Monday, December 31, 2012

Week 7 Letter 12/31/12

December 31, 2012

Happy New Years Everyone!

Hope you have all had a good Christmas season. I have had a great time here at the MTC. We won't do anything special for the New Year but it does not really feel like it is anyway so we don't mind.

Christmas was such a good day. First of all on Christmas Eve after dinner we went to a fireside. I thought we were going to have somebody come talk to us but it ended up being a nativity. The MTC chose some Elders and Sisters to act out the Nativity. It was really fun as we sang all of the Christmas songs going along with the Nativity. After the Nativity, we watched "The Christmas Carol." I'm not sure if I have seen it before but I mostly liked it. It was kind of weird at parts but it was still fun to watch.

Christmas morning we woke up as a district and opened all of our presents. It was a fun time to be all together. Then we went to breakfast and the morning fireside. I was in the choir and we got to sing two songs for the devotional. The first was "As Shepherds Lately Knelt." It was a very inspiring Christmas song and was very fun to sing. We also sung "The First Noel" which is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. After we sung, Elder Russell M. Nelson was our speaker. He had a very good talk and focused a lot on the three people that we should have a good relationship with in the ward: the Bishop, Ward Mission Leader and Family History Consultant. I learned a lot from his talk.  After the fireside we had some time to have dinner, go on a temple walk, and email our families. Then we went to another fireside. This one was by the painter Greg Olsen. He has some amazing pictures that he showed us. He mainly focused on how his painting had helped him come closer to the Savior. The best part of his message was that we need not distant ourselves from the Savior. He spoke of a time that he had a chance to visit with Boyd K. Packer. President Packer told Brother Olsen that when painting the savior he should look ordinary. It sounded weird at first and it did to Brother Olsen as well but the point that President Packer was trying to make was that he looked no different than any other man. He had no glowing halo around his head at all times. As Brother Olsen put it "he was a man of the neighborhood. He also focused on how we should spend five minutes a day pondering on the Savior, thinking of what we would say if we were with him. It was such a great message. The last thing we did was watch the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." It is one of my favorite movies! It was great to be able to watch it again. Hope you all had a great Christmas as well! I would be happy to hear about them!

The rest of the week was fun as usual. Hermano King was not there but we got to have Hermano Voss teach us. He is one of our favorite teachers. It was fun to have him teach us this week. We will be glad to have Hermano King back though. Elder Erekson came back as well. He came back to get his visa but won't be leaving until Thursday. It was good to have him back though. We had a big snowfall this week. It's fun to be back in the snow again but I sure won't be missing it.

We got a little news about out visas. We didn't get our travel plans this week so we went to talk to the travel office. They told us that we have to make a personal appearance at the consolate in Salt Lake. Once we go we will have our visas but other than that we don't know much.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!
Have a Happy New Year!
Elder Lightheart

Monday, December 24, 2012

Week 6 Letter 12/24/12

Merry Christmas Eve!

Another week past. Feels like just yesterday that I was writing home. Time has been flying by here. I can't believe that it is already Christmas Eve. I am so excited to open my presents! (Thanks family) I will send pictures home next week. Also some pictures from this week because sending pictures is not working on this computer. Oh well...

Anyway some good news! The district older than us got their visas! All four of them are going to Mexico this Thursday! That is really good news for Elder Love and I. Hopefully we will get our visas and be able to go to Mexico on time. Hopefully we will be getting our travel plans this week! Hopefully next week I will be able to say if I'm going or not I guess we will see. So hopefully we will have a better idea next week.

So our new district has been very fun. I have already made good friends with a lot of them. In fact Elder Deaver, Rudd, Love and I have taken on the name of the "Fearsome Foursome." We are basically dominant in four-square! It has been fun. The four of us played four-square all of this week and it was really fun. The Elder from the new district that I know the best is probably Elder Rudd. It is really awesome to have him in our zone. The crazy thing is that he is the cousin of one of my Dad's companions Elder Jonathan Rudd. Apparently who I got my name from. Very amazing to be friends with Elder Rudd.

