Sunday, October 28, 2012

MTC WEEK 9

This is Elder Betancourt's last week in the MTC. He wrote in his letters from 10/26-10/29/2012, " I cannot tell you how excited I am to get into the field! I cannot wait to be an instrument in the Lord's hands!..Something I have learned is that we need to keep our expectations high! If we give everything we have, will the Lord help us? Yes! When he sees us giving everything we have, even when we fall short, he will bless us. This is how we can be most effective in all we do!...From what I have been told, our missions will be twinklings of an eye! Elder Allen told us tonight that we need to serve to our best ability so when we board that plane to go home we can thank God for the opportunity to serve and feel the Holy Ghost whisper, 'Thou hast done good my faithful servant.' Amazing right? How we serve our missions will determine the rest of our lives! Like Elder Holland said in General Conference, 'We have pressed our hands to the plow, let us not look back until this work is over!'
It's kind of sad leaving here! A lot of goodbyes to say to good friends. It's going to be hard. I will be so far away from you and an entire day ahead--but think about it, I will be in the field inviting others to come unto Christ and receive the restored Gospel through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Heavenly Father is hastening His work. I need to give literally everything for the building of the kingdom! I am going to need all the prayers I can get! Today, we learned that the things we do, such as: preparing, being obedient, planning, and goal setting; we are growing closer to our Heavenly Father and preparing for our future investigators. Isn't that crazy? The field is white and ready to harvest both in Cauayan, PH and Samara, Russia. What a magnificent journey we will both have! I know that through Jesus Christ, you can do anything! I promise you that! My favorite mission scripture: D&C 123:17 (11-17), "Therefore my dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." 
Kayamoyan! (You can do it) 
Mahal Kita (I love you),

Elder Ryan A. Betancourt"

                            The first snow fall in Provo, Utah! He was beyond excited!
        Ryan wrote explaining his one shaven leg, "There are a lot of weird traditions at the MTC, so today....I   shaved a leg! Haha! Tomorrow I will shave the other! It's hard to explain, but essentially I promised an Elder who left before me that I would do it!" SO of course, he did it! 
                                       Holding the flag of the Philippines! Excited for his new adventure!
                                   Brother Trebas and Ryan! (One of his teachers)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MTC WEEK 8

Another week down and another month down! 2 months in, 22 to go. Elder Betancourt bore a beautiful testimony to be about trusting in the Lord as I learn the Russian language. He bears testimony that the Lord has helped him in his journey already SO much. It is so beautiful so I wanted to share it! Fun pictures at the end!


Elder Betancourt wrote on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, "Man this week was so humbling! I have been excelling like mad in the language my whole experience here..Devynn never have I ever understood how much He loves me, individually. Wow it was amazing...i cant even put it into words...so this week I was pondering where I need improvement the most...and it hit me LANGUAGE! I have been using every second of Language study to exact effectiveness...or at least to my knowledge...THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REALL!!!! I always felt it, but I feel like this week I have received greater access to it! You see we need a few things to get that gift. Heavenly Father will not just give it to anyone...take notes....jk...well...atleast mental notes...How can we expect to receive the gift of tongues if we are not pouring our soul into this every minute we are able to? When you are tired in class, fight it with everything you have, when you are tired in study time especially because there is no teacher to wake you up! Basically what I am saying is you have nearly 2 hours here to fully devote and commit yourself to learn your language. Leave no time for goofing around, don't get distracted even if the distraction is something positive like a Mormon Message or something, there will be time for that later. I witness to you that as you do this you will begin to internalize the language. The reason this is so hard is because you cannot simply translate sentences with languages like Russian and Tagalog. It is more a translation of thought into something that will make sense in there native tongue. This is only possible to happen in the time given to us by accessing the Gift of Tongues! We are all entitled to, but it makes me sad because not everyone here gets it. Follow this and above all have Faith. When you are frustrated and feel as though you will never get it, I say to you, press forward. This is Satan trying to prevent you from getting down. The Spirit is strong here but don't think that Satan still is not seeking opportunities to bring down the work! I testify to you, Devynn that as you diligently work and give it literally everything you have, you will receive the gift of tongues and will somehow learn the language! It is 99% miracle and 1% you. Give everything you have. Do your very best SO THAT THE LORD CAN GIVE THE REST! That's the biggest thing that has hit me this week! I beg of you to SYL (Speak your language. He is talking about when I learn Russian for my mission!) every single day! All day! 
When we SYL we are putting our faith in Heavenly Father and he will bless us! It is like us saying, "I don't really get this but I know you will help me!" That's one thing I have learned about being a missionary, we can literally do just about anything (with in human reason...sorry no flying) ALL ACCORDING TO OUR FAITH! That is exactly what Elder Bednar promised us! 
I love you so much kiddo! Sorry I didnt mean to like grill you...but i thought it was pretty sweet!"




