I have been laying in bed at nights thinking about how I can possible describe my last week in this email. I've decided to write just one email and address everyone in it!! If mom and dad could disperse it, that'd be mighty awesome. The first week at the MTC has felt like a lifetime. As I was watching the new missionaries enter the MTC yesterday, I realized how far I have come. How much i've progressed-- even though its hard to be patient with progress because there is so much MORE to work on and to understand. The MTC is hard!!! But I'm so grateful that it is or else I would get really bored! ha ha!! There is just so much to learn. The learning is the easy part, then you have to go and apply it in your teaching!! Its difficult to know the doctrine, have a testimony of it and not be able to express them with simplicity. Anyways--- throughout the week I wrote down some things that will shed some light into my experience.
-- I have had had more energy than i have in my whole life!!! My body has adjusted now-- and sometimes I get sleepy after lunch..... ha ha! But I've been praying for greater spiritual endurance. Earlier in the week I really struggled to be focused the last class period of the day! As a missionary we put in 16 hours a day.... 12 of those are spent studying/teaching. I raised my question to my teacher Brother Staley "How can I have a desire/motivation to learn @ 7:30 after studying ALL day?" .......and he told me its a reflection of my commitment of my purpose to invite others to come unto Christ. If I had greater commitment, I wouldn't struggle. He invited me to repent and apply the atonement in my life. It was deeply humbling. I did act on his invitation and repented. And I haven't had a problem since. (The MTC is pretty hardcore. We say a lot of bold things..... It is Mormon Bootcamp.)
--My Companion is my angel sent from God. Her name is Sister Chavez (yes she is hispanic) she's from Price and is a small town girl! One of my first questions is "can you speak spanish?" She doesn't! How awesome is that!! She is a full blooded american ;) We understand each other. That doesn't sound like a big deal but it really affects me every hour of every day. I think the first think I said to her is "I LOVE YOU". And I did. The first time I saw her I felt like I knew her from the pre-existence. Plus she laughs at my dumb jokes (the rest of the district usually just stares.... plus she walks as slow as me!!)
--The first night was a treat... NO ONE could sleep. I woke up every hour and my thoughts were trying to process the day and plan what's next for tomorrow. On top of that I has severe leg cramps.... weird huh?? The MTC does weird things to your body. Everyone reacts to the humongo change differently. I put some oils on and was able to fall asleep in the wee hours of the night.
-- I really haven't experienced any homesickness! I know it will hit me some day but I think Chavez is really helping in that area. As well as my district!! I have an awesome district. It comprises of 6 Sisters. Which is very rare to have an all sister district. We are together ALL day. We all sleep in the same room, study in the same class room and eat all meals together. Its pretty intense, but great.
--I have LOVED the letters from everyone!! They are a huge highlight to my day. They really haven't created any homesickness- just a reminder that I have a family that LOVES me! And loves me despite my great weakness. (The movie quotes were thee BEAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Brent did share a very spiritual experience with me that brought tears to my eyes. It was just blown away by how lucky we are to have him be apart of the family. It kinda made me miss the family-- because of how strong you guys are!!! My family has been a great source of spiritual and emotional strength to me. (Thank you Brent for taking time to write me with your busyness--- it really did uplift me :) That was just one example of how letters are AWESOME!!!
---OH and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KELL on TUESDAY!! I sent love to you all day through my prayers!! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRENT TODAY!!!!!!!!!!! Big birthdays this week ! 16 and 25!! You guys are old... and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLIE on Tuesday too!!! LOVE YOU all!! XOXOXOXOXOXO.
--- We had a mtg on sunday addressing the modesty of the sisters-- There was actually an elder that asked to go home because there was a sister in his district that was dressing so immodestly, he couldn't focus on the work and struggled to control his thoughts. He said if he couldn't serve the right way- he didn't want to serve at all. It really hit me that my clothing is important- its all about bringing people to Christ and I don't want my dress to detract from a message with such great eternal consequence.
---The MTC has followed a pattern for me. It goes as follows.
"Struggle. Struggle. Struggle. Epiphany."
"Struggle. Struggle. Struggle. REALLY struggle. REALLY DOUBT. Miracle."
I have really seen and participated in miracles. There really is a God. I know it.
On the 2nd day of the MTC i was really doubting my ability to teach, not only teach but do ANYTHING! I was so overwhelmed and I'm teaching all these doctrines but did I really know they were true!!! In the beginning I felt like I was preaching that "God is there for you," "God loves you without condition," but I hadn't felt his presence. I was devoting ALL my time to Heavenly Father and I didn't feel like I had any time to personal speak with him. There was a disconnect between learning of God and his gospel and FEELING the gospel. By the time night came and I was laying in bed. I was at the end of my rope. I had to know. So I asked if God loved me. If he was actually there. The tears came. I started weeping as i felt the most loving, comforting feeling envelope me. "The arms of his love". It was so powerful. It was my own personal sacred grove. As I continued to talk with God, I was able to delve into my soul, my eternal self and realize why this mission was so important. BECAUSE I loved Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ soooo much. (So much I had snot dripping down my face-)... That achieving Exaltation, meeting God again is not enough. I want to bring many with me. Hundreds. Thousands. As much as I am capable of bringing to Christ. The Christ Jesus that suffered for us. Who died for us so we can be FREE from the chains of the devil. It was a life changing experience. I knew WHY I am here. The overwhelming feelings faded in comparison to the love I had for Christ and his gospel.
Well time is up!! i hope I answered all your questions!!! I LOVE YOU with all my heart!!! Have a wonderful week.
...and can I challenge you to go to God and ask your questions-- express your worries and challenges so that our dearest Heavenly Father that loves you with his whole being-- can heal you. I testify that miracles do happen. More often than we even realize. All you need is the faith to ask and see it.