This has been a really crazy week. I probably won't get to say everything in this email, so I'll write you individual letters later to respond to your letters. I'm just going to talk about what's been going on down here.
First of all, we had an awesome fireside Sunday night. The speaker was Ted Gibbons, but instead of giving a talk, he dressed up and acted as Willard Richards and told us about his relationship with Joseph Smith and the story of his martyrdom. It was super cool, and then for the closing hymn we all stood up and sang "Praise to the Man." Tears were falling--and not just mine. It was incredible.
We taught maybe the best lesson so far on Monday to Nicolas. Mom, we were going to take your advice and read with him from the Book of Mormon, but we only ended up getting to two scriptures. We ended up just talking about the Spirit--I don't even remember exactly what we said--but it went really well, and not at all the way we planned. Then, I felt like I should challenge him to be baptized--which also wasn't part of the plans. But, much to my surprise, I did it anyways, and even more to my surprise, he said yes! Miracles. Our next visit with him wasn't as amazing, but still good. He told us he wants to make sure he knows for himself, independent of anyone else, that this is true before he gets baptized, which is good I guess. Wilmer is also doing pretty well. He told us last time that he was concerned that he was too bad of a person to be baptized and that he wants to be a man of God like us, but he doesn't feel like he can. We're going to try and help him with that tonight.
So we found out some really bad news Monday night. Our district leader, Elder Plowman, came into our room and told us that Elder Mathis would be going home the next day. He'd been struggling with some health issues for quite some time, and we all knew that, and after talking to the Branch President and the MTC President, they decided it would be best for him to go back home. It was really rough for all of us. But I guess it's the right thing. Life goes on. He is still planning on serving a mission as soon as he gets his condition stable. So pray for him.
So now with him gone, Elder Duncan and Elder Bonner moved into his room and are now in a trio with Elder Rice, so I guess those two will just be together when Elder Bonner gets his visa and leaves for Peru. Now it's just Elder Ringer and I in our room, which is kind of nice because now I get to sleep on the bottom bunk instead of the top.
The devotional Tuesday night was from Elder Kikuchi. He was awesome. Favorite quote from his talk: "If you knock on a door and the dog is barking you, wave to him and say 'Hi doggie. I love you!' and sometimes dogs can feel the Spirit too."
So the fourth of July was great. I probably wouldn't have remembered it if y'all didn't send me that package. Thanks for that by the way--everyone is enjoying the food, and we'll probably be set for the next few weeks. Anyways, we had a little 4th of July program that night. All the missionaries got there earlier than they thought we would, so President Brown decided to entertain us a little bit. First, we sang happy birthday to his wife and everyone else who had a 4th of July b-day. Then, we sang "We Wish You a Happy Birthday" (to the tune of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas) to everyone who had a Christmas birthday. Then, he called up all the Elders who had already received Dear John letters, (there were about 8 of them), and we sang "Love One Another" to them. It was hilarious. We then proceeded to sing "Popcorn Popping" and "Once There Was a Snowman." Then the program actually started. A former Judge gave a short talk, which was pretty cool. Then, later, this Elder started walking down the aisles playing the bagpipes, while missionaries from all different countries followed behind him carrying the flag of their homeland. It was so freaking sweet! Then we all sang Praise to the Man. After the program, they brought us out the front doors where President Brown was handing out Magnum Ice Cream bars--Santa Vaca those are good!--and then told us to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks and not to go back to the residence halls until it was over. So we got to stay up till like 11:30. 4th of July at the MTC: Highly recommended.
Once again, thanks for all the packages and letters. I made everybody jealous this week. You guys are the best! I'll try to write indidual letters to everyone who wrote me, but it looks like I'll have some time right now to respond a little bit.
Izak-I'm glad you're enjoying the bass, and that you and Micah got to play soccer with Andrew and Steph and her family. Good luck on your talk!
Micah--I am having fun, and I'm glad you are too. Sounds like your lacrosse team is pretty awesome! And tell the Woodall's chickens hi for me.
Gwen and Zane--Thanks for the drawings. And Gwen, I hope you had fun with Rolo. She's such a good, fat dog, isn't she?
Everyone: Yes, Austin and I tried the Orange Juice, and yes, it's disgusting. Like, really gross. And it has a really bad aftertaste, and gives you really bad gas. But so does everything else here. Our teacher, Hermano Lee, made a new rule this week: No tiren pedos. I'll let you look that one up. Speaking of my teacher, I don't think I ever told you we got our second teacher. His name is Hermano Miller; he's from Sandy, he served in Barranquilla, Colombia, and he's very, very tall. (probably 6'4 ish.) He's awesome. Yes, we have been going to the temple on P-Days and eating in the cafeteria for breakfast, which is incredible. Real food is so good. Unfortunately, the Provo Temple will be closed for the next three weeks.
I met an Armenian elder one day. I don't remember his name, and he didn't remember either Anna or Buck, but still, I thought it'd be cool to share.
Timo: Dad told me a little about the NBA draft, but go ahead and fill me in on the rest. Also, I've heard of some nutsy trades going on (Steve Nash to the Lakers? What?), so yeah, let me know what's up.
Well, I am out of time. Thanks again for all the packages and letters! I love you all! the church is true!