Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One week more... One more week... ONE WEEK MOOOOOOOREE!!!!!

To all of you who understood the Les Mis reference up there ^, props to you. 

My room is pretty much all Disney/ Les Mis junkies so we sing Les Mis at every chance we get. But anyways, IN 5 MORE DAYS I WILL BE IN HONDURAS!!! Seriously I am so excited. I probably have no idea what I am getting into, but I am sososososo pumped. Let the cockroaches and bird-eating spiders party on my face while I sleep, I don't even care as long as I am actually out in the field getting stuff done!

I am especially excited because I had my first real teaching experience yesterday! My companion has been having some health concerns so he has had to go to several appointments over the past few weeks. I was at first kind of grudgingly going with him and missing class and gym time and study time (because I have to--he is my companion) and then I like spiritually slapped myself upside the head and have been praying for and working on having that character of Christ that I talked about last week and loving him because I am sure he doesn't want to be going through this anymore than I do. It is incredible the amount of peace you get from putting others first and stopping always focusing on yourself. Bad cookie monster self! Anyways, so I was sitting in the waiting room while he was getting a CT scan and there was this super tough kinda greasy looking guy sitting a few seats down from me and I was sitting there trying to study and realized that here I was in the outside world (as outside world as Provo gets) and not even trying to fulfill my purpose as a missionary of inviting others to come unto Christ, so I turned to him and started asking him some questions and at first he was kind of reluctant to answer, but after I complimented his sweet Zen-wolf-howling-at-moon shirt, he started to open up and then literally just started telling me his entire life story. Soon I was just smiling and nodding and listening, really trying hard to just listen. As he was talking about all his problems and life experiences and stuff, I was praying that I could know what to say to help this son of God I was privileged to talk to come unto Christ. After talking to him for about an hour, and really trying to understand the needs of this great guy, I felt prompted to share a scripture with him in Alma, chapter 40 verse 23, about the resurrection, and about the hope that we can have because, while our earthly bodies are weak and subject to infirmities and weakness and diseases, through Christ we can be resurrected with perfect bodies and live with him forever. I didn't get to talk with him for very long after that because my companion finished his appointment, but I really hope that I was able to be a representative of Jesus Christ to Tim. Sometimes, I think that people just need someone to talk to, to confide in, and I was lucky to have that experience. I truly did feel just a glimpse of the love that God and Jesus Christ have for every, and I mean every, one of us here on earth.

Well, I officially have my travel plans, and am leaving the MTC at 2:30 AM on Monday morning to spend 12 hours flying to Honduras, my home for the next 2 years of my life. How humbling that is. I am definitely going to need all of your prayers back at home that I am able to understand what is going on that first week of complete and total Spanish, and that I won't be slowly eaten by a flock of cockroaches as I sleep. Is it flock of cockroaches? herd? school of roaches? I'm not sure, but I am going to need help regardless.

Quote of the week: The Lord has not asked us to hold the line in the battle for the souls of men, he has asked us to charge.

I know that I have been called by a living Prophet of God to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that I have been given the authority that I need to fulfill that calling, and that through personal righteousness I can gain the power that I need. I know that those whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. Without that power and authority, I could do nothing and would be little more than a salesman. But I know that my message is true and literally will change lives. It has changed mine. And so,
Hurrah for Israel! and onward to Honduras!

Elder Moffitt

 My district with our powerful teacher, Brother Staples

 Fellow Trojan, Elder Dan Linderman (going to Albania)

My MTC companion, Elder Worthington

My awesome district

My sister,  Jessica arrived today to the MTC. She will be here for 9 weeks to learn Ukranian 
and then will be serving as a missionary in the Ukraine L'viv mission!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Character of Christ

Greetings from the MTC!

Only two more weeks left until I head out to the field! I am so excited and yet pretty nervous. I can speak Spanish pretty well with my gringo companeros here in Provo, Utah but I am sure when I get down there I am going to be literally clueless for at least a few months. Talk about complete immersion! Most of the Elders in my district that are going to Mexico are flying to Las Vegas on Friday to get their Visa's from the embassy there. Us Elders that are going to Honduras however apparently don't need Visas to get into the country. I guess San Pedro Sula always needs some new bodies considering how fast they seem to lose them :)

Not much else is new here. I have started using my personal study time to make flashcards of the most powerful scriptures that I can use to answer investigator's questions or alleviate concerns or motivate them to repent and change their lives to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the incredible flexibility in the style of teaching we use, it really is necessary that we become scriptorians. Not to Bible bash, but because our entire message is focused on Jesus Christ, and utilizing the words and teachings of both our Savior himself and through his prophets has real power. The Spirit won't teach us new things we need to say in the moment that we need them, it will bring to the forefront of our memory the things we have learned and studied and pondered personally that our brothers and sisters need to hear. I think that if I can better remember the locations of some really great scriptures, I will also be able to internalize the doctrine of those scriptures and use that as well to convey the message of Joy and Peace that we have to give to the world.

