Friday, March 16, 2012

Provo MTC: Lead, Kindly Light...

The MTC...what an experience! Being surrounded by thousands of young men and women anxious to get out and preach the Gospel was amazing. But before the MTC, there was the heart breaking moments of "See ya in two years!"

Saying goodbye to the family was pretty tough, especially to my nephews and nieces. I remember dropping off one of my nephews at his school that morning and giving him a final hug. I watched him trod off slowly, his heavy backpack swaying as he moved, head sunk down crying. For anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me, you know exactly what I did...bawled like a baby. Talk about a tear jerker...

A few hours later I was thrown in the mix of the MTC, and I soon found out what my mission was going to be like. All the sadness of saying goodbye was swallowed up in the joy of meeting a group of Elders that has changed my life. I hadn't spent very much time around other active LDS people up to that point in my life. It was an eye opener to have 7 exemplary Elders show me that Mormons aren't as bad as I thought. In fact, they are pretty legit! (Confusing? maybe, but I was inactive most of my life.) My MTC experience was incredible to say the least. The growth in testimony: the friendships forged; the genuine fun had was a springboard propelling me into this awesome mission adventure.

Like I said, I wasn't very active before my mission, so I didn't know many hymns. Luckily, Elder Houston, my missionary companion in the MTC (and later on...we'll get there) is an amazing singer and introduced me to quite a few goodies. One in particular reminds me of the MTC every time I hear it: "Lead, Kindly Light".
"Lead, kindly light amid the encircling gloom; lead thou me on! The night is dark and I am far from home, lead thou me on! Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene one step enough for me."
This verse describes pretty well how I felt going into the MTC. I didn't know what to expect, and it was so hard for me to finally get there. But I wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do. I asked for His help, and He got me there. I was finally saying to the Good Shepard, "I'll go where you want me to go..." (I still struggle with wanting to see the distant scene though...haha).

"I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou shouldst lead me on. I loved to choose and see my path; but now, lead thou me on! I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, pride ruled my will. Remember not past years."
 I've said it many times before: I never wanted to go on a mission growing up. It wasn't a thought for me. I was going to do what I wanted to do, and for a long time I did. I lived a life contrary to the commandments of God, and with that came consequences that were more than I could handle alone. I thank God every day that He opened my eyes and gave me this chance to change. It was in the MTC that I gained a testimony that the only way to true joy and happiness is through Jesus Christ. I'm grateful He 'remember(s) not past years'.

"So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on o'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone. And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost a while!"
Although the MTC was incredibly fun and uplifting, it was full of challenges as well. I missed my nephews and nieces so much. I had been with them nearly every day of their lives. The thought of not seeing them for two years was difficult to say the least. This verse told me the Lord would help me endure all challenges, including being away from my best friends. He had brought me through hellish torment before, and He would get me through every trial and difficulty till the 'morn' that I will see the 'angel faces' of my nephews and nieces 'smile'. He will continue to help me until I see Him as He is. I know that for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ, and "...keep (His) commandments and endure to the end (they) shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." (Doc. & Cov. 14:7)

Here is a beautiful version of this classic hymn. Lander, WY: Prayer of the Children is coming soon...stay tuned! 

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