Hola, personas bonitas!
Another week in paradise! Though I have to say that I am getting pretty ready to leave. It is crazy how excited I am to leave such an amazing place, because if I was going to almost anywhere else I would be sad, but I am about to head off to do something even better--serve others by helping them come unto Christ. Now that is really living the dream!
So this week I got a little sick. I have had like half a cold for awhile, but on like Tuesday I lost my voice part way through the day and could only whisper for half of Tuesday and all of Wednesday (kind of like Elder Cox in our ward, I sounded like Batman sometimes). On Thursday I woke up and decided to go to the doctor so he said I might have a sinus infection so I got to walk down the street to the BYU student health center and get some drugs. It was pretty exciting to go on a little adventure almost a full 1/4 mile away. haha But now I am feeling a lot better so don't worry about me! But on Wednesdays we do this thing called the Training Resource Center where we get to talk to members about the gospel in Spanish which is so cool. But since I could only whisper I wasn't gonna talk a lot, but when we got in there I just had to say what I felt. So our teacher, Hermano Bush, is able to watch from the camera and he said it was super powerful when I would testify and quote scriptures while whispering. It was a blessing to be able to do that and we had an amazing discussion with the sister we spoke with. It actually ended up being a blessing to have lost my voice and been able to do that. I know that the Spirit helps me to speak and without it I would not be able to do anything I am doing on a mission.
So yesterday was probably the best day at the MTC so far. It was fast Sunday and so we had mission conference and also a Sunday night devotional and district meeting and fast and testimony meeting and watched a video in the evening. So it was bound to be an awesome day from the start i guess. But I'm going to share a couple talks I heard. The first was in mission conference. President Brady asked if we wanted to learn the language better and gain more knowledge and teaching ability. He then told us if we would only take a handful of minutes each day then we would be able to do this. And he asked us if we would be willing to do whatever it was even if we didn't know what it was yet. Then he talked about having an evening devotional with our Heavenly Father each night. At the MTC, between 10:15 and 10:30 each day we have time set apart for pondering and prayer and he told us it was crucial we took this time to account to the Lord about our day and to listen for answers. He promised that if we did that, then we would be able to receive guidance, support, encouragement, and help as we faithfully had a personal interview with the Lord each day. He said this is the time when the will of the Father and child become one and when we make ourselves moldable to become who he wants us to be. It was so powerful and I am definitely going to do that for my whole life. So I challenge all of you to turn your evening prayers into something more than just a quick list of the blessings you want. Speak with your Heavenly Father about your day, ask for direction, tell him of your desires to improve and LISTEN. Remember that He is your Father and prayer is a 2 way communication! I promise if you do this, then he will help you to become the person that He wants you to be and your relationship with Him will grow and this will bless your life in so many ways. It really will change you and I know that to be true because as I have done that during the MTC I have already been changed and prepared to change and it is a great blessing. So please, do this and share your experiences with me! And don't only do it once! Do it every single day!
Each Sunday we get to watch these different videos they show, mostly of talks given by apostles at the MTC. So instead of an apostle we were gonna watch this movie about Joseph Smith's life, but at the last minute we changed our mind and decided to go to a talk by Elder Uchtdorf. We put our stuff down and went to the bathroom and came back and saw Elder Bednar talking. We were surprised and almost left cause we thought we had already seen it. But we stayed and I am so glad we did because it was the best talk I have yet heard at the MTC! He talked about doctrines being simple truths revealed to us by God. Principles are guidelines based on those truths and an application is what we do because of the guideline. So doctrines answer "why", principles answer "what", and application questions answer "how." Hopefully this all kind of makes sense. But he said we too often try to help people and help ourselves by using applications. we try to change our behaviors by focusing on the behaviors themselves. But a prophet said that "true doctrine, understood changes behavior." Can't remember who it is but the quote is in PMG and it is amazing. So, the only way we can truly change is to learn doctrine with our minds AND hearts. For instance, when we truly understand in our minds and hearts that prayer is 2 way communication with God then we will apply that doctrine by praying like described by President Brady above. He gave us an apostolic promise that if we would search, learn, and understand the doctrine then our lives would be changed and that as we helped others to understand doctrine for themselves that their lives would also be blessed and they would be able to truly change. It was so simple, but so amazing. So, my challenge to you is, when faced with a problem or a question about the gospel, always respond with DOCTRINE! Learn the doctrine, understand the doctrine, and you can then apply the doctrine.
There were so many amazing talks and those are just two of them. So I hope that you at least kind of understand them because the talks themselves were way better than my attempt to share them with you. But, fortunately you don't have to rely on my email alone and you don't always need an apostle to testify of truth. Go and search these things and I promise you will gain a greater understanding and you will be better able to change for the better every day. These had really been answers to my prayers because I had been asking how to truly change.
What an amazing day and amazing week and amazing life I have been able to have! I am so lucky! Keep being awesome people! Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement and examples to me. Les amo todo de ustedes! I love you all!
Love, Elder Hawk