So tomorrow moring at 700am I'm flying out of Salt Lake City Airport and making a short layover in Detroit before finally arriving in CHARLESTON WEST VIRGINIA!!!!
Its pretty crazy how fast everything happens here. They days are long but the Weeks fly by. I'm in the process of getting packed and buying things at the store here while we can still get a ridiculous missionary discount on consumer goods. Oh! Thanks for the Tie racks Dad! My system of haning ties on a hanger just wasn't cutting it. having two allows me to hang all my ties, belts and misc. objects. I've been trying to take pictures of some things down here so I can show you what its all like. However we can't upload photos at the MTC which is just as well as the computers time us down from 30 mins so its normally a mad rush to get everything done in time!
I'm pretty jealous that you got some wicked cold weather back home. Its been snowing here at least but still not jacket worthy, in my opinion. Its funny to see some of the Elders who've never seen snow before. The worst part is seeing all the snow on the hills (Provo's so called mountians) and not being able to go climb them or go skiing. You all better get up and enjoy some of that Sunshine powder for me.
So My first American thanksgiving was pretty neat. The food was... well nothing beats home cooking. But the really cool part was that for our morning Devotional Elder Holland of the 12 apostles was the main speaker!! His theme was to make us all feel like we were surrounded by family so he brough all of his grandkids and had them sing a primary song for us. The Oldest was 18 and the youngest was probably only 3-4 but it was so cool to see them! Both Sister Holland and him spoke and they both shared how grateful they were for each other amoung the other things they were grateful for. I don't know if I've ever heard a more beautiful talk about loving each other. The rest of his message was pretty powerful as well. I sat maybe 35 feet away from the podium! That evening we did a mass humanitarian project making backpacks and school kits for the Churchs relief program. In all we made 33,400 kits between some 2000 Elders and sisters! It was deffs a good day.
However not everything here is fun and games. I'm starting to see how every Elder who comes home says its be hardest two years, and the best two years. It feels like a rollercoaster ride. Some days are really awesome and we learn lots and feel great about everything. Other days its stressful and challenging in ways I never though it would be. Especially having served as a Zone leader I've been exposed to even more of these challenges. As a leader I was given the charge to be a Perfect missionary and example. This means 100% obedience. As well I was responsible for the well being of the Zone. More paperwork, time, meetings, as well as making sure that the individuals in the zone are getting the proper help and support they need. Its been especially difficult to try and keep the zone in line as a whole. I love every member in my Zone, but sometimes they make it hard for me to get my job done properly. We are after all, between the ages of 19-23 and living an entirely different lifestlye than we ever have before. The Transition is easier for some than others. But all these extra responsibilites has led to some amazing blessings. After a few particularly troubling days where I felt the district was falling off track and I had done everything I could I turned to prayer and asked the Lord to help me out. It wasn't until a few days later that I had the answer to my prayer. During a time of contention among us, I sat quietly comtemplating what to do as the others bickered on. When It came my turn to speak I felt an uncontrolable flood of emotion as the words which had been in my mind leaped out of my mouth. I had expected to say things calmly and precisely but the spirit of the Lord took command and as I fininshed saying my part I could tell that it had effected those who where present in such a manner that they decided to change their attitude and do the right thing. It was an amazing experience.
With time running out I guess I'd better sign off. I wish the best to you at home and hope to hear from you all soon! Sorry if it takes me a while to reply to mail. I'll get more time to write out in the feild hopefully.
PS I love you all very much. I Enjoy and keep all the mail I get. Take care of those kids for me! Tell Fatty to send me his mailing address as well as other mailing adresses at home.