My oh my, it has been a crazy week. One of my teachers, Hermano A***, told us that if we survived the first four days in the MTC the hardest part would be over. At first I didn't believe him, but after being named Zone Leader (with my companion, Elder R***) over our whole branch (30 elderes y hermanas, but 16 left today or leave tomorrow, and we get 25 greenies on Wed.) AND becoming senior companion AND reading the missionary handbook twice AND memorizing both the missionary purpose and the First Vision in Spanish, I kind of see what he meant.
Thankfully, I have felt the gift of tongues working in me already. I feel at ease with Spanish, and what I lacked in Gospel vocabulary, I have attained through study, prayer, and the help of my district. Speaking of which, my district and branch are AMAZING. No other word suits them. Elder R**** is my companion; he's quiet, kind of like I was before junior year. When he does speak, though, the Spirit is with him intensely, and in the practice lessons we've been teaching the Spirit has nearly brought one of our "investigators" to tears. Elder V**** is our District Leader, and he's from Honduras. He has an incredible gift for knowing when to joke around and when to refocus us. His companion, Elder S****, is one of the funniest guys (*ahem, Elders) I've met. He has a light in his eyes that draws people to him, and will be a great aid to him on his mission. The rest of our district consists of a trio, Elders M***, G****, and R****. All are from the US, but all have parents from elsewhere (Elders M*** and G*** from Mexico, and Elder R*** from Argentina). Elder M*** is a lot like me, but he's also already an EMT, so... yeah. Elder G*** is also funny, and like Elder S*** has a continual happiness that draws others in. Elder R*** knows a lot; he can be a little prideful at times (it's an Argentine thing) but he has overcome that for the most part in his time here.
I've also gotten close to the other district, but I'll only name a few. Elder M*** is an amazing artist, and actually uses some of what he draws for his lessons. Elder S*** is from Peru, and is kind of a combination of Elders V*** and R***. Hermana G*** is "solo," in that she's the only sister missionary in our advanced language, 2-week branch until Wednesday (so yeah, 2-week MTC time is common enough for Spanish speakers that they have two entire branches dedicated to it, so I'm very much not alone).
I went to see the Character of Christ talk by Elder Bednar, which was beyond incredible. He talked very boldly about how the character of Christ was to ALWAYS turn outwards, even in moments of despair, pain, loneliness, or whatever else. I have set a few goals in that regard. After that, I went and took pictures with Rick, Juliana, and Elder Rowe, because the Metcalfs were conducting the meeting surrounding the movie. I've bumped into Elder Rowe around six times since I've been here, but I've only seen Andrew once (on the first day) and I have yet to see Jackson.
I have lost myself in scripture study; I've even come to love it more that I ever have. I speak almost nothing but Spanish everywhere, and I read 15 pages in Spanish from the Libro de Mormon daily. I love you guys, and I miss you. I look forward to (hopefully) being able to send you some pictures and stuff before I leave the MTC.
Que les vaya muy bien, y que el Espiritu Santo les guie,
Oh, and while I am thinking of it, I want to bear my testimony in Spanish each week, kind of as a log for what's up with me. (stars mark where accents belong until I can figure out the hotkeys for them)
Quiero compartir, pues, mi testimonio de que yo se* que Jesucristo vive hoy, y que su Expiacio*n nos puede dar la fuerza y el corage que necesitamos para hacer cualquiera cosa. Yo se que Dios es nuestro Senor y Padre Celestial, y tambien que E*l nos ama. Yo se que si oramos a Dios con intento de corazo*n y un deseo de obtener ayuda o saber algo, El nos contestara* y nos ayudara* a mejorarnos. Yo se* que Jose* Smith es un profeta de Dios, y que fue visitado por Dios y su Hijo Unige*nito. Yo he sentido el poder del Espi*ritu Santo, y deseo que todos pueden tener un companero en E*l. Y digo todo esto en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.