Well I thought time would slow down at the MTC by week 6 and life would start to seem less like a Eurail train and more like the very first steam locomotive, (which, at a terrifying 15 miles per hour (?) must have struck fear into many unaccustomed hearts). Needless to say, time seems to only have sped up. Nevertheless, I do enjoy it. Have I been here a day? A month? A year?
Some things at the MTC don’t change. They still give us two hefty portions of meat for every meal. I don’t think I had any idea what that would be like until I was forced into it. Well, not forced, but, persuaded, perhaps. You know that phrase, “That’ll put some hair on your chest”? Well, if that were true, I would be a werewolf right now. Luckily, there’s always the guava fruit to mellow things out. Or so I thought. I was sitting next to a native Uruguayan eating just the fleshy, seedy pink tender parts of a Guava fruit and the man looked at me as if I had just sat next to him completely in the buff. He leaned in and whispered into my ear (in Portuguese), “You should eat the skin as well. Trust me.” I thought it was a funny joke. It wasn’t. Fiber is like liquid gold here.
Some things do change. I found out that if you take a bread roll and cut out the middle and fry apples on the Panini maker that’s meant for meat and fill the new bread-donut with sugar and butter and stick the apples in the bread-donut and fry the whole thing on the Panini Maker it’s DELICIOUS. Also, the cockroaches move slowly. But don’t worry, they make up for it with the fact that they can fly and bite you. And, when they bite, apparently they give you a really bad fever? Life. In order to build unity in our district, we set all of our watches to the exact same time (approximately 4 minutes ahead of schedule) and turned the hourly chime on. Just so everybody knows we’re together. Cute, huh? Or obnoxious. Cute is obnoxious, only 10 years younger.
My companion Elder Greenwood is just as dapper as ever. I found out he likes to play frisbee golf. Did I say that he’s a twin? He’s a twin. Every time I try to find him at night, I always end up chasing after his brother. As if I wasn’t enough of a space cadet. Speaking of space cadets, I still want to be an astronaut. Don’t worry, that hasn’t changed either.
We have a practice teaching session every week called TRC (Teaching Resource Center? I don’t know…). This week I was a make-believe investigator. I accidentally (kind of?) set the air conditioner to 15° C (60° F). Okay, I turned it on and was going to change it back when they knocked on the door and we had to start. Not guilty? Needless to say, the two poor sister missionaries who were teaching me walked out shivering.
As always, I’d like to end on a spiritual note, and this comes from our District Meeting. The topic is hope, specifically the difference between hope and faith. Faith is a principle of action. Faith is believing that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected, that He is the Son of God, and that He suffered for all our sins that we might repent. This belief in Christ and in God leads us to act and follow the principles of His Gospel and His teachings. Hope, on the other hand, is a principle of optimism, a belief in a brighter future. It comes from the fact that God, as our loving Heavenly Father, wants us to obey His commandments because He loves us and can only bless us as we act within the guidelines He places for us. That is, as we have faith in Him (or act according to his commandments, covenants and teachings), as we repent, are baptized and persevere, showing our love for Him by showing compassion and charity to our brothers and sisters on Earth (because we are all children of God), God will bless us. He promises us peace and joy and happiness—that is His part of the promise. That is, in other words, His half of the Gospel. We can be begrudgingly obedient, but why? We have so much to be happy for here, so much to look forward to in this life and the life to come. Have hope. God lives. He loves you and wants you to return to Him.
-Elder (Scotty) Fleming-