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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Letter number - LAST AT THE MTC


Okay, so this has been the craziest week.
As you can tell because of how late I am writing [10:24 am].
I also don’t have any of my notes or letters to respond to so ‘ladies and gentlemen’, I’m free ballin’ it.
Here we go.
I’ll start with something good.

This week someone told me that I have a great smile and that I need to use it to help people feel comfortable and to feel the spirit. They said some more too and it made me feel really good. I can probably count the times that people have just sincerely told me something like that randomly. It definitely made me smile. I think I’ll build her a cake or something. So that was one of my highlights of the week definitely. Another cool thing was right after I sent my letter last Friday I got my travel plans!!
I leave Wednesday morning at 5 am. I will be at the mission home before companionship study time is over. How crazy is that? I am super duper excited to get out in the field. Well, excited and scared.

Looking back on the MTC, it has been such an interesting experience. I don’t know where to start or what to say. But I could say a lot I think. I’ll try to highlight a few thoughts I've been having about it without being too all over the place (yeah right). I really do like it here. I like that there is a little bit of stress and we are working hard. I also like the knowledge that I am working as hard as I possibly can all day long. I tried pretty hard in college to get good grades and occasionally I try hard at other things but here I can honestly say that I have been working my butt off. It’s a good feeling, but sometimes I forget that my mission isn’t ending Wednesday, it's only starting hahaha. The problem with working so hard is that I always am thinking about how much better I need to be. A double-edged sword, definitely. I always know what I need to work on, but sometimes I feel like I will never be as good as I want to be. And that is true. Everyone always wants to be better right? Idk what I'm saying.

Back to reality. For some reason we got unlucky and all our teachers change this week so we will be having substitutes on Monday and Tuesday, which doesn’t make me the happiest camper. I really, really have liked my teachers, even the long-term substitutes. I feel like I have gotten very close with some of them and I wouldn’t jump out to say this but I think since our district has been so small we've gotten very close to a lot of the teachers that have been teaching us. I know everyone says stuff like this but I truly believe that when Hermano Urquhart said that we were his favorite district, he was telling the truth. Maybe that just shows how good of an orator and how good his rhetoric is. Maybe. I could be convinced of that but I think we really did have a special bond with him, and all our other teachers. I'll miss them. I hate sounding like I'm easily impressed or easily impressed upon, but it's true, I have enjoyed being taught by them and I will miss that 3 hours of classroom time. Other things to write about the MTC... I'm not sure right now, maybe I’ll think of something and remember! I will write back if you ask me questions and such. (That means you Emily and David and the other people I haven’t gotten to. I haven’t forgotten about you) so.. moving on!

Okay so Elder Andersen came to speak to the MTC on Tuesday, which was pretty cool. He gave a great talk about Thomas S. Monson because it was his birthday. Of course being a sucker for service, I loved the talk because half of it was about being happy and trying to make other people happy. But what I want to share is what I saw. Kids these days. So the rest of our district is in the choir so on Tuesdays and Sundays Elder Harvey and I get a bunch of time to just chill by ourselves. By chill I mean study but it’s chill study time, ya feel me? Anyway we were walking from our classroom to the gym where the devotional was held and we saw some elder running up the stairs behind us. I didn’t notice right away, but he was companionless which was my first flag that something weird was happening. He blew past us and stopped to catch his breath at the top of the stairs and tried to get into the gym but the police officer stopped him at the doors and said "where is your companion?" without looking back the missionary said that he was right behind him. The police officer just said again, where is your companion? The elder turned around and saw no one else behind him (we had made it to the top of the stairs by now and were waiting to watch and see what was going on) when he did he said "FREAK!" as loud as I've ever heard anyone yell. It was like he was Gandalf yelling at the Balrog, except I guess it was the police officer saying "you! shall not! pass!" anyway. He screamed freak at the top of his lungs and then yelled it again and threw his notebook at the ground. It practically exploded and papers went everywhere and pages flew out. Then he like just dropped to the floor. Kind of like he was doing a down up but he was trying to see if he could see his companion. When he could, he yelled freak again, and then jumped up, fuming, and tried to push past the black knight, I mean the police officer. The officer said that he needed to have his companion and the elder just yelled "he always does this!" the officer asked him what and he just, super vaguely said "I told him to keep up! FREAK!" He then related to the officer that someone asked him to get their suit coat from their residence and he agreed and took off running. He said to his companion keep up and that was all. Then he ran for a few minutes, got the coat, and ran back and then ran to the gym. He didn’t look back once because "I thought he could keep up, that lazy bum!" The police officer made him leave to go find his companion and the elder jumped down the stairs and ran off. Elder Harvey and I went inside. This elder was probably 6'6" and pretty well-built and a kinda of scary looking guy. I was afraid he was gonna start messing with the policeman. When Elder Harvey and I were sitting down after a while we saw him on the gym floor flanked by 2 policemen and someone who we assumed was his companion. They were all escorted to a corner where the policemen dropped them off with an elder who seemed like the district leader. Then for like the next 5 minutes the big elder just screams at his companion. In front of practically the whole MTC. He even had his (now torn) notebook folded in half and was using it to jab his companion in the chest. Let me describe the companion. He was a small guy. Like 5'6" and tiny. Kind of like a blonde and not quite as cute Will Haymond. The companion looked almost in tears. Finally the bigger elder finished his tirade and the little elder tried to apologize and tried to give him a hug but the bigger elder jabbed him in the chest with his elbow and turned and walked away to their seats. Then, when, they got to their seats (e' Harvey and I were pulling an Aunt Petunia and watching the whole thing) the big elder yelled at the smaller one when he tried to sit next to him. It almost made me cry. I was so hurt to watch this elder practically beat on his companion. I was so torn between going down there and trying to understand what was going on and what deserved this public humiliation. I still don’t know if I should have. It certainly wasn’t my place and probably would have only made the big, defensive elder more defensive. But it made me very sad. I kind of wanted to just go up and yell "hey! there's no fighting in the war room!" or something like that. Thinking deeply back, I should have gone down and tried to talk to the other elder. I don’t know. Now I'm questioning myself. Anyway point of story some people are jerks and I know the kind of missionary I don’t want to be.

