How was everyone's week? Mine was maayo gid (great) and crazy busy, as usual! But it's a good busy. :) Can't believe I'm half way until leaving for the Philippines!
Thursday after we finished p-day, we had TRC (Teaching Resource Center) where we teach people in Hiligaynon who come to the MTC as volunteers to help us practice teaching investigators. The woman my companions and I taught was Sister Konichi. And guess what...she's actually from the Philppines! From Bacolod! I was SO nervous before going in, but then once we got in there and started talking with her, all my fears left. She was the sweetest person ever! And I know all the other Filipinos will be just like her, so I have nothing to worry about. We just laughed and got to know her and she's actually going back to Bacolod next year! Hopefully I'll see her! She complemented us on our Hiligaynon and asked us what we were eating in order to learn so much in just two weeks---we told her the Spirit. She just laughed and laughed. haha She was the sweetest! oh, and guess what? She was mary ellen's companion during sister edmund's second mission to the philippines. cool, huh? I was excited to tell her about grandma. :) I was so happy we were able to teach her. Some of the others in our district didn't get the chance, so I hope they get the chance this week because seriously, after talking with her, I got SO excited to be in the PHilippines! I've been so blessed to be going somewhere where the people are so kind and sweet and happy. Heavenly Father definitely knew I needed that, instead of a lot of rejection from investigators (like poor sister welling was telling me about her TRC investigator.:( so I'm so greateful!
Friday was a good learning day as far as teaching lessons goes. We were teaching our investigator, Rochy, and our lesson was a total flop. We taught a lesson, not a person. At first i was upset with myself, but then I was grateful because I learned the most out of that bad lesson than i have in any good lesson we've had. The next time we taught Rochy, we taught our best according to his needs and it was SO much better. We have so much to still learn and improve on, but we're on to a good start!
Saturday we taught Juralyn about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. I feel like we connected really well with her and that she could feel the importance of our message, even if she couldn't understand us that well. Sister Nielsen also did a part english fast this day. She's been struggling a lot with the language, and so she was trying really hard to get it down this day. She went from lunch to dinner without speaking any english, and not only did it help her a lot, but we as a companionship we forced to speak it and hear it too, which helped us as well! As a result, we're going to do english fasts more often to help us better SYL (speak your language--a district goal, and MTC goal, really).
Sunday, I think it's safe to say, Is my absolute favorite day. We start off with Music and the Spoken word, which I love! Definitely a highlight of my week. When I come home and hear the mormon tabernacle choir for the first time after 16 months, i'll probably bawl my eyes out. They are so wonderful and full of the Spirit in their music! For Relief Society (PS there are 1,200 sisters in the MTC! More than ever before! :) and history was made this week because they opened the new west campus MTC to accomodate more missionaires! This work is amazing!), Carole Stephens from the Relief Society General Presidency was supposed to speak to us. She never showed up, however, but we ended up having an amazing lesson from our MTC Presidency wives about Joseph and Emma Smith. I truly think the lesson was just for me. It hit me so hard and I was jotting things down the entire time. Maybe she didn't show up because I needed to hear their message about Joseph and Emma and their amazing examples. That night we had a devotional with Brother Stephen B. Allen. He does media stuff for the church. He was going to show us clips from things he's done, but after President Nally announced we'd be watching Sister Monson's funeral afterward, he changed his talk. He completely relied on the spirit for 50 minutes. It was one of the best devotionals I've ever been to. The Spirit was so incredibly strong as he prepared us for the somberness of sister monson's funeral. He had the tech people pull up Come, Come Ye Saints by teh Mormon Tabernacel choir, and we listened to it once, then sang along with it. I cannot explain the power of the spirit when you have the tabernacle choir plus a few thousand missionaries singing that hymn. I was close to sobbing. That Hymn is the perfect mission anthem. I wish I coudl just send the way I felt through this email. It was so powerful. Afterward we watched sister monson's funeral. I felt such comfort as I knew families are forever and presdient monson would see his sweet wife again someday, but I felt to saddened for Presdient Monson. He looked to grief stricken. I'm glad there are so many people praying for him. Wasn't sister monson amazing? I hope to be just like her someday. After the funeral, there were lots of heavy but spirit filled hearts. as a district we said an evening prayer together. The bond we have is incredible. i'm going to miss all of them so much when we all leave.
Monday was a fun day. We learned a new filipino game called, "Pagdakop sang Leon." "Catch the Lion." We also have a new teacher--Sister Tamang. She just got back from Bacolod two weeks ago! I'll bet if you looked through Presdient Lopez's pictures, you'd be able to find her. She's so cute! It was hilarious though because one day, when it was a bit chilly from the rain outside, she came in with a thick jacket, a scarf, and gloves. hahaha It wasn't THAT cold outside, but after being in the philippines, i'm sure it was freezing! I realized how doomed I'm going to be because I'm going to come home in november--right before winter. Better get a stock of blankets and warm clothes ready for when i come back! ;) anyway, she's super nice and i can't wait to learn more from her!
Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder Zwick from the Seventy. I'm pretty sure all these devotionals are meant for me. I was having kind of a downer day with the language. Sister McDonald had done a practice teaching with me and I couldn't understand a single word she said. We only had 5 minutes previously to plan a lesson about the plan of salvation in Hiligaynon. yikes. I tried so hard to explain to her and let her know of heavenly father's love, but my language just isn't that capable yet. Afterward, however, in evalutation, she told me she could see in my eyes God's love. That was such a comfort to me--to know that even if they can't understand me, they'll still be able to feel God's love through my countenance. I didn't really make this connection, however, until Elder Zwick's devotional. He talked about obtaining Christ-like attributes and having Christ's countenance. It was seriously just what I needed to hear. And afterward, in our district devotional review, everyone got something they needed exactly, from his talk, yet they were all such different things. It's amazing how inspired these men are. I get goose bumps just thinking about it! I love our district reviews because everyone bears their testimony about what they got out of the devotional. It's very spiritually uplifting and the spirit is to tangible. There really is no place like the MTC, and my district is incredible. Oh, I almost forgot...Elder Morgan and Elder Templeton are our new Zone Leaders since we'll be the only remaining district in our zone after the 7 other districts leave on monday. we'll be getting 54 new missionaries on wednesday. Crazy! Sister Foster was called as our Sister Training Leader and there's no one more perrfect for that assignement than her. She's incredible. I pray for them every day becuase that's a lot of missionaries coming in! They'll be so so wonderful thought. And elder Winward is a fabulous district leader. He stresses i think a little too much for our sake, but he is very obedient and hard working. He catches on to the language quickly and wants to be the best missionary he can be. He's an amazing example, and so is everyone else in my district. My companions are amazing. Sister Nieslen is the most selfless person ever and is always serving others. Sister Smoot is so good about finding the happy things throughout the day and taking the time to laugh instead of stress about how much we have to learn. She's very smart as well, so she helps us a lot with the language.
I'm gonna be honest, missions are hard. I knew it would be, but just didn't know the extent to how hard. At the same time, I've never been so happy in my life. I know it's only going to get harder, but I also know things will get better and I'll be even happier than I've ever been. It's amazing! I love this gospel so much and know that it's true!! I feel so blessed to soon be serving the Filipino people. I love them so much already!
Thanks for all the support, love, and prayers. And happy birthday to Grandpa Dixon this past week on the 28th! I sure love you! I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Palangga taka!! (I love you!!)
PS---the pictures show our district doing the "guapo" sign the filipinos do in their pictures, meaning beautiful. haha the "ano liwat" face the filipinos do instead of actually saying that which means, "what? repeat?" temple walk, and other happenings through the week. Enjoy!