Missionary Training Center Week 1 – “as little children”

DSC03199DSC03194DSC03191DSC03188Hey guys!

I’m loving my time in the MTC. This is such a wonderful place and I’m constantly reminded of its consecrated nature. The Spirit is such a powerful influence here.
Our first few days was a crazy flurry of activity, and I felt like everything I did was just one long train of following our zone leaders from place to place until they told us it was time to sleep. On our second day, the five members of my language class also got some news that gave us all a miniature heart attack. We received an assignment. We were going to teach an investigator. That night. In nothing but Lithuanian.
One problem with that. I knew roughly three words.
It went about as well as you might expect. She asked a question, and we just sat there trying to figure out what to do.
I’ll admit, it was a little bit of a shock.
The next day I had a really wonderful experience during one of our personal study periods. As I was reading in the 50th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, I came across a passage in which the Lord refers to several newly called missionaries as His “little children.” As I read that particularly tender passage, I thought about the first time I tried to learn a new language, back when I was just toddling around our North Salt Lake living room. Things were simple then. Nothing required any complicated evaluation. What I knew was my family. My mother, my father, and my siblings. I knew they loved me, and I knew they were going to take care of me.
In that moment, thinking about how little old me must have been so long ago, I had a wonderful realization impressed upon me by the Holy Spirit. I felt a simple message spoken to my mind and heart. “I need you as you were then. I will guide you, I will lead you by the hand, but you need to trust me. In that moment will My hand be revealed.”
Throughout the New Testament, the Lord would constantly encourage his disciples to become “as little children.” Not to adopt the crying and demanding manner of a toddler, but to adopt the simple humility of a child on a loving father’s knee. In my first few days at the MTC, I was consumed by a drive. I wanted to be the Best missionary I could be on the first day. I wanted to learn the language as fast as I could. I wanted to plan and teach fabulous lessons. I wanted to excel in the Lord’s service. But that’s not what I needed. I needed to be humble. I needed to adopt that same faith that I had as a little child. I needed to calm my eagerness to be the absolute best missionary and instead adopt a patient, humble attitude that would allow me to feel the Spirit.
I know I can’t learn Lithuanian in 9 weeks. That’s just not possible. Not on my own. But the Lord doesn’t ask us to do it on our own. He asks us to trust him, work as hard as we can, and trust that He will build upon our efforts and make them enough.
One of the great benefits of learning the gospel in a new language is how it forces you down to the simplest and most powerful principles.
“God is our Heavenly Father” Dievas yra musu Dangiskasis Tevas
“Jesus Christ is our Savior” Jesus Kristus yra musu Gelbetojia
“God loves us” Dievas myli mus
I’m so grateful for these simple truths. I may struggle to have the humility of little child, but I’m blessed to now have the conviction and a testimony only gained through years of the Spirit bearing testimony in response to prayer.
Thanks for all the letters, I really appreciate them.
I love you all!
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