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Elder Joseph Billings (via the mission home)
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It has been an amazing first few days here at the MTC. We dove right into German on the first day and was already teaching an investigator in German on Friday. We have two really great teachers in class. One is Brother Luna and the other is Brother Devonas. Brother Devonas ran cross country at Timpview and took German from Stephan. Our entire Zone is new Missionaries so no one knew what to do the first few days. Thursday night the Branch Presidency called two zone leaders, Elder Melanson and Elder Leppert, two district leaders, myself and Elder Nilson, and some other callings. One of my responsibilities as a District Leader is that I get the Mail twice a day so I am the most popular person in the District! Our entire Zone is 14 missionaries. Elders Nilson, Cobbley, Leppert, Melanson, and Sisters Funk, Wood, and Eden are in one District and Elders Liddiard, Clarke Flack, Blake, Francom and Hein are in My District.
My companion is Elder Liddiard. He is a great guy. He is quieter than most people but he is a hard worker. If you take the time to listen to him you can learn a lot. He is having slightly more trouble learning German than the other guys in our class, Elder Clarke and Elder Flack, But he is constantly asking questions about How to say things and practicing speaking the language. I bet he will soon be a better speaker than any of us in the class, except maybe Elder Clarke. Elder Clarke is an amazing missionary, he is constantly trying to learn new words and pronunciations in German. He is also a very talented musician and all around fun person to be around. He and Elder Nilson are practicing to audition for a special music number in a fireside. Elder Nilson is an amazing vocalist, I have gone to a couple of their practices and I was extremely impressed. I convinced the two of them to help me learn to read music and maybe play a little piano. Those two Elders and I are going to try to get a German quartet together, we just need one more Elder.
Everything is not just a cake walk though. I have had some struggles with the language, the schedule, and the responsibility I have for other missionaries. I have had a couple long nights on my knees and laying awake in my bed. Fortunately I have the Branch President, the scriptures and prayer to help me along.
Sunday was amazing! We went on a temple walk on Sunday morning. There was an amazing spirit there. Our zone walked around to the back and talked a lot with the other elders that were there. I saw Elder Boyce there and we talked some more. There were protesters outside the temple yelling at us and walking around with big crosses. I felt really bad for them because they must have had some rough things happen to them if they feel the need to oppose the LDS church and the mission work. That night we had choir practice (every Sunday and Tuesday night). It was an amazingly spiritual experience. We sang “Nearer my God to Thee”. The conductor is an amazing guy. He taught us about the song history. It is all about Jacob when he left his home after Esau told him he was going to kill him. After that there was a Fireside that President Heaton spoke at. And right after that we listened to a fireside President Uchtdorf spoke at in April 2006. They both went together really well and I learned a lot.
This morning we went to the temple. It was really great, but the protesters were by the MTC when we were heading back. We had to wait for the light to change and one of the protesters came up and almost talked my ear off. We have done a good job of ignoring them though. Today is our P Day so we put our laundry in, and I think it has been done for a while now. Sorry Elders. And yes mom I did remember to separate whites and darks.