LAST WEEK IN THE MTC!!!! WOOHOOO! Oh my word I've been in Provo for way too long. I have spent 10 months of the last year of my life here in Provo. That’s not ok, haha. (No offense to anyone who reads this who loves Provo). We got our travel plans this week!!!! We received them on Thursday instead of the typical Friday because this Friday was the Fourth of July. It was a big surprise when Elder Elieson walked into class with the travel plans in hand; but we had to wait three hours to see them because class was just about to begin and Elder Elieson didn't give them to us (which was the right thing to do) but I was still mad – haha. I couldn't concentrate all during class. But anyways, we finally got to see them and we have the coolest flight plans ever! We report to the travel office at 12:30 pm next Tuesday; which is great because most people usually have to report to the travel office at 3:30 or 4:30 in the morning. So we get to have a whole extra p-day before we leave plus we don't have to wake up in the dead of night! We report to the shuttle at 12:30 then we fly out of Salt Lake to LAX at 6pm. We'll arrive at LAX at 7 Pacific Time (so it’s a two hour flight, in case you're not following . . . Maddie). Then we have a 6 hour layover in LAX, so that’s when I'll call y’all! Next Tuesday make sure to stay up a little later because I'll probably be calling y’all sometime around 10 or 10:30 San Antonio time. Be all together that whole night if y’all wanna talk to me. I'm not planning on talking to y’all very long, probably like ten minutes tops [Editor’s note: Feeling the love . . . we’ll see how long he really talks for]. I really don't have much to say. Y’all know everything I've been doing for the last two months already. But it'll be fun to talk to y’all and hear y’alls voices. So we fly out of LAX that night at 1:00 am and begin the 16 hour flight (I think that’s how long it is, or at least that’s what everybody has been telling me) to Hong Kong. I'm going to China!!! We'll land in Hong Kong at 6:45 am Hong Kong time that next day (June 17th). So that flight is just going to be tons and tons of fun. Then we leave Hong Kong at 8:45 am and get to Phnom Penh at 10:45 am Cambodia time (which may or may not be the same as Hong Kong time. I have no idea). We fly for like 2 days in total – can't wait!
This past week was so fun! Last Monday night we Skyped to Cambodia again. We spoke to this man named Amreth Phirun. He was companions with Lookruu Oleson on his mission. He lives in Phnom Penh. Elder LeNguyen and I gave him a lesson on missionary work, but it really ended up being him teaching us. We asked him what he did to help spread the work there in his ward and with his friends and he just talked for like 5 straight minutes about what he does or tries to do to spread the work. It was incredible. He has also got to be one of the smartest people I think I've ever met. He speaks Khmae, English, French, and Spanish. He works full-time for the church as a translator and interpreter. He translates most of the talks for the Liahona magazine into Khmae for the church as well as translates for all the General Conferences and worldwide broadcasts. I was like, "So you could say that your voice is pretty famous over there amongst the church members in Cambodia?". He just laughed.
On Tuesday we heard from Elder Snow, an emeritus Seventy, on becoming a disciple of Christ. It was incredible! He gave us a commitment: "I will choose Him! I will take His Spirit for my guide! I will become his true disciple! I will help Him do His work and exercise His power! I will seek to have his image in my countenance!" He also said that we only have to make the decision to be a disciple of Christ once. It should be a once-and-for-all decision. He also pointed out 3rd Nephi 28:23 where it says that we should become converted to the Lord and united with the Church:
And it came to pass that thus they did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus. (3 Nephi 28:23)
The Fourth of July here was super fun! We had a special musical devotional at 7:30 that night, with a bunch of really neat (and sometimes really funny) musical acts. In one of them there were these fiddlers who were kind of doing this funny back and forth on the fiddles and then Sister Nally (the MTC President’s wife) stands up, walks off the stage, reaches out the door, and grabs and fiddle from behind the door and then joined right in! After that devotional we all watched “17 Miracles”, which is such a great movie to remember our heritage and where we came from. We then went outside for ice cream and to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the parking lot at the southwest corner of campus. It was sweet! We got to stay up till 11:30 (woahhhh crazyyyyy nights here at the MTC! Haha). Elder LeNguyen said that was the latest he had stayed up in the last 5 years.
It was crazy thinking about how just two years ago I was sitting on a field, not even an eighth of a mile away from the MTC, watching those same fireworks show after game night at EFY. It’s insane how much has happened since then. It blows my mind to think about where I might be and who I will be next 4th of July. And then the one after that once I'm home from my mission. Crazy!
Lookruu Oleson met us all at the temple yesterday. He brought his wife to meet us. It was so fun! He had been teaching his wife some Khmae so she was like "Cumriapsua! Khnyom chmuah Emily." We were all like “oh nice!” But it was funny to think that that was all we could say just 7 weeks ago! They were super funny together. They've only been married for 8 or 9 weeks (I think they got married the week before we reported). Lookruu Oleson was "Yeah I kind of visualize myself as these guys' mom and Lookruu Hill is like their dad." Haha that’s pretty accurate. And then we were all like "And Lookruu Stevens is like the super cool older brother who comes home from college every once in a while and Lookruu Mickelson is like the goofy endearing neighbor boy from next door." That’s all our teachers in a nut shell. I'll have pictures with all of them for y’all next week.
Yesterday this guy Josh Wright came and played the piano for us for our devotional. I kid you not when I say that it was the most impressive musical performance of any kind that I have ever witnessed in person. He was UNREAL. See if you can look him up on YouTube or something.
Glad to hear that y’all had so much fun at Lake Travis. Thank you for continuing to send me dear Elders with talks and stuff. I devour those talks. I read a great talk this week by Lawrence Corbridge which he gave at a zone conference back when he was a mission president. See if you can find it on Google. It's not fancy, just his speaking notes, but it’s incredible. It’s called "the Fourth Missionary". Chloe and Riley sound like they're having just about the best summers ever.
I love y’all! Stay strong! I'll email you next Monday, which will be my last day on this side of the world for two years!
Love your son/brother/grandson/nephew/friend/whatever,
|Me and Elder Jack Goodwin from San Antonio. He is on his way to St George|
|Me and Elder LeNguyen pondering the gospel|
|One of my roommates Elder Christensen|
|My flight plans. I leave Salt Lake on Tuesday and arrive in Phnom Penh on Thursday|
|My planner on day 3 of the MTC|
|Our district with Lookruu Oleson and his wife.|