Elder Echols

Elder Echols

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week 4: The Departure and Arrival of Friends

September 10, 2016

Hello family and friends!

I hope you all have been having a good week, whatever you're up to.

This week for me included the last few days for the Czechs and Slovaks from our zone. On Sunday, a lot of them spoke for testimony meeting, and it was pretty great to hear all of their perspectives on their impending departures to foreign lands. Later on Sunday we all took a lot of pictures together while on our walk to the temple.

Lots of Missionaries walking to the Provo Temple
Me and lots of Missionary Friends Posing for Pictures

And, the night before, while they were all packing, my roommates and I received many donations to our food storage. Starsi Hammer also gave me a Rubik's cube that had been given to him by a previous Polish-speaking elder. I'll pass it on to someone else in the zone just before I leave. (Zone traditions are a big thing here.)

Sunday night a bunch of us elected to watch "The Testaments", which is a historical fiction set in the Americas during the times that the events of The Book of Mormon were happening (you should watch it). Of course, the crowning event of The Book of Mormon, and thus this movie, is the visitation of Christ to the people of the Americas. My favorite part of the movie is when Christ is walking through the crowds, because the way it's depicted really reminded me that he knows each of us, one by one, and loves us all more than we could imagine. He even calls the character Helam by name, and then heals his blindness. Christ knows your name and loves you. Here I am bearing my testimony in the Croatian language:

On Monday, Elder Leach got sick, and so I stayed back with him for part of the day rather than having him go to class so sick. We went to the doctor, and while I waited I contributed a few pieces to the giant jigsaw puzzle they have there. We even got to venture out of the MTC, across the street to the BYU health center to pick up a prescription for him.

On Tuesday, the devotional was by D. Todd Christofferson, one of the quorum of the 12 Apostles. When he entered the room, we were all in the middle of singing a prelude hymn, (for my non-Mormon friends, it's tradition for all to arise when an apostle enters the room) and I thought it was pretty funny how abruptly everybody stood up, since most people weren't able to see who it actually was.

Departing missionaries saying their goodbyes to all the friends they made while at the MTC
An empty lunchroom before new missionaries arrive at the MTC
On Wednesday our district got to be host missionaries to new arrivals. I hosted 4 new missionaries, and while I was doing so, I happened to see Jon Schmidt dropping off his twin sons. Pretty cool. We also got 5 new people into our zone: 3 czech speakers, 1 Macedonian/Bulgarian, and 1 Slovak speaker. They're pretty cool so far ;)

Me and other missionaries preparing to host new missionary arrivals
Jon Schmidt dropping off his twin missionaries
This missionary host saw a good friend of his being dropped off and ran to give him a hug. I am in the background and got to host the next dropped off missionary.
 Thursday, I got sick. Nothing too bad...just a stuffy nose, cough, congestion type thing. The MTC plague. With that, the day started off really rough with about zero motivation. The first words I said were "ne mogu danas" (meaning "I can't today") but then when we got to our lesson with Jadranka, it went 0% according to plan, but it was so much better than we ever could've planned for. She started off with a really hard question, and we were able to answer it by the end. The spirit was there testifying of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I know it is true.

For "exercise time" I took a nap. #sickDay. That was quite relaxing. Later that night during study (outside) I one-by-one ran into a bunch of people I new from various places, such as Elder Trevor Peterson from home in Ohio. That was fun.

One of my best friends, Elder Trevor Peterson, from Loveland, Ohio, arrived at the MTC this week!
Friday, for exercise time we introduced the newbies to Australian Handball, of course. Some of them are already darn good at it, and all of them seem to like it. Zone traditions are the best. I also finally found Elder Zachary Ralph, who had arrived on Wednesday.

Another friend of mine, Elder Zachary Ralph, who arrived at the MTC this week, from Blanchester, Ohio!
 Our lessons, teaching members of the church, went really well. In class we finally officially learned about "cases". Cases are a grammar concept common to slavic languages. Feel free to look it up =P. Our teachers have seemingly been keeping us in the dark about this absolutely essential language concept, so it was nice to finally get it out in the open. I also went to the doctor and got some pills to help with my sinus problems. I've been feeling better since then.

So, that's pretty much it for this week. Your homework is to read 2 Nephi, chapter 31. It talks about the importance of baptism, and how one can come unto Christ.

Vidimo se! s ljubav,
Elder Ryan Echols
2005 N 900 E Unit 232
Provo UT 84602

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