We had a great surprise yesterday.

So this past week I've started really getting used to the schedule. I've kinda figured out why English speaking missionaries are only here for 3 weeks. Yesterday me and Elder Hyde were walking back from getting our sack breakfasts at around 6:30am and we noticed as we were walking back we passed the same missionaries in the exact same spots as the mornings prior. Everyone here works like clockwork and everyday seems identical to the day prior. I'm starting to see how the mandarin missionaries literally go quite insane in their 9 weeks here at the MTC. Last Wednesday we got a new district of mandarin missionaries in the zone; 4 elders and 4 sisters. They seem nice but we really haven't got to know them yet, and its just making me miss the district that left to their missions last week. The language is coming a lot faster. I started making a huge effort to SYL all the time. SYL stands for speak your language and the MTC really tries to push for all language learning missionaries to do it, but few really do. And I didn't until last Thursday morning I was praying regarding some issues I'd been having and found that SYL is the solution. So I've been speaking mandarin... a lot, and I've found its improved so much. Its really started to catch on with the district and even some of the zone. But yeah that was probably the biggest change last week. 

But yeah I guess you already heard who last nights special guest was but I'm gonna say it anyways, ELDER BEDNAR WAS HERE LAST NIGHT. I love him so much and my district managed to sit in the sits closest to him and when he came in and walked out he walked right in front of us like literally 2 feet away. I actually kinda felt like he was going to come all day yesterday. Even at dinner I had asked a sister from the district above ours if they had heard prior to the devotional when an apostle came and she had said no, but she asked something like "Why? Are you feeling what I'm feeling?" It was pretty crazy how we both felt that and when he walked in right in front of us and to hear everyone in the room stand up, and the spirit that was there. It was amazing. Everyone continued to stand and sing the prelude hymns and try to remain calm. This was a rather difficult task for my district as we all really love him. And when he looked over at us, we all (or i guess myself and the 3 sisters) just freaked out and each waved super awkwardly. He just responded with a smirk and a little nod to us. But anyways Elder and Sister Bednar were great. They focused on how we can better learn and receive revelation from General Conference and practiced analyzing 3 conference talks. This was a great experience to dig deep in to 3 apostle's (Uchtdorf, Renland, and Nelson) talks with an apostle. Elder Bednar offered some beautiful insight of his own, especially into the principles of repentance and joy, which to me were the most apparent themes of this past conference. But his message has really inspired me to "dig deep" into each conference talk every 6 months, as they are the revelation and the doctrine that is intended for those 6 months of time. So yeah last night was just lovely. Everything's going great. Myself and Elder Johnson weren't feeling great this morning and couldn't go to the temple so that was a bummer but it makes me just more excited to go next week. But yeah actually the temple is sooooo great. We had the opportunity to do sealings last week and the worker was the previous temple president and he had some amazing and super touching experiences and insights into temple sealings. But yeah anyways, the MTC's great and the spirits still strong. 

-Elder Erickson


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