                                                A fancy knot--the ambassador knot!
                    Elder Betancourt sent a picture of my future Mission President and his wife!
                            He wrote, "A nice piece of grass. There isn't much of it here!
                                           A beautiful morning at the Provo Temple
                                 Elder Betancourt wrote, "Just running up the wall...casual"
                                          "AND now flipping off the wall"
                                               Elder Cass and Elder Betancourt!
                                              All wearing blue ties but Elder Betancourt!
                                                       Sunday Temple Walks
                             Elder Wightman and Elder Betancourt. Ryan calls it, "Camera inception"
                 Brother Trebas bookbag! (All the sweet color pictures from Elder Berend's camera)
                                           Looking at the temple during temple work
                                                          Juggling acorns!


Elder Betancourt got his flight plans to the Philippines! He leaves Monday, October 29, 2012. He'll be leaving SLC at 3pm arriving in LAX at 3:53pm. He will leave LAX at 11:15 pm and arrive in Hong Kong at 5:55am October 31st! They will literally be jumping over October 30th. They will leave Hong Kong at 8:00am and arrive in Manila Philippines at 9:55am.  CRAZY!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MTC WEEK 7

Elder Betancourt is still district leader. He is over 11 Elders and Sisters. He wrote me on October 11, 2012 saying, "Being District Leader is an exhausting calling, but the Lord is strengthening me and giving me energy! (Your Mt. Dew is too ;))."
On October 12, 2012, "The Lord is continuing to bless me here! It is amazing! Elder Berends (Ryan's companion) and I have acquired the skill of following the Spirit in lessons.... I was so excited, my teacher complimented us on this aspect either this week... This week I have been studying how to receive the power and authority that we can! Like Alma and the sons of Mosiah! After studying Alma 26, I learned that if we work till the end of each day and our missions, working hard and diligently with frequent repentance for our imperfections, exercising faith, doing good works, continuously praying, having patience, and relying fully on the Lord.. The power and authority is ours! I love this work!

I love you like puppies love treats!
Eternally yours,
Elder Ryan Anthony Betancourt"

A TON of fun pictures this week. At the end, I have added Elder Betancourt's self reflection:

                            Elder Betancourt pointing to his mission, Cauayan, Philippines
                Elder Betancourt pointing at my mission, Samara, Russia! I feel as if he seems more excited about mine than his, haha! 
                                                   Elder Betancourt--the model
                          Apparently the "hang loose" sign is a big thing in the Philippines 



                                      A picture from the district 15E's temple walk
                                     Elder Wightman, Elder Siola'a and Elder Betancourt
                                            Coming back from the temple! So happy!
Joseph Smith picture
                                                            Fountain Picture

Elder Betancourt's Self Reflection:

"Where am I spiritually now compared to where I was on the first day of the MTC?

 The first day at the MTC, I knew I wanted to be here; I knew I was needed in this work. I knew I would regret it if I was not here. Spiritually, I would say I was alive and functioning; however, greatly lacking in many things. I am six weeks in. I understand my purpose, everything about it. I understand why I want to be here  and why I need to be here. I understand that if I am not here, people would miss out on blessings I have. People are waiting for me to teach them, they need my story/personality to accept the gospel. Would they find it without me? Maybe. BUT who am I to deny them what they deserve and need. If I was not here, I would eternally regret it. Spiritually, I am on fire. I rely on the Spirit for everything. It is amazing. There is still work to do to prepare, but I am well on my way."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MTC WEEK 6

This weekend was General Conference weekend (An opportunity to hear from the 12 apostles and the Prophet of the church.).

