So it feels like the commencement of the end of this MTC experience. You may ask me: why does it feel that way? And I would reply; because I got my flight plan yesterday!
At the end of yester day Elder Uttech, our district leader. gathered us all in. We thought we were in trouble or something. But then he pulled out a stack of white and blue sheets that we recognized as travel plans! Needless to say, that was a very exciting moment. So details: I will be leaving Salt Lake City airport on the February 22nd and fly to Denver, where I will have about a 3 hour layover. Then it’s the start of what I can only assume to be an annoyingly long flight between Denver and Frankfurt, Germany. We will have a 3 hour layover there also, then we get on our last flight to Porto, Portugal! Total time: 21 hours. We will arrive in the afternoon, which will be nice cause we won’t have so much to do before we can sleep. I know I'll be tired cause I can never sleep on planes.
But there is still more than 1 week left and there is still much to do. We have to get the progressing investigators in our class baptized, we need to keep improving our Portuguese, and we still have the Teaching Resource center and such. So I am still excited about the coming week and then when I can finally head over to Portugal.
So there isn't much to say about me more- like I say every time. Things stay about the same here. One funny story is that we had an Australian elder in our hall and one of the elders decided that they should ask him "On a scale of 1-10, how realistic is Outback Steakhouse?" Apparently he’s never even heard of it.
I thought that something fun I could do is assign some scripture study materials that people reading this can take up-based on some of the things I’ve studied throughout the week. So what I’d suggest for this week is reading in 3 Nefi in the Book of Mormon(Portuguese spelling) Chapter 11, and 2 Nefi 31. Pay attention to the doctrine of Christ in these sections. It is these concepts that we are out teaching people about. Without understanding this doctrine and the things it entails, we cannot understand how we will be able to progress in the Plan of Salvation. (Which is a surprisingly hard lesson to teach--there is so many concepts in the Plano de Salvação that makes it hard to fit into less than 30 minutes!) So go ahead and study this and be ready for my next suggestion next week. Next week will be the chapter I spent an entire day studying.
And finally I'd like to add my own testimony of the messages that the first presidency has been giving for the past few months. If you haven't noticed, missionary work has been the main topic for the Message of the first presidency for the past 2 months. In the last general conference, President Monson started the meeting talking about missionary work. So you can see how important it is to prepare and serve a mission.
So for the men: Don't slack off! I know I did a bad job of preparing before I came, and I can see that it is making me have to work even harder to prepare myself. Get used to scripture study, read through the Preach my Gospel, and talk to your bishop frequently to make sure everything is going well. You do not want to get in a situation where something goes wrong and you have to wait or change your plans about going on a mission. This is a priesthood duty and it is one of the most important things that we can do.
For the women; I don't have much authority on this subject, being male and all, but from the experience with the sisters I work with at the MTC, and from all the teachers we have, I can already see that Sisters are extremely important out here. So one thing that I get annoyed with is when sisters say "If i don't get married by 21, I'll serve a mission." That kinda bugs me because it makes a mission a punishment for not getting married. So I'd say that decide now if you have the desire to serve-because in D&C 4:4 it says ‘If ye have a desire ye are called to the work.” And if you have that desire, say to yourself, “I'll serve a mission unless I find the guy I'm meant to be with." It’s a pretty simple change, but I think it expresses it better. Serving a mission is a blessing and sisters are some of the best workers I've seen here.
So you may not feel that I have much authority saying that, being in the MTC still, but I can already see the positive changes it has made in me, and it has made me love this church and love the gospel and Christ and I strive to improve myself continually. So while I don't have much experience in this work, I'll testify that it will be one of the greatest things I will do. I want to express how important it is to any young men and women who read this.
And if you want to hear someone having more authority than me, listen to the prophet; the "Mormon Message" about this is still on lds.org - front page!
Well I have like no time left!
Aconteça o que acontecer, Desfrute
Elder Jared Park
MTC Mailbox #277
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793