Hoo Rah!

Hey-o. Welcome to m' mission blog. If you're interested in keeping in touch with me via mail, check out my address(es) on the right side of the page. If you're too lazy to do that, go ahead and read the posts below. Hoo-rah!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

12.14.10 MTC

Well, 6 weeks. 3 more to go. Wow, I’m getting antsy. But that’s expected, so it’s okay.

This past week has been solid. Elder Roberts and I feel like we taught our best lesson yet last week, and our study time is productive. It’s true. Even though I’d rather be in Mexico.

. . . Speaking of companions though, I’ve got a new one. Elders North, Gatiza (?), and Craig got their visas, so they left for the Peru MTC today. The district now only consists of Elders Guymon, Jensen, Roberts, MacDonald, and I. the last three are the new tri-fecta, and we’re all going to Mexico. All but Elder MacDonald are headed to Hermosillo as well, and he’s going to Chihuahua, which is just east of Sonora.

Class is probably going to be a lot more boring now. But, that’s good. I don’t mind boredom when it results in reverence. Plus, with less people, we’ll all learn the gospel and Spanish quicker. It’ll be nice.

Ah, and I went to the Provo temple for possibly the last time in 2 years. The temple closes down the next two weeks for Christmas and there’s a chance I’m leaving before then. Hopefully. Although I’m willing to wait a few days to go again, not more than a week though.

Ah, and for the devotional tonight, we had Elder Paul D. Pieper of the 70. It was good, if lacking the emotion of Elder Holland or the logical and methodical awesomeness of Elder Bednar. He spoke on agency, and how to use it effectively on a mission. He went on for quite a bit, but one thing in particular stood out: having righteous desires, which were exemplified by the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. Their desire was to simply “save a few souls.” They knew the fear of having a soul harrowed up by sin, as spoken of in Mosiah 28:3. They knew what awaited the sinful Lamanites if they wouldn’t repent.

And there’s the thing: sin creates fear. Misunderstanding does as well, and I can’t think of something more misunderstood than death. People are freaked out by it, and for a good reason, right? They have no idea what’s going on after death. It’s like they think death is just as menacing and freaky as the cliché image of the Grim Reaper himself. But, C’MON! People, you don’t have to be afraid! Geez! I’m freaked out of my mind by the pain associated with death, but at least I know it’s a necessary end. Besides, who wants to live on Earth forever? Send me somewhere else to dwell for eternity. Being with God in heaven would be much better than anything offered down here.

But anyway, I just hope I can help people see that clearly: you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Sure, still be afraid of spiders, snakes, or other phobia-inducing things: but, death shouldn’t be one of them. For some more “food for thought,” check out Moroni 8:16, but mostly just the last half of the scripture.

Man, I love this gospel? Why can’t others see it? Eh, I guess I’ll just have to help ‘em to do it. That’s why I’m on a mission anyway, right?

And, another thing I was thinking of: if I didn’t get my visa in time and got reassigned to somewhere stateside before the visa comes, how cool would it be if I went to the Denver or Chicago missions? Probably not, since my wardrobe is all set for extreme heat, but who knows.

Elder Humbert

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12.7.10 MTC

12/7/10

. . . I’m in such a good mood right now! Ah! This is what it’s like to have the Spirit! Awesome!

There’s a few reasons I’m so happy right now. This week, Elder Roberts & I have done really well. For example, a few days ago, we taught the plan of salvation entirely in Spanish to an Elder that was role-playing his former non-member self. That’s right, an Elder we were teaching was a very recent convert. One year, in fact. He reminded me of Dad & Bro. Aten, going on a mission almost right after getting baptized. That takes some guts. I admire him, oh, and Dad, and all the other convert missionaries. THANK YOU CONVERTS!

Anyway, we taught him really well. Spanish came easier, we taught in unity, and we applied it to his life. Because that’s what we’ve been told to do the most: apply the gospel, don’t just teach it. That way, the gospel will be more personal, more meaningful. Great lesson.

Another thing we did was have an appointment with a tutor, with just our companionship and the tutor. The tutor was Elder Roberts’ old roommate from BYU, Bro. Auna, a Hawaiian man who served in Rome, Italy. And guess what? This man is amazing. Probably one of the most loving people I’ve ever met, and I had only met him for 45 minutes. We talked about making the message personal, like we did in the lesson with the role-playing convert Elder. He bore his testimony, and it was probably the most powerful testimony I’ve ever heard. Amazing. Unfortunately, I can’t remember then entire 45-minute lesson since it seemed as though it went by in about 5 min. Amazing. I would also go into more detail if it weren’t for the fact that I’m writing this quiet late in the day, since I studied all morning.

Elder W. Craig Zwick, of the Quorum of the 70! Awesome talk, as usual! Man, I love Tuesdays, no matter how tired I am.

His wife spoke first, and set the tone for the rest of the night: using our personal testimony of Christ to withstand the trials of our missions. She spoke of two instances of incredible faith in the midst of horrible circumstance. The first was a story of when she and her husband were in Santiago, Chile, serving as mission president & wife. The first week, they got a phone call from a very freaked out missionary. He was standing in a phone booth, wearing nothing but his overcoat, since when he was teaching a lesson at the Church, his companion and him were ambushed. 7 men with machine guns came in, made them take off their clothes, and burned their clothes and the chapel to the ground. After telling his story, the missionary said, “Mission president, what should we do?”

The second is even . . . sadder. A sister missionary was telling her story to Sister Zwick, and what circumstances she had come from. When she was 16, a fire started at her home. She was able to escape, but her parents and 4 siblings died in the fire. She had absolutely nothing left in her life. Except for one thing.

In both instances, the people involved had a choice: stop and despair, or ask, “What should I do?” and then made the right decision. And in both cases, they chose right. The missionaries picked up where they left off and kept working with brand new suits, pants, and shoes. The sister didn’t choose to despair. She chose faith, and knowing that he family was safe in heaven, did all she could to insure that she would live with them again. She stayed active, and was currently serving a mission. She would see them again. AH! I LOVE THE PLAN OF SALVATION!

Elder Zwick then spoke. He talked of how he served in Bolivia 40 years ago, and the trials he faced as he helped create/build/design the first chapel in all of Bolivia. He talked of the miles the crossed on horseback, the mountain trails he trod, the storms he walked through, the materials he carried on burros (donkeys.) The entire time, he wasn’t talking about his own strength. He talked of the time he was on a mountain switchback while in a storm. The trail he was on had turned to mud, and the river beneath them was overflowing. Suddenly, one of the burros carrying building materials strayed too close to the edge. The path gave way, and the donkey fell, taking its materials, itself, and part of the pathway into the water below. When they peered over the edge, only raging mud was visible. It was gone.

Elder Zwick then spoke of how he had a choice then, wallow in despair on the switchback, scared to walk further, or keep on going. He thought of the village he was headed to, and the people there, and how much they needed the gospel in their lives to help them feel happy in one of the poorest places in South America. He kept on going.

He talked of how he thought of Christ’s example, and how He kept on going. Even when He could have stopped, He kept go; He had many worse things to work through, and never stopped. He knew the Atonement He would bring would make people happy no matter what their circumstances were. AH! GREAT TALK!

Sorry if all these letters end on the same slightly corny note. But, you know, even if they’re corny, they’re all true.

Adios. . .

Elder Humbert

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elder Humbert Enters the MTC

Photos from the day that Brok entered the MTC. . .

For his missionary plaque.
The handsome Elder in front of Mt. Timpanogas.
Elder Humbert and Mom & Dad

Grabbing his bags at the MTC.
And, off he goes. Not a look back.

Monday, December 6, 2010

11.30.10 MTC

Well, one more day and I’ll have been at the MTC for 4 weeks. Only 5 more to go, eh? It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but it also feels as though I’ve been here forever. I know I’ve said that before, multiple times, but you know what, it’s also been completely true each time as well!

This week has been great. At least, the days since my last letter have been great. I especially liked yesterday since it was probably one of my happiest since arriving.

