Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Letter #3 - Doing Great!

Hey Everyone!

So this week has been busy! And lots of things have happened! I'll start with some of the fun random things.

So every Sunday there are these protesters that stand outside the Provo Temple. They're quite hilarious, they claim we're not Christian because our temple doesn't have a cross on it. Frankly, I wonder why people remember Christ for his death. It was a very noble thing Christ did, but I would rather remember Christ for his resurrection. Just a thought.

So in class during a random spurt of energy we played 500 with M&M's. It was hilarious! 12 people would all stand up and try to catch M&M's with their mouths! bahahah  It was so funny! Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

So Hermana Dudly apparently had a promise ring given to her while she was at BYUI.  bahahah  So we call that boy Frodo. bahahaha! She sent the ring back to him right when she got it! But It's still hilarious! hahah Frodo again carries the ring!

So every time we receive packages, we yell CUBOS!! or buckets in English! I don't know why, but it's really quite fun. We all do it in this low, but loud, voice. bahaha Random.

My zone has really gotten into playing 4-square. It gets soooo intense, who would'a thought. It's seriously do or die. Everyone yells and screams and jumps and other stuff. Every time you get out, you have to do 15 push-ups ....so I end up doing like 90 by the time gym is over. :p bahahaha

Also, the song "The Lord is My Light" in Spanish is "La Luz es Verdad", and that's the only line we know. So we constantly sing the whole song using that one line! It's hilarious!  Just last night one of the Elders in the Zone was called to go to the front desk, so we all thought it was his Visa. So we all ran out of our rooms and started singing that one line over and over again! It was so funny! And btw, it wasn't his Visa, just donuts that the front desk didn't want to go bad.

So nobody has gotten their Visas yet. But we all are obsessed with it. Every time we do push-ups we have to say "VISSSSSSAAAA!" Visa Visa Visa! with everyone haha. It motivates us to become lean and buff!

I saw Brady Garvin!! Long lost friend! I see him everywhere now! It's so nice to know that a childhood friend has stayed rooted in the gospel. :) He's so cool! I got a picture of him, but alas...I can't send them right now.

My Companion and I also got to LEAVE the campus this week. He had to get an ultrasound. It was good to see places outside the MTC!! At the MTC, everyone is a missionary ...we're all the same. But outside, we're different. Everyone was so happy to see the missionaries! Everyone would say hi and wave to us! :) All the little kids would scream "Missionaries!!" awww :)  I felt so proud to be a missionary and a role model for the younger kids. :)

Ok, now for some spiritual stuff.

My Companion and I have gotten extremely good at teaching the first lessons. Since both of our teachers went on vacation, we've had different subs each day. So we teach the first lesson twice a day to different people. We've gotten really good at that. We teach really well together. We just flow with each other, idk how, but it works great.

But one of our subs, Hermano Bond (sweet name I know) gave us a demonstration on how to teach the first lesson. It was incredible. Especially the end. He explained that prayer is how we can feel God's love through the spirit. We read Galatians 5: 22-23, and then he explained to the "investigator" how to pray. After the "investigator" gave a short but powerful prayer, we all sat in silence, for nearly 3 minutes! Doesn't sound that long but it is in silence! The spirit was so strong! It definitely testified to each of us that we are here for the Lord's work. and that He loves us personally. It was a wall of love. :) Incredible. Indescribable. I can't wait to bring this feeling to others. :)

My companion has been ill lately. He can still go to class and stuff, he just has a massive headache ...and we both suspect it's because of the stress he's under. Last Thursday ....he asked me for a blessing. I was really humbled at that moment. As I spoke the words of the blessing, I can absolutely testify that the spirit was there. I could literally feel the power of God surging through my arms and hands. Priesthood power is incredible. I can't remember it all. But God blessed him with His love and said that He was proud of his decision to serve and that his family would be blessed because of it. He was blessed that through obedience, performing missionary work would become easier for him, but not that it would go away. I thought that part was interesting. This experience was incredible. It was the first blessing I've ever given. The spirit was so strong. I feel privileged to have been asked to give the blessing. I'm so happy that I was worthy enough to bear the POWER of the priesthood and to be the conduit for this blessing.  Such... an... amazing... experience.

Ok, so on Sunday, I was able to watch a talk by Elder Bednar. It was like watching an hour of revelation. Such a powerful talk. From what I understand, the video's only shown at the MTC. It was called Character of Christ.  And everything I'm about to say is paraphrasing what Elder Bednar said (so I'm not plagiarizing). He said the Character of Christ was solely turned out-ward. He never thought of himself, but was always thinking of others. Elder Bednar gave many evidences of this. After Christ had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and suffered the temptations of Satan, rather than think of himself, he sent angels to John who was in prison! This was the real temptation, would Christ seek to strengthen Himself, or turn out and help others. Likewise at the Last Supper, knowing that He (Christ), would soon die, yet He prayed for the Comforter to be upon His apostles. Not on Himself, but others. He always turned his attention outward. At Gethsemane, after suffering for the sins of all mankind, having 3 of His apostles fall asleep on Him, and being betrayed by Judas, He still healed the Roman Centurion's ear. Goodness! Jesus endured everything, and was let down by those He trusted.  He didn't turn inward and have pity on Himself, but turned out and healed the soldier. On the cross, slowing dying, He pleaded for God to forgive these same soldiers; He blessed his mother; and still performed missionary work with the thieves next to Him. Although He was dying ...He still turned his attention outward. Amazing. Godly. This is Christ's character: turning outward.

Elder Bednar counseled that we should apply this to ourselves. My mission, isn't about me. Who cares what I want. I must turn out from my testimony, and turn to conversion. I need to be a catalyst for conversion, not just own my own testimony. But what is conversion? It's to turn away from the natural man. It means to repent and return to Christ. This is what repentance means: return to Christ. And repentance is only possible through the single greatest act of love, Christ's atonement!

Clearly, this journey to develop the Character of Christ will take time, perhaps a lifetime. But just like Mosiah 3:19, I can put off the natural man and become a Saint through the atonement. It is only through Him and His grace that I can become like Him. When I don't think I can do it ...I'm right.  But through the Lord, I can, for He is everything. Just as the apostle Paul wrote, "When I am weak, then I am strong."

But again, this isn't about me and my conversion; it's about others, and turning outward. I want to lose myself in the work. And as I lose myself, I'll find myself ...but I won't be looking for me.

This talk was incredible. So inspirational. I realize how selfish I've been, thinking of myself. But true glory and nobility is found in turning outward. Christ died for us so that we can become like Him. And He always turned outward. So likewise I must turn myself outward, lose myself, and find others.

Inspiration quote: "There's nothing 2 people can't do if 1 of them is the Lord."

Also, Bishop gave me a talk on the Character of Christ.  I'm curious about that now, so can you talk with him and send that to me so I can annotate it?

Goodbye and may you forget yourself and turn outward.  :-)

I love and miss you so much! Thank you EVERYONE for all the letters & packages!  They mean a lot!  ...so I'm sending a general thank you! :-)

Love,

Elder Travis Clemons

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