Exactly four weeks ago, I was getting ready to enter the MTC! Holy cow! So much has happened since then, but I feel like it's gone so fast. I love it here! It's getting me pumped for the mission field and helping me come closer to Jesus Christ.
This week has been SO great. I started getting really sick this last Wednesday, but I have been getting better thanks to Priesthood Blessings, rest, and medicine. I think the best thing that resulted from me getting sick is a strong drive to improve and get back up again, and give my all these last two weeks here. I'd missed a couple classes because I was so sick, but when I got back in the classroom, I just wanted to give my all! I don't think I could have received that determination if I was doing well. I also had a couple interesting experiences with teaching my 'investigators', drugged up on cough medicine. Hahaha! There was one time where I was so scared to teach because I was so drugged and I couldn't think. Everything was funny! It was reminiscent of my experience with NyQuil on choir tour to Colorado Springs. We said a prayer before and about halfway through the lesson I started to be able to focus and speak from the heart in Spanish. It was scary, but the Lord provides a way!
I ran into Elder Jake Dansie from Herriman and we had a good talk yesterday about the MTC. We were both mourning over the fact that we missed Man of Steel, but we're both excited to see it when we come home. I've also run into Sister Jessica Crane from Herriman multiple times. We've had a couple good talks as well. She's doing great! She's learning Ukranian.... Santa vaca! Estoy muy agradecido que estoy aprendiendo el español. ;) I hope to see Sister Kylie Adams and Sister Samm Boldrin in the next couple days!!!
On Saturday night, I got to meet President Baker, my mission president for the next two years, and his wife! They love us all so much already and are excited to open up the Chesapeake Virginia mission with all of us. They are so nice and have amazing testimonies of this gospel. I've run into them a couple more times around the MTC because they're here for the New Mission President Seminar that I've been singing for from Sunday until today. President Baker is a convert, so that will be neat to hear his stories about his conversion! I also met my 'long lost' district. It's a district of four Hermanas and two Elders; all Spanish speaking and going to Virginia. I was the odd one out though, because I'm in an intermediate Spanish level district and they're all a beginning Spanish level district. I can't wait to serve with them! We'll all fly out together and be the first group called to open the mission! The English speaking Chesapeake missionaries come today! Exciting times for our mission.
Okay, so about choir! I've had so many crazy awesome experiences this week singing right next to the Apostles. I'll just start from the beginning! So Sunday, we walk into the building to warm up to sing for the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles' sacrament meeting. Right off the bat, I see Elder Ronald A. Rasband as I walk down the hallway. So then we warm up, and I have to use the restroom. We walk down the hall, and I was walking straight towards Elder Holland. I had to do a double take! He said, "Elders, how are you?" in his booming voice. Holy cow, I was in shock. I'd never been that close to an Apostle before. We all said we were good, and went over to use the restroom.
Here's the craziest story yet! I was in the stall tucking in my shirt and putting on my belt and what not, getting ready to leave the stall, and I hear a voice: "Elders, do you need to be in here?" They said yes, they were just waiting for me, but they would wait for me outside the restroom. Someone got into the stall next to me, and peeking above the stall divider, I see a head with perfectly combed white and grey hair. It looked a lot like President Uchtdorf's hair, but the voice I heard that spoke to the Elders didn't have that familiar German accent to it, so it couldn't possibly be him. I wash my hands and walk back to the practice room, not thinking anything of it. Turns out, the voice was President Uchtdorf's bodyguard and President Uchtdorf was in the stall next to me! Hahaha! So basically, my claim to fame is that I went to the restroom with President Uchtdorf. Stoic. We all had a good laugh over that one.
Later on, we filed in and sang for all the Mission Presidents and Apostles. We left right after the song, but Elder Andersen was looking at all of us and smiling as we went out the door. I caught a glimpse of the back of President Monson's head on my way out, but that was it. I thought I would see him speak at the broadcast, but none of the First Presidency ended up being there at the broadcast. We did get the Quorum of the Twelve, besides President Packer. It was so neat!
The broadcast was amazing! We are all a part of this work of salvation! I can't wait to work with the members out in the field. It will be weird to be able to use Facebook. I think the church tours will be really neat to implement across the world!
Singing in the choir was awesome. I did get some camera time! You can watch the broadcast on the Work of Salvation website posted on the front page. About two minutes into it, I'm up there! I heard some of you saw me! I'm glad I didn't look too ridiculous singing. I'm also on the main photo for the "Exciting Missionary Work Announcements" article on the LDS.org website. My whole district and I were flipping out that night when they put it up. We think we're so famous. Hahaha! One of the funniest moments during the broadcast was probably right before Elder Perry got up to speak and Elder Holland was walking back from conducting the meeting. Him and Elder Holland did a sick bro hug. Watch it if you can. Watch the whole thing if you haven't seen it! There are some amazing addresses from our prophets and apostles!
I had a couple other cool encounters singing for the apostles each morning this week. On Monday morning, on our way out, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (my namesake) and I made eye contact and he put both thumbs up and raised his eyebrows and told us, "Really good, really good!" I was flipping out. How often do you have the chance to witness that? Yesterday, again on our way out, we sang "Lead, Kindly Light" for President Uchtdorf's address to the new Mission Presidents. Elder Nelson stopped us before we left and asked how many of us elders were 18 years old. I raised my hand along with about four other Elders. He asked the Sisters how many were under 21 years old, and just about all of them raised their hand! It was really neat to see the fruits of this mission age change. As we were walking out, I looked at Elder Perry and he said "Great!" What a man! So neat. Singing four feet away from the Quorum of the Twelve each day is SO sweet. There is an amazing spirit there. These are inspired men!
Last night, Janice Kapp Perry spoke to the missionaries! She is such a sweet lady! She's 74! I had no idea. She pulled out some really funny jokes and we got to sing a medley of her primary songs with her. She is responsible for planting a testimony in the hearts of so many people through her music. Holy cow! I had no idea she wrote most of the primary songs that I loved. One of the funniest parts was when she told all the missionaries the first line her husband told her when he first met her at BYU while she was practicing her clarinet. He said: "Those lips are made for something a lot better than playing the clarinet." We all died laughing and her husband got up and kissed her in front of everybody! It was SO funny. What a man...78 years old! At the end we sang the would be "EFY Medley" that she wrote the music for, but with changes to the Army of Helaman being : "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and the "Sisters in Zion" being the new lyrics she wrote for the sister missionaries. It was really awesome.
Well, my time is up! So much happened this week and I wish I had more time to tell you my great experiences here! I love each and every one of you. I am so happy to be doing the Lord's work at this wonderful time. He has a divine plan for all of us here today. Missionary work is amazing! The best way I can think of it is refining! It's really difficult, but it's all for the benefit for the Lord and His children.
Thanks for all your letters! I'll try my best to write back!
|Elder Remund and his "investigator", Hermano Boaz|
|Elder Remund and Elder Reis in the MTC computer lab|
|All aglow at the "Hastening the Work of Salvation" Broadcast|
|Future Virginia Chesapeak Missionaries with their|
brand new President and his wife, the Bakers