Some excerpts from Elder Schwartz's latest email:
This was yet another successful week here at the good ol' MTC. The spanish is coming well. I'm taking it a step at a time but I can definitely comprehend the language a lot more than I was able to before. I can almost carry on simple conversations! Hola, me nombre es Elder Schwartz. Soy de Martinez California. Me gusta comer los burritos... Me gusta gatitos y jugar futbol americano. And that's about all I know so far. I know with time and dedication and much prayer, I'll be able to get it down fine. I really can't believe that it has been almost 3 weeks! It really seems like I just got here yesterday. The time is flying.
This week we had two devotionals, and they were both equally amazing. The first was on Sunday from the President of the Provo Temple and he bore such a strong testimony that the temple is the house of the Lord, and that miracles happen in temples on a daily basis. The second speaker was Elder Rasband, from the presidency of the Seventy. He's the one that gave the talk on how missionaries are called. He's a fantastic speaker. He spoke to us about teaching with the presence of the Spirit and how to qualify to have it. He gave us a 3-step formula, the first being to bridle our passions; that when we left for the mission field, we put our personal passions on a shelf for two years while we are here to do the Lord's work. The second was to let virtue garnish our thoughts; that if we are always thinking of clean things, we will never fall into transgression and will be more sensitive to the Spirit. The third step was to pray to Heavenly Father for assistance, and that if we sincerely pray for the help of the Spirit, Heavenly Father will bless us.
The MTC is an amazing place and I am blessed to have the opprotunity to come here to grow in the Gospel. I love my zone, I love my district, and I love my companion; I really am blessed. I see people from BYU and from home on a daily basis. I saw Elder (Cody) Brinkerhoff a couple days ago. Sadly, I didn't have my camera, but next time I'll snag a photo with him. I see Kelly all the time; it's awesome (and yes, I got a photo with her). It is so nice to see so many framilliar faces as I walk through the halls.
Since I don't have any photos of Elder Schwartz in the MTC yet, I'll post some very old photos of other elders, including some Elder Schwartzes from 30 years ago....
...at least until I get some current pics of the current Elder Schwartz.....
Elder Steve Schwartz circa 1979. Notice the vest and simple name tag. I ran into him at a BYU fireside on a Sunday evening and got a pic with him...
This was shortly before I entered the MTC in April 1980. Elder Steve was getting ready to leave for La Paz Bolivia.
This is my MTC district (minus me) in front of the fountain by the Provo temple. Half of our district went to Rome and the other half to Milano.
These are two elders from my district studying in the MTC. Elder Thomas (left) was my MTC companion, a rancher from southern Colorado. Elder Wilson was the funny one (right).
Seeing missionaries in the MTC was a bit easier 30 years ago. Shortly after I returned home from my mission in April 1982, my brother Elder James Schwartz was in the MTC and cousin Carrie Lynn and I found him one day and snapped a quick photo with him. He was getting ready to depart for Munich Germany.