I can best explain with another example from my own missionary record. First, the context-- As explained in my piece about the MTC dedication, I spent some extra time there in what was then the LTM or Language Training Mission. And that was somewhat of a disappointment. After our scheduled eight weeks of intensive language training and memorization of missionary discussions, four of our district of eleven elders left for Portugal. We remaining seven were left waiting for our visas to go to Brazil.
It was especially galling because while those were four great elders heading off to Portugal, they seemed pretty much the least prepared of our group. They had struggled with the language and passed off few discussions. One of them had even tried to run away from the LTM. We wished them the best and hunkered down to practice the discussions we'd already passed off and work on our humility and patience. The broken heart was a given.
Then, I had a dream . . .
Wednesday, September 15, 1976. Yes, I missed a few days. (Just one.) Great things are happening, but I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out yet. For this I’ll wait to tell the whole story.
Thursday, September 16, 1976. Pretty good. I think I’ve got my confusion straightened out. I need to pray more.
Friday, September 17, 1976. I’ll write Sunday if I don’t get a chance until then.
Saturday, September 18, 1976. I feel good today. I will tell my story tomorrow. . . .
I am working hard reviewing the discussions at this time. I want to go to
badly, but I know I have plenty to keep me busy here. Brazil
I need to repent more.
Sunday, September 19, 1976. Today was a good day. I worked really hard and accomplished a lot. I need to do a lot more. And I will do a lot more. I have a goal this week to at the end of the week I will be able to pass off a discussion almost perfect.
I’ll tell my story now. I had a dream a few nights ago that my German teacher from last year was teaching us português and told me to learn German along with it. I wondered about the dream, thought it was strange. I worried a little and then a lot. I prayed and the Lord really thrilled me as I received the idea. If I learn português (discussions etc.) why couldn’t He help me learn German also? I don’t know when the time will come, but I know if I work as hard the Lord will help me learn German also. I hope (and it won’t be too hard) that if may happen during my mission. I know it would be a great privilege, opportunity and duty to learn the discussions in German!! I’m going to work hard for this. I pray it will happen. It is the greatest thing! I had no desire to learn German until after I learned the discussions. Now I do have that desire and will work for it as the Lord guides me. I know it will be difficult. It is also a good way that satan could get to me. But I will do things right. I talked to Pres. White and he advised me to wait until I really understand Port. well in the field and then I could learn the discussions in German. He did it in Spanish. He also said that sometimes the Mission Pres. calls elders to do such. I won’t seek for a call, but I sure will be ready for it if it comes.And my letter home that week:
I was initially so charged by my dream that I shared it with my companions (I was in a companionship of three). They seemed impressed and went with me as I marched down to President Pinegar's office to inform him that as I had finished my eight weeks and passed off all the discussions, I was now ready to learn them in German. My memory gets a little cloudy at this point, but I don't think we saw President Pinegar. Someone instructed me that I needed to talk to my own LTM Branch President.
After my mission, I saw my German teacher from my freshman year. I thanked him for teaching me how to learn a language. I explained that the skills I gained in his class helped me to learn Portuguese so well that I hit the ground running once I finally got to Brazil. Well, the extra time in the LTM certainly helped too. The Lord moves in mysterious gifts of tongues.