Thursday, August 28, 2014

Airport Field Trip

Wow. This week has been crazy. Last Wednesday, my companion and I, showed the new districts around campus, and got to know them. It's great, I love being a zone leader because you get to know all of the districts in our branch and help them out. We had two new districts come in, all heading to either Mexico or Stateside. 

On Sunday, my district did a musical number for the rest of our zone. We sang an arrangement of "Be Still, my soul", and it was awesome because I got to sing one of the solos at the end of the song. I genuinely think that music is the strongest/easiest way to spread the gospel, because it can touch people in a way that other things can't. 

On Sunday, I got released from being a zone leader, and my companion was put into a trio of zone leaders, which worked out well because we have three sister training leaders in our zone, so it balanced out. The rest of Sunday was crazy, packing, going to a fireside, more packing, trying to finalize plans for traveling on Monday. It was crazy. Thankfully, I got all packed, and was completely ready. My district came by and said goodbye, we had a picture taking frenzy and a whole lot of hugs goodbye.  And that would've been great end of the MTC, if I had left on Monday.

Monday was a very interesting day. Departing the MTC is insane, you pile your luggage inside a truck, say your final goodbyes to your roommates, who come to see you off, turn in all of your keys to the front desk, and essentially just make sure you can get on the airplane with no problem. My travel companion and I got onto the bus and got handed envelopes that had everything that we needed to get onto the plane. It detailed all about our layovers, what to do when we reached Madrid, and how much money we should have on hand to get to the MTC there. The only thing NOT in there was our passports/visas. We thought that was a little weird, so we asked around, seeing if anyone else had gotten their Visas in with their travel itinerary and everyone else on our bus had. We were pretty confused, but on the outside of our envelopes there was a big stamp that said "HAS PASSPORT" which we took to mean the church had our passports at the airport. Both me and my companion didn't think anything of it, because we had both separately talked to the Office, asking about our passports, because even though we had gotten our flight plans, we had never heard a word about the visa situation. The Office had assured us that if the travel office had told us that we would be flying out on Monday, that we didn't need to worry, that it was all taken care of.   Apparently, that wasn't true.

We get up to the airport, and as we are checking in our baggage, one of the flight attendants was helping my companion, and they asked for our passports. My companion told him that we didn't have them, and that the church had them. The attendant acted confused and asked us to come out of line, and brought us over to the phone and asked us to call the MTC and ask them what the situation was with our passport. The MTC told us that there had been a severe mix up with both of our visas, and they were not even close to being completed. The told us to get on the first Frontrunner we could and get back to the MTC. Going back on Frontrunner was definitely interesting. A lady came up to my companion and I and said that her and her husband needed some money to get to Provo to visit their daughter, but were short a few dollars. We gave it to them, talked with her for a little bit, and then said goodbye. They ended up not even getting on the train, but my companion turned to me and said that that was an opportunity to plant seeds. Maybe one day, that couple will remember those two LDS missionaries who were kind to them, and might be a little more open to learning about the church. After that, we hauled all of our luggage onto to the train, and rode back down to Provo. It was really funny because we had so much luggage, so it looked like we were off on the Hogwarts Express. On our way up to the airport, we hadn't traveled with our luggage, so it was a LOT harder switching trains and doing what we needed on the train. Anyway, we got back to the MTC, and got back into my district, and still have yet to unpack. I met with our Branch President last night, and explained to him why I wasn't in Spain (apparently he knows the MTC and temple presidents there) and he reinstated me as a zone leader.

So. Going up to the airport was definitely interesting. It has been a really hard, crazy week. I was really excited to go to Spain, but am also happy that I get to stay in this zone, because I have become really good friends with a lot of the Elders and Sisters in our zone. Essentially what this week has told me, I know that God really is in the details in our lives, and has a plan. He knows what's best for us, even if we don't. I have had to rely on God, and he genuinely is showing me my weakness so that I can become stronger. It has prepared me so much for my mission, because I know that I will have to rely on Christ and that he knows our disappointments and pains, and can help us cope with them. 

I hope you all are being safe! Remember that God is in the details of our lives. He really does know exactly what we should be doing in our lives. We may not understand why something happens, but that is one of the joys of having the gospel. We know that even though things seem to turn out wrong, and we seem to have an awful day or disappointment, Christ knows exactly how we feel and can and will support us through any trials. I think one of the roles of the Holy Ghost we don't spend nearly enough time talking about is his role as Comforter. He really does comfort us and gives us the feeling that everything will be OK. 

Love you all,

Elder Weenig

Elder Sterling, Elder Voss, Me, Hermana Leonard, and Hermana Tooleson

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The MTC: the days are packed

Wow. This past week has been some of the craziest experiences of my life. We've been studying, speaking, and conjugating Spanish for the past week like no other. The language is coming along great, but it is hard! We are in class for the majority of the day, except for gym time and lunch. Gym is great, they have volleyball, foursquare, and basketball, all inside these gigantic bubbles that they have created for the West campus gyms.

So I am on west campus. We have a lot more room than regular campus, but the food here is not nearly as good (on pday we go up and have lunch on main campus and they have a LOT better food, with an ice cream bar and everything). Today actually is pday, so we just got back from having lunch. I'm stuffed. normally on pdays, we have a lot of time to do laundry (mom, I have never appreciated you more than when I am doing my own laundry), and go to the temple. The Provo temple is incredible! we've had the opportunity to do proxy sealings (as children) and endowments. It's awesome. 

