Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mom and Dad's email from Day 2 in the MTC. The world is really a small place! :)

After I finished writing this morning, Craig and I got ready and took off for the MTC. It is only about four blocks away. I'm grateful that Craig can tell the way because I wanted to tell him to go down different roads. Maybe tomorrow I will have paid better attention.

We began in the Chapel again for about an hour. We were introduced to our trainers today. They are a young bunch, but really special. Elder Rowe was our morning trainer, and he got us started.

Our lesson in the Chapel began with a reminder of our purpose as a Missionary. We had received the purpose statement before we left home, and we had memorized it (pretty much). I find myself still cheating when I have it written in front of me, but I can do it with some thinking.  So, I guess I'm saying I'm still slow.  Craig is better at it than me.

When we left the Chapel, we went to our class which consists of four couples, the Jeffries, the Bolos, and the Gardners (I'll tell more later about this couple). The Jeffries are going on their second mission - this time to Russia (Siberia) for CES, the Bolos are going to Nashville, TN as military relations missionaries. They have been married for 49 years (but you couldn't tell by their looks), and for 40 of those years he stayed with the Greek Orthodox Church. Then it just felt right, and he joined the Church. The Gardners are in Utah. He is a lawyer and evidently lost most of his sight over the years. When little he suffered from macular degeneration and can see little now. It is hard to tell that he has so little sight. His wife is devoted to him, and to see them together, she is like his eyes and they work like one. I was a little intimidated with him at first because he is a lawyer, and I figured he would be so straight-laced about doing everything. Yeah Raegan, I'm not intimidated by you. I've seen you at home. We have found out that he is so sarcastically funny. I just did not expect it of him, and it is obvious from his comments that he is very smart, and she is his equal. He is going as legal counsel to the Church in the Caribbean, and she will serve in the office.

We spent the lesson time in the morning working on planning our lessons. Elder Rowe is really good about keeping us moving along, explaining how to approach the teaching process, looking for ways to be more effective. Along with that, we were encouraged to "Listen to the promptings." Write them down. Tomorrow, we are teaching a 45 minute class to an investigator. Of that, 15 minutes will be used to get to know the investigator, the other 30 will be to teach an individualized lesson according to what we have learned from the needs of him/her. It is a little scary, but we have done it before when we were at Ft. Benning teaching.  We discussed how to begin teaching, and how to ask questions to gain a firm understanding of how quickly and how well the investigator is learning and applying the doctrines we are presenting.

At noon we went to lunch and found the Gardners. We sat down and as usual began to get to know them better. He explained to us what their mission will entail. It sounds like they will be an important addition to the Caribbean Area Presidency regarding all kinds of legal stuff. As Sister Gardner and I were talking, Brother Gardner and Craig were discussing something about his family and the name Levier was mentioned. Craig looked at me and repeated the name, and he said, we know that name. Craig asked if Brother Gardner knew a 90 year old man named Levier. Sister Gardner said that Leveer was Brother Gardner's brother to which he said, "he's my dad." I then asked if they knew Brad Ivey and the connection was made. Brother Gardner's dad is the grandfather that Brad and Mallory named Cohen after. It was so fun. Immediately, I called Mallory to do the "guess who we are eating dinner with." We took pictures of each other, and claimed kin. They love Mallory (you did good girl), and Brad is special to their family.

Brad's Uncle Ron and Aunt Janet at the MTC

In the afternoon, we had a new trainer by the name of Sister Sanford. She was only with us today because she has finals coming up and has study groups to attend.  Our lessons were on making effective commitments. Sister Sanford had served her mission in Siberia also. She is getting ready to graduate. We enjoyed working with her. She encouraged us about our lesson tomorrow, and we continued the role-playing that Elder Rowe started that morning. At the end of the day, we went to eat and then on to the Devotional. We got there early enough to get a good seat in the senior's section. While waiting for the speaker, some brothers and sisters behind us were talking about their ancestors in Waterloo and Kitchener, Canada. Craig turned around and started asking questions and before they were finished, the man has some references to possible Lenhards in those areas. These are the areas where Craig's family came from into the States. It is no accident that we are here in the MTC at this time or that we are in the right place at the right time.

Our speaker was Neil L. Anderson. Sister Anderson came with him, and she is about a foot shorter than he is, and he doesn't look that tall. She is tiny. She spoke for a few minutes on the importance of having the Gospel in our homes. She reiterated something I've been hearing a lot about lately. Many couples are taking the Conference issues of the Ensign and discussing one talk each week with the family in HE. I think this is a good thing. Wish we had done it when you guys were growing up. She said that the General Authorities have been know to make as many as 15 drafts of their talk before giving it at Conference, so there is a lot of thought and prayer that goes into each one. I can believe that.

Elder Anderson expressed thanks for the missionaries who had dedicated themselves to going on a mission. He referred to a survey showing that of the Millennials (18-29 year olds), one out of five do not believe the Bible is Scripture. They are less likely to read the Bible and are moving away from Biblical truths. These are the people we will most likely be teaching. He re-emphasized that the Book of Mormon is the great teacher of doctrines of Christ and encouraged us to get to know these doctrines and where to find them.  Some included 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi ll, 3 Nephi 27. He told us to ask ourselves every day - what would Jesus do, how would He act, what would He say, or what would He teach. Study the qualities of Christ and then pattern our lives after Him. Follow Him. Find favorite Scriptures and memorize them. If we will do this throughout our Mission, when we get home, it will be planted in our souls and we will not stray.

So, another busy and successful day. Time to turn in. We miss you all. Our thoughts and prayers are often about you. We especially are now thinking of the times when our grandbabies, both girls and boys, will find themselves here to prepare to leave on their missions.

Take care of yourselves. We love you. Write us.
Mom and Dad

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