I'm typing out my letter in Microsoft Notepad, so as to not use any of my mail time... this time, I'll get to say everything I want to! Hahaha. This last week in the MTC has certainly been an eventful one! For me, the two highlights of the week were street contacting in Manchester last Friday and the church history tour we went on on Sunday.
Street contacting in Manchester was a fantastic experience. It was nice to get out of the MTC, sometimes you just feel a little cooped up in here! That's okay though. I was fairly confident about the whole street contacting thing... until we got out there! It was actually the most nerveracking thing I have ever done. Going out there and talking to random people on the streets? Pretty tough! Also it rained the whole time so I had to buy an umbrella while I was there, not sure why we didn't get one but that's okay haha it was only like 5 pounds. So since it was raining, there was a small portion of the main street that was covered by a pedestrain bridge above it, so me and three other Elders were standing under it so as to stay dry. We stood under there for like five minutes, until this random homeless guy walks up to us and says "okay, I can tell yall are rookies... so I'm here to give you a pep talk. The message you are spreading to people is important... now, I'm going to count to ten, and yall BETTER be talking to some people! GO GIVE 'EM SOME JOSEPH!" It was hilarious. We then talked to five people and they all walked away when we introduced ourselves! How rude! But we were able to give away one Book Of Mormon, so that felt good! :) Also, while I was there I had fish and chips for the first time. Soooo tasty but probably the greasiest thing I have ever eaten in my life. True story. So yeah, street contacting was fantastic. Although I was humbled a bit (something we all need every once in a while), it was great to see Manchester, get out of the MTC, and practice spreading the gospel.
On Sunday, we went on a church histroy tour. It was so awesome. We departed at 8 AM and drove out to Preston. The first place we saw was the obelisk. The obelisk was at the center of the market, and was where the first missionaries held their sermons. We also learned that when President Hinckley went there, he and his companion sang songs on soapboxes and then preached to the crowd! President Hinckley's crowd was not as receptive as the early missionaries, however, and they were heckled... by professional hecklers. Apparently, those existed back then! Who knew? After that, we saw the lodgings of the first missionaries. By that, I mean we saw the exterior of a long-rotted, very messy building haha apparently it was offered to the church, but they did not want it. Then, we walked down to Avenham Park and there were these sweet Japanese Gardens and a flag-plant with this crown that they just put in for the Queens Jubilee (I know that's an awful description but I'm sending a picture of it hahaha.) This park is right by the River Ribble, where hundreds of early saints were baptized. Over 9000 people watched at the park! They were astounded that American missionaries were baptizing by immersion. It was unusual to them. After that, we walked through some trails, and eventually ended up at the Wadham Road house! For those of you who don't know, that is where President Hinckley lived when he first became a missionary. It's where he got the "Forget yourself and go to work!" letter. I didn't get a chance to talk about this last week, but Sister Walker (the MTC Presidents wife) is President Hinckleys daughter, so it was way cool to hear some far more personal insight about President Hinckleys missionary experiences. We then boarded the coach again and went up to this little town about 15 miles north called Downham... I think that is what its called, I honestly can't remember. But it was AWESOME. I'll send some pictures, everything is EXACTLY how it was when the missionaries went there. They literally baptized the entire town. the surrounding countryside is also gorgeous. There's a hill near by where there apparently were some witches that were tried and executed but that's not really relevant... but President Walker told us that and I found it interesting hahaha our last stop was a little river near Downham where thousands- not hundreds, thousands, were baptized. The spirit was so strong there. What a fantastic experience.
The rest of Sunday was quite eventful. We attended the Chorley Stake Conference and sang as a missionary choir. It was pretty sweet but it was also really hot so a lot of people (not me!) fell asleep, it was pretty funny because we were on the stand. On Sunday night, we had a fireside and I sang I Stand All Amazed. It felt really good to sing by myself and a lot of people told me how good it was, so that obviously was awesome haha we also talked about tithing with the MTC presidency, I learned a lot. After that, we had a Q & A session with the presidency and their wives. There were some really interesting questions and I definitely left that meeting feeling enlightened. We finished the day by watching a fireside that was given by Elder Ballard at the Provo MTC in April. The message was excellent. Oh, something else cool that happened last week- Marlon Jensen and his wife came to speak to us and I guess they are 70s so that was pretty sweet.
So, yeah. I am LOVING the MTC. Elder Astle is my only companion now, Elder Grachev is with a new Elder who got here last Tuesday because of Visa stuff. He was in Provo for a week before he got here. Next Wednesday, I leave the MTC! THAT is hard to believe. By next Wednesday night (or afternoon, for you guys) I'll be in my first area! I don't think I'll be able to email next Tuesday but I'm not positive so we will see.
A couple of general notes
-I have gotten a letter from Mom and two letters from Katherine and LOVED them both. Thank you guys so much! I'm hoping there are more on the way :) also if any of you write me, send it to the mission home because they won't get to the MTC in time. When I get to my first area, I'll email you guys my flat address and you can write me there! Apparently, you only get letters that are sent to the mission home once a month so yeah, it would be ideal if you wrote to my flat address
-Once I'm out in the field, I'll have MUCH more time to email. So, post my email on Facebook and stuff so people know that :) for those reading this from my blog that wanna email me, its firstname.lastname@example.org... also, about Facebook, if anyone writes on my wall or something, let me know hahaha I don't really care but I suppose it would be interesting!
-I still don't know where Matt is going on his mission... you all have failed me in this regard. When I find out, you will all be forgiven!
-These are some addresses I would like, because I wanna tell them stuff/update them on things/hear how they are doing... Andrew Kovalenko's, Wade's BYU address, Harrison and Cole's summer camp address. If you guys are reading this, email me and let me know, okay? I have stuff I want to tell you :)
-KEEP WRITING, my day is MADE when I get letters.
-I still don't know how the NBA finals are going... update please?
Um... yeah, that's about all I have for now. I'll send some pictures later this afternoon. Love you all!
|Me and Elder Wood in a phone booth
|Scenery in Downham|
|Me doing the Barney Stinson "I never take a bad picture" pose during a class break
|President Hinckley's first missionary lodgings
|President and Sister Walker standing in front of, talking about the River Ribble|
|The obelisk in Preston|
|Me in front of the thing I described in the email|
|Me in Downham