Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well... another MTC week. And no visa. But I did get an Apostle.

¡Hola mi familia!

I am having a good time here all things considered. I´m still waiting on my visa. No new news, but as the old adage says, no news is good news. So, I will continue to wait with baited breath.

So, last night was the MTC devotional. My district was betting on an apostle, so we went an hour early to get good seats. A security guard came out and asked if anyone wanted to be ushers for the night. We promptly volunteered. We were lead around to the front and given little pins and then told to put our stuff on our seats. See, as ushers we got reserved seats right up front. Twas a sweet deal. I then got to help people find seats and make sure that they didn't have any backpacks or cameras. Then, about 5 minutes before the start of the devotional, everyone stands up. I watch as Elder L Tom Perry walks up onto the stand. Then, we are told to now take our seats, and I sit down no more than 20 feet away from him. So cool. We had an amazing musical number , a cello/piano piece. Don't remember what it was called, but it was muy bella. I loved his talk too. He shared his testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon and a story of when he met a man who told him a story of when he was young and had Martin Harris testify to him that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. That he held the plates and had an angel testify to him of the veracity of the work. This work is true, and I'm so excited to be a part of it. At the end, as he walked out, he passed like, within three feet of me. I could have touched him, he was so close. Really an awesome experience.

This past Monday, we had a marathon. During two hours, we contacted ten people in Spanish, taught the first lesson, passed off eight scriptures in Spanish, read 20 min in Spanish, and mastered one grammar principle on the computer and watched a conference talk in Spanish while reading along. It was awesome. Never had two hours go by so fast in my life.

Lately we've been playing sports outside because the weather's been so nice here. It is giving me some killer hayfever, but nothing beats getting out for an hour of beach volleyball.

Lastly, today marks the start of my 11th week here at the MTC. It has been long, but I've learned a valuable lesson. That of patience. I can't wait to get to Colombia, but I can. I have learned to keep working hard, despite not knowing when my efforts will come to fruition. It's like my own personal second coming. I know not when it will come, but I must prepare myself as best I can.

Have patience in all things.

Love you all,
-Elder Gabriel Rallison

Thursday, April 22, 2010

And an unexpected week from the MTC

Hola mi familia,
So, here is "hopefully" my last email from the MTC. I haven't yet received word that my visa is here, but I'm hopeful that tonight will be it. My last companion, Elder Ragusa, shipped out for Ecuador on Monday so I've been hanging with the younger district for the past little while. My new companion, Elder Torbenson is a beast at volleyball and is a really cool guy to study with. I'm enjoying the opportunity to better prepare myself to serve the people of Colombia. I can't wait to get out, don't get me wrong, but being held back isn't to terrible. I'm enduring it well. I can't wait to get to the mission. But when it comes it comes.
We had a great devotional last night about becoming true disciple of Christ. It was really good and I got a lot of really good stuff out of it. First, the only thing we have to give the Lord is our own will, our agency. Everything else is already his. Second, if we can conceive it and believe it, we can achieve it. This is so true of a mission. If you believe that you can't, that there's no way you can talk to that person, no way you can learn the language, no way you can be fully obedient to mission rules, then you can't. But if you believe in yourself and in the Lord, you can do anything. That simple. Third, when you pray make sure you remember Who you are praying to. Don't let your mind orbit the word several times before you even make it halfway through your prayer. Show some respect. Get down on your knees, focus, and speak to your Father. Give as much effort speaking to Him as you want Him to give in responding. Lastly, he said tat "As a disciple of Christ I am ______________________." Fill in the blank. Also, "As a disciple of Christ, I am not __________________." Do the same there. Find what needs your work and his help. It is really quite enlightening.
I love you all very much and I know that your Father in Heaven loves you too and wants nothing but the best for each and every one of his children. I know that my Redeemer lives and that through his Atonement we can become clean from our mistakes and be able to return and live with our Father in Heaven. I know that the Gospel is true and I cannot wait to share it with the people of Colombia. I would counsel you to seek the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and pay head to his counsel. Les quiero.
-Elder Rallison

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last MTC P-day

Hola mi familia,

Buenos tardes del CCM por la ultima vez. Yep, this is the last email from the MTC. I am flying out early Tuesday morning for Colombia. I've got a layover in Georgia, so I'll try to call home while I'm there. Meanwhile, things here seem to be going faster and faster as the weeks go by. If the rest of my mission keeps going by at this rate, my mission will be incredibly short. I love this opportunity that I have to serve and to spread the gospel. If ever there is anyone who is not sure if they should serve, let me tell you, so far it has been the greatest learning experience of my life. And I haven't even hit the field yet. Yeah, it's that good.

