Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25th 2011

Well, as anticlimactic as this may seem, yes, I am still at the MTC in Provo. Not to be confused with Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico. We have become very good friends with those working in the travel office, visiting them every day to see if any news on Mexican Visas have come in. And today they announced that those going to Merida Mexico get a trip to the consolate in under 24 hours (which means visa which means leaving to Mexico in just a couple days afterwards). And with that, I am hoping that Tuxtla Gutierrez will be one of the sooner missions. I won't make any guesses, but chances are I should be gone sometime soon, and since I have my permiso--it is pretty close to certain that I won't be leaving the MTC until I go to Mexico. But again, nothing is set in stone.

This past week we have lost our teachers (going to new districts), so we will probably be teaching one another throughout the day. Elder Hercules and I are no longer Zone Leaders, and with that, we have much more study time. We are trying to step it up and learn to use our time wisely here, which really isn't easy. We have lost a couple of Elders in our District--two to U.S. missions, and one to Bolivia. So things are wrapping up here; we are looking forward to stepping foot in the field!

I don't have much to report, other than life is good in the MTC and I am looking forward to my time out in the Mission Field. I'll keep this letter brief, and end it with just a few thoughts. A couple weeks ago, a member of the 70 came to us and at one point in his talk rhetorically posed the question--do you know Christ? (I might have mentioned this in previous letters). I have been thinking on this so much recently, and I am grateful for the question. I believe this is a question I will and should try to ask myself often. I want to close just by saying that I believe that Christ is our Savior. I believe that through him, we can overcome any burden and find true peace. I believe that He is our brother, Redeemer, the author of our Salvation, and our dear friend. :)

With love,

Elder Palmer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18th, 2011

What a wonderful week! First off, some very exciting news is that I will be going straight to Mexico--most likely on Monday! As a District we had offerred a number of prayers for guidance in blessing those handling our travel plans, and as one of the first groups in over a month to go to Mexico we feel very blessed! We have our "permiso's" which means that Mexico is good with us coming. So, hopefully tomorrow we will go up to the consolate in Salt Lake City, and leave the following Monday. There is still a high probability that we will have to wait another week or so, but for sure we will go to Mexico! I am so grateful for this, and I am so excited!!!

As next Sunday will most likely be the last for my companion and I, our Branch Presidency called new Zone Leaders (effective on Sunday) and so they are "shadowing" us all week, and we are training them--which is pretty fun to help them and remember what it was like 5 weeks ago to be trained as a new leader.

We had a special opportunity to teach a few role plays (4) with 4 different people who were trying to get a job at the MTC acting as investigators. It was so neat, and the Spirit was so strong. With one, I learned an important lesson. They had us teach for a few minutes and then pause and talk and continue teaching. As the first pause we realized we still barely new the investigator, and decided to truly get to know her better to teach to her needs. Within the next 5 minutes we found out that she was going through cancer and could die in the next couple of years, she has no family, and that she doesn't think God cares about her. Later, we shared a lesson for her and with her, not just at her. But there, the importance of truly loving and coming to know the people I will teach was clearly illustrated. In another one, we taught a man who had real gauges in his ears and some tattoos (you get the picture) and he knew the Bible better than practically anyone I have ever heard. We got to know him, talked, shared, testified, and then continued to get bombarded with legitimate questions by him. We slowed down, stopped, and began sharing the sweet story of Joseph Smith restoring the fulness of the Gospel to the earth. This grown man began to weep, and said, "I know I am not supposed to get out of character, but the Spirit in here is so strong!" I was deeply touched, and filled with fire and added conviction that Joseph Smith truly is the Prophet of the Restoration. I know God did restore the fulness of His Gospel on the Earth, and that His church is here. Nothing untrue could bring such peace, conviction, and happiness into my heart. I know it.

Elder Holland of the Quorum of the 12 came to speak last week (for the 2nd time since I've been here), and what a blessing! His fire and enthusiasm for the work is inspiring; he truly and surely is an Apostle of God.

I am so grateful to be here. The time here in the MTC was so special; it has brought added light to my testimony of Jesus Christ and heightened my perspective of the true purpose of life. I believe--feel--and know that we have a purpose in this life. That through the plan of our Father in Heaven we can fulfill the purpose of our creation and return to our God with our families.

I am stoked to go to Mexico. We received another native district in our Zone last week, so I was training and teaching a number of Mexicans--and I just love them already! They told me a number of horror stories about Mexico, but I know that the Lord will watch out for me. They told me also how humble and poor the people are. What a blessing it will be to teach among such humble people!

Not much else to report. Life is wonderful. Elder Hercules is great! And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!

Elder Palmer

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 11th 2011

Hola Hola! Well, first off I will report about my situation as far as travel plans. I still don't know. Haha. Yes, I am scheduled to leave on Monday, but I think it is pretty well accepted within our District that that will not be the case. The Lord has something else in mind. Either we will be in the MTC for a few more weeks until our VISAs come in, or, more likely, we will get a temporary reassignment somewhere in the United States. I have been praying for the Lord's guidance in whatever is to happen, and I am certain that whatever happens--VISA, reassignment, more time in MTC, etc.--has the Lord's hands behind it. I know I am where God wants me, and I believe he will send me, also, where he wants me. Maybe Spokane, but I think not. That would be awesome though.

