Week #2

2 weeks down and 4 more left in the MTC before they release me on the world. There was some pretty cool experiences this week that I would like to share.

The first happened on Friday. So me and my companion just received a profile about an investigator we would teach (the investigators are played by the teachers in a role play but we try to make it as real as possible. They do an amazing job acting and the experience feels very real.  The investigator’s character are often times people they taught on their mission or their friends). The profile was pretty straight forward. He believed in God, but didn’t go to any church, and he was newly married.  So me and my companion talked a little bit and decided on a topic to teach him, I think it was the restoration. So we decided to use our personal study to prepare to teach with the restoration in mind.  As I began my study, a thought popped into my head that I should study about the importance of the Book of Mormon.  At first I was hesitant, but I went with it. During my study I was kind of worried that my companion would think I was being dumb going off and studying something we hadn’t planned on studying.  Anyway, the study ended and we began to talk about what we had learned and how it could help the investigator. It turns out my companion had followed a similar prompting.  As we discussed what we had learned and how we could use it our study meshed together perfectly.  It was so cool.  I hadn’t really felt like I had followed a prompting before, at least not one that was this obvious after the fact.  But it helped me to realize that the Holy Ghost is always giving us promptings, often subtle and many times they come up just as a thought, but they are so much more.  I hope that as I continue to follow the subtle promptings I will be able to have more experiences like this.

The other story happened yesterday.  We are assigned two investigators to teach, one I mentioned above, the other had much different circumstances.  He recently lost his wife and son to a gang shooting where the gang had shot at the wrong house.  It doesn’t end there – he also attempted suicide but his mother was able to get to him before he died and took him to the hospital.  We were supposed to approach this investigator out on the sidewalk and speak with him for the first time.  He was in a noticeably somber mood as we approached and said hello.  I told him that we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Then my companion took over, he knows Portuguese better than me so he started.  Anyways, the conversation continued and I was struggling to follow.  My Portuguese isn’t very good yet and the investigator was talking very quickly.  I got some of it but not very much. Eventually the investigator turned to me and said, “Have you ever had everything in your life that you love taken from you?”  All I could pick up was ‘life’ and so I asked him to repeat what he had said and he repeated two more times but I could not understand what he was saying to save my life.  I decided to answer anyway taking that leap of faith.  Anyway what I said was,  “No, I don’t understand your pain but Jesus Christ does.  Jesus Christ has helped me with my pain and he can help you with yours.”  The conversation ended after that and he asked us to return another day and teach at his house.  At the time I didn’t really understand what I was saying.  I had looked up the word ‘pain’ on my way out to talk with the investigator, and I knew some of what I said but it was really a blur.  As we walked away I had to ask what I had said and when he told me I was so grateful and felt so humbled.  My companion suggested we say a prayer of thanks and it was my turn to say it. I almost cried as what just happened sunk in.  I knew that God had put the words in my mouth at the very moment just like the scriptures said, I just never thought that it would happen to me.  It amazes me how much God cares even enough to help me stumble through teaching in role play.  It was very humbling.

I hope these experiences will continue and maybe even be magnified as the importance increases when I enter the field.  I just cant wait.

It’s not always that serious here though, we definitely have our laughs. In Portuguese the word message and massage are very similar.  And more than I care to admit instead of saying, “We have a message for you.”  I’ve said, We have a massage for you.” We play this game, called the dart game. So if you make eye contact with someone and act like you are blowing a poison dart they have to act like they were just hit and fall to the ground until someone “pulls out the dart.” You can block the “dart by having your hand covering the front of your neck, so often times in residence halls we just walk around with one hand on our neck.

You also asked about Sundays here. They are kind of weird.  We have priesthood before sacrament and sacrament is mostly in Portuguese so I don’t actually get much out of it.  We do have some amazing video devotionals though.  I wish I could tell you how to watch them but they are special addresses just to the MTC.  Often times its a video of a previous address from an apostle at the MTC.  They are really cool because they go in without having written out what to say and it feels almost like a conversation even though it is only one sided. You see the apostles in an entirely different way and its really cool. Other than that in Sunday it’s just a whole lot of studying.

Here are some pictures:

Elder Lawrence and his companion Elder Molinaro
Their bedroom
Their classroom
His district:
And just the guys in his district

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