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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Week 3! We're halfway to Deutschland!

Well, it is currently 6 am on the dot: because we woke up at 4:45 to get to the laundry room to do our laundry today! Lucky, our efforts paid off this week, and we walked straight into all the washers we needed! It could have something to do with the fact that 900 missionaries left yesterday... Thats why Monday/Tuesday are the best! Food lines are short, hallways aren't crowded, and laundry is available! It makes this place feel like a ghost town!
Speaking of the food. Don't let anyone deceive you, it is awful. The first week it was great: second week... less great. Third week... its getting harder and harder everyday. Its like a full stuffing every meal, every day, of absolutely not real good food. Plus they only have like, 8 meal plans, so its pretty easy to guess what day its gonna be, and its not hard to remember the last time you ate the exact same thing!
But food is of little importance in the Lords work! I guess the first note of interest... Elder Vitel and I received a new assignment on Sunday. We're now the Branch 25 Zone Leaders! We were shocked when the Branch President asked us (we knew someone was getting the call because they switch everything up halfway) but we didn't think it could be us! We had an meeting on Sunday to help us with our responsibilities (which mainly include welcoming new missionaries, which ironically, we will never do! New German missionaries come on the 20th of March, and we fly out the 19th!) and then we coordinate Sacrament and Priesthood meeting talks and assignments, interview District Leaders, and just look out for the general welfare of the Missionaries. It is amazing the new insight and responsibility I feel for my elders now. Elder Vitel and I have already met with and attempted to sort out several problems with missionary conduct, homesickness, companionship disputes, etc. I am grateful for the call, because I has strengthened our desires to be better missionaries. We need to set the example, and we can never let our guard down, because our struggling elders really are always watching. But I have a testimony that the lord strengthens his servants, and as I tried to follow the spirit and counsel the elders, I felt words coming to my mouth that weren't my own, and didn't originate in my thoughts. The Lord has a hand in this work, and keeping the other elders strong is also part of the work!
This weeks other spiritually important event has been going on all week. Tuesday, at the Temple, I had a personal question in my mind. I wanted the answer almost more than I have wanted anything- ever. I studied the scriptures all day, and at the Temple, I prayed fervently for my answer. And as the session came to a close, I sat quietly and awaited my answer. I waited and waited, and to my frustration, nothing came. I sat in utter discouragement as I pleaded with my Heavenly Father, why? where is my answer? Why didn't it come when I wanted? As my frustration escalated, I changed my prayer to a prayer of peace. And the sense of immediate warmth and peace that everything would be alright DID come. Right when I needed it. Somehow I knew all would be ok. Tuesday night devotional, coincidentally, was about Prayer! the speaker (Craig Christiansen of the 70) said two things that hit me powerfully. 1) We need to exercise patience and wait upon the Lord. part of the faith is waiting in absolute trust, and its HARD. sheesh its hard. 2) Sometimes the Lord doesn't answer, because he trusts us to make the right decisions and follow the correct path. Then its up to us to trust HIM to not let us go astray. Somehow I feel my situation falls in both categories. But whether I receive my answer sometime in the future, or whether I simply arrive where I want to be and realize the Lord was guiding me all along, I know everything will be ok.
Other than that, the MTC is just the same old, same old. I see everyone I know around here... I couldn't possibly fit the name of all the Elders I've ran into! Elder Vitel and I are getting better at teaching everyday. We've worked out a pretty good system of lesson prep, and our German gets better every day! I love the MTC lessons every day. The teachers are truly inspired, and their lessons are hard, but SOO helpful. My teachers are Brother Wright, who went to my mission in 2008, and Brother McCann, who went to Berlin in 2010. We also have two other teachers that hang around alot, a different Brother Wright, and Brother Hill. They are amazing teachers, and great German speakers too! I learn so much, and they really push us to speak German ALL the time. I think sometime in the next week we are going to try as a district to speak ONLY german. yikes.
Well my time has come. I love you all and I miss you very much! Thanks for all the mail, it seriously is the best time of the day when I get mail! Feel free to send me some news from the outside world... I feel so shut off! I know nothing!
Love you tons!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

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