Elder Betancourt seemed to thoroughly enjoy his conference weekend. He wrote, " It is so hard to believe it is October! What an incredible conference weekend!" In a letter Ryan shared some of what he gained for conference. He wrote, "Holy Cow Devy! My thoughts were so inspired. It was amazing... Their guidance is much needed in a world that grows progressively more wicked with each passing day! One of my favorite teachings of  the Church is to live in the world, but not of the world. We need to be around to help out our brothers and sisters, but we can do so without partaking of things that are detrimental to our bodies, integrity, and our souls. President Dieter Uchtdorf (an Apostle in the First Presidency) shared a story about how we need to always focus on serving others! As men in the church we have received the Priesthood of God. The priesthood is a 100 percent service based tool. It is truly the power of Heaven. I have experienced the joy in serving others and giving blessings of comfort and blessings for the sick. They work! All according to faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is crucial to receiving any blessings! I promise as you have faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, you will blessed.
     Elder Jeffrey R. Holland talked about the Apostles and how after Christ died on the cross, the Apostles returned to their boats to work and continue life. When the Apostles attempted to catch fish, they did not catch any. When they saw the Savior on the shore, he told them to cast their nets to the other side. When they did this they caught an abundance of fish, such an abundance they couldn't pull the net in! After all this the Savior, asked Peter 3 times if he loved him.  Each time he said, "Thou knowest Lord that I love thee." The scripture doesn't go too much into depth about what happens after so for the sake of the point Elder Holland was making, he took some liberty and said the Savior may have then said, "Then why are you here? I need you to labor for me, serve me, preach my gospel, defend our faith, bring people unto the truth, and you are here. I am asking you for the second time, will you leave all of this and labor for me? Did you think the cross and nails were the end of it all?" What is this supposed to tell us? If we love him, we will serve. A characteristic of love is always loyal. Our lives are a gift. Everything we have is a gift from God. If we love God, we need to be willing to drop our nets and follow him. Our time, our money given to us as a means to help us. We need to give back to Him that gave it. As we do, we will be blessed with and for everything that we give. Nothing can ever be as it was when Jesus asked us to drop our nets. By serving God, we are blessing our families and our posterity.    
 Our Beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson taught two things this weekend that have truly inspired me. First, never look at someone for who they are, but who they can become. This can help us encourage others to fulfill their potential! Second, he asked us to take an inventory of all the blessings he has given us. We will see how blessed we are! Do you very best, have faith and God will take care of the rest. Another principle that I learned this weekend was no concern of ours is too small or insignificant for the Lord.
     The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. We can learn about these truths from reading it. We don't learn by the words of it, but by the power of the Holy Ghost, which testifies the truth of all things.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what I got out of conference.

I love you like the snow loves the cold!
Elder Ryan Anthony Betancourt"

     Blue ties for devotional! Blue tie Tuesday
                                                             "Guns up"
                          The MTC makes the Elders GOOFY. Elder Wightman eating Ryan's head.
              I sent Elder Betancourt a six pack of Mountain Dew. He hadn't had one since he entered the MTC. Needless to say, he was very excited! His first Mountain Dew in six weeks!


Ryan wrote in a letter on October 07, 2012, "I have gained weight! I am at 167 (12 pounds heavier than he was before he left). I started running hardcore this week to try and get more fit! Its difficult not to gain weight at the MTC! We eat at 7:45, 12:20, and 5:20! Sometimes it feels like all we do is eat and sit around in class!" 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

MTC WEEK 5

Ryan is doing very well. He seems VERY happy. He is in love with the MTC and his district. He has made some WONDERFUL friendships.

On October 03, 2012, He wrote about an experience that one of his teachers in the MTC had. He wrote, " My teacher, Brother Trebus told our class a story. He was on his mission and I guess in the Philippines they don't drink water till after they eat, but he was super thirsty so he asked for water. The guy feeding him (who was drunk) brought some sketchy water, but Brother Trebus was so thirsty he drank it. Lets just say he didn't sleep much that night. The next day they had a district meeting which was an hour and a half hour drive away. They got there and did all their stuff then Brother Trebus lets out a little fart and everyone starts laughing and being guys. Then he notices something warm running in his PANTS!!! His companions were lazy and didn't really like him so they wouldn't go home. When they actually left they had an hour and a half bumpy ride home! Mind you no one had toilet paper or paper towels. He pooed in his pants and had to keep it there ALL day. He said he burned the clothes he had on! He say this is the day he became a Missionary! (Apparently it happens to most American Missionaries. HAHA KILL ME NOW!)...
Your Missionary!
Mahal Kita
Elder Ryan A. Betancourt"


                                     One of Ryan's friends in the MTC, Elder Jackson
                                                 Ryan wrote, "I don't even know"
                                                  Ryan's teacher, Elder Trebus
       Ryan wrote that loves looking at the little notes I send him so he put them over his bed. 
                                     Ryan wrote, "Me just chillin...you know" HAHA!