“O ye that embark”

Today marks the end of my third week in the MTC, which represents about one third of my total time here. It’s incredible to think of how much has happened in such a short space of time. Each day I learn so much and yet it still feels like I’m wasting time. I feel like I’m really starting to appreciate just how much can be squeezed out of single day.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in previous emails, but one of my favorite parts of the MTC are the devotionals. Every Sunday and Tuesday, we have the opportunity to hear a wonderful pair of addresses from MTC leaders and General Authorities. This week was especially moving because we had several performances by a guest artist. I will forever be grateful for the incredibly moving power of hymns. They have been such a great blessing in my life, and my testimony has grown so much through the messages they carry.
Following the performance, we heard from Elder Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy, who, after 22 years of full-time church service, is approaching his release. As he spoke I felt the sacred power of the testimony of a man who has given his whole life to God. His message was truly inspiring, and was one that I have actually been considering a lot lately. It emphasized the sacred nature of this work, and the consecrated nature of a calling as a missionary. All my life I’ve been inspired by the incredible examples of powerful missionaries. They have always made me want to be a better person, to work a little harder, and to give a little more to others. But now their example means something a little different. Because now I’m involved in the same work they were. As small and weak as I feel, the call is the same. To serve as a true messenger to those people I have been called to find and help.
I’m so grateful for this wonderful work, and the great blessings that it has already brought into my life. I’m so grateful for this gospel, and the light and truth it contains. I love the Book of Mormon, and the great comfort and guidance that can be found within its pages, whether they come from the words of ancient prophets or through the gentle instruction of the Holy Ghost.
I love being a missionary. Sometimes I just look down at my tag and ponder about what it really represents. It’s only been three weeks but I’m already dreading the moment when I’ll have to take it off, and return to “real” life.
I love you all!
Elder Barden
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