Well of course I'll have time to write to you today! Wouldn't miss an opportunity to write me mumsy. Thanks sooo much for all the food and stuff. I'll admit, I'm nervous about going to South Dakota even though I know it will be more rewarding than the MTC. You could send me a journal, I guess. Everyone here has a journal and it made me want one too. I didn't want to bring one cause I thought I would be the only kid with one, but nope! I guess you were right, I mean after all mother does know best! Time is already flying by--this week felt so short, it really is true what they say, "The days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days." I'm ready to be out in my area serving and teaching people!
I had my first very spiritual experience here. The whole time I have been here, I felt like I couldn't feel the spirit as strongly as I had expected, so every night I had been praying to feel the spirit. Nothing seemed to be working...no matter how hard I tried, it felt like it wasn't coming to me, that it was being blocked. I seriously considered coming home because I thought, "There is no way I can serve a mission if I can't feel the spirit!" But then one night as I was sitting in evening class, a brother came in to observe the teacher. He brought up the subject of missionaries not being able to feel the spirit while they are at the MTC. He asked the question, "When is it easier to feel the rain...in a desert...or in a swimming pool?" I answered, "The desert." Then he said, "How does this compare to the Holy Spirit?" I thought about it a bit and answered with, "Well, if the water represents the spirit, then it may be harder to notice the spirit when you are in a place that is filled with the spirit." Then he replied by saying, "You're exactly right! Many missionaries feel like they should be feeling the spirit strongly all the time in the MTC, but what they don't realize is that the spirit is always with them, so they don't always get that super strong feeling during class time." Then it hit me, the Lord had answered my prayers.
Something pretty sad and discouraging happened this week; two missionaries I knew went home--one was in my district and the other was one of my roommates. I already felt like I had grown to love this kid, and have so much respect for him! He had been praying to know whether he was out here for the right reasons and felt that he wasn't. He told us that he came out here without really knowing why, because he thought it was expected of him. But then he realized that he needed to be out here because he wanted to be. So he left. He plans on returning, but he wants to feel like he is out here because he wants to be, and knows it's the right thing for him at this time in his life.
I'm so grateful for everyone's support and love, I'm coming to know that the Lord really does answer our prayers and looks after his missionaries. I love you all so much and miss you!
Love, Erik (Elder Rasmussen)