This week has been one crazy thing after another. I feel like the MTC is talked about and kind of shrouded in mystery at the same time so let me enlighten you. You get to the MTC and pick up all of your books and study material and drop off bags and immediately go to a classroom where you will spend about 12-14 hours a day for the next forever. We study with a teacher for part of the day and with our district- which in this case is just our class- the other parts of the day. It's a lot of studying but I still feel like I don't have enough time to get everything done that I really need to. Oh yeah and literally on the second day (around 16 hours after you get to the MTC) you get the opportunity to teach an investigator who you teach every day except for Sunday and P-day. Honestly that first day was one of the more humbling experiences of my life because I had to teach this person from Sweden the gospel in the most simple form possible. It's definitely not easy but I actually understand most of what everyone says in Swedish and I can kind of respond at this point which isn't too bad considering I've been studying Swedish for a whole week now.
The second day at the MTC we had to figure out the leadership in our zone because the day I arrived so did most of the zone I am currently a part of. So zones are by language and our zone has Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish with a total of 5 districts. They assigned me a district leader for now so we'll see how this goes. There's so many meetings and training sessions here and most of them are leadership so we'll know how to lead a district or a zone when we get into the "field." Elders and Sisters keep using that word like it's some mystical place that we'll never get to.
One super cool part about being in the MTC is that there are devotionals every Sunday and every Tuesday and normally it's someone that has a ton of experience or has some sort of senior position in the church. On Sunday Sister Sheri Dew spoke to us and that was super cool. I have to say though, that the highlight of my day was when we listened to a talk after by Elder Bednar about the character of Christ. He is now officially the most intimidating apostle by far. Every new missionary has to watch this at least once and it was one of the best talks I think I have ever seen. He talked about how everyone needs to develop the attributes of Christ to truly become converted to the gospel. This is also the talk where he says that we should get a paperback Book of Mormon and write a question in it and read it cover to cover to get an answer. I was challenged to read the Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC so that's what I am working on right now and it is pretty amazing. The Book of Mormon is absolutely inspired and can give us answers to anything we're looking for. The holy ghost works through all scripture but especially the book of Mormon to give us revelation and answers to our questions and I love it!
Yesterday we had Elder Ballard come and speak to us. Listening to an apostle talk about our time and how missionary work is taking off like never before from the foundation of the Earth is pretty incredible. The spirit that he brought into the room was sooo strong and I know that these men are called from God. The spirit here at the MTC is really unlike anything else that you could think of. I have to say that the gift of tongues is real. We have learned way more Swedish and retained way more than we should be able to on our own. God is truly looking out for us and helping us in very tangible; noticeable ways.
So my third companion went home yesterday so it's just me and Aldste Archibald now. I'm not sure why he left but he packed and went home before I noticed anything it was weird but I hope he's doing ok. Alright here's the funny thing that happened this week. So in Swedish the word for baptism and dope or drugs are only different in the way you pronounce the "o" in the word. So, when my companion and I were teaching about the priesthood power he wanted to say "I have the priesthood power to be able to baptize you" instead he said, "I have the priesthood power to give you drugs (specifically crack)." Someone was bound to do it so we had to clear that up with the investigator real quick haha.
I love this gospel and even though I can only share it right now in broken Swedish I can't wait to share it with the people of Sweden!
Love you all! Oh and if you want to write in Dear Elder it's the fastest way at least in the MTC and I can write back through the mail during the week otherwise email is great but I just do that on P-days.
Aldste Israelsen (there's two dots over the "A")
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation given to everyone that believeth." Romans 1:16