My First Post as an Elder

What an honor it is to be serving the Lord as a missionary.  I cannot express the amount of pride I had when I first received my black name tag, with Elder Lam written alongside the name Jesus Christ.  The first day, after we received our nametags, we were directed to a huge hall where missionaries from all over the world gathered.  I soon found out that the hall that we were in was only 1 of 3 locations where the new missionaries arriving that day had gathered.  Isn’t it incredible how many missionaries are at the MTC?  The work of the Lord is really moving forward.  We sang ‘Called to Serve’ (big surprise) and an altered version of ‘To Bring The World His Truth.’  The spirit was so strong during that time, and I knew there and then, that serving a mission for my Savior, Jesus Christ, is what I should be doing at this time in my life. 
Every moment here at the MTC has been so fulfilling.  Life at the MTC is hectic, but every moment is so enriching.  My distict is made up of 10 elders, all of who are really fun to work with, and have a really strong testimony of the gospelOur days begin at 6:30 in the morning, when we head out, fully dressed in our white shirt, slacks and tie.  We then head for breakfast, which is like time for us to prep for a long day ahead.  Then we proceed to personal study, additional study, language study, companionship study and a whole lot of other studying with a short break in between for lunch at 11:00 and dinner at 4:00pm.  Studying for 10 hours is a little draining, but somehow, the Lord helps you retain all that you learn that day.  Some of the Elders in my district haven’t quite gotten used to the long hours of study yet, so the z-monster does creep in every once in a while.  But we, as a district, have been really motivated to learn all that we can here at the MTC, and everyone is trying their best to be more attentive and more focussed. 
Here, they really do throw you into the deep end of the pool and expect you to start swimming.  After 2 days of learning the language, we had to teach our first lesson in French!!!  We all prepared scripts and it was hard to teach with the limited knowledge that we had.  Nevertheless, all the companionships in my district made it through successfully and we had a great experience.  It is incredible how much you can learn a short period of time.  I can now pray and bear my testimony in simple French.  Of course, it is a struggle to converse and say simple things, but as I have been diligent, my mind has been opened.  We often speak of the gift of tongues, and everyday, I know it to be real.  As a district as well, we have been actively trying hard to ensure that we are frequently using the language of our mission (Parler Votre Langue – Speak your language), so we always speak french during our lunchtimes and only say our prayers in French during classtimes and whenever we can.  Of course, there were many things that I wanted to express as I was teaching, but that lack of knowledge only encourages me to work harder and do more. 
My first sunday here was so wonderful.  We had sacrament, in french, at 7:30 in the morning.  We all have to prepare 5 minute talks on an assigned topic in French, because 2 missionaries are called, during sacrament meeting to give their talks.  Saturday night was spent flipping vigourously through the French dictionary.  Good times.  Thankfully, I wasn’t called to speak that day, however, it is good to know that I now have a 5 minute talk, in french, on repentance.  The highlight of the day, for me, was a recording that the missionaries watched together in the gym – a devotional by Elder David A. Bednar titled “Character of Christ.”  You should watch if you have the time.  He speaks at length about turn our hearts outward, rather than inwards… in essence – selflessness – an attribute all missionaries, especially me, have to cultivate during these two years.
Preparation day is every Monday.  We head to the temple in the morning to do temple work, and then return for lunch. 

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