Mom, Daddy, family, friends, and all others who read this!:)
Oh my goodness, hi!:) ok, really I don't feel like I've been here for almost two weeks! the first week, I'll admit, was hard to adjust to the schedule and everything but this week, it's already over!!! what the fastness!:) boy, do I have SOO much to attempt to fill you in on that occurred this past week and so little time, but I'll do my best!:) ahem. so first off, guess who gets to be a host for missionaries coming in this week????? MEEEE!!!!:) I am SOO excited especially because I may or may not have a few friends coming in this week......eyup, you know who you are, so look for me!:) I remember the day I came here and was SOO thankful to have such sweet and kind elders and sisters leading me to where I needed to go because let's be honest, I had NO idea what I was doing once I walked into the building! haha The sisters in my district (Sis Mendenhall, Griffin, Sorenson, and myself) all get to play hosts for a bit, we're all super excited!:) ah man, I'm sitting here looking at the list of items I wrote down to tell you all and there's just so much I don't even know where to start! chronological order, maybe? yeah, good plan, let's do that. wow, now that I'm done typing my thought process...:) Starting monday night, sis mendenhall and I began teaching Marie (our teacher-sis mills- role playing) who was a nanny for an LDS family in London and had dinner with the family one night when they had the sister missionaries over and loved their optimism! So we were referred by the mother to teach her and she's an absolute sweetheart! Through the 3 visits we've had with her, we've taught her the restoration, part of the plan of salvation, and how important it is to recognize the Spirit, which we explained is probably why those sister missionaries were so happy! We invited her to baptism on our last visit and she said that she'd like that but wants more time to think it over, so pray for her, because she likes to fall back on her doubts as a cushion rather than taking a leap of faith. She'll make it, we sincerely hope. :) We're also teaching a man named Greg Pyle (our teacher - bro kitchen - role playing) who is catholic, married to an LDS woman, and because his wife keeps inviting them, has met with the missionaries for the past 4 years! We taught him kind of like we taught Marie, but made sure what we said fit together with the promptings of the Spirit into what he needed to hear. In 3 visits, we taught him the restoration, touched very slightly on eternal families because his wife kept bringing it up, and focused on helping him recognize the Spirit. and here's where I have to admit something that I was quite ashamed of. In our 2nd visit, we were teaching him about the Spirit because when we asked him why he kept meeting with the missionaries if he refused to be baptized, he said he loves the feeling the missionaries bring into his home, and told him that was the Spirit testifying to him. When we said that, he responded "so you're telling me that this feeling I've felt for the past 4 years was the Spirit an no one told me?" My heart just sunk. He's had this feeling for so long yet he had no idea what it meant, and when he said this, I had the feeling to invite him to be baptized. But did I do it? no. I didn't. why? because my head starting listing all these reasons why he wasn't ready and I was gonna stick to our plan we wrote out. so I didn't ask him and we finished the lesson. Needless to say, that night in bed, I began to cry, thinking of the prompting I had and I refused to do the exact thing I was asking Greg to do. so we met with him 2 days later, and at the beginning of the lesson, I apologized to him and explained what I failed to do. and then that same feeling came, and I invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the proper authority. After a moment of silence, he looked up with true sincerity, thanked me for my apology and accepted the invitation! We are both so excited for him and felt the Spirit so strong in that room during that lesson, and I promised myself then and there, that I would never overlook a prompting from the Spirit ever again, for who am I to second guess God? yeah, I learned a hard lesson. But I'm taking what I learned and putting it to good use, don't you worry!:) (ouch...reliving that moment kinda hurt my heart a bit...but he accepted!!! woohoo GREG'S GETTING BAPTIZED!!!:)) Both sis mendenall and I decided that if this is the excitement we get when an actor accepts the gospel, we can't even imagine the joy that's going to fill our hearts when one of our Canadian investigators accept the Truth!:)
