Greetings from the MTC!! Wow. It has been quite the roller coaster these past few days. It's been less than 48 hours, and it feels like it has already been a week. Ha ha :) I really am grateful I've made it here, but I am realizing it is only the beginning...:)
Let's see. Wednesday was interesting. Super hard to walk away from you guys, but Sister Sellers (the one who helped with my luggage...side note--she's going to Bela Horazonte, Brazil--where Sister Autumn Van Ry is serving! I told her to watch out for her) helped ease my nerves and things went fairly smoothly after that. I got some paperwork, my mission debit card, and my nametag. Pretty amazing when that was put on. You really do feel official...even though I sort of feel like same ol' me. :)
My companion is Sister Swindlehurst from Spanish Fork...so I guess you could call us "the Fork sisters"...:) She's awesome! We've gotten along really well, and I'm very grateful for that. She's headed to the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission too!! My district--ALL OF US ARE FROM UTAH!!!!! WOOHOO!!! Way to represent. One of the Elders--Elder Fraughton--is from American Fork, too!! He just graduated this year. I didn't know him before, but he definitely looked familiar...:) Speaking of people from my old stompin' grounds, two of the couples in our branch presidency live in American Fork. SO COOL.
The classes have been wonderful and so powerful--I have already learned a lot from my teachers, but more importantly, the Spirit. I am realizing more and more that I really am a servant of the Lord. My call is REAL. He loves me and is proud of me and where I am--despite how hard it is sometimes. I am learning how crucial it is to rely on the Spirit. It is going to take a huge leap of faith, but I shouldn't be thinking about what I say before I say it. I need to let go and let the Spirit guide me and prompt me what to say. Also. Actually listening is crucial as well. A person will only tell you so much, but through the gift of discernment available to faithful and worthy missionaries, we will be able to see what's beneath the surface. I haven't been able to actually put this into action yet, but I'm excited (and nervous) to do so. I'll let you know how that goes. :)
I have to tell you though--it is such an honor and a blessing to have the name of the Savior on that little black nametag I put on each day. I am coming to realize how much I really need to rely on the Lord. Without Him, I cannot do this. I need Him more than anything. He is as much my companion or even more so than Sister Swindlehurst.
Yesterday in one of our classes, our teacher shared this clips of these people talking. It was a project called "1 in 8 million" and these people in NYC were interviewed and their interviews were shared with everyone else. We listened to them, and discussed in groups and with our companions what we would do or say if we had met them on the street. Each person's story was so different--it was amazing to see that. We are all so unique, yet we are all God's children. For people who don't know that--I can't wait to testify of the truth of that to them. :) Anyways. One of the questions we discussed was: "What does Heavenly Father see when He looks at them? How does He feel about them?" I got the same answer each time. HE LOVES THEM. So so so so much. And He is working in their lives whether they realize it or not. It was so powerful. I have begun to feel this yearning in my heart to share His love with others. They need to know they are loved and looked out for by a Father in Heaven who is there CONSTANTLY. People need to know this!!
Yesterday really was powerful, and I began to see missionary work in a different way. As our purpose states, it is all about inviting. The people we reach out to have their agency and they will either take or leave our message. But we are there, to stand in place of the Savior since He can't be there physically. I've stopped to thing about that, and it's truly amazing. I feel very small, very weak, and very simple, but I know that as I unite with this great army of God's missionaries, great things will be brought to pass. To think He trusts me enough to send me out to proclaim His love and His gospel is a pretty remarkable feeling. I hope that I can one day feel in the slightest I lived up to that privilege.
I'll be honest--I've been homesick. During the day I've done okay, but the past two nights I've been hit with a wave and it is far from easy. I know that's to be expected, but it doesn't make it any easier. I hear once you make it to your first Sunday, it gets a lot better. And I have some wonderful Elders who I can ask for blessings--that is a huge blessing in and of itself. Please keep me in your prayers--I know you are, but I appreciate it more than I can say. I've prayed more than I ever have, and I'm praying for strength like I never have before. I know the Lord will be with me, and that is what I am hanging on to.
This morning I've had the lyrics of "Clay in His Hands" running through my head. Coincidence? I think not. :) "We are clay in His hands, centered on the wheel. As the wheel spins, the Potter molds, creating something beautiful. We are clay in His hands, and all we can become is shaped by the Master--that's where His finest work is done." I know that this journey of being a representative of Christ is going to shape and mold me into something better. It is never comfortable to be stretched and tried and tested, but that really is the only way we progress towards being who our Father in Heaven knows we can become. He sees us not in terms of today, or yesterday, but in terms of forever. I think that's something we all need to remember--and to be patient with ourselves along the way, because our Father in Heaven is constantly patient with us. Definitely something I'm trying to remember.
This letter has kind of been me bouncing around, but hopefully it all made sense. :)
I hope you never forget I am praying for you and sooo grateful for you!
I LOVE YOU!!!!!