Thank you for encouraging me to go on a mission. It was hard going, but as soon as my first day at the MTC started, I knew I was in the right place. The days are long and it feels like I have been here for weeks! But I know I am doing the right thing. Every day, the only free time I get to myself really are meals- other than that it's study, class, study, prayer, study, class, prayer, prayer, prayer- It's definitely an environment of its own. Satan is still trying to do anything he can to slow me down- even by simple distractions, so I don't concentrate on class, but I always am able to catch myself and get back to participating.
Me and my companion (Elder Bateman from Wyoming) are teaching an investigator named Thrijae (3jay) (he is really an actor but it feels real). He is a volleyball player at Stanford and was really quiet and did not want us there, but as we taught him about Christ and the plan of happiness we, or the spirit was able to actually, were able to have him open up to us and he told us about the recent hardships that had been going on in his life, he had recently lost his father to cancer and we were able to teach him about eternal life and how missionary work still goes on in the next life.
Tell Andrea thank you for the care package. I am actually wearing the laker shirt she sent me now haha. I am doing well, and feel like I am able to connect with a lot of different people that we teach because of the trials that I had to go through before coming here. I am not going to lie though, the first couple days I had a hard time trying to feel the spirit, and constantly prayed and studied on what I could do to be more receptive, and one night one of the sisters asked if I would give her a priesthood blessing. I was scared out of mind, and as Elder Roberts (he's a Marine, btw who is in my district) anointed her with oil, I had no idea what to say but as soon as I started to speak, words came to my mind, and I was able to give her a blessing. It was hard to hold back tears while I gave it, but it was really amazing! I also sang in the choir yesterday for devotional. We sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and it was really cool. I love that song you should look it up. We also had Brother Martino from the Seventy speak that day, which was cool as well. He talked about how, as missionaries, we also have to focus on the members helping us and trying to bring back less active members. His wife gave a short story about two shoes salesmen who went to Australia to sell shoes to the Aboriginal people there. One said, "There is no hope for business, as they do not wear shoes." The other said, "There is huge potential here as the people do not wear any shoes!" That is the attitude I am going to try and have throughout my mission.
Elder Josh Barker