So here's a quick spiritual thought before the washer finishes behind me and I have to get off the computer (I am typing in the Laundry Room right now. Gotta love the smell of dryer sheets and warm white shirts). This Sunday we watched an MTC devotional from Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles called "Character of Christ." To sum up his hour long talk in like 5 sentences, he talked about how the while the natural man (Mosiah 3:19) is like the cookie monster, always turning inward and wanting more cookies for himself and wanting them RIGHT NOW, the character of Christ is constantly turning outward. Character means moral qualities strongly developed, strikingly displayed, and constantly exercised. The examples of this Character of Christ, his turning outward when the natural man would selfishly turn inward, are displayed constantly throughout the scriptures. Just one small example: after suffering for all of mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ didn't spend time thinking about his incredible sacrifice, he healed a guard's superficial ear wound. After suffering for all the infirmities, weaknesses, sins, and faults of all of mankind, even bleeding from every pore, Christ took the time and effort to HEAL A MEASLY EAR. That is just one of the many examples in the scriptures of Christ's character, and so I would challenge you all back at home to read the scriptures looking for ways in which that perfect character is manifest, for as we increase in our understanding of the contrast between the natural man and the character of Christ, we will obtain those spiritual gifts we need so that we become truly converted and never fall away. That is a promise from Elder Bednar, an Apostle of God. Next time you are tempted to think of yourself, or finding yourself whining in your mind about the things that you want, like the cookie monster, get over yourself and be Christlike. Find someone to serve, and you will find a joy far greater than any worldy cookie. Except maybe those Costco chocolate chip ones....
No definitely even better than that.
Speaking of Costco, I don't think they have those in Honduras. *Slow tear trickling down my cheek*

I love all of you back at home and I will keep you in my prayers. Say a few for me as well, because Heaven knows I need all the help I can get!

Elder Moffitt

Reunited with fellow Trojan, Elder Dan Linderman, at the MTC

 Fight On!

 The army of missionaries walking back from the devotional at the BYU Marriott Center.
Pretty cool.

 The "temple walk" from the MTC to the Provo Temple

The Provo Temple

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On to the Victory!

Dear Family and Friends,

I have officially survived my second week at the MTC! Maybe that is not the right way to say that as I am not serving time, I am serving the Lord. Nevertheless, things are pretty busy around here! 
So lets see, what happened this week. On Thursday (which was Independence Day) we had a nice 'fireside about the incredible circumstances surrounding the birth of this great nation and how it was a choice land prepared for the coming forth of the restoration. It is sooooo inspiring to me to think of all the brave, God-fearing men that were literally willing to give their lives, and indeed many did, to ensure that their children would have the freedom to practice whatever religion they chose, among many other important rights. I am also awed by the many absolutely incredible men that God prepared and protected to ensure that this Nation would come to be, such as George Washington who got his horse shot out from under him 3 times in one battle in the French and Indian War and ran around rallying his troops at the very front lines of the battle and escaped untouched with four bullet holes through his jacket. FOUR BULLET HOLES IN HIS JACKET BUT HIS SKIN UNTOUCHED. That is God for ya. I sang in the choir for the devotional this week and we sang an awesome arrangement of Faith of our Fathers, which was super spiritual and super fun. I love how music can touch the heart so strongly. I don't know why, but it is cool. or es chevere. Chevere means cool in Honduras. We also got to stay up past our 10:30 bedtimes (wha??!) to stand in the parking lot and watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire show. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear Carly Ray Jepson singing from where we were, but I admit I hummed a little Call Me Maybe under my breath.

My companion and I pretended to be investigators for some people from the beginning Spanish class and that really helped me realize that I actually do know some Spanish! They were super discouraged about being able to learn Spanish in 4 weeks and we all started talking about how its okay because we are all terrible at Spanish and then one of our teachers, who was listening in on our lesson, said super intensely "Never say you are terrible at Spanish! That is freaking Satanas! (satanas is Satan in Spanish fyi). God has called you on a mission to speak Spanish and he wouldn't have done that If you couldn't learn Spanish!" It was super awesome and now I am going to shout "That is freaking Satanas" whenever someone says they stink at something. It is quite fun...and true. We need to have the Nefi "I will go and I will do" mentality. Speaking of Nefi, quote of the week came from someone behind me during the fireworks show, "Wow those fireworks are like Nephi! They are so large in stature!"

The speaker for the Sunday night devotional this week was George Durrant, who wrote the book I gave to Jessica about Being Bold as a Missionary. He talked about being bold, of course, and one thought I really liked of his was that we shouldn't just end our lessons or our talks in the name of Jesus Christ, we should start them In the name of Jesus Christ, because we aren't going to tell people about our words or about what we want to say, everything we do as a missionary should be as a representative of Jesu Cristo. I got a picture with him afterward.
I wish I could write everything I learn each week in these emails but I really can't. I am learning so much though about the importance of studying, praying, obedience, and all of these things that I have been taught about all my life but that are now taking on a new importance and a new urgency as I prepare to head out to Honduras for two years. Speaking of Honduras, I met a guy  who is from San Pedro Sula and all he would tell me about it was that it was hot, and that I would probably die from the sun. SWEEEET! Haha. I am still more worried about the tarantulas.

"Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Forward, and on, on to the victory!"

Elder Moffitt
An elder from San Pedro Sula, Honduras

 My district! 3 missionaries are going to SPS with me 
and the rest are going to various parts of Mexico. 
They are great. I love them all and they are all super spiritual and diligent and awesome.
 Our 4th of July ties -- with my companion, Elder Worthington

 4th of July fireworks at the Stadium of Fire

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My Soul is Bursting!

Dear Friends and Family,
I have officially survived my first week at the MTC (or CCM in Spanish)! And what a week it has been. To start, I would like to type out something I felt prompted to write (a bit too eloquently perhaps) while watching a recorded devotional from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, after our live devotional on Sunday night with the Missionary Program President:
"My soul is full unto bursting and I would that I could split the mountains and proclaim the gospel to the undeniable convincing of all peoples. But I am learning that the voice of the Holy Spirit speaks not in earthquakes or firestorms or great winds, but in a still small voice that can and will touch the heart of every child of God that recognizes the ever-loving and ever-inviting voice of their Father in Heaven."

I don't think that I can express the excitement and intensity of desires that I have been feeling toward missionary work this past week. From the second I stepped out of the car onto the curb of the MTC I have been surrounded by literally 4000 of the elect of God. I can say without a doubt that these Elders and Sisters that are here at the MTC are the elect of God. These are not just 18 and 19 and 20 year old kids, these are representatives of Jesus Christ in training, and I am so profoundly humbled to be part of the greatest missionary movement in the history of the church.

The food is pretty good, the weather is a lot better than Tempe, and we are super, super busy. In this email, because i only have limited time to write, though, I want to focus on the things I am learning/have learned. There are so many things that I have learned and that I would love to share with you all, but I will focus on just a few of them. First off, I have learned how important it is to focus on our purpose as missionaries. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As missionaries, we are here to invite, and to help. The investigators are the ones that need to come, and receive. Since the second day we got here, my companion and I have been teaching an investigator from Chile named Rogelio. In Spanish. The first lesson was soooooo rough. Like we felt so discouraged afterwards because the Spirit was not there at all and we are terrible at Spanish so we didn't even know if he could understand anything we said. But we have been praying and working and studying so hard the past few days in order to help Rogelio and address his needs that we have learned so much and gotten so much more confident. I can testify that we are not alone in our preparations though. I know that God is helping us learn the language as we focus on our purpose to bring others to Christ. There is no way I could have progressed as far as I have in only 7 days. And even with as much as I have learned, I still don't speak Spanish as well as bottle of Fanta, so I have a lot of work to do. It is important to focus on learning how to fulfill our purpose in Spanish, not just learning Spanish. As I have shifted my focus from trying to learn Spanish to trying to learn how to help Rogelio in his own language, I have noticed a profound difference in my ability to retain what I learn.
I want to testify that this church is true. I want to testify that this is God's work. I know that the only two emotions or feelings that Satan cannot replicate are pure peace and joy. Those are God's emotions and those are what I have been feeling all week while I have been here. I have been working non-stop from when we get up at 6:30 to when we go to sleep at 10:30, and yet I have never been more happy. And this is why we are sending out an army of missionaries to the four corners of the Earth. We are not trying to rack up baptismal statistics, we are baptizing because that is how to gain the peace and joy that comes from coming closer to Christ and from being cleansed of sin. We are on a divine search and rescue mission to find those people that are looking for something more in their life and who are not comfortable in a world of ever-shifting values and ever lowering standards. Elder Holland pointed out in his devotional on Tuesday night that every single prophet before now knew that they were going to fail. Every single prophet knew that no matter how hard they work and how much they preach, their people were going to end up in apostasy. That must have been incredibly discouraging and disheartening. But then Elder Holland said that he bets that God must have told them to buck up, to lift up their chins, and to motivate them and buoy them up he must have shown them our day. He must have showed them us 4000 missionaries at the MTC singing called to serve at the top of our lungs. He must have showed them the 70000+ missionaries spreading throughout the world and they must have wept to know that this time We Will Not Fail! This time we are going to get it! We are destined to win, the victor has already been decided, and I get to be part of the greatest generation of missionaries that this world has ever known!
I know that God knows ME, Elder Moffitt, and my weaknesses and my trials and he hears every word of my sincere prayers to him. I know that he loves me sooooo much, and that he loves all of his children here on the earth. I am not a perfect missionary, I am probably not even a good missionary yet, but if I humble myself God will make me a mighty instrument in his hand. I know that as I serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength, God will bless me and all things will work together for my good. 
I say these things as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as a representative of Jesus Christ, and I testify that I know that they are true.
I love you all back home. Give em' heaven!
-Elder Moffitt

What goes on at the Missionary Training Center? Here are video segments shown on KSL about the MTC experience:
An Army of Faith: Inside the MTC