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.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Month 3 in MTC-still loving it!

Hello again! Well, it's the 3rd of July and hot air balloons are filling the sky here in Provo. It's really cool to see. Our expected departure date is the 28th of july so technically we have 25 days left here! But who's counting, right? It was really nice to get that e-mail from Tyler and to hear about his experiences. I've been able to talk to him a couple of times up here and it is so good to hear and see how well he's doing. I'm sure he's going to be an amazing missionary. He leaves this upcoming week which is sad, but I'm happy for him. This wednesday a few new Elders came in that I knew. Elder (Robbie) Low from my BYU ward and then Elder (Spencer) Quinn. It was really good to see Elder Quinn in the MTC, he looked really excited to be here and I can't wait to hear how he changes Spain as he goes there. He is great. So, my time as Zone Leader is just about up. This past Sunday, our branch presidency told us that we would be released this upcoming Sunday in order to give opportunities to other missionaries to serve. It has been a great experience. One thing that has stood out in my experience as a zone leader is that everyone has something to learn from. Each one of the missionaries in our zone has some sort of quality that helps me and by getting to know each one of them, I grow tremendously. Now i have the opportunity to learn from our other elders as they take leadership roles. Elder Finuf (my companion) and I have also decided that with our extra time we're really going to pick up our studying and learning. Elder Finuf is amazing. he is such a great companion. We definitely have different personalities but we are both very driven and motivated. This past week we have been waking up at 6AM instead of 630 in order to have more time. As soon as we are dressed and ready, we head down to our classroom and we usually pick up an extra 30 minutes of studying which comes in handy. His mom asked for your cell phone number so I gave it to him to give to her. You should probably expect a call sometime soon! Uhm, so about those girls camp letters, I still haven't gotten them! so yea, I don't know what's up with that, but maybe they just didn't make it. I'm writing this in the morning so they could still be getting here but its kinda funny to know that somewhere out there there are a bunch of letters meant for you and they just aren't here. Anyways, in case I haven't mentioned this to you before, I LOVE the Missionary Training Center. It's one of the best places ever. Everyday we learn more new things. The language is continuing to progress and I am excited with anticipation for the day when I get to speak with the people of Mongolia. As for the political situation in Mongolia, our teacher from there told us a little bit last night. Apparently the old communist party won the elections and so there were riots in the streets; 4 people were killed, 20 policemen were hospitalized, and a government building was burned down. It was really shocking to hear because we had just heard all these things about how wonderful Mongolian people are. It is sad to hear that they are having this trouble. She said that we shouldn't be worried about our visa situation but that we should pray for the people. So that is what we are doing. The other day I was able to talk to Aca Mcdonald again. After about a month or so it was hard to remember where to start from and I was hoping that he had taken my invitation to read the Book of Mormon more seriously but when I called he was in 2 Nephi. He is a man that is very interesting in the historical/geographical aspects of religious material and uses it as a sort of verification for himself. So i worked with him to identify some of the things I knew to validate its authenticity. Next we got into how those facts eventually fade and you must have faith to carry you the rest of the way. This eventually led into our ideas on salvation. He is of the belief that salvation comes after having faith in Christ and then through your salvation you just naturally do good works. I tried to explain to him the need for works before you can expect salvation and I used some scriptures in James. We ran out of time but I gave him two chapters in Alma to read that talk a bit about how our faith works within us and how our role fits in with Christ's Atonement because that was one of the things that we disagreed on the most. It was really good to talk to him again, and i care a great deal about him. I just hope and pray that I might be able to communicate our gospel in a way that he can truly feel the Spirit of the message. I'm calling him in two weeks so we'll see how that goes! We had Elder J. Richard Clark speak at our Devotional on Tuesday and it was so good. He gave us his "SKWASH" formula for being a good missionary. It was: Spirituality, Knowledge, Work, Attitude, Skills, Habits. The part that impressed me the most was Attitude. He told a story about a Russian train worker that accidentally locked himself inside a refrigerator car. No one could hear him and so he figured he would just be left in there to die. As he slowly passed away, he wrote out words on the inside of the car. He would say things like, "getting colder" "still colder" "these may be my last words". Things like that. When someone finally opened the freezer car, they fould him dead. The sad thing was, the refrigerator car was malfunctioning so the temperature in there was only 57 degrees. He could have easily survived if it wasn't for his preconceiived notion of what would happen in that car. That has so much import fir all of us wherever we are. Our attitude largely determines how we will do in any arena. Mental Attitude accounts more for success than Mental Ability. Well, I don't have much time left. But in closing I just want to say how very grateful I am for you and the family. I love each one of you so much. I absolutely know that this Gospel is the true Gospel. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a called prophet of God and that Jesus Christ stands at the head of this church. I know that by following Christ's footsteps in Faith, Works, and Covenants we can live with our families and with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. It is a possiblity for all of us. God did not send any of us down here to fail. Each one of us has something great to do if we will just go to the Father and find out from Him what that is. At the time, my job is to teach the Mongolian people His Word, and I am grateful for the chance. Once again I love you all and I hope everything is going good for you. Love, Elder Cappuccio

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