Hello My Dear Family!
How was everyone's 4th of July?!! I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating the wonderful freedoms we are blessed to enjoy in this amazing country! I had a pretty normal day, but we did have a neat little program. Some Elders fiddled together some classic American tunes, had a flag ceremony done by 4 brothers with their eldest brother sitting in the audience as a missionary, we had a great talk given about our country, we watched a neat video showing "the truth marching on" all over the world and saw where all of the missionaries are spreading the gospel!!!! At the end we even had bag pipes played as missionaries paraded in carrying the flag of their country and we finished with a narration about the gospel being restored to the earth by Joseph Smith and singing, "Praise to the Man!" It was pretty great! And then we got a treat! We all went outside, were given Magnum Icecream Bars, and got to stand outside and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks = ) ...I admit I was a little unimpressed and wishing I was at Disney World again watching the greatest fireworks of all...but I went ahead and made it magical...since we couldn't hear the music from the stadium I quietly starting singing, "Wishes, dream a dream, wishes!....And all your wishes will come true!" Lol...it helped bring the magic = )
I can't believe I have been here at the MTC for 3 weeks already! The weeks fly by and I can hardly believe it! This week has been one of much reflection, with deep spiritual experiences. It has felt like more of a heavy week, but at the same time I have been blessed with greater understanding of things, and spiritually lifting moments.
One thing I wanted to share was from our fireside we had last Tuesday. It was given by an Emeritus Seventy from Japan. He counseled us to go to your own sacred grove every day. He stressed how important it was and how precious that time is to commune with the Lord daily. He promised that if we would do this...come to the Lord and spend 30 minutes reading the Book of Mormon every day, that our lives would be changed. I felt of his strong conviction as he said this and he spoke through tears. I know there is no greater blessing. Already in the 3 weeks I have been here I have seen the amazing growth and greater knowledge that have come from having an hour of personal study in the morning. That is the first thing we do. We arise and prepare and then spend 1 hour in personal study to start off everyday. I open with prayer and then feast on the words of Christ. As I have done this I have received personal revelation for my life and work as a missionary, and the spirit is immediately with me and a part of my day. So I just wanted to share that and challenge you to find time to commune with the Lord every day, and see if this promise is not true!
We had In-Field Orientation on Thursday and spent the entire day in workshops learning more about having faith that the Lord will help his work be accomplished through us as we fulfill our callings, making goals daily and weekly and then making plans to accomplish those goals, and learning how important it will be to work with the members in the areas we are placed in. It was fun and they made it very theatrical = )
We had an amazing lesson on Saturday night and I just wanted to share it with you because I know many of you could do the same activity and grow and learn so much, even as I did. Our teacher had us close our eyes and imagine our lives in 20 years. I envisioned my family I would have, their ages, their personalities. I envisioned us interacting in our home and felt the feeling of love that would be there. I saw us sitting around the dinner table talking and laughing, and me looking across the table at my husband whom I would love more than I knew was possible. I thought about what I would want him to think of me. I thought about how I would want my children to feel about their mother. Thoughts came to mind of the kind of woman I would want to be then, and how and what qualities I would want to be known about me by friends and family...it was a happy vision.Then he had us pull out our Patriarchal Blessings and read through them and write down any thoughts or impressions we'd have. I decided to make 3 categories on my paper. I made a list of "What I've Done" "Work I have to do" and "Gifts/Blessings" ....I barely had room left on my paper when I was done! We then wrote down things in our lives that might be keeping us from becoming or accomplishing those things. We walked out to the front of the MTC where we could look out over the mountains. We sang "O My Father" ...the feeling that swelled within my heart could not be contained as we sang "For a wise and glorious purpose thou hast sent me hear to earth" and the tears began to flow as I sang the final verse about returning to our Father and Mother after I have accomplished all they sent me here to do....I felt my chest was going to burst. On our way back, we discarded the paper with the things that were holding us back and then we sat and made a list of 10 things we wanted to become. This was such an amazing experience and it was a way I could unveil and seek revelation for my life's mission. Try it! It will bless your life!!!
Allow me to share an experience I had this week...we had a lot of unexpected things happen on Thursday last week...one of the Sisters in my district went into a seizure in the middle of class as we were practicing teaching. She is doing great now and no harm came to her during it, and it was luckily pretty short...probably only about a minute. But it shook up the class. Many, including myself, had never seen one before. As we waited for the EMT to come, we tried to talk to her and just get a confirmation from her that she was OK...she wouldn't talk and she just buried her hands in her face and started to sob. Her companion knew nothing of her taking medication or even having a history of it...so we assumed that meant it was something she didn't like to share with people. Our class knelt in prayer on her behalf and then we watched our teacher was prompted to share on the Atonement and how our burdens are lifted through them. The 3 of us sisters had to rotate "watches" because she had to be back in the room and rest. I went in to swap with another sister and I had not been in there 5 minutes and I looked over and saw her looking my way and she weakly said, "Hello....I'm sorry you have to stay in here with me." I said, "Hun don't you even worry about that, I am happy to be here and I am here for you...whatever you need, even if you just wanna talk it out..." I saw a look come over her face and she just began to cry as she said, "I'm so mad! I hate this so much!" I crawled up on her bed with her and offered my shoulder for comfort and she cried...she then asked, "Do you get really sick sometimes with what you have? (referring to my diabetes)" In that moment I was grateful...I was grateful that because of my diabetes and experiences I had....especially similar feelings of frustration and hating it...that I could relate to this Sister, that she trusted me and opened up because she knew I had something I had to deal with every day too, and that I could comfort her. We talked for a long time about how it all first started for her and her terrible experiences in losing all of her friends in high school....sitting alone at lunch...and even her own brother not talking to her at school...because once she seized in school everyone saw her differently and treated her differently...and she was abandoned. She didn't know how she could go back to class and she was so embarrassed. I talked with her about similar feelings I had...things I had learned through my trials with health....we related on many levels. She was so upset though because she said it had been 3 yrs since she last had a seizure and she was praying so hard that she would get through her mission without one and she was even praying in the moment because she felt it coming on..and it came anyway...so she felt she wasn't answered. I said, now wait a minute...you mentioned to me that usually your seizures lasted an hour...the one you just had was maybe a minute long if that...I think your prayer was answered...most definitely...maybe not in the way you wanted but I am sure that the Lord had a hand in the fact that it was so short. I told her that maybe that moment and what we experienced as a class after may have been a moment someone else needed...testimonies were built and strengthened that morning without a doubt. She agreed that OK, maybe there was a purpose for that. I shared with her the testimony I had gained...I shared with her how the blessing I received before coming on my mission told me that my diabetes was not by accident, and that Heavenly Father knew what I needed to make me perfect. I told her the same went for her....that because of this physical trial, she would be able to feel and understand others pains...that the Lord knew what she needed to make her the best instrument in His hands. I testified of how these trials brought me closer to the Lord and helped me understand intimately the Atonement, and how I was comforted in knowing there was at least one who knew what I was going through, when other eyes couldn't see it or my heart. We talked for probably an hour and went from tears of sorrow to tears of joy and laughter. I shared with her John 14:18 and she smiled and said thank you.....not 5 minutes after that another sister came to me and asked if she could talk to me about something....I said of course...long story short she was seeking comfort and advice about how to know when she needs to repent of something and her fears of doing so. Again, I was able to relate and teach of the things I had learned and testify of the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement. Then again that afternoon I was teaching a less active couple. The wife had gone blind and deaf in her left ear. She told me of how upset she was when that all