First thing I did in the MTC was get lost on my way to get shots. I hate shots. That was not what I needed with the stress of being in a new place. The line for shots and all the other paper work was funny. Everyone was trying to show off and talk themselves up… 1) Because of everyone trying to feel better, and 2) a few cute sister missionaries were in the line. I find it funny I remember that. Well moving on, I won’t give you every single detail of the MTC like the food and everything, but I do want to mention the important highlights.
My companion was Elder French from Texas, and we got along great from the get go because we had so many similarities. My whole district was great, a lot of great friends. I haven’t seen most of them in almost 4 years, but I still think of them as some great friends that I went through a lot with. I would post pictures here, but they were mostly erased in my 2nd area (more on that in my blog about my 2nd area). Fun Fact for DHS alumni: If you went to the 9th grade basketball game against Kanab, you will probably remember how they dribbled the ball out for about 10 minutes with their point guard, the same guy who missed two game winning free-throws…ya, that guy was my district leader. Small world.We had a lot of fun in the MTC (too much probably) and learned a lot together at the same time. We also got a group of St. George missionaries together and took some pictures. That was another great experience.
We were there over Christmas time. At that time, it was rough, but looking back, it was a great experience (minus the 2 hour fireside on how to mark your scriptures… that was worthless). We thought we were getting President Hinckley, but we got Elder Perry. The funny story is that three weeks later we thought we were going to get President Eyring, and we got Elder Perry again. At the time, we felt shafted, but looking back, it was awesome. For the Christmas devotional, I know he saw me. I was in the second row. Like first row was reserved for important MTC people, and I was dead center of the second row. I camp out for movies, Harry Potter books, and Apostles (more on that later too)…ok, so we didn’t camp, but we were there earlier than anyone else. We weren’t able to call our families, and it was a hard experience, but it was definitely a great time in my mission.
I want to wrap up with three things. 1) I know it should have happened beforehand, but I remember when I gained an unquestionable, no-doubt testimony. I won’t go into details, because they are personal, but it came during “Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration”. I absolutely love that movie and recommend it to everyone. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not, go now…unless you’re reading this tonight. If that’s the case, go on Friday.
2) The day before we left to Mexico, our branch president told us to pack that evening and not worry about going to the devotional. So my district stayed in. When everyone got back most people were crying. We all thought somebody was sent home, but it turns out President Hinckley passed away that evening. That was tough. I’m sure you remember that time frame. Pres. Hinckley was a great man and I loved everything he taught and did. I understand why everyone loves the prophet of their youth, because I definitely love that man.
3) Going to the airport was crazy. I never thought I was going to leave the MTC. Those evil time gremlins really make the MTC last a long time. The worst part was seeing friends come and go before I ever left. Those lucky 3 week missionaries. Saying goodbye is always tough, but it was fun to have one more night with all those guys before we left. So anyways, we got up, got out, and got into SLC. I’m not sure I’ve ever spent so much time on a phone as I did that day. I had a couple of hours in SLC, and then even more in Houston because of flight delays. Tying #2 back in, it was really nice to have so many non-members come up to us and pass on their sympathy when they heard about Pres. Hinckley’s passing. So we eventually took off from Houston after 2 hours of delays and we got into a tiny little airport at about 11 pm. I couldn’t see outside when we landed, so I didn’t get a good first aerial view of Mexico, but I was excited to finally be there. Elder French and I found the mission president, got in his car, and took off into the night…I’m sure there are plenty of captivated readers out there (yes, that was sarcasm) but this will have to do it for you tonight.