how powerful that concept is, that there is ALWAYS somebody that understands exactly what you are going through; not just in a matter of fact way, but deeply and personally.

Mormons have the reputation of being always happy (almost to a creepy level), and this is why.  Mormons are happy often because they (for lack of a better word) lean of Jesus Christ.  They open themselves up to God and Jesus and let them help them.  We still face all the issues that the rest of the world faces: all the pain, the suffering, and afflictions that the rest of the world suffers.  But when we lean on Christ, we can be happy.

In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Regards from Provo

Elder Alexander Brown

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Week One: At the MTC

I have loved reading all your emails, but I have also have been having a blast not having to think about you guys (just kidding).  My time here at the MTC has been great. I have learned so much about Missionary work and I had some great experiences.  While many of you wrote about seeing a member of the Seventy at church last Sunday; I am going to completely one-up you by telling you about how I got to see an Apostle.

Yep, that’s right. Elder Bednar, a member of the Twelve Apostles, came and gave a Q&A session to all of us. Before the Q&A session the entire MTC watched a talk Elder Bednar gave in 2008 at the MTC (and which can only be seen at the MTC).  That talk was amazing in of itself and gave me many insights about who Christ is.  But then he had to make it better by actually showing up to the MTC and letting us ask questions.  (Btw this is my second time seeing Elder Bednar).

Here is what I learned:

  • The Atonement could not have happened without Christ being entirely unselfish. In situations where we would turn in and be selfish Christ would turn out and be selfless.
  • A testimony is weak, next to the power of conversion. Testimony is knowing something is true, but conversion is living it.
  • Charity is less of an act, and more of a characteristic.
  • Isaiah is hard to understand and makes my brain hurt.

And much more than I could possibly write in this short amount of time.

I am glad that I got to see an Apostle of Jesus Christ and I’m glad I got to learn so much at the MTC, and I’m glad that there are so many great Elders and Sisters here.

Also my small world experience at the MTC this week: One of the Elders in my district is Elder Nelson who was one of the roommates in college of my cousin Trevor Brown.

One week down—one hundred and three to go.

Hello from the MTC

When I arrived at the Provo Mission Training Center (MTC) I was met by my cousin Trevor Brown (Indonesia Mission) at the entrance and he became my escort.

After only spending half a day at the MTC I already cannot imagine not being a missionary. I am really enjoying things so far; however I am afraid I will gain a lot of weight.

Best regards from the Provo MTC!

 

Before I Depart

Well this is it, I guess.

I’m about to head out on my mission.  I’m about to leave behind many things: my hobbies and my home, as I depart.  But I’m not leaving behind my friends or my family.  I’ve met great people from my time here in North Carolina and I don’t want to lose them.  And so I’m writing this blog so that I can in some way keep in touch with my friends and family. 

This blog is going to be a collection of letters I will write to you while I’m on my mission.  I’m not sure how it will be structured yet, or what I will mainly write about; but I do hope you can get something out of this blog. 

To my friends from RTHS: You guys are amazing! You are some of the best people I’ve known in my life.  And I’m absolutely positive that all of you are confused by what I’m doing.  It’s really simple.  For two years I’m going to serve the Lord (Jesus Christ) on a mission to teach and help people, and to share the word of God.  And I know I’m not the most open about my religion, but I know that this is something that will make me, and others happy.  But just because I’m going to be gone for two  years doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. Look for ways to contact me in the sidebar. 

I wish all of you the best of luck on whatever direction in life you choose. 

To finish up I would like to share with you why I have decided to go on a mission.  I grew up in this gospel and this might sound petty but I was always jealous of converts to our church.  Not because they got to do things I didn’t; but because they all have such strong testimonies of the gospel.  But I was born into this church, and as such I never felt like it was my choice, it was just a part of my life.  converts on the other hand must make a choice, and this choice that they make is powerful.  But something very personal to my family happened when I was about 13 years old.  And I learned that I have always had the power to choose, that thought has stuck with me ever since.

And because of the choices I’ve made in my life, I know the truth of the gospel and the saving power of the Jesus Christ.  And I know that I am called to serve and to teach and to aid the people of Logan Utah.