I have just completed my first five days at the MTC and my P-day is, evidently, on Monday! That will be very nice, I'm sure, for transitioning into the field. However, if you live in Utah you are aware that July 25th (today) is Pioneer Day. What this means is that unfortunately the Provo temple is closed. So, I will only have one opportunity to go to the temple before I leave for New York, which will be next Monday.
|Hermanas Wiberg, Aguilar, me, and Hermana Pace|
So much has happened, I hardly know what to say. My host on the first day took me to get my language materials and iPad and then I met my compañera, Hermana Pace. She is from Washington and going to serve in Tucson, Arizona speaking Spanish, and she is so lovely and sweet. Being in class that first time was perhaps a bit overwhelming, but so spiritual and lovely. Most of my district speaks Spanish as a first language, and much of the time I don't understand everything (or anything occasionally), but I figure that even with my broken Spanish, I can teach through the spirit. The gospel really is proclaimed through the weak and simple.
What really touched me about my initial night, though, was singing the song 'Army of Helaman' and getting to sing the words "and we are now the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth.' That was when it hit me that I was really and truly a missionary. The badge was evidence, perhaps, but singing that I was a missionary gave me personal conviction.
On Thursday we met our branch presidency, which was truly a very special experience. They have such a strong spirit and so much love. President Glazier, Brother Nilsson, Brother Flores, and their wives know how to bring such a comfort and strength to every missionary under their care.
Friday was so wonderful because for the first time we exercised! It was wonderful to have the release of jogging, playing volleyball, and lifting weights with my compañera. Also, it might help with my slight addiction to the chocolate milk and cranberry juice. It's only been five days, and already I'm fearing the all-you-can-eat approach. I'm eating salads an increasing amount.
|Our District Elders|
|Me and Hermana Aguilar at the end of a long day|
My district has become very close and we enjoy each others company immensely. On Sunday we held a meeting in which we all shared our testimonies. It was so special and beautiful. Truly, there must be a reason I am in my district, and with my companion. I have no doubt.
Sundays are truly magnificent in the MTC. In fact, the MTC President and his wife Sister Burgess came to my district for our Sunday meetings! There was such a special spirit having Sister Burgess in our relief society meeting. She shared a story about her difficulty learning language during her time in Brazil that really resonated with me. Since she loved to sing, she found the song I Know that My Redeemer Lives in the Portuguese hymnal. She could only learn the first line, but she knew if she repeated it eight times to the tune of the song, she would have sung the entire hymn. So she did that whenever she felt discouraged, and it gave her a confidence and strength she would not have otherwise obtained.
The Nashville Tribute Band devotional yesterday was so beautiful. It allowed me to think of myself in the shoes of so many wonderful biblical figures. Often we do not think of what those great men and women must have felt, but imagining different points of view is empowering and allows a kind of empathy one would otherwise not experience. After the devotional, me and my district listened to a message from Elder Bednar about the spirit which gave me a renewed energy and purpose. How does one know if a feeling is the spirit or "just us"? The answer is: quit worrying about it! The spirit will manifest itself in so many ways, and truly we should not be overly concerned what those ways are.
I wish you all health, happiness, and send my utmost love,
|Me and Hermana pace enjoying the beautiful day outside|