Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Last MTC email before NORTH CAROLINA!

From Laura, with special mention of Kelli and the Michaels...

First of all, thank you Michaels for the wonderful cookies! I can't wait to share them with my District/class tonight! They are going to go crazy!!!! And a huge thank you to everyone sending me mail and Dear Elders - it is so nice to hear about anything and everything from back home. Also, thanks for sending me my tea and chocolate chips - they were gone so fast! Everyone loved it :)

The most amazing thing happened last night. Every Tuesday evening, we have a devotional with all 2,000 missionaries and someone comes and talks to us. Every once in a while, one of the Apostles comes and last night was one of those nights. Usually, about 15 minutes before it starts, we sing a few hymns together, which is usually my favorite part. We were on our last hymn and suddenly everyone starts to stand up. Elder Holland had walked into the room. When that happened, we all forgot to sing for a few measures, then remembered that we were singing and sang so loudly and beautifully for the rest of the hymn. It was like we had to prove that we could sing. I started laughing.

Pic by Ashley because, why not?
There were a few main points from his talk that I want to share. First, he basically said that we are not allowed to come home and go back to who we were. If we are expecting those we teach to change and come unto Christ, then we have to do the same thing in our lives and how dare we think that our actions won't affect them. A lot is expected of the missionaries. We don't have a symbol of our church (like the cross) but if we did, it would be a picture of two missionaries. Missionaries are referenced in sitcoms and books and people know who we are and so we have to live up to those expectations. One of the things that he said - and this is not the first time I've heard this at the MTC, but probably only the second - is that we are the Lord's investigators. Just as we are teaching others, he is teaching us. If there is one person we convert on our missions, it should be ourselves. Then Elder Holland likened us to the Apostles. We are doing the same thing that they do in building the Kingdom of God on earth only without the same authority and Priesthood keys that they have. While we are missionaries, we are apostles - little 'a.'  Then came the amazing part. He read the first few chapters of the book of Mormon with us. It was like being in the best English class and Sunday School class combined. He pointed out all kinds of things. In that first chapter we see that prophets exist, they pray, have spiritual manifestations, dreams, get records, have spiritual promptings, call people unto repentance, receive revelations. Not only that, but anyone has access to that kind of power if they want it. Nephi didn't just take is father's word for it, he prayed about what his father, the prophet saw, and Nephi saw it too. Elder Holland called us out on reading the Book of Mormon. It is through reading scripture that we can gain the holy ghost to be with us always. One more note on this devotional, he told us that we need to teach "after the manner of the working of the Spirit" (Moroni 6:9) rather than just with or by the Spirit. We teach simply, directly, with the spirit, individualized lessons, persuasive, provocative (call to action), and cleanly (worthy of the spirit). Just something interesting to ponder on. Teaching like the Spirit, not just with the Spirit.

On Monday I had a bit of an adventure off the MTC campus. My companion, Sister W., was supposed to have a doctor's apt. And through many miscommunications (not on our part, but ont he MTC staff's part) she did not make it, but was able to reschedule (miraculously) for the next day. So we didn't get to leave like we expected, but that's OK, because after dinner, we had to go to Instacare (the same one that Ashley had to go to when she snapped her ankle moving me in). She was having her cereal course (I've taught my district well) and started coughing. We didn't think much of it until about 20 minutes later when she still was coughing and ended up barfing. We went to the front desk since the medical clinic was closed, they called the doctor, he said to just calm her down, it wouldn't get any worse, but if it did to call him back. She kept coughing and crying and throwing up and it was not pretty. Eventually they just sent us to Instacare. She vomited one last time in the waiting room and then seemed to calm down a bit. They said that it might have been an allergic reaction, but she wasn't eating anything that she hasn't had at every meal at the MTC. It was weird to be outside - we don't leave except to go to the Temple which is just across the street.

I have little patience in general, but especially with people who go over their allotted time and then get mad at us when we are late for our next meeting/class or don't like it when we have to get up to use the restroom because we didn't get a break. It's part of public speaking - you need to know how to end on time.

We leave for NC on Monday. Our flight isn't until 7, but we have to be ready to go, in the bus at 4am...wooohoooo (sarcastic). We have an hour layover in Georgia. We have been getting a few letters from some of the Sisters in NC. When we arrive, there will be 14 sisters in 7 areas. It was so wonderful to get little notes from them. Some send pictures. They gave us advice and words of encouragement and excitment. I can't wait to meet and work with them.

I had a CD made of my pictures, I'll be sending that home ASAP.

Um, I think that's all for now. Love you!!!

PS Kelli, I have been getting your Dear Elders - I only have your Tarzana address, so my letters back are going there. My District enjoyed your jokes. Also, I wore your hat and everyone loved it.

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Laura won't be able to read these until she returns in 2013, but you are welcome to leave comments.