I was planning on sharing a couple scriptures and my take on them and the insight that my time in the MTC has brought me but... I didn’t bring my bible and Book of Mormon so I can’t. Maybe next week, j.k. next week I’ll have too much to type about. Maybe in one of the upcoming weeks I’ll talk a bit about some scriptures I like or new ones I’ve been reading or those kinds of things.

For now just be happy with Hebrews 5:13. A real gem. Some people might not like it as much as I do, but it’s becoming one of my favorites.
And in a totally different vein I like 1 Corinthians 13:11 (I think its 11. I'm not sure)
They are both bible verses but whatcha gonna do?
So yeah. better scripture talk later. pwomise.
Now the fun stuff.

I don’t have too much time but I'm, going to tell you all the awesome story of my week of record breaking.
I broke the MTC record of most times visiting the clinic in 1 day (4). It’s not a written one, but three different people told me I did, so I'm gonna start telling everyone that too. That was a long day.
It all began last Sunday night. It was a good Sunday, most are. Except they tried to feed us roast beef. I would have loved it if it was an MLT, when the mutton is nice and lean. I was lucky enough to remember MTC proverb number 1 "thou shalt not eat the roast beef for the day therein that thou eatest thou shalt surely die" and I was further strengthened by MTC proverb number 8 "the beefs roasted are not for the belly but for the flames of the infernal pit." So I wasn’t having any of that. Literally and figuratively. I think I ate some green thing called a salod? solod? zalad? I'm not sure. IT was green and crunchy and I haven’t eaten too many. I think it was a lie: it gave me no nutrients. Anyway idk if anyone will think that was funny, but hopefully someone will, if not, sorry. NO, but seriously Sunday night after dinner I had to do my priestly duties and meet with the branch president and talk. He asked how I was feeling and of course, I said I was doing "super bien" and then he asked how I was feeling health-wise and I (white)lied and said that I was doing great. He noticed that I had lost a lot of weight (the grand total is now at 32 pounds) and asked me again if I was sure I was feeling okay and I opened up and told him about my stomach and abdominal pain. He was really worried about me and thought I might have?/be? celiac. So he got me set up with a drs appointment on Monday morning. I went in and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong so they had me come back to see Dr. Brown later. (I don’t have my planner with me now so the dates and smaller details might be wrong) I went back later and he looked at me and we talked about normal things, doctor things and then some of the more awkward doctor questions. Then he had me lie on the bed so he could touch my stomach. I don’t know why doctors push so hard. I know they are always trying to help but man, when I say it hurts, it hurts. But of course he had to spend like 5 minutes poking my very sore stomach and my very sore abdomen. I didn’t like that very much. He told me he didn’t know what was wrong so he set me up for an Esophogastroduodenoscopy, EDG for short. But so on Wednesday I got to leave the MTC for a bit! Wahoo! At 6:45 am e'Harvey and I went to the front desk and we got driven to Central Utah Surgical to they could stick tubes down my throat to check and see if I had ulcers. They knocked me out to do it so I don’t remember much of that morning or day. But I do remember coming to and still being super messed up but no one was around to talk to so I was kind of scared. I spent like 90 minutes by myself because they accidentally took Elder Harvey somewhere else, so when he finally found me I was normal so no funny stories. But for the 90 minutes I played with the hem of my shorts..... I don’t know what is wrong with me but for some reason that was like an awesome thing. Oh yah I forgot to say that on like Tuesday they took some blood to do more tests. So then after my little procedure I went back to the doctor then next day (Thursday) and we looked at the results and I don’t have ulcers! Yay! But the bad news was that they didn’t know what was wrong with me so he went all sage on me and just looked me in the face for like 30 seconds without saying anything. Half way through I got so uncomfortable I said sorry but he just said, no, no, you’re fine. Another 15 (felt like 1479079017) seconds passed and he said "okay we're gonna get you CT scanned." He then like rushed to set one up the next hour. When I was talking on the phone to one of the people at the imaging center she asked me "do you smoke or drink?" I said "no ma'am" and she said "I know honey, I was just joking" I felt like an idiot. But so we went to the Riverwoods Imaging center and I got a CAT scan.

