Hello family and friends!
Well, my first week at the MTC could not have been better! I have loved every second of it! I absolutely love being a missionary! I know that being a missionary is one of those things where you don't really know what to expect until you're "in it" That's why it is so important to prepare. You can never prepare too much to serve the lord. Just like the Atonement, always striving to do better, and BECOME better.
I love my companion Elder Reichman. He's 6'5 and from Colorado. He is a very nice kid, and loves to work. Which is a tender mercy from the Lord I know. One of my biggest fears of going on a mission was me having a companion who is lazy, and doesn't like to work. I know I will have one down the road. But I wanted to hit the ground running from a teaching perspective. And that is exactly what we have done. I have come to know that the more I strive to serve my companion everyday, the easier the lord makes it for me to love him more and more.
Anyways, this week has been crazy! Once again, I love being a missionary. At night I am so surprised, because I have never felt so tired in my life. But at the same time so incredibly happy. On Wednesday when I got to the MTC, and swear I had every other missionary coming up to me smiling and saying: "Welcome to the MTC!!" Very loud. I totally understand the concept, and loved it. But 4 hours later when Elder Judd hasn't eaten in a couple hours he gets a little "hangry" and those high spirited, very happy missionaries come right up to you and shake your hand and say "Welcome to the MTC!! Welcome to the MTC!!" I thought to myself two things...1. Stop saying that, it's annoying and I'm about hurt you." And then I thought to myself this.. 2."Why is it that these missionaries are so happy?"
Anyways as the week went on, living everyday as a servant of the lord, studying constantly in a classroom for ten hours every day, praying more than I ever have every day, learning how to teach, preparing to teach every day, building my faith in Jesus Christ every day, striving to be a Perfectly obedient missionary every single day, building my testimony by the minute, maybe even without me knowing it some times. As I continue to do this things, day in, and day out, every single day while I am here at the MTC. I have received my answer to: "Why are all these missionaries so happy?" And the answer is simply that of a Friendship they have. This friend is not of this world. If this friend can trust you, this friend will show you things. Things about yourself. Things about yourself you could not fathom yourself doing without the help of this friend. This friend can tell you "all things what ye should do." If this friend can trust you, he will simply make you happier than you could ever be on your own. Does he trust you? And more importantly...Do you trust him? Do you trust his voice? This friend of mine, of all of us, is the Holy Ghost. This is the answer I received about these beautiful, kind, welcoming missionaries. Is that all of these young people have a bond that simply cannot be broken accept it be by their agency. And how do you build that trust with that friend? You be OBEDIENT. You include in your life, what us missionaries are doing every day. You SEARCH the scriptures, you pray pleading to Lord if you can have that trust, you begin to pray more than you ever have. Everyday. You begin to have a change of heart. You show God that you have a desire to serve him. You repent every day, not just by praying. But by changing your ways, your acts, and your heart. You shake off the "Natural man", because we know that the Natural man is an enemy to God, and no unclean thing can live with God.
I am so happy, every single day. I am simply serving a mission because of my Testimony, and I am using the love that I have for my God as my motivation.
The Work!! The work at the MTC has been amazing! I have 2 investigators name Joshua, and Jose. Josh is a 20 year old that actually goes to UVU which is pretty cool! Josh struggles with an addiction. An addiction MUCH STRONGER than any illegal substance. This addiction is Pornography. As we began to visit with Josh, we wanted just to simply "break the ice" with him. We wanted to build that TRUST with Josh. That same exact trust I talked about earlier. Josh began to do exactly what we wanted him to. We could feel the spirit enter the room and begin to work on him. Josh's mouth could not be still. He began to open up to us. Which is exactly what we wanted. Josh doesn't (didn't) know why Pornography was bad. He looked (looks) at pornography as an "outlet" for his problems. Something that he went to several times a day. Something that would ease his pain. Which is exactly what the adversary wanted Josh to think. Anyways Josh had so many questions for us which was good. Questions about this "Spirit" that we had been casually bringing up. As Josh began to open up to us more, and more. That is when the spirit was able to start on him. As he brought his guard down, and as he felt the love that these two teenage boys who think they know a lot about life had for him. And that is something we could not fake. Josh was still questioning if their was a God. After talking with him for about fifteen more minutes, we closed with challenging him to see if he would commit to us that he would "before he got into bed tonight, will you get on your knees and pray to God and simply ask him this"... Are you there? and Josh said yes. Josh let us know for some reason, he didn't know why. That he wants to learn more. Specifically about this
"Holy ghost thing." We then challenged Josh to say a closing prayer for us. Him not knowing how, we taught him. Josh then simply said an amazing prayer. The spirit was so strong. And Josh knew, through the spirit, that their is light at the end of his tunnel. Their will always be light. It's just up to him if he wants to access it.
I am running out of time so I will have to make this one quick. Jose is a 26 year old from LA. He struggles from a severe sleeping disorder and depression. Long story short. Jose is a very bright, kind, open minded young man. He studies religion for a living. The first and second lesson were really focused on breaking that ice, and building that TRUST with Jose. Our second meeting together we taught him the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong and he could feel it. We all could, and their was no denying. We were all very emotional, and the truth that the spirit was testifying of could not be harnessed. Jose ended the lesson with something I did not expect. He bore a powerful testimony of how he knows without a doubt, that "we are representatives of Jesus Christ. And I can feel the Holy ghost working through you, to me." 30 Seconds later Jose accepted his invitation to be baptized. Jose has been reading the BOM, and praying daily. We will be setting a date with him on Saturday.
That's all I have time for! So much more to tell you about the first week in the work of gathering Israel! I love you all, and are praying for you all. God lives. I know it. Jesus is the son of the living God. Our savior. I challenge you all just as I have Jose, to gain that TRUST and grow that friendship. Because he is waiting, waiting to love you. Let your self be loved by doing what is necessary to receive it.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?
Love, Elder Judd