Monday, August 10, 2015

Hello Family & Friends,

Wow. That's really all I can say, right now. These past 2 days have
been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I've gone through
the highest of highs & the lowest of lows. There have been more
positive experiences than negative, though. When I first entered the
MTC, it was very hard walking away from family and saying our last
goodbyes for 2 years. I walked my bags through the front doors and
immediately I felt a spirit that I had never before experienced. It
was one of comfort and love.❤️ Everyone here has been SO welcoming and
kind. Every Elder, Sister, and MTC worker have been the nicest people
in the world. They all have shown a genuine interest and care for our
well being. It has certainly made things easier around here. Upon
entering the MTC, I found a very familiar face. Elder Cahoon came and
took over for me. He started to take me to my residence and from a
distance far away I heard a familiar voice yell "AUST!!!!!!" There was
Nick running off from his companion to come and give me a huge hug.
this was certainly something that brightened my mood & made me feel
more comfortable with this place. We then continued to my room and
they helped me unpack. It's been so comforting knowing that they're
here with me & im not alone.

Meeting my companions and district members for the first time was a
little weird. I'll admit, my companion is a little dorky & quiet.
That's okay, though. We've grown together tremendously. We laugh &
joke A TON. They're all very bright, smart, young men. They each have
very strong testimonies and it provides a lot of spiritual
experiences. Some of us received callings in our district and my
calling is Priesthood Coordinator. I will be running and conducting
all Priesthood meetings on Sunday's. It's a calling I'm willing to
accept and work this calling to the best of my ability. It's going to
give me the ability to work closely & grow closer to these boys during
the next week or so.

This week has been such an amazing experience. I have already grown so
much as a missionary and learned more than I ever thought I would.
Here in the MTC, it is designed that every missionary is always doing
something. There really is no down time. They present you with so much
information you can't even retain most of it. It's a little
overwhelming, but I've spent a lot of time in prayer asking the Lord
to pick up my slack. I've had to rely on him more than ever before.
Prayer is an amazing tool that we've been given. I truly am so
thankful the Lord listens to me and hears my cries for help. Without
prayer, we wouldn't be able to communicate our feelings to our
Heavenly Father and let him know how we're feeling. We want blessings
from him, & expect good things from him, but if we aren't putting in
the effort and communicating with him, he can't put in his side of
effort. It's kind of a deal that we made with him before we came to
the earth. What you put in, is what you get out. That's a very
valuable lesson I've learned. And that's not just with the principle
of prayer. It works that way with everything. When we put our effort
into the Lord, he'll put his effort into us.

Our meetings, devotionals, and lessons have been so wonderful here.
The spirit within the walls of these buildings is something you've
never felt before. I've literally felt as if the Savior has been right
by my side throughout these couple days. His love, and appreciation
for us serving a mission can be felt when we diligently heed to his
simple commandments. Exact obedience brings blessings. D&C 130:20-21
teaches this.
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the
foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to
that law upon which it is predicated.
We've been taught that & I can already see the outpouring of
blessings. I'm happier, my days go by quicker, and the spirit is more
present.  The MTC is a breeding ground for people feel the spirit
and gain knowledge of truth. Truth that this is the true gospel of
Christ. It has been organized in such a way that directly reflects
Christ's church from the ancient times. I'm so thankful for the
experiences that I've had these last couple days. I'm excited to
continue to learn and develop my testimony so I can share it with the
people of Santa Rosa, California.

I miss all of you. Very, very much. I'll see you soon. God Speed.

-Elder Schaefer

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