Friday, August 7, 2009

MTC Beginnings

This is Scott's mom. I will be adding excerpts from Scott's letters during the next 2 years as he serves his mission in Taiwan. Please note his updated MTC address, which includes his box number in case you would like to send a letter.

He is in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) until sometime in late September. He is working hard learning Mandarin Chinese. He reports some ups and downs. Partly, he knows he was missing out on some fun family time as we had all of his siblings, brothers-in-laws, and his nieces together. It was difficult for him, but at least he got to spend a little bit of time with all before departing.

If you would like to post any comments on this blog directed to Scott, I will send them to him.

His first letter includes:
Things have been though these first few days, but I think I'm finally getting set with everything, but its still tough. It's amazing how much you notice in these first few days with how the Spirit works. Especially when you have every missionary in our district praying for the gift of Tongues. And now I can say I have a testimony in that gift of the Spirit which I've never before had.

I wake up early to go study the scriptures for an hour, then for another hour after that, then learning chinese and studying preach my gospel.

I have 11 weeks until I get out into the field, but I hope its goes fast. I'm already 1 week in... but I can't wait to go teach people, but of course I need to learn Chinese first. Right now, I know how to pray in chinese, and almost bear my testimony in it. It's just so neat to see how much of a testimony I really have and feel the Spirit many parts of my day.

Week 2: (He starts with a joke...)
So things have been really awesome here in Provo! Ok, so alot of it is like a prison... I like how Sterling put it: "The difference between the MTC and prison is that in prison, you get visitors." Haha, It was funny when he said it, but not so much when you're here. Just joking, It's still funny.

Yeah, so I've been taking Dad's advice and just working hard. Luckly for me, my companion isn't lazy and knows the true importance of work and focus. We have to relate everything we do to people we're teaching as mock teaching apointments, so it's keeping us working hard and focusing well. I'm doing fine here, I love gym time and just doing personal study!

Anyways, I just wanted to all let you know that Jesus does live and I know that. Through his Atonement, we CAN be saved and live with him in Heaven, with our families, after death. I really know that to be true. God lives and loves us, and I don't think there's a better message than that.

What was really cool to see what's been happening so far is how much my testimony in prayer has grown. Thanks so much for praying for the gift of tongues for me, I have been to personally and with my district, and it's really cool seeing how far everyone has been getting in Chinese with the lack of classes we've had. Everyone can now read the romanized characters of chinese and get the tones down and pronounciation. It's just really cool. I'm so blessed to have such a good district (my district is basically my class of 10 people). They are just so good, and even our Branch president even said that he's amazed with us. I don't want to be prideful or anything, but it really is good. It's always spiritually strengthening and it leaves us wanting to know more about the gospel and teach with the spirit and power. Elder Adam and I have been getting along just fine, and have been able to teach with the spirit quite a few times now. It's really amazing to feel the spirit, but terrible when you feel it leave.

I love this work and it's amazing how much a person can learn in 2 weeks! I love you all! And I miss you! (but not enough to get off the mission haha)

Week 3:
Yeah, I got over homesickness fast cause we've moved so much... I really do miss you and love you more than ever though. Chinese is tough as usual, but its doable... All I mostly have been learning are gospel terms and phrases... baptism, prayers, the first vision story, etc. It's amazing to see what the Lord can help you do! Oh and I can bear my testimony too.

One thing that's been getting me semi-down is not feeling adequate enough. I was pointed to the scriptures though and that helped a ton. The scripture that says "I give unto men weakness that they may learn to be humble.." then it talks about how weak things will be made strong unto them. I really couldn't be doing all I do right now without the Lord's and Holy Ghost's help. Truly. One day I didn't feel good at all, and it was just like I was out of touch with the spirit and.. I couldn't seem to do anything as well as I usually could. It's all true. God lives as well as his Son and the Holy Ghost. I truly believe I'm out here for the right reasons.

Week 4:
I'm doing ok I guess, I had a rough weekend but its my own fault and I found out what I've been doing wrong. I like how you talked about how humble I was in the email... My problem has actually been pride. I haven't had this much help from the Holy Ghost before, and then I guess I forget to give credit where it's due. I'm just happy I realized that before it got any worse or I just exploded on my companion.

I just need to remember that the knowledge that I achieve while here on my mission, isn't because of the work I've done, but what the Lord helps me achieve.

I'm trying to strive to recieve the best and most blessings I can through obeying rules and really following D&C 4. Memorizing that has really helped. I look over it time to time and realize stuff I can apply to my life to make my mission so much better. Especially the "Remember Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Brotherly Kindness, Godliness, Charity, Humility, Diligence." It tells us what we need to watch out for constantly and it is SO true. It helps and following that will keep us happy.

Oh so I wanna share a story with you that my teacher told. It's really neat. My teacher said that while he was in Taibei, he met this one Canadian guy. He was looking for a job he could do while staying in Taiwan and was having a hard time. My teacher promised that if the guy would set up an appointment to meet with the missionaries, he would get a job. If he did get a job, he could meet them back in the same place a week later. If not, he didn't have to show up. 2 hours later, the Canadian guy came running back telling him he just got a job and set up a time where the missionaries could come over and teach him. It was just a cool story where Missionaries can make promises to people like that and expect God to fulfill them since we're on his time.

I ran into David at the temple today (completely by accident) and we talked for a bit. It was really interesting and cool. I love the temple. So you and Ryan will be with Grandma and the cousins for a while? It sounds so fun! Colorado is really nice! Oh and By the way, I thought 50 F was nice in the winter at BYU, so its not too bad is it? Haha... I'm glad you had fun with Dad's side. Yeah, I wish I knew them better too. I guess I can go on a roadtrip up there sometime after my mission. Just do that for a week, and say hi to everyone up there. I hope it won't be too weird if I just drop by.

I hope everyone is doing great!!
Love,Scott... ahem I mean Elder Carlson