Thanks for the letters, they mean SO MUCH! I know Caresse usually reads my blog, so thank you for the muffins! They were delicious! But I don't have your school address, so I'm not able to write you back! Thanks everyone for writing. Time is short, but I will try to respond. My Elders tease me for how much mail I get. Can I get a Ward directory? I need to send thank you notes to all the people who gave me such great going away notes...especially, the little Primary girls!
I am loving the MTC. The first week was HARD, as most new experiences are. But I've adjusted very well, and have really felt the prayers of everyone this week. What other time in my life will so many people around the world be praying for me?!? Even the Prophet and Apostles. Kinda cool!
Let's see, this week has been interesting. One of our roommates got the Elders to teach her how to take MTC Matrix pictures. So we took some Sister Missionary pictures...they are awesome! I'll try to send some home.
The thing about being in the MTC is that the spirit is here SO MUCH, that it is very easy to become desensitized, or used to it. I never want to take these experiences for granted or become complacent about them. There is just SO MUCH to learn, that I don't know if I'll ever internalize it all. The MTC is kind of like a time warp. The weeks fly by so FAST! And yet, the days are incredibly long sometimes. And it's also funny to notice that age doesn't mean ANYTHING. Age is calculated by how long you've been in the MTC or set apart as a missionary--not one's actual age. Some Elders seem years older than me, and some 24 year old Sisters seem very young. I never thought I'd see it that way.
Our Branch President was just called as a Mission President, but he can't tell us where they are going yet. Pretty exciting! So many people have asked me what my days are like in the MTC, and you specifically asked about, "Preach My Gospel", so I guess I can touch on that. This week we have been studying the second lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Most of my district is very apprehensive about this, and do not like it as much as Lesson One on the Restoration. I feel the exact opposite. While knowing the Joseph Smith story is important to knowing the truthfulness of the Church, the Plan of Salvation is exciting because it teaches us how to return to Heavenly Father. It is all about Christ and it gives us the instructions to happiness. My MTC teachers are great. I can't believe they are only 23. We've been putting a HUGE emphasis on teaching our lessons to other Missionaries as Missionaries. We prepare with specific companions in mind, pray for them and try to be led by the spirit as we prepare.
A good talk to read is, "Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon" by Ezra Taft Benson. I LOVE some of the quotes about his visions for the earth. Incredible. I'm developing a greater love for the Book of Mormon and wish I had been more of a scriptorian in Seminary. My teacher taught us something neat this week. "All angels do is quote scripture." Think about it...Moroni, Gabriel, etc. So often we wish we could have angelic manifestations, but really the words of the Lord are already printed in the Standard Works. All angels do is quote scripture. I'm learning how to incorporate scriptures more into my teaching. There are so many teaching skills to learn! At the same time, it's important to remember that we are not called as missionaries to re-invent the wheel. The gospel is beautiful in its simplicity.
My Elders continue to be hilarious. We get to sing in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, and they ALL wanted to sing their "special" version of, "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission". Thank goodness our Branch President vetoed that early on. They also made our teacher cry in class. So yeah, it's been interesting. But at the same time it is great to watch everyone grow. The Elders are funny, but I really do feel like we're equals. We bought shoelaces to tie all the companionships together, because some have problems staying with their companions. I am learning HOW IMPORTANT it is to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Living so close together as a district is new and sometimes hard, but we have more in common than anyone else in the world. So you would think that we would build each other up more than we do. Although, it was cool yesterday to see everyone bolster a couple of Elders in our district who were having a difficult time.
We had a devotional speaker that said we walk on sacred ground when we teach from, "Preach My Gospel". I really think that is true. I am so glad to be a missionary. While this time of my life will FLY BY, as evidenced by the fact that I am almost out of the MTC, the effects of what we do are eternal. It is a privilege to serve the Lord and a sacred trust to teach His children.
Time is up. I love you all and miss you. But I love the MTC, and will miss it in some ways. But I'm so excited to hit the ground running come Monday.