How was everyone's week?! Good I hope! I can't believe it's already pday! That was a fast week---I'm 2 weeks in, 1/3 of my stay here at the MTC...now that's a crazy thought! Sorry my email last week was a little spazztic. I'm still trying to figure out how to effectively use all my time on pday, so hopefully this week's letter will be a bit more organized. Oh, and please ignore my spelling and grammar mistakes...I'm typing pretty fast to get everything in.
First off, here's a schedule of a typical day, so you can refer to it if I ever mention a class or something...
Personal Study- 1 hour
Class Instruction with Brother Hong--3 hours
Lanugage study--1 1/2 hours
compaion study--1 hour
class instruction with brother oldroyd--3 hours
daily planning--1/2 hour
TALL (online lanugage study)--1 hour
gym- 50 minutes
prepare for bed
lights out at 10:30
So last week I told you that Elder Russell M. Nelson came to our Tuesday devotional! It was amazing!! I just wanted to say something that he said taht was super awesome. He said something to the effect of how missionariares are prayed for all over teh world, but that we're also being prayed for on the other side of the veil. Ancestors are just praying for us missionaries to find their posterity so their work can be done. So we have like a billion more prayers said on our behalf on the other side, PLUS all the prayers from everyone on the earth now! Such a neat thought! It seemed that the theme of, "ancestors praying for us and being on our side," was a common theme from other devotionals we've had as well. He also said that we can pray for our ancestors to help us and pray to have their attributes and strenght throughout our mission. so awesome!
On Thursday last week, (which is pday), I felt like my brain was everyone. It was without doubt the most hectic day so far. There was so much to do and so much to write, but so little time!! We went to the temple after writing our emails, and it took my brain a while to calm down, but it finally did. There is absolutely no place like the temple. I know only the temple could bring me the peace and calm my brain the way it did after such a hectic day. I love the temple!! We can choose to do either a session or initiatroy. last week we did a session and i think this week we'll be doing initiatory. It's defintely a highlight of my week. :)
After the temple, we had class and guess who our teacher was...marioneto!!! haha His real name is Brother Hong and he's our actual teacher. I figured this would be the case, but it was still a little werid at first to have our hiligaynon speaking investigator all of a sudden be our teacher. haha but he is so amazing! he served in Bacolod and he's hilarious. He is so spiritually in tune, and he tells a lot about the Philippines and their culture. We don't have culture classes like i thought we might, so i'm glad he tells us things. some things he's told us for example: ano liwat means, "what? repeat?" in Hiligaynon. But in the Philippines, they also just open their mouth really wide to mean the same thing. I'll attach a picure if i can so you can see. They also consider offering food to ANYONE, even if you don't know someone, to be a kind gesture. so you decline twice, and if they ask you a third time to eat with them, you know they're serious, and then you say yes. Also, as a sign of respect for the elderly, when you shake someone's hand, you keep holding it and put their hand to your forehead. Brother hong told the Elders to do it to brother oldroyd when he came later to teach. Elder Busselberg did so, and it was hiarious, cuz brother oldroyd had no idea we knew that so he was pretty suprised. Anyway, Brother Hong discussed with us the first night the importance of planning and studying for our investigators. EVERYTHING is based around our investigators. I've come to discover very quickly that missionary work is completely selfless. Everything we think about and do is to help our investigators with their needs and coming closer to Christ. Even my personal study isn't for me--it's studying for the needs of the investigator. and honestly, i don't think i have even 5 minutes in teh day to think about myself...which is a good thing becuase i think people my age are so self centerd, myself included, that it's no wonder they send us out at this age! It's awesome!
We mainly studied today according to our schedule. Brotehr Oldroyd had us read from Alma 18. We read the hiligaynon book of mormon alongside the english one and had a good discussion about receiving revelations and how to meet the needs of the investigators through the book of mormon. Brother oldroyd is awesome. He's such a great teacher.
