Thursday, July 30, 2015

Week 2

I've really settled into the MTC now. I wouldn't say it's getting any faster yet, though, and the language study is still a LOT of long work. We are teaching two "investigators" who are our teachers, Brother Chandler and Sister Washburn, several times a week, completely in Korean. Needless to say, preparing a lesson in a language I couldn't even recognize a few weeks ago is pretty stressful. It's easy to tell, however, how beneficial being absorbed in the language is. The teachers here really emphasize SYL (Speak Your Language) and how we should be using everything that we know how to say in our normal conversations. Doing all this really helps us learn, especially because teaching lessons makes us use everything we know how to say. Plus, as Brother Chandler explained, using SYL will help us gain the gift of tongues. The Lord will bless us to learn the language, but we must do everything we can on our own first and have faith. SYL is both of those - we are trying at all times to learn and remember the language, and we are showing faith that He will help us when we struggle or forget something. 

The speakers here are also incredible. Brother Allen, who works with church videos and media, spoke on Sunday. He was energetic, to put it simply. He talked about how we, as missionaries, are Satan's enemies. Essentially, we are at war with him, and he will do everything he can to dangle temptation in front of us. That is why the mission rules and obedience are so important. They keep us safe from the barrage of temptations we will receive if we lose the Spirit or put ourselves in an evenly remotely dangerous situation. 

A common theme here at the MTC is exact obedience. Sometimes, the rules seem ridiculous or obnoxious, or we might tell ourselves that the rules are there for a certain situation or circumstance (such as crowd control or safety during sports). There are so many tiny little things, like not leaving study to go to lunch early or making sure to go around to the "entrance" door rather than the "exit" door, even when there are no crowds around. What I've learned is that in situations like these, the purpose for obedience doesn't have anything to do with the actual rule. It has everything to do with our perspective and attitude. When we follow every thing we are told to do with exactness, we show the Lord that we have integrity and humility. Even though there may be no physical or apparent benefit to following, and though it may seem unnecessary, we will take a little extra time or effort to be completely obedient. This humility and integrity invite the Spirit to be with us. They keep us from ever rationalizing breaking any other rules. It keeps us focused less on ourselves and our own convenience and more focused on serving the Lord and doing whatever He asks of us. Being exactly obedient makes so much difference, because it helps you to realize that your time here is not about "you."

Thanks for all your letters and packages! I love hearing about how everyone is doing, and especially your spiritual experiences. It's always nice to read something uplifting. Sorry that I don't have any pictures today. I haven't been thinking about taking my camera with me, but I'll try to have some next week. Love you all and hope you are doing well!


Elder Tyler Crisp

P.S. I (and my roommates) really enjoyed the donuts and cookies!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

First Week in MTC

Well, I've been in the MTC a week now, and I already feel totally different. The atmosphere and the Spirit here is so strong. The speakers and devotionals we have are powerful and enlightening. 

When I first got here, I was taken to the classroom where I spend nearly all my time. The Korean teacher, Brother Chandler, spoke straight Korean to us for three or four hours. The next day, he did the same thing, but for two class periods. We realized with a bit of trepidation that he isn't going to speak any English to us for the whole nine weeks. He is a fantastic teacher, though, and I think he could win a world championship for charades. 

My companion is Elder Cable. He is very hard working and incredibly smart, and knows the Book of Mormon like the back of his hand. He can tell me what happens in any given chapter. Out of the eight people in our district, he is by far picking up Korean the fastest. 

Last Sunday, our branch president, President Perriton, gave a talk during Sacrament meeting. He might just be the best speaker I've ever listened to. He talked about faith, and how exercising just a mustard seed of faith allows the Lord to grow it into a redwood. He told us to pray earnestly and honestly for the Lord to increase our faith, and then to tell Him how we will use our faith that he has given us. He also told us not to think of our challenges and difficulties as, "I wish it were easier," but rather to think, "I wish I were capable of more." He spoke with such straightforwardness and conviction that our whole district was saying how that was one of the most uplifting and strengthening talks they had ever heard, and I would totally agree with that.

I love our district! We have the best Korean teacher (or we think, anyway), and we are so open with our thoughts and feelings. Everyone is hard working and committed to serving an honorable mission. There have certainly been ups and downs, and a few have broken down a bit from the stress and workload, but then some experience, lesson, or talk lifts us all back up. I'm glad I'm in this district, and all the elders are awesome!

On my third day here, we were all already asked to give a lesson to an "investigator" in Hangumar (Korean). We were all shocked, but after teaching several more lessons afterward, we've been surprised at how we are already to get a brief lesson across in a language that looked like gibberish a week before. The Lord is definitely looking out for us and helping us.

I hope you are all doing well! Here is a picture of our district (by the way Mom, you were right about the shirts with no pocket. That's why I had to wear the suit that day).

Left to right: Me, Elder Cable, Elder Sanders, Elder Gottfredson, Elder Petersen, Elder Lujan, Elder Anderson, Elder Biesinger

Wednesday, July 15, 2015