Thursday, June 23, 2016

Half Way Through the MTC

My district girls
Hola familia!

I haven't been asked to perform a solo yet, and I suspect I probably won't be since I'm in the mission president seminar choir. It's never a guarantee even if they say you're a "yes" because there are sooooo many talented people here! If I get the chance, they'll put a letter in my mailbox, and I'll let you know.

The choir is pretty amazing. We're singing three songs - "Testimony," which is "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" set to a new tune that's SO gorgeous; "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer," also set to a pretty new tune; and "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." We're singing them to preface talks by President Nelson, President Eyring, and President Uchtdorf!! How cool is that???? Unfortunately, we won't be able to stay and listen to their talks unless they invite us, but it's so special that we get to invite the spirit through music and that they've entrusted us to begin their message! I feel so humbled from the opportunity. It's definitely been an experience I needed here, and has brought the spirit even more into my experience here. The choir director is amazing, and he's always talking about how we shouldn't be singing, we should be teaching the song to those who are listening. It's helped me gain an even deeper appreciation for the power of music, which I hadn't really thought was possible. The other day, when we were singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," the way he was conducting it, and as I pondered upon the words, I just started bawling. The spirit was so powerful, and I felt the wonder and majesty of that moment over again. Memorizing Joseph Smith's words - even in another language - about that experience has also deepened my testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration.

Another sister in my zone is in the choir as well. Her name is Hermana Gibby, and she's so sweet! We've been going on splits in the mornings so our companions don't have to drop us off and pick us up from rehearsal all the time. We've spent a lot of time together, and she's really been able to strengthen me and make me feel loved.

 Last night, as I was writing in my journal, I realized I was having a hard time writing anything positive about the day, and decided that I needed to get a blessing. Hermanas Gibby and Jeppeson (the new sister training leaders since one of our districts left this week) called up the zone leaders, Elders Stephens and Cornejo, and we met them at the front desk. Elder Stephens talked to me for a while to figure out what was going on, and he gave me some great words of encouragement and advice. One thing he shared with me was Romans 5:3-5 -which says, "we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us." It was a comfort to me, as was the blessing he gave me. He blessed me to be able to discern the feelings of others, and that others would be able to discern my intentions. He also blessed me to be able to feel the love that those around me have for me. And then he went on to bless me with the gift of tongues, that I would be able to touch the hearts of those that I teach. When I got back to my dorm, I had a LOT of positive to write in my journal. the spirit truly does bring comfort to our lives when we seek it.

On Sunday, the administrative director of the MTC spoke to us. He had four missionaries who were recent converts come to the front and share their stories about their conversions. It was so inspiring. One thing that he pointed out that I liked was "Just simply being there is a big part of your job as a missionary." It's true. We're sent out to serve and support those around us.

I've learned SO much more Spanish this week, even though I know there's so much more to learn! It's definitely a process. I'm better at writing and doing activities on the computer than I am of thinking of the word in the moment (or how to conjugate in different tenses) but I know it'll get better! One day last week, I ONLY spoke in Spanish the whole day, and I was surprised at how much I was able to say! We've made a district pact to ONLY speak in Spanish for this next week, starting TOMORROW! It's going to be interesting - we'll probably be talking a lot less - but I think it'll be good for us to push ourselves and exercise our faith.

Speaking of exercise - I can run again! I'm taking it slow, but my leg's not hurting anymore, which is a blessing. For the first few days of the week it hurt quite often, but now it's fine. I know that I'm being physically strengthened by the Lord.

Things are really crazy here with the mission presidents seminar coming up. I'm really excited I get to be here at this time. We perform Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the choir, and they said Deseret News will probably be taking pictures, so watch for that!

Scriptures that stood out to me this week:

 Alma 7:11-13. I love these verses. Alma shares his testimony about the atonement and resurrection, and I especially loved the end of 13, when he says, "and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me." I loved it because it's also the testimony that's in me, and I felt I could read those verses as if they were my own voice.

D&C 33:7-8. It's the field is white already to harvest scripture, but verse 8 stood out to me when it said, "Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old". HOW COOL IS THAT?? I studied that a bit further and it led me to 2 Nephi 1:27-28. So inspiring!

D&C 75:1-5. The promises made to us as we proclaim the word of God are simply amazing, and so humbling!

We've had some really fun moments in our district and zone this week. I don't really know what exactly to write about, but our elders just bring such a happy spirit to our district and relieve some of the stress, especially Elder West. At the same time, they're also in tune with the spirit and focused on sharing the gospel. It's amazing watching people who are so young grow so much and give their lives to helping others.

Elder Furgason is obsessed with pens. OBSESSED. Here he is displaying his collection. Elders West and Shober are photobombing. It's one of my favorite pictures.

Me and Hermana Hall
There are two new districts in our zone! The new missionaries are great, and it's fun getting to know them! One of them is named Hermana Hall, and she and I have hit it off really well! She's just the sweetest person, and the first thing she said to me as we sat down to talk was, "I just looked over at you and couldn't believe how beautiful you were!" She's so sweet and kind!

Hermana Casós and I have been asked to be the new Online Coordinators for our zone, which basically means we show the new missionaries coming in this week how to use the computers. We have no idea what we're doing. We get 22 new missionaries this week - 18 elders and only 4 sisters!! It's going to be CRAZY!!

One of the districts left this week! I'm going to miss them. They were such an inspiration, though. It's crazy to think that I'm already halfway done with my time here!
The district that just left

Well, this email has been all over the place and not at all organized! Thank you for the bathrobe - it's a lifesaver! 

Les amo mucho!

Hermana Garner


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