Sunday, August 28, 2016

MTC week 4 - He knows each of us.

To answer your questions;
I leave September 7th, if everything works out like it should. There is an Elder here who's passport got lost, so he's been here for almost 8 weeks now...
I have heard I can call you from the airport, and yes I would need a minute card. I'm sure me and my district will figure it out when the time comes.
No, I stayed with the same kasama (companion, literally = one who goes with) 
No, me and Elder Copeland are the only ones in our district going to Olongapo, but everyone else is still in Luzon, the main island of the Philippines. 
I just got a hair cut today, it's free for missionaries at the MTC
Yes, I will spend 5 day's in the Manila MTC, mostly for Visa purposes. Hopefully though, we can go to the Manila Temple while we are there. 

That's awesome to hear about Football, that all seems so far away now! It's good that they both are working out, fitness is important throughout life.  Weird to think that life is going on without me. 
My teachers told me that the word of wisdom is a really big deal in the Philippines, people will smoke and drink for social aspects, medical, and they start at a really young age. It will be a big deal for most people, but I know the blessings of Heaven are upon those who can break that habit.
Time Management is a chapter in the Preach My Gospel for a reason, I have a hard time fitting in all the studying that I have to do. That's more impressive to me, when people can realize that even the good things they are doing could be replaced with better things. "Good, Better, Best; Never let it rest, till your good is your better, and your better is your best." What a great goal! Maybe you should have a Family Home Evening and everyone could discuss things they wanted to improve, so you all could help strengthen each other in those goals. 

This week I have learned that God knows each and every single one of us. He is omnipotent and all powerful, with the love of a Father to his children. His hand IS in our lives EVERY day. We can see and know that, if we will just look for it. We had a great devotional this week from one of the 70. He shared the Investigator's point of view on Missionaries. He said; "SEE that ye serve with ALL of your heart ( your desires), ALL of your might ( your talents and skills), ALL of your mind ( your imagination and intelligence), and ALL of your strength (your physical abilities). As you do this, Investigators will see your passion for this gospel, and want to know more." Our teachers have said that we could get baptisms in the Philippines simply because we are white. They love white people, and seek their attention, and will agree to be baptized just because we asked. But it is more important for them to gain a testimony, and know why they are being baptized. Many people will be baptized, and then stop going to church. They don't full

y understand the plan. We, as members of the Church, who all know and understand the plan, should always strive to attend church, and constantly set our goal on the Temple. As we go to the temple, we show that we are worthy to be saints of Jesus Christ, and also can gain a better understanding of the Lord's will for us. The temple should always be our end goal, and we should attend regularly. 

I love you all, and miss you. I hope you will keep writing me!
Mahal kita,
Elder Potter

Friday, August 19, 2016

MTC week 3 - Pride

This week we had transfers, and I was expecting to be made a district or zone leader... Instead, the Elder who was struggling the most with the mission it seemed, was made District leader. I had a really hard time accepting that, because I thought I could do a better job than he would. But in a really emotional testimony meeting we had as a district I was able to realize that if I wanted to become the best missionary I could be, I needed to accept God's will for me. Then, after I shared that, our Zone leader (the old district leader) took me aside and told me that he looked up to me as a leader in the mission, and even though I wasn't given a leadership position, I could still be a leader. That helped me a lot. I was struggling with my pride, and couldn't understand why God wouldn't choose me. 
We watched a video from a general conference talk, about a bush. The bush had grown big and tall, and was happy with that. But then the gardener came and cut the bush down, very small. The bush cried out; "How could you? I was so strong, and so big, and so happy! Why would you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here?" The gardener then said; "I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. And someday, you will thank me for cutting you down so low."
Hopefully I have a handle on my pride know, and I can wait until the day when I will look back and say; "thank you for cutting me down, and making me into who I am today." 
Today at the temple, I went with a question; "What can I do to better be as thy Hands and do thy will?" The answer came as I sat in the Celestial room, and picked up the Bible. The book mark was stuck to Isaac's story, when Abraham was about to sacrifice him. In the Chapter summary, it says; "Both father and son yield to the will of God." Hopefully I won't have to make as great a sacrifice as Abraham or Isaac in order to do God's will, but I know that in order to do what God wants me to do, some sacrifices need to be made. Like leaving my family for two years, and going to the Philippines. I don't know if or what the Lord may ask of me, but I hope that I will be ready when that time comes. 
I got Cadet Dunn's letter, and the package! It was awesome! But I haven't gotten my patriarchal blessing yet, so I think it's been lost. I'll see if I can get it printed off here, but I don't know how to go about that. I am just excited for it so that I can try and become the man described in it! 
I've seen Elder Rigby, Elder Gatherum, and I saw Quincy Adams once! I hardly recognized him, but he stopped me at lunch and we talked for a second. 
I've gotten pretty used to the schedule here, classes and white shirts. Tagalog is still slowly coming, but I can say almost any sentence in Taglish if I can think about it for a couple of minutes! Not near good enough yet, but hopefully I can get there. Oh and don't ever feel like you are sending too many DearElders! I love to get them, and know that someone is thinking of me!
I love you, and miss you! 
Elder Potter

Thursday, August 11, 2016

MTC week 2

It's so good to hear about home and every thing that is going on. It's hard to know that you all were so close, at Hannah's wedding. I hope you know I pray for you all every night, to be watched over and protected. I saw Seleck, and we got a picture on his Ipad but haven't gotten it yet. I'm glad to hear life is going on as normal, I almost miss the thought of school. 