It rained and rained and I just thought about Sister Monson passing away on Friday and how the angels were just crying buckets of tears. It's awesome to think how many people are praying for him at this time aroudn the world--I know we as missionaries pray for him in almost all our prayers, and that's a lot of prayers in our day.
Brother Hong gave us a lesson about stress management. It was a much needed lesson--we are constantly in motion with so much to do, and I never feel like i'll have enough time to do it, so it was a good lesson for me. We also played a filipino game called Handa Giyo (ready, go). It's kind of like simon says only you DON'T want to match what the person is doing. And ther's only three options of what you can do--hands on hips, head, or one hand on your elbow. Hard to explain, but it was fun! We had some good laughs. Elder Morgan would do these funny moves when he got out. haha He's so funny...he's the one from Australia and he thinks our american/utah jokes are so cheesy (which, they are). haha He's also amazed at our accents. He's used to them now, but he said teh first few days he would turn to elder templeton (form new zealand), and just marvel with each other at our accents, especially during testimonies sine it was such a serious setting yet we sounded so different. I thought this was funny cuz i thought the same thing about them! Their accents totally mesmerized me the first little bit (they sound so proper! Especially Edler Templeton), but now i'm used to it. We call them Elders Kiwi. They tell us all about their culture and how it's similar/differnet from ours. I love it! Oh, it was funny cuz one day Elder Morgan asked Sister Van Slooten one day how many suitcases we had cuz we had so many clothes!! haha same number as you, elders! We can just mix and match more. :)
That night we had a lesson with brother oldroyd, and it was pretty overwhelming. We were assigned 2 new investigators, and we needed to plan and translate a lesson by monday morning. Well, Sunday we don't have the study time we do throughout the week, so I literally had no idea when we would plan and translate our lesson. I was also behind on my journal wriitng (somehting very importatnt to me), the language was difficutl that day, and other ilttle things just added to the pile of stress. I just wanted to cry. (but don't worry--I'll tell of teh tender mercies in a minute). Luckiy gym was after and teh headphones from uncle vance came that day (Thank you, Uncle Vance!! They came just in time :) ), so I was able to watch the jospeh smith movie while wroking out in 2M. i love that movie. plus emma smith is in it, and you know how much I love her! That was teh first tender mercy.
music and the spoken word was awesome!! the spirit is alwasy so strong when the choir sings, and it just gives me the chills. i miss hearing thier music so often but at least i get to hear them on sunday! I don't know what i'll do in teh philippines wehn we can't haev any music at all except our voices. haha
we sang, "the sisters of Zion," again...the song written by janice kapp perry to the tune of, 'as sisters in zion' that's about sister missionareis. tears welled in my eyes--there's something about singing that with so many sister missionareis in one room! I know it's going to be on her new cd, but i don't know when it'll come out. but when it does, check it out! it's wonderful!
oh, look up Savior, Redeemer, of My Soul. It's such a GORGEOUS song! And i think it's on 17 miracles...
