Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Week!

What a great week!  It has been busy, and full of learning and teaching opportunities.  I love the atmosphere here.  I almost feel rude not to introduce myself or at least give a greating to compleate strangers or unaquanted elders.
Most of the other missionaries got here Wednesday afternoon, and i met my companion, Elder Christensen from Mesa, Arizona, then.  He is a great missionary: full of testimony and knowledge of why he is here.  He works hard, and we can have amazing conversations about the gospel.  Although we might not be buddies-for-life, I am sure we will have respect and reverence for each other, enjoying each others company.  We are both very open with each other, and actively try to strengthen our companionship with communication, companionship prayer, and humility.  We are able to teach well together: where one might be weak in one aspect, the other is strong.  He was also made district leader, if that gives you any idea what a great elder he is.
We are VERY busy.  We get up around 6:15 and meet in our classroom with the district for personal study before breakfast at 7:45.  We have 10 people in out district; 8 elders, and 2 sisters, all going to New York Utica.  We seems to get a long well, and are able to work hard as a district, working on different teaching skills in our time between class and other activities.  Gym is great!  I look forward to being outside, or exercising after sitting all day in class or eating in the cafeteria.  Yesterday we went to the Teaching Resource Center for the first time and taught this sister from Samoa.  My companion and I had a great experience with her, teaching with ease, joy, and most importantly, the spirit.  We have class in about 2-4 hour intervals, about 3 times a day, and end about 9:30 at night.  Our classroom, which we stay in the whole time, is almost always hot, and we keep getting a broken fan!
I am so thankful to be out here.  It is hard to describe how I feel knowing that I have been authorized to represent not only the church, but more importantly the Lord.  What a humbling experience to know that he gives ME and other 19 and 21-year-old-elders and sisters that sacred calling.  The spirit is so strong here, and I have felt the love of the Savior for not only me, but for those I teach and will teach.  To strive and work to have the constant companionship of the spirit and Gods love is one of the most important things we can do in this life, and I am glad I have this opportunity to devote myself for 2 years to do it.
I love you all!  Sorry if I can't email all of you separately.  I only get thirty minutes, and the timer is going.
PLEASE SEND FUTURE MESSAGES THROUGH DEARELDER.COM.  They offer free same day delivery to the MTC, and it will give me more time to email, rather than read.  Thank you for all your support, especially you dad.  You have been such a blessing in my life, and a example of someone who I wish to emulate along with my father in heaven.  There is no other place I would rather be than right here.  I miss you all, and I pray for you everyday.
Elder Shurtz