Here I am in the field, everybody! How amazing is that? This is what I've been waiting MONTHS for. =) The MTC was really great, and I loved all the things I got to learn about the gospel and teaching, but this is for real.
We got up at 1:30AM and had a really long day of flights, dragging 10 squirrelly elders across country was not a prospect I was excited about, but it turned out okay. It was kind of awesome because our whole batch (except for two elders in the other district) were all going to my mission!!!
We arrived, tired, but not too hungry because I forced my companions to get food at Checkers (RALLYS!) with me. We got to meet the mission president and his wife right off - they are so kind! The two of them and the assistants to the president helped us with our luggage and out into the humid, humid hot summery Chesapeake day. I don't really know how to describe it. It's just different. It's like the air sweats for you. It's nice when there's a breeze, but there wasn't in the parking garage.
The next day, we FINALLY had our meetings. I know, how could I be excited about meetings??!?! Well the night before we had dinner with the mission office staff and short interviews with the President and his wife (because they knew we were exhausted). It was really cool because President Baker said "I need to meet you in order to receive revelation on who your companions should be." Wow!
So the next day we had transfer meeting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our little MTC group was disbanded and we were assigned to the areas in which we were called SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!! Poor Sister Caldwell was so nervous, so the three of us were kind of gritting our teeth and holding on for dear life as we listened to talks and such. Then President Baker stood up and started assigning new companions. Sister Caldwell was first, so she no longer had to feel nervous or tense. Her companion seemed super nice! =) I'm so happy for her. I was assigned near the end, so I got to watch as our group was split up and sent out to hug and sit with their new, mature, companions. It was so interesting to watch them meet with their mentors.
Then I got assigned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My companion is Sister Dodds, she's from Utah and is so nice and kind! She's been out for a year already and has everything down! I'm so glad she's my trainer!!!!
So I was all hyped up and ready to go right out of the gate. As we were driving from the transfer meeting I said, "Okay!! When is our first appointment???!" But to my disappointment, we had a quiet night planned. However, I have quickly come to appreciate planning.
The missionary day starts early, at 6:30, and there is a set schedule of things we need to get done to be ready for the day. We need to eat, exercise, get ready, study, and then go out to appointments. We cannot do all the things we need to do, or teach the gospel by the Spirit of the Lord if we do not utilize that valuable preparation time. Something I have learned is that you may study really hard, plan out your entire lesson (scripture verses and everything), and be ready to go, and then not use any of it in your visit. But I can promise you, that even if you don't use any of it - if you are paying attention to the Spirit and listening to the investigator, you will be able to change their hearts. You will be able to teach by the Spirit like it talks about in the scriptures. It is amazing and miraculous to watch, and even more so to be a part of. =D
My first appointment ever was during a thunderstorm, at 8PM the night of transfers. We went over to a member's house to help her with Family History! Proud of me, Mom? =D My companion, Sister Dodds, loves Family History as much as I do! It's such an amazing missionary tool, I'm not even kidding. The promise in Malachi 4:5-6 is TRUE it is being fulfilled TODAY in these Latter Days. All people on earth are having their hearts turned to their fathers and are excited and filled with the fire of Elijah to do that work. Family, friends!!! Ask for pass along cards about Family History. Talk to your friends about Family History. Havefaith that they will feel that fire. Grow your own testimony about Family History bytrying it out. You can do it! I have faith in you!!! I love you all!!!!
My first appointment with an investigator was with Barbara. She has been investigating the church for a really long time, and that was so weird, to me, to jump in the middle of that, because I have no idea where she is at. Do you know the best way to find out? Invite them to be baptized! Really! =) What ever concern they have about being baptized is where you can start, helping them to learn. During the appointment, there was a cat rubbing against my legs, a TV on in the background, and a misquito having a wonderful time eating up my arm. Needless to say, I WAS A LITTLE DISTRACTED. I also knew that Sister Dodds expected me to invite Barbara to be baptized. Ah! I was relying on the Lord so much in that appointment. =)
But the time came, and I asked, without hesitation. The Holy Ghost was beating so strong in my heart and I knew just what to say. She said no, but it was okay. We found out what her concern was and we talked about it. It was such a wonderful experience. Friends, family! Rely on the Holy Ghost. Feel the Spirit in your lives. You will be prompted with exactly what you need to say in the time you need to say it. =) I love you!!!
We've done a bunch of other things. I'm learning. There's a lot to be trained on. We don't have too many investigators right now, but we're going to change that!!! The ward is really youthful, they love to tease, and they love family history! =) There are so many families to visit and meet here! =)
Yesterday was a really wonderful day, too. I am gaining such a testimony of prayer. SERIOUSLY. We will pray for something very specific that morning, and then that prayer will be answered exactly and in the exact phrasing as we spoke. It is AMAZING! We prayed for a new investigator, and Sister Ambridge brought her friend to the picnic. We prayed to give away a Book of Mormon, and one of our neighbors accepted it. I prayed to have a good experience knocking doors, and we did, even though no one was interested or accepted us. Wow! The blessings of missionary work are there, my friends. Things are only conditional on us asking. "Ask and ye shall recieve, knock and it shall be opened unto you."
