I did it! I made it through week one at the MTC! I have so much to tell you all! First, I wanted to thank the BrokenLegs and Auntie Karin for the nice packages they sent me! They made my day! Now my district is convinced that I'm just always getting packages. I do appreciate the surprises, though!
I want to tell you about my district! There are more sisters than elders! I'm sure that wouldn't have been the case just a few years ago. My companion is Sister Sorenson, and she is the reason I have not gotten lost at the MTC. I still have no idea where I'm going most of the time, but she has a keen sense of direction. She was in marching band at her high school, and played alto sax, just like me! She's also really athletic. We are very similar in many ways, but also very different. I feel like we complement each other in a way that we get along, but still learn a lot. The other sisters are Sister Lucas and Sister Warren, and Sister Olson and Sister Johnson. They are all so wonderful, and we get along so well. I love them all. Sister Johnson reminds me of mom, and that makes me smile. I'll be sure to send a picture of her at some point. The elders are Elder Payne and Elder Tolman, and Elder Hathaway and Elder Robbins. They are so talkative and obnoxious and I love it! I find them really funny, but the other sisters do get annoyed with them sometimes. They elders keep asking what they will do without me when they go to Colorado. I'm not 100% sure why they find me so helpful. I've really only told them what pages hymns are on and such. We are all super close, and it's only been one week. Half of them are going to Colorado, so that will be hard to split up. The rest will be coming to Gilbert, though! I love my district so much.
First big surprise at the MTC is that not all the investigators are pretending to be investigators. We have some people here who really do want to learn about the gospel, which is terrifying, but also really exciting! I didn't realize just how easy it would be to love investigators. It definitely takes effort to get to know them first, but then you can't help but feel how much Christ loves them. We have some investigators that we have been learning with. My favorite experience was with a girl named Sarah. She is friends with one of my teachers, and doesn't have a belief in God. Her boyfriend is taking missionary discussions, so Sister Badham (my teacher), asked if she'd come talk to the missionaries she's teaching (my district). She came and we talked to her and got to know her, and I know God loves Sarah more than I can describe. The spirit was so strong as we testified of this truth to her. I hope Sister Badham invites her to come back. I love her so much.
I've also seen some familiar faces: Micheal Larson who used to work at ProPay, as well as some people I went to high school with! I've seen Sisters Swindle, Voglesberg, and Day, as well as Elder Poulton. With the exception of Sister Swindle, we didn't talk a lot in high school, but it was still fun to see them.
Also, Sister Sorenson and I are the Sister Training Leaders for our zone! It's like the sister equivalent of a zone leader, but we are just in charge of other sisters. It means we got to meet the new missionaries when they came in yesterday, which I LOVED! I also spend all of my Sunday in meetings, but I'm glad for the opportunity to serve.
Biggest surprise for me is that my favorite time is exercise time. It's a nice change of pace and it feels amazing! It starts the day off right. Sometimes I play volleyball with my district, and that is my favorite thing to do--especially when it is warm enough to go outside.
My schedule here is a lot of class and a lot of study time, and somehow there still isn't enough time to do everything. It's so important to rely on the spirit because I could not do everything by myself. My teachers are Sister Badham and Sister Rigby. I love them both. Sister Rigby is pretty much what I imagine Clark (American Fork Art Teacher) and his wife Bayley's child will be like. She's so sweet and happy. Sister Badham is also so wonderful. She made us do wall sits while we said the missionary purpose from memory. My favorite part of that was Elder Robbins screaming the word 'REPENTANCE' in complete agony.
Along with the MTC's busy schedule comes a lot of stress, but 2 Nephi 4 was so helpful. We read it as a district, and I want everyone to read it and see how Nephi dealt with stress. I mean, his dad had died and his brothers wanted to kill him, but his example of dealing with stress was amazing.
Sister Lucas and I have also been going to the MTC choir and I LOVE it! We learned the backstory of "Lead Kindly Light", which I don't have time to explain now, and it added so much depth. PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE WORDS OF THAT SONG! I loved the Sunday night film most of all! We watched the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. There's a lot of hype around watching it, and it exceeded even what everyone else had told me. It's about how the character of Christ is about turning outward when you'd much rather turn inward. I wish I could explain it better. I feel like the times in the Book of Mormon when it says that things that were said were so great that they could not be written or spoken. The stories were so powerful and it completely changed my life! I wish I could share it with you, but they only show it in the MTC. Serve a mission and then GO WATCH IT!
There was also a devotional on Tuesday night from a general authority, and guess who had to say the opening prayer in front of said general authority and every missionary in the MTC? This girl. It was terrifying! I'm learning to get over my prayer anxiety, and I felt privileged to have that opportunity.
I've learned a lot while I've been here. I'm starting to learn the power of prayer and priesthood blessings. I've seen that God does answer prayers even if it's not in the way I expected or hoped and that He does make it work out. I've had to ask for a blessing twice (I've discovered how much I don't like to have to ask) while I've been here. Even though the elders are crazy boys, the power they hold is the power of God, and I am so thankful that I have good friends here who are worthy to use that power to bless my life. I'm also starting to understand relying on the spirit. I realized that it's not just the spirit bosses you around, but rather that only by the holy ghost can I do anything. It's like having a broken leg and the Holy Ghost is your crutch or a wheel chair. It's the thing that allows you to walk, but you have to make the push forward and act before the Holy Ghost can guide you and allow you to walk.
I got to go to the temple today, which was exciting! I love the temple. Nothing huge stood out to me today, but it was very peaceful.
My testimony has grown so much while I've been here. I love it! The spirit is so strong at the MTC and the blessings are real. I've started to see that the lessons, such as the Restoration, are not history lessons. They show God's mercy and the power of the Atonement. Everything ties back to the Atonement, whether it's the creation or the first vision or anything! That's what everything we do is about: letting the world know that Christ came and died for us and that all He asks us in return is to come unto Him, leave behind our sins, and be baptized. Even though every single moment isn't going to be constant overwhelming revelation, I've learned something. It's the moments that make the difference because in those moments, we know He is there. Everyone belongs in the gospel. I know this is true!
I love you and it was amazing to hear from some of you! Sorry there is only one picture this week--I don't have my camera. I'll talk to you all soon! Thank you for your prayers and support!
The Sisters in my district:
Sister Warren, me, Sister Johnson, Sister Olson, Sister Lucas, Sister Sorenson.
I love them all!