Our whole zone has been having so much fun today! We actually made up a new game. It was really fun but kind of hard to explain. I will send a picture next week. It is so fun to be so close to all of these Elders. It is so different to spend all day with Young Men who have all devoted their lives to God and came on a mission. There is always such a good spirit here.

Our job as Portal Coordinators has been fun. Unfortunately, our first job as Portal coordinators was to pull up a video for a meeting on the TV. Of course the TV wasn't working. So we had to go to another room to take care of it. Kind of disappointing that I first job didn't go over very smoothly. The rest of the time has gone well at least. It is a fun job.

Elder Lowe came back this week! It is such a blessing to have him back! Luckily he is still in our district and will be leaving with us. Unfortunately he has been a bit sick this week but it is not Crone’s pain so he should still be leaving with us. Elder Ward also came in this week. He is staying in my residence hall! We have talked a couple times and he is really excited, a little overwhelmed but excited. It is great to have him here. I also got a picture with him but again I won't be able to send it till next week.

The best experience I had this week was with the Book of Mormon. I was reading in Preach my Gospel and I read a quote from President Hinckley that went like this:

 Those who have read [the Book of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power. . . . Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts . . . the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God"
After I read the quote I tried to try his promise myself. So that night in my prayer I asked for a further witness that the Book of Mormon was true. The next day I had a workshop all about the Book of Mormon. It was such a spiritual experience. From it I gained a further witness of its power. The spirit that our investigators can feel as they read the pages. I know that there is revelation in every page and almost down to every single word. It is such a wonderful book. The most true book in the world.

Merry Christmas everyone! Make sure to remember what the season is all about!

Les Quiero

Elder Lightheart

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 5 Letter 12/17/12

Hello Everybody!

Another great week gone by. Already into Week 7 and only 8 days till Christmas! It's a fun time here at the MTC. Though I am excited to leave. Three weeks from tomorrow I will hopefully be on a plane to Mexico. It does not seem very likely though. We have another district in our zone who was supposed to be departing this week. None of them are getting into Mexico. Three are being reassigned and four are staying here. We will not know for another couple weeks whether or not we are getting our visas. I will keep you all posted on how that is going.

So I am no longer district leader. This week the branch changed around all of the leadership positions since the oldest zone is leaving. It was also time for me to be released as district leader. So now Elder Visker is our district leader. He is going to do a great job at it I am sure. Now Elder Love and I have been called as Portal Coordinators. It is going to be a really fun job. Basically we will go around to all of the districts and tell them to do their computer work that we do each week and teach the new districts how to do it. It will be really fun!

We also got a new district this week! They are a good district. There are 11 in the district, 8 elders and 3 sisters. I do not know them very well yet though. The one I do know pretty well is Elder Obi. He is from Southern California and is going to serve in the Dominican Republic. I have gotten to know him pretty well. He also likes to play basketball as well though the two of us have not played each other yet. His roommate, Elder Rudd, I have gotten to know as well. Most of the others I have not been able to talk to them much yet. Though I did talk with one of the Hermanas during lunch one day. She is from Idaho Falls and she knows my cousins Chelsea and Michelle! It's a small world.

Not too much else happened this week though I do have a pretty funny story! I was leaving the room earlier this week and as I saw Elders Grunniger and Chamberlain down the hall. They started waving at me so I started waving back. Unfortunately my ring was a little loose. It flew off, through the only open door in the hallway, into a class, where some Elders were teaching a lesson. I had to walk into the room and retrieve my ring in the middle of the lesson. Elder Love could not stop laughing.

I had two really great experiences this week. One actually happened today as we were cleaning the Provo Temple and the other was yesterday during the weekly Sunday fireside. So this morning we got to go help clean the temple. We got there and changed into some white scrubs and went and sat in one of the chapels to wait for someone to tell us what to do. After a little bit one of the temple workers came in and said he needed two people so Elder Montierth and I volunteered. He was one of the security personnel for the temple and he took us into one of the locker rooms. There we went through about 700 lockers to make sure they were empty. It went pretty fast and we were done in a couple hours. After that we still had a while left so the Brother that was taking us around took us to get some pie and then we went on a tour of the ENTIRE temple. It was so cool and he told us about all of the work that had been done. It was really fun!

