Wow. I don’t know what else to say. Wow. I cant believe this day has come. My last P day in the MTC. I remember about 6 weeks ago I was talking about what its gonna be like in Rostov outloud during dinner. Elder Velazquez, an elder going to serve in Vladivostok, looked over at me and said "STOP talking about it ( in a stern but joking manner, we're never gonna leave if you keep talking about it."
As I pondered on his thought I began to realize that we really were never going to leave. We were going to spend the rest of forever sitting in a class learning Russian 12 hrs a day, for the rest of my life. My heart sank as I was converted to what I call the "Velazquez theory." Although at times it felt like this MTC stay was eternal, the light is becoming much brighter ,seeing as a week from this very second I will be thousands of feet in the air headed for Russia.
Many of you are curious to hear the itinerary so I will tell you. We are leaving the MTC at 5 am on the 18th of August for a 8:30 am flight from Salt Lake City to Atlanta. We land in Atlanta at 2:23pm and have a layover until we depart for Moscow at 4:15 pm. We then arrive in Moscow on the 19th of August, exactly 23 years after I was born ;) ( my birthday) at 11:00 am. We have quite the layover for we are leaving Moscow at 7:00 pm and arrive the 19th of August, again my bday;), to my mission in Rostov-Na-Danu, Russia.
The MTC has been quite the experience. An experience I had yesterday put the icing on the cake for me, and I will allow you to taste of it as well. So like every other Monday we went to the RC. I sat down I put on my headphones and proceded to sign in and click the "Go to Work" icon which allows you to begin calling different people who requested either a church movie or a Bible. We ask them if they recieved and if they enjoyed what we sent them, then testify about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and ask if we could have two representatives from our Church drop one off for free. Anyway, the first two people I called were out of order so I proceded to the 3rd number. The name popped up on the screen which read Alberto Torres. I was expecting noone to pick up because it it rang about 7 times. But, startlingly a voice picked up and I proceeded to read the prompts. "Hey this is James with the Church of Jesus Christ. Is Alberto Torres there?" No. he said. "Oh, do you live with Alberto" No this is Yeli, you have the wrong number. At this point my instinct was to say I'm sorry and hang up, but something told me to go on and testify. "Oh well our message is for everyone ( I then proceeded to testify of the Love of God and the power of His Son Jesus Christ" He then responded I'm Jewish. Not really knowing where to go from there I really wanted to just hang up but something kept pushing me to go on. I then proceed to talk about the Book of Mormon and my testimony that it was true and asked if I could send him one for free. He told me he was leaving and going out of town tomorrow for a few months and he wouldn't be able to get it.
At that point I felt like I was wasting his time and I could be talking with someone else that was actually interested and REALLY REALLY wanted to hang up. But something told me to keep talking to him. I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to visit his family and then . . . I asked where his family lived. Ukraine he said. My heart immediatly began to pump like crazy. For those of you that don't know, Ukraine is a former part of the Soviet Union and most everyone from there speaks Russian, which happens to be the language I have been learning for the past 10 weeks. Now, up to this point, I knew he had an accent but I couldn't tell from where and asumed he was Hispanic simply because of who I supposed to be calling. After I learned he was from Ukraine, I asked in Russian if he spoke Russian. He responded of course and I proceed to pull out 10 weeks of training and testified my brains out. I've never been so nervous and focused at the same time. I taught him about prophets and the priesthood and the great apostasy. (All in Russian) I then asked him "Yeli there are so many churches on the Earth, how are we to know which church is true? " He responded good question. I then recited from memory James 1:5 in Russian which basically says that If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask of God in Faith, and God will answer. I told him of a young boy named Joseph Smith who also was curious as to which church is true and read that scripture and decided to do that very thing." I then recited the First Vision in Russian and told him that I knew it was true. That Joseph Smith saw God, our Heavenly Father, that day and his son Jesus Christ and that through Joseph Smith the Church of Jesus Christ was restored on the earth." ( ALL IN RUSSIAN MIND YOU) I then asked him how he felt and after a long pause he told me that he felt it was true. I've never been so happy in my whole life. To make a long story short we pulled some strings, and he is going to be meeting with the Missionaries in Ukraine, maybe with some of the Elders I know here?, in the next following weeks and I'm way excited.
Well this is my last email from the MTC, but my stay has been worthwhile. I know this Church is true and feel free to write me on here: email@example.com :)
I'll be using email from now on since then mail in Russia is suspect.
P.S. If there is anyone you know that would like to read this please fwd it to them !!!!!!!