Dear Family and Friends,
Woo! only 13 more days and then I'll be in the field, so crazy to think about. My district is getting pretty anxious to get out there and get to work. This past week, everyone else went into 100% Russian as well, so it's been pretty fun trying to do all that we can in the new language, plus we learn so much faster. I can only imagine how much it'll help when we get into the field (if anyone there actually speaks Russian, haha it'll probably be a lot of Latvian)
Tomorrow we get to be hosts for the new missionaries that are coming in, so that's pretty exciting. It's so weird that it's been 62 days since I was one of those new missionaries. Also, we should be getting our flight plans this Thursday, so we can't wait for that. So they're like tearing up the entrance to the MTC right now, and it's been like that for the past 5 weeks or so. I didn't get a chance to get a picture with the sign, you know, like everyone else does, because they're not even there anymore. Hopefully they put new ones back up within the next two weeks... I just got back from the Temple, that was sooooooo good. Only one more chance to do it...
This week I've really been thinking a lot about the Book of Mormon. David F. Evans of the Seventy came last Tuesday night and gave a way good talk on how the Lord intended the Book of Mormon to be used in Missionary work. I've noticed that it seems the church is still reforming the way missionary work is being done, and we are being taught things that those in the field right now haven't heard yet. Kind of interesting, and it's really awesome to be a part of. He talked about how it will probably be through the Book of Mormon that the investigators are converted, so it is very important that we utilize it in our teaching. I'm really trying to solidify my own testimony of the Book of Mormon, so that I can know better the power that it contains within it's pages, and then convey that testimony to the people that I'm teaching. I've finished it once already since I arrived here, and will probably finish it again this week sometime. He talked about the difference between "Sincere Heart" - just that you really want to know the truth of these things; and "Real Intent" - what you intend to do once to receive the witness and testimony. Really cool.
Sunday's devotional was a little different. We had three composers of some Hymns in the current LDS hymn book come talk to us and share their stories about how their hymns came to be. (the composers for hymns 128, 171, and 220) The last hymn that was talked about, was Lord, I Would Follow Thee. Bro. Dayley told a really cool story about how his came to be. I wish I could tell the whole story, but he said that he actually finalized it at the High School in Blanding, UT (shoutout to Steve and TD!!!)
I still feel like I'm making progress, though I know that the Lord has His own expectations in mind for me, and there is still much to be done.
Thanks for all of your love and support
Love- Elder Austin P. Atkinson