Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012 Doodlesack

So basically, this week was the greatest week of the MTC so far. Why?  Aunt Kristy's homemade rolls.  She made about 40-50 of them.  I received them Friday night and between the four of us in our room they were all gone by Sunday mid-day.  Simply fantastic.  Thank you Uncle Tristan for having a surgery and needing a reason to come up to Provo so Kristy could drop off the rolls.  I really hope you are feeling better though.

So as far as teaching our investigators this week, it went really good.  We were able to really teach Michael the Plan of Salvation and this time around it really clicked for him.  Then on his own in his scripture study he found this scripture in what we assigned that he really liked about Christ being able to make us feel complete and whole.  He never really heard of the idea that we could be blessed by Him to have relief from our mental anguish.  Things improved dramatically with Patrik.  He still does not like to speak up during lessons very much, but we've been trying to ask more thought provoking questions which have helped.  This last lesson our German was really poor, but he seemed really enthralled by what we were teaching.  We had the idea to tell him about baptism and ask him if he would prepare.  As we expected he told us how he was baptized as a kid in the catholic church, so we then explained how we now have the proper authority of Jesus Christ, the Priesthood, and how he can truly know that he would be in the name of Christ.  He was really interested in this idea of the proper authority of Jesus Christ and all that comes with the Priesthood.  He was going to pray for an answer and get back to us next time.

On Sundays there is usually a period of about an hour after dinner where I can play piano.  This last week for half of the time I actually gave Elder Davies his first piano lesson.  It was really fun.  Right now I am the only piano player in our zone so I get to play for sacrament and priesthood meetings each week.  Not this Sunday, but two Sundays ago I was able to play my arrangement of "Praise to the Man" for a musical number.  The branch president's wife told me I should try out for the Sunday devotional musical number.  This last week I wasn't able to make it to the try-outs, but I'll see if I can make it this week.

I don't know about you guys, but time seems to have flown by.  I'll be heading to Deutschland and Österreich in less than 3 weeks.  I should be getting my travel plans here soon.  And Mom and Dad, I'll be able to call you from the airport before I go, I'll get back to you on that when I know exact details.
German word of the day:  Doodlesack.  It means bagpipes.  It's just really fun to say.  Also, this last week we went through and tried to figure out how we would have to spell our names so that it would sound the same pronounced in German as it sounds when we pronounce it in English. So to make Edward Houston Bodily sound the same in German as it does in English, it would have to be spelt (keep in mind Germans don't make the W sound):  Eed'w'öd cheüstin Badulie.  Just thought that might be interesting.

There wasn't a whole lot of particularly interesting things that happened this week, but it was still really good.  My knowledge of the Gospel is really growing and I'm becoming more and more comfortable with speaking German.  I'm so grateful for this opportunity.  It has blessed me so much.  I can tell I'm growing each day and it's really making me happy.  I love this Gospel and I'm so grateful for all that Heavenly Father and Christ have done for me.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Elder Davies and Elder Bodily teaching exchanges at MTC with Elder Niedens and Elder Gubler.
 February 20, 2012