Our companionship gave teh lesson in our district meeting on recognizing the spirit. i was a bit nervous because i've never really given a lesson before, and i usually have to have things written down word for word, so i was really doing as our lesson was teaching, and relying adn recognizing the spirit to know what to say and do. There was nothing to fret about though because our lesson flowed so well, we ended right on time, and there were such wonderful comments and the spirit was so strong. I know the spirit will guide and help us in everything we do if we just trust him! :)
Okay, so here's teh best part of the day...we went to Sunday night devotional and guess who are guest speaker was.....MARY ELLEN EDMUNDS!!!! Can you belieive it?!! I was freaking out inside. okay, maybe a little outside too. I was exclaiming to my whole district how she was teh first sister missionary with grandma in the Phiippines!!! And it was so neat because she got up and told us that May 19th was her fist full day as a missionary (which was the exact same day she was speaking to us). She mentioned grandma by saying that 50 years ago, she and her companion were the first sister missionareis in teh philippines, and now there are 21 missions there. How awsome is that?! She was absolutely HILARIOUS the entire time...i don't know how you didn't die of laughter, grandma!! She talked about being selfless, and cultivating an attitude of happiness and being optimistic in our work. It was such a wonderful deviotional and i wish I could give you tons more detail about it! But she told a story and I hope you recognize it grandma... she said that you are her were teahcing a man in the philppines and were telling teh story about jospeh smith. he loved it so much he had you teach it aigan. and then again a thrid time. after the third time, he asked, "well what happened to him?" she said it was teh hardest and most painful thing to tell him that Jospeh Smith was murdered by people who hated him and teh gsopel. Then he explained, "I would protect him with my life if I was there." I get tears in my eyes just thinking of that story! Do you rmember that expereince at all grandma?? I loved everytime she said, "we" because I knew she was talking about YOU!! :)
After the devotional I booked it down to the front because i HAD to talk to her. When I came up to her, i said, "Sister Smithen is my Grandmother!!" She said, "OH! Oh my goodness, I love her! Tell her she owes me a letter!" So grandma, you better write her a letter! Cuz i told her you would! ;) She also asked who my mom/dad was, and I said Julie. She siad," I just love Julie!" I didn't have time to talk long with her cuz a lot of other people wanted to speak to her too, but i was so upset when i completelyt forgot to tell her i'm going to teh Philippines!!! That's like half the awesomeness! so grandma, be sure to tell her that in yourletter, okay? :)
So that was a pretty amazing tender mercy. I was elated the whole rest of the night. :)
Service day! We cleaned the bathrooms in 2M, but I didn't see emily regis this week.
Tender mercy!! We had time to prepare before we taught our first of two investigator Rochy (bro. hong)! Our lesson went well and the spirit was present! We were also told that instead of teaching an investigator every day, it'd be every other day. this relieved my stress a lot because it takes so much to transltate our lessons! I know we'll have multiple investigators a day, but this was just too much for right now! It's hard becuase i can do everyting in english just fine. Just not in hiligaynon. I think Heavenly Father knew i wouldn't grow and rely on Him as much if I went english spekaing. This language is what is bringing me closer to Him becasuse I struggle and and need to rely completely on Him in order to know the needs of my investigators and how i can ehlp them, even if i don't know a thing they're tellling me. It's so hard to teach them that our message can help them wehn there's a language barrier! It's like relearning the gospel and starting from the basics agian. Only i know it, i just can't express it and help others come to Chirst like i feel like i'm capable of ! I just haev to tell myself that the language of the spirit is what does the true conversion, even if i don't understand a bit of the language and can't speak it yet. they learn from teh spirit anyway, not me.
Later in the day we started our lesson for Juralyn, our second investigator. I just have to say that inspiration is amazing during personal and companion study. even though we hadn't tuaght her yet to find our her needs and how we can help her come to Christ, we did have something prepared (thorugh the spirit adn inspiration) that helped answer the questions she did have. She wants to know how teh Atonement can help her and what we had prepared was a scriptue on prayer and how it can bring peace. Also, the spirit of testimony is so powerful! When I bore testimony I could feel the spirit so strong, and I knew she could, too, even if she couldn't completley understnad me. And I know she feels our genuine love and concern. We had her write down a few concerns or questions she had and what she wants to feel, know, and do, so that we can translate it and know how we can help her. Anyway, that's something i've really learned this week--that inspiration is so imporatnat and that comes through study and prayer. It is so amaizng. I love it!
That's about all i haev time for now, but overall it was a great week! I got letters from Sister Grover (last week), Brooke, Lindise, Shalona, Danny, Rosoce, and saw Emily Kime this week, as well as Emily Regis on the way to class! That always makes me happy. I see sister Welling every once in a while and she is just glowing like an angel! She is beatiful! Thank you for all the letters and support and prayers. I can definitely feel them! I love you all so much! Palangga taka! (I love you!)
PS They serve french toast here! :)
PPS the computer i'm on can't recognize pictures...i'll send them next week!!