I remember people saying if you were bad they would send you to Outer Mongolia. In this case it's different, because James is good he's going on a mission to Mongolia.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Singing for the Prophet

Hello! It's another great day here in the Missionary Training Center. Ok, so it's kind of funny: When we first got here, the Missionary Training Center President, President Boone spoke to all the new missionaries and gave us a poem about how there are so many differet acronyms in the church and then explained how there are tons more in the MTC. Well...like two weeks after that, they decide they want to do away with all the acronyms! Haha, so it's been really funny hearing people trying to correect themselves and say the full name.

Anyways, it's really good to hear from you and Amy. To let you know, I got the cinnamon rolls and I got the package! I love the CD and everyone loves the brownies you sent, especially my teachers! We have this one teacher that is like really small and has sooo much energy. She is really blunt too and she'll just tell it like it is. It's pretty funny. Anyways, she loves sugar and so she really liked them. About the cinammon rolls: I got them and the lady at the front desk said that if Grandpa hadn't been so cute, she wouldn't have accepted them. Hahaha, never really looked at Grandpa that way!

Ok, so here the big news I wanted to tell you last week but couldn't. I don't even know if i mentioned in my last e-mail or not. If not, pretend you had all this excitment over something I wouldn't tell you last week. This week was the New Mission Presidents Seminar. It was Saturday to Wednesday and to show you how important it is, they have TONS of General Authorities there to teach the new mission presidents. Anyways, they like to spoil them and so they selected about 30 or so missionaries from the Missionary Training Center Choir to prepare five songs for the Seminar. You couldn't believe how shocked I was to find out that they had picked me! They took us out and explained what would happen, how we would be singing in front of the Prophet, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve. I was so happy. So since Tuesday of last week we spent an hour each day practicing our songs. By Sunday we had to have all of them memorized. That first Sunday morning, for their sacrament service, we sang "We Ever Pray For Thee" a song for t he Prophet. The whole First Presidency, and ten of the Twelve were seated on the stand along with members of the Presiding Bishopric and there were many Quorum of the Seventy there. I can't say how amazing it was to look up on that stand and see so many of the Lord's called and anointed! We were performing right in front of the stand. After one performance I was able to look right into the eyes of Elder Hales who was about four feet from me. It is so amazing how much they act like regular people. They are men that have grown closer to God and have been called by Him, but they are not celebrities and they certainly don't act like it. It was such an amazing experience to witness their personalities and feel of their spirit. Our final song on Wednesday afternoon was "This is the Christ" and it was absolutely beautiful. There was so much emotion and testimony in that song that it bore witness to my heart of the Divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we left the room after our song, Elder Bednar, who was seated towards the end of the stand, said "Thank You" to us with tears in his eyes. I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in such a great experience. It really shocked me that I was selected because all of you that have heard me sing know I'm not a good singer! Yet, they had us write down our experience in choirs and I wrote my modest resume down and somehow found my way there. Nevertheless, I am so glad they did pick me. :) That is so cool to hear about Ryan's mission call! I have a friend that just got here the other day going to Cambodia actually! Who woulda thought that there would be a big Cambodian community in Long Beach! that is so great. When does he report? From what I know of the Cambodian language, it's not Super hard, but it is tough. They have a whole different alphabet set that looks really interesting and when we heard it it sounded kind of like french. I'd say it's maybe top ten in difficulty. All the teachers in the Missionary Training Center have served missions and usually served in the mission they teach. However, we have one Sister teacher that is from Mongolia and served a mission here. It is such a blessing to have her there because she can help us out in ways the other teachers can't. All three of our teachers are wonderful though. There are also two Mongolian elders at the MTC right now. It's really fun to see them in the halls and talk to them briefly. It gets me excited to meet the rest of Mongolia because they are so friendly. That's awesome that you're going to New York! I don't really know what to recommend, We only saw Phantom and The Chorus Line and I would not recommend the latter. Wicked might be good? Les Mis? I dunno, I just pretend like I know anything about that stuff. That is great to hear about Jacque progressing in the Church. At the same time I wish her a quick recovery from her surgery, it sounds painful.

Oh, so just in case you wanted to know, we passed the halfway point! How sad is that! I've been here like 20 years already and I've got 20 more to go. It's a bit depressing but so exciting at the same time. I can't wait to get our flight plans and go to Mongolia!

The language is progressing alright. We're preparing to teach the 3rd lesson in Mongolian. My teacher has been telling me that I should start speaking more to better learn the language. She was saying how I already know so much of the grammar and vocab but if I can just try to speak it throughout the day, I'll really take off. So i'm going to do that and it will be awesome to see what happens.

In our District meeting this week, our district leader, Elder Whittle read a poem by President Eyring that i really liked. It's called "The Fellowhip of the Unashamed" I think I want to write it in this e-mail so I will:

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line. the decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, color-less dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.

I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromized detoured, divided, or delayed

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the pr3esence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up and pain up for the cause of Christ.

I mpust go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me; and when he returns for his own, he will have no problem recongnizining me.

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