I have arrived!! Good news, ha ha!! Orlando is great. President and Sister Darrington are awesome. We had some real food finally, lasagna! Whoo! And now we're just having some interviews and kind of just getting oriented. I’m so excited! It’s still pretty surreal though. I don't really know what's going on, ha ha! My P-days are on Mondays. This has to be short but just know that I’m ok and I love you! I’ll email you next week~
- Elder Austin Gable Engemann
Elder Engemann with President and Sister Darrington
First of all, I love you more than you know. I've grown so much already and am so excited for what these next two years of devoted service to the Lord hold for me. I just wanted to bear you my testimony:
I love this Gospel! Representing Jesus Christ and wearing His name on my name tag is the greatest honor I could ever ask for. His name is right over my heart, where it belongs. I know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me. Just as He loves all of His children. I know that He is there for me whenever I need Him. We were sent here for a reason. We were sent to this Earth to prepare to meet God again, and live with Him eternally. I know God has a plan for all of His children. Heavenly Father wants nothing but joy for us. He wants us to make right choices and follow His commandments so we can be happy and return to live with Him once more. I know that God the Father sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to this world to atone for all our sins, sorrows, griefs, sadness and pains. I am forever indebted to Him because of that. I OWE HIM MY LIFE! I know that I can use that atonement in my life to stay happy and draw nearer to Christ. I also know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from our sins so we can worthily be in the presence of our God. It is the ONLY way. Through Him I can be perfect. I love that!! I know that Christ's Gospel has been restored in this day. It was restored through a prophet of God, Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith is my hero!!!. The pains and tribulations he went through were unbelievable. He was beaten, tarred and feathered, thrown in jail, starved, his family and friends were persecuted, and his children were taken away from him. He eventually died a martyr for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God without a doubt. I know Joseph Smith translated the plates through the power of God. That book is a testament of Jesus Christ, my Savior, and IT IS TRUE! I can testify that the Book of Mormon can answer ANY question you have about life. It's amazing! I know we have a living prophet today, and that man is Thomas S. Monson. He is a prophet, seer and revelator of the Lord, just as all of the rest of the Apostles are. I know that through him we receive continually the word of God as well. The Holy Ghost is a gift that we, as members of this church, can have always if we just keep the commandments of God and come unto Christ. I hope and pray that we never take that gift for granted. That spirit is a streamline between us and God. It can testify and teach us all things. I promise that as we pray to recognize the Holy Ghost in our lives we will see God's hands operating in all the rest of our days. I love the joy this Gospel brings me and my loved ones. I'm so excited to share this "good news" with the people of Orlando Florida whom I have stewardship over. I know they will be eternally grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Chrtist and what it can do for them. Christ . . . my redeemer . . . LIVES!
2 Samuel 22: 2-4, 32-33
"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer. The God of my rock; in Him I will trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Savior; thou savest me . . . I will call on the Lord who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved . . . for who is God, save the Lord? And who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and He maketh my way perfect."
I love you! It's my P-Day and I'm so stoked to be out of my suit right now. Ha ha. I'm in the laundry room waiting for my stuff to be done. Everything is still going great, but yeah, I saw Matt and Hayley on Sunday and that was probably the best thing ever :). My smile was ear to ear the whole rest of the day. The spirit is still strong. Typical! Ha ha. I changed the scripture for my missionary plaque to Alma 31:34-35. It's a good one!
I have to be at the front desk of the MTC on Monday at 4 AM . . . so early, ha ha! But it's OK. I don't know exactly what time my flight leaves but I'll be sure to let you know before. I went to the temple today and that was awesome! Oh, I need you to send me my book of favorite quotes by Thomas S. Monson.
Thanks for all your letters. They are encouraging and uplifting. It's nice to hear what's been going on with all the family. Please tell everyone that has written me that I love them and thank them for writing me. I don't have that much time to write so I don't know if I'll be able to answer their letters. Please tell them I'm sorry about that. I'll probably eventually only be sending just one main email home so that you can share it with all the family and my friends.
Something funny that I noticed today is that all my jokes now are about Gospel related things! :) Like Adam and Eve, ha ha! I'm a nerd! And something I love is that hymns are always stuck in my head. I sing myself to sleep in my head every night. It's awesome! You'd be proud of me, I sing now. Loud! Cool, huh?
