Elder Nathan Thomas Barnett entered the Provo MTC last Wed, July 2, 2014. He is scheduled to leave July 14th for Adelaide Australia. There was so much planning and preparation getting him ready and packed- (as if the past 5 months haven't been enough time!) So after all the hoop-lah of family, friends and his Farewell, this past week has been a roller coaster of emotions ranging from the highest highs, to just wanting to curl up in a ball on the couch and cry, (which I finally did on Saturday). I just needed to know that my son was OK. Momma needed DETAILS! I've never felt such happiness and peace as I heard the "ding" of my email notification. I read the email out loud with my mom behind my shoulder and we both bawled like babies. I'm happy to report that there were lots and lots of details and more than just an "I'm doing fine", which I had almost expected. Small miracles and tender mercies continue to come into my life. It sounds like My boy is where he needs to be and he's doing awesome:
Momma!!!! Oh my gosh you cant even understand how crazy it has been here! Ok so I only have 60 min. on the computer so I'm gonna be really informal and try and talk to everyone and just send it to you. Also I cant send pictures here for some reason but just know that already I've takin around 100! So I know that Payton had a hard time on his mission and said that he didn't want to tell his parents that he was struggling, but I am going to be completely honest with you guys. The first 2 days were amazing, the spirit that flows through these halls is incredible. The biggest shock to me was how absolutely insane the schedule is... there is no time to do anything. Ok so you start off by getting up at 6:30 and then getting ready and having personal study then at 7:30 you go to class and have a district meeting ( we have 4 Elders including myself and 4 Sisters ) all of the elders are going to Adelaide ( Elder Tolbert, Elder Boyde and then me and Elder Briscoe ) and the sisters are going to Canada ( Sister Moss, Sister Sudweeks, Sister Lundine, and Sister Robb ). Then we have class for 3 hours, then lunch, then class for another 3 hours, and then companionship study for an hour and a half. Then a lot of zone meetings and devotionals. It is non stop and I can definitely see the benefit of it because it keeps your mind busy and not thinking about home, but then at the same time I feel like it takes away from the enjoyment of things. When people talk about all the pranks and stuff they did in the MTC I have no idea how its even possible. The second you get back to your "residence" (I feel like a senior citizen saying that haha) you want to pass out.
Yes I have been writing in my journal every night so don't worry, it really is the only thing keeping me sane because I can talk about all the hardships Im having and the feelings I have. These last 2 days have been extremely hard for me and make me think about going home every night. I feel like my spirit is being overloaded and i just want to stop. My companion is Elder Briscoe and he is a good dude but definatly not the first person I would've picked to be my companion. He is from Kuna Idaho and has a little inner red neck just like me. He loves diesel trucks, especially Ford's. He is 20 and has a serious girlfriend who..... get this... is here at the MTC.... It is so awkward being around them and I cant imagine how hard it would be. In our classes we have been teaching fake investigators "our teacher" and it is extremely hard. You think it would be easy but they completely get into a role of a person that could have any type of religious background. I feel like Elder Briscoe is so spiritual at times its overwhelming and he forgets to truly love the investigator. I on the other hand try to get to know more about them as a person and understand where they are coming from, but then have a difficult time getting into gospel doctrine. Today is the first day we have TRC which is real investigators that the church hire to come here and talk to missionaries to sort of test them and get them used to speaking with people about the church. Needless to say I'm scared beyond belief. Ive never cried more in my life then while ive been here.
The notes that Grandma put in my garments was the best idea ever. When I read Sam's letter I got through the first 2 lines and started bawling. It was supposed to be companionship study and I just sat on my bed trying to read that letter one sentence at a time. Thankfully Elder Briscoe just studied without me while I went into the bathroom and just cried. Then on the 4th we got to watch 17 miracles at the end of the day and I cried through the whole thing. Its amazing how close to home everything hits when your on a mission, literally everything relates to you or your family in some way. Ok I'm so scatter brained trying to put everything in one letter haha but one thing I did forget was toothpaste... luckily the store here has EVERYTHING. From luggage to laundry bags, even white shirts and ties. You could have not packed at all and bought everything here!!
The scariest experience I had here was yesterday when one of the sisters ( Sister Moss ) said she was starting to get sick and asked if we could give her a blessing. We talked to President Brady and he said it was ok for us to do that. We asked her who she wanted to give the blessing and she said she wanted Elder Briscoe to anoint the oil and for me to seal it and give her a blessing. It was the most nerve-racking experience ever. I knelt down and said a prayer and asked for my heart and mind to be open to the whispering of the spirit. I gave the blessing and didn't mess up but I felt like it was terrible and I didnt say the right things in the blessing. The other sisters teared up and said it was amazing but they kind of have to say that because they know im having a rough time. My heart was shaking and after the blessing I had to sit down and just zoned out. But practice does make perfect and I'm happy that I got to do it to someone that is a member first.
The food has been awesome but my stomach is hurting today so hopefully I can get rid or that. I am so happy I have melatonine to knock me out when I sleep. I did meet with Brother Brown yesterday and he is a member of the branch presidency. He was extremely kind and loving .......
Tell everyone I love them and please pass out my email to everyone!! I can check it and read it during the day but cant respond but I think I might have to start because I have only emailed you and Nick and the hour is already up. Mom I love you with all my heart and cant stop thinking of you and Dad and the examples you are to me. Sam and Andrew are always on my mind and I feel like I have to lead by example and not give up but I have never been tested and tried so hard in my life. I can also receive packages so I would love to get one from you guys. I really want pictures that I can hold in my hand and maybe write something on the back of them. I can get them laminated to I can keep them perfect my whole mission. Anything that you can think of I will absolutely love. I miss the puppies like crazy and wish I could just hold them at night. Give everyone a kiss for me and tell them that I'm doin alright and that the I'm in the Lord's hands.
Sincerely your Elder (just started to tear up)