Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week Two

Okay, so this week has been crazy but sorry if it's a bit incoherent at times; Stuff might be out of order and my thoughts might be a bit jumbled.

I can start on Saturday though: We got a new investigator (really just our instructor posing as her favorite investigator from her mission so that we could get some feedback) but the person she is posing as is really shy and soft-spoken so it can be really hard to teach her. The following day (Sunday) was the last day for the other two districts in our zone (they were leaving the MTC on Monday and Tuesday) so it was a really emotional day for them, but also really spiritual. We watched a video on Joseph Smith's life/history and the restoration of the church and it was an insanely good video and incredibly spiritual, it was awesome.

Monday we had to start the day with 75 minutes of service, and so my companion and I cleaned all the mirrors and mirror sills/shelves in an entire building (4 floors, two community bathrooms on each floor), followed by cleaning toilets in all the bathrooms, taking out trash in all the bathrooms, and vacuuming the entire first floor. That night we got another new investigator named Victor. I had heard tons of things about how hard Victor was to teach from other people before (and I think he might be an actual member at this point, but posing as his former self) and so our first lesson we talked about god a lot and a little about Christ. He then threw us the ultimate question of any Christian religion, but first a little background—he’s  agnostic but believes in a higher being and studies religion in school and has read the entire Bible, as well as religious books of other religions and saw Christ as a good person/central to his own religion like Buddha or Mohammed, but not as a savior. He saw religion as a way to worship that higher being based on where you were culturally and not as their being one true religion. The question that he asked us then was why we needed a savior if other religions didn't, and especially in the context of if god was our loving heavenly father then why could he not simply forgive us when we repent without a savior. We told him we weren't sure but we'd look into it for the next lesson but in general, that first lesson was the best lesson I'd had up until that point and the lesson where I could feel the spirit of god the most.

We found our answer in Alma 42 of the Book of Mormon; in that the eternal law of justice still had to be served, else god would cease to be god (be less than perfect by breaking his own law) and so through the mercy of Christ and his atonement justice can still be served but we can still return to him. We taught him that in the next lesson on Wednesday (though more elaborately and with stories/parables to help expound the concept that I don't have time to write right now) but there were points where he would just reread to himself over and over and there would just be silence for a minute and a half and he wouldn't even know what to say. Eventually he said that it not only made logical sense to him, but he could feel that it was true. Spiritually, it was way more powerful than even the previous lesson. We'll be teaching him tonight again and I'm really looking forward to it.

The Tuesday of that week we had one of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles come speak to us (Neil L. Anderson) for devotional and I sung in the MTC choir as well (which has an awesome director/teacher btw, but more on that next week). On Wednesday, as well as our lesson with Victor, our District got to be the hosts for all the new missionaries arriving, which was a lot of fun and a great way to get out of class and stretch for a bit - and some of the new missionaries that arrived were our two new districts so we have a full zone again. I haven't had that much time to get to know them yet but they seem like they'll be alright.

Last bit of exciting news is that our district gets to use iPads as a teaching resource (access to the entire Gospel Library, as well as videos and many other helpful materials) as a test to see if they want to make them more widespread adopted in the MTC in general, and so we finally got those this morning. That means that on P-days as well I can get emails throughout the day (but still only on P-days) but it will be interesting to see how it goes. I probably won't use mine that much because it's not going to be a resource that I'll have on my mission and I don't want to get to used to it for that reason, but I think that that pretty much sums it up for this week. Sorry everyone for no pictures, but I'll try and have some for next week.

Hasta Luego,
Elder McCollum

p.s. If you sent a Dear Elder, I have gotten it so the site does work. It's always fun to get mail during the week so thanks to those that did!

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