"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
-- Alma 26:12

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Second (and last) MTC Email

Hey Family! First of all, I wanted to let you know my flight plans so we could figure something out. I'm going to buy a prepaid card at the MTC bookstore so I can call. I have to be at the travel office at 5 am on mon morning. My flight leaves SLC at 8:30 am and I get to Denver at 9:57 am. So a pretty short flight.
My mission president sent us letters here in the MTC. He told us the low down of what to take in the carry on and the first two days schedule. Monday we get there and have mission orientation all day and spend the night in the mission home. Tuesday is transfer meeting where we get our trainers and travel to our areas and start the work!!!! I'm way excited.

The MTC has been awesome and I've learned a lot (and still feel like I won't know enough when I leave) but I've been trying to work hard and learn a lot. The biggest growth I've seen in myself isn't necessarily conscious. I've seen myself doing the regular things missionaries are asked to do, but seeing exceptional rewards. The closeness with the Spirit is the biggest gift anyone can have, and I feel so blessed to be able to feel close enough to the Spirit to have Him be the one really teaching the lessons, not me. It's really not us as missionaries that do anything. We're just the mailmen. The Spirit is the mail. And if we deliver the mail, it's up to the receiver to open it up or not. I truly have seen a huge change since I have been here. No longer do I think that I'm the one that has to teach. In fact, we've been told (and I think it says in the D&C) that unless you have the Spirit, you really shouldn't teach. I'll share a few experiences:

First, during Zone teaching (which is getting paired up with people in our zone and teaching each other) the teacher in charge told us we were going to be teaching one on one with another missionary and we were going to be teaching them as themselves (aka not playing investigators). Our job was to bring them as a missionary closer to Christ. I picked this little guy named E Gonzalez from the District just younger than us. Ever since I saw him first, he reminded me of Papa a little bit. So I picked him, and we had 10 min to get to know eachother. He told me his story. He is 26 years old. As a baby he was born 2 weeks early and had complications mentally. 7 years ago, he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. (maybe he's had that since birth, not really sure). But 7 years ago he started treatment. And now finally 7 years later he can serve a mission to Anaheim. But his mental complications include that he can't really write what is in his mind, he can't spell, and he took forever to learn how to read. He said this frustrated him at the MTC cuz all he wanted to do was learn and record it. So after the get to know sesh, we had 15 to prepare a lesson. I knew exactly where to turn: My fav scripture, D&C 84:85, 87-88, many of the quotes mom gave me, etc. It was like the lesson was all in my mind and I knew what to say. So I taught him, and when I read the quote mom printed out from the hymn the Lord is my light, he started tearing up. I told him that with the Lord he could do anything, and since he was the Lord's servant, he would be helped by the Lord through everything. I told him how it wasn't me that was really talking to him, but the Lord because there was no way I would have been able to do that lesson on my own. Long story short, I gave him the quotes, he wrote down all the scriptures I used, and he said, "Thanks Elder, I really needed that. Now I know I will be able to do it, even though I have been frustrated and depressed until now." It was such a good experience, and I feel humbled that the Lord worked through me.

Another experience. Cibele, our TRC investigator from Brazil. We taught her on monday, and the spirit was insanely strong. We taught lesson 2, the plan of salvation. She has a daughter, but no husband. Her daughter is 2 months old and named Juliet. Cibele when we got to the Atonement part of that lesson kept asking questions. She asked, "How can I be forgiven when the consequences of my actions are still there. There are some things you can't take back." Obviously she was talking about her daughter, and such, both E Hunsaker and I knew it. We read her a few scriptures, and then all of a sudden I remembered a story from the New Testament--the adulterous woman that the people brought to Christ. I knew I needed to share the story with her. I told her, "Cibele, do you remember the story in the new testament where the people brought in the sinful woman to Christ to see what he would tell them to do with her?" I then told her that Christ told everyone, "Let him who be without sin cast the first stone. Then Christ waited and asked the woman, Where are thine accusors? hast no man accused you (or something like that). then she said, no man Lord. And then Christ said, neither do I accuse thee, go and sin no more." Cibele at this point was crying, and the Spirit was so strong and then I told her something like this, "Cibele, Christ ALWAYS forgives us, no matter what we do. There may be things we can't take away, but the feelings of guilt and shame that we have can be made clean. We can be pure before Christ and God if we just ask them to make us so." Needless to say, the guy that taught that lesson and story was not Elder Logan Bryan. That was purely the Spirit, and I know that there can be miracles when we do what is asked, and when we let the Spirit take over.

I love you guys, keep the dearelders coming :)

Elder Logan Bryan

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First MTC Email

Well life here in the MTC is great! The Spirit is so strong and I love being able to learn from many returned missionaries. The first day Mitch took me to building 1M, the administration building where I took a picture for an ID card, got my materials (just a binder and such), and made sure all my information was right. Apparently after talking to Kenna later, she and the Boyd twins just missed me in the picture taking room--I got out a little before they came in.

That day we met our teacher, Sister Maxfield. I can think of no better person or teacher for me to learn from. She truly is inspired and in tune with the Spirit so much. She's not like a typical Sister Missionary RM. She tells it like it is, she does NOT play easy investigators, but boy does she get through to us.

