My dear family and friends,
What a week this past week has been. It has been so inspirational and uplifting.
I'd like to first start by saying thanks for all the letters and packages. I really appreciate them and love receiving them each week.
Bryan: Seems like you have had another amazing week in the Philippines. I loved reading about the experiences you have had this week. Thanks for being such a great example to me. Even though your my younger brother, I look up to you so much! I think and pray for your success daily. Love you!!
Marissa: It sounds like you are doing great this week! In the family letter, mom and dad wrote about how you had a singing lesson with Dean Kaelin in Salt Lake. That is phenomenal. Please write me a dear elder and tell me EVERYTHING! Please tell me about your opportunities to also try out for the Voice next year. That is so great. I am so excited for you and where your singing talent will take you. I'm so proud of you sis!!
Mom, Dad, Lachlan, & Alexa: I loved reading the family email this week. Thanksgiving seems like it was a blast. I did miss the good food and the opportunity to spend time with family. Rocky looks adorable! And it looks like you had a ton of fun at the BYU Basketball game with the Haacke's.
So, you probably are all wondering what in the world is going on with our VISA'S!! To be honest, we don't really know either. Today, was supposed to be our departure date so it's been kind of funny that we are all still here...wondering if we will ever be able to leave the MTC. We went and talked to the Travel Office this morning to see if they had heard any additional information. They said that we will be here, at the MTC, for at least another week. They officially cancelled our reassignments (For those of you who don't know, my reassignment was to Colorado Springs, Colorado) and we will just be waiting here at the MTC for our visa's. Sis. Good's dad has been sending her emails about the updates as well. He has been calling the Travel Office in Salt Lake. What we heard today from her dad is that they filed our visa papers on Nov. 1 and it normally now (with the new requirements) takes about 30-40 days for the visas to be processed. So we are close, we are all just praying and hoping we will get our visa's soon....Mom and dad, if you hear anything, be sure to let me know :)
Tuesday: Tuesday morning at 3 AM, we all got up to say goodbye to Sister Moe. She left for the New York North Mission. Our entire district met at the Travel Office to spend our last 30 minutes together. Even though it was 3 in the morning, we were still able to laugh and have a good time. Saying goodbye to Sis. Moe was hard. To be honest, I shed a tear or two. She has become like family to me. Since Sis. Moe has left, Sis. Allen, Sis. Lindsay, and I have been a tri-companionship. Sis. Allen leaves this Wednesday morning for Canada so after that, Sis. Lindsay and I will just be companions again. It is weird saying goodbye to everyone that is in our district and the other district that came in with us when we are still going to be here for 7-14 days. Tuesday night devotional was given by Elder and Sister Dallin H Oaks. It was so great. Sis. Oaks gave 5 main tips about being a great missionary. They were 1. Focus on our Savior, Jesus Christ; 2. You're NOT alone; 3. LOVE your companion; 4. Be Obedient; & 5. Make the Book of Mormon your best friend. Elder Oaks likened our missions like a pen. A pen doesn't work unless you put it to use. He asked what is really means to be a instrument in the hands of God. He was really inspiring and gave some great counsel.
Wednesday: Wednesday was just a normal day of classes and investigators. Every day, we teach atleast one investigator and now since there is just two companionships, in our district, we teach two or three different investigators every day. Wednesday was the last day we taught Lu Jie Mei. We got two new investigators, Chen Di Xiong and Qiu Jie Mei. I'm looking forward to teaching them and learning and growing from every lesson we give.
