Sunday, August 5, 2012

2 August 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Despite this being letter four, we are approaching week six in the MTC. They count weeks strangely. As such, we are now within one or two days of being halfway done. Time sure does fly. Someone here said it spot on, "Days feel like weeks, weeks feel like days."
Just wanted to thank my family, the Hines, Scott, Alex, Michael, and Max, Grandpa and Grandma Johnson, Natalia, Katie and Brother Campbell for the letters this week. Letter are always so fun to get and it's nice to hear what is going on outside of these walls. I've never felt so in the dark about what's happening in the world. Luckily, I'm in the light for all that matters for the next two years. I think that was everyone, if not, I'm sorry.
We were sitting in on one of the devotionals this last Tuesday. Elder Pinegar spoke about "Why we are here" and some other topics. He told a lot of great missionary stories about missionaries receiving life saving revelation and whatnot. It was one of the best devotionals. I also heard one of the funniest things I've heard in a while. Right before it started, some elders behind me started talking about US history. I heard, verbatim, these words, "Do you know why the White House is white? It's because when Canada invaded and defeated the United States, we burned down the White House. They had to rebuild it and white was the only color left." I later found out they were from Canada. I let them have pride for something and didn't correct them. We started talking about the Oil Sands since they were from Alberta. Unfortunately, they didn't know much on the topic.
I finally learned how to roll my R's this week! After years of being taunted by Mark with him "machine gunning" me, I can finally do it. Granted, it isn't so smooth yet, but I'm learning. It's crazy how quickly we are learning here. We just sat down and in 15 minutes I had learned it. I have spent hours and hours growing up trying to master it. The MTC is amazing.
Something about the MTC is making me sleep walk. I've sleep walked once, maybe twice in my life. It started last week. I woke up at 3am and didn't know where my sheets were. (Elder Myler and I are the only two in our four person room). I found them hanging from the empty bunk above Elder Myler. I had either put them there or thrown them. The next day, I woke to find my socks folded on his bed.
But it only gets better. Three nights ago or so, I woke up in someone else's room. The way the rooms are set up is that the buildings are rectangular. There are two bathrooms per floor in the middle with a hallway going around their perimeter with rooms on the outside of that hallway. Our floor has two zones: zone 38 (mine) and zone 40. They are split down the middle. In the middle of the night I woke up in room 219. I sleep in room 243. Those are different zones. I do not know how I got in their room and how I left mine, but I did. I freaked out and stumbled out the door. Half awake, I half walked half crawled around the hallway looking for my room. It took two laps to realize that I had passed it twice. I knocked on my door a couple times without looking at the room number. On the second knock, I noticed it wasn't my room either so I stumbled away not wanting to be the person standing, half awake, outside their room banging on it for them to open it. So I got up again and kept walking. After a while I found my room with the door barely open. It was a tad stressful. The next day I was talking to Elder Myler about the incident and he said he remembers me walking out of the room around 10:45. He got up since I had sleep walked before but assumed I was going to the bathroom so he let me go. Some companion he is... (sarcasm, he's great.) He said he waited a bit for me to come back but when I didn't he just fell asleep. Weird, I know. But I've gone two days without sleep walking so maybe I'm cured. We joke around that I have an evil spirit (we've been reading about Christ casting out Evil spirits when he was in Israel)
One of the games we play as a district to spice up the MTC is to pretend we know other Elders here. Since everyone has name tags and only calls each other by our last names, it's pretty easy. We'll go up to a random person, one person on one person obviously, and be like, "Oh, Elder ____! How are you? I haven't seen you in forever!.....remember me? I moved away _____ years ago" and so on and so forth. Most of the time they call us out on it at the endwhich is fine but others it gets going and going. One such Elder started saying, "wait, you're from Alpine, Utah? 5th Ward?" It was perfect. Just putting words in Elder Shreeves mouth. It's harmless fun and makes the long days a bit more exciting. For the sake of time, I'll cut out the specific stories and leave it at that.
We were reading in class the other day, out of the Book of Mormon, and I had two interesting insights. In Moroni 7:6, it says something along the lines of offering up a gift to God 

 For behold, God hath said a man being aevil cannot do that which is good; for if he boffereth a gift, or cprayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real dintent it profiteth him nothing.

I started thinking about if prayer is a gift to God. Do we give him gifts when we pray? Obviously he wants to talk to us and it's up to us, most of the time, to open that channel. The other one was in the first five verses of 1st Nephi. Lehi sees the vision of Jerusalem getting destroyed if they don't repent. What if Jerusalem is representative of us and if we dont repent, we will get destroyed as well? Nothing too deep in these two insights, just little thoughts I had while reading that struck a chord with me.
I met three elders going to the DC South mission (that's my home mission for anyone who doesn't know.) Mom and Dad, keep an eye out for Elder Gustafson, Allred, and Felt. They're all from Calgary, Alberta, CA going to DC South. I told them it was the second best mission after Tempe, AZ. It's close though.
Mom, turns out those black pants we got that were machine washable aren't. Luckily I caught a glimpse of the tag first. The two grey ones are but the two blacks from Mr Mac are not. Too bad.
One of the Hermanas in our district got a package of cookies. It had home made oreos, which I had for the first time inside. Those. Are. Heavenly. *hint hint*
A little excerpt from a letter that made me laugh out loud. Brother Campbell apparently emailed you, mom, and said you responded instantly to it. Just reminded me of the few times that instead of calling you about an emergency, we've emailed you because you're better at responding to email than picking up your phone.
It dawned on my yesterday that I have only known the Elders in my district for ~32 days or so. It feels like we've known each other forever. Maybe it's because we get along so well, maybe it's because we spend every minute of every day together, but either way, it is crazy. Sad to think that half of us will be splitting up for two years to Peru, California, Canada, and AZ. It has been fun though,
We got to go to the temple today. It's great to see such a profound difference between even the outside and the inside. It is hard not to notice the strong spirit inside. You always feel good in the temple, but sometimes something just sticks out. One such occasion was today. I felt such a great feeling. It was almost as if someone was saying thank you to me. Pure elation was the emotion. The Church is true as are all it's teachings. No way it can't be. Anyway, I had some other interesting insights which I'll avoid mentioning in this letter but the temple is a great place to just think. It's refreshing and a great place to be. Glad to know I've got a few temples in Arizona.
Oh, speaking of AZ temples, can anyone find out for me which temple(s) are inside the Tempe, AZ mission?
I really am running out of things to say about the MTC. Seems like the letters are getting shorter and shorter. Everyday here is so similar since it's just classes, studying, and whatnot. If anyone has particular questions they want answered, let me know.
Random questions:
Why can't we draw what we see? What causes us to be unable to convert what we see to what we draw?
In Genesis during the creation recount, it mentions the two commandments that God gave to Adam and Eve. One: Do not eat of the tree of knowledge. Two: Multiply and replenish the earth. Our district went to the temple today and I started thinking about that. We know that Adam and Eve had to break the first commandment because they could not have kids in the garden so either way they were breaking a rule, hence why we believe we are not accountable for Adam's transgression. But why use the word REPLENISH? "Re" in English means to do something over again. Refill your cup, refuel your car, redo an assignment and whatnot. Does anyone know why it uses the word replenish? Just something I thought of and am unable to answer. I'd love to hear ya'lls insights. (We have a Texan in our district...)
Love you all, thanks for the letters again
Elder Johnson

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