Another absolutely fantastic week here at the MTC. Can't believe it's only 3 weeks from today until I'll be leaving for AU! :) :) :) Time is absolutely flying by! This week we have very exciting news! For Thanksgiving they are doing a very special day and having a bunch of humanitarian projects and all that jazz going on, but also.... we are promised an Apostle will be here for Thursday morning devotional :) We've had Elder Bednar come before so this will be my second Apostle I'll see. We are planning to wait in the building and just study and talk about the things we are thankful for, so we can get seats as soon as we can so we can, hopefully in the second row. As you know, I'm very quick in moving through crowds (safely, i promise! :)) and so I think we have pretty good chances of snagging the second row seats. I've gotten them before when members of the 70 have come. We had Elder Shane Bowen and Elder Echo Hawk of the 70 come this past month or so and I was really close for both of them. So I'm pretty excited! :)
I will try to take a good photo of just me in my suit for the Stake board and I'll send that today. The map picture will definitely be on it's way as well. That's a tradition here as well to take a picture in front of that, so I will get around to it before I leave. Also, thanks so much for the packages sent this week. Michelle and Dad mentioned they were shipped off so we will see which one get's here first! :) the race is on! :b Really, all the love and letters mean so much! I have no idea how long it will take for packages to get to AU and I know they will be much more expensive, so I don't want any sent at all. Same for my Christmas and my birthday in the future. I don't need anything that the Lord hasn't already given me. I was actually thinking about that yesterday. Why in the world is my life so fantastic?? It seems that I dont have any of the trials and troubles you hear of almost every day here. I have a perfect family, I have many friends and associates who love and support me, I have no worries about my financial future or health problems I can forsee as being problems in life, I have the opportuninty to BE A MISSIONARY!! :) That's a big one. but just the Gospel in general...... Why was I blessed with SOOOO much when it seems that so many others I hear of face tremendous trials of deaths in the family, abuse, severe depression, injuries, health problems and the list goes on and on..... I really can't explain why I am so blessed but I try to be grateful that I am and I try to be humble but I'm afraid I am in desperate need of more humility and some more refinement.
I really love my time and experiences here. If I'm already having such a great time here I can't even fathom how it will be in Australia! I really hope my companion and I can serve together in the field because he is honestly just awesome! He's really humble (a great example to me) and is willing and ready to work every day. He's also a pretty funny elder as well so that's always nice also. His family life is very good and he mentions often how much he loves them. I think it's extremely hard for missionaries to leave home when they have younger siblings. I know that it would be way harder on me if I had younger siblings to leave so I greatly respect those that are willing to make that sacrifice. It was hard for Mark to leave because he's been my best bud from before this life and in it, but I didn't think about how much harder it must have been for you Markus :) Glad you manned up and served your mission because you're an amazing example to me!!
Last night we watched this amazing 8 minute clip about the NY, NY south and North missions and all the actions they are doing with regard to hurricane Sandy. They showed it last night as part of the fireside and it was really touching to see how much of an effect the missionaries and the LDS members of that area are having. It's interesting and a blessing to know that the Lord always sends relief so quickly. I was really impressed as well about the reactions others had regarding to church. They interviewed many of the residents and although not a single one seemed like they knew much about who we were, they were touched by what we were doing and I think some major seeds were planted. Of course this isn't the only reason I'm sure of why we should perform service like this, but it reminds me of President Joseph Smith's quote about "service being pure religion." Or maybe that was Brigham Young..... oops! :) Perhaps you all can find that one out ;) Love you all so much!! Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts in my behalf. I'm so caught up in the work here that I don't even really think about the letters or expect anything, and that's why it's always a very pleasant surprise! :)