Clouds 'n Sunrise. Same one you see every day.
Is it already that time again? I don't check my watch except to label journal entries. Dates mean little more than a frame of reference for my approaching departure date.
Today marks my 30th day since coming to the MTC. I can hardly imagine what's happened at home in such a seemingly extensive period of time. While it's been long here, it feels hardly more than one 16-hour day that's been stretched longer than most could handle. Oh, the work is so monotonous: wake up, get dressed, language study, scripture study, language study, scripture study, exercise, scripture study, bed. Repeat. It is the same EVERY DAY, but every day is a new best day. I wouldn't change it a bit. Funny how exhaustion could ever be fun.
Sunday marks the half-way point of my MTC stay. Yikes! Will I be ready? I guess there's nothing I can do to stop September 3rd from coming. So I'll run full speed towards the tidal wave.
Because the majority of our work as missionaries is teaching the gospel, we devote a fair share of time to role playing. Day 2 we had our first lesson entirely in Albanian, and of course we used notes, but every lesson since we've taken no aid but our noggans to teach in the language. Presently, I teach two 'Progressing Investigators', Alma and Sidi, who are really my language teachers acting a role common to a typical Albanian. We teach them all principles of the gospel in the sequence they appear in Preach My Gospel, and have already committed both Alma and Sidi to baptism. I know that it's only pretendbut I've never been so thrilled in my life to hear 'Po' (yes). As of late, our lessons last a full 40 minutes, entirely in Albanian.
In case you didn't catch my last message, Albanian is sooo weird. Ne Shqip ( in Albanian) there are twelve ways to say any one noun. English has 2 (Plural and Singular). We have hosts of flow charts, for which each has its exceptions, and there exist exceptions to exceptions, even. Nouns have genders in Albanian (masculine and feminine), then you have to consider if it's definite or indefinite (i.e. the man vs. a man), then decide how many there are, then predict which case it's in (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, ablative), and check to see which category of preposition it follows, if any. Then you conjure up a half-confident guess to find it's wrong because of some rule in the fine print. And that's just nouns. Don't even get me started on verbs. Without The Gift of Tongues I would be a 6-year-old on Wall Street.
Anyhow, I want to thank everyone for the thoughtful letters and packages. They're 95% responsible for my sanity. They really do make my entire week. I'm a kid in a candy shop when we make our mail-getting excursions.
Missionary life is unprecedented. Amidst ceaseless work, your eyes feel like they're hefting sandbags, your confidence is comparable to oranges being ground into a pulp, and you stress in tenfold that of graduate students on finals week. Then, every once in a while, heaven sends one of those moments that rekindles your passion and gives you a glimpse of Godliness. Miracles happen. Lives change. And with each new day comes a chance to do it again.
I want to leave my testimony of the weighty significance of missionary service. It means so much more when you're actively involved with making it happen. You all have the same chance as me, though perhaps not yet full-time. Every member a missionary. Stand up. Speak out. Do something good. You might make someones day- change their life- I know that you could.
I love you all from the MTC.
Elder Benson Ryan Gunther
|I love you. I miss you!|