Elder Brandon Leslie

Elder Brandon Leslie

Monday, November 22, 2010

¡Estoy en Mexico!

¡After almost twelve weeks in the MTC I have finally received my visa, travel plans, and landed here in Tuxtla GutiĆ©rrez! I´m safe and taking it all in. I just wanted to e-mail all you and let you know that I´ve flown south for the winter...and a couple years. I´ll write more later but President Velasco told us to write home tonight after our flight. O, and also we had some delicious Dominos for dinner!

I´m doing great! talk to you more later!

Elder Leslie

Week #10

Lately I have been extremely busy with studying and trying to meet my Book of Mormon reading goal. To finish by next Wednesday I need to continue reading 40 pages a day. I started reading a couple Sundays ago, so if I can finish by Wednesday I will have completed my goal in two-and-a-half weeks. Sometimes it's pretty tough because there are lots of words, mainly new verbs, that I've never seen before.  I haven't really had much time for writing letters back because I'm always struggling to meet my daily required pages (sorry, I still love all your news!). I'm learning a lot and definitely stretching myself though.
This Sunday we were honored to hear from Sheri Dew. I'd heard her name before but I didn't realize that she was such a big deal in the church and the world. Apparently she is CEO of Deseret Books. She gave an amazing talk and she was surprising logical. I didn't take too many notes but there were three things that she said we need to always remember because The Opposition, Satan, will try to make us forget. (1) Our identity. We are sons and daughters of God. (2) Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and the atonement can cleanse, heal, comfort, and strengthen us. (3) Personal Revelation. We can receive our own answers through prayer and scripture study.   
Last night we were even more honored and priviledged to hear from Elder David A. Bednar. This makes for our fourth apostle in a row. His approach a bit different than the previous apostles because he presented an idea that will change my framework for learning. He presented to us that there are Doctrines, Principles, and Applications. We must always preach the Doctrines and Principles. Doctrines answer "why" questions, principles answer "what" questions, and applications answer "how" questions. We can never change "how" we approach life if we continue to only improve "how" if we never know why. I have many more notes but only 30 minutes to email here in the MTC.
Thanks for all your support!
Love Elder Leslie 

Week #9

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, Monday was the day that I was supposed to leave for Mexico and looks like I'm still here. Three guys from our class left for Bolivia Tuesday morning early. I spent 9 weeks with them all day every day and it's a bit sad to see them go but not really because I'm excited for them to get to Bolivia. Mexico is having visa problems so have to stay here in the MTC longer. All I've heard is that we might have something like 2 weeks to go. No one really knows for sure and we keep asking the travel office every week to see if they have any new information.
Because I'm still here I had the opportunity to hear from M. Russell Ballard last night during our Tuesday night devotional. He gave an excellent talk on learning how to become "Master Communicators". We need to learn to communicate our message effectively. Our message is simple and we don't need to complicate it. He told us at the beginning that he had the opportunity to meet with a man that will soon take over Warren Buffets job as head of Birkshire-Hathaway (I think that's right, I can't remember his name. only that he is taking Warren Buffets job). Anyway Elder Ballard only had 30 minutes with him and the first 25 minutes were more about business with the church and the last 5 thsi man asked Elder about the church. Point is, Elder Ballard said he needed to be able to communicate effectively in those 5 minutes.
Recently I have been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon in Spanish/English. I read as much as I can in Spanish and then glance over at the English scriptures to look up words I don't know. Every free minute I have I spend it reading. I'm doing my best to use my time efficiently. I'm understanding a fair amount of Spanish but there are many words that I've never seen and it's different because the scriptures us "vosotros" which is an uncommon way to conjugate verbs. I started reading on Sunday from the beginning and now I'm at 2 Nephi 24.
That is all I have for this week. Thanks for all the support!
Love Elder Leslie

Week #8

Dear Family and Friends,
I'm doing great! I'm still studying a lot and working hard. My spanish is improving daily. I look back to my first day here at the MTC and the improvement is very noticable. I can pray, bear testimony, and have decent conversation.
On Friday, I got a letter from my old roommate Elder Kyle Brown! Right now he is in Montpellier, France and he is doing great. His letter said only good things about the work there. He is loving the fresh bread. He is a brilliant man and a great friend so I take to heart all advice and things he says. One great thing he said in his letter was: "One of the greatest feelings in this world is to come home exhausted at night, knowing that you really worked." Kyle is a hard worker so I can tell you all that these are not just words. I know that he is working hard and that I am also doing my best to never give up. Sometimes it can be discourgeing to so I'm going to do my best on my mission because it seems like we can always do better when we look back. However, I know that if I never give up and work hard everyday that I will be a successful missionary and have no regrets.
I think I big part of working hard and being successful. We rarely see the results of our efforts immediately. Especially if the goal we are striving to achieve is worthwhile, then it will take time and much effort from our part. That is why I believe in and am working for, consistency. We may pray a lot for something but never see the answer until much time and many prayers have passed. However, I believe that the littlest efforts consistently will make the biggest difference eventually. There is always hope when we are doing the Lord's will. Never give up.
Yesterday, I had a unique, special, and surreal experience. For our Tuesday night devotional we were priveledged to hear from Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He gave a wonderful talk on how to the the Spirit in our lives and it was different because he wanted some people to get up and read some passages from a microphone in the audience. I felt prompted to get up and read one in front of the entire MTC and Elder Scott. I did and after I read it I forgot everything I had just read (who wouldn't), and then an apostle of God asked me what humilitly means to me. I responded, it means putting the will of God before our own. Wow my heart was beating hard.
Thanks for all your support and care!
Elder Leslie