Photos from the MTC; April - May, 2010

James sent these photos from the MTC. Dad provided the captions.

James and fellow missionaries from his District/Zone in the MTC.

Some Elders grow faster than others.

James has made a lot of friends with missionaries who will be serving throughout the world.

These Elders and Sister(s) are going to Greece. In some of his letters he calls them the Greek Elders. He sometimes omits the "r" in Greeks - we're not sure if that's on purpose.

James and fellow missionaries in front of the sign for the MTC.

Explaining the finer points of life with a fellow Elder.

Once a week the missionaries are able to go the the Provo Temple. It's a short walk from the MTC. Evidently it also provides a lot of photo opportunities.

The view from the Provo Temple looking toward the west. Utah Lake and the Oquirrh mountains are in the distance. The MTC is just behind the line of trees near the left center of the photo.

James and his companion, Elder Hilton, and missionaries from his District/Zone in the MTC.

James and Elder Hilton.

This is the name tag James will be wearing for two years. It says, "Elder Sanford - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A Lithuanian banner hanging in their classroom.

James' desk in his room in the MTC (one of its cleaner moments).

Morning hair.

The bulletin board in one of their classrooms.

Maps and photos from his MTC teacher(s). Most of the instructors teaching foreign languages in the MTC are former missionaries who served in the same country/language.

A majority of the missionaries' time is spent in class learning the language and learning how to teach the gospel in Lithuanian.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

It seems training to be a missionary has a lot in common with becoming a Jedi.

Letter from James - May 8, 2010

James sent a card to his mom for Mother's Day along with a memory card with some pictures from the MTC.

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for being the best mom in the world. Being on a mission has made me really miss the love of having a mother around to hug. I can't call home for Mother's Day (missionaries in the field can usually call home on Mother's Day and Christmas) because there are not enough phone lines for the 2,500+ missionaries in the MTC right now. I will be able to call you from the airport thought. It made me sad because I was really looking forward to talking to everyone on Sunday. I have some pics on the memory card I hope you all enjoy.

A quote I love is, "God cannot be everywhere, so He gave us mothers."

Alma 56:47 in the Book of Mormon, "[The two-thousand stripling warriors]...had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."

Proverbs 23:23 reminds me of what you say a lot :)

I've had some real hard times, but what helps me through them is to imagine seeing you when I return home and seeing how proud you and everyone will be. I'm working hard to make you proud. I love you so much mom! I wouldn't be where I am without you. Thank you for raising me in this gospel where I can feel peace and happiness. I can't wait to share the love you have shown me with the Lithuanian people. You have the sweetest spirit and I am trying to build such a spirit like yours (of course, Sisters' spirits are much more sweeter than Elders' - lol). Thank you for being there for me. No matter where I go, I always know I have the greatest mother in the world. That makes all the worries pass away.

Love (myliú),

Vyresnysis Sanfordas

Letter from James - May 6, 2010

Week 4!!!!!
      Time is flying by! I'm really liking it here. The language is difficult but i'm still trying. I finally got the first vision down! It took me a while but I got it. It sounds so funny to directly translate it from Lithuanian to English. I will write it all out to you in a letter so you can see it :D
     Thank you to everyone for writing to me. It helps a lot to feel your love and support. Times get really tough here but i'm still holding on thanks to the love, support, and prayers I receive.    

     (In an earlier letter, we discussed with James swapping his smaller "carry-on" suitcase for a larger one) But with the suitcases, I will talk to the front desk and see if i could leave the small one there and you could give them the big one. I will write u a letter cause i'm almost out of time with this email. I wil be so happy when the time thing is gone.
     I love you all so much. Oh also I have been starting to wear my black suit more. So could you also send me black suit pants size 32? Well my same size lol. I think I wore the good ones we got from JC pennys.
     I love you all and I pray for you. Please pray for me to have comort and peace :D
     Myliu Vyresnysis Sanfordas