Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The First of Many

If I am being honest, it feels like I was writing an email to you guys yesterday. The weeks here at the MTC fly by. I hope that you all feel the same way. I have loved to hear from you all this week. When I get a letter in the mail from you, it is accompanied by a plethora of emotions. They make me pretty sad but at the same time it brings me so much joy to hear about how well things are going at home. I sure miss you guys and I think about you every day. 

To jump right into the week, I have a lot to talk about so this email might be a little long. I won't be offended if you don't read the whole thing. I'll give a little run through of what goes on in a day here and then talk about things that have happened. We wake up at 6:30 and get ready for the day. We usually head to the gym to run around and blow off some steam. Side note: Elder Zackrison and I have been running a little bit together and we have really been focusing on avoiding the desserts and even the chocolate milk. It is incredible easy to gain weight here. One of the Elders has already gained 10 pounds! After exercise, we usually hit up breakfast and then head to our first class time. Classes are usually a few hours long and we just dive into teaching skills and gospel doctrines. It is super exciting. I really do feel like I am becoming a better teacher.

 Speaking of teaching, Elder Zackrison and I started what is called TRC lessons last week. We basically are assigned a couple people to teach some lessons to throughout the week. The people range from new converts to active members and even to real investigators. Most of them are members and are acting the part for the sake of missionaries. We taught a girl last week name Lucia (Lu-sha) and she was awesome. We taught her the first couple lessons and she was very receptive. When we taught her the first lesson on the restoration, I was able to quote the whole first vision. All those practice session in New York paid off I guess Trevor! We taught her the other few lessons as well. It was great. I love teaching the gospel. In our last lesson we were bringing the lesson to a close and we were getting ready to say the closing prayer. I had a prompting to ask her to be baptized right there. So I extended the invitation to her right there. SHE SAID YES! Although we are pretty sure she wears garments, we got our first baptism of the mission. It was an amazing feeling and I can't wait to do that for real in Iowa. We got another set of investigators to start teaching yesterday. In our first lesson with a girl named Erika, she told us that she grew up in Iowa! It was fantastic to talk about the state with someone who grew up there.

The rest of the day pretty much consists of more gospel study and classroom time. It is good stuff. Remember how last week I was super pumped to hear from Elder Holland? Yeah that wasn't a thing that happened. Apparently it was just a rumor that spread around. I was disappointed. Anyways, the devotional was by Sister Oscarson and she was amazing. She gave an amazing talk.

I haven't been feeling that great this week. There are so many Elders and Sisters here that sickness spreads like wild fire. It hasn't been too serious, just a little bit of a fever and some headaches. That made our several hour class times a little bit less comfortable. But never fear, I think I'm on the tail end of it. 

We got our travel itinerary this week as well. Things got real. Our plane leaves to Minneapolis at 6 AM next Wednesday. We have to be ready to leave the MTC at 2:30 in the morning. It is going to be epic.

To conclude I want to share a sweet experience. Last Sunday, we were all encouraged by Elder Bednar in the Character of Christ devotional to start reading the Book of Mormon with a specific topic in mind and to pray about that topic. I heeded the challenge and decided to read with faith in mind. My Book of Mormon reading has never been so effective. This Sunday on our temple walk, Brother Facer from our branch presidency decided to spring me the news that I had to teach a 45 min district meeting in one hour. I instantly freaked out. He then told me what my topic was. You guessed it, faith. I was able to refer to my scripture reading and we had a killer discussion comparing missionaries to Nephi. The church is true. 

That’s all I really have this week. I hope you all have a killer week this week and make sure to tell me all about it. I love you guys and you are all in my prayers.

Elder Obray

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Church is Still True

 I have no idea where to even start. This week was one of the busiest, craziest, and most stressful weeks I have experienced, but I wouldn't change a thing. The MTC is quite the place, to say the least I kinda like it here. The MTC has a unique spirit about it, no matter what building you are in and no matter where you are on campus, you can always feel the spirit, it is incredible. My testimony has already grown so much in only the first week. I can't wait to look back on my mission at the end and look back on how much my testimony has grown over my two year mission. The days here all kind of blend together so this email might be all over the place, so please bear with me for a little. I'll start with my comp; his name is Elder Zackrison. He is from Sandy, Utah. We have had a lot of fun and I look forward to the next couple weeks as his companion. I really enjoy teaching with him. He has a sincere love for the gospel and he loves our Savior. The other night he told me that I was an answer to his prayers and that sure felt good. I sure love the guy already.  Couldn't ask for much better. 

We received some interesting news on Thursday night when we met our branch presidency. I have been assigned the district leader of District 32 D. So pretty much the apostles have been taking advice from me while I have been here. I have a meeting with the MTC president later to discuss some changes that I would see fit. HAHA I'm kidding but being a district leader is pretty cool. My district is full of excellent missionaries. We haven't had any problems with any of our companionships yet, so that is always a good thing, hopefully we can keep that hot streak going. 

Elder Zackrison and I were able to give one of the sisters in our district a blessing on Friday. There was a sister who wasn't feeling too hot and she asked us for a blessing. I anointed and Elder Zackrison gave his first blessing. It was a beautiful experience and the spirit was so strong. It is nice to be able to call upon our priesthood whenever someone needs it. 

I guess lets get a little bit more serious for a second. Being in the MTC has been kind of rough for me this weekend. Not for the reason you might think (I sure do miss home, but that isn't what was making me sad). It was really hard for me to walk around the grounds of the MTC and see missionaries learning a new language and trying to speak that language. I suddenly found myself looking at every missionary nametag I passed. Every time I saw a nametag that said "Jesu Christo" I thought, "Why can't that be me?" Sunday was especially hard for me. At the end of the day we watched a video devotional given by Elder Bednar called the "Character of Christ" I would recommend that you look it up, but it is only available to missionaries unfortunately. But in his talk he said some things that I really needed to hear. He mentioned at one point that missions aren't for us, they are for the Lord, similar to an incredibly farewell talk I heard on August 10. But the part that hit me hardest was when he said "Stop being so selfish, GET OVER YOURSELF." I felt like Elder Bednar was talking to me personally and it hit me right in the feels. I immediately felt an incredible love for the people of Iowa, and since then I have never been so excited to serve there. Plus I have heard several times that a lot of the teachers at the MTC served in Iowa. It must be a good place to be. 

We are blessed to have a devotional tonight by ELDER HOLLAND!! I am so pumped. I will let you know how it goes, and I will take good notes and share some highlights next Tuesday. 
I love you all so much and I miss you like crazy already. Please know that you are in my prayers and that I think about you a lot. 

Love Elder Obray

P.s. Mosiah 2:41 has never been more relevant. The MTC is such a happy place.