This past Friday my companion was playing volleyball and hurt his ankle. At first they thought it was broken. so we got to leave the MTC and go to the BYU health clinic for X-rays. It was really wired being in the waiting room and watching all these people who weren't missionaries all around me. Then, when they found that it wasn't broken, but was in fact just a really bad sprain, they sent us back. So for the first three days my companion was limping around on crutches. Then, he had a couple of us give him a blessing. Now, he can walk around just fine (without crutches) and without much pain either.

Saw Elder (Hans) Larson at the temple on Sunday and talked to him for ahwile about the MTC, our respective languages, etc. Was really cool seeing him. He leaves in about two weeks.

Also, we had an awesome fireside on Sunday. It was a musical fireside by the BYU Men's Chourus. It was sweet. They were problably one of the best sets of singers I have heard in my life. They are also apparently the largest men's choral group in the USA, probably the world. The musical fireside was amazing. They sang several hymns, several psalms, a Native American creation song, several African-American worship songs, etc. All songs were arranged in the coolest manner possible. Seriously, look them up on iTunes or something. Check it out. It's some good stuff.

I love this gospel. I love the peace and guidance that I brings to me and to those around me. I look and see hundreds of men and women everyday who have had their lives touched by this gospel and want to share this light with the world. This work is amazing and I am so happy that I am able to be a part of it. A couple days ago I got a letter from Mom about being grateful. It really touched me and, after I prayed, for the rest of the night I just felt giddy and happy. I was prancing around the room singing, "tengo gozo en mi alma hoy!!!". Such is the life of a missionary. Highest highs and lowest lows.

That's about it for now. Love you all lots!!!
-Elder Rallison

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Conference was awesome!!!

Mi familia,

The title says it all. Conference was amazing. I think that this was by far one of the best conference experiences that I've ever had. It really didn't seem like I spent 10 hours in a suit sitting on a hard plastic chair. It seemed like it was only 10 minutes long and left me wanting so much more. I think my favorite was President Uchdorf's talk on Sunday morning about hands that help. We need to commit to be that person who is there to lift those around us, we need to be His hands, do what he would do if here were here now. That is our responsibility as members of this church. Also, really cool with the new Duty to God stuff. I'm sure Dad, Eli, and soon to be Jonah (yikes), will all love it very much. Can't wait to hear the full details on it.

I also loved how there was such a focus on family this conference. I am thankful for the help that you all gave me in my life, for how you gave me a testimony of the gospel. Good job with all you did. I love how well you nailed Elder Perry's counsel to "teach children in the home". Homeschooling, epic win. I owe so much to you for the help and advice you gave me in times of need, and the support and encouragement in all my endeavors. Keep up the good work. Testify of your knowledge of the gospel to your children, do it spontaneously and do it often. As missionaries, we are challenged to contact those we come across. I challenge you to contact your children. Know their concerns, know their desires. I love you all so very much and this conference has helped me to realize how my much my life has been blessed by you.

In other news, guess what I'm going to get tomorrow. If you guessed travel plans, than you get a gold star! I'm so excited to be heading to my mission. I'll let you know all the details in my next message. I have less than two weeks left here at the MTC, and then, to Colombia. ^_^ I love this opportunity to share the gospel and to spread the message of the restored gospel. I can't wait to go and invite others to come unto their Lord and Savior, Jesucristo. Sé que este evangelio es verdadero. Testifico que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Sé que mediante el evangelio restaurado que familias vivan por eternidad.

Les quiero.

-Elder Rallison

John 14:27
PS. Yesterday was the 180th anniversary of the Church. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Day, All Is Well (including me)

Hola todas de las personas,
I'm having a bad/good week this week. I was sick for most of the week with a really bad cold. Terrible sore throat kept waking me up at night. Turns out it was due to the incredibly low humidity of the recirculated air in all the buildings here. The problem was resolved, mostly by me drinking a ton of water in order to keep my throat from drying out while I'm sleeping.
This last Sunday was fast Sunday here at the MTC. We had a mission conference in the morning, it was really good, the mission president talked about the converting power of prayer and that we should always try to have our investigator pray at the end of the first lesson. It is through prayer that we can feel the confirmation of the Spirit as to the truth of things. My district is almost the old district. We have been here for six weeks now. We will be getting our flight plans next Thursday. I'm so excited. So close. I love it here and all, by I really can't wait to get out into the mission, in Colombia.
My companion has been having a rough time lately and a as such, I've gotten very familiar with the district president's waiting room. But all is well. I always have plenty to study what with Spanish and the gospel. I love the time I've spent here and really look forward to the future. I can't wait to se what lies around the bend. For example, Conference!
I don't think I've ever been so excited for conference in my life. And this time I'll be watching on hard plastic chairs while wearing a suit. So, Eli, don't whine about getting dressed up for priesthood session. You ain't got nothing. I challenge all of you to watch conference with specific questions in mind, and as you receive answers, to write them down. It is not so important to write down what is said as what is felt. I'd love to hear what you get out of it. Love you all very much and you are all in my prayers.
-Elder Rallison