How’s it going?! So guess what? I fly out to Cambodia (where the heck is that) two weeks from tomorrow (or at least we should). We still don't have our travel plans, but that is the date that we're expected to leave on! We are finally out of the middle doldrums of the MTC! It feels so good for everyone to be motivated again. There is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. It seriously seems like it was about 6, 7, 8 months ago that I first got to the MTC. There is no way that we have only been here for a month and a half. There is just no way. We have all grown and learned so much, it’s just impossible. It is seriously beyond the comprehension of anyone who has never been in the MTC how fast you learn and grow as a set-apart servant of the Lord.
Glad to hear that Chloe’s enjoying dance so much! That’s good that she found it so early in high school too! She kind of pulled a Maddie (tried out different things her freshmen year till she found what her niche was). Hope Riley is still enjoying tennis and working hard! Work as hard as you can now before high school so that you can develop all the good habits that make a successful high school player. Remember to always, always, always be conscious of your footwork and learn to be consistent before you learn to hit winners. And play tournaments. Lots of tournaments.
I'm glad that the Kimball’s baby is healthy and that they're all doing great! No surprise that Colton is district/zone leader. What a champ. I'm honestly kind of jealous of those Spanish missionaries who go to foreign MTC's because they get to be immersed in their language from the get-go.
I saw Mikayla earlier this week! She seemed to be doing really well (as well anyone could be doing in the middle of their first week). I also saw Jack and Graham!! Jack is doing sooo well! He had some complications with his flight getting out to the MTC and then he lost his i.d. card that first day, so his first day was pretty hectic and rough, but I saw him at the end of it and he said he was doing great. I've seen him almost every day since and he is having the time of his life! Always smiling, always happy. He came up to me in the cafeteria and was just so happy to get a package from y’all! He said it completely made his day! It’s fun for him to see all the members of the Big House here too. Whenever anyone sees Jack they're like "OHHH ELDER GOODWIN WHATS UPPP?!!!!!" Hahaha I love how much they all love Jack. It's also been super fun having Graham to hang out with again. Yesterday at the devotional Elder LeNguyen sang in the special try-out choir as a special musical number; so I just went on splits and hung with Elder Gleason and Elder Pingree for the rest of the night (like 3 hours). We had so much fun. Being in the MTC together is just like being at BYU together except now we all speak sweet languages and have just super funny experiences with that.
For example, this week we were coming back from grabbing sack breakfast and Elder LeNguyen said something along the lines of "Yummm sack breakfast. Tasty!" but he confused the word for tasty and the word for "to crucify" so he was like "yummm crucify me!" We were all like "wait what did LeNguyen just say?!" Haha we died.
Last Monday night we got to Skype to Cambodia! Elder LeNguyen and I Skyped this guy named Bong Seihaa. He is in his early twenties and lives in Phnom Penh. He's a returned missionary who served in Cambodia, so he knew a couple of our teachers! It was so great getting to know him and talk with him! It amazes me how much Khmae we can understand when a native speaks it! And ohhhhhhh my goodness native Khmae is so sweet on the ears! We all hear it and we're like "YES. YES. THIS is what it sounds like in its purest form!" It is so beautiful when it comes out of the mouth of a native. There are a couple natives here at the MTC! We talk to one of them all the time. Her name is Sister Teb. She’s from Battombang. She is a convert of just two years! We love talking with her and practicing our Khmae. We talked to her for a while up at the temple yesterday. We took a picture with her which I'll be attaching. She's the coolest. There was kind of an awkward situation yesterday though when we asked about her parents and she said that her dad had died and one of the elders was like "So hey is your dad a branch or stake president up there?" immediately after she had just told us that he has passed away. Kind of a slap on the back of the head moment for him. It was alright though; she understood that he's still trying to learn the language. I really hope that one day my converts will be at the MTC serving their own missions!