We had an opening missionary meeting that first day and we sang "We'll bring the World His Truth". It was very interesting and caught my heart with the Spirit that we sang the line "We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And WE ARE NOW THE LORD'S MISSIONARIES" instead of "we will be the Lord's missionaries. It was very spiritual. I hugged Kenna right before that meeting, and the wife to one of the counselors in the MTC presidency looked at Kenna and said, "SISTER!!!" "Is this your brother??" Kenna said, "Yes!" Then the Sister said "Well they (gesturing to the room full of missionaries) don't know that." And Kenna said "Well he's my brother, and I'm going to hug him." Kenna's spunk is going to take her far haha.

Well in class, we do a thing with all of our teachers called a "progressing investigator". We meet with them as if we were actually teaching them, and as if they were actually a real investigator. Our first experience with this was with Sister Maxfield. She doesn't break character at all, and is a very tough investigator named Corey who was a Lutheran Minister, but now doesn't believe in organized christianity because she thinks it is corrupt. She does believe in Christ though. Well our first assignment was to street contact her for 5 minutes and find out all we could to prepare for our first actual lesson with her. E Hunsaker's and my attempt at street contacting crashed and burned, badly. We found out nothing, and we talked too much. But luckily we were helped out by the Spirit the next time we taught her.

The next day (and I say that because I have no recollection of what days things happened, everything meshes together here at the MTC) we had personal study time, but E Hunsaker and I thought it best to prepare a lesson for Corey. We spent 2.5 hours preparing and practicing the first lesson, the restoration. When we got into the door to teach Corey, we asked her to clarify what she believed in Christ. She told us she could relate to Christ because she felt she was a "trash child" just like he was. She said sometimes her and God don't see eye to eye, but she can never get mad at Christ. Well then something very interesting happened. We used about two sentences from our 2.5 hour prepared lesson, and then we just talked with her about her beliefs, and testified of ours. At one point I felt like the Spirit wanted me to ask her about baptism. I asked her if God was giving her a second chance, a way out of life as it was, would she take it? She said of course. I then told her that I was there to testify that God is offering her that second chance and it is baptism into His church. I asked her if she would follow Christ's example to be baptized and she thought about it and said yes! on the first lesson! She wasn't responding to anything we had to say for like the first 20 minutes of the lesson, but when the Spirit entered, her heart was softened. I then felt prompted to say, "Corey, I'm sure you're thinking how such a small thing as baptism could change your life so much, but I testify to you that it has brought miracles into my life and changed my life forever." She kind of snorted a little bit in the middle of me saying that and I wondered why. Then she said, "It's just funny, because that is exactly what I was thinking." Anyway it went great, we have another lesson with her next week because Sis Maxfield is getting throat surgery and won't be back until a week from now.

Two days ago in class, Sis Maxfield knew we were getting a little ancy and said to us, "Alright, you guys aren't taking the lesson very well, so we're going to have you teach an investigator named Julie as a district. All you know about Julie is she was an avid Lutheran, but cheated on her husband in the church. Her husband took the kids and left her, and now she's living alone. You got a referral from a neighbor." We taught her, and people were very rude, and critical, and at one point she got so mad that she blew up and told us that she wasn't happy with life or God because her husband cheated on her for 20 years and she did it once and he left her with the kids. She prayed every night for 20- years for her husband to love her, but it never happened.

Well we were done teaching and it went horribly, but the whole lesson I had the feeling that I should share Alma 36 where he talks of his conversion. I talked to Sis Max because I was frustrated, and told her that I wanted to share that. She said, "Elder Bryan don't you ever ignore a prompting from the spirit. That was the scripture my comp and I shared that finally changed Julie." That was so cool. She gave us another chance to teach her and I shared that scrip and the lesson was so spiritual and much better.

I have about one minute left, but I love you guys so much. There are hard days, and then there are harder days, but not a day goes by that isn't a good day. You are amazing and I love you.

P.S. I've seen just about everyone you can think of here. Even JP Turney


Saturday, July 16, 2011

MTC Day!!

Wed July 13th came all too soon!

Early that morning, we cherished some family time as we went through an endowment session at the Mt. Timpanogos temple. Kenna and Logan talked to Dallin on the phone (he was in DC on the Church History Trip). We said our goodbyes and headed to the MTC for a brief, final (temporary) farewell. No one could have prepared us for how difficult this was, but we were inspired as we watched our valiant children answer the call and go forward with faith to deliver the message of the Lord's restored Gospel and to be in His care.

The remainder of the posts on this blog will be the emails from Elder Bryan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On March 25th, Logan and his sister, Kenna, opened their mission calls together. Our family was all there, and we had many good friends come to support them. It was overwhelming! Logan was called to the Colorado, Denver North Mission!!! He enters the MTC on July 13, 2011. We were thrilled! How perfect this mission will be for him! His mission entails the northern part of Colorado, including North Denver, the Southeastern corner of Wyoming, and a sliver of Southwest Nebraska. We know that the people in his mission will love him, and he already loves them.

Kenna, being older, opened up her call first and was called to the Ecuador, Guayaquil North Mission!!! And she enters the MTC on July 13, 2011 as well--what a tender mercy!!! Needless to say, our cups "overfloweth". As Logan and Kenna share this most sacred time together, the rest of our family will share in their joys as we read about their experiences and pray for them daily.

Tomorrow we drive up to Provo, and though emotions will be strong, we know that the cause for which they are going is much greater than being separated a few short months...and our bonds of love and testimony will grow even stronger.