My other experience was yesterday in our fireside. The MTC presidency invited the Brett Family to come perform. They have done a lot of musical events and have performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They were extremely good. They sang four songs. The first was a German folk song. Then they sang the song Hallelujah in Spanish. That one was really good! And last one of the brothers sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It was very spiritual and really brought the spirit. After they were done, the speaker Brother Heaton got up to speak. I pretty much wrote my testimony during it and I would like to share it with you.

The Role of the Savior in Missionary Work.
We give investigators the knowledge that they lack. That through the Savior we can overcome all things. What power in the message we have. Through the Savior we can all be forgiven of our sins. Our guilt will be forgiven and forgotten and will be equally replaced by joy. We must focus on the Savior. It is not the gospel of Joseph Smith. It is not the gospel of the Book of Mormon or of the Bible. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are his Latter-day Saints. We are his servants. We must devote our lives unto him. Be saved through him. There is no other head under which we can be saved. We can do all things in his name. As now I wear this name tag, I have his name near to my heart and as such I have his name in my heart at all times. My life has become like unto his life. Devoting all of my time and effort to bring His brothers and sisters unto Him. To bring my brothers and sisters unto him. To change their lives and bring the joy I have in him unto them. What a wonderful purpose. What a wonderful mission.

Elder Lightheart

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 4 Letter 12/10/12

Already a month through being here at the MTC! It has gone by really fast. Now I only have 29 days until I am leaving to Mexico! I am so excited to see the area and meet the people in Villahermosa!

I continue to learn so much everyday here. I have come to believe that there is no better place to study than here at the MTC. There is so much opportunity to continue to improve myself so that I am able to better help the people. We have two classes a day on most days. At first I was thinking that the two three hour classes would be a lot but I am really starting to appreciate them. Our teachers, Hermano Bruce and Hermano King are both great teachers especially in teaching us how we can best teach our investigators. They have helped me out so much over this month.

I have also learned so much Spanish over this month. It is crazy how fast we learn while we are hear at the MTC. We basically covered all I learned in high school over the first couple weeks and are almost done with all our cirriculum. This next week is our last week of learning Spanish. It will just be review after this week. I have already learned imperfect, future, conditional and even present subjunctive so far. I did not even know there was a subjunctive until I got here. I have really enjoyed using these new concepts and I can say a lot more of what I want to know in the language.

Teaching has been extremely fun for me so far! Elder Love and I have had three "investigators" so far. The first was Manuel. He was Hermano King's first investigator. We actually "baptized" him this week. It was fun, we held a baptismal service for him on Saturday. Now Hermano King is being Alvaro. Alvaro is a semi-pro soccer player in Chile which is perfect because Elder Love really loves soccer. Our first lesson was pretty hard with him but our second lesson went a lot better. Hopefully we will get him to continue to progress. Our last investigator is Luis. This is Hermano Bruce's investigator. He is the only one we have used a "member" with and it has been very helpful to us so far.

We had another district leave our zone this week. Now we are the second oldest district in our zone. There was only four elders that left. Elder Allen, Elder Pingree, Elder Tesch and Elder Martin. All of them were extremely fun to be around and I have missed them this week. The oldest district all just got their visas and they leave next week so we will soon be the oldest district. This is also a good sign because all of those visas were to Mexico so it is looking good for Elder Love and I. We continue to pray our hearts out for our visas. We might find out next week if we will get them or not.

We got some great news this week! Elder Lowe will be back before Friday! We as a district are overjoyed to see him. It is such a blessing that he will be able to come back so soon. I am so excited to get him back this week.

Sunday was again a fantastic day. We always get to learn so much. One of my favorite parts are the leadership meetings we have. It is such a great opportunity to talk about the members in the zone and help people through their difficulties. I hope that I can continue to strengthen my leadership skills so I can best help the members in my district. I finally feel I am figuring out all of my duties as the leader of our district. However, I have learned that the most important thing is to lead as Christ did and truly love and serve those that you lead. I have really focused on the Christlike attributes listed in Preach my Gospel to improve myself as a leader.

