Anyways, I have some bad news. Apparently I may have misread the thing - I may not be allowed to have a blog at all when I am in Russia! For now in the MTC it is fine. But, when I go there I will get more information and find out what is appropriate and not. I thought I could have a blog if I left out names and places of where we were - I thought I had to do that for every letter - but my companion thought we COULD mention names and places, we just coulnd't post ANYTHING on blogs. So, I will find out at let you know.
Anyways.... now for some other stuff. So. I am just here at the MTC. I love love love love love it. It is amazing. The spirit of the Lord is so strong here. Everyone is working their hardest and trying their best to serve the Lord. I love the feeling that it produces. I have noticed my English vocabulary that I have worked so hard to cultivate and nurture is starting to wane. I was somewhat sad, but then I realized it was actually a great thing because it just means I am making room for the Russian language. I am learning so much. I am amazed at the blatant blessings from the Lord that He gives me. I could hardly grasp Latin, but with Russian I am learning more and more everyday and I know it's because God is helping expand my understanding. He is opening my heart and my mind to receive the Russian language. I realized part of this was the difference of my motives. I was just trying to learn Latin for me, but I am learning Russian in order to become a better Missionary so that I can be a useful tool for God in Russia. I want to be of use to Him. I can only do this if I remove negative emotions such as pride, envy, contention and so that the Holy Ghost can fill me and teach what needs to be taught. I know that I, myself, do nothing; it's all the Lord. I just need to do my best to be living and working in a way that is acceptable to him so that I can feel the Spirit and the Spirit can teach. It really is an amazing thing. I am continually humbled every day at the honor it is to be a servant of the Lord. I used to get discouraged about the concept of being a servant for the Lord -- the reason being that I knew whatever I did I would never be a profitable servant; I could work and try, and work some more, but I would never be able to repay that incredible debt that the Lord suffered for me in the garden and on the cross. What was more, is my debt was continually growing as He would continually bless me. I do not deserve those blessings - I am already in His debt! I was saddened that no matter what I could do, I would always be an unprofitable servant. But then one day I realized something! It is true, I am an investment in the Lord, so therefore I can never pay Him back. Really, all of this is to help me so naturally I will be unprofitable, but I came to the realization that though I would never be a profitable servant, I could be a faithful one. I can work and work and work to show Him my gratitude. I can work and say thank you to show him how grateful I am and how humbled I am for this opportunity to serve. I get the chance to interact with more of Gods beautiful children, here in the MTC and eventually in Russia. I know that each of them are special. I know that He wants each of them to return to Him. I know he has a specific, individual plan for each of them... I am honored that He has selected me (and was patient with me as I came to terms with the call to serve) to be apart of His plan for those children. I know that I may never baptize anyone one (maybe I will, who knows!) but I know that so long as I work hard, those seeds are planted. That is a start. I am just happy and humbled to be a part even that much. How Great and Marvelous is our God! to come up with such a loving, specific, and nurturing plan for each of us! His plan will have the highest rate of return, it will have the highest success rate. I am comforted by the love of our Father and our Savior. What an immense sacrifice for both of them. I often think of the Savior bleeding in the garden and on the cross - what pain and agony He suffered just to give us OPPORTUNITY. Then I think of our great, merciful, Father in Heaven - how hard it must have been to watch His son suffer as He did! Yet He stood by and watched, and waited, and sorrowed so that we could have a CHOICE to return to Him. It wasn't guaranteed that we would all return to Him - He knew some of us wouldn't... in that way the sacrifice was heightened! But He knew that agency was essential, and He knew the price of agency, though great, was worth it. What a glorious gift both our Father in Heaven and our Savior provided for us. What a sacrifice for both of them. We need to take every opportunity and every choice and dedicate them to the Lord, so that we can return to our Heavenly Parents and our celestial Brother. I am so humbled by their love... I just hope that I can maintain a holy spirit about me so that I can be the faithful servant the Lord expects me to be. I have heard an analogy for it before - it is like piano lessons. Piano lessons are already paid for by a parent, just like we were already bought through the Atonement. However, it is choice of the child whether they practice or not. When we practice, or when we obey his commandments and use the gift He gave us, that is us showing our gratitude for the price that was paid for us. I thought it was a cool analogy. So, here I am, in the vineyard, I am working as hard as I can and I will continue to do so! I want to serve those wonderful children of our Father! I am excited to do so!
So, thank you for your letters - both the dear elders and the written letters. You have such beautiful handwriting! I really appreciate your spiritual thoughts. They are like spiritual candy, I pop them in and the sweet taste lingers throughout the day. I often roll them around in my mind and think of you words; thank you so much for the encouragement. Thank you so much for your love.