Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apr 16, 2013 Leaving the MTC Wk 11

Don't have tons of time today so this is probably going to be a little short and perhaps a little less interesting than most of my letters. Got several last second letters yesterday, including one from recently set apart Alex Hoagland who is going to Guatemala today. He doesn't know this yet but we have the same layover in LAX and I'm planning on finding him. It should be fun.

 On a somewhat related note, I think I'll be calling you guys from LAX and NOT from Salt Lake because of how many missionaries are coming out with us. There are a limited number of pay phones and a whole bunch of missionaries going out at the same time. This means I'm going to be calling y'all pretty late. Like probably really late. Maybe around 10 or so, California time, which would be 12 in Odessa right? Sorry for the inconvenience and if there are phones available at SLC I'll call from there, but we've been told there won't be, so I'm giving y'all the heads up now. Not much else to say and we've still got a lot to do so I'm going to go ahead and sign off. Thanks for writing and keeping me updated on what's going on at home and everything. Love y'all! Elder Vore

New Mission Tags!

This picture was taken by Grandpa Vore, shortly before the MTC

Apr 9, 2013 Running into Sister Megan Parkinson Wk 10

Well, it feels like we've been here a long time, and though maybe in my letters it has come off that I don't totally love it here in the MTC, I do. It's really great. Nevertheless, we are really excited to get out of here and head on out to Cambodia next Tuesday! We leave the MTC at 4:30 in the afternoon, leave the USA a couple hours before midnight on Tuesday and then arrive in Hong Kong around 6 in the morning on Thursday. We pretty much skip a whole day in the air. Pretty weird. We should get to Cambodia around 10:30 and then we're off! I'm completely stoked.  I'm not going to understand anything, the food is going to make me sick, it's going to absolutely insane but I'm going to have so much fun.

 We got to watch all 5 sessions of Conference last week and it was great. I've never enjoyed conference so much! Before it started I felt that I should write a few questions down that had been bugging me about my teaching and listen for answers, and they had answers for me! It was so great to see such an obvious example of inspiration through the words of prophets and apostles.

 I particularly like Elder Holland's talk about faith. The story about the 14 year old boy who told Elder Holland, "I don't know if it's true, but I believe it is," was really powerful for me. We've been taught here in the MTC by so many people who have such sure testimonies about the reality of Christ and His atonement and our Father in Heaven that in comparison, my own testimony of these truths seems rather shaky. It was a really awesome lesson for me to relearn that believing and acting on that belief is good enough. Alma taught that "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you" and that is so important to remember! When in doubt, hold on to what you already know and desire to believe, desire to have faith and God will help you.

 On a completely unrelated note, our Sunday night devotional this week was Vocal Point. Man, they really are just so good. In addition to their singing being awesome, which pretty much goes without saying, their testimonies were great too. It was all very personal because they had all served missions before, some of them pretty recently, and really understood what was going through our minds here and now. I can imagine it was a pretty strange experience for them as well, having been in our seats watching devotionals just like us and then just a few short years later being up on that same stage which has been shared by so many many amazing, faithful men and women. I don't really know, but it was pretty cool. I love y'all! Thanks for writing! You guys are the best.  Elder Vore

Shortly before leaving the MTC, Elder Vore got to be a host missionary to welcome new missionaries entering the MTC.  He was lucky enough to be able to help a friend, Sister Megan Parkinson, bring her luggage into the MTC after just saying goodbye to her family.

Elder Vore and Sister Parkinson ran into each other a few days later on their way to the temple.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Apr 2, 2013 Easter Devotional Wk 9

And so, another week has passed on! All the missionaries we came in with have now left the MTC, so it's just the 12 of us and a whole bunch of missionaries who have spent considerably less time here than us.  It's interesting to remember that just a few months ago here at the MTC, 12 weeks was absolutely normal. Our scheduled grammer and vocabulary assignments are done so during our 2-3 hours of language study a day, we ask the teachers questions, memorize random words that we hear, search through the dictionary and so forth. 

A few days ago my teacher went to and then to the conference talks. Apparently, all of the talks that are translated are sitting right there online for anyone that wants to hear them. If y'all want, I'm sure you could look them up in like two minutes. Anyway, we listened to several of them and they are really hard to follow. Khmer takes several more syllables to say each word than English does, so in order to translate for a speaker who is speaking at a normal pace, the translaters have to speak really fast. All in all, I'm glad I'll be here for conference rather than in Cambodia. I might understand a few of the talks here.

 Sunday was our special Easter devotional. Bishop Causse of the presiding bishopric came and spoke in our Mission Conference, which was really great, and then later we had Sister Sheri Dew, who used to be in the General Relief Society Presidency. They were awesome. For obvious reasons, a large portion of their remarks was focused on the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ. It was really great.

 As part of my personal study, I went looking through old talks by Bruce R. McConkie. I don't know how familiar with him the younger kids are, but he was an apostle in the 70s-80s and an immensely powerful speaker and writer. About two weeks before he died, and after stuggling with colon cancer for a very long time, Elder McConkie gave his testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement in General Conference in a talk titled "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane":

"And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin."

 This was a man of great faith, a faith that I hope to have someday. And though I don't have a perfect faith, I don't doubt for a minute that Christ is our Savior, that he died for us and that he wants each and every one of us to be happy and accept His teachings and follow Him.  I'm excited to be able to share this message in just a short time with the people of Cambodia.

 We should have our travel plans this Thursday or maybe Friday and we are all pretty stoked. And why not right? It was Ammon who said pertaining to missionary work that "there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began" (Alma 26:35) and that is so true. Out of time here, but I'll probably write to y'all soon!   Love, Elder Vore