Anywayyy . . . I love you so much! You don't even know! Ha ha. I'm glad you're having fun and reading the scriptures, going to the temple and whatever else spiritual you are doing, ha ha. :)
Once again, I love you, and am so thankful for you. Keep it real thugs! Ha ha! Bye!
Happy Valentine's Day! You're probably going to get this after Valentines Day but I wanted to send this asap. Thanks for all that stuff!! I have no idea what I'm going to do with all that food, ha ha!. You all SERIOUSLY sent me sooooooo much stuff, ha! But everyone was jealous. :) It was such a surprise! I love you all so much! You are honestly the best parents ever. But I love doing this work and serving the Lord. It has already blessed my life so much.
The MTC is still great. Definitely has it's ups and downs but always ends on the good. It's a little like an emotional and spiritual roller coaster. It's crazy! I can't really explain it but one second you'll be doubting yourself or feeling sad and the next second you'll be confident or way happy.The Lord works in mysterious ways!! I wish I could explain to you just how good my teacher, Brother Reis is. Wow! I swear he's going to be a General Authority. He has had some of the most amazing experiences. Every class with him is SO spiritual and educational. I have already been blessed so much since I've been here. It's been inspiring watching the Lord's hand in my days. I just love it so much! Prayer has been one of the gifts in my life that has grown the most. I pray a lot! And I love every second of it. Talking to God makes me feel close to Him. Like He's looking over me and watching out for me. And the Spirit has been so strong in me as well. "I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy!" ( D&C 11:13) It fills MY soul with joy!! So does studying the scriptures. Studying the scriptures is so enlightening although I have a lot more studying to do to know the scriptures better. But as long as I work hard and give my life to the Lord, I know I will be blessed.
Check out this quote from President Uchtdorf that I LOVE: "Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Hope sustains us through despair. We learn to cultivate hope the same way we learn to walk, one step at a time. We grow in our ability to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13) as we more perfectly live the Gospel. We hope in Jesus Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Hope teaches us that there is reason to rejoice, even when all seems dark around us. No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations. Never give in, never surrender, never allow despair to overcome your spirit. The love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart!" So good, huh?
Anyway, I love you both so much and I miss you. The Gospel is true!
The MTC is great. Loving it. I went to the temple today and that was awesome. We actually got to eat some good food there for once in the cafeteria. The food here just gets really old. But it's not too bad. My district is awesome! And so is my zone. I love them all! We have 5 sisters too. They are really nice. 3 of them are in my district.
Our teachers are so great too, Brother Reis and Brother Olson. They know a lot and reallyyyyy help us. We taught for the first time on...Friday? Maybe. I think so. And then Elder Mullen and I had our first actual "investigator" on Tuesday. It went really well. His name was George Peterson and we taught to meet his needs. The spirit was strong. Everything that we learn here is based off of "listening with love" and "teaching to meet needs". That’s basically the most important thing. But yeah the MTC is wonderful. The spirit is always so strong everywhere and I love that. Elder Mullen is a baller. I love him. What else has been going on... I don't know, ha ha. It’s been really fast and I can't really remember things because there is just so much. A lot of class, studying, and teaching. I’ve been kind of exhausted the past two days but nothing too bad. I got a little homesick on Sunday just because we walked up to the temple to take pictures. And when I was walking back I saw a bunch of cars driving by and I thought to myself "I wish someone I knew would drive by." I walked slow to see if Hayley or you would drive by ha ha ha! But then I was over it. Our zone leaders told us to read D&C 100. They told us to do that the first day we got here and it was really good to read. It’s about how our families are being watched over while we're on our missions and how the Lord will provide for us and the Spirit will teach through us. But...anyway. I don't really know what else to say right now, ha ha! I love life!! And the MTC. I miss you both and love you so much!!! I can't wait to get out into the mission field. I’m seriously so stoked! THE GOSPEL IS TRUE! I’m excited to share it with people so it can bless their lives. Oh yeah and praying is the best thing ever! Ha ha, love you!
The MTC is still good. Today is fast Sunday and I'm so hungry right now. It's good because whenever I remember I'm hungry, I think of the Atonement . . . so I love that.
