Wow (5/18/16)

From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:ethan.brimhall@myldsmail.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 1:17 AM

Hello all,

I have like zero time to email. But sooooo much to say. We only get an hour once a week to read and write email. Good thing I’m a fast typist. So this week has been insane. Much sleep deprivation because the people here like to get up at 4:30!! I like my sleep so that bugs me a lot. But the people here are very very nice. Everyone is friendly and courteous (maybe not in the American way, but they try). My companion is Elder Badoo from Ghana. He lives near Accra. About 2.5 hours from the MTC. I have to get used to the metric system here because America decided to be stupid and be the only one using the imperial system.

Apparently Ghanaians and Nigerians have a bit of a rivalry. Nigerians are loud and never ever serious, and Ghanaians are just the opposite. It’s really kind of funny watching them interact.

I have had quite a few service opportunities just among my fellow elders here. I lent one Nigerian my backup pair  of glasses while he is here at the MTC. I will ask for it back. Don’t worry mom and dad. I helped another elder with missing his girlfriend, because I sure do miss Kiyah. We bonded over that struggle and I helped console him. This is the first time he had been away from her for more than a week. I had a five-week ordeal to adjust before coming out here. I am definitely grateful for that. That has helped me stay in the MTC for sure.
ethan-mtc-basketball-0518Basketball is super fun here. Really, really sweaty though. I wreck everyone at basketball surprisingly. Soccer (football here. I have to get used to that) is a totally different story. I’m too afraid to try that. I will get run over. There will be much blood. They are so good at it here. It’s incredible. Everyone has their team jerseys that they bring out on P-days (which is Wednesday in the MTC, Monday in “the field”).

Thank you, mom and dad, for the letters you gave me to read when I got here. They have helped me a lot. I will have to send you a letter about an experience I had on Sunday. It was really amazing (in a terrifying way). And testimony-building (but I wish it wasn’t so hard). I definitely feel ill-equipped to handle what I am about to do. I guess that’s why the Church provides training.

I am sorry if I didn’t get to your email. I will definitely try later. I really have no time.

I am having issues with my camera and uploading pictures with the wifi. I’m pretty sure LDSAccess blocks dropbox and facebook and onedrive, all things I could use to upload pictures. I will have to do it manually. But once I figure it out or get to use internet outside the MTC, I’ll be sure to make you able to see them.

Love,

Elder Brimhall

From: Ethan Cade Brimhall [mailto:ethan.brimhall@myldsmail.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 3:55 AM

First week part two (three hours later)

ghanatempleSO…I got a little time at the temple chapel to email. I asked my MTC President and the receptionist and my companion if it was okay so it’s totally okay, I promise. I have about an hour before my session in the temple so I thought I would elaborate a little more on my adventures so far. Saying goodbye to my family was really hard (my mother’s face didn’t make it any easier), but being totally removed from them for a week (let’s try two years) is harder. I miss them a lot. I no longer have immediate access to their love through calls or just simple texts. It’s amazing the stuff you come to appreciate once you don’t have it.
ethan-mtc-class-0518Here is something I wrote in my journal after my first day at the MTC: “We are never truly independent. When we are young, we rely on the abilities, testimonies, and finances of our parents. As we grow older, we shift the burden of our care from our parents to our God.” I have definitely become more reliant on God through constant prayer (every morning, at meals, every night, and little prayer in my heart all day). I feel His love more than I ever have. That’s all that kept me going through the week because jet lag was seriously bad Saturday through Monday. I fell asleep in classes often. Too often. My companion Elder Badoo from Ghana is punctual, hard-working, spiritual, and everything I am but better and African. We get along great. He’s a funny guy, or at least I think so because we share the same sense of humor. I am so blessed to have him as a companion for these three weeks. I have been playing the piano in Sacrament meeting and for devotionals and the choir. I have my work cut out for me balancing learning new hymns in one week and getting all my studies done while making sure I actually sleep through stress and time zone shifts.

Okay, now I will tell you about that experience I referenced earlier. On Sunday, the adversary really worked on me. I mean REALLY worked on me. I felt like quitting immediately. I just couldn’t do it. I felt inadequate and unworthy in every way you can imagine. I feel like I could identify at least a little bit with Joseph Smith regarding the First Vision when Satan tried to stop him from praying. (Read first-hand account of Joseph Smith’s experience here.) I was honestly scared. Satan’s grip on me was real and tangible. I could feel the power he had. He really, really did not want me to continue in my training and mission. I prayed that I could feel peace again, but that did not come very soon. Later on in the day, as I was wrestling with my feelings, the MTC president and his wife spoke on Faith vs. Fear. They said that faith and fear cannot coexist. Satan used my fears to degrade my faith. Realizing this only strengthened my resolve to be a great missionary. I know that God wants me to do this. I have at testimony of the gospel I am preparing to preach. I KNOW that it is true. I have known this my whole life, and God has sent me numerous opportunities to strengthen my faith, including the attack I felt earlier that day. I am bonding more with my fellow missionaries here in the MTC, so I don’t feel too lonely. Despite a totally foreign country, being unable to understand half of what people are saying with a thick accent, and weird social customs in Ghana, I am happy. I love the Church and the people in it. It is a beautiful thing.

I should probably go now and let my companion have a turn. I’ll write you all next week!

Love,

Elder Brimhall