Thank you for your example of diligence in reading the Aklat ni Mormon, I have been so busy studying different things that I have gotten off of my regular reading schedule. I will have to improve that. 

Me and Elder Copland get along well, we have a few differences that we settle quickly. Mostly because I want to go and do everything; choir, study, get mail with the District Leader, and he would rather stay in the residency and read. But we get permission to go on splits with other Elders with similar desires. 

The language is coming dahan-dahan (slowly) but surely. I know enough to say most things in Tagalog, but sentence structure and verb conjugation are difficult still. For example...
Patay = kill
Patayin = to kill
Pinatay = killed
Pinapatay = killing 
Papatayin = will kill
Pinatay ng mga tao ang JesusChristo 
Killed by the people was Jesus Christ
But if you said...
Pinatay and mga tao ng JesusChristo
Killed was the people by Jesus Christ
You can see how ang and ng have become nightmares for many missionaries. ]
I have learned that true Christlike pag-ibig (love as a noun) is essential to missionary work. We where practicing teaching to one of the Sister teachers who had bothered me all day. I don't know what it was but something about her bothered me... I was unable to feel ang Espiritu Santo, so I nagdasal (prayed) to be forgiven of my anger. I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of love and pride in this Sister, and after reading in the scriptures, was able to share a message with her. She later told me, in Tagalog, that my words where similar to those in her patriarchal blessing.

On Tuesdays we have guest speakers come in and have a devotional with us. Last weeks was Elder Holand's son, and this week was Elder Anderson! He bore such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, and his power. I felt the Espiritu Santo so powerfully, it was incredible. He talked about how we would have 'joyous reunions in heaven' and I felt Grandpa Bill near at that moment. I know that he is watching over us, and protecting us. 

I am still waiting for the letter from Cadet Dunn, and my patriarchal blessing. If you could get those to me fast that would be awesome, I really want to read both of them. Other than that, I love getting Dear Elders, letters, and packages. It's just something that brightens my day knowing you are thinking of me. But you have everyone's emails, so if they want me to email them back they will have to either email me or send me their email in the Dear Elder. 

Mamal kito ( love for you )
Elder Potter

Thursday, August 4, 2016

MTC week 1

Hello Mom! 
My first week in the MTC! It was crazy! We were thrown into teaching on our second day here. Which would have been hard enough, if it wasn't in Tagalog!! The hardest part of teaching someone in a different language, is not really knowing what questions they have, or how to answer them. We teach one of the other Tagalog teachers here at the MTC, but we call him Romel. He only speaks to us in Tagalog, unless there is a word he knows that we don't know or can't find in our dictionaries.
Kasama ko ( my companion) is Elder Copland. He is 19, and lives in Missouri. He was really good at football and baseball until he broke his ankle, twice! He is a pretty goofy guy, (somewhere between Anthon and Chad), but he has a great understanding of how people are feeling and can really connect with almost anyone, which are very important attributes for a missionary to have. 
Yes, I have gotten all the Dear Elders, my shoes, Candy from Grandma, and the drawings from the Champneys! 
Sundays at the MTC are amazing, we start early with zone Sacrament meeting in Taglish ( Tagalog and English), and have all our other meetings as a district. The zone is basically everyone speaking Tagalog, and next week our zone will be over 100 missionaries. My district is 10 missionaries who all live next to each other. We are classmates, and have grown to be close friends.We are zone 16, district J. 
Elder Temple is our district leader, and he is amazing. A great example of leadership and calm in this stressful time. He is from Texas, and super into fitness. His kasama is Elder McFadden. He is from Snow Canyon, and is a cowboy/drama&choir kid. His knowledge of the gospel and ability to pick up the language is crazy. Elder Iabeta (i think) is from Kirabiti, a small island east of the Philippines by like 200 miles. He is a great example of strength and faith, as he is learning two languages; English and Tagalog, and has a hard time understanding our culture. His kasama, Elder Tanner, is smart and patient, but also laid back and fun to be around. He and Iabeta are struggling to understand each other, not so much the language but each others personalities. Me and my kasama have our hands full trying to listen to both sides of the argument. He is from Utah, but I can't remember where. Elder Brockbank, is from Utah also, shorter, and he thinks he's very funny. Very competitive; he challenged Temple to Basketball (bad idea) and when I beat him at chess he was shocked. He has nicknames for everyone, he calls me different names from the Harry Potter books. Severus is his favorite. His kasama, Elder Rogers is from Utah, and he has a twin in our zone. They look so much a like, it's crazy hard to tell them apart. Both are quiet, but smart. My roommates are Elder Black and Elder Hamilton. Black is short and funny, from Kodiak Alaska. Hamilton is 6' 7", quiet and annoyed by most of us, from Richfield or Parowan, I can't remember. 
Tuesday was hard for me, The devotional we had reminded me a lot about you, and then I got you Dear Elder after that. It was rough. but then a scripture in D&C 68 ( Hindi ko alam which verse ) that really helped me. I know that I am where I'm supposed to be, and that this is what I need to be doing. 
We have ( on a normal day) 2 three hour blocks of class, and one three hour block of PCL. Personal, Companion, and Language study. 
Will you please also send my patriarchal blessing to me? It's in that little green dresser, in the envelope I got it in. 
I love you all, and miss you so much. I've got to run to get my clothes dried, before my machine gets stolen. The gospel is true, I know that. Jesus loves us all. 

With Love,
Elder Potter.