Hello family! How are you all? I am so so so great!
Things are amazing in the MTC. I've learned loads and had many wonderful experiences here. I'll try to give a good overview of the week.
We got our travel plans! We fly out on Tuesday, Oct. 6 (leaving the MTC at 5am), have a 5 hour layover in Texas (I'm sure we'll have missionary opportunities!!) and then we'll be in Guatemala! I'm very excited, although it's a little strange to be already leaving the Provo MTC. People who have been here a while are jealous that we're leaving already. I hope we get paired with native companions so we can really be forced to excel in the language, but if we keep our current companions, I'm sure it will be wonderful still. I've heard rumors from the Dominican Republic MTC that the time we would use here in Provo to meet with volunteers pretending to be investigators and teaching them is used to actually contact real people in parks or nearby the MTC! I wonder if it'll be the same in Guatemala. I haven't heard anything for sure, I guess I'll find out soon enough. Also, there's a temple in Guatemala City. Wooo!
Que mas... I had a great experience during personal study this week. I read Mosiah chapters 22 through 24, about the people of Limhi vs. the people of Alma, both having similar experiences but one group relying no their own brains and brawn and the others relying on the Lord. It applies to all of us, but forgive me as I apply it to me here at the MTC. We're all here going to the same classes, having the same schedules, hearing the same things in devotionals, etc. We can rely on our own knowledge of the gospel and handle our burdens on our own (tried that... it was hard and miserable) or we can be faithful and trust in the Lord, and He will make our burdens lighter so we can cheerfully serve Him, and even enjoy His miracles! I feel like everyone here at the MTC has challenges, but I want to be like many I've seen here: one to lift others and cheerfully, humbly learn from the things that are hard here.
There are are so many resources available to us here! I feel like my companion and I are spending our time pretty well. During MDT (Missionary Directed Time) we often go to the TE (Barney told me to do this, remember? :) ) and get help with teaching styles or language learning planning, etc. I've been amazed that I'm not tired and I'm able to do so much in a day. I hope that after my mission I can be dedicated to using my time wisely, and I think I'll do better in school when I get home if I can keep this as a good habit.
The language.... I'm not being super stretched still. I'm trying to learn extra during language study time, but in class I'm still a little bored. It's a good review, but definitely not challenging for me. On Sunday I shared my testimony in Spanish with my branch. I was surprised how easy it was to really speak from my heart. I wasn't nervous (like I am when I share my testimony in front of that many people in English) and I wasn't worried, I just got up there and felt like I had the gift of tongues. I'm grateful for the Spanish I've already had, and know I still have far to go. But what a beautiful language! I love it!!!
Top 15 of the MTC
Samuel Smith statue: I love thinking of our first missionary ever and his bravery to be the first to share this gospel with the world.
Ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Singing with all the missionaries in devotionals (especially Called to Serve!). It's amazing how powerful the Spirit comes when singing in unity (or harmony, you know my bass tendencies) with so many who share my purpose and love for the gospel and the Lord.
Hearing my classmates pray in Spanish, especially when I can tell they aren't reading off of the paper anymore.
The temple walks.
Preparation days: it's nice to communicate with ya'll and do something a little out of routine.
Seeing the Elders get hair cuts.. they are so funny looking! :D
Volleyball at Gym time -- especially with uncompetitive, fun people.
The teachers here: they love us so much and I have already learned so much about how to really be a good missionary from them.
Meeting new sisters while brushing my teeth in the bathroom. I've already had a lot of small world stories.
The Referal Center. I had a chance to talk to a Born again Christian over the phone from the Bronx and I sent her the Book of Mormon and shared my testimony of it's truthfulness. It went well. My companion talked with a woman over the phone there for about an hour and we were both REALLY excited afterwards!
OK.. so I only shared 12 things I love. But as you know, "Top 15" doesn't necessarily mean 15. I love the MTC and even more I love being a missionary. I feel so honored to have this chance. I'm doing my best yet I know I can still improve. The Spirit is guiding me to obey with exactness and be more effective all the time. How amazing this gospel is! I know we can be missionaries wherever we are! Seize the opportunity to share the gospel with all those around you, please!!
Always remember that Hermana Francis loves you.
(Sorry for the redundancy at the end there. :) )
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