My testimony has already grown so much. Like so much. :) I've had some great experiences. Testimony meeting today was really great. One of the Elders in our zone got up and told us that one of the missionaries in Romania that recently died was his cousin. He talked about seeing him again in the next life. Another talked about how his uncle was murdered and how he had hated the killer for so long, but now he would hug him if he saw him and tell him he was loved. Pretty amazing!!
Today we had a temple walk where we walk up to the temple and take pictures and stuff. It's nice to relax for a second. I'm trying to be very concentrated and obedient. "We must have complete dedication. That comes with complete obedience. You must have complete obedience to have the Spirit with you." -- MTC President Smith. :) I sound like a missionary. Ha ha!.
I just want you to know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. I know that without a doubt. I pray more in a day here than I would normally pray in a couple of weeks. It's the most comforting thing to know that my Father in Heaven, who has a perfect love for me personally, knows me and my desires and my needs. He wants to help us. He WANTS us to speak to Him often. He's there. We need to take advantage of that as much as possible. You can literally pray about ANYTHING! I love it. And I want you to feel His love always.
Before I came to the MTC I always questioned if my thoughts and feelings came from the Spirit or just from my own head. I really had problems determining which was which, but I heard this quote from David A. Bednar that really opened my eyes. "All good thoughts come from the Holy Ghost." It's pretty simple. That's what I love about this Gospel: It's simple, straightforward. As long as we do what God asks of us, we will be fine. It isn't much. Just endure to the end in all things that we've been taught to do and we'll live with Him again. That's why the Atonement of Jesus Christ is so important. We ALL make mistakes every day, but through the Atonement we can become clean and stay truly happy. The Gospel is incredible!
I started teaching for the first time on Saturday. After, I realized I need a lot of help and I started to feel a little inadequate. But then I realized, "I've only been here three days, it will come. The Lord will provide for me." D&C 100 has given me a lot of comfort and hope as well. That is such a good section for missionaries.
I've been writing in my journal! And I love it. I just love everything (wowwwwwww) right now!! The Gospel is true! Live it, and you will be happy, period.
I love you and miss you so much. My P-day (personal day to take care of things) is Wednesday and you'll be getting an email.
Don’t listen to anyone if they say the MTC sucks. It’s great here! Even when we eat, it’s spiritual! Ha ha!! Everyone is just nice and cool. Our zone is dope. There are some way sweet Elders and the Sisters are awesome too. Our teachers are way cool. Brother Reis from Hawaii is really spiritual, but also lets us have room to breathe. He gives us 15 minutes extra between things so we don’t get stressed or anything. When I got here yesterday, I immediately saw quite a few people I know. Elder Blake Lewis, Elder Colin Skillings, Elder Bud Heaton, Elder Tanner Brockbank, Elder Craig Bills, Elder Blake Decker, Elder Chris Osmond, Elder Mike Mullen (my comp) and maybe a few others. Oh yeah, our other teacher, Brother Olson is great too. He gives really good insight and stories. Right now, I’m waiting to have a district meeting. We’re all still just getting into the groove of things but I’m loving it and doing great.
First of all . . . I love you! The MTC is great! I'm seriously loving it already. You just feel the spirit all the time. Today seemed pretty long but not too bad. I got here and it was just really fast getting all my stuff and taking bags to my room. Then I met with everyone in my classroom for a while and met one of my teachers and my district. My friend from TimpView, Elder Mike Mullen is my companion so that is awesome. I'm really happy about that. Then the other two Elders in my room are Elder Squires and Elder Gariths. They are cool guys too. I like my whole district so that is good. Then after that class meeting, we went to an orientation, then lunch. The food was pretty good. Then we did a mock investigator thing with a bunch of new missionaries and there were three different people in separate rooms and we all asked them questions and each had a different situation. But anyway, I just want you to know that I'm doing good and I'm loving it! Not sad . . . just excited for what these next two years are going to hold! I miss you both and love you so much !
Elder Austin Gable Engemann (I haven't gotten used to that yet!!)
Feb.3rd, 2010 ~ The day arrives. Last goodbyes . . . a special breakfast by Mom . . . Final hugs . . . Off to the Missionary Training Center (texting all the way!) . . . Unloading . . . . And he's off. Once that car hit the curb, they had him out, unloaded and away in about 2 minutes. Future missionary parents take note: get your hugs in before you get there!!!! See ya in 2 years!