We also began TRC this week! We are teaching a woman named Barbara who is such a sweetheart. She's catholic but not very involved, from New Jersey, interested in the Church, and is VERY inquisitive! Our lessons are going very well but because she asks some really hard questions sometimes, both sis mendenhall and I have to explain that we don't know the answer but we'll write down the question, find out the answer, and let her know next time, and surprisingly, she really appreciates it! I thought it'd be awkward when we didn't know an answer but she appreciates the honesty and we don't talk ourselves into a hole, so, win win!:) we had two more experiences with a less active, Austin, and a referral, Chase. I'll be honest, the discussion with Chase did not go well. we were both incredibly out of it, the Spirit wasn't present, and it was just bad. we talked for a while afterwards, though, how we could have been more prepared and on top of things to allow the Spirit to be present. it was definitely a good learning experience, that's for sure!:) But the lesson with Austin, AH! incredible! we began teaching him, thinking it was an actor and just kept teaching, until the Spirit told me very distinctly "you are not teaching a lesson, you are teaching a child of God" and I immediately knew that he was not an actor, but someone really wanting help. So we taught him, we bore testimonies from heart and the Spirit was so incredibly strong, it was BEAUTIFUL!!! I seriously can't adequately express how incredible the lesson went but just know, that the Spirit was definitely present, and when the Spirit is present, anything can happen, I can testify of that!!!:)
so....who's ready for question time??? Ooh! I am, pick me! (I may be a missionary, but I am still very much my weird little self, let's be honest. and sis mendenhall can attest to that...:))
1. Did you find your Canadian mittens yet? no....I have looked everywhere in all of my bags. could you try looking in those white drawers in my closet? if they're not there, I'll drop it...:)
2. How are things going with Sister Mendenhall? The rest of your District? things are just great! Because we all get along really well, sometimes it's difficult to stay focused in study time, so we made a goal to make this last week the best yet and help each other stay on task because next week, we'll all be in the field. WHAT?!?!?!?!?:)
3. In what ways do you feel you have grown the most during your time at the MTC? oh my goodness, my testimony has grown SOOO much, of course! and you know how I get really nervous in front of people? yeah, that's not really the case anymore. I mean, the fear is still there, but because I understand my purpose so much more, it doesn't phase me that much. I feel so accomplished! thank heavens for the Spirit who calms and puts words in our mouth if we but open them up!:)
4. Are you getting my packages? am I getting your packages...um, YES! I love them SOOOO much (and so does my companion and other roommates:)) we might get fat. just sayin...:)
5. Does the watch fit? (Do you like it?) I absolutely love it but funny story bout that...it doesn't work. haha I just took it out of the packaging and it wouldn't work so I'll send it back to ya sometime this week...
6. Is there anything you would like me to include in a package that you haven't already mentioned? mmm...a card reader would be splendid so I can actually send you guys pictures! I was going to buy one from the bookstore this week but they didn't have one. so just a cheap one from walmart would be great! oh! and I still need a passport holder. they don't have em here....I have one but to be honest, I don't remember where I put it. I believe it's in one of those colorful drawers I have in my room or in my backpack. but if it's not, don't worry and could you just buy one cheap one for me, that'd be great!:)
7. Do you have Erin's phone number in a place that will be easily accessible at the airport next week? :0)yes I do! but I'll be calling you from the layover in Minnesota because we leave the MTC at like 3:30 in the morning and I really don't wanna be half asleep when I talk to ya, you know:) our plane leaves (delta) at 6:45 and we have a 3 hour layover in minnesota so I'll call you then! (I think like 10:45 or something, sorry I don't have my itinerary with me)
8. What are your plans for the remainder of P-Day? writing lots of letters, and because we're in the MTC and can't really go anywhere, we're gonna take a nap....:)
9. Anything else you need to tell me that I forgot to ask about? Not really, but I thought I'd let you know bout departure-we leave next monday super early in the morning so I'm not sure when I'll be able to email next week so if it's later than normal, that's why!:)
well, I need to head out cause I have like 90 seconds left! I love you all and know this church is true! oh!!! real quick, I rememered that I had a thought yesterday-I've always loved the gospel but never shared it so I'm inviting you all to do one small act of missionary work each week I'm out here, I'll do it too!:) 1st week challenge: share your testimony with someone not of our faith. write a message in facebook, write a letter, or talk to someone. Just share it, and do it from your heart! The lord works through social networking, whether by a voice, written word, or the internet! Just share it!!!:) I love you allll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
! (next letter will come from CANADA!!!!:)
Sister De Groot!:)
Alma 26:16 -
Therefore, let us aglory, yea, we will bglory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his cmercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.