Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 2013

Querida Familia!!

I was so happy to get all of your letters this week. We obviously don't get letters on Sunday, and Monday was President's Day so we didn't get any letters then either. Last night, my district leader brought me a stack of Dear Elders and gave them to me one by one. With the letters from Mom, Clinton, Holly, Lisa and Erin, It took 10 pages to print them all out. Elder W was feeling pretty bad because he hasn't gotten a ton of mail during his time here, so I told him Dobby is stealing them because he wants Elder W to be discouraged and not go to Honduras. He got the message, and I think the analogy cheered him up.  :)

So, Dad, major props on your awesome Valentine's date!! What a great idea! I was so impressed and I loved the pictures you sent, thank you. Tell me how the tournaments go, and also, it took me forever to sort out what you meant with the two teams sentence, haha. And thank you for your thoughts about humility. They definitely gave me an improved perspective of the characteristic, and I'll be thinking about them a lot the next few days.

Mom, Thank you for your letters! I love being able to read them during the week. I understood all the Spanish you sent me, which is super exciting, and I even knew which verb tenses you were using. That's been one of my focuses this week along with memorizing the Joseph Smith story in Spanish, and some verses of hymns so I have something to sing in Spanish. I enjoyed your thoughts about South Africa and race relations in general. I liked what Sister A said, and I think she probably has a better idea about it than I did. I saw Quincey today and she told me that they are sending sister missionaries to South Africa again. If I weren't so excited to go to Texas, I would be disappointed, but I'm not. Also, good luck with the craziness tonight. I've always thought you were super woman. As far as photos go, I have some, I'm not sure how to send them because I don't have a camera cord and there's no place to plug in an SD card in these computers. Also, we're limited to 30 minutes because everyone is always looking to use a computer. I'll get pics to you as soon as I can.

Fun story of the week. Last week, I got some really weird red bumps underneath my right arm that I thought were bug bites until they turned into burning, itching blisters. I decided I should probably go to the clinic on Saturday night, but it was closed Sunday and again on Monday for Pres Day, so I went my first opportunity on Tuesday. I guessed they were probably Staph infected boils, and that's what the doctor diagnosed as well, so he put me on an antibiotic to clean them up. On my way across the street to the BYU student health center to pick up the pills, a car was pulling up pretty quickly to the crosswalk I was in. I turned to Hermana L and said, "if that car hits me, I'm going to sue." All of a sudden, I hear someone bellow "EMILY!!" so I looked, assuming it would be some guy I know from campus, and it was Uncle Kevin, of all people. I have no idea what he was doing in Provo, or how it just so happened that he was the first car in line at the light I was crossing under, but that was a pretty fun happening. Just so you know, the blisters are clearing up. I have a check up appointment tomorrow to make sure things are progressing well enough that it' s not MRSA, but I'm pretty sure it's not.

I meant to tell you last week that I saw Carlie W before she jetted off to Spain. So cool!! Also, I just bumped into Phil H as I'm sitting here typing this email. I told him hi as his Dad requested, and just in time too because he leaves on Monday. Crazy. More and more people I know come every week. It's been really fun.

My dilemma of the week happened this weekend, right after sending my snail mail letter. Saturday night, we had class with Hermano H and he did a demonstration in English of how to start lessons. After class, both Hna. L and I felt sick to our stomachs thinking about how much Spanish we don't have that we still need in order to do in Spanish what he did in English. What made me especially sick is that I know I could be working harder in class, but I'm not. I see the other members in my district busting their brains out over Spanish, constantly blowing smoke from their ears, and I know that I have more to give that I'm not being asked for. I know that Heavenly Father can help me to learn the Spanish I need through the Holy Ghost, even if it means I don't learn anything until I get to the field, but I don't want my plan to be relying on the Holy Ghost later if I have more to give now. Hna. L felt the same way. Sunday morning (I love Sundays!) we talked to our coordinating sister who we knew felt the same way. She said that she was in the same boat at about the same time during her MTC stay, and she was given the option of staying in her district, or moving to an advanced district and leaning in a week. She prayed about it and felt she needed to stay, and then was called as coordinating sister the next day (coordinating sister is like a zone leader, but they have one sister as well as a companionship of elders). Hna. L and I both said a prayer as a companionship, and then decided we would be open to whatever answer came, even if it meant having to split ways,which would be a tragedy because we work so well together. Right after we went to Music and the Spoken Word broadcast, and I just had this thought, maybe my purpose in the MTC is not to learn Spanish.' Then, during Relief Society, we sang "As Sisters in Zion" and "You can Make the Pathway Bright," and I distinctly felt that while I may not be learning as much Spanish as I could be in a more advanced district, this is where I need to be. There are things that I can be doing for my district in other capacities just by being the person that I am. I was put with my companion for a reason, I am with my other district members for a reason, and so while I am working as hard as I can to learn as much Spanish as possible, I feel like I have a bigger purpose here in the MTC than just that.

That being said, this week, Hna. L ended up having a rough week. She was just feeling really discouraged and being way to hard on herself about little things that not being able to master present subjunctive the first time she looked at it. Who of us is good enough at Spanish to do that? Certainly not me. Anyway, it's been a really good opportunity for me to practice being positive, supportive, and patient and I've been able to do a lot of similar things for my other district members as well. Kind of going along with this, I decided to study the missionary purpose word by word for my personal study this week after a great lesson from Hno Y about being purpose centered missionaries. I started by looking up the first word "Invite" in the Topical Guide and read from 2 Nephi 26:23-33. This is a great section because it talks about God's purpose, which is to invite EVERYONE to come to him and have happiness and joy and to become like him. It's so great. One of my favorite parts is in verse 27 where it tells us that it is a commandment to invite others to come unto Christ once we have the gospel. These two things in conjunction with each other---inviting everyone one, and inviting being a commandment---made me realize anew what my purpose really is. It doesn't matter if I am inviting non-members, members, missionaries, or even myself to come unto Christ, as long as I am blessing the lives of Heavenly Fathers' children. And, this isn't something we should be doing only for 2 years or 18 months of our lives when we're missionaries. This is a lifestyle we should be living throughout our lives no matter what stage of life we are in. And there are a lot of ways to be doing that. As parents, as Relief Society Presidents, as siblings, as friends. Anything you do to help others change and have more joy is inviting others to come unto Christ. This goes along with my soap box from last semester too. Even if you are in Provo at BYU where everyone is Mormon, YOU CAN STILL BE DOING MISSIONARY WORK!!! All that "missionary work" means, is loving God's children and helping them to be better so that they can live with him again some day. This is a great work we are involved in, and I am so glad to be a part of it, now, and throughout the rest of my life.

My time is up, but I love you all so much! The church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ which is centered around his Atonement has the power to change lives. Hna. L and I are happiest when we are teaching because we can see this powerful effect in the lives of our investigators, even though they are fake. Keep up the good work!

Mucho, mucho, amor,


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