I would recommend that everyone study Doctrine and Covenants 4, because it is an amazing section, for missionaries and for member missionaries. The field is white, friends! All ready to harvest. There are people and friends out there waiting for YOU. =) I know there are people here in Virginia waiting for me - and I know it's true for you too. =)
Yesterday we spent a lot of time with the members. Sister Krum cooked an amazing meal, and we helped her with Family History. It feels kind of weird not cooking my own dinners. =P
We're in Kempsville, Virginia, by the way. Haha. Right next to the naval base in Norfolk (no-pho-k), so a lot of the members here are navy or retired navy. They have been all over the world, so a lot of them tell me they've been to California, to Long Beach, Lemoore, etc. Also, we hear airplanes all the time over our apartment. =D *FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHHHHEEEE*
I love it here already, and like I've been telling everyone, I can't wait to serve more, and fall in love with the people and the area. It's kind of exactly like home, except for greener. There's like not-dead grass and taller trees, ponds, rivers, lakes, streams. So that's awesome. =) Except for my poor allergies! =)
Gross, yeah? I came into the MTC with only four pairs of underwear, and I wasn't able to get any more until THIS WEDNESDAY. Don't worry, don't worry, I've been washing them out every night, but LET ME TELL YOU how grateful I am and appreciative of clean underwear....
In other news, I fried all my pictures on my card. So yeah. Thank goodness my companion has been taking tons of pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, really quickly because I have like no time ever and my poor companion is so tired and really wants a nap and won't get one because we spent all P-day doing laundry and yeah...........
Some highlights from the second week at the MTC!!!
I was really sick on Saturday and had a humbling experience of having to go to my companions for help. I never ever want to impose on people and sometimes (okay all the time) I'm so prideful as to think I CAN do it all on my own. But I can't. I totally can't. So I had to humble myself and let my companions serve me - I had to ask them to miss class for me, which was one of the harder things I've had to do this week. But I am so grateful for the experience.
We participated in MTC choir! Sister Whetten and I really didn't want to, but because companions stick together we went with Sister Caldwell. What an inspired desicion. The choir director is super awesome and talked a lot about pioneer stories as we practiced for the pioneer-themed song we were going to sing. It was so inspiring and so fun - Brother Everett is hillarious. I wish you all could watch the MTC devotionals! You might even be able to see me wailing away in the choir. =D
SO we had such a wonderful experience with a practice investigator at the MTC this week. As soon as we walked in and started speaking to her, we knew she wasn't a member and that this was FOR REAL. Let me tell you, that was such an amazing realization. We walked out and we all looked at each other and said, "that was REAL."
We talked to our investigator, Kenzie, the first time, just about who she was and what she believes. We could feel that she had been through a lot. She had told us she didn't believe in God.
So that night at our daily planning, we went crazy in depth studying about the love of God and how we could help Kenzie.
The next night, we taught her again. This time, we used nothing of what we had prepared, but the Spirit was so strong, because we had prepared. We prayed and prayed for charity that we may be able to feel our Heavenly Father's love for her and express that to her. It was such a simple discussion. She told us more about her life, and we expressed simply and powerfully our belief in our Heavenly Father and how much He loves her. Kenzie has had HUNDREDS of missionaries come through and teach her, but we knew that that night we had touched her heart, and she had felt something.
We were so worried about last night's appointment with her because we knew it was going to be our last. We wanted to continue to help her and bring her closer to Jesus Christ. I can feel how much our Heavenly Father loves her every time we are with her. We didn't want to leave her in the dark. We decided to give her a Book of Mormon. We went through and highlighted our favorite scriptures and scriptures we thought could help her.
That first night, I said to her "You said you wanted to research and know more before you come to a conclusion about whether God is there or not. Well Kenzie, you cannot know for sure, unless you exercise faith. You cannot know by logic alone." We also invited her to pray the second time.
We looked into the room last night and we crushed when we saw that she was Skyping in her appointment. How in the world were we going to feel the Spirit? Give her the Book of Mormon????
But as we opened with prayer and spoke with her, the Spirit came so strongly, even more so than the previous night. Heavenly Father blessed us with His gift of charity and Kenzie felt that. We spoke to her so powerfully that we don't even remember what we said. We asked her to please just look at what we had marked and try to read.
Near the end of our time block I looked up at her and said "Kenzie, we're so sorry that we can't hear more about what you believe. Because we're leaving on Wednesday." and I started crying so much that I couldn't speak. My companion, Sister Caldwell jumped in, and Sister Whetten after that, explaining how much we loved her, and how much we wished we could speak more.
