First email from Missionary Training Center

September 1, 2014

To my dear family,

My P-day is Mondays, so that’s when I can email you guys. I miss you guys so much! Everything is good here at the MTC. I still miss you guys but I am slowly getting used to it. Thai is a hard language, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. All the older Thai guys are so jealous I personally know Sister Hirschi; they all had a crush on her!

Also, you can send me Dear Elder letters any and every day. My district leader picks them up for me. I was feeling sad the other day, but those first letters I got from you guys picked me up and kept me going. I loved hearing from you, and Drew’s letter made me laugh so much! He is so descriptive in his letters.

Dad would be proud of me. It’s been four days and I have already taken 170 pictures. I want you to feel like you are here. I also met Michael Smith in the lunchroom. He was so happy to see me. I have also seen a ton of people from my BYU ward.

So my companions are awesome. I am part of a trio! I have two companions. Elder Chio (Choo) is Asian. He is from San Francisco California. And Elder Magera is an Army sergeant from New York. Elder Magera and I talk about military stuff all the time! He goes to West Point, and is into martial arts. Elder Daybell is right next door to me (the Air Force guy).

The Thai elders and sisters are awesome. I have been sad a few times. I like to compare how I feel to Hymn 97 in the Hymn Book. (Look it up on YouTube, sung by a guy choir.) It kinda feels like a part of me is missing. I remember the last thing I saw of you on Wednesday was dad looking at me sad through the crowd as I walked away. I do feel the Spirit here, so I am not as sad anymore. I was privileged to hear Elder Bednar speak last night which got me really excited for my mission. He talked about how there is someone out there waiting for us. I know someone is waiting for me in Thailand, and I’m going to find them. I’ve been writing in my journal every night, and when I fill it up, I’ll send it home for you to read. I’ll also work on getting a missionary tag sent home for Flat Davis.

We went on a walk around the temple yesterday, and I got some great photos. The days are long here. I wake up at six o’clock, get dressed, go to breakfast, class, lunch, class, dinner, four hours of study time, get back at 9:30, shower and hang out, journal writing, bed at 10:30. They say the days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days. I get to go to the gym every morning, and workout, play volleyball or something. Today we played 4-square, and had a lot of fun. I had a competition with some elders to see who could bike the longest on stationary bikes on the highest difficulty setting. I won!

The food here is just like the Cannon Center at BYU; it’s alright. The showers are pretty nasty. I’ve been wearing sandals in them, and the beds are metal bunk beds like prison. Haha. We don’t have much freetime; our days are planned out for us. I am ready to get out of here and get to Thailand! Every morning my companions and I teach an investigator in Thai. His name is Ideen. We are alright at the language, but are getting better. I said a prayer in Thai yesterday. Ideen is not actually an investigator. Haha. Before I go to Thailand, I should probably take an iPod with music.

Normally on our P-days, we would go to the temple in the morning, but Thailand has no temple. So instead of a temple session we get to go tour and look at historical Thai cultural sites. I’m so excited for that!

Don’t be too sad for me, because I am in a good place, surrounded by good people. No matter what comes my way I will survive, I’ve got to represent as the first Ridings missionary. I love you guys, and cannot wait to see you again. Be glad for me. It is natural for us all to be sad because of separation, but you guys are always in my thoughts and heart. I may lose myself in this work, but I will not lose sight of why I’m here. I love you Mom, Dad, and Drew. I also love you Sox, Lacy, Mojo, Cerus, and Dear Roxy, and the fishies. I love you all.

Elder Ridings

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4 thoughts on “First email from Missionary Training Center

  1. Wonderful letter, Elder Ridings. Time flies and before you know it, you’ll be sad in reverse 🙂 Praying for your success, Sister Barron.

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  2. Davis-
    You will be an amazing missionary. How do I know? Because you have amazing parents who love you more than oxygen. You are strong and brave and your faith will take you many places most could never dream to go. J am so excited for you for all the hearts you will plant the seeds of the gospel in. Know that we are all here praying for you to have memorable missionary experiences and for your safety. Love Patty E.

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  3. Words cannot express how proud I am of you! if you don’t mind I would like to keep up with you and your travels.I guess in some ways I am like your grandfather JT. I just never found that easy to truly express my feelings . But just as long as you know I am so proud of you. I know JT and Cathy are smiling. Love you !!

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