Thursday, July 5, 2012

MTC Letter #2

Hello Family!
Thank you so much for the letters and for sending so many! I love it. It's such a comfort getting mail from family so often. Please, keep sending.
I will try to answer all the questions you have asked. I responded to a lot of them in the letter I sent home on paper. I hope you got that, along with Hannah's Birthday card.
Last night we had a devotional where Ted Gibbons spoke. He acted as if he was Willard Richards and recounted the last few months leading up to the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith. It was so cool. The Spirit was incredibly strong. Right after Joseph died, Willard Richards was asked by the jailer, "So, do you still believe old Joe Smith was a prophet?" Willard replied, "No. I don't believe it. I know it." At that point, when he said know, the Spirit hit me like a freight train. I have no doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he sealed his testimony in his own blood. After Ted Gibbons finished, we sang "Praise to the Man." As the song started, a few elders stood up, then a few more, until soon we were all standing in honor of Joseph Smith. I wish you could've seen it. 2500 Elders and Sisters standing, singing, bearing testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he was the one through whom Christ restored His church. Words can't describe the Spirit that was felt in that meeting.
Have I seen any general authorities? Heard from any? Get this. Tuesday night we had a devotional. 10 of the quorum of the 12 were seated on the stand. Yes, 10. The only ones missing were Elders Hales and Packer. The first presidency wasn't there either, but there were 10 apostles in the devotional. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to us. He gave quite the talk. It wasn't what I was expecting at all. He spoke on the temporal blessings of being a member of the Church. He quoted a lot of statistics and gave us a lot of numbers that were really cool to hear. I have them all written down, but to save time, I'll hopefully send them to you later. As the apostles left, Elder Holland blew a kiss to all of us. What a cool moment that was. I wish so badly that I get the chance to hear from him while I am here. That would be so incredible.
Sunday night I took pictures with a bunch of my BYU friends in front of the map. It was really cool to see so many of us together. Mom, I'm trying to take a lot of pictures for you. I'm planning on sending my memory card home so you can pull the pictures off of it, then send it back to me. Would that work alright?
So, you want to hear some funny stories? I think I've got at least one that will make you laugh. One of the first days in Polish class, we found out the verb "to be" is być (yes, that's pronounced B--ch, like the swear word). Well, our teacher, Sister Stay, made us yell it at her to get over our fear of saying it. When I yelled it at her, she looked at me with this look that said, "What did you just call me?" I spluttered and said, "Don't do that to me!" The whole class laughed. Looking back now, I guess it was pretty funny. I can have a good laugh about it now.
Dad, that's really cool about Helaman 5. I'm going to have to read that chapter again to look for it. I'm finding the words power and authority everywhere in Preach My Gospel. It talks about teaching with them all the time. It's been awesome to recognize that I need to teach with the priesthood. I've found them in the scriptures everywhere as well. I don't know why that's something I've never noticed before, but it's something I'm watching for now.
Yesterday, in Leadership Training, the 1st counselor in our Branch Presidency told a cool story. He talked about when his son was on his mission. His son had called home for Mother's Day, and he asked his son if he was going to extend his mission, since he was supposed to come home in about a month. He said, "Dad, I can't. For two years I've given everything I have to the Lord. I've got nothing left." That statement hit me so hard. I want that so bad. I can't explain with words how strong the Spirit told me that's what I need to do.
Another somewhat humorous story. Here at the MTC, they have towers of cereal. There is a legend called the "tower challenge." This challenge is to eat a whole tower of cereal as a district. So, this morning, we attempted to do it. We were 3/4 of the way done and going strong when a worker came up to us and told us to stop. We asked him why, and he told us that the last time the head chef caught a group of elders doing the tower challenge, he cut off their food for 24 hours. Seeing as we fasted yesterday, all of us wanted our food, so we stopped. There's no doubt in my mind we could have completed it easily though. It was a piece of cake.
Elder Walters leaves tomorrow. I still need to get a picture with him. It's been so awesome being able to see him on a regular basis. I see him every day. I see Hall-Choro (elder Hall) all the time as well. Elder Pockrus is another common sighting, and I even saw Elder Cache Thompson today. He barely came in last week. It's so cool to see everyone out here serving the Lord. It's a remarkable thing. This Gospel is amazing. It changes lives. I have no doubt that it is true. I know it with all my heart and my testimony is growing day by day.
I love you all and miss you. Hannah, let me know how your baptism goes! The church is true.
With love,
Starszy Vernon
P.S. Mom, can you tell Pam thank you for the cookies? They were wonderful. The district loved them.

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