Tuesday, June 29, 2010

“… I have learned since I got here (the MTC), that when you are obedient, the Lord can trust you …”

Friday, June 25, 2010

" I want to be a missionary that the Lord, my companions, and my mission president can always trust to do the right thing.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"“Mom and Dad, … you guys were completely right. You have gotten smarter every day since I have gone to college and on my mission. What happened?”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dear Family,
It is hard to believe I am already halfway done at the MTC! The days have gone by so fast; I hope my second half goes by as fast (or faster). It's not that I don't like it here, I just really want to get out to California and start doing actual missionary work. I feel like my Spanish gets better every day. I don't even have problems understanding my teachers anymore. Not much has happened different this week, although last week's Tuesday night devotional speaker was Robert D. Hales! He gave an amazing talk, and my companion and I just barely got in (we were about three rows from the back, on the end). But it was amazing. Every time a member of the Twelve comes, we sing "Called to Serve" at the beginning of the meeting. You have not lived until you have heard 2,200 missionaries sing "Called to Serve" as loud as possible. It's amazing. This week will probably be a Seventy, and next week will almostly certainly be another member of the Twelve (because next week is the training seminar for all the new mission presidents, so every member of the Twelve will be here, every day, for three or four days). It is amazing how often the Twelve come here. In the last two months, L. Tom Perry and Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke (both before I entered the MTC), and since then we have had D. Todd Christofferson and Robert D. Hales--and whoever comes next week.
Well, we found out yesterday that the Provo Temple is closing for a few weeks to be cleaned, so we won't be able to go do sessions every P-day until probably the last week I am here. But, we just got notified today that our district was one of the districts that got picked to help clean the Temple! We are so excited! So next P-day, we report to the Temple in church clothes, with gym shoes, and they will give us white work clothes, and we will help clean the Temple.
I am doing great! I was sick for a couple days (my zone leader was sick for two weeks, and he got the rest of us sick because "he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself"), but other than that, these last six weeks have gone by great! I get to play basketball every day in gym period (although our gym period is pretty crowded because we have several Spanish-speaking zones; I wish we had gym with the Russian or German speakers). So many of my friends from BYU have entered the MTC already! Being here is so much fun--but being in the field, teaching people will be so much more fun! I will send you all pictures next week (hopefully)! Enjoy your week!
Sincerely,
Elder Gibbons

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dear Family,
I believe I am on week 4 (correct me if I am wrong). I still love it here. Although, I have to admit, I wouldn't mind getting called out to the mission field early (we have an elder in our zone whose mission needed another elder right away, so he only stayed here three weeks). Although I'm learning a lot and becoming a lot better at Spanish, and I like all the classes and devotionals and firesides, I wouldn't mind being able to go to the mission field early. I'm really excited to actually be able to teach people and do real missionary work. But, the MTC is a lot of fun and you can feel the Spirit a lot, so it's definitely not a bad place to be.
We have had some more funny Spanish mistakes, as well. The other day I was teaching a practice lesson about the Plan of Salvation to a teacher, trying to say that when we are resurrected, we will have bodies of flesh and bones ("cuerpos de carne y huesos") and I accidentally said that we will have bodies of meat and eggs ("cuerpos de carne y huevos"). It was pretty funny. But the other elders in my district have had their fair shares of embarassment as well. We have been trying to focus on asking questions that help the investigator think about the lesson and feel the Spirit (For instance, "Do you think God loves you? Why?"). Elder Arrowchis, an elder in my district, during a practice lesson, asked the teacher, "Quiere gozo en su vida?" (Do you want joy in your life?) And she said "Sí" (Yes), and then he answered, "Yo también" (Me too). And that was it for his question. It was pretty funny.
But overall, my Spanish is coming along great. I can read Predicad Mi Evangelio (Preach My Gospel) and the scriptures in Spanish, so what else could I ask for? I wouldn't mind being able to talk as fast as a native, but I'm sure that will come with time and practice.

Well, enjoy your week and I will talk to you all next Tuesday!

Elder Gibbons
P.S. If you didn't already notice, the 28 dollars that I had spent at the MTC bookstore on my card was on: cases for the Spanish scriptures that they gave me, a big binder for my journal, and some extra paper (and some more white shirt laundry Resolve stick).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dear Family,
I am having another great week, like always. We had an amazing General Authority devotional last Tuesday (we never know who is speaking until right before the devotional starts) Last Tuesday, my companion had to go to the administration building before dinner, and while he was doing paperwork, one of the MTC high-ranking administrators came over to me and whispered, "Make sure you get to the devotional tonight early. You're going to want good seats." And I said, "Is this inside information?" And he responded, "It most certainly is, Elder." So my companion and I ate dinner quickly and went to get good seats at the devotional. About five minutes before the devotional was to start, one of the MTC administrators went to the podium and said, "Now, I would just like to remind you that the only time in our Church when we stand is when a member of the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency comes in. So, if a member of the Twelve happened to come in, you would all need to stand." And sure enough, right before the meeting started, D. Todd Christofferson walked in. He gave an amazing talk about teaching by the Spirit. After the fireside, many elders went out to the parking lot to shake his hand before he left. Two days later, in the hallway, I heard a missionary telling other missionaries that his companion had shaken Elder Christofferson's hand, and when he did, Elder Christofferson asked him, "Elder Christensen...Nebraska Omaha, Spanish-speaking, right?" And the missionary said yes, and Elder Christofferson said, "I assigned you to your mission." Can you believe that?!!! Now I really want to know which member of the Twelve assigned me.
The Spanish is going great. I am able to read and understand scriptures in Spanish now, and I have been learning so much. The other day, we were teaching a practice lesson and I asked the new missionary who was pretending to be an investigator, "Sabe usted a Adán y Eva?" (Do you know about Adam and Eve?). In Spanish, however, the verb to know is actually two different verbs: saber, which means to know something like a fact or a skill (for example, "I know the sacrament prayers"), and conocer, which means to know someone (for example, "I know her"). The new missionary mistakenly answered, "Sí, conozco a Adán y Eva" (Yes, I know Adam and Eve). The poor missionary didn't know why we were laughing until after the lesson was over.
It feels like I just got here (because the weeks have gone by so fast), but at the same time it feels like I have been here forever (because I have gotten so used to MTC life). We don't ever get to take naps, so I am always perpetually tired, but I remember once Dad told me that you know you have been a good missionary if, when you get home from your mission, you sleep for a day or two to recover from two-years' worth of exhaustion. So, I guess I will just have to look forward to a day-long nap in two years.
Everything is going great. My branch president will call you if I do something dumb and break my legs (unlikely, but possible). I will talk to you all next week!
Love, Elder Gibbons