Let me just start out and say thank you guys for everything. Thank you guys for getting me on a mission. This whole mission experience so far has been the hardest and funnest experience I have had. First, I want to express to you guys the increased desire that I have received . All I want to do is increase my knowledge about Church books and the Book of Mormon. My dream is to have a bookshelf full of Books of Mormon - each for studying a different topic of the gospel. That is why I asked that you guys send me another one. I hope and pray that I can maintain that desire throughout my whole life and I challenge you guys to awaken those desires in yourselves. It is through this we can understand the mysteries of God, but it says in Alma that so great are the things that can be revealed that they are too sacred to share.
I don't know if you had the chance to watch the video Missionary Work and the Atonement, but there are about 5 or 6 lines in there that are incredible. President Eyring says somthing like, "Whenever I am tempted to rest after a priesthood service I give myself this rallying cry, 'Remember Him.' " This hits me hard everytime because as missionaries we need this often. I also love when Elder Holland says that he believes that missionary work and church membership and staying active is not easy and that it's supposed to requie something of our souls. Then he goes on to say that we must be prepared to walk some part of what the Savior walked and felt because missionary work is not easy. Please always turn to the Lord. Always pray and never let your own desires distract you from the Lord. That is one thing I need to work on and will always need to work on. Stay strong and have faith. Please start family prayer and scripture study. I finally realize how important it is.
Done with the spiritual stuff for now. Now that I am in Guatemala, I have heard nothing but good about Quetzaltenango. One of my teachers wants to live there and there have been Latinos that have told us that that is where they were praying to go. They say that it is very indigenous and it is cool because the people cook with wood and the women wear the traditional clothing. Many Church historians or scholars believe that Quetzaltenango (Xela) is about where the City of Zarahemla was and that Guatemala City is where Nephi was.
We have a lot of missionaries come through the MTC. One came because he fell at a bridge and broke a knee and had to get surgery on his other one. Then we had two missionaries that were on their way home. We have talked to natives in theTemple about it. What I have heard about Quetzaltenango is that it is very beautiful and tranquil. An analogy I heard was that you can go walking on the street at midnight and not get shot. You can't do that in Guatemala City. Most of them said that they eat some weird stuff that looked like meat but it is really stretchy like gum. Also one of the missionaries said he was offered a tarantula and he just said that he was not going to eat, it which is offensive here. Also, they eat a bird that is the equivalent of a crow in the States. It is called a Cenate. He said it is known for the ancient people and traditions. One of the missionaries lost 42 pounds, one lost 30 pounds, and one lost 150 pounds! We asked one from California about the mission and his attitude was a bit iffy, but he said you will love it if you like poverty and parasites. He said he got 3 parasites in his first area.
One thing I have realized is that it is very cold here. In the mornings when we have gym it is like a November morning in Utah. We can see our breath and I am not even in Quetzaltenango yet. I am so excited to see who my trainer is. I am just praying for a good trainer. I have learned a lot about who I really am. I am learning how to channel that higher level of thinking and the hyperdrive mode I have. The one you guys saw a little of before my mission. (Mom is smiling...that might be an understatement.) It is very hard to control, but when I want to I can flip the switch to return to my normal state. I don't believe that the normal state is heatlhy though. I need to learn how to control my other state. Trust me, if I can perfect the hyper state I could probably cure cancer. This hyper state is a very high functioning level and it is healthy. This state is how I win board games. Ha ha ha. This state raises everything including pride and self-confidence - which on the mission I need Lord confidence, so it goes off and on. One thing I know is that when I shut it down, it is not healthy and I had to shut it down all through school. I have been so blessed that at times it is hard to be humble, yet I know that all my blessings come from God. Well, enough about this psychological inward thinking. All I know is I have a lot to learn on my mission. Also, I talked to the doctor here and he said the glucosamine is very expensive and chewable Airbornes.
Ethan - Love you! Be a good boy. Make sure to say your prayers. When I get home, Christmas will be right around the corner. Have a happy Christmas. Feliz Navidad!! Learn Spanish.
Keech - Love you so much. I know that I am connected to you more than just in this world. I love you so much you don't even know. Keep it up and trust in the Lord.
Dad - Love ya. Thanks for all your support. It's pretty sketchy down here but think back to your mission and realize the blessings. No tracting this week because 7 people were murdered less than 1 mile away this week alone. The Church determined it was not safe. Keep strong. Bring the family together. Love you.
Mom - Love you. Basically all that section was for you. Keep strong. I am doing fine. I love it down here. It is beautiful. We watched a video called Journey of Faith or Journey of Promised Land. It was cool. It could be because I am looking through MTC goggles.
Don't worry about me. I am so prepared for Central America compared to most because of my experiences in Mexico. People always look to me.
Love you guys so much!!!