Blake’s 1st letter home:

Well first off I love and miss you all.

The first day at the MTC was very hard. It was an emotionally charged day. I missed you guys more than I could have expected and felt kind of over-whelmed with trying to learn a new language and being responsible for teaching the Gospel, and perhaps most of all I was just scared. I felt alone despite so many people being around me. I was on the verge of tears all day. I was lying down in bed wondering why I chose to serve a mission. This brought me to prayer. I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to help me feel peace and feel right about my decision to serve a mission, but that relief did not come right away, so I went to bed with the weight still on my shoulders. In the morning, I prayed again and the weight was still there. At this point I got kind of frustrated and was wondering why my prayers were not working. Did I lack faith or was it for some other reason? Before I could make any rash decisions I decided, well I am here now I may as well work hard. So began my second day at the MTC. I noticed something that day. As I worked harder and harder the weight was lighter and lighter. Later in the day I realized the weight was gone. As soon as I realized this I saw what Heavenly Father had taught me a lesson I will hopefully never forget. Lose yourself in the work and service of others and you will be OK. God answers prayers in the best way possible even if it isn’t how you want him to. God taught me a lesson that day and helped to strengthen my testimony that he knows us better than we know ourselves and although we will have hard times if we turn to God and his son Jesus Christ our burdens will be lightened. I am thankful for that lesson.

The language can be very frustrating. We were asked to teach a lesson in Portuguese the second day we were here. We teach each and every day after that too but without notes, so it is kind of stressful and humbling.  It kind of feels like running before you can walk. I also feel like other people are picking Portuguese up much more quickly than me which can be kind of frustrating too. But I am making significant progress and learning a lot everyday. For the first lesson I was more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I learned that from Elder Berryhill.

My companion Elder Molinaro is pretty cool. Although our interests are different we get along very well. He is really smart. He got a 34 on his ACT.

Being at the MTC is a really weird feeling. At first I felt really young because everyone seemed more experienced than me. It was weird because I was probably one of the older one’s there. Before your first Sunday it feels like Finals week but without an end in sight. Preparing for lessons to teach in a language you don’t understand is stressful but that feeling goes away with time.

This Sunday we listened to an address from a couple of years ago by Elder Bednar about the Character of Christ. It was about how when people would turn in he would turn out in service to others. Unfortunately I think it is a talk only shown at the MTC so I’m not sure you’ll be able to hear it. But Madison when you get here definitely go see it.

I’m trying to eat somewhat healthy and the food isn’t so bad but there is a lot of it and it’s all you can eat. I moderate myself on the pop, donuts, cookies, and cake. I actually haven’t eaten too unhealthy.

The schedule here takes a while to get used too and our district has one of the tougher schedules because we eat at 6:30 which is earlier than most so we have to get up earlier. We go to bed at 10:30 and there aren’t really any breaks from 6 tell 10 except to eat.

I forgot my journal in my room so I don’t have the steps for you but it was somewhere around 8000 each day and I forgot to wear it a few days in a row too. I know I’ll get more once I’m in the field.

One Elder in our district Elder Berryhill is probably the funniest guy I have ever met. He is from red neck Georgia and has some crazy, funny stories.

Mom: I love and miss you too, and don’t worry too much I’ve got this.

Madison: Putting on the nametag is still kind of surreal, but you are going to love the MTC. It will probably take you a few days to realize it, like it did me.

Seth: They have unlimited ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars. And it seems like every other day they have an all you can eat ice cream bar from the BYU creamery. I am glad I could be an example to you, I hope you have learned from me as much as I have learned from you.

To everyone else I love you but I am running out of time (we only have an hour to email) so talk to you later.

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