Just kidding. I OFFICIALLY HAVE 26:05 MINUTES TO FINISH THIS LETTER, AND WASTED 2 OF THEM FORGETTING MY LOG-ON STUFF... GAHHHHH!! Alrighty, so, here I am. Now what to say?? Well, for starters, Mom and Jeff and whoever was in charge of the "Send stuff to Chris" Campaign, it has worked. I am the envy of my district [missionaries are divided into small groups that work and study together] with all the letters I get all the time - last night I got not 1, not 2, not 3, but 8 PAGES of dearelder emails. It was a bit ridiculous, but I loved every one of them!
Thus, some responses: Aunt Jill, good luck with the skunk. Steven, nice on District Choir.
Roses: HOLY COW IS HE HERE YET? Good luck! Say hi to baby Colton! I'm sure he won't cry at ALL Angela, ha...
Melissa Kirby: Sry I missed you at the Y by a week - well, technically I am on BYU run property...
Madeleine: GERMANY? WHAT THE HAY? Oh and tell Megan that if she's going to wait for me, I give her permission to go to dances and date people, as long as its not serious. Tell her to get a life too. Lol.
Kimmy: stop dying at Mafia. Like, nevah...
Maguras: don't know if i did it last week, but THANKS for the package! Good stuff, big hit with the food here, haha! glad Stefan's doing well!
Jada: Thanks for the letter! It was really good, your advice is awesome - have fun, and all that - I need people to tell me stuff like that once n a while :)
Jack and Cindy: thanks for the letter! Hope the Iraqi woman situation turns out..
If I've left anyone out, you have a whole week to chew me out for it and me not be able to respond till Tuesday...
SO, after I wrote that email last week, the day just got better! We went to the MTC devotional, where I sang "How Great Thou Art" in the choir, which was awesome, and we were surprised with a visit from...Elder Ballard [an apostle in our church]! It was way cool. His advice was amazing, and the Spirit was really strong. One of his greatest pieces of wisdom was the key to success in life and the mission is... a positive attitude. Surprised me, but it's true! I got discouraged for a day because something seemed beyond my abilities - we were taking phone calls in the Referral Center, where people who call in for a free Book of Mormon and such call, and I just didnt seem good at it. I began to doubt myself and my ability to do this in person. Then I just wasn't as effective for a day or two. But I realized on Tuesday that a positive attitude is really the key. ever since I've been trying hard to do that, and its been a good week!
Speaking of positive attitudes... Thursday night, we were all running to the gym. My companion began jumping and stuff trying to touch the ceiling. Suddenly he slowed up a lot. He kept running for a few yards, but then realllly decided that wasnt smart. When we got inside, his ankle looked like it had like 3 golfballs under the skin. Not good. Within a few minutes he was outfitted with crutches and such. Great. My companion is a cripple. Right off the bat. But, he had a good attitude. The next morning we actually got to GO OFF the property(hence the picture of us leaving the MTC!) to the BYU HEALTH CENTER, which was WEIRD being out in the world, especially on MY college campus... it was also weird because there were TV's, and stuff like that... anyhow, they took xrays and sent us back to the MTC again.
The rest of that day, Elder Rindfleisch wasn't doing well. Felt awful, suffering in pain... he asked me for a blessing[a special prayer for healing of the sick that Elders of the church have authority to give--see James 5:14-15]. I've never given a blessing before, and was very nervous. But we said a prayer and the district gathered around him, laid our hands on his head, and I began to give a blessing. I was so afraid I'd say the wrong things. It was an interesting experience. I felt all sorts of feelings come into my mind, and like I needed to say things that Heavenly Father was trying to get me to say to him, but nothing was coming. I said a few things, then paused... and couldn't articulate what I was feeling. So I closed it, and felt like I had failed. I wasn't sure how to do it. I didnt know what to do. But my companion said thanks, and had faith in it. The Lord is merciful to me, and the next day, he showed me that he accepted my effort and the blessing was indeed effective despite my inabilities - my companion was able to walk without both crutches, he felt great, and the pain was very much lessened. It was a great experience for me. His ankle was not broken, and he is doing well now.
This is kindof a template for my mission. I'm beginning to develop the faith I need for this mission. It is not my mission. The Savior paid the price for us all, and it is His mission. Though I am inexperienced, He will make up the difference if I devote myself to Him completely. Read the words of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" These lyrics have been on my mind (everyone hums it here) and I think I really mean them now. The Lord is making me into what I need to be. It's way cool.
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Another word: Grandma and grandpa, when I was feeling down, one of the best things to cheer me up was you two. I wondered why people would want us to come along and change their seemingly content lives. But I remembered you two, and your faith and how the gospel has blessed your lives... and consequently all of ours, making mine even possible. Thank you for your great faith. I love you both so much.
Well, 1 minute now! So much to say, so little time! Rest assured all that I am the same person, just as clumsy and weird as ever - but the Lord is using me now, and I'm devoting these 2 years to him (thanks Carl and Joey and Jada, your letters helped this too) Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Yes we shall! Its all true. I know it more than ever. Love, Elder Chris Comments in green have been added by Mom for explanation!
My companion and I vacuuming our dorm building with space vacuums...