A warm nice hello and loves to you all. First fact that we need to recognize is the fact that I'm starting my 6th week! Down with 5 and 4 more left. This makes me feel like this o_o and a little like this (!!!!!!!!!!!!!). YOUR DAUGHTER IS A REAL MISSIONARY. They tell you time goes by fast on your mission and I think it's something you can't understand until you experience it. I also think it goes faster if you have goals and you know what you want to get done because it better measures your progress. I've learned the importance of goals. I've always been a goal setter and a planner. I love me a good planner and a nice mapped out schedule. I'm definitely in the right place for that. I always hit the enter key! I always get so exciting and start typing like a crazy person. My heart melted at LEAST 20 times this week. Reasons why: 1) That BABY! MEGGIE and DOXEY! You angel parents you have created the most beautiful full dark haired child! The pictures were darling (thanks Grandma and Tori). I showed them to my district and to anyone who would look. Congratulations to the new parents. Don't be too worried! There was so much family advice in conference did you catch it all? 2) The flowers have blossomed at the MTC! It's the Garden of Eden MTC style. Tulips, blossoms, lavender, daffodils, alll sorts of botanical beauties have appeared! Heavenly Mother had a say when picking the colors of the flowers I'm sure. I was going to take pictures but sadly the snow decided to come. 3) One of my dear dear friends Sarah Mansfield leaves tomorrow and it was a real tender mercy to find here. She's going to Australia and I've been looking for her since she got to the MTC 10 days ago. I'd walk around the cafeteria asking where the Australians sit and scouting the devotionals but no luck. Finally I was doing Monday service last week (this is one of my favorite things. Nothing brings joy like cleaning and service. I mean it. I miss doing the dishes and I love when we vacuum on p-days. Side story: We were mopping the staircase in the gym so they were really wet and the missionaries had gym time so they were running around on them. I thought it'd be funny to act like I had authority so whenever someone was walking on the stairs I'd tell them they needed to hold on to the railing with both hands as they walked up. the funny thing is they did it! Missionaries are so obedient.) and there I saw here playing volleyball and I learned she was on my floor! There are two different bathrooms and so you don't really see everyone. What a dreamy tender mercy. It's so nice to see her.
I've seen a lot of friends here and it has been really great! Here is the thing about being a mandarin missionary: You are in the MTC 9 weeks so you see a lot of people come and go. Many of the people I came in with are going this week, which makes we feel a little antsy. It's a weird feeling to be in the same little space for such a long time. Even the sky doesn't look as big. I feel like I'm in a snow globe, but a snow globe that is helping me be a better missionary each day if I apply myself. and everyone loves to ask you how you read and if Mandarin is hard. Well here's the thing, I don't read characters. That mainly happens out in the field. I'm just learning how to speak and yeah mandarin is hard, but so is any other language and learning any new thing. You just need to put the time and effort into it. And sadly I slacked this week o_o. I am at a point where my companion and I can teach what we want to teach and we're comfortable. That was the problem. We got comfortable and didn't make goals so we weren't progressing. It's like teaching a lesson too. You need to have an end goal in mind so you know what you need to do in order to do it. It's like life too. We know what we want. ETERNAL LIFE WITH OUR VERY VERY LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER. So what are we doing to reach that goal? (This is me being a missionary)
I got to run around the temple with Sister Chao the other day. It was a real dream. I really miss open space. My mind wonders to Moab CONSTANTLY. This is really the first time I've started to miss things and it's Moab and Arches. Brother hit those up for me before you go will ya? I just can't wait for the day the field opens! It was a tender mercy that we got to run around the temple. I feel like God is blessing me abundantly and I'm afraid I'll take his blessings for granted so I've been trying to recognize Him a lot more. I challenge you all to do that. You will be so surprised at how loved you are.
Alex. Brother, your call. I'm so excited for you. This is the best work you can be doing. It's the most stretching and effort consuming thing I've done in my life so far but it is so wonderful. It will be a foundation for your life. NOT the best 2 years, but a time that you will build on. I love you so much and I'm so proud. Everyone is so proud of you! xoxoxo!
Conference! Family how was it? I know how it went down. You had 7 layer dip and you made friendship bracelets and loved life and the words of our LIVING PROPHET! Our Latter-day Moses or Noah! How blessed and loved our we by our Heavenly Father. Dearelder me and tell me some of your favorite thoughts. I eat that stuff up these days. I love it! Conference is like the MTC equivalent to Christmas. It felt like a holiday, but the best kind. We didn't have classes and we just got to focus on the teachings of God's inspired men! I watched it in the gym and with Sister Chao (I <3 Sister Chao) and my district. It was great to hear about so many talks concerning missionary work and sitting in a room full of missionaries. But remember what Neil A. Anderson was saying? All can be missionaries! You don't need a badge, put a badge on your heart! I think it's good for us to think about what gives us hope and what is it about the gospel that makes you follow the teachings? Really think about this so if someone asks you why you do what you do you can answer them. For me it's love. God is my father. He loves me and I love Him. Simple as that. And I follow this gospel to show my love for Him. xoxoxox forever up to heaven through actions and prayers!
Also, did you catch the theme of family, obedience, and following ALL the commandments (Elder Perry was PURE authority when he spoke. Did you feel it?). It kills me to think about how families are failing. How lucky are we to know how to have stronger more loving families. We really are blessed. Also, Elder Ballard touched on Priesthood. I get really emotional when I think of the priesthood because I love it so much and KNOW it's God's power so graciously given to us today through worthy men. Moses 6:7 says the priesthood we have today is the same God used to create worlds! Universes! Brother and Daddy how blessed am I to know worthy Priesthood holders. If i had a wish id be for men to see how women see them in respect to the priesthood. For me I hold you in the highest respect. xoxo all around.
Okay and lastly Elder Holland. Mark 9: 23-24. This is one of my all time favorite New Testament stories. Oh how I love it! When you read it you can just feel the plea of the father to help him believe. He wants it so much and he wants to use that faith. I love it because I've been there. I remember believing something of the gospel but just asking God to help me believe the things I did not. It's all about faith and desire. Remember what Brother Ellis said, " Don't lose sight of what you know, because of the things you don't know". If there are things you don't know just desire to know and bare testimony of it " a testimony is to be found in the BEARING of it" - Elder Bednar. Elder Packer said, " To speak out is the test of your faith". I love those quotes.
Well both of my investigators are preparing to be baptized, but I honestly don't feel super excited about it because I don't think they fully understand it. Teaching is going well. Love the district. The comp is good too. We have gotten a lot closer and we are becoming a team.
loves to alll