But! Heaven's blessings descended!! Kenzie wants to talk to us more!!!!!!!!!!!! She made it so we could schedule with her and have another appointment tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE GET TO TALK TO HER ONE LAST TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm so excited!!!!
Teddy? Have you gotten your mission call yet?!?!?!?!?!!
If you send me a letter through Dear Elder, they print it out and I get it that night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only while I'm at the MTC though. =(
I have learned so much this week. I am so strong in some areas, and super weak in others - in a way that has surprised me.
We got to go to the temple today! The Provo temple is amazing!
Friends, pray for charity. It will change your life~!! I can testify of that. =)
We had a zone leader named Elder Boss. Cool huh?!
For church, everyone prepares a talk, and then they tell you who's speaking in the meeting. =D
I love our "tri-panionship" =D. We all have strengths and when we work together and work out any worries or contention we might have, we teach powerfully by the Spirit. But that's only when we prepare, pray for charity for our investigator, and listen to the promptings of the Spirit (and act on them!!)
WE ARE LEAVING WEDNESDAY AT 3:00 AM FOR VIRGINIA. Our whole district is going on the same plane, since we're all going to the same mission!!! =D
There's a ton more stuff that happened this week, but that's all I have time for - love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So here's the email you've all been waiting for, right? =)
Well it turns out my P-day is Friday in the MTC, how cool is that!!
So here's everything that has happened ever.
I saw a Grumpy Cat plushie at the airport! It was airport prices though, and I don't have space. =)
I got to the MTC early. So I flew in on Tuesday. It was a pretty uneventful adventure. I was kind of calm, but really excited. On the plane I sat next to a Lola Merrill. She happened to be a member, so we talked a lot about my mission and her family. She laughed and said "I was given a pass-along card to give away on this trip, but I guess I won't use it." and I said "Ha! And I really wanted to start my missionary experience right off the bat." =D
I got to the MTC with no problems. I came in with my luggage to the front desk and waited for instructions. As I stood there with a reporting Elder, a man came up the stairs. I glanced over and noticed he looked familiar. I thought to myself "Oh, maybe it's my old stake president or something." He came over, shook our hands, and welcomed us to the MTC. The woman with him leaned over and whispered. "That's Neil L. Anderson."
My jaw almost dropped, but I played it cool and smiled hugely. He walked out and I was almost floored with awe.
What a way to be welcomed to the MTC!
I went to the devotional right after that, and guess who was speaking! =D
Since I got to the MTC early, I was assigned a temporary companion for that night, Sister Pack. She's from Singapore, but we didn't get to talk much.
I spent a bit of time with another early-arriving missionary, Sister Jones. She's from Missouri, from a really small town, and we took some pictures. =D
Day two was SO LONG. I was here all morning, and waited mostly as the other missionaries arrived. I'm glad I came early, though. I finally FINALLY got to meet up with all the people in my district later that day. All the people in my district are going to my mission! There are 6 elders and three sisters in my district. We have class together and study time together all the time in our own personal classroom. It's pretty fun.
I finally got to meet my companion, too! Her name is Sister Whetten. She's spunky, assertive, and super nice. The other sister in our district, Sister Caldwell, had her companion NOT SHOW UP. So now we're a trio and it's super fun. =) We all have the same room and spend 24/7 together. It's kind of crazy, never ever being apart from them, but so far it's pretty fun. =)
We're learning so much. There's classes and devotionals and lessons all the time. It's hard to get a moment in edgewise to just calm down. =)
In between the class and devotionals and stuff, we had the opportunity to begin teaching "investigators". At one class the first day, a group of 50 green missionaries was charged with teaching some investigators. We did a hash-bang job of it, our doctrine and teaching all over the place. The first investigator we worked with totally railed on this one poor Elder. The second investigator was a retired devorcee. It was a really sweet experience where all of us felt the Spirit. The third investigator was a good teaching experience (I was ready to add something when the meeting ended =( ) but said that he was not interested and could never believe. What a depressing way to end the meeting. =( But it was good, I was glad for the opportunity to start practicing!
Nina! Guess who teaches my class at the MTC? Y-mountain guy!!
My companions and I think really differently, but so far we're getting along. =)
We're doing better today about being on time. Sometimes it's hard to get along with the Elders in our district. We (Sister Whetten, Caldwell, and I) had the opportunity to teach an investigator, "Zach" again today. We taught him yesterday, and we felt that it didn't really go very well, even though we had prepared the best we could. It went SO much better today, but I didn't really feel the Spirit too strongly. So the next time we teach him, we're going to bear so much testimony!
Speaking of which, the church is true, brothers and sisters! Sometimes it's really easy to get lost in the "how" of teaching that we forget the "why" of teaching. It's because we truely love our investigators, and the gospel is something everyone needs to hear because it will bring such change and happiness to everyone's lives.
At times I get a little frustrated and really just want to be out in the field already. But I know that I am certainly not ready, and that I absolutely need this MTC experience.
I love you all! I'm looking forward to your emails. =D