This was probably the most amazing week I've had in the MTC. On Tuesday, M. Russell Ballard spoke to us on focusing on the Lord and His prophets… saying that the world is getting louder and louder. That we need to block out this noise, and pay heed to the prophets. Elder Ballard promised that they could not, would not lead us astray. That they love us and desire our happiness. I trust the leadership of the Church to bring me and my family happiness if I will heed the words of the prophets. Last night we heard from Sister Janice Kapp Perry.... she was awesome! For some reason I always imagined her younger...haha. She's like in her 80's, but still super cool and talented. It was interesting to see the person who made all those songs from my childhood, and of course she had all the missionaries participate in her devotional. She had prepared a specific medley for us to sing and it turned out so good. The spirit was very strong when we were all singing.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Klein from England, going to Hong Kong. His district left last week but he had to stay behind because of his knee surgery. I stayed with him in his room for two nights because he didn't have a companion and his district had left him with an empty room. Their dorm is right next-door to us, so I wasn't too far from Elder Christensen, who didn't want to move his bedding. Then on Wednesday, Elder Klein and I went off-campus for a few hours for an eye appointment he had. It was amazing to be in the real world for a bit. We talked to "real" people and didn't see any other missionaries for a while. Elder Klein's eyes had started bugging him from all the studying he's done in the past 10 weeks here. The Eye doctor says this happens all the time when missionaries study all day long for weeks on end. Now I'm a bit worried about ruining my eyes from all this studying, but I suppose I'll be all right. Elder Klein has to wear glasses now...and didn't before the mission.
After the appointment we hurried back to the MTC and I got to host the new arriving missionaries for the last time. It’s always nice to feel the spirit of these recently set apart missionaries, and their eagerness to get to work. Many of them are stateside missionaries, so I've seen many of my "children" come and go during the 6 weeks I've been here.
Today was a sad day....Elder Matt Bacera flew out for The Democratic Republic of Congo. I hung out with him in his residence last night while he packed. It was kind of sad to see him go after arriving together and receiving our mission calls together. I know he's ready for THE CONGO, and that he's going to do a great WORK over there. I'm excited to hear about his adventures in Africa. See ya in 23 months buddy!
*****READ THIS: Yesterday was the biggest day I've had so far at the MTC. Remember how I said I was assigned to pass the sacrament to some select people from Salt Lake? They had told us that there might be "a few General Authorities in attendance"...oh boy was that an understatement. Sunday morning we get up early and made ourselves look nice and shined our shoes as we were instructed. We go to the small chapel and get through the security blocked doors because we are "Sacrament Passers". When we entered the chapel we noticed that all the chairs in the meeting are assigned, and each seat has a name on it. This meeting was the start of the "New Mission president seminar 2014" and it was a Sacrament Meeting. So we're expecting all the new mission presidents and their wives to be in attendance. Long story short...(the chapel is empty and the meeting doesn't start for an hour or so) I look up on the stand at the labeled chairs...I kid you not, I'm looking at "Thomas S. Monson", "Dieter F. Uctdorf", "Henry B. Eyering" and ALL of the 12 except for Packer. We started freaking out. I looked around and I'm seeing names like "Ronald A. Raasband", and The "Tad R. Callister".....I was in disbelief that WE were going to be passing the Sacrament to The Brethren. I was chosen to break the bread on the side of the small chapel. I was there seated half an hour before the meeting started, and I got to watch everyone show up. All of the mission presidents were walking up to us and talking to us 4 elders seated at the table. Tad R. Callister came walking up to our table and asked how we were doing and said that "we look sharp". It was insane. When the meeting started Richard G. Scott was just staring at me, smiled and gave me a little head nod. Holland was also just about piercing our souls with his stare. Then President Thomas S. Monson shows up with Presidents Uctdorf and Eyering and the Spirit was overwhelming. The prophet and I looked at each other a few times… haha. I think we missionaries stood out because we are A LOT younger, and a lot less prestigious than everyone in the room. The room wasn't really that big and we were just off to the side in view of everyone. The experience was unbelievable and I will never forget it. I can say now that I have seen all these great men.
I guess missing the Beach House this year was worth it for that experience. I hope everyone's having fun down there and being safe.
I have 3 weeks left here and I'm stoked. The language is great; tonight we will Skype a member from Phnom Penh and have a lesson with them. It will be a fun experience and Elder Christensen and I will be gearing up for that today. I'm grateful for this Church and the MTC to train me for Cambodia next month. I love and miss all you guys!
"Dooiic m'chah" (like a boss),
Elder Jake Zierenberg