Thursday: THANKSGIVING!!! Thanksgiving day was absolutely amazing. It was a day full of powerful testimonies and a day to reflect on how grateful I am for everything in my life. It was a day that I have even a further desire to become the best person I can be. Thursday, at first, I really missed my family and spending time with you all--but as the day went on, I thought of how grateful I am for you, your support, and how I will not only be able to live together with you in this life but also in the life to come. I thought about the families that I will be able to teach this great message to and how blessed their lives will become. Thursday morning, we had a special choir practice for the General Authority Devotional. The song we sang was Come Thou Fount. The MTC choir has never sang this song because because I guess it is really hard. There was a rumor going around the MTC that Elder Bednar was coming to speak but no one really knew who it was going to be. During prelude music, President and Sister Nally walked in and then Elder and Sister Bednar walked in! I was so excited! Both this devotional and the devotional was a broadcast to all the other MTC's around the world. It is really cool when it is a broadcast. It was a neat experience to be able to be apart of that. Sister Susan Bednar talked about our families praying for us on a daily basis. She compared, us a missionaries, to the Sons of Helaman in the Book of Mormon. One thing she said really stood out to me. She said, "We have an obligation to be true and give our heart to the Lord...Remember you represent yourself, remember you represent your family, remember you represent the Savior, and remember you represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Elder David A Bednar first quickly talked about agency and to act and not be acted upon. He then had a huge question and answer session. Since it was a worldwide broadcast, he handed out hundreds of cell phones to the Provo MTC audience and the other MTC's got cellphones/tablets that they were able to email questions and all the questions would be sent to the iPad Elder Bednar had. I learned a lot from listening to the questions and the answers Elder Bednar gave. One question that really stood out to me was, "As missionaries, we say so many prayers during the day. How can we better our prayers to be less repetitive?" Along with that, there were many other questions answered. The very last question that was asked had something to do with Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. He bore powerful testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of this Gospel. The Spirit was definitely in the room. It was so profound.
After lunch, we were split into two different groups according to our branch number. The first session my branch was in was the service project. We got assigned to groups of about 8 or 9 and we assembled Lentil Casserole bags for the Provo Food Bank. I was incharge of holding the bags under the funnel. It was really fun! Last year, the MTC made about 350,000 bags so we had a goal to beat that this year-which we did! We made 368,048. It was so neat to be able to be apart of such a large service project. The Second Session was a Thanksgiving Program put together by President and Sister Nally. Several Missionaries acted out the story that was read by Sis. Nally. It was super funny. After the sessions were over, all the missionaries met in 19M and there was a "Special Movie" that was going to be showed. For prelude, we sang all these different, fun, songs from the Primary Songbook. We, as the 2 Chinese zones, did the actions to the songs,we had a ton of fun. The Special Movie they showed us was Meet the Mormons!! When they announced it, everyone went crazy!! Meet the Mormons was SO good!! If you haven't seen it, GO see it!! I loved it. In fact, they were showing it as one of the movie options after the devotional Sunday night and my district went to go see it again!! After the movie, they had us all go by building 1M and they turned on the Christmas lights! As a zone, we were standing kind of in the middle of everyone and Elder Dorius started singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town and so we all started singing. Everyone stopped and looked at us and took pictures. It was really fun. People probably thought that we were crazy...but, we have so much fun as a zone. The MTC truly did spoil us for Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for all of you. Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts! I love you all!!
Friday: Friday, we went to In-Field Orientation. It was 9 hours! So , super long, but I learned a lot about the field, making goals, and involving members.
Saturday: Normal day of studying, classes, and teaching investigators. Our less active agreed to 'come' to church with us so we were really excited about that.
Sunday: Sunday is always my favorite! For Relief Society, Sheri Dew came to speak to us. Her talk was very powerful and filled with so much Spirit. She talked about the priesthood and the power Women have with the Priesthood. Sacrament meeting, I played the piano again, and District E and my district sang our "Goodbye Song". We sang a song that Elder Whitney wrote himself. It was really pretty. It was about serving missions and relying on the Lord's help. Since we were supposed to be leaving today, we got to go to the Departure Devotional which we just got advice from the MTC presidency about the field. President Nally gave us 6 things to remember. (a lot like the ones Sis. Oaks gave us). 1. Love your companions no matter what; 2. Write in your Journal everyday; 3. IT IS HARD; 4. It is the Spirit's job to convert; 5. Have no regrets; & 6. Increase your testimony of the Savior and Joseph Smith everyday and bear it frequently. Sunday night devotional, BYU's Vocal Point came and sang. They are phenomenal! It was a great devotional!!
This morning, I saw Marilyn as she was walking in the temple. I am so glad I have been able to see her these last couple of weeks. I love the temple so much!!
Overall, this week has been really good. I'm sorry this is really long! If you made it to the end, congrats! I sure love and appreciate you all. I love hearing from you!
Saying good-bye to Sis. Moe.
Thanksgiving temple walk.
Us with Brother Averett from the Branch Presidency.
Us with Brother Averett from the Branch Presidency.
Sis Lindsay, Sis Allen, and I.