Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 1: June 29, 2016

Aloha Family and Friends,

My first week here at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) has gone amazingly. My district has become such a close and loving family within the first week that we've been here. (Of course, we see each other almost 24/7 so that does tend to happen). 

Where to start? Well, how about at the beginning? As soon as my family dropped me off and we said our final a hui hou's, I was marched right into a gym where they gave me a name tag and papers with some information on where I would be staying and what classroom I would be meeting in. I truly felt like a real missionary as soon as they put that name tag on me. "Elder Kaitoku The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". I dropped off my things in the residence hall and was marched over to class. It was there that I first met my companion and district. My companion, Elder Bills, is from Seattle and we enjoy one another's company. We've gotten along very well. The rest of the district is: Elder Dewitt, Elder Oliphant, Elder Whitney, Elder Norton, Elder Haviland, Elder Christenson, Sister Monson, (No, as she's explained several hundred times, she is NOT related to the prophet) Sister Belliston, Sister Pluim, and Sister Larson. Sister Belliston is actually from Alaska and she said that about 8 years ago, Living Legends came and performed there. She said that she was very young at the time but she remembers absolutely loving the two sisters that stayed with them in their homes and the spirit that they brought to the family and the blessing that they've felt because of their visit. She doesn't quite remember the show, however, but it's important to note that she remembers how they made her feel. We've all gotten to know one another so much throughout our time here so far and it's only been a week. I can feel each of their love and devotion to not only the Savior and His gospel, but to one another and the people in the areas they will be serving in. Each of their testimonies has had such a lasting effect on my own and I know for a surety that they will be great missionaries in their respective missions. 

The first week we got here, there was a conference going on with about 172 new mission presidents learning more about their calls and they were being taught by the general authorities. It truly was an amazing experience to think that these men called of God were only a few hundred feet from where I sat learning of the gospel. Unfortunately, we were asked to not approach them if we saw them. (I really wanted to get their autographs). Our first meal was "kalua pig" and "shoyu chicken" and I'm sure you can understand why I've got that in quotation marks. I've run into so many people here that are from Hawaii or people that I've met and known before, each of them have the light of Christ in them as I have never before seen and I have felt it here as I have never before felt before. The MTC truly is an amazing experience and has strengthened my testimony in the gospel. I've been dragging my companion to the weight room each exercise block stating, "I just got all these pants fitted and I am NOT about to outgrow them in any way." We also got to play some basketball yesterday and I plan on going today. I was able to humbly show my talents that the Lord has blessed me with making sure to call out "Bobby" (my dad's name) with each shot that I made. 

I introduced my residence hall room to li hing mui and other Hawaii candies and treats. Elder Dewitt has taken a particular liking to li hing mui strawberry belts and has kindly asked that my family send more before we leave. I know that I am doing the Lord's work and He is proud of me and continues to bless me and keep me safe. We've been blessed to have a devotional this Sunday and Tuesday. We have learned that there is little growth in a comfort zone and there is little comfort in a growth zone. I can testify that there has been very little comfort getting to know everyone and more about the gospel and really becoming the best missionary that I can become. However, I can also testify that there has been such growth in my life as there has never before been. I don't think I've ever prayed before this much in my life. 

In closing, I wanted to leave with you all a quote from one of the devotionals which reads, "Preach the gospel at all times, with words if necessary" Be a good example of the church in all aspects of your lives. We never know who is watching, but we know that they are always watching. I can't quite upload pictures on this computer and so I will have to do that from another computer later on today. I send you all my love and my solemn testimony that this church is true and Christ lived. I testify the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I testify that God lives and Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ in the sacred grove all those years ago. I know that Thomas S. Monson receives divine revelation and leads this church in truthfulness and righteousness today. I know all these things are true and I say this in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

"...Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
-Joshua 1:9

If you would like to send packages or letters, please make sure they'll be here by the 9th (preferably) or at least before the 12th. The address for the MTC is:

"Elder Teancum Kaitoku
Provo MTC Mission
Unit #20B Departure Date: 12 July
Mission Code: Oakland CA
2005 North 900 East
Provo UT 84604-1793"

Mahalo Nui Loa, and much Aloha,
Elder Kaitoku

Please note that this address will no longer be the correct one starting July 13th.

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