Thank you to those who emailed me this last week! Things are going great. I reported to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) afternoon and am loving it here. It took a couple days to figure out how to adjust, and I'm still adjusting but things are going ok thus far. :)
After putting my things away I met my first companions! They are the best companions in the whole world. I've been placed into a trio with Elder Liaga and Elder Powers. Elder Liaga is 18 and from West Valley Utah while Elder Powers is 19 and from Maine. They're both very loving, very funny and very hard-working. We have so much fun together all the time which makes learning very fun! The Lord definitely blesses us with what we need. He knew I needed to be in a trio companionship and I'm so lucky to be with these guys and lucky the leaders of the MTC listen to what the spirit tells them.
My district is also very great. We're told we are the fastest-learning district in terms of the Thai language. My whole Zone is fantastic. On day one they welcomed us in a very friendly way. There is a missionary named Elder Chamberlin who was having difficulty pronouncing my last name so he just calls me Elder Swagger, and now everyone wants to call me that haha!
Our teacher, Sister Painter, is also very nice and speaks only in Thai. That is probably why we are learning the language so fast!
Our Branch Presidency is really nice. In fact, the Branch President - President Jackson - served in Germany about 10 years before dad did! They really helped me feel at home when we met them the other night. While with them they gave us some quiet time and asked us to read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon - 2nd Nephi Chapter 31. (This is the chapter explaining why Jesus Christ had to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness.) While reading this I had such a comfortable spirit of peace and for a moment forgot I was in the MTC, I thought I was back at home. This just bore testimony to me of the power of the Book of Mormon. No matter where we go or who we're with, it can give us the peaceful feeling of being right at home.
we had a mission conference with the MTC President - President Nally - and it was his last one before he gets released next week. He and his wife spoke and I love what they had to say. Sister Nally said when we listen to speakers we should try to pay attention to what we feel and not so much what they are telling us. In other words, we need to pay attention to what the spirit is telling us. She also told of a friend who was recently baptized. The friend's whole family was actually baptized and this friend mentioned how previously no one in her family would go to church with her, but this gospel brought them all together. It made me think back to the times I've seen people radiate pure joy and happiness, and all of those times were when they were with their family in the gospel. It brings me comfort to think that in times when I might feel alone up here without many people I know that I may be sacrificing time away from my friends and family but I am sacrificing 24 months of my life with my family so that those I teach can spend all of eternity with theirs.
We also got to watch Meet the Mormons! I'd recommend you everyone watch Meet the Mormons when it comes out on DVD if you haven't already.
Last week I got a letter via dearelder.com! It is apprently a website where while I am in the MTC any of you can type up a letter to me and they will print it off and put it in my mailbox the very same day. I love love love getting letters and would love to hear from all of you about how you are doing! :)
My Thai is coming along slowly but surely. I'm learning first how to pray in Thai and it is coming in handy when we're teaching a Thai investigator. Although i don't know very much what he is saying I was able to teach him how to pray and he committed to praying every night.
Thank you for your prayers! Pom rag khun! (I love you!)
0100 - MTC District!
105 - Companions: Elder Powers, Elder Wager, Elder Liaga at Provo Temple
107 - Snowy Utah Mountain
110 - Snowy Utah field!