Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 4 Christmas in the MTC

Mom added me to the Christmas Tree this year!

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a Happy New Year!!

This week has probably been my favorite so far. I learned so incredibly much about Jesus Christ and this Gospel.

Last Saturday, one of the Elders decided to go home from our Branch. He had only been out a few days. It was so hard on the Branch, but everyone grew closer together because we had a Testimony Meeting about why we're here and the reason we came on this Mission. It was especially tough for his companion, but he has been so strong and continued to work hard.

I was called to be the District Leader on Sunday! I am very excited to serve, I love my District and we work very well together. We are working hard on Spanish and learning the Gospel, and things are coming along very well.

Tuesday Night we had the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Gary E Stephenson speak to us. It was amazing, he talked about the wonderful gifts we as missionaries, and we as members of the Church, have the opportunity to receive and to give. He focused on The Gift of Jesus Christ, The Gift of the Spirit, and The Gift of the Restoration of the Gospel.

"I love you so much, Have a great week!"

I sent Chandler a Nativity Set that he could open
 one piece each night for the 12 nights leading up to Christmas.

Christmas was an amazing experience here in the MTC. Wednesday we got to watch a Live Nativity for Christmas Eve, and on Christmas we had Russell M Nelson come speak to us. He is one of the greatest speakers I've ever heard. He talked about 9 different aspects of the Doctrine of Christ. He talked about everything you can imagine: The Godhead, The Atonement, The Plan of Salvation. Overall, what hit me the most throughout these amazing subjects was the fact that the people we are going to be teaching have never heard of these things! They don't have the Plan of Happiness like we have, they don't know what it is. How lucky I am to get to teach them these wonderful aspects of the Gospel.

I learned so many things about Jesus Christ this week. We watched a short video that relates The Atonement and Missionary Work. I loved it, it talked about how many Missionaries wonder why they can't get everyone to be baptized. Why it is always so hard. Jeffrey R Holland said: "Why would it be easy for us when it was NEVER easy for Jesus Christ? How could we truly understand the Atonement if we have never felt hardship? A mission helps us feel a little bit like Christ, a tiny tiny bit. We are not the first to ask: 'Why is this hard?' Jesus said this to his father, ''Father, isn't there any other way?' As missionaries, you do not have an entirely easy way either, but the Atonement will carry you." I love this. Through Missionary Work, we get to be in the shoes of the Lord. How much easier it will be for me to teach the Atonement when I've been rejected, I've felt a very small part of what the Savior felt!!

Brother & Sister Parrish from our Home Ward 
serve at the MTC & saw Chandler on Christmas Day!
One story of the Savior that stuck out to me is the one about "Feed my Sheep." It's where Peter decides, after the death of Jesus, to go back to his life of fishing. Eventually, Jesus shows up on the shore and Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to him. This moment was the most important of Peter's life. He made the decision to finally devote his life to the Lord and the work of a mission. The Lord repeatedly asked him "Peter, do you love me?" We watched an amazing talk by Jeffrey R Holland entitled "The First Great Commandment." He talks all about this.  My favorite part is when Jeffrey R Holland explains what he pictures the conversation as: "Peter, do you love me? Then why are we here on the same shore, having the same conversation? I need someone to be a disciple, I need someone who loves me, who will feed my sheep. I do not need fish.  So, Peter, leave this and testify of me and my work. Did you think this work would be killed because I was killed?" I love this so much. How often do we say that we love Christ, but then continue in our worldly ways? How often are we having the same conversation with the Lord that we've had before? We have to leave the fishing and join the work of the Lord. I love that about the Savior.  His work is always ongoing. I know that I am on a mission for that exact reason: to leave my fishing boat and come be a Missionary for him. I bear testimony of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Have a great week!
- Elder Leavitt

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Week 3 Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas in just a few days!

This week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life as far as the strength of my Testimony and the Faith that I have gained in the Lord and Savior.

Sunday, we had our weekly devotional, it was with the BYU Men's Choir. It was so amazing, they are great singers and brought such an amazing Christmas Spirit into the MTC. We watched "The Testaments" a movie I had seen before but for some reason it hit me even harder this time. At the very end, the man has waited his entire life for Jesus Christ to appear in the Americas. When Jesus Christ finally comes, the man has become blind, but Jesus Christ heals him and the man looks right into the face of his Savior and Lord. I imagine this moment is how we will feel when we finally see him. What will we say? I don't know how I can tell him thank you, there are no words for that. I love my Lord and Savior and can't wait to see him once again and tell him I love him.

My companion, Elder Bernard has been so frustrated with Spanish. I feel like he doesn't give himself enough credit, because honestly he is doing really well. But this week he took the challenge from my favorite teacher, Hermano Stallings, and he hasn't spoken English at all this week. He is quiet but I haven't heard him speak English at all and he has put his faith in the Lord and I admire him for that.

On Tuesday, my companion and I had a really cool experience. We were walking to lunch when one of the investigators, Mercedes, that people use to practice with started talking to us. She isn't our investigator, but we got talking and set up an actual appointment. It felt so real to actually be setting up our own meeting and I was so excited to talk with her. She wanted to know about Jesus Christ and why the Church talks more about Joseph Smith than Jesus Christ. We met with her on Wednesday and Friday and had some of the most amazing lessons I've ever been a part of. On Friday, our lesson was about Repentance. She said that she feels everyone is always on her back about Repenting. All of a sudden I felt the Spirit so strong and I said Spanish words that I had no idea I knew. I told her that God is never going to force us to repent. God wants us to learn from our mistakes and get better and better. I talked about the Grace of God. Elder Bernard bore a beautiful testimony and Mercedes starting crying. It was such an amazing Spiritual experience.

