Day 2,014ishDear Amie,
Here I am writing to you from the MTC, as I am looking at your picture. I haven’t heard from you yet. You’re married already aren’t you? I knew it would happen, but I didn’t think it would be so fast! I keep thinking I only saw you two weeks ago, but I miss you so much already. I just took a picture of me writing to you with your picture at the top. I will send you one.
The MTC is so awesome. I have grown more spiritually in the last few days than I have in the years previous. We have three meals a day and 2 classes a day, the classes lasting 3 hours each. The spirit is in every one of them and I can’t wait until I’m in the mission field and I can feel the spirit that strong 24 hours a day.
I got to lead the singing in a huge meeting and that was awesome.
Everyone here is pretty cool. They all think that I have an accent, and now that they tell me I do, I kind of notice that I really do. Our district leader is from Maryland, and his companion is a Canadian who really thinks I have an accent. I made a good friend here named Elder Landers and he also has a girl writing to him. We really enjoyed eating some OTHER guy’s, girlfriend’s cookies yesterday.
Love, Elder Leonhardt
P.S. I have gained seven pounds already. I’m getting chunky. (yeah, right)
Dear Elder Leonhardt,
You didn’t think I had forgotten you, did you? For one thing, I didn’t even have your address for most of these days! I’m pretty amazing, but I’m not quite good enough to get a letter to you without an address. Now that I have your letter, and that ever important address in the upper left hand corner… here it is: my first official letter.
I went to visit your family the other day and something shocking happened. I had one of those famous “den talks” with your Dad! You know, I always wanted to do that… just once--- never again! :) Just kidding. Actually, I think I must be tougher than the rest of the family, I survived it with ease. Maybe he went easy on me because he likes me better than the rest of you. ;) What have you been learning at the MTC about humility? Please share.
I bet you’re wondering what your Dad talked to me about. Well, too bad. These den talks are private business. ;) Just kidding. He asked me what our arrangement was and I told him the whole thing. No commitments. Me dating. Me not writing about me dating. He thought that was wise. He did say, and this part was my personal favorite, that he would “like nothing more than for me to marry into the family”. I promise! He really did say that! Pretty cool, huh? I thought so.
Anyway, that’s quite enough of all this non-mission paraphernalia. Don’t let me distract you from what’s really important right now. I’m amazed at you, and the decision you’ve made to give your mission your all. Knowing you, and the way you excel at the things you set your mind to, you’ll be the best missionary in the whole world- though I’m still glad you aren’t going to Cambodia.
What I’m NOT saying is that it wasn’t the lack of address that kept me from writing. For heaven’s sake, I should have called his Mom immediately, daily, hourly, until she had heard from him and then gotten the address and written (probably daily and hourly) for whole first week he was in the MTC! Nevermind. That’s an unhealthy exaggeration, but what my letter is NOT saying is that I keep pushing thoughts of Ryan away, still under the mindset of trying to get over him. I’m fighting so hard not to get hurt, that it doesn’t even occur to me that he needs to hear from me. Needs. I’m not used to him needing me. The concept is foreign after the past year. I always knew I’d be great at writing to a missionary… under ideal circumstances, but like Ryan said, I have the memories of him as the dark sorcerer.
I ask around. People tell me that time in the MTC is so much longer than real time. You’ve left your family, said goodbye for two whole years (pretty much) and been thrown out into the real and sometimes cruel world with no promise of going home for a home-cooked meal or for your Mom to do your laundry. This is serious. College makes me melancholy at times and homesick, but home is only about a three hour drive away. There, my parents will envelope me and take care of me and pretty much solve any problems I have. Still, Ryan is stronger than I am. I believe he’s ready to solve his own problems. All I need to do is write to him… and bake some cookies that will make that “OTHER guy’s girlfriend’s cookies” taste like dirt clods by comparison. I’m on it.