Thanks to those of you who have written me letters! I really appreciate hearing from all of you. Life here is amazing at the MTC. The craziness of the first week has passed and I'm really starting to get into the groove of things. For those of you wondering, the food here is amazing. Somewhat like cafeteria food, they do have to feed like 2300 people three times a day, but so much better than regular cafeteria food! My favorite meal so far was probably tilapia with this amazing spicing on top of it. To be honest though, the "Mexican" food they try is way way way below par. But what else should you expect being so many miles from the border?
I don't remember if I mentioned last week, but on our third day we taught our first "lesson", entirely in Slovene! It was so difficult but it turned out really well. When you only know how to say a handful of words, it makes everything you say a million times more powerful and truly heartfelt. We've had about five since, and have another one today. I can basically say goodbye to teaching the Gospel in English though. It's going to be in Slovene from now on.
The language has been really fun too. Some days its still like grinding your head into a wall, but now that we're starting to get the basic grasp of how the language works, it's becoming more of a love-hate relationship. In many ways, it is teaching me more and more how to be more patient with myself. I'm coming to realize that while I’d like to be really good at the language in... 7 weeks, I can only absorb so much at a single time, and it doesn't do any good to get frustrated with the language. Instead, the more I relax and lean less on myself and more on God, the better I will be. It has truly been a learning experience there.
Wednesday, my companion and I got new roommates, Elder Gray and Elder Roe. Elder Gray is from Utah and Elder Roe from Idaho. They are good, really chill guys. They aren’t in our branch even though we are in the same room, so we're not on the same schedule, but we still see each other every night and morning. They will be good.
Eight people from our branch are leaving Wednesday. Such is the life of being at the MTC for nine weeks, while all the other English people will be here for only three weeks. My small four-person district is going to see so many people come and go. Wednesday we're getting twenty new people in the branch. Twenty!! That's so many people! I’m not going to have a personal leadership role with many of them since they won't be coming into my district, but it will still be good to get to know them.
For those of you unfamiliar with the structure and are a little confused, every person has a companion they are with all the time. These companionships are then combined into small groups called districts, usually about ten people. My district is an exception, since there are so few of us, but we're all going to the same place so we get to stick together! :-) The districts are then combined into a zone, with about three to four districts. Here at the MTC, our branch, or congregation basically for church is our one zone. It took a little to figure out how it was organized, but I figured it out before too long, especially since I am a leader of the district I am in.
Last Sunday, we had a district meeting where we shared our experiences, which brought us to where we are today and why we are serving. It was a great experience getting to hear how we have all been guided one way or another into the service of the Lord. The Branch President (the pastor of our congregation basically) was there watching me conduct and lead it. It was a good experience being fully in charge of a little church meeting.
Otherwise, life is so amazing here in Provo. The atmosphere is so thick with spirituality that we are all learning things individually from God but are all connected in a singular purpose. As I dig deeper and deeper into the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our purpose, and come to understand the vital and unavoidable significance the Holy Ghost has in all I do, I am coming to realize how much I can't just rely on myself, and how other's prayers are so vital. Our work would be futile without the Spirit.
The most important thing I have learned by far this week is that the Gospel changes lives. It has changed mine. Joy, peace, triumph, cleanliness, and power. These are but a few things I have been blessed with. I am eternally grateful to those individuals who raised me and led me into it, and to god and Jesus Christ for supplying and performing it. This is what I seek to share. These are the people I seek to be. To help others discover the Gospel for themselves. To experience the things I have. For this there is nothing greater in life.
Hope all is well at home, be safe, both spiritually and physically.
-Elder/ Starešina Benson