It's amazing how much can happen in one week! On Friday I flew to Vegas to sign for my visa, that was quite the adventure! I was supposed to be at the travel office at 4:30 in the morning, I woke up at 4:38... I have never changed so fast in my life! I was up, dressed and down at the office in 2 minutes. 10 of us Elders were shuttled to the airport and I flew for my first time! When we arrived we were picked up by an old guy that took us to the UNLV Institute where he then started to talk. And talk. And then talk some more... He started out by drawing a green arch on the white board, and then asked us to tell him what it was. After about 5 minutes of guessing, he told us in a disappointed voice that it was the fertile crescent. Seriously. It was just a green line. We were asked ridiculous questions like this one for the next 3 hours. He finally took us to the Mexican consulate where everything was in Spanish and I couldn't understand anything, that was an eye opener of what I'll be experiencing in only 11 days! After we signed for our visas we went back to the Institute where he continued to talk for another 3 hours. Over all it wasn't a bad day, but I probably wouldn't want to do it again..
On Sunday I had the privilege to say the closing prayer for the devotional! I've never said a prayer in front of over 3000 people! It was a very cool experience. I had to try very hard not to say anything in Spanish, it had been a while since I had prayed in English. Speaking of my Spanish, I'm finally really feeling like I'm starting to catch on! I can teach most of the lessons pretty well. I'm still very slow, but I get the words out eventually. Last night while sitting in class my teacher was speaking Spanish and I understood every single thing her was saying! And I didn't really have to translate it all into English in my head! It was one of the coolest moments I've experienced yet!
Yesterday on Wednesday my district was chosen to help host the new missionaries coming in. It brought back those vivid memories of the day when I got dropped off. I really enjoyed being able to be the first person that some of these Elders met at the MTC. It's funny how in only 4 weeks I feel like I've experienced so much and that these Elders seem so young, when in only 11 days I'm going to be the "youngest" one in the field.
This has been an interesting week with my district. As district leader now, I've started to feel responsible for how the time is spent by the other Elders in my district. I've tried to be gentle in the way I tell them to stop playing with all the study time, but it has progressively gotten worse to the point where most of the Elders wouldn't ever study. After hosting yesterday the Elders met back at our rooms. We were supposed to hustle back to our class to teach a lesson, but they wanted to pretend that hosting was taking longer than it really was. It took me 30 minutes to get them out of their rooms and they dragged their feet the whole walk over to class... (30 minutes may not seem like a whole lot, but on a mission it sure is!) I was called a few things and one Elder even let me know how much he disliked me for always being a stick in the mud. (stick in the mud is nicer than what he actually said.) I was feeling pretty down when we got to class. We taught our lessons and our teacher Hermana Luna left us to do our personal study. Again nothing was accomplished during the time. That night when my other teacher Hermano Byrd came I pulled him aside to talk about what was going on and to ask for advice. This was the turning point in my day. As we discussed what was going on he reminded me that I'm a representative of Christ, as such, I'm going to experience some of the things that Christ did. Such as being disliked for trying to do what's right. Ultimately all I need to worry about is my standing with the Lord. I'm just grateful that Heavenly Father loves and trusts me enough to experience these things! Because I have already grown so much in just these short 4 weeks. I absolutely love the work that I'm doing here! The more I study the gospel, the more I realize how everything in it points to Christ. The more I understand about Christ, the more I want to serve him. It's a wonderful cycle :)
Really the main thing that I've learned this week is that we don't live the gospel for the blessings, some people might and that's a good place to start. But we do it because we love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In our Tuesday devotional one of the 70 spoke and he talked about how even the Savior asked his father if that bitter cup could be taken from him. But, out of his love for his father, he was willing to follow Gods will. Not because of the blessings that he would receive after, but because he loves his father. I've learned that if I teach principles, say the word of wisdom for example, by saying "if you follow this commandment, you will run and not be weary, walk and not faint." but what if they have health problems after. Will their faith and testimony be shaken because they didn't receive the blessings the way they wanted? It's possible. There's a reason that faith in Christ is the first principle of the gospel. When we have faith in Christ, we don't keep commandment just to receive the blessings. We keep them because we love him.
Overall I've loved this week! Trials and all :) Thank you for all of your support and letters! I ran into Saralee Dunster yesterday! I came this close to reaching out and giving her a hug... You'd think that after 4 weeks I would have that drilled into me by now.. I think it was just because I normally give my cousins hugs. But you can tell her family that she looked great and had a big smile on her face.