Well, it's my last p-day in the MTC. I cannot wait...I have been pretty anxious to leave for a while now just like all of the missionaries. I think intermediate missionaries should only have six weeks here but I have learned a lot here. I leave Tuesday Morning at six o'clock. My mission home address is:
Utah Ogden Mission
4380 S Orchard Ave
South Ogden, UT 84403
Mom, I know you will put this on the blog, when you get the chance can you also log in as my user on facebook and put it as a wall post so friends that don't know about the blog can write to me if they want? thanks.
Well this has been a pretty busy last week as zone leader. One missionary has been flirting with the sisters, which made me pretty unhappy that he was making them feel uncomfortable. Especially since it's been going on for a while and the coordinating sister has just been too uncomfortable to tell us anything. I was patient though, but made it very clear Elder Wilkey, and I didn't want to ever hear that they were uncomfortable again. Another missionary, the last week, decided he wouldn't listen to his teachers or study at all since he knows the scriptures well enough now and is good enough at teaching he doesn't need companionship study. We sat down with him for a while and realized we couldn't convince him he still needed to know more, so instead made it a matter of obedience and that he had to do it either way, and he would gain a testimony of it eventually. He was unhappy, but agreed to try it. Anyways, there were a couple other problems, but we just passed them all on to the new zone leaders (as of tomorrow) Elders Plowman and Woodward. They will be great and probably a lot nicer than me, so I'm sure the missionaries will enjoy that.
So this Sunday we had a Joseph Smith presentation kind of like what Roger McDonald used to do. It was from the perspective of Willard Richards. He told the Joseph Smith story. It was fantastic. One story I had never heard was one about one of Joseph's body guards named Steven Markem. Steven was a huge man who carried around a walking stick he called he Rascal Beater. He said himself he had never felt fear and had no idea what fear would feel like. He would often times escort Joseph places when there were angry mobs in the way. He was with Joseph at Carthage originally, when a mob was coming to take him into jail. He stood in front of the men (John Taylor, Joseph, Hyrum) and they told Steven that Joseph could only go into jail with the other men but that Steven couldn't go with him (because they knew of his reputation and didn't want someone there to protect Joseph). He refused to leave and the mob of about thirty men started jabbing at him with their bayonets so he would leave. He was holding a big sack of medicine over his shoulder, and with his left hand he parried away bayonets and with his right hand he knocked people out until there were about 10-12 men unconscious on the ground, and they had him cornered against a wall. They then stabbed him repeatedly in the legs, and the people watching said he didn't flinch once; he said he didn't even know how to flinch. They stabbed him so much his boots were full and overflowing with his own blood. The mob convinced him he was no help to Joseph without more men so he decided to leave on a horse to get help, and they let him go knowing he wouldn't make it back in time. Anyways, that's not relevant to me. I just thought it was the coolest story I have ever heard. The man telling us all this was a fantastic story teller. He told us details about the Joseph Smith story I had never heard of before. Anyways, it was very powerful and the closing song was Praise to the Man. At about the second line in the first verse everyone in the room (1500 people) stood up out of respect for Joseph Smith. That was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. If there is something big or important enough to get that many 19 year old kids to stand on their feet out of respect for this man, this work must be true. Everybody really enjoyed it and wanted to be Steven Markem when they grew up.
Anyways Elder Wright did his first pull up this week. The only reason that's cool is because he couldn't even get close to doing one when he first got here, but I always made him do negatives, and he did his first one this week. He was so happy. This week as a district we learned that Christmas songs sound cool in Spanish, so we have been singing Christmas hymns all week before and after class, which throws everyone else off on the floor, but we love it.
On Tuesday, we had a devotional with a Japanese man that is an Emeritus Seventy, I can't remember his name, but he has spoken in conference before: I am just blanking right now. He had us all stand up and make a big letter O with our arms, then a Y then an M. It was an acronym for us to remember open your mouth. It was a pretty good devotional. He mostly just talked about obedience.
For fourth of July we had a program that was very different from our usual devotionals. Before it started, we sang happy birthday to a couple people and President Brown asked what songs we should sing. People would yell out different primary songs like, "Popcorn Popping" and we would sing them. It was really loud with lots of clapping and yelling, which was pretty different, but it was just a different atmosphere that night. There was one speaker about the restoration and a few musical numbers including You Raise Me Up, a fiddle duet, America the Beautiful, and a bagpipe one, too (my favorite). It was a good program then afterwards they had us go outside to watch the fireworks, but we couldn't go to bed until it was over so we were up until 11:30 which just means we were exhausted the next day.
It rained really hard one day this week, and they wouldn't let us play soccer. We played kickball instead. It was the most fun I have had since being in the MTC. The grass was really wet and long so you could slide like ten feet, and it was windy so the ball was hard to predict where it was going, but it was just really, really fun for all of us for some reason. Maybe it's because that's the closest thing to swimming we will ever get. Anyways, I have been sick for the past two weeks so that probably wasn't the best idea, but it was still fun. We were hosting later that day, and it was hot outside and eighty percent humidity so that was pretty hot and call me crazy, but I think the humidity was a blessing, because it probably is the reason my throat finally healed from being sore for a couple weeks, but I'm almost completely better now.
Yesterday, I had in field training, which is just 13 hours of everything they want to tell you about the field. You talk about finding, your purpose, members, planning, and some other things. I thought it would be boring, but I really enjoyed it actually. They kind of embraced the fact that sometimes those skits they put on are overly corny, so they just made it way corny on purpose. It was pretty funny. The ward mission leader actor was just obsessed with working out and p90x and dieting and stuff like that. It was funny.
So I'm not saying this so you feel bad, but they tell all the missionaries that are leaving to the field to call their parents at the airport. They just have people buy calling cards from the MTC, and all the Ogden missionaries since we aren't going to the airport, just call from the front desk, but I think you will all be still on the cruise for the next couple days, which is fine I will survive. I haven't even been gone long enough to be homesick yet, but I'm just letting you know for the other boys. I'm not even really sure why they have them do that. It's kind of weird, but we will talk at Christmas. Plus I'm not any different yet, so it probably wouldn't be that exciting to talk to me right now. Well, I think that's about it. I love you all and hope to hear more from all of you!