Guten Morgan! Really, Elder Davies and I got up early to do our laundry and it'll be 6:30 when you receive this.
Anyways, this week has been another good one. Elder Davies and I have two role play investigators named Michael and Patrik. We've made a lot of progress with them. Michael is a really energetic guy with an East-German accent. He didn't know anything about religion at first. He had heard of Jesus Christ and that he was an important religious figure, but knew nothing else. We had to start from the basics and explain all the necessaries of Jesus Christ and his gospel, teach him how to pray, and then explain the significance of our church. Since then we've been able to get him to come to church, read the Book of Mormon (he still doesn't feel comfortable enough with his prayers to pray about its truth yet, but we keep encouraging him to do so), and has accepted the principles we've taught him. We're hoping to commit him to baptism here soon. More importantly though we hope he can trust in his ability to pray and find out the truth of the BoM and then gain a testimony. Patrik's development has been coming a little more slowly. His background is he had a lot of Mormon friends and wanted to learn more about our church, he is Catholic, and he doesn't really like to be a part of lesson more just listen to what we say. We have gotten him to read the Book of Mormon, and he believes that the Bible is true and that the Book of Mormon could be true, but doesn't believe either is a reality of today so he can't really believe the idea that we have modern revelation given to prophets from God, nor that we can receive personal revelation. We've testified of the truth of the Book, how it works together with the Bible to bring forth the fullness of God's work, and we shared Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:4-5 (future missionaries you are going to be using this scripture a lot) and shared our testimonies of how we have received answers from God through the Holy Ghost through prayer that the Book of Mormon is true. The only problem is he only likes to give the memorized prayer found in Matthew that a lot of Christian faiths say and doesn't feel comfortable yet with the idea that prayer is a conversation with God rather than a recited praise. We'll to continue to work with him though. This last week though, Elder Davies and I and Elder Gubler and Elder Niedens did teaching exchanges. Elder Gubler and I got to teach Michael and one of his investigators, Ingo, for three lessons each. We got Ingo to pray to know the Book of Mormon is true and we committed him and his family to get baptized. We made so much progress with him in just a few short trips because Elder Gubler worked so hard to really prepare for him. All of these investigators are based off of real people that our teachers taught while they were in Germany.
One quick thing before I go: They are building another MTC in Rexburg, Idaho which is going to be for the Spanish-Speaking Missionaries. This is to relieve the pressures on housing in the Provo MTC because of how many Missionaries are coming in. English-Speaking and all other languages will stay here in Provo unless of course they go to another MTC like Brazil, England, Philippines, etc. Also, they going to work it out here soon so that a number of Missionaries will be able to use I pads for teaching. This is so we can use resources for teaching such as, use visuals, etc.
Well I have to go for now, love you all so much.
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen
Elder Bodily

Monday, February 13, 2012

Deutsch (German) District of Elders at Provo Temple.

Elder Bodily and Christensen - "He ain't heavy - he's my brother."  (Ha-ha- he's really heavy)!
MTC German classroom.  My desk is in the back corner.

Elder Bodily and Elder Davies- new Zone Leaders - Jan 30.

February 13, 2012 (one month mark

Guten Morgan!
So this Saturday is my one month mark at the MTC. I don't know how you guys have felt, but it seems to have come up pretty quickly.
So this week has been good. The language is coming along well and more importantly I'm learning a lot more about the gospel. The older Deutschers have all left for Deutschland and our French roommates are leaving today so it's a little lonely on our floor in the residence hall, but we still have fun.
Here's the deal with my mission field: Switzerland is kind of racist towards all the Turkish immigrants moving into their country so for the most part only European Union born people are able to get visas. There are a few cases in which others can get a visa, but it's very rare. Out of all the missionaries who just left, only one was able to apply for a Swiss visa, but that does not guarantee that he will get it. If any of us were to apply for a visa to Switzerland we should have known by now, so I'm probably not going to be in Switzerland. Oh, and Liechtenstein does not allow proselyting. I can't complain at all though; I was/am most excited for Austria and I am so stoked for Germany. I am perfectly fine with the way things are.
Things are going really well with Elder Davies and I. I think he is the absolute best companion I could have had out of the 20 Elders here. He is very easy going and so enthusiastic about being a missionary. We've been able to help each other a lot: because he hasn't had any experience with German, so I've been able to help him pick up on it and help him understand what our investigators are saying. He has been able to help me far greater though. He knows how to stay focused on studying and has really helped me to understand that with patience and faith all things are possible, that Heavenly Father takes care of you completely when you demonstrate obedience, and how to not get too stressed out during all the work we go through.
Yesterday, for our Sunday devotional they did a rerun of the talk the Elder Bednar gave to the missionaries here in the MTC on Christmas. It may have been a recording, but the Spirit was so strong during that meeting. It may have been the best talk I've ever heard in my life. The overall theme of the talk was the Characteristics of Christ. He gave us the challenge to really study the qualities of Christ more, but he focused on one quality in particular which was when others turn in and think about themselves and let the natural man have his way, Christ would turn out and give others help and comfort even in his hardest times. He gave the talk in a style almost similar to Elder Holland and how powerful he makes the messages he shares. I can't begin to do justice to the talk, but I wish there was a copy of it somewhere for everyone to see it. It had so many pieces of advice to help missionaries and people in general. One thing I really liked is that it talked about how there is a difference between a testimony of Christ and converting to Christ. A testimony is knowing of the existence of Christ and knowing that this church is true. Converting to Christ is when you devote yourself to the gospel and it's principles and strive to become as Christ. When you convert yourself to Christ you will never fall astray.
Und es begab sich: Ich [Elder Bodily] sprach zu meinem Vater; Ich will hingehen and das tun was der Herr geboten hat; Denn Ich weiss dass der Herr gibt den menschenkinder keine gebote, ohne einen weg vorbereiten, damit sie der vollbringen konnen; was er ihnen gebietet. (That's off memory so hopefully it's right)
1 Nephi 3:7
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen.
Elder Bodily

