Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Teaching Through Song!

Okay, SO much happened this week I'm a little worried about being able to type it all fast enough!! Gaah!!

On Wednesday we had a lesson with our TRC investigator, Viridiana. We were teaching her about the atonement and the importance of prayer. At the end of the lesson, we'd planned to ask her to read Enos as a commitment, but the more we spoke to her the more it just didn't feel right. I felt really prompted to ask her to read Moroni 7, but the crazy thing is I couldn't remember ANYTHING that was in Moroni 7, even though I'd read it recently!! I opened my scriptures to skim over it, but it was in Spanish and I really couldn't understand it that quickly! So I took a leap of faith and committed her to read it. Afterwards, when I got back to the classroom, I read it in English and SO MUCH of what's in that chapter directly addressed her concerns and questions! It was really amazing! The spirit truly will bring things to your remembrance, even if you're not completely sure what it is you're remembering in the moment! It was truly another miracle I've experienced since being here!

Thursday - we sang an arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" in the morning. It was the first meeting of the mission president seminar, and almost all of the twelve apostles were there. We didn't see them, though, because we were standing in front of them while singing, but knowing that we were asked to invite the spirit into this seminar before anyone even spoke was such a humbling and powerful experience. I felt the spirit so strongly and definitely teared up as we sang, as I was able to share my testimony through song. As we left the room, the person conducting the meeting got up and simply said, "We're all here because He lives." It was a powerful moment when everyone in the room could feel the truthfulness of that song.
Picture of the choir singing taken from the Deseret News, Hermana Garner is 6th from the right
The next morning, while we were practicing for the next performance, Elder Baxter (a General Authority Seventy) came in with his wife and thanked us for our performance. He told us about his and his wife's conversion stories, and I felt even more of a desire to get into the field and share the gospel. Afterwards, he thanked us again for singing, and said, "You didn't sing a song, you said a prayer." I teared up at that, because I'd felt the day before and I knew that our performance was a fulfillment of the promise in D&C 25:12, which is my favorite scripture.

Also on Thursday - after we finished singing at the seminar, we went to practice our song for the next day, and two investigators happened to see us and follow us into the room. We were able to sing for them, and the spirit was so strong! They didn't speak English very well, but the woman said, "I didn't understand most of the words, but I felt it." It was a powerful moment when I saw what is truly the Gift of Tongues in action. They don't need to understand my words completely to understand the message, because the spirit will teach them. It was almost a more special moment than performing in the seminar itself.

So, on to Friday - our second performance was also incredibly spiritual and powerful; we sang an arrangement of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer," and the message really stuck out to me - the message of the majesty and mercy of the atonement and that He truly can take all our pains, guilt, sorrows, and afflictions away from us if we only turn to Him.

Later that afternoon, we had another rehearsal as a choir, so we could practice "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" for the next day. Brother Eggett (the choir director) decided to change the way we were standing, and he put us into "companionships" of sorts, alternating between sisters and elders. Then, he had us sing the song without him directing it, focusing on teaching those people who were in front of us and testifying to them. He kept saying, "Don't sing - teach." It was an incredibly powerful experience, and I felt the spirit rush into the room as we all did so. 

Then, when we were done rehearsing, we were about to leave, but President Bertasso (in the MTC mission presidency) told us that the cafeteria, where the stage was, was open if we wanted to go up there and practice quickly. We did, and guess who was sitting in there? ELDER ANDERSON! He and his wife were waiting for something, and we got to go in and perform basically just for him. They were smiling so brightly, and it was such a privilege to see our testimonies touch him as we sang.  As we started leaving, he stood up and shook our hands, thanking us each individually. It was a wonderful experience, and I felt the spirit confirm to me once again that he truly is an apostle and prophet of the Lord.

OKAY, now for Saturday - WOW! So, in the morning, as we were practicing before our last performance at the seminar, ELDER BEDNAR just walked into the room with his wife! He spoke to us for a little bit, thanking us for sharing our talents and bringing the spirit. Sister Bednar was so complimentary, and it was such a humbling experience! Even though we didn't get to shake their hands or anything, it felt so personal and individual, and I could feel their love for us. The apostles and their wives truly are amazing people! 

When we performed that day, ALL members of the twelve apostles were there AND President Eyring and President Uchtdorf! How awesome is that?? It was such a special experience to be able to sing about that amazing vision that Joseph had in the grove and bring the spirit into that room to preface President Uchtdorf's talk. And I loved that we got to look directly at the audience rather than at a director, and really focus on telling them the story. It was so powerful.

That night, I MET MY MISSION PRESIDENT!!! President Wheeler and Sister Wheeler are SO amazing!! They were so excited to meet us, and so fun and happy! They're also so obviously in love with each other, and Sister Wheeler made fun of her husband the whole time because he couldn't stop talking. I really, really love them and I'm so excited to get to Gilbert and serve under them! We were the first missionaries that they interacted with who are going to their mission, so it was really special! We'll be the first new missionaries they get in the field!

​Me with President Wheeler and Sister Wheeler!
So, there are about 170 missionaries in my mission, even with how small it is, but only FOURTEEN of them are Spanish speaking, INCLUDING me!! I was the only Spanish speaking person here in the MTC, and there are four other sisters and nine elders in the field. But President Wheeler said that some of them might even be going home!! Que loco!! It makes me more determined than ever to learn this language so I can help others come unto Christ and feel the spirit!

There were four sisters and seven elders going to Gilbert. They're all English-speaking, and we're all leaving on the same day, even though they JUST got here last Wednesday. It was fun to meet them! 

Me with the English sisters going to Gilbert!​
​All of the missionaries in the MTC going to Gilbert!​
Half-Christmas! Our beautifully wrapped presents

That night was super fun, because after we finished classes and studying, we had half-Christmas as a district (since it was exactly 6 months until Christmas). We each had a $2 limit and we bought little gifts (or took things from our room) for a white elephant gift exchange. It was absolutely hilarious. But the gifts were things like a Japanese Book of Mormon, a bottle of vinegar, breathmints, and other silly things we could get from the bookstore. We were all laughing so hard by the end of the night, and we grew so much closer as a district. It was probably one of the funnest nights of my life, if I'm being honest, just because of the pure joy and love in that room.

OKAY, now for yesterday - We decided as a district to "fast" from English for the day. And though it wasn't perfect (there were people who forgot at different points and such) it was a cool experience. We started and ended our fast with a prayer, and we all tried to gently remind each other throughout the day. I feel like I learned so much more Spanish yesterday, and I want to try to speak it more often 

Hermana Casós and I taught a new investigator yesterday in TRC. Her name's Sofia and she's AMAZING!!! She has such a strong testimony already and is just the sweetest person and so fun and easy to talk to! And even though she spoke fast, I understood most of it, which was such a blessing!!

OKAY, now onto some of my studies for this week! I just finished Alma and am going into Helaman and there are SO many stories and things that I would love to share, but I just don't have time! I would just say, reread Helaman. There are so many amazing stories that we don't often talk about in the church, but they're SO incredible and miraculous!

There's so much more I could say, but I hardly have any time left! I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful for the experiences I'm having here!

Les amo MUCHISIMO!!!

Hermana Garner

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