We had our 3rd and 4th lessons with Carlos, our actual investigator. He is doing well and is such a good investigator to teach. We had him start the Book of Mormon and he believes the story of Joseph Smith, so we are on a good start. We were told to talk about the Invitation to Baptism every single lesson, even the first one. At first, I was so confused as to why we would do that. But now it makes perfect sense: when we ask them to be baptized, even if it is the first lesson, they will tell us every reason they won't be and we will have a perfect map of what we need to teach. It's amazing how it works. Carlos is progressing so well and I hope he will accept baptism soon.

In my Personal Study this week, I started studying the Spirit World. There are so many amazing aspects of the Spirit World. Brigham Young said that it was hard for him to want to stay on this Earth when he saw what the Spirit World was like. If we want to see Jerusalem during the time of Jesus Christ, we just think about it and we are there. We will have the opportunity to do so much missionary work, what an amazing blessing.

Well this week is Christmas. What an amazing time of year. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year's. Always remember our Lord and Savior. Sometimes we get caught up in the festivities of Christmas and forget the most important part: Baby Jesus. On Thursday, wake up remembering the story of Jesus Christ. Not just his birth, but everything about him. The Atonement. His life and his teachings. I truly love Jesus Christ, he is our Redeemer. He has saved us from our sins, and we can live with God once again because of that. What an amazing thing to remember. Merry Christmas! Love you all!

- Elder Leavitt


This is my favorite teacher here, Hermano Stallings. He has taught me so much, he is now moving to another building! I'm so grateful for him and the Spirit that he brings. He is the best Spanish Speaker I've heard, and has taught me so much. 
I love the people here, everyone is truly filled with the Light of Christ.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Week 2 "Called To Serve"

Hello everyone! 

Well today is my 2nd P-Day. This week has truly gone by so fast. It's probably because we are constantly in classes or with investigators, but the days just blend together so much. This week I've learned so many things. I've learned that truly the only way we can make it through the hardest times is through Jesus Christ. So much Spanish is being thrown at us, and without his help I don't know how in the world I would do it. Elder Bernard and I go into meetings with "investigators" and I come out wondering what I just said, yet we had a 50 minute conversation.

For Fast Sunday, we had an amazing Mission Conference. They talked about Jesus Christ and the importance of remembering him this Christmas Season. We watched a wonderful video called "He is the Gift." That night we also got to watch the Christmas Devotional, which was very good and Spiritual. We sang a special version of "Called to Serve" where we got louder each verse, and it sent chills down my spine. 

We watched a video of a talk called "Character of Christ" by David A Bednar. Probably one of the most amazing talks I've ever listened to. He talked about how Jesus Christ always turns OUT when most people would turn into themselves. Even when he was dying on the cross, he asked the Lord to forgive them. Most people would turn in and blame everyone around him for betrayal. After the Atonement, he healed the guards ear that was beating him. What an amazing person to be like.

This week has been so crazy, we have taught a lot of investigators and gone to a lot of classes. Every day gets better and better with Spanish and the Gospel.

I'm growing so much. I know that this is where I need to be, The Lord testifies that to me each and every day. My district is so fun to be around but always so hard working and it helps everyone and everything.

Yo sé que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos dias es verdadero. Yo sé que mi misión es muy importante. Yo sé que Jesucristo es el Salvador. Yo sé que José Smith es un profeta de Dios. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week 1 Entering the MTC

Hola! Wow. What a crazy few days. It already feels like I have been here for weeks with all the classes and learning that goes on here. But I have grown so very much.

This was one of the Hardest days of my life as a Mother!
Nothing can prepare you for this Goodbye, NOTHING!!
It felt like I left my heart on the side of that curb along with Chandler!!
So proud of Chandler for following in his Father's footsteps and
choosing to serve a full time Mission!

Wednesday was tough. Leaving my family and beginning my journey. As soon as I got here, we started class and Hermano Holman spoke only in Spanish the entire time. I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into and only understood bits and pieces. My district consists of 6 people who came in the same day as me. My companion, Elder Bernard, is a quiet guy from Wyoming who will be serving in McAllen, Texas. Elder Madsen (from Farmington) and Elder Coyle (from California) will be serving in Argentina. Elder Windham (from Texas) and Elder Wimber (from Oregon) will be serving in Canada. They are all such amazing people, very hard workers. They all have positive attitudes and funny personalities that really help throughout the day.

Each day goes forever, but in a good way. I learn so much. I can pray and testify in Spanish and understand about 80% of what Hermano Holman and Hermano Wilson say. I am learning quick and I know that the gift of tongues is very true. Very. We taught an investigator yesterday and had to speak solely in Spanish and I understood every single word that she said. My companion is struggling a little bit with Spanish but I am trying to help as best as I can. The best help is the Holy Ghost.

Personally I've been studying a lot about Christ and his attributes. As missionaries, we are representing Christ so we must learn to have the same characteristics as he does. That has been taught to me over and over as I am here.

I miss everyone a lot and it's hard at times, but I have been so blessed to be comforted by the Spirit. I love all of you and hope that everything is going well at home. Adios!

Yo se que Jesucristo es el Salvador. Y Jose Smith es una profeta. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

Elder Leavitt
Car ride to the MTC. 
 4 of the greatest kids in the world!

Saying goodbye to you for 2 years was harder than any of us
 could have EVER Imagined it was going to be!!