Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Evan's First Letter!

Picture of Evan right before entering the MTC on 3/12/14 in Provo, Utah

Having a great time in the MTC have never felt the Spirit so much in my life so consistently. And MAN I love readin the Book of Mormon so much now. I'm learning a lot and the Lord is helping me get through this awkward first stage of my mission.

Well from the beginning of my MTC experience to now, I've grown a lot and have had to practice much patience with people. My zone is super fun, I'm the "Grandpa" of the zone and everyone kind of comes to me with their problems. I'm the oldest and MOST of these Elders and Sisters struggle with knowing when it’s time to quiet down and my companion especially enjoys being the center of attention. We all love each other so much though and have tons of fun together. Our district is full of spiritual, intelligent Elders and Sisters and they are a really good examples to me and they are answering tons of questions that I have. The one thing about the MTC I don't like is when we are asked to do roleplay with people that aren't very good actors. It's really easy for me to just talk to people if I feel like I'm getting to know a real person and it is an extraordinary experience. I feel like others need the practice much more than I do with using PMG, getting to know them and getting comfortable with them, so I'm trying to help out and encourage them to say things. I kind of feel that way about most of the MTC right now. I try to keep quiet and let others practice or come to their own inspired conclusions on whatever we may be discussing as opposed to just always jumping in during class or roleplay and saying my opinion or just taking control of the conversation. I really enjoy watching us all grow together. We have a couple of Sisters named Sister Nielsen and Sister Preciado and they are the powerhouse companionship of our zone. We get new missionaries tomorrow, and now we are considered the "old" missionaries, so we have orientation for them tomorrow night. I'm really excited about getting to know them and helping them get through those first couple of days. My companion and I are the Zone leaders and with the incoming district we'll have 7 Sisters and 8 Elders, so it should be fun. 
The food here isn't terrible but I most definitely would not like to stay here for the 9 weeks (learning a language added on to that) like Preston did. Kudos to him. Never in my entire life has the Spirit been such a constant companion for me. It is amazing to me the things I'm learning and the things I'm finding out about myself. Our District Leader is awesome too, sadly he's going to Richmond, Virginia and I won't be seeing him for a very long time. He's a spiritual giant and it amazes me the things he picks out of verses or the insight he has on certain things. I don't have a card reader or a chord for my camera so you peeps won't be getting pictures for a while. I may just end up sending home my memory card because I took two for this reason. I've been putting a lot of my faith in our Heavenly Father this last week and spent probably a good 6-8 hours just praying to have the spirit guide me. ANYWAYS overall, this has been a great experience for me, I really just want to be out in the field and teaching real people, NOT actors. But there’s a couple thousand missionaries here doing the same thing as me so it can't be that bad. 
I read Mike and Taylor's letter, I'm afraid I don't have much time right now to reply, I'll try to hand write some letters and send them out here this next week, but no promises, our schedules are insane, and then at the end of the night when we go to the residence hall we have about 45 minutes to prepare for bed read scriptures, pray, comp study, journal, etc. etc. And as a (pretty much solo) zone leader we have all of those responsibilities on top of that. I would so be using Mormon euphemistic slang throughout all of my letters in an attempt to express my excitement and gratitude for being out here, but I'm trying to transition my language over to that of a professional for when I'm out in the field. Plus some guy said something along the lines of "follow with [something] and you'll receive blessings, follow with exactness and you'll receive miracles" so I decided to receive miracles. I'll let you know when they start happenin.
I love you all and I hope you're doing well.

Elder Gillespie

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