I can't even believe how much I've grown this week. I am a completely new person already. The Lord has molded me into the servant He needs me to be and I am completely astounded.
To answer everyone's various letters (first thanks for those! They all make my day a billion times better! I feel your love and it makes me smile). First, Mandy, I hope you are getting better! I ask a special blessing on you every single night. Britney, I am so glad you had that experience with dedicating the house. I am mostly proud that you were able to recognize when the spirit was not there and when it entered the room. That is one of the best qualities of a successful missionary. It can be very hard to hear the spirit's voice and you have been able to discern it. Congrats! Mom, thanks for your letter! I was really wondering how the moving went and you were able to answer all of my questions! I got your package this week and you made me cry. I hope you know that. I can't believe you went to all that work to get all of the dates of the birthdays of all my friends. That meant more to me than words can express. Tell Jackie Richardson that I said Hi as well and I really appreciate her sweet spirit. :) I will write Sheryl as soon as I have the time. All my roomies and I love the candy and Sister Baldwin was so touched by the snickerdoodles. Thanks!!! Josh, thanks so much for the letter dudie! I totally brightened my day! I loved it! I want to here all about how the play goes okay? I love that you do that with the picture of Christ! Don't ever forget to ask yourself that question. What would your older brother have you do? He loves you so much. I know it. I have actually memorized D&C 4 but we don't use it at all. The really important thing to have memorized is the Missionary Purpose. Ask Britney about it. It's actually really cool when you think about it. What article of faith does it sound like? My favorite scripture is still Proverbs 3:5-6. Something new about that scripture stands out to me every time I read it. Mom, please make sure to thank Theron, Tylin, Keilee, Hill, Deborah, Jim, James H, Grandma Kathy, Sarah, Aubrey and especially Stephen for the letters! I am working on writing them back as soon as I can.
As for adventures this past week. There have been so many! And I only have 17 minutes left to type this up. So I would like to take this time and give some advice on the MTC. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to keep an open mind. "Keep your head up, let your hair down." Things can get really stressful and hard at times. Things go wrong, things get too busy, you're late, you don't do as well as you would have liked, etc. But I promise that if you keep an open mind and understand that "all of these things will be for your good" then everything will get better. Next piece of advice, NEVER EVER stop praying. Seriously. Talk to Him about everything. Tell Him every time you have a worry and ask Him for help.Thank Him every time you notice a blessing. Never ever stop. You will more adequately have the spirit with you and you will feel strong and be more optimistic about everything. Next, don't take a single second for granted. I don't care if you're at the MTC for 12 days or 9 weeks, never take a second for granted. Realize that at every single second, He is trying to teach you something. Look for that. Also, bring some notetaking materials. I have probably taken about 100 pages of notes since I've gotten here. Bring highlighters, pens (yes multiple), notebooks, etc. You'll need it. Next, bring a piece of string, you will need it to attach your residency key to your campus card. Finally, pray for charity. Learn to love your investigator and pray to be able to see them through Christ's eyes.
I have 12 minutes so I can input some cool stories. First, I HAVE THE BEST DISTRICT EVER!!! I'm not kidding. Tuesday night, we started a District fast. We opened with a prayer and we were all praying for a couple things. Then, each of us girls asked each of the boys for a blessing. I was very blessed to get my blessing from Elder Carmichael (our District leader). It was his first blessing and I promise you that the words were from God. Each of us girls wrote down the others' blessings so I read mine whenever I get stressed. (btw, there are 6 elders and 6 sisters in my district, 4 sisters and 3 elders are going to San Antonio, Texas and 2 sisters (Me and Sister Baldwin) and 3 elders are going to Kentucky). Back to the blessing. There were things that Elder Carmichael had said that he could not have known. The Lord was speaking through him. I am so very grateful for the priesthood. There aren't words to express my gratitude. Josh and Brandon, I want you to know that this is the kind of power you can have if you live worthy to have it. One day you will be an elder. Never take this power for granted. It is miraculous. So after that, I've gotten lots better.
The next cool thing happened today. I got to go through the Provo temple, my first and only time. I knew that today was Grammy's birthday and I prayed that I would be able to feel her beside me sometime today. I got to the celestial room and sat back. I really prayed to somehow feel her. I couldn't. Then, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I immediately felt chills all up and down the right side of my body. I know that she was there sitting next to me. She told my heart how proud she was of me and that she would be here for me every step of the way. Then I opened my eyes and she was gone. I want to testify that the Plan of Redemption is real. There are people beyond the veil who look out and protect us. I know that there are guardian angels protecting all of you right now because I pray for them every night. I love you all.
Times about up. Real quick, I can now email anyone. Rules just changed this week. So please mom, could you collect everyone's emails for me and get them to me? That would be wonderful! Also, I am leaving for Kentucky at 4 in the morning Monday, March 18th. I am going to try and call you guys that morning or afternoon. Look for it please! Also, by the time everyone gets the letters I am mailing today and tomorrow, they won't be able to DearElder me. If they want to respond to those letters or write to me after March 17th, have them write my Kentucky address. Thanks! I'm out of time! I'll write to you next time when I'm in Kentucky! Wish me luck! Write me soon! Love you!
Sister Baldwin and I being awesome!
All the missionaries heading to the temple walk. There were seriously thousands of them!
Our district's "Family Home Evening". We all brought snacks we had gotten from home and shared. It was great. The hipster looking elder in the hat and gray jacket was Elder Carmichael. He's the one who gave me my MTC priesthood blessing.
Apparently, there is this tradition that whenever the Russion missionaries leave, they are challenged to eat every bit of cereal in the cafeteria before they go. Well guess what, they did it! Every last piece of cereal was eaten.
Elder Hathaway, me, Elder Rasmussen, Sister Baldwin and Elder Carter being crazy.
My District! Top row: Elder Hathaway, Elder Rasmussen and Elder Moss. Second row: Elder Carter, Brother Lyons, Elder Carmichael and Elder Hughes. Third row: Sister Simonsen, Me!, and Sister Legge. Bottom Row: Sister Iverson, Sister McGill (our other teacher), Sister Baldwin and Sister Elliott.
Our district "pointing" to the places we are going. It was either Louisville or San Antonio, Texas.