When we went back, I went to see Dr. Brown and he said, "you have some spots on your stomach, and we don’t know what they are. So I want you and your companion to run to the BYU health center right now and don’t talk to anyone just go straight to the lab.”  So Elder Harvey and I ran. It was kind of scary to hear "spots ... don’t know ... and run" all in the same phrase so Elder Harvey and I booked it. We were kinda scared. As we ran people were waving to us and honking at us. I think some were happy to see the missionaries and other I think thought we were escaping. So we went to the Health Center on BYU campus and they drew more blood and did a few more tests on me.

Then we went back to the health clinic at the MTC and the doctor said that they rushed the tests to see if the spots were anything urgent that needed to be taken care of right away. They weren’t. I guess they were not the spots they were looking for... so I’m going back on Monday. That’s where I’m at now. I have unidentified spots on my stomach. They won’t be killing me (although Dr. Brown did give me his home number and said to call him [because he knows my situation] if I faint, vomit profusely, or vomit blood, so that was a little unnerving) but Monday I get more tests and that good stuff! So that's the story of the health clinic. Sorry it’s written so quick and probably hard to understand I’m writing as fast as I possibly can.
I'm not too worried...

I got to be a host this week too! That was cool. I got to introduce four new missionaries to the MTC, which was a fun experience. It reminded me of being a BCS ambassador and giving tours of Seaholm. I loved doing both of those, except this was a lot more like trying to help four people get used to, and love prison. It was a little different. For the first two, I was trying to help them see why the schools were so great. For hosting, it was explaining to shell-shocked teenagers why they didn’t want to run away. Overall, it was a fun experience and it helped me to think about why I have liked the MTC and I was also able to pass along a few of the tips that I have leaned in my 9 million years here. One sister that I was escorting was balling like a baby and I didn’t know what to do. I tried my best to console her, but I failed.

It was interesting to see all these people sending off their kids and to compare it to my experience entering the MTC. It feels like a lifetime ago and in a lot of ways it was.
This is like the longest letter ever. I only told two kind of silly stories so I hope it’s a good one. I always feel lame after writing. Like I didn’t do a good enough job.

Anyway. I leave Wednesday morning, so if you want to Dear Elder me, Monday is the day to do so. After that I might not get it. And if you're gonna write me a handwritten letter... well send it to the mission home because
.
.
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I'm going to Vegas baby!
I’m really excited to go out and start doing some real work. Someone told us the other day that we are not here to help others. I don’t think I'll go to hell for saying this (and if I do maybe it’s where I belong) but I am here to help. That's my goal. Help people and make some people smile.
Oh fun fact, I learned that my ears are totally different sizes. I couldn’t figure out why my sideburns looked so uneven and then we figured out that my sideburns were straight but that my ears are just different sizes... sigh. One of them is actually smaller than the other, but you cant really tell, especially when I twirl them...
I found out when I got a haircut today. It’s soooo short. So short. Like I know for a fact I was born with more hair than I have now. I feel a little bit... naked.
So that’s pretty much it. I have written a lot and I hope it is discernable somewhat.
I love you all so much!
I miss you guys a bunch too
To infinity and beyond!
All is vell.
Sam

P.S. I threw a bunch of silly movie references in here. If you find them, write me and tell me what ones you found. Some are super easy... some are harder. I hope you peeps have fun searching! If you are bored or something. No promises that it will actually be any fun
peace. love. mtc 2012.

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