MY HEART IS SO FULL, TO SEE ALL THE LOVE YOU HAVE SENT MY WAY AND I MISS THE C.R.A.P. OUT OF ALL OF YOU!
Oh my goodness, the church is true! This week has been INSANE. Where do I start...
Okay soand Tuesday were great! I got to go to the temple with Grandpa and Grandma in Ogden! It was a beautiful day and I thought back to the time we went to the open house a year ago. To ponder on where I am now and where I could be the next time I get to go is really moving. The Lord has a plan just for me! I know that. Then spending time with Papa and Grandma was special, it always is. Papa told me a lot of stories about times when the Spirit taught him or helped him to help someone else. It's so good to hear that from Papa. Todd and Becky are the bomb...duh. Then GO TIME.
So we came to Provo, Papa and Grandma did the honors of dropping me off and it was sweet to see Grandma get a little misty. I was so sad to hear about her poor health this week. Pray for her. Then my escort lead me through a series of rooms, hallways, and stairs. I entered the MTC alongside 600 other missionaries last Wednesday! They really had a system down. It's all kind of a blur, except when they put that name tag me. I swear, I could have done anything (sort of a "supermodel documentary hour" kinda thing?). I know it shouldn't be such a... I guess crowning (?) moment... I was already set apart AS a missionary before then. But there is something about having the churches name next to mine all the time, everywhere that was so exciting. Sometimes I just look down and am like "oh HEY. That's me. Sister Smith." I can see Paige shivering now! haha but then my escort (who is going to the Philippines and learning Tagalog) helped me drop off my luggage in my room. She took me to my classroom. This is where I have spent probably 2/3rds of my time here. So my district has ten elders in it, 5 going to Sydney Australia North and 5 going to Hawaii. So my COMPANION, Sister Orme, is a rock star and will sadly be parting ways with me in the next week. She is from Logan and just finished a year a Utah State. She is everything that I am not and our companionship is such a testament that the Lord knows what we need. She is on time and smart and serving and everything that you might dream about and we really do compliment each other.
Okay so this week, I have had a LOT of pineapple and veggie wraps. Everything(good) that everyone says about the MTC is true. You are hit with some kind of flow of the Spirit that is equivalent to a fire hose, I think. Sleep is low, mornings are early, testimonies are REAL. Someone did the math and every half day here is worth a month on your mission. And that is for Elders! So I have been trying to seriously soak it in. We got to hear a devotional from Sheri Dew (total spiritual crush. And no one can rock a power suit like Sheri... amiright?) about engaging in "the wrestle" with the Lord. She talked about how we have to sacrifice comfort for knowledge sometimes, and that if we engage in that wrestle for truth/revelation/guidance, God will show us the way. Then we watched a video of the devotional by David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ" which was SERIOUSLY life changing. They only show it in the MTC, which is such a bummer. But it is humbling and inspiring at the same time. The character of Christ is to turn outward in service when the natural man would turn inward in selfishness. Exactly what my whiny soul needed to hear after a long week of firsts.
Here we teach a lot of "investigators." After 3 days of being here we taught Ivan, who is our teacher. But our teacher acting as someone that HE taught on his mission.... Is this making sense? It's still a little hazy for me. Anyway, the first lesson we taught him was an honest to goodness HOT MESS. I really felt the need to drown him in facts and I just talked a lot.... I walked out of there so discouraged. I kept wondering during the lessons of that afternoon "what could I do to make him believe?" or "what could I tell him to show him how important this is?" or "how can I get him to feel how I FEEL?" and then I realized that IIIIII had ONLY thought about myself. I hadn't even asked him about his feelings or beliefs. I thought about what had made the change for me. Easy. The Spirit. The Spirit testifying to me. The feelings that I had felt while praying, reading, seeking, heeding the answers I received. How could I think that it could happen any other way or by any other source? How could I rob him of the truth that he too could feel, in finding Jesus Christ? It reminds me of something Bednar said in his devotional: " If you don't think that you can do this on your own, you're right!" Dang. My pride took a serious and VERY necessary blow. I'm not on a mission because I have all the answers. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ.
So the next lesson we taught, we really focused on praying together and just talking simply about faith. Most of all, letting the Spirit teach Ivan. And loving him. It is ABSURD how much you grow to love the people you teach. Especially when they are made up.... I can't quite explain it! But the lesson was so much better. Exponentially. As we sat there, asking Ivan questions, reading a few verses, and talking about the nature of God, the Spirit was so strong. And as I testified of the truthfulness of our message, I got choked up because I knew that it was true. And I knew that what we were saying was really making sense to Ivan. That he would pray about what we had said. And he did. He is making great progress and I can take NO credit. I feel humbled and inspired. And also like this is just the beginning.
This time next week I will be in Hawaii! I am SO HEARTBROKEN that we got scheduled to do our laundry at a time when all the good computers were taken. I can't upload any of the MANY pictures I have taken (pinky promise I've taken a lot ma!). I fly outwill get the chance to write another e-mail and you BEST BELIEVE I'll be throwing elbows to get a good computer and send pictures.
I love you all so much! God loves you and He is watching over you with tender love and mercy. I am crying like a baby at this computer!!! But I am SO grateful that we are an eternal family. The church is so true. GOD IS SO GOOD!
Mahalo Nui Loa,