Thursday, August 8, 2013

P-Days and a Game of Pride

My recent obsession -  buying copies of the Book of Mormon in languages commonly spoken throughout the now 3 countries of my mission.
(Turkish, Italian, Slovenian, Greek, Croatian, Albanian)

Dear Family:

All is well in the MTC. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. You wouldn't imagine how close to you I feel at times, and it's more than just the 15 or so miles that separate us. I wish that I could expound upon every moment, miracle, and otherwise magic that happens as a missionary. But then I realize how bland and boring autobiographies are; so I'll write, instead, a collection of short stories accompanied with pictures to keep your attention. Please excuse my poor English- the majority of my speaking is now about the level of an Albanian 6th grader, rather than the former English university student. As a side note, you know your language skills are coming quickly when you struggle to remember an English word but know the Albanian equivalent instantly. I'm at that standard often, actually, as of late. And please don't think I'm bragging- I don't even deserve half the credit anyway.

Well, P-days are anything but what I'd expected before coming to the MTC. Thursdays, my scheduled preparation day, begin at 4:30am. I get up and get to work on an unreasonably long check-list. I have an average of 15-20 letters to write, of which 100% are merely responses to letters I've gotten throughout the week. Next, I do two loads of laundry; sweep, vacuum, and straighten my apartment; do 1 hour of Zone-wide service; iron shirts, shine shoes, change sheets; make a trip up to main campus; get a bite to eat, then back to work. Though not every item I mentioned is outlined as a rule by the missionary handbook, I know what needs to be done, I do it. Some missionaries confuse the word preparation with relaxation or naptime, but I for one choose it to be more synonymous with W.O.R.K.

As I'm reading over what I've written, and the remainder of what I plan to write, I get the feeling that my entries are largely a list of complaints. So I apologize if I sound whiny.

Something that's been weighing on my mind lately is the subject of pride. As a missionary, and as my mission plaque scripture states, "He who is ordained and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all." (D&C 50:26) Often times I shrug off the latter. Especially when it comes to language competency. With 13 others trying to learn Albanian along side me, I feel subconsciously threatened, as if it were some sport or something. I like competition. I like to win. So I get a little too excited during language instruction and study. And especially with my supposed expectations: In the language game, Sisar Schellenberg is distantly leading the Finnish. And Day Elder is uncontested amidst the Hungarians. So I feel this inner hunger for fluency with unjustifiable cause. And then I get over the top and lose the spirit for my selfish intentions. In short, I am not a perfect missionary. But I'm trying to be a good one. So with the help of the periodic reminders and constant availability to repent, I might turn out all right. You'd be surprised at how much upheld missionaries are by the Atonement. Namely me.

In other news, Montenegro has been removed from the Adriatic South Mission and aligned in the Adriatic North boundaries. Kind of a let down. But who else can say they're serving in 3 countries? Well, I love you all and wish I had enough time to tell you each individually. My mission is 5% over in about 12 hours. Time flies. Don't blink. I'll be home in a shutter of an 


Elder Benson Gunther

P.S. The number of pictures seems to be following a pattern of exponential decay. And they're not professional nor hardly related to my letters home. I'm trying my best to keep on top of it. But nonetheless, please enjoy them, keeping in mind I am an amateur photographer.

The Snack Shak - aka Wyview Creamery

Doing Laundry on P-day

Provo morning sunrise.  It's best when you're a missionary

Picture with Sisar Schellenberg and Day Elder.  Two of my closest friends- still awkward not being able to hug Sisar Schellenberg (cousin)

Limitless cereal in the new cafeteria.  The bane of my existence.

Also, varieties of juice in the new cafeteria.  Including POG.

Furthermore, soda.  I weighed myself yesterday - 151.
 I was 128 after my tonsil surgery.

(Cousin) Elder Jackson Gunther and Benson Gunther.
 Final farewell for two years.

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