First, please tell everybody thank you for writing me this week. I loved hearing from all of them and let them know I was not able to write them all back this week but promise to catch up soon.
|Photo Courtesy of Elder Jones. Elder Stout on the balcony|
of their first living quarters.
I am finally off to Mexico next week! wooohoo!! I am so excited! Not really a lot went on this last week a lot more of the same old! Big thing was us all getting our travel plans! Elder Cottle is the first one to leave at 8 pm on Sunday night and then we go all the way up until 4:30 Monday morning! Me and Elder Jones will be the only ones from our district on our flight so we will have to say goodbye to everyone before that! Also, Elder Hernandez got delayed because apparently his mission president thought he was in the advanced class so he planned on him coming earlier so he just kind of assumed he wasn't coming, and won't be ready for him for 2 more weeks, so he has to join the younger district for those two weeks! It's kind of awful for him! But, if we've learned anything here then there is definitely a reason that the Lord wants him to stay for a little bit longer. We are all really ready to leave and get out there to start teaching the gospel, we are getting kind of stir crazy here.
Two really cool experiences that I did want to share from this week though were first the devotional from Elder Godoy! It was absolutely incredible! President Doman said it was the best talk he has heard in his entire life. Elder Godoy based his entire talk off of Alma 26:22 i think! It was incredible! read that scripture and disect it!!! He talked about the 4 principles in that verse and about how they lead to being a good missionary! Pretty much it boiled down to repenting and being worthy invites the spirit, working hard will bring baptisms, praying and studying unceasingly brings spiritual experiences and faith in Jesus Christ will bring miracles. It was so incredible, he just really dove in and was like this is how it is, now go do it! And he also took Moroni 8:2-3 and had us replace the names of Moroni and Mormon with our own and those of our parents, so thats the scripture for both mom and dad this week! Everyone just started bawling! It was also really cool because his son was there too because he is about to go and serve in Rome. And now that you told me you got to talk with him last week dad, I felt like he meant that scripture for me as well, which is pretty cool! I love and miss you so much! I know you said that you didn't think you were perfect parents, but you were the perfect parents for me so don't even stress it! There's nothing I would've changed about my childhood! The second cool experience is that I had my exit interview with President Doman, and I said this to Sam too but I am like pretty sure that he will either be a general authority or a patriarch at some point, that guy has an absolute gift! It started off with us recapping my leadership of the district and stuff, and it felt really good to hear him say me and Peterson were studs haha he's kind of been the closest thing I could have to a dad physically here at the MTC! Then he just broke down and started bawling and told me that now, I am a man, and that he has seen my growth and that he was so proud of me. I just lost it when he said that hahaha I couldn't hold it together, every time he talks the spirit enters the room so strongly, and this was just a whole other level, it was amazing. Then we talked about life after mission and he gave me advice on how to pick a major and how to pick a job, and that me and Peterson need to be sure to contact him afterwards as well. Then he said I want to pray with you, just you one more time before you head off to Mexico. He started off the prayer by saying as my preisthood leader he asked for this blessing on me, and it was almost like a mini-patriachal blessing! He told me the things that I need to do to touch the people's hearts like praying with every single person that will let me. I don't know if I have ever felt the spirit as strongly as when he said, "Elder Stout is ready to serve your people and help bring the lost tribes home again. At this time, as his acting Judge in Israel, priesthood leader, and friend, I invoke the blessings that his father and patriarch gave him to be in full effect right now." And then he just paused and it just hit me right then. He said some things that were like word for word out of my patriarchal blessing, and it was just such a cool experience. Between that, my last father's blessing, and my patriarchal blessing, I think that I could be set for my entire life!
I have so much enjoyed soaking up the powerful spirit in the MTC and feel like I have grown so much as a man, as a priesthood holder, and as a vessel to carry our Lord's gospel to the world, but I am now so ready to go down and change the lives of those in Mexico, I can't wait!
Dad, thanks so much for the leadership advice, I shared that with Elder Peterson and we tried really hard to build a one on one individual connection with each person in our zone. We have all come to think that if Marion G. Romney, Bruce R. McConkie, Neal A. Maxwell, David A. Bednar, Dieter F. Uctdorf, and Jeffery R. Holland all served at the same time then the world would be ready for the second coming. Haha those guys are quoted so much here! We love them! I remember you telling me about 121 before I left, and it is one of the very first things that Doman had us read when we were made zone leaders! I can say that the three moments here where I felt my testimony grow the most, were the first time I recited the 1st vision from memory, giving that blessing, and then my interview with President Doman! I uploaded all the pictures that I have taken thus far to dropbox but I will still send a couple with each email so you can put it on the blog or whatever! Thanks for all the updates on the sporting world! Doman has kept me updated on BYU yes, but I can't believe that about the Hawks!!! Ugh! Let me know any big storylines! I heard the cowboys are actually looking good this year! Wooohoo! Go Utes!!! i am glad yall liked my handwritten letters!!! Elder Jones told me as well that you were all friends on fb now! Do you post like 100% of my letters? or just bits and pieces of them?? I will definitely ask people all the time how I can get better. I know it will be hard again once I get down there, but I think I have a lot more of the base to lean on the savior now than I did before! Thanks so much for the story about your zl's we all laughed here! Haha i will always remember presicion! I love you pops!
|Photo courtesy of Elder Jones. |
Elder Jones - Elder Stout - Elder Peterson
Mom! Thanks for sending those pictures! Yeah Elder Jones has already taken like 1500 pictures! I am actually just now getting over my cold so I think I am fine! Actually maybe some sudaphed cuz I went through like half my stash! Yeah, I went to the doctor here! Oh, I totally forgot to say it above but I also got my first haircut here, and it's almost as good as Dad's used to be, but not quite!! I wish you were here to help me too! Good luck with your interview! I know that you will kill it!!!:) I am really glad that you do that now! Idk why but I just felt really prompted to share that with you!! That's really cool that you are connecting with the other parents! There are 10 people in my travel group heading down to Mexico City! 7 of them were in the main Mexico City South district, then Elder Jones and I and then a guy who was fluent and so he was in the advanced class! Thanks for trying with the orthodics! My shoes insoles are just starting to get beat up a little bit and I feel like they would fit just a little bit better with something else in there! Also, thanks for all the help with packing!!! I made a list of all the things that were in each suit case so hopefully that helps!!! Okay so for calling what Elder Cottle got was his parents got him like a prepaid cell phone for like $15 that has minutes on it that he can just throw away afterwards, because otherwise I ahve to buy a calling card! And I will probably only be able to call from Salt Lake or Atlanta cuz I can't call across the border!! Thanks for all the pictures!:)
Mom & Dad- Moroni 8:2-3
Sam- D&C 131:6 (also my thought to the seminary class this week) Study your butts off, the Lord knows everything and can help with everything, the spirit can teach everything not just religious stuff, so learn it all as much as you can! But especially learn about the gospel as much as you can so the spirit can direct you! (Dad also share D&C 84:85 with them)
Jake- Ether 12:13-15 Look how much faith can do!!
Max- 4 Nephi 1:15 just remember how happy God can make you!!
Love you all! I might not be able to write until a week after I get there!!! I love you so much, and miss you!!!