Hey there family and friends!!! Week 3 already over, it literally feels like I've only been here a few days! Everything's moving by so fast, its scary! I don't want this MTC experience to be over, I'm loving it so much! I have so much love for my district and my companion, they really are the best. It's kind of funny, my comps girlfriend (well friend now) is serving a mission and reported to the MTC this week. I've been keeping a close eye on him ;) Jk, he's awesome and he's dealing with it super well. Man I love the Italian language so much! This week me and Elder Allen started to teach our lessons without notes and its been great! I'm feeling more and more proficient with the language every day! We went on an English fast as a zone for Monday Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where we could only speak Italian all day. It was sooooooo difficult, but it definitely helped us out too. It has really helped having an Elder from Italy in our district. Also, I really love the hymns in Italian. I mean all hymns mean the same thing, but for some reason the Italian hymns make me extra happy! One of the hymns has become my favorite, and its only in the Italian hymnbook! I don't know why they don't have it in English cause the tune and the words are so great! It's called "Mandate Voci La Gioia all'Eterno," which basically means "Send a voice of Joy to the Eternities." Look it up on youtube and see if you can listen to it. Christmas songs are pretty neat in Italian too.
Anyways, Coolest story this week. So every Monday we go to this thing called TRC, where former missionaries from Italy come and we teach them a short lesson and they grade us on how we did. It's super helpful, but this week was extra cool! So when we showed up they called me and Elder Allen into another room and they told us that we were going to teach this woman named Jessica, who is an actual non-member from Milan! Apparently, she found a Book of Mormon on the ground while she was in Italy, and she had been reading it, wondering how to find out about the true church. She found out online a bit about our church, and she was coming to vacation in LA, and so she decided to fly into Salt Lake and find her way to the MTC, where she knew she could find the missionaries that she had been looking for. Me and Elder Allen taught her the first discussion and it was actually pretty good! At the end of the lesson, we were able to refer her to some missionaries in Milan, so that way she will be able to continue the discussions when she gets back. We got her to pray for the first time in her life at the end of our lesson, and it was by far the coolest experience I've had here in the MTC. I don't cry often, but during that prayer it really hit about what it is I'm doing as a missionary, and the effect that the Gospel has on people's lives. Being a missionary isn't just a cool oppurtunity, but it is legitimately the coolest thing we can do during our time here on Earth. Teaching Jessica really made me realize that this Gospel is our purpose here on Earth. Through missionary work, we are really showing people the true message of happiness and hope, and the divine plan that Heavenly Father has for Each and every one of us! There are people, like Jessica, that are actively searching for the gospel, and it is our amazing and priveledged responsibility to show them the true happiness that the Gospel has brought to each of us.
I want to challenge anyone who is reading this letter to find an oppurtunity, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may be, to bear your testimony of the Church to someone who has not yet recieved the Gospel. It's gonna be really hard, but I want everyone to realize that we truly have the Lord on our side, helping us along the way! This is the most important message we can give anyone, and its definitely not supposed to be kept to ourselves. This week me and Anziano Allen made a new slogan for our zone (we stole it off of Elder Jarvies from our ward in case you were wondering). It's: "I'm goin to the celestial kingdom and I'm bringin people with me!" I hope everyone who is reading this will adopt this motto in their own lives, and that you all will find someway to share the gospel in this next week or so. Please write to me about it and let me know how it goes!
To Zack, tell him to really start preparing for a mission now. I really wish that I took Scripture Study a lot more seriously before the mish, because they've been like my best friend on the mission haha. Write down what you feel in the margin of your scriptures as you read them every night. And take my challenge and let me know how it goes.
Also, to Dad, thanks for the letter. I really enjoyed it. What leadership advice would you have for me as zone leader? Making sure everyone is getting along is a lot harder of a job than I thought it would be haha. And I would write to you in Italian, but I only have so much time, and it would take a lot of time for me to think about it. Maybe next time.
And mom, I hope you're partying it up with Mimi this week. I'm sure you guys are having a blast.
Anyways, I could use some lotion and some of that resolve stuff, but other than that I think I'm good.
Have a great week and Preach the Gospel!
Anziano Matthew Walden
PS oh and tell Zack that I love the wallet he made for me and that everyone is obsessed with it! The Italian elder really wants me to sell it to him. Don't worry though, I won't:)