Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014 - In which the Temple reopens and missionary work is amazing!

Dear family,

This morning I got to go to the Temple again! Since Thanksgiving the Provo Temple has been closed, but it reopened Monday and so we got to go again. It was so nice to be able to worship there because you leave with so much strength. I think you don't realize how many blessings the Temple brings until you don't have access to one!

I've learned a lot since Friday! Specifically I've realized more about the missionary that I want to become. Up until now, my long-term goals weren't very specific. I mostly depended on the description of a successful missionary from Preach My Gospel on page 8 or so, but on Friday night I had a powerful experience in our last class with Brother Machado. The goals that I set were still very similar to the description in PMG, (devoted, service-minded, focused, etc.) but it was so powerful to have a feeling of who I wanted to be instead just pages in a book (never to knock PMG, of course). It was also powerful to have a witness from the Holy Ghost that I can become the missionary that I want to be.

On Sunday I officially became Zone Leader with Elder Nelson. I'm excited for my opportunity to be able to serve the missionaries in my Zone! Someone sent me an email asking more about what that means. Before when I was District Leader I was responsible for the five missionaries in my district, but my zone (at least in the MTC) is the same thing as my branch. So I work directly with the Branch Presidency to serve the missionaries in my zone. In a very real sense it's my primary responsibility to be as Christlike and uplifting to everyone in my zone as possible. I also do a bit of logistical stuff, but the first bit is more important.

Two days ago on Monday we taught Pavel again. It was such an amazing lesson! We were trying to find out more about why exactly he wanted to prepare to be baptized, and he told us that he wanted a new life! IT WAS SO EXCITING! Before he said this I hadn't realized consciously that I had been worrying about this, but I realized that for my entire stay here in the MTC (and quite a bit before, also), I had been worried that the people I'd meet would be interested in the gospel academically, but when it came to it they wouldn't be ready to change. But Pavel's saying that made me realize that there are people out there who are ready for the gospel and there are people ready to make a new life! It also was more encouragement for me to be the missionary that I need to be. I love teaching so much.

Last night for our Tuesday Evening Devotional the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Bishop Stevenson, and his wife came and spoke to us. Sister Stevenson told us an amazing story from when they were the mission presidency in the Japan Nagoya Mission. I don't have time to relate it at all, but it was a powerful story about loving those you meet unconditionally and seeing their potential. It was so uplifting.

I wish I had time to say more about how the MTC and being a missionary is changing me, but I hope you all can see that from my letters. I love being a missionary! I love the MTC! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on this earth. I know because it blesses me every day of my life. It's sometimes hard to move forward, but the Atonement gives me strength to do that. It gives my life meaning, both now and it will into eternity. I'm so grateful for the Temple. It's truly the House of the Lord. I'm so glad for the gospel.

I love you!

Starší Boyce

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