Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First ACTUAL Blog Entry (from the MTC #2)

4/21/2014
How was everyone's Easter? Well, mine was absolutely fantastic. The MTC, the MIssionary Training Center, or My Time with Christ I think should be the proper acronym... what a wonderful place to spend the anniversary of Christ's glorious victory over death.

And sacrament was pretty much a dream come true because guess what, Elder Uchtdorf was the speaker. For those of you who don't know the significance of that, Thomas S. Monson is the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, equivalent to the pope of the Catholic religion. Dieter F. Uchtdorf is his second councilor. Yeah, we were reverently fangirling when we saw him come into the room. I didn't every get super close to him, but still, STILL! This is the first time in at least three years that a member of the first presidency has come to the MTC to speak to us. And paraphrased as best as possible, Uchdorf closed with a blessing on all of us missionaries:

As an apostle of the Lord, I give you a blessing that the Lord will take care of you. He will bless your families at home. He will comfort you ibn your nights, in you dreams as you sleep, in your nightmares where tears overcome you. He will strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by his rightous Omnipotent hand. He will take care of you.

There's hardly ever an opportunity to hear one of the first presidency speak, and directly to you. I wish I could quote exactly what he said because there was a little more. But what he said was absolutely beautiful and it gave me so much comfort to think that I have the specific blessing of an apostle that my family and friends will be blessed and comforted back home, and the simple message which I adore because it is so loving and easy to understand not masked in the language of scripture or Mormon lingo.

"He will take care of you."

What a great way to spend Easter. And have you all seen that video on youtube, Because of Him? Well, you should because it really is beautiful!

As far as how my day to day life has been here, it's been great! You know what it's like? It's like college and camp mixed together, all with a bunch of people learning how to teach about Christ. There's a schedule just like band camp or girls camp, very full of just, stuff. Lots of classes. We do scripture stuff all day till 9:30 and like, when that hits we don't even read our scriptures before bed, it's time to write in journals and shower. That just gives you an idea of how immersed in spiritual classes we are during the day, that they tell us NOT to bring your scriptures back up to your room!

My companion is great! Her name is Sister Hawkes and she's super sweet. We get along very well. I'm rooming with two other Sisters, Sister Kendrick and Sister Devey as well. They're all 19! I'm an old fart 20 year old haha, and they are all going to South Dakota too. And then there's two Elders, Elder Autry, who looks like Ron Weasley, only he wears glasses and is from Texas, And Elder Hunt, who are going to South Dakota too. And then Elder Johnson's the lone missionary right now going to Canada, so he was thrown in with us and we love him! He laughs so hard and has the best laugh hahahah and when you get him laughing he cries, legitly, it's hilarious.

I haven't felt too overwhelmed or homesick which is good. There are some moments where we're learning really fast or something that it's been a bit of a struggle, but it hasn't been too bad. I'm able to sleep well. We get up at 6:29, go to bed at 10:29, which is kind of a pain 'having' to go to bed then, but exact obedience, it brings miraculous blessings everyone, so it's okay. So it's been really really great. I've really enjoyed my stay here and will continue to do so until Monday when we leave at 6:00am in the morning. Yep, meeting at 2:30am to drive over to the airport. That'll mess up our sleep schedules! So I don't know if I'll be able to post an entree Monday of next week. (I can only email on Preparation Day (Monday's usually) and I can only have the computer for an hour. It's official. It's in the missionary handbook.)

As far as what I've been learning...
To tie into my last entree, (my farewell talk,) I am so grateful that the Lord reveals things to us line upon line, precept upon precept, one piece and then the next, then the next. Not all at once. Things stick better that way and you can feel comfort in knowing 'hey, that's cool, that just added on to something that I already know!'

You remember the whole metaphor in my farewell talk about being an instrument in his hands? Remember how I talked about wanting to be an effective instrument, just have the spirit work through me as best as possible? Well, I was really struggling... because it's one thing talking about strategies of how to do things, and it's another to actually go in and do it. And it's usually only in retrospect that you realize... aw man, I could've done that, or shouldn't have said as much, or this and this and this. And one of our teachers just gave a stellar example of teaching by the spirit. He had us hold the pamphlet of "The Restoration" and just had us look at that picture of Jesus holding that little lamb and had us quietly shout out words that we were feeling. And then he profoundly said,"That, is the meaning of the Restoration of the Gospel." ...He didn't teach us anything. It was as if the answers just came from inside of us. It was so, sooo incredibly powerful. Well I was trying to figure out... what could I do to let the Holy Ghost guide the lesson? And, it was one of those things where the teacher asked us to write a question down that was in our minds, and that's the one I wrote down, and usually your question isn't answered by the lesson still, or at least not right away but then.... I looked up and right on the board there was a quote:

"Participation authorized the Holy Ghost to teach."

And.... there was my answer. One word! Participation! And, I knew that somewhere in my brain, but I just didn't know how to access it! And sharing that revelation, so direct and powerful, those were the first tears that came to my eyes, that Friday in that classroom with so many wonderful spiritual people around me.

I'm out of time, but I just want to cap it off with a brief testimony. I know my Heavenly Father loves me, and that He loves you, you who are reading this right now. I know that I am in the right place. I'm so blessed to be here, called to serve Him, called to serve others. I'm here because I want to be here. I'm here because I want to teach the Gospel and bring people the happiness and solace that they are searching for. But perhaps most important,

I'm here, Because of Him.

Thank you, God bless.

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