Saturday, August 3, 2013

Made it to England

This first week in the MTC has been amazing!! My MTC companion's name is Elder Kezele! He's from Twin Falls, Idaho and he just barely finished up high school before he came out here. He's also my district leader! He does a great job at it! Me and Elder Austin live in the same room together and are in the same district! (Scotty - his college roommate/baseball teammate, also from AZ, who just happened to get the same call/report date as Avery!)  It's crazy how we keep ending up in the same exact situations. My district is Awesome!!! One Elder who is learning english is from Albania, and he has the coolest accent ever! It reminds me of some kind of mobster or something like that. All of us in our district have picked up an Albanian accent before a british one!
So one of the cool experiences we get in place of going through a session at the temple (we can't go while we're here) is being a part of the first ever British Pageant! They've never done one over here before and it tells the story of the church in the British Isles. It's so cool to see and learn about the history of the church here. Elder Heber C. Kimball was the first apostle/missionary to come here along with his companion (I can't recall his name) who was not an apostle but was a missionary, and they baptized the first person from Great Britain right here in Preston England! They baptized almost 2000 people in the 8 months that he served here with just his comanion. I can't even believe how just two missionaries could baptize 2000 people in just 8 months!! Elder Kimball then came back later with all 12 of the other apostles and they preached the gospel all over, from London all the way to Scotland and Ireland. The people that were converted then gathered with the rest of the church in Nauvoo. They had such faith to just get up and leave everything they had and go to where they new they needed to be.
Another cool thing we get to do is go on a tour of all the church history places nearby. We did that this morning and we got see the river where Elder Kimball baptized the very first member in Great Britain. We also got to see where he stayed the night before that baptism. Elder Kimball said that on the night before that first baptism, him and his companions were awakened by some evil feeling. They looked at the wall across from their beds and could see thousands of the evil hosts of satan trying to get to them. He said they sat there for an hour and half praying to Heavenly Father to protect them. The vision went away and they were able to go to the river and baptize around 20 people. We also got to go and see the house where President Hinkley stayed when he was extremely discouraged during the first month of his mission, to the point that he wrote his father and said he just wanted to come home because no one would listen to him. The tour was so much fun and It was great to be able to get out of the MTC and back in the real world for a little! haha. I love the MTC, but being here with a ton of missionaries makes it feel like i'm still in America, and the tour was awesome because we were able to get out with the people and it felt ALOT more like England again!
I can't really think of anything else that I need to tell you guys other than its really weird to see cars on the wrong side of the road!!! haha, on a more serious note, my testimony has been strengthened so much in just the past week alone. It's amazing what the lord does for us missionaries who have been called and set apart to teach people about the gospel! I guess another reason my testimony is being strengthened so much is because we study the scriptures almost 4 hours everyday, on top of classes, teaching lessons, and listening to the MTC presidency speak the other 5 hours of the day! Haha that much spiritual learning will strengthen anyone's testimony! Well hopefully I'll email you guys soon!! I'm not sure if i'll get the chance next wednesday because I think I'll be spending the entire day traveling to Edinburgh! The next time you may hear from me i'll probably be in the field!! I can't wait to get out there!
I love all you guys and I hope I told you enough about what is going on!! (that part was mainly for mom) haha. The Church is True!!!!!!!
Pictures of Avery & Scotty in the MTC