It has been a little over five weeks since Elder Funk entered the MTC and began his mission experience. I have been a little slow in getting his blog up and running but I will be updating it at least once a week now.
Paul's mission call arrived on October 31, 2012. We were so excited to hear that he would be serving in San Antonio, Texas. We were a little shocked that he was entering the MTC on December 12, 2012...six weeks later. Since June he has been saying, 'I just wish I could be in the MTC before the end of the year'. It was a little frustrating because at that time it was not even an option. This mission call and the timing of everything was truly and answer to the sincere pleadings of a young man's heart.
We packed him up and shipped him out. There were some tears but mostly we are so excited to support him and from a distance, share in his adventures. The worst part of dropping him off was hearing Ryan say 'See you in four years' . It was hard to realize my family will not all be in one place for quite awhile, but I'm so grateful to see their desire to serve a mission.
Since I'm a little behind in getting this up and running I will just share a few excerpts from his letters at the MTC and the first couple from Texas.
December 13 2012:
I am warm. I am fed. All is well. The MTC is awesome! My companion's name is Elder Staggell (said like bagel) we get along great! He played for Timpanogos basketball. This is the hardest thing I have ever done so far! It's so rewarding even in the two days I have been here. I was called as District Leader and what an awesome experience! I am the first 18 year old anyone has seen so that's cool. One elder had a family member pass away I believe today so Iget to give him a blessing. I am the youngest and so I have to kinda ear respect as do all greenies do. I am working harder than ever and don't ever wanna stop. We have fun but there is work to be done.
December 15, 2012:
I am learning a whole lot and it's so cool to always have His spirit so strong. This morning I accidentally locked myself out of my room with all of my companions. Then after we had to have the zone leaders go et the key. We accidentally walked into the sisters dorm! They let us in, it was so awkward. We got half way up and they told us, we turned and high tailed it out of there!
December 21 2012:
So the MTC has been pretty neat. My companion's name was Elder Steggell. We were getting along perfectly then President Born decided that we had to be split! I was called as Zone Leader last night I have to more rooms and have been kind of frazzled. My new companion is Elder Turner. He is going to SLC and is from England. President Born told us that it might be a good idea to shave our armpits so that we can smell better in class and most of the elders didn't want to but I did. It's a little weird but not too bad. "Obedience brings blessings, but Strict Obedience brings Miracles".
December 25 2012:
Today I found out that I was actually the first 18 year old to come to the MTC since the change. The MTC President stood up and said that all the 18 year olds came on the 19th but I snuck in on the 12th! We all had to stand up there were maybe 15 of us out of the 2,031 that are here right now. So that was way cool to find out!
Elder Funk arrived in Texas on January 2 2013.
He decided to forgo the traditional phone call home because he wanted to be focused when he arrived in Texas. It was a little bittersweet because I would have loved to hear from him but how can I complain when he is wanting to work so hard. He is currently serving in Fredericksburg, Texas. He shared an experience he had at the airport: While everyone was talking on the phone (from the airport) I took the chance to talk to a whole bunch of people about the gospel. I met a guy that was in the military who was traveling to San Antonio with his mom. I talked to him and told him how grateful I was that he would serve for us so that I could serve for my church. I bore my testimony to him and he actually started to cry. He and his mom were really appreciative and I gave them a pass along card that they could call and get a Book of Mormon. I guess the spirit helped me out so that I could help them.
January 7 2013:
It hasn't been warm at all here! It's pretty awful. We get to met Elder Holland on Friday and I am so excited! All the missionaries are having a special meeting with him and I can't wait. My companion is Elder Kertamus and he has utnil March 20th left. I can't wait to see y'all again. I'm still "trunky" as they call it but I know I'll get through it. It's just so different being out here and away from the family and the world that I know. But the work of God has to go forth! The area that I'm in hasn't had a baptism in a really long time. Fredericksburg is a small town of about 9,000 but has something like 40 churches. We have met a few potential investigators so far.
January 14 2013:
It's starting to warm up a bit. I went to a family's house for dinner it was SO good! They showed me around their sports room. Holy Cow. He has millions of dollars worth of autographs stacked up in his house. He is a Cowboys fan though. I got to meet Elder Holland! We all got up to go up to him and shake his hand. It was so neat. He gave probably the best talk that I have ever heard. One thing he said was " I would not give my life to a Fairytale. This is God's Eternal Truth." It was so incredible, powerful. He talked for about 45 minutes and after he finished he got up and went to leave, he actually picked to walk down the aisle that I was on. He walked down it an as he did I looked up into his eyes he looked down at where I was sitting. But as he walked toward me he said "work hard" and then patted me on the back twice and walked out the door. I can not describe the happiness that so completely filled me. I know that he is an apostle of the Lord and Savior.
We met a man that told us he was Catholic and that he appreciated what we are doing. We talked for a bit and he told us that he was a little afraid of the second coming an wanted to know more about it. Elder Kertamus told him that by reading the Book of Mormon he could know for himself. He kept asking questions and so I looked him in the eye and said "I know that as you read The Book of Mormon that you will have those questions answered. I know it is true and from God." He said "No you believe it's true" I said "No. I know it's true." He said "You seem pretty confident..." I never broke eye contact with him and said "Yes, we are". He then snatched the book from Elder Kertmaus's hand and asked how much it cost to have it.