A lot of the things I tell you in these letters is bits and pieces from my journal. It's something I'm very glad to have here, partly for the help it gives me in organizing my thoughts and feelings.
To answer some questions before I share some thoughts I've had, yes I am at the actual MTC. I don't have to stay at West Campus (which I believe is the Raintree apartment place dad asked me about). However, my zone gets transferred over there October 1st. All of the Slovaks leave that day so there's no need to transfer. Except Elder Williams and I have our departure date scheduled for October 2nd... I'm really hoping I don't have to pack, transfer for a day and then leave. The box of candy was great, and of course I shared! It was a good idea about the gift of tongues.
A thought I had in my personal study I would like to share with you. The seminary theme my senior year was "stand ye in holy places". In the scriptures, the mountains are considered holy places, apart from the world, equivalent to temples. Here on the earth, we live on dry ground. Sometimes it's very flat around us or valleys seem very low. Yet the dry ground is actually the high ground- the low places are filled with the oceans and the seas. If there was no more water in those places, our high position would be very plain to see. I was struck by the thought that we are constantly standing on the temple built for us by God. He has given us a way to remain separate from the low places, a barrier we call the seas. This reflects how our lives should be in order to come closer to our Heavenly Father. He has given us commandments that can act as a strong barrier between us and the low places of the world, the sinful and base things that would drag us down. We are given bodies that are holy temples of the Lord, places that can receive revelation from God and house his Holy Spirit. As followers of Christ, we become the high ground. We can stand on one another's testimonies and be lifted up, and we can be the support for those who seek to leave the low places behind. Yet as high as we are, there are mountains upon the mountains we dwell on. Progression continues and we seek always for a standing ground still higher and holier. It's vital to fill our protective oceans to the brim and then recognize that our journey upward never ends in this life. It's up to us to climb higher, and we can count on God to provide the footholds we need.
I've discovered that the best way for me to unwind here at the MTC is to play basketball. (sorry, that was a rather random and abrupt change in thought) Nothing works as well for releasing energy. A lot of energy gets built up here because we sit around so much and it can cause stress sometimes. Besides prayer, it's one of the best things I can do to collect myself. Like gathering my thoughts and organizing them, I mean. It makes me happy to play a sport I love.
Each day here seems to last forever, but weeks begin to roll by quickly. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was listening to Elder Scott, but this morning it feels like it happened yesterday. Yet my departure day feels so far away. I mean, October? That's over a month away. I think the reason for this is that my days are so repetitive. I'll enjoy the variety of the field.
I love you all very much and miss you lots. Thank you, each one of you, for the words you send. The support makes a big difference and I just like hearing your familiar personalities too. By the way, Dad, Vai Sikahema spoke at one of our devotionals. I figured you would know who he is- he played for BYU.
Elder Zachary Brown