About an hour ago, we ate lunch and managed to have a nice guest randomly join us at our table for the meal. Elder Patrick Kearon, of the 70, came and sat with us and talked with us about missionary work, conversion, and the good old MTC. Also, our Branch Presidency is amazing! I am so grateful for them; they train us well, and we always learn so much from them. And Brother Jurgens, a counselor, was in my ward in Austin while I was a baby, so he remembers the little handful I used to be, which is kind of fun. The other night, he came and talked with us in our Residence's Halls as we were preparing for bed, and I know that him and the Presidency are such a blessing in our lives: their examples, testimonies, and teachings.

Elder Hercules and I have become even better friends and companions than ever this week. We have felt an added influence of the Spirit in our day to day activities, and have been trying to focus our actions on the Lord and the little saying, "What's right, not who's right." That has made a huge difference in our relationship and effectiveness as missionaries and leaders. I continue to learn so much in how I should be communicating with people, and I am coming more and more to recognize how much a focus in the Gospel and the love within helps with any relationship. In our trainings of new missionaries, we have tried to make them more interactive and fun, and I just love standing in front of a group of people with a companion I am unified with, and sharing a few ways and things we should do to be effective servants of the Lord.

"It takes a very good meeting to beat no meeting at all." -President Packer. I feel this way often. Time has become more precious than ever for me! I wish so badly that we could have 48 hour days and 14 day weeks! It has been wonderful learning to focus, plan, study, and teach with more effectiveness than ever before. Time and time again, in role plays, I am refreshed with how much God loves us. I know that it doesn't even matter who we are, where we are from, what are job is, etc...but that despite any circumstances or situations that seem unforgiving, God is there. He always loves His children; we are His children. I am touched so often by simple pricks in my heart from the Spirit, testifying of these precious truths. And so often, my eyes are turned towards my Savior Jesus Christ. None of us will ever know Him perfectly in this life, but I feel like I have come to know Him more and more this past week. I know He lived for us, He lives for us, and that it is through Him that all things can be made right. What a blessing it has been to feel the sweet Spirit in the MTC of thousands of young men and women here to proclaim the simple yet profound message of our Savior. The true message that He lives.

I am sorry if my thoughts have been so scrambled up; I have many thoughts and few minutes to express them. I appreciate all the support I have from all of you! Your prayers, letters, and packages are not going unnoticed. Thank you all.


Elder Palmer

P.S. The teeth were fixed great, I don't know if I wrote that in the last letter, but really I have almost forgotten that that actually happened. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4th

Hola! This week was a long one. I don't even know where to start. First off, I am a Texan at heart and I am going to serve in Mexico, needless to say, it is cold! I am excited to worry about sweating as opposed to really cold fingers. The Lord was merciful in sending me to Mexico instead of Siberia or somewhere really cold.

Earlier last week we got to clean the Provo Temple! It closed down for maintenance during the holidays, and we got the opportunity to clean all sorts of rooms in it. What a wonderful experience; I love the Provo Temple! And just the day after that, our District was able to host the new missionaries coming in (we are also doing that tomorrow)--which was a blast to remember having done that and helping them feel comfortable. Throughout last week, we only had one new District in our Zone, so not tons of training (we get 2 new Districts tomorrow!), but it is so fun with Elder Hercules to train these new missionaries. We will often do a role play of "how not to do companionship inventory", and afterwards do a good example. Elder Hercules is hilarious in these, and often we have to cut it early because I'll break out laughing. But really, we love the missionaries in our Zone. We have felt an appreciation, admiration, respect, and desire to help the constantly changing members in our Zone. It is a learning experience trying to be loving and uplifting, while helping them be exactly obedient.

And there was New Years Day. We were worried that some Elders would throw a party or do something crazy that night, so we got up and sat in the staircase at midnight to make sure that everyone was being considerate of those sleeping. Either we were a little too partially-unconscious, or the missionaries were actually quieter than they normally are that night.

The following morning was not a highlight of my MTC experience. As I was stepping out of the shower, I slipped, fell, and landed with my two front teeth on the corner of the cement bench next to the shower. My whole weight was forcefully funneled onto my two front teeth, chipping them, and giving me some bruising that no one can see but I sure can feel. But I am grateful it happened the way it did, because any other way would have been much worse. My hands were holding things so they didn't help lesson the fall, and it easily could have been a broken jaw or something way worse. Needless to say, there were some lessons learned. First, shower carefully. Second, appreciate smiling more. Since it happened on a holiday, I wasn't able to get it fixed until Monday. So for church and all our Sunday Meetings, I was smiling a little awkwardly. I love smiles--"sonrisas". Third, technology is amazing. They fixed it up really nicely, so that the only way you can tell something happened is when you watch my facial expressions while I eat (because it is still tender to eat, even though it is fixed). Well, that was a fun little adventure.

I watched the Joseph Smith Movie yesterday. As I watched this, I was filled with wonderful feelings testifying that Joseph Smith truly was a Prophet of God. He was who he said he was. I know that. I was tenderly touched as Joseph Smith's father asked him, on his deathbed, if he would see Alvin (an older son who died) again. Joseph responded yes, and told his father that he would always be Alvins father. I thought of my Dad. My Mom. My Family. I know, and am every grateful that my family will be together forever, as we turn to and trust in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know Christ lives. I know it. I know God lives. I am so grateful for the blessing it is to be a missionary (even if it cost me a little piece of my tooth haha).

I love this quote by President Monson--something along the lines of: "If there is a design, then there must be a designer." All things testify that God lives and Christ is our Savior. Every day, I feel like I am beginning to see that more and more.

The next email I send, I should have news on whether or not I got my VISA! I am scheduled to leave in under 2 weeks, but we will see what happens.

Love you all,

Elder Palmer