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 6, 2012
Guten Tag!
So, sometimes Missionaries have a lot of fun.
Today the older German missionaries left for their respective fields. We had 24 Elders leave today which leaves us with 20 left. Because they were leaving this meant that the last two nights had to be a party. Part of this MTC allowed partying consisted of the ceremony where the older Deutschers gave their "pass-down" gifts to the new Deutschers before they leave. All the Deutsch Missionaries recieved anywhere from 1-3 pass-down items. I received two. The first was given to me by Elder Johnson and it was the "Suit Jacket of Legends". It's this navy blue suit jacket with the word Legend inscribed in it. It supposedely goes to the most sharped dress missionary; the double-breasted suit I inherited from Dad kind of sealed the deal for me. The other pass-down I inherited was the "Edge sensitive skin shaving gel for the 'True Man'". We don't need to discuss that one.... Others included the "Sword of Southern Utah" "Pinecone of fertility" "the Partie Machen (Party Maker) box" "The Ugliest tie ever worn by a missionary" "Cheerleading pom-poms" "The egg of unknown age" "The bag of convience (which is basically the greatest survival kit ever made)" and much more. They are funnier if you get to explain the tradition but there are too many and not enough time for me to type them all. My favorite one though was the "And these elders dwelt in a shirt" shirt and pants. Part of the tradition for handing that down is the previous owner and the new owner have to work together to get in the shirt and pants back to back. It happened to be two larger missionaries this time and caused a lot of laughs. Elder Davies and I as new zone leaders also got one of the greatest pass-downs ever: the Bat Cave. The Bat Cave is this secret bathroom that only ZLs are allowed to know about it. It's a building in the middle of our residence hall building, cafeteria, and classroom building. Supposedly the last 5 pairs of Deutsch ZLs have been able to go there and not see another person ever. What makes it so great is the stalls are large enough to run, and they include a sink and automatic toilet paper dispensers, and it is surprisingly the best smelling room on campus.
Today Elder Davies and I had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to check off the rooms of the departing missionaries. That wasn't quite so great. But we did get to go to the temple right after that and have a huge p-day in store for us.
Yes I remember that being a missionary is not just about having fun all the time, so here is a great experience I had this week. We had the 50th anniversary of the MTC on Tuesday. For this Elder Russel M. Nelson and Elder Jeffery R. Holland came to speak to us. After first being kicked into the overflow building to watch the devotional on the screen, by some miraculous occurence Elder Davies and I ended up being on the floor chairs about 25 feet away from the podium. That day had been my hardest day at the MTC. I had been really discouraged with the language that day and I didn't feel like I was being an adequate missionary at all. When Elder Holland got up to talk though the spirit came stronger to me than I had ever expereinced yet in the MTC. I felt so close to my Heavenly Father. I knew more strongly at that time than ever before that I was a missionary called of God. He did not call me to fail, but to perform miracles through his guidance. I have no doubt in my mind that this church is true. I have known this for a long time, but now my testimony burns more fervently than ever. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and are always there for us. I know that the greatest happiness we can ever experience comes through this gospel. I would exhort any who have not read through the Book of Mormon and sincerely prayed, with real intent, with faith that you can receive an answer to know that this church is true, should it do it now. If you do this, follow the commandments, repent, and endure to the end you'll never have any regrets. These things I say in the name of Jesus Christ.
For now I love you all and I hope everything is going well for you.
Gott sei mit euch bis auf wiedersehen (God be with you til we meet again)