Well after I got dropped off by everyone (which was awesome by the way) I got taken straight into one of the buildings to grab my name tags they had waiting for me and my books and everything. You basically have no time to even think about what just happened. I mean, I just said goodbye to my family and best friends for two years, but I didnt even have time to review that in my mind. When I was getting my name tag I saw Sister Stucki! Jordan Stucki's (my roommate at byu) mom! It was so good to see a familiar face right off the bat. Anyways we dropped our stuff off and went straight to class where I met my two companions. We are in a trio so that is kind of weird but really cool at the same time. Elder Palmer and Elder Echols are both from payson utah so its cool to have some guys that for sure live close to me going to the same mission! SOUTH AFRICA! Yes!! Anyways my district is amazing! So three of us are going to South Africa and the other six guys (three companionships) are headed to Winnepeg, Canada. I don't even know if I spelled that correctly. But yeahh, such stellar people and we already all are so close!
Our days are super long with getting up at six, being in class by seven AM and studying, teaching or being taught till about 9:15 PM every night. It's a hard schedule, I'll be real, but going on a mission is already the greatest choice I have made in my life. The spirit is a constant companion. It's hard for it to not be here because we are constantly studying the scriptures, praying for others and working on bettering ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. Our purpose has to do with every part of what we are doing here! So go study up on it! Break it down and start applying this to your own lives. If we think about the savior he was constantly reaching out. He was always inviting and focusing on others. No one can name a time where he focused on himself and his own pains or issues. When reading the story of the atonement and how he went through such agony and absolute pain and horror I wonder how, as he was hanging from the cross, he was able to still take a moment and make sure his mother was going to be looked after, be able to tell the two thieves he was hanging between that they would join him in heaven and pray to the Father to forgive the people who were doing this two him because they "know not what they do." Every part of the saviors life has to do with others! His entire purpose was to change others for the better.
I have always said this gospel is about love, and the more I study it and dig into everything the more I realize it. We can help people change their hearts by loving them ourselves and telling them of God's love for them. I know this is absolutely necessary and true for conversion. I have felt the Saviors love for me change my heart. My purpose as a missionary was really put into perspective when I read Jacob 1:19. Read it and you will know what I am talking about. I read that and shared it with my district in class. My teacher said that if we truly understood that scripture then we would not be able to sleep at night because we felt such urgency. That is how we all need to be, completely engaged and focused on this work! I love this and I feel like it is only going to get better.
I have already been able to give a few blessings here. A guy in my district asked me for a blessing. I gave it to him and had the words put into my mouth. He was crying and a bit later he told me he was just about to leave and quit his mission, but after hearing what God wanted him to hear he was going to stay and give it all he has. The Lord has already been placing words in my mouth that are changing people. I have literally been ready to share a scripture in a lesson then I would get an impression to just flip over like 200 pages and I'd land right on a scripture that relates and is exactly what the investigator needs. We are working with a guy named Nicolai and a guy named Sam. Nicolai is such a stud, but he wants to come close to God. We have had him read 3 nephi 11 and now he has read about 10 chapters in first nephi. He is praying and feeling peace which I explained to him using D&C 6:23. Life is amazing. Everytime my companions and I tried to go in with a lesson in mind we absolutely failed. But when we went in with just knowledge and study and made it focused on the individual, what they were feeling, and their needs, then that it when the spirit flowed and we could share a message and bear testimony that made a difference.
I love you all! The mission is the greatest thing. I have never been happier or felt more purpose in my life than when I am trying to invite others to come unto Christ.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne