Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Week In The MTC!!! =] LTR #1

July 30, 2014
First Week In The MTC!!! =]

Wow. Wow. Wow. This MTC experience is not what I expected at all. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever CHOSEN to do. It really does take some time adjusting to the missionary life. I thought football with two practices a day was hard in the summers but that doesn't even begin to compare to the intensity here at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). Time here is very different. The learning curve spiritually, intellectually, and physically are all almost sped up. Even though I have only been here for a week, it feels like I have been here learning for a year. What someone learns in a week, we learn in a day here. It's almost like you can stop the time, learn as much as you want physically, spiritually, socially, intellectually and then start the clock up again and everyone is still where they were when you paused the time and you are ahead. That's the best I know how to explain it. You truly do feel the that this is the Lords work. There is no other explanation.

So, when I first got to the MTC, my lovely aunts, and uncle and cousins dropped me off. (Thanks Aaron, Laura, Shauna, DD, Aubrey, and Lindsay). Dakota or Elder Pierce got to be my host. It was awesome seeing my brother as the first person I saw at the MTC. Right when we drove into the MTC amongst hundreds of people, Dakota stood out because when he saw us, he started fist pumping and running down the sidewalk running through all these missionaries. Nothing's changed. HAHA! 

My teacher's names are Hermano Savio and Hermano Weist. Some of the coolest two people I have ever met. Hermano Savio served a mission in Panama and he got back two years ago. He is SO excited about life and extremely genuine. His family has had problems and he himself hasn't always lived the best life, but he turned his life around and he knows what it's like living a unhappy life so it's great to see how excited he is because he truly knows how happy the Gospel has made him and his new wife and his new life. He shares stories that brings tears to your eyes every day. Everybody here is SO NICE! Everyone talks to everyone and you can tell everyone here just has a unique spirit to them. It feels like a family of thousands. Even one day, when me and my companion were late for a zone meeting, our branch president stared us down with a death stare as we walked all the way up to the building with this terrible look in his eye and then right as he greeted us, he broke down and was the nicest guy ever! Everyone is awesome here. 

From Wednesday to Sunday were the longest days of my life. In fact I began asking why I was even here. I wanted to go home. I hated it. The language was extremely difficult and the schedule was extremely rough day in and day out. We get NO BREAKS. From the second you wake up, to the second you go to sleep, you are always doing something. It's like the military. Then, we had a devotional, and guess who found me?! Elder Pierce (Dakota and his companion Elder Lu). Elder Lu is one of the coolest people I have ever met. First thing he said in a heavy southern cowboy accent to me was "Yo, whuss good young blood? You the G from So cal?!" Right then I knew Dakota brainwashed him! Haha. He's an amazing person and we all clicked perfectly. Me and Dakota went and found a piano and we started jamming! Once we all started talking about how we need to serve as much as we possibly can and have a good time helping and loving everyone we come in contact with, it was at that moment, I remembered why I am out here. I have forgot about myself ever since and I am beginning to love it here. I realized this mission has nothing to do with me. What I want, my dreams, my desires, the things and people I love I left behind...It has nothing to do with them. Or me. It is all about looking outside of ourselves and our natural desires. It's about becoming selfless. It's about learning to love others.

I'm guessing some of you are wondering about my companion. His name Is Elder Lyons and he is Canadian. He moved to Texas a few years ago and he says "ehhh" all the time. He reminds me of Jacob Snyder and Aaron Sorensen in one human. He can quote just about any movie or do about any accent and he really just goes with the flow. He's taught me how to talk in a Vietnamese accent and I've taught him how to talk like he's from the hood. Haha. Everyone in our district is starting to talk like Dakota Deejay, and I did back home. It's not good! haha. It keeps it fun though. You have to learn to have fun on the mission. He loves the show my little pony (which I give him a hard time for every day) and one thing I really love about him is that he is willing to compromise. He is willing to give up what he wants to do, for what I want to do. That is something that I am learning to do. I'm at the point now where I don't care if it's my way or his way. He is teaching me how to be selfless. I truly love it. Although he is great, I had no idea how hard it would be to live with someone 24/7 and be at each other's side every second of the day for two years. If this is what marriage is going to be like, we must be really sure we know the person we are going to be with forever. You really get to know someone differently when you are constantly by their side, VS. when you are just dating. It takes it to a whole new level. Don't take the decision who you marry lightly. It's one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life if not the most important. And for those who are married and things aren't where you want them now, do everything in your power to see the potential of the other person, put their faults aside, and love them anyways. If you see the good in them, they will begin to grow to be what you see in them. It's beautiful. 

Anyways, the basketball here is pretty bad. It's funny, the Elders (guys) here call me Lebron, and the Sisters (Ladies) call me "Sunshine". For those who don't know who Sunshine is, he is a football player from the movie "Remember The Titans". They all think I act like him and look exactly like him minus the long hair (I'm not really sure if that is a good thing) haha. Anyways, so, me and my companion just lift in the gym and we actually work really hard here and get a lot done. Mom keep sending those protein drinks! =]

We taught our first investigator in Spanish on Friday, just two days after getting here. I have no idea how we did it, but somehow we did.  That's how the MTC is. God's hand is in this. You can feel it in everything you do. It's like someone is there helping you alongside you in everything. Yesterday I was walking with my companion and we ran into this guy from Chile, and we were able to speak to him for 20 minutes in straight Spanish. That's just after a week of being here! There is no way that that is my learning skills, it's just purely the Lords work. He helps and protects his missionaries. 

I am really beginning to love it here and my district is awesome. The food is not the best but I have been eating meat and salad at pretty much every meal. 
The temple here is beautiful and I absolutely love it. 

I can't send pictures this week because I don't have my USB cord but next week be expecting (If I get my chord) pictures of our first investigator, pictures with LU and DP, my companion, and my district and Ferris Bueller! We found an Elder who looks and acts EXACTLY like him. In fact I can't even tell them apart. Haha. 

My schedule is something like this.

6:30 arise
7:30-8 breakfast
8-11:25 class
11:35-12:25 gym
12:55-1:30 lunch
1:40 - 5:30 class
5:30-6 dinner
6-9:30 class
9:30-10:15 get ready for bed
10:15-10-30 quiet time/additional study
10:30 lights out

They work us extremely hard here. It really bugged me at first and I was extremely tired but when I saw Dakota and Lu they reminded me why it's necessary to really give it all you can in life. There is a phrase that they told us and me and my companion now have it on our door. The phrase in Mandarin is "Wu Shr Du Musui" or in Spanish "Yo Soy El Molo" or in French "sweei lu crosheua" and it means in English "I AM THE GRIND." For those back home, you know I love working and going hard, but I never knew you could work this hard and get this much done in a day. Once Lu told me this, I realized something. One day, we ALL are going to die. We only have on average 80 years on this earth. If we are just sitting around wasting it, then what are we doing with this gift of life that we have been blessed with? When we look back, we're going to be amazed how fast it went by. Why not give it all you have a work towards something that is very difficult to achieve? If not, life will get boring. Trials or difficulties remind us we are human and that we can't go through this life on our own. That's one thing I have realized in the MTC. I can't do this alone. I can't learn the language on my own in 6 weeks. I can't survive this demanding schedule on my own. I can't bring truth unto people by myself. I need God's help in everything I do. We were made to rely on him. I have always been about finding the truth. The divine truth if it existed, no matter where it came or how. All I know is I wanted to be a part of it, no matter how uncomfortable it would be because I know it would only be temporary and the joy would eventually crush the hard times. Why be satisfied hoping that when we die, we will have life after death. Why be satisfied hoping we will be with our families in the next life happy together. What is really guaranteeing that besides the mere hope we have for that? Our "belief" of those things with no way of working toward them. I met plenty of people in my life who just hope of those things. You must work to obtain anything in life. It is a natural law. So what makes people think that if we believe or hope for those things, without working for them or listening to God's instruction on how to live our lives, that we will be guaranteed those things? It is merely a false hope within our heads that we use to ignore the reality that we have yet to find the answers or willing to accept them. That's why I love The Gospel Of Jesus Christ. I don't believe in it as the truth, I KNOW it is the truth with every fiber inside me. I know I will have the opportunity to have eternal life after I die. I know for a fact that I can be with my family forever after this life happy. I know it. I also know how to obtain those things. - By doing tho things God has asked us to do. I don't just believe it. I KNOW IT.  God will only talk back to us, when we first reach out to him. That's the way natural law works. We are bound under free agency to choose in this life, and God will not interfere with that choice. We must first humble ourselves and realize we want to find out the truth, and reach out to him in prayer. You must pray with all you have and be patient. It's when He sees that we are willing to realize we need him, to realize that one day we will die, and everyone we love will die and we aren't guaranteed eternal life with them, is when he will talk back. If not, the reality of death and separation will haunt you all the days of your life, until it actually happens when you die. You will feel it in your heart and in your soul like nothing you have ever felt before. I can promise you this. Why wouldn't anybody want to blessings Of Eternal Life or being with your families for all time and eternity? For those who aren't at the point in life where they feel they truly need God, let me say this. When you eat dinner, you can accept that it makes you full, nourishes your body, and gives you strength without you understanding how it works. You can also accept what Christ did for us without knowing exactly how it works. The one thing that is sure is that you will not know how it makes you strong and fills you with life, unless you eat your dinner. The same is with Christ and His Gospel. You have to first try it and act in faith, before you can feel the effects and blessings of it in your life. This truth is all about faith. I know the Book Of Mormon is God's Word. The more I study it factually, it is either the most correct book ever written or the most false group of words ever heard or said. But that's not how you know if it's true - by things that have already happened (or facts). I can promise you, if you read it with a sincere heart, wanting to know if it contains the full Gospel Of Jesus Christ or TRUTH of our existence, and read it with the intensity wanting  to know if it's true more than you do your next breath, God will let you know of it's truth. You will feel it inside. It will feel like you are gaining guidance straight from God. Try it. Why not? Who doesn't want those blessings. I challenge you all to do it weather you have done this 100 times or it is your first time. It is your choice. You must act on faith before God will show his hand in your life.
For those who have not felt God's Spirit, it's nearly impossible to describe, but to those who have, it's almost unnecessary to describe. The Time Is NOW.

Thank you for all the 10 packages. Thanks mom for all the food!=]  If any of you want to write letters (which is a lot better) write me here:

Elder Austin Joseph Celaya
Sep 02 NY-NYC
2023 N 900 E Unit #826
Provo, Ut, 84604

Thanks to those who sent me letters and packages. I enjoy all of them!

Yo se que jesucristo es mi y ustedes redentor. Yo se que la iglesia de JesuCrist de lost santos de los ultimos dios es Dios verdadero en al mundo dey hoy. Yo se que nuestras familas son eternal. Yo se que tengo que orar in mi vida diariamente por que yo qiero el espiritu santo in my video cada dia.

I love you all. If you take anything from this letter, please take this.
CON DIOS, TODOS ES POSIBLE (With God, All Is Possible).

- Live today like it is your last. -

- Elder Celaya


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