I love and miss all you so much. This is my first letter from the Provo MTC and I love it here. I love my companion Elder Guinn. He is the greatest. He's from Spokane WA and is a rock. He has a little Cantonese down already from before the mission which is extremely beneficial (because now he is my personal tutor). My district is great! There are 12 of us from all over. Elder Brandse from Melbourne, Elder Clegg (no not my family) from Orem, Elder Jensen from Katy, Texas (where my favorite John Waynes are filmed), Elder Sharp from Montpelier, Idaho (he hunts in the same spot we do, don't worry Cade and Wyatt I didn't let anything on), Elder Rawlins from the Springville area, Elder Vandyke from Pocatello ID, Elder Hatfield from St. George, Elder Cox, Elder Larsen from OK, and a certain Elder Fields from WA who happened to be in the same ward as the Nortons and has been knocked out cold in a basketball game from my cousin Max. What a small world. I also see Elder Larsen and my cousin Elder Curtis regularly as well as Sister Killpack who is learning Korean in the classroom across from mine! I love making all the connections with so many new friends. We dorm in rooms of four with Elder Clegg and Jensen and there is never enough time. We are constantly studying in comp and personal study or language study, they always have us doing something. There is absolutely zero down time. The food is great! I stuff myself three times a day with all I can eat, but then I do miss my snacks at periodic intervals during the day to keep me going. The classrooms are cooled so we only have to brave the 100 degree heat when we do our temple walks. I'm always low on sleep. Bedtime at 10:30 and wake up at 6:30 and you're tired all day long. My brain is legitimate mush. Elder Guinn and I were called to be sacrament coordinators in our branch for all the South Asian language speakers. (President Weaver is the second Counselor in the Branch Presidency, he used to be a mission President in Washington and knows Bishop Mike Norton very well as well as Grandpa Mike!) I love the Branch Presidency already. They are spiritual men who are called of God and I look up to them (however I do miss Bishop Baird and President Davis ;)
The language is difficult and I have truly had to humble myself before the Lord. Never before have I been as humbled as I am now as I sit in a computer room in the MTC. Sitting in a classroom with a teacher who won't speak English to you for hours on end is hard. Then having others around me understand while I sit and wish I knew what was going on was even harder. Now, five days later I can testify of the Gift of Tongues when, and only when, we truly humble ourselves before Him. There is no way I could speak the limited Cantonese I do right now if I didn't have His help. What more can H e help us do if we submit ourselves to Him. Only when I truly humbled myself did I begin to pick up on the language. Please keep me in your prayers, I need them greatly as I work as hard as I can to learn this language. The work is great! We have had two lessons with a girl named Christina. In Cantonese. Did I mention IN CANTONESE? I have been here for less than a week. I spoke a little and Elder Guinn spoke a lot, haha he's amazing.
Yesterday was difficult. I have been on and off frustrated with my progress in the language and to top it off it was Father's Day as well as my Dad's birthday. Our Zone Leader Elder Noyce had a nice idea to have our Zone watch the Character of Christ after our Sunday night devotional. It is a talk given by Elder Bednar to the MTC on Christmas morning some years ago. It was better than any motivational speech or clip than I have ever seen. 70 minutes of spiritual uplifting and motivation. In 70 minutes I began to see what could really change my mission. That is to turn outward. Turn outward when the natural man and every one of us would turn inward. When we feel bad for ourselves and want to use the word I or me, turn to the word you. Turn to help someone else, because only in the Lord as we lose ourselves, can we find ourselves. We CANNOT have eternal joy in pursuit of ourselves. We won't be looking for it, but we will find who we are as well as eternal joy. Work. I will do the work. I will strive with the whole of my being to serve the Lord. In all difficulty we must strive to find the Lord and find ways to serve others. There is no trial we cannot overcome, no pain we cannot endure, no person we cannot love. For "You receive no confirmation until after the trial of your faith." Elder Bednar. We must take every day with faith in a the Lord that he will help us endure any trial we must overcome. I must have faith without guile as I work harder than I ever have to learn a language that most people haven't heard of. I promise you that. Only then with I receive a confirmation of my faith, because I have felt it already.
To the future missionaries. Come humble so that the Lord can do what He needs with you. Come prepared to learn and love. Love your companion. Love the work. Put your head down and do what the Lord called you to do.
* And wash all new towels so that you don't get fluffy stuff all over you when you shower. It's a must.
Please send emails via DearElder.com so I get the mail in letter form during the week. The letters help. I love you all.
Hah Jeung Louh