After I said goodbye to you all I went in and was welcomed by everyone I passed by. I checked into my room and got some stuff from a few stations and then I was sent to my room to drop all of my stuff off. Once I did that, I went to a classroom where my district and zone teachers were. So my own district itself has 4 Elders and 4 Sisters, and we're all heading to SC on the same day! Elder Huntsman and Elder Nielson are companions and my companion is Elder Rodriguez. We all live in the same room and we all get along really great. They're all chill dudes. And funny too haha. Elder Rodriguez is really awesome. He was born and raised in Provo/Orem. We get along super well and we have been working hard to teach our lessons in sync with each other and we can be a pretty good team together I think. I'm excited to finish out these 2 weeks with him at the MTC. He has a super awesome testimony of Jesus Christ and he works just as hard as I do. Elder Nielson and Elder Huntsman are really cool too. All 4 of us hang out a lot and we've been getting to know each other pretty well. What's been especially fun the past couple of days with them is that we've been playing What Are The Odds when we have free time. Rodriguez always loses it's hilarious. We all have a lot of fun together.
So i've had countless life changing experiences here honestly, and I wish I could share them all. I will share one of them though :). On the very first evening here, they had big lecture halls open for about 30-40 missionaries to sit in. My companion and I went into 1 of the many that were available, and we really didn't even know what we were supposed to be doing in there. The teacher finally came in and talked about this guy named 3-Jay (That's how it was pronounced I can't figure how else to spell it haha) and he talked about how he was a Stanford student and volleyball player that recently moved to Provo to attend BYU because his best friend on the Stanford volleyball team was LDS and was transferring to BYU also. He talked about how he has been having a really rough time making the transition to BYU, and he feels really alone because of a few things like:
He feels judged just because he wasn't a Mormon at BYU and he felt like no one really liked him. He also explained that he didn't believe in any God and that he always felt super pressured by everyone around him to join their church. His best friend's father was also dying of an illness and he explained that his best friend's dad was like a father to him. once the teacher had explained that, he had 3-Jay come into the front of the room, and sit down. Then two Sister missionaries came in just to talk with him about his life and to find out what they could do to help him out. He seemed just like any other normal guy that I've known in my life, and I even saw some similarities between him and I. He really seemed like he was in a sad and lonely place though, and the Sisters tried really hard to help him out.
He was very withdrawn from them, and he seemed like he had given up and didn't want to hear what anyone had to say to him. Everyone in the room eventually got the chance to ask him questions about how he was doing to find out what we could do to help him. The whole time all he had to say to us was "why do you care? I don't want to convert. I don't want to be happy with any God or any faith in my life." And constantly Elders and Sisters were trying to teach him stuff, but I don't think he wanted to hear it at all. One Elder invited him to pray, and that maybe it will help him come closer to his Heavenly Father and help him feel more at peace, but he refused. Then one sister grabbed the microphone and started telling 3-Jay how she felt for him. She told him that she knows how he feels and that she is hurting for him. She said that she ached for him to just be happy in his life, and she told him how much she loved him and that she was there absolutely for him only. She then told him how much God loves him and knows his pain and how she would do anything to make his pain go away. This really got to me. I was feeling almost the exact same for 3-Jay as the Sister did. My heart ached for 3-Jay and I wanted to help him so bad and to just be there for him. I felt so terrible knowing how alone he felt, because I know exactly what it feels like to be alone in a brand new place. It can be so hard. It can be the loneliest time in anyone's life. I loved 3-Jay and I wished so bad that he knew how much love I had and God had for him.
But once the sister said that, there was no denying the amazing feeling of the Spirit in that room. It was so overwhelming that everyone was truly feeling for 3-Jay, and 3-Jay felt the great amount of love for him from us. Most importantly it helped him open up. It helped him feel God's love that was around him all the time. We finally came through with him and he agreed to try better to pray and to make a connection with Heavenly Father and to follow the example of Jesus Christ to have faith and to feel the love that was there for him.
This experience was amazing and it truly showed me what missionary work is all about. It's not about telling someone what we believe and teaching them it and just having them pray and asking if it is true or not. That's not how it should go at all. The teachings and Gospel of Jesus Christ is real and personal to every individual in the world. We missionaries are there to teach only by the spirit, and to know what exactly God wants for that person. Jesus Christ and his Doctrine is very real, and it is my duty to teach by his spirit and to let others feel Heavenly Father's absolute love for them. I am to invite others to come unto Christ, and to help them understand the amazing things that are proof that they are Heavenly Father's children and that He loves them so much. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed my life tremendously in this past week, and I can't wait to share it with others in South Carolina so that I can tell them what Heavenly Father has in store for them. Jesus Christ knows us all personally. He weeps when we hurt, and he shouts for joy when we are happy and come unto Him. I love missionary work and most important I love my family and friends.
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for your support and your letters to me this week. I read them last night and they really helped me feel at peace even if I am far away for the next two years. I pray you all daily and I hope you are all safe and okay. I know I am.
OH ALSO: Elder Rodriguez and I are the Zone Leaders of our Zone in the MTC! I can't believe it! It's exciting to be the leader of the people I've come to know so well. And lastly, guess who one of my Zone Teachers is? Cajun's cousin, Brother Hainsworth! They're really similar haha. He's just a taller version of Cajun almost. He's a really great dude and he and Cajun are definitely proof that they have an awesome family.
Talk to you next week