I woke up feeling a bit more energetic than usual. I don’t know why, but I just felt like it was going to be an incredible day. And I was right. I wasn’t that tired during classes, I understood more Spanish than usual, and I was able to actually feel sore from my chest & shoulders workout. I love push-ups. Awesome exercise.

But anyway, it wasn’t until after lunch, that I felt really good. I had been speaking nothing but Spanish for the previous 2.5 hours or so, and I felt a little more confident than usual, which is why I didn’t freak out when I found out that Elder Roberts and I were just about to teach the entire second lesson (or at least, most of it. Oh, and it was the Plan of Salvation) to our teacher, Hma. De Leon, entirely in Spanish. It was the third time we had taught a lesson entirely in Spanish, but the times before that were pretty dang bad. But, I felt different this time. A little more hopeful. I guess.

We began teaching, and the first time in Spanish, I took the lead in the lesson. Elder Roberts and I still taught in unity, of course, but I felt much better about what I offered to the lesson. I focused on our “investigator” the whole time (Hma. De Lon was role playing as one of the investigators she taught on her mission) instead of wonering, “What the heck can I say in Spanish that won’t sound like gibberish?” When that happened, I didn’t even need to think about what to say. The Spirit was there with us, even though it wasn’t an entirely real lesson. I knew what to say, when to say it, what questions to ask, what scriptures to look up (in my entirely un-marked Spanish set), and how to transition more smoothly between speakers. I twas nothing short of incredible.

But, of course, I know it won’t be that easy in the field. Hma. De Leon played her part very well, but she was till taking it easy on us. But she does speak Spanish as fast as a native (probably because she’s from Guatemala), and I understood nearly all of what she said. It was great.

On the flip-side, though, I found out probably the only food that I’m dreading to eat in Mexico: menudo, or in other word, cow stomach. Apparently it’s really popular, and as described by Hmo. Anderson, it’s both “fuzzy and chewy.” But then again, I also spoke with Elder North (Mexican Elder from Orange County who’s going to Cochabamba, Bolivia) and he said that we are going to love every single thing we eat there. Which makes sense, because Mexican food is awesome. But, hit story abou the time he got some freshly-made churros one time when he was visiting his Grandma in Mexico was so good, it boosted my hopes even more. Speaking of dessert, I wonder how good home-made flan is. Eh, I guess I’ll find out since it turns out eating whatever is set before us isn’t just a a mission rule, it was what Christ said to the Seventy before they were sent out on their missions (see Luke 10:8 if you don’t believe me. And, I’m sure the food back then was even freakier than it is now.) Oh, and another food-related scripture that’s kind of interesting is Romans 14:2. Ah, the strange verses missionaries find when bored. Good stuff.

Oh, and another thing: I finished the Book of Mormon again 3 days ago. It tok me a little less than 4 weeks, as opposed to the last time when it took me 3 months. And, guess what? It’s still completely true. Crazy, eh? THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, PEOPLE. JUST READ AND FIND OUT. Anyway, time to start reading the New Testament again. I’m on John 2 right now. Once again, good stuff.

And I’ll wait ‘til tonight to finish this letter. I want to tell everyone who spoke at the devotional, and what they said. Hopefully, another apostle. That’d be awesome. Ah, and we’re singing, “Oh Love that Glorifies the Son” tonight. They could have just called it “Charity” to simplify it, but hey, it works.

I was on camera for a huge part of the hymn, apparently. Doesn’t really mater, but we performed it well.

The speaker was Julie Beck, the General President of the Relief Society. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of women speakers, since they always seem to sugar coat whatever they’re talking about. Fortunately, she didn’t. She talked about how her father was the only who originally created the Brazil MTC, and many other stories. It was an entertaining talk, but I’ll be honest again: I didn’t get much out of it.

I guess I’m the kind of Elder that likes the powerfully emotional talks, not the light-hearted ones. But she still had some great points, or at least, what she talked about brought some good thoughts forward. This is just one of them:

Charity is not reasonable. It’s not logical. Its motives are not of the world, but the heart. It doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t need to. God loves all men, women, and children, no matter who they are. And even though I may not be a loving, charitable person, I know I can be eventually. Although it might take some time. I am weird, after all.

Elder Humbert