Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elder McRae's First Week at the MTC: 8/20/13

August 20, 2013
First Week at MTC

This first week at the MTC has been one of the most challenging, but testimony strengthening weeks of my life.  First couple days were so overwhelming and stressful with immediately starting to learn Portuguese and having pretty bad headaches.  But through my challenges, I have grown more than ever. 
The food here is a hit and miss and if you choose the wrong thing to eat you'll be sorry.. haha.  Mommy I miss your heavenly cooking :/  So the companion I am assigned with is Elder Steiner and he is from Katy,Texas, and is such an  awesome guy,  At first I was like, "Oh great, I'm stuck with some nerd..." ,but he is the funniest guy and laughs about everything and we really bonded.  Couldn't have asked for a better companion with such a strong testimony.  I'm the senior companion. 
Our district is also so cool with the two Elders in my residence named Elder Carter and Elder Grondel, from Tennessee and Washington. and they both are going to the Goiania mission!!  Finally, I'm not alone!:) haha  They are literally all the coolest most fun Elders with all such strong testimonies and I never want to leave these guys. We all are bros. The other two Elders are Elder Morgan and Elder Thomas also from Washington and Tennessee and Elder Morgan looks exactly like Jacob from "Twilight".. Finally someone has stolen my title  ;P   We have two sisters, Sister: Wood, Arailjo, Skidmore and Culp  They are such sweet Sisters with powerful testimonies.  Its so weird to only shake girls hands and calling the Elders, Elders instead of guys or bros.. I see (Lexi) Sister Garrett and Lincoln from our stake everywhere and its pretty cool to see familiar faces. Lexi leaves today to Ukraine, I’m so excited for her. Everyone in the MTC comments on my sweet ties every day and I feel so legit. I brought like 25 ties and it’s like the best part of my morning-- picking out what tie I wear. Elder Steiner only brought 4 so I offered to share some -- poor guy.  Amanda, Daniel's girlfriend, gave me the sickest tie from Africa that is like green and yellow knit. 

Yesterday I met an Elder McCrea, pretty cool. Anyways, so happy to open a letter from my family and others, my P-Day isn't till Tuesday's so it was a long wait. My address to write letters is:
Elder Matthew Alexander McRae
2013 N 900 E Unit 301
Provo UT 84602
I have only an hour to write email's on P-Days so letters are usually better! The 3rd day we were already teaching an "investigator" only in Portuguese and is so hard, but is crazy how much I’ve learned considering I didn't learn anything from two years of Chinese in High School.. We have gym time almost every day and I kill at volleyball (not to be prideful) but so much fun.  The Elder's in my room every once in a while talk to me about that I sound like some crazy train crash while I sleep cuz of my bad allergies but we just laugh and joke about it.
Sunday was my favorite day on the mission, full of rest and the Spirit was on fire and contagious just couldn't get enough of it! We had our sacrament meeting and the meetings were all in Portuguese and were so cool bc even though I didn't understand the hymns, the Spirit was so strong.  I can testify that music is truly a testament to our Savior. My companion and I were called as Sacrament instructors (basically Teachers of the Sacrament service).  We had a Priesthood meeting which was awesome and my favorite thing I learned was a quote from Bruce R. McConkie and paraphrased it said, "Sacrifice to show our love for Christ use to be burning the most desired animal of the flock. Nowadays to show our love and devotion to show our love for Heavenly Father and our Savior is we have to forsake that lustful and sinful animal of the natural animal of the natural man inside of us and tap into the Atonement and forgiveness of our sins."  This comment made me think of D&C 103:26, "Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again."  This is what I want to do on my mission is put all of my needs and desires on the table and burn them and let the Lord take my hearts and let me lose myself in the work to find a life in Christ. 
Today was a very sad but joyful news as an Elder in our District talked to me about how he has to go home tomorrow because of things he didn't repent of, but wants to serve so badly.  I told him that his Heavenly Father loves him no matter what and is so happy he has the courage and desire to become clean and tap into The Atonement.  He is an amazing guy and I read all of Psalms 27 to him and the Spirit was so strong and I know that the Spirit guided me to read that to comfort him and he will return back to the mission field as an even better missionary.  Young men and women who want to serve missions or not, use the Savior's Atonement, it is there for you.  He died for you cuz He loves you.  Come to the Lord with a broken heart and contrite Spirit and have the desire to give your life to Christ and become clean again.  
We had an amazing devotional that Sunday night after Choir and our speaker was Via Sikahema, the first Tongan football player to get a scholarship to BYU and to play in the NFL and was on the winning team of the national championship in 1984 for BYU! He served a mission in Rapid City, North Dakota, and told us that nothing was more important or even compares to him serving a mission.  Something that touched me that he said was that we promised those people we teach (Brazil) that we would gather them back to their Shepherd the Savior on Earth and bring them back to the gospel in the Pre-Existence.. Nothing has motivated me to work harder than that promise I made to those children of God. The Spirit is so strong here and I feel it changing me from the inside out.  
Obedience, I've been rock solid in besides going to bed in time bc I always want to be writing in my journal and pouring my heart into studying.  I know that obedience has blessed me tremendously!  Yesterday morning we challenged the other district to volleyball and we as a district totally rolled them up.  We are definitely the sweetest district ;) haha 
But anyways to wrap things up, the language has been really hard and gets discouraging at times, but the Lord always puts someone or has someone say something that brings the Spirit back in my life and gives me confidence and strength and I’m so grateful for the Spirit in my life.
P-Day today is amazing, as my companion and I are fasting to learn the language better; and the Temple was amazing, I LOVED THE NEW VIDEO!!
Sorry I accidently sent the letter before I was finished.. Today we do our laundry and its crazy.. so many people want to wash :O  haha.  I'm super excited for the devotional tonight with a General Authority.  Thanks everyone for the amazing letters and prayers.  Emails will be really hard to write everyone but I'll try to send letters and my DearElder account works best!   I love you Mom, Dad, MIchael, Daniel, Lindsay, Joseph, Jacob and David and miss everyone so soo much!  So excited for you Matt-- the MTC is awesome and takes a lot of hard work!:) The letters have helped me so much, thanks again! Tudo Bem!:)
     Amor (Love), Elder McRae 

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