Missionary Training Center, Week 3, Thanksgiving Day, 24 November 2011

Well today is Thanksgiving. It has overall been a really great day. Elder [Russell M.] Nelson [one of the twelve Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ] came and spoke this morning.  Got up at 6 15 and showered had breakfast at 7 and then waited in line and studied for two hours to get third row seats for Elder Nelson. Totally worth it. One of the Elders played a beautiful version of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” Elder Nelson spoke on Thanksgiving and giving thanks and it was really a fabulous talk. So then we had a quick walk outside while we waited for lunch to start and then had a Thanksgiving dinner for lunch. Definitely not comparable to the food that I am sure you guys are currently stuffed with. Then we helped make emergency kits for the church humanitarian aid and then have another evening program and some movie to watch. I am not really sure on the details of anything, needless to say I am sure that it will be spiritually uplifting and that I will learn lots.

Elder [D. Todd] Christofferson [also one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] came on Tuesday night for devotional. He spoke about all sorts of things. The biggest lessons that I learned from what he spoke about were these. “You go into your mission in debt to your Lord and come out even more in debt.” “You must earn the trust of the members.” I just got out of that, the members will give you names if they trust you. They trust you if you trully act like a servant of God and not like a nineteen-year-old boy who is out serving just because he should be. That point went right along with his next comment, “Comport yourself as an apostle would.”  Those just felt like giant shoes to fill. But I am trying. That was really great and segued well into a video of an Elder Bednar [another member of the Quorum of the Twelve, whose son is in our congregation and who has spoken in our congregation] devotional we watched film of the next day about becoming a missionary. I learned a lot from all of them and am, to the best of my ability, trying to do better.

In other news I have started the Book of Mormon again and am marking all references to Christ as I go. My next time through is going to be on the atonement. With the extra time I have been allowed to be up at night, I am just eating up the Book of Mormon so fast. It is hard somedays to push myself to the level that was indicated by Elder Cristofferson. I never reach it, and I am frequently far, far away from it.  However I think I was able to do my best work on Tuesday after the devotional. We have a district meeting and everyone shares their thoughts about what was said. I was able to express my favorite points and then extend a direct challenge to the district to live to a higher standard because for the most part it had slipped as initial fervor had fled from people. It has been better over the past two days, but who knows how long that will last and in the end the only one I can take care of is myself.

In other news my Spanish continues to take measurable steps forward and things are sticking far better than normal. I don’t know what other real news to give you. I have’nt put on any measurable weight so that is nice. I actually keep a record of what I am doing, as in a journal, somewhat at least. I really can’t think of anything else.  I love getting pictures. [we email pictures each week of things going on around home]  They are so nice to see that everyone is alive and well. Also, today we were talking about things we were greatful for as a district, and I mentioned that I was grateful for the pictures that Addie drew for me. They hang on my wall. Everyone was extremely jealous of that, so Addie if you would like to, can you draw some pictures for the people in my district? Other then that, there isn’t much else. I have a whole packet of letters to send home. That will be done tomorrow.

I love you all,

Elder Caleb Tonkinson

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