We also had an incredible fireside. The BYU Men's Choir came and sang for us. They were amazing. They sang a bunch of Christmas songs and two of the brothers in the Choir bore there testimonies about their missions. It was a very uplifting experience. Also most of the members of the choir or not music majors so maybe ill be singing in that choir in a couple of years!

Yesterday on our Sunday Walk we could not actually go onto the temple grounds which was a little disappointing but it was fine because I was able to see Elder Clement again before he left and get a picture with him! I am excited for him to go teach the people in Knoxville Tennessee.

This mission has been such a great experience and I am so happy that I am able to share it with all of you. The Book of Mormon truly does change lives. Read it and pray about it and you will know it is true. You will know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. However, most important is that you can become converted to Christ. Through this book you will come to now that Christ is our Savior and that through him we can be forgiven of all our sins. This is my testimony and I say these things in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Lightheart

Elder Lightheart and Elder Luke Clement (Jonny's friend from Medford)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 3 Letter 12/3/12

Hello Family and Friends!

Already to December! November flew by here at the MTC. I have learned a lot over these four weeks and have made a lot of friends. It is such a great experience being able to devote all of your time to living the gospel and also learning Spanish.

It is amazing how fast we learn Spanish here at the MTC. We passed up basically all that I learned in just a couple weeks. It is crazy especially for the couple of elders in our district who had little to no Spanish before leaving on a mission. We definitely get some help as we learn Spanish. In our zone we have a saying to help improve our Spanish. Hablar Su Idioma. Speak your Language. That has helped me out so much. By speaking I learn a lot faster. It is really fun to be able to carry on conversations in Spanish with the other elders.

We also had a very helpful workshop this week on how to make a more effective language study plan. In the workshop we focused on applying our language study plan around our investigators. It is such a different experience to learn Spanish not for yourself but for others. By focusing on the investigators i have found that my language study is much more effective.

I do not think I mentioned it last week but I became district leader last Sunday. I spent a lot of this week trying to figure out what I need to do as a district leader though here in the MTC I am not much more than a glorified mailman. Though I think that my most important job is to help the members of our district become better missionaries. I have spent a lot of time in study and prayer, as well as part of my fast for this week, finding out how I can become a better leader. The two things that I learned this week in regards to being a leader were Charity and Example. Charity is very important as a leader. You really must show the true love of Christ to help others along the way. Example is also very important. Without showing a good example the people that you lead will follow that bad example. Hopefully as I strive to apply these principles in my life I can become a better leader.

It was a hard week to become the district leader. We had the four elders that are going to Bolivia leave on Monday. That was a hard but happy time to see them go. The most trying part of this week was the early departure of Elder Lowe. He had to go to the hospital this week again because of his Crohn's. After he got back he went and talked with our district president who told him that he was going to have to return home the next day and stay until his disease is under control. He then came back and told us. We all said a prayer together and Elder Lowe had to leave to pack. We spent the next hour studying on how we could best help him through this through the scriptures. It was a very spiritual experience as we devoted our time to Elder Lowe who really needed some lifting up. We dropped him off at the travel office the next day. It is so weird not having him here. But we continue in the work knowing it’s what he wants us to do.

We also have the oldest zone leaving this week. They are all such great examples. I have become close with most of them. We sang for them last night to send them off. One of the elders, Elder Tesch gave me a passdown. A couple weeks ago he found an umbrella in the free bin. He decided to make that his passdown. I am excited to pass it down when I leave.

We had a very good fast Sunday. For our two hour mission conference we heard the testimony of our leader. Their testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was such a great learning experience and they really helped us to learn how to gain a better testimony of the book. We also got to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional. Who else enjoyed the visual of a young troublemaker Thomas Monson. To me it seemed just like him. And also his always great example of service and charity for others. The part that touched me the most was when President Eyring talked about missionaries. I never thought of how the message that we bring is truly a gift unto all men.

I know that this gospel is true. Joseph Smith truly did see the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove. The Book of Mormon is the most true book on the earth and in the words of Joseph Smith, "Men can come closer unto God by living its precepts than any other book." This gospel has changed my life and I know that it will change the hearts of many more to come.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.