Elder Jalla Is Alive and Kickin'

Pre-script: Called the MTC this morning and confirmed that we have the correct addresses for Elder Jalla. People I spoke with couldn't figure out either why he isn't receiving his letters. 

But don't despair. Keep writing! 

And now, Elder Jalla's email. 

Dear family and friends,

                Hello from the Provo, MTC! I finally have time to write to all of you and I am excited to tell you about all my experiences. First off, I am okay. Definitely feeling the weight of the calling and authority of a representative of Christ now. I have learned so much in just the three days that I have been here. The spirit is so powerful and evident in these holy edifices, sacred meetings and classroom instructions. I haven't been so spiritually drained and at the same time uplifted to the point where I don't want to turn in at 1030 but I want to stay up and learn and learn and learn. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience! 

                Everyone is helpful and kind. I LOVE my companion, district, and zone. I am the only missionary in our zone from the United States. We are all here for the next two weeks! Honestly, days seem so long, but I love it because this is truly the Lord's work. My companion and I were just talking as we were walking back to our residence last night drained and dragging his feet from being completely exhausted, asked he: "How long have we been here Elder Jalla.....?" I responded..."Elder, I know the answer is only 2 days but it feels as if we've been here for 2 years." Haha. So our district, we have a total of 6 missionaries in it. My companion's name is Elder Naboviluvula. (Na-boo-vi-loo-voo-la) It's so fun to say! This is his first time in the United States, I love him. He smiles and shakes everyone's hands.... and when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! haha. He is from Fiji and despite his concerns with his English, I feel the spirit as he speaks from his heart and know that his English will continue to improve as he studies and learns the doctrine of Christ. And so the names of all those in my district are as follows: Elder Naboviluvula (Fiji) Elder Baleanacagi (Fiji) Elder Ayumado (Ghana) Sister Wang (Taiwan) and Sister Yaep (Malaysia). It has only been 2 days but I sincerely love these missionaries!! The other district members in the zone are as follows: Elder Belandres (Philippines) Elder Tamafee (Tonga) Elder Maatu'u (Samoa) Elder Pagnin (Italy) Sister Williams (Micronesia) Sister Fetuli (Tonga).

               Yesterday we had Zone Meeting where we met our Branch Presidency. President Marion is an inspired, loving, and....intimidating man of God. I'll admit, he scares me a little but after the meeting he took my hand, pulled me in, and expressed his love. Oh, did my fears dissipate right away. I mean, I'm not "as intimidated" as before. He exudes love in a unique way, he knows that we, as missionaries, will not be treated with sunshine and rainbows out on the field and so he is stern with us but nevertheless I know that he loves us. Did I mention that his mission president when he served was President Thomas S. Monson?! Yes, my branch president served under the prophet... how flipping cool is that?! Said President Marion after last night's spirit filled zone meeting, "In all my years in the MTC, I have never felt the spirit as I have tonight. My dear Elders and Sisters, you have touched my heart." I was then called to be the district leader. 

                I love all that I am learning here. I love the MTC! I think about all the missionaries that have returned home and all the missionaries currently serving and now understand completely how they came to be such devoted, wise, and heavenly instruments of the Lord. It is within these very walls that missionaries are taught, loved, and prepared to bring salvation to the souls of men (and women). The food is amazing! I am staying true and faithful to my Pescatarian ways despite all the temptations of streak and grilled chicken! I absolutely love Utah! I have never been out west and I couldn't take my eyes off of the mountains! The scenery out here is gorgeous! Mom and dad, I hope your eyes are still set on us moving here, because if not, your son will be gone for a lot longer than two years. Haha, but then you can visit me out here then and not be restricted by the mission rules. :)

                I am a little bummed out that nobody e-mailed me. All the missionaries in my district are telling me about their family and friends back home through the letters and emails they are receiving. It's totally fine though. Regardless of receiving or not, keep in mind that you are always in my heart. I think of all of you often, well, when my mind is not already preoccupied with all that I am learning (which is a lot) I reflect back every night, however, on my loving and supportive family, the AMAZING Rockford YSA, and the many valiant sister missionaries that have taught me to be a missionary back home. I miss you all. I know that God loves you, I hope and pray that you know that. I also hope you know that I love you. How much you know you know not, suffice it to say that there is not enough words in the English language or otherwise that could express my love for you. 

                I love you Mom and Dad, thank you for making it possible for me to serve our Heavenly Father and be a representative of His Son, Jesus Christ. Claire, my dearest sister, I miss you, I know I'm no longer there to tease and make fun of you so I hope Laira is stepping up and continually reminding you that you are a majestic horse! Charlie, keep working out my brother, exercise in the MTC is hard to come by, we're always studying... but when we play sports or lift weights, better believe that I go HARD in the PAINT! Haha. Laira, I love you and miss you my partner in crime, continue your scripture study because I am going to quiz you on EVERYTHING when I get home. My beloved friends in the YSA, stay united-- in fact, become more united than you have ever been before, work on fellowshipping, not only the investigators and those that are just coming back to church, but strengthen and uplift one another! You have no idea how far your influence can spread---so smile and have fun, enjoy in each other's company, I'm no longer there physically, but I am in spirit. I love you YSA! Sister Missionaries, past and current--- I love you, all that you have taught me is coming together here in the MTC, I pray for you everyday, I am honored to be serving in this great work with the likes of you! Stay strong, be faithful, never ever ever doubt this work and the calling you have been given, for it is beyond words the majesty and quiet but strong dignity of holding the missionary mantle and be called a missionary!

I love you all!
Elder Jalla
p.s. I would love to hear back from all of you! A missionary's life line is his letters, plus it kinda sucks to be the only not receiving an e-mail or letter. hahaha I kid, but seriously....I am the only one without a letter.  (Claire, you can include this post script)

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