My Dearest Family:
Hello! I'm so excited that I am able to write you now. I only have 28 minutes left so I better get snappy.
My MTC experience so far is AMAZING. I never knew that my testimony of the Gospel could improve 100-fold in less than a week. It's unreal. I was blessed with the GREATEST companion, Sister Mitchell. She is from Aurora, Colorado and is one of the new 19-year old Sisters. Luckily, she's quite mature for her age. Of course, I couldn't help but ask her if she knew anyone in the shooting last summer and she did. It's one of the reasons why she came out here on a mission - so she could teach people that families can be together forever! Her and I get along so great, and she's one of the most easy-going people I've ever met. So God definitely blessed me with a great companion for my stay here at the MTC!
My District is 5 companionships - 2 girl companionships and 3 boys. The Elders are mostly from Utah and Arizona, but one from Canada. We have a FABULOUS District. Again, I'm so blessed to have been put in such a wonderful group. Funny enough, we are ALL going to DC South and there are actually 2 other Districts with some DC South Missionaries as well. Just to let you know, we'll be heading to DC on Wednesday, March 6th and I get to call you guys on that day to let you know that I'm safe! YAY! So I'm excited for that. Expect a call around 4:45 in the morning - your time :) All in all, we have 24 MISSIONARIES all headed to DC South on March 6th. That's going to fill half of the plane! So stoked.
Well, I have one particular experience that you'll enjoy. So on our first day here, all the new missionaries were brought into a room with a bunch of chairs and a living room-type set up in the middle. About 50 missionaries came and sat down in these chairs and one "investigator" sat on the couch. It was our responsibility to take turns volunteering to teach this woman about the Gospel. Her name was Luana and she is from Arkansas. She's this short, curvy, African-American girl in her mid-twenties who is SO SASSY. It was great to hear both Elders and Sisters get up and ask her questions and bear their testimonies. Because it was our first day, I was too nervous to say anything so I just kept writing notes in my notebook. Well soon enough, she starts calling on people and asking "Why are you here?" "Why are you here in my house?" "What's your purpose comin' up in here?". One girl behind me decides to raise her hand and reply, so Luana walks straight back to where I am. She literally stands right beside me as this girl talks and I KNEW she was going to call on me. I could just feel it. So, after the girl behind me finishes, Luana taps my shoulder and says "Girl, let's you and me be real for a second. Forget about all of these other people and LET'S JUST BE REAL." (Mind you, this is really how she talks, I promise). She said "If Jesus Christ were to walk through that door and sat down next to you and told you that you had 3 MINUTES to tell me what I should know - what would He want you to say?". I kind of freaked in my mind for a second because I thought that all of the answers that people had given so far were GREAT. They were everything I believed. So I just went with my gut and said "Well, when I think about Christ and everything He did for us and wants us to do, it all comes down to love." That was it. That's all I said. And she cut me off to say "Thank you. I can tell that was REAL. I was waiting to hear that word, Love. It changes everything." Boy, I was glad I said what I did, but it was FRIGHTENING! Such a good experience though, way to boost my confidence within 4 hours of being at the MTC!
My companion and I just had our first actual teaching experience yesterday. We have classroom instruction everyday with two different teachers and these teachers take on personas of investigators that THEY had on their missions, so that we can teach them and get used to how it works. Well, we didn't do so hot. The Spirit was definitely there, and we each got to bear our own testimonies, but the flow was pretty rough. There were good pauses, but then bad pauses, and so on. We were both hit pretty hard afterwards and I realized finally "Missionary work is HARD HARD HARD". But I know it will get better. As I keep on trying to do my best, and continually take it to my Father in prayer, I will receive the revelation I need to make these teaching experiences go better!
Lastly, I got to see both Hermana Rachel Knecht AND Hermana Whitney Brown here at the MTC... IN THE SAME DAY! What a blessing! I wanted to cry, it was so great! I saw Rachel at the Cafeteria and was so excited I yelled "RACHEL!!!!" (Ooops, was supposed to say Sister/Hermana Knecht - awkward). But it was so great. Then later that night as I was entering my dorm hall, Whitney busts through the door and we both FREAKED! We actually live in the same building, just on different floors. She will be here the entire time that I am here, but Rachel leaves on Monday. It's so nice to see familiar faces in the MTC, it brings a special comfort to me.
Well I need to close soon so I want to let you all know that I definitely made the right choice by coming here. I can't imagine myself anywhere else. Though I am SO tired everyday, and eating way too much food, I know that the MTC was meant for me! We learned that in order to be successful missionaries, we must first be converted ourselves. I'm realizing that I may have needed more converting than I thought, so receiving all of this instruction has been such a blessing! Thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. I feel the Spirit all day, everyday here and I know that your prayers help with that. So thanks again!
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! And will talk to you next week :)