First of all, I got the package! WHOOP WHOOP new shoes! and a WONDERFUL Christmas CD! Thanks Max! And thanks for the letter Cassie! Now, I decided that I wanted to summarize what I said to Max on the phone today. First though let me explain that I wasn't going to call, but yesterday in church I had the great desire or feeling to talk to President Jesperson and ask for permission. I got all nervous and probably wouldn't have done it were it not for Elder Willett who convinced me. So I called President and he totally was okay with it. I don't know why I'm so intimidated by him. He's incredible though. So anyway, today I got to call from his office phone. I sent the photos. Only a few tears came to my eyes, but I love you Max! I'm going to make a list:
1) As for your first companion, be super humble, meek, and patient. If you are like me then you'll get annoyed really easily and get an attitude with them, etc. But now I look back, and It's just because I wasn't very Christ-like. So work on those attributes first. Chapter 6 of PMG. And don't worry too much about the MTC. Everyone complains about it, but I loved it. And everyone loves it as soon as they are in the field. It's great there. And Christmas there will be great. Apostles come to the MTC on Christmas! But you decide if you should switch to the advanced class.
2) Personal Sanctification. I sent photo of the article. It's that if we want the Spirit to really testify of our words, then we have to be worthy of it. Unfortunately even talking about HP makes the Spirit not as strong with us. You'll understand this more later in your mission, when you get to the point that you just want to see the success already! You want to feel the spirit SO strongly! I'm on day 6 right now. My list of things to give up are: inappropriate thoughts, sarcasm, harry potter, quoting movies, talking bad about anyone, getting frustrated with dumb rejections, cutting people off who are talking, daydreaming about the future, disobedience, wasting time, normal music (even in my head!), and killing bugs and picking leaves for no reason.
3) Read the talk by President Eyring from this past GC and print it. It talks about working even when you thought you were done working. I think it was the Priesthood session. Great. Oh and take notes on the Jeffery R. Holland MTC talk. Bring it with you on the mission!
4) When you miss home, don't look at photos or read letters again. Instead mentally and physically draw the investigators you are going to find, teach, and baptize. They're waiting for you.
5) Obedience is critical. It brings blessings. But being EXACTLY obedient brings miracles. So don't write letters not on P-day. Do your best to not obsess over letters. It's hard.
6)we had a zone meeting with President Jesperson. We each had to ask one question for him and his wife to answer. I thought of a few questions, but I knew that they were wrong to ask. Basically they were murmuring questions. How comes. But the Hermana Jesperson caught my eye and somehow could tell I had a question I didn't want to ask. She told me in front of everyone that she knew and that I was going to have to ask it. So I thought of a different question. Does God love me the way the mission president does (Standard of Excellence, always more I can do, etc) or the way my parents do (no matter what they are so proud and I am the best missionary ever)? The answer was great! President told me that my real question was simply, "Does God love me?" True. And yes he does. He explained the parable of the talents. I may have two and some others have 4. But if we both do ALL our part, we get the SAME reward. So maybe my success isn't as great as others', but my reward will be the same--life eternal. And nobody is perfect, that's why Christ takes each of us from our own best and makes us perfect. The Hermana told me that I'll know the Lord accepts my sacrifice if I feel the spirit working through me. And I decided that if my parents were to understand the mission, they would want exactly what President wants out of me. So I feel motivated.
7) I'm sending a photo of my journal of the wednesday I left for the MTC!
I love you Max and Family! Max, you're going to make a much greater missionary than I am! I love you and miss you!
Elder Mitch Poirier