But this week has been insane. On Sunday, I got to bless the sacrament in Spanish for the first time with my companion. It was a great experience. Really, really nerve wracking, but awesome. Elder Sterling, Sister Yardley, and I performed a special musical number in sacrament meeting as well. I played piano for "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing", while they sang a duet. A very, very cool experience. Also on Sunday, the branch President pulled me and my companion aside and asked us if we would be zone leaders. We've only been here two weeks so it's a little overwhelming everything that we need to do, but it is great. Today, we are showing around the new missionaries, and introducing ourselves to them. We were going to be their zone leaders for the rest of the time at the MTC, but I got a letter from the travel office yesterday that changed everything.

I am not going to be at the Provo MTC as of next Monday, August 25. I'm being transferred to the Spain MTC in Madrid. I know I should be happy, but to be honest, it's a little sad. I really like my district, and me and my companion had literally just barely created a vision for our zone and the way that we wanted to take it. Also, my companion is pretty much the coolest companion you could ask for. We get along really well and being zone leaders together would've been great. Example: I have been really sick this last week, and he has been a good sport, putting up with my constant coughing and going through about 5 boxes of tissues. He's actually going to Spain on his mission as well, but the the Madrid mission. He's not coming with me, because he's still waiting for his visa. But, I am very much excited to be getting to Spain, because there have been some missionaries that are getting reassigned to stateside missions while they wait for their visas, so I am very much blessed. 

We are now teaching two investigators, both fake, but it is really cool and gets you so excited to finally go out and see how the gospel can and will bless peoples lives. The Spanish is hard, but I really do believe that the Spirit does provide what you need to say, when you need to say it. Especially now, realizing how little I actually know of Spanish, I am definitely relying so much on the Lord to get me through the lessons. Our teachers are the investigators, but the stories they use are from investigators on their missions, so by all means, it is not hard at all to think of the lessons as a real life scenario.

Life in the MTC is incredibly sheltered. Riding the bus to and from main campus often has just regular music playing. Not bad music, just regular music, and it feels weird. When you are completely surrounded by the spiritual energy that surrounds the MTC, and then you get out into the real world even just for a little bit, it makes you realize how cut off from the world you are. There's a rumor going around the MTC that Robin Williams is dead, and nobody can confirm it. It's driving everyone nuts. 

Overall, this is a great experience. It's hard. VERY hard. It's definitely not something that you do if you don't want it, because going on a mission overwhelms you. I know because there have been multiple times when I have not wanted to get out of bed, not wanted to go to class for 10 hours, and just wanted to relax. But you can't, and that's why it's so important to have the Spirit with you 24/7. It helps you get through any worries, doubts, struggles, and laziness that you will have as a missionary. Personally, I think it's the most important thing you can prepare to do as a prospective missionary or for anyone. Learn to build your relationship with the Spirit. It is SO important. I do not know how I could have made it through these first few weeks at the MTC without it.

Thank you all for all that you do, for all the support you have given me, it really means so much. Anything, really that we get makes any missionaries day, so thank you!

Love you all, 

Elder Weenig 

Going to Espana!

Elder Voss and I, last time going to the Provo Temple

 Six of the Elders from our district

 Me and Elder Voss with the old Zone leaders, just before they headed out for Costa Rica

On the bus to get to a fireside. 
 Look who I found, my amazing cousin, Jarom. We saw each other at the fireside, he's on the main campus and will serve in Korea..

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The MTC!

Hey everyone, 

This week has been awesome. Crazy, stressful, a lot of adjustments, but an all around great week. The first day, you feel like you just got hit by a ton of bricks. You are directed through about thirty different lines where you get your name tags, they clip your pockets for your name tags, and lots of other logistics. It was crazy. It was cool though to be able to have Bobby (Elder Dayley) pick me up from the car. He's heading to Korea, and he will be a great missionary.

Met my companion in our apartment, he is from Ohio, and his name is Elder Voss. He's a really great guy. He is our district leader, and it's been great.

Our district comprises of twelve missionaries, two sisters and ten elders. My companion and I are the only ones going to Spain (although different missions, he's going to Madrid, while I'm going to Malaga), and everyone else is going to Mexico. We've had some AMAZING firesides this week.  The first one was on Sunday, and we had the administrative director of the MTC speak to us. It was awesome, but I think that the best part of the night was a prerecorded talk by Elder Bednar about the Character of Christ. It was such a good way to start of the mission because he talks about when you are the least comfortable and should look inwards, you should turn outwards (what Christ's character was all about). Throughout our missions, we are going to be incredibly uncomfortable and in a lot of stress, but I am trying to do what Elder Bednar directed, look outwards instead of inwards.

Our first week has been a lot of Spanish. We taught our first investigator the third day in the MTC. It was really, really stressful, but such a great experience to teach our investigator. She's not a real investigator, but it's really awesome to see how we can actually apply the concepts that we learn in class to a real life scenario. Me and my companion love it, and we work really well together in teaching her. The Spanish is hard, mostly because there are so many words in relationship to the gospel that you don't generally use in everyday language.

The spirit in the MTC is so strong. So, so, so strong. I love it here. The first couple of days were HARD. Very, very hard. But, I am so grateful for the first few days. They helped me grow. One of the speakers at our initial address in the MTC told us "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone". The first few days helped me grow in ways I can't even imagine, and I know that it's only the beginning. There will be so much more growing, stretching, and difficult experiences that will only make us better people, and missionaries.

I am so excited to keep learning, and ultimately to get to Spain. A lot of missionaries that are here are waiting for visas, like me and my companion. However, we talked to some Elders going to Madrid, and they said that they got their visas yesterday, so hopefully, we will get them soon.

Also, I have the opportunity to play in sacrament meeting and priesthood. An Elder and Sister from our zone needed an accompanist for "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing" and we're practicing it sometime later today for a special musical number on Sunday. I want to make music a really big part of my mission, because I think that is one of the quickest ways to feel the Spirit.

Thanks for everything, for the letters, packages, and support you all are giving me! I love you all and can't wait to hear from you!


Elder Weenig