Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Two Weeks More

Time flies when you’re serving the Lord! Even though the MTC can be pretty monotonous, time seems like it just keeps speeding up. I feel like I was just emailing a couple of days ago. This week was a very good week, and also an interesting one. The District in head of us left to their missions in Mexico so we have been missing them. Except for the Elder who had surgery to correct his Hernia has to wait an extra week to recover completely so he is hanging around here with us. That means that our Trio is split up. We will revert back to our Trio next week though after he leaves. I'm sad that he missed his departure date, but I'm also glad to enjoy his company and to learn from his Spanish. We've taught a few lessons with all four of us and his Spanish is super good. He just has a gift of picking it up. So we have been learning a lot this week.

We are actually very up to date on the World Cup, usually the cafeteria posts the scores next to the menu. We also taught one of our teachers during a role play during the game. During our lesson with him he checked the score and got really excited. Our “Investigator” pays attention to the World Cup!

Elder Hartvigsen w/companions watching Stadium of Fire

The 4th of July was fun. We were allowed to stay up "late" and watch the Stadium of Fire Fireworks which were pretty cool. The MTC had our own 4th of July program with some musical numbers then a very patriotic talk. We also watched the movie 17 Miracles which was pretty good. The movie critic in me wanted to rip into it, but the stories were good, and it reminded me how much the Pioneers suffered to arrive here, especially the ones that came with handcarts.

We've also had amazing devotionals as always, with Josh Wright on Sunday and Neil L Anderson on Tuesday. I really enjoyed Sunday’s with Josh Wright, who is a pianist that is very talented. He played 4 pieces for us and he plays beautifully. He played a Chopin that I really liked, it took me back to my piano days with Sister Reed. She would have really enjoyed his playing, he was technically good, but he also played with much feeling. He shared some stories about his mission in Rapid City, South Dakota that were really good. Sunday Devotionals are always different because they have things that stray from a straight up talk, but it is always so spiritual. I love how music can influence us so powerfully, and invite the spirit so quickly and universally.  [Note from Louise/Sam’s Mom - Josh Wright is on this season of America’s Got Talent. He went through to the next round this week.]

Neil L Anderson's talk was probably one of the best that I have heard live here at the MTC. Not because of the normal reasons either. The spirit was there but it wasn't super powerful. He talked about the Holy Ghost and just gave us so much inspired information about it. He wasn't the most charismatic speaker but I learned so much from him and more so from the spirit. He talked about how we need to be still when we listen to the spirit, and how often times we learn more reflecting on talks or study then we do in the actual study or talk. I definitely know this to be true. After every Tuesday night devotional we meet as a district and with a member of the Branch Presidency and their wives and discuss the talk and what we learned and felt. The talks are great, but I always learn so much more discussing the talks and hearing other peoples testimonies of what they felt and heard.

Something else that Elder Anderson said also really struck me, and it was that we shouldn't be afraid when answers don't come right away or aren't super powerful paradigm shifting experiences. I have definitely gained a testimony of that this week.

So I had started to read the Book of Mormon again when I received my call but I didn't quite finish it before I entered the MTC. This has been maybe the first or second time actually reading it cover to cover by myself continuously in a few months. Since we always hear stories of how people read the BoM and then prayed and had this life changing all powerful spiritual revelation that it was true, I decided to go for that because it sounded awesome and I've never really had that experience with the BoM. So on this last Fast Sunday I fasted and timed my reading so I could finish the BoM during my fast and pray about it. When I prayed about it I felt the Spirit, but I didn't exactly feel that sure knowledge that it seems is in many talks. It kind of bugged me but I just kept going and trusted in the Lord.

I realize now that I already have a strong testimony of the BoM, and that I didn't need that powerful experience. One of the wives of a member of the Branch presidency shared a story that really kind of summed up what I've been feeling. The story was about college age guy who investigated the church. He said that after a while of meeting with the missionaries and his home teachers he had really good feelings about the church and had felt the spirit, but wanted that great spiritual awakening to make sure. So he prayed and read for days and days but that powerful testimony never really came. He said one day he had a moment of clarity where he felt the Spirit testify to him that he already knew that it was true. He described it as: "It's as if I was standing in a rain storm and being drenched. I could hear the thunder and see the lightning and was standing in puddles of water. I could feel the spray of the rain and wind but was still yelling to God; 'Is it raining? I need to know!" That sums up my testimony. I may have not had that life changing experience that many people have had, but I have learned the gospel and recieved that testimony line by line, little by little. There may be times in my mission that I have that strong testimony, but I still have a strong testimony right now.

Anyways, I love you all, and hope that you are all doing well. Hope you had a fun 4th of July because I had a great one!

-Elder Hartvigsen

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