The mission president seminar continued this past week. Large parts of campus were closed off and it was just a big inconvenience. But Tuesday Elder Christofferson spoke to us! And get this, 5 other apostles were sitting up there on the stand with him! Elder Ballard, Elder Nelson, Elder Oaks, Elder Anderson, and Elder Bednar! Elder Christofferson gave an amazing talk on the worth of souls. It was so enlightening.
This week and next week the temple is closed for cleaning but we (our zone) was invited to help clean it this morning! I did security. It was awesome, I got to wear this sweet Provo Temple Security badge and I pretty much just sat there for 3.5 hours reading the Ensign and scriptures and letting people through or turning people away every now and again. I also had to shred tens of thousands (that’s literal) of documents and prayer rolls in this huge industrial shredder. You could say I had kind of the coolest job this morning. It was a great experience. Everyone else had a great time ripping up all the carpet out of the celestial room and carting it outside and then scraping all the glue from the carpet off the floor.
Yesterday (Sunday) we got a new district leader! Elder Elieson! He is going to be great these last couple weeks. I'm excited for him to lead us in the final grind!
Sundays and Mondays are still so, so, so nice. Sundays are just so relaxed in a spiritual way. We just wake up and eat breakfast and then go to the classroom and watch talks and Mormon messages and movies like "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" all morning. Whenever we watch "I'm a Mormon" ads I love to say "I'm Elder Neuberger. I'm a Mormon missionary. And I'm a Mormon." Oh man I just think I'm sooooo funny! I crack myself up.
I hope Megan’s alright. I know everything will work out and that she'll be fine. I'll pray for her.
I hope Buccee’s was fun. Can't wait to get your postcards! That is awesome about Sister Lee's new calling as a ward missionary! She'll be great!
To answer your questions:
Are there any special activities planned for July 4th, or is it a normal day? On the 4th we're having some special thing. Lots of talent performances by different missionaries I think. And then I think we go out and watch the Stadium of Fire from the parking lot and they have ice cream and stuff for us.
When do you receive travel plans? We should be getting our travel plans this Friday! We're all way excited!
Have you received your all Khmae nametag yet? Nametags still haven't come in. I asked Lookruu Hill when my all-English tags would be getting here :)
Is there anything you need us to send you before you leave? Nope. Don't really need anything. I'll be sending stuff home to y’all though. My black suit, shoulder bag, probably my spiral and maybe my first planner. I don't know. We'll see
I love all of y’all so much! Living away from home for the last year has really opened my eyes to how much y’all did for me in raising me in the gospel. Thank you so much mom for your constant devotion and constant nurturing. You always supported and facilitated the things that I wanted to do and were always there to care for me. I love you! Thank you so much dad for your great example in what it means to be a righteous priesthood holder and showing me how to minister and administer. I love you! I love you Maddie, Chloe, and Riley! If y’all have the time this week I watched two awesome talks a couple days ago that I think y’all should watch. The first is "Because She Is a Mother" by Elder Holland and the second is "The Greatest Generation of Missionaries" by Elder Ballard. Also, see if you can find "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. That was a devotional he gave here at the MTC a few years ago and it is a classic here at the MTC. It is the only film that they show every single Sunday. It's amazing.
I love all of y’all, both family and friends! I hope all of y’all succeed in everything that you attempt, but if you don't succeed trust in the Lord and know that He is perfectly cognizant of you and is so willing to help! All we need to do is lift our hand towards Him and He will lift us up. I know that this Church is true! Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God! The priesthood is here again on the earth and we all feel of its blessings through one way or another! Jesus Christ lives! The Atonement is real and available to us! As we endure to the end we will find greater blessings than we can comprehend!
I love y’all, have a fantastic week!
The spot outside our classroom building where we always go out to study
In front of our "cherry tree". We taped a bag of cherries to a tree. We thought it was super funny. Don judge us. We had been in class for 6 hours and had studied for an additional 2 hours at that point.
Me, Elder Gleason and Elder Curtis chilling up at the temple.
With Sister Teb, who is from Cambodia.
Our branch presidency here at the MTC.
President Jackson, Brother Penrod, and Brother Collister