Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the MTC

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! (even though it's a day late)  I hope you all had an amazing day.  I also hope that you weren't worried I wasn't having a good day myself because, well, yesterday was probably my favorite day in the MTC!  Before getting into the details, thank you to Jessica, Tara, Karly, Emmy, Mom, Dad, G&G C and Clayne for your letters.  I don't know if I'll have time to respond to all of them this week, but I'll do my best.

Alright, Thanksgiving Day.  So we woke up usual time, had a simple breakfast, then had a few hours to study.  Then we had a morning devotional with Elder Holland!  As you probably could expect, it was sooooo good.  His main focus was about how grateful we should be that we live in this, the last dispensation.  We have more temples than ever.  There have been some projections that the total number of missionaries could jump over 90,000 and even approach 100,000.  In Elder Holland's words, "We've never had 90,000 of anything."  And he asked, "What did we do to deserve living in these days?"  then he paused for a few seconds, letting us think about it, then he said, "I don't know."  All past prophets saw our day, and they knew that our dispensation would be the one where the good finally wins.  All those prophets had to do their work knowing another apostasy was on its way.  He likened it to a sports game in saying, "Nobody wants to walk onto the field with a knowledge that you are going to lose."  But we don't have to worry about that.  All of our efforts will be worthwhile.  The thing that helped me most went something like this, "Some of you may feel that there is some pressure on your shoulders.  Well, ya there is.  But don't let it discourage you.  Let that pressure pump you up.  Go out and win this thing!"  Unfortunately I don't think they release the text from those talks, but always remember what a blessing it is to live in 2012, not 1835 with the rest of the Saints, or not in 835 when there wasn't a fullness of the truth on the earth.  This year I'm grateful for the Church!

After the devotional with Elder Holland, we had our Thanksgiving Meal.  It was pretty good.  They did a good job with it.  Standard mashed potatoes, gravy and the rest of the works.  After lunch we went to walk around the temple and to talk about what we learned in Elder Holland's talk.  It was a really spiritual experience.

Every year in the MTC, they do a huge Humanitarian Project on Thanksgiving Day.  This year, we made 4500 health kits and 4200 education kits for the Ouelessebougou region of Mali.  It was, admittedly, kind of a mad house, but it got done.  It was really cool to be a part of something so huge.

After the Humanitarian project, we got to watch 17 Miracles.  Oh wow, that's a good movie.  You all know I'm not much of a crier, but that moment that the text shows up at the end of the movie that says, "it'll all be worth it" I'll admit I got misty-eyed.

So from here, the day took an interesting turn.  We went back to the residence hall and a missionary needed to talk to me.  He said that he doesn't have the desire to be here that everybody else has, so he was wondering if I had any advice for him.  I had almost nothing since I hadn't dealt with that very much.  Any feelings I did have like that went away after the first week or so.  He's been in the mission for a little over a week now.  We got him in touch with a member of the Branch Presidency since I wasn't any help.  It sounded like they had a good talk.  While they were talking, I ran into President Brown and I asked him if there was any advice he had for me, as his zone leader.  He said that he would personally, or have one of his counselors, talk to this missionary tomorrow (meaning Friday).  That gave me a lot of comfort.  Once I talked to the member of the Branch Presidency for a few minutes, we went back to the residence hall.  So that part of the day wasn't as great.

Once I got back, there was an Elder in my zone that needed a blessing, and he asked me to give it.  It was really cool.  Almost all his district was around, and he chose me.  I think it was the third blessing I've given, and I'm getting to the point that my hands don't shake the whole time, so that's good :)

So, everybody, that's my day!  It was awesome!  I hope your days were just as good.  Family, I missed you, but I was having a blast while you were all together.  I'm sorry there isn't any info from the rest of the week.  It was kinda just same old, same old, but still awesome.  Oh, I got my travel plans!  I leave Dec 4.  At one point, I think I said I leave Dec 8.  That is not correct :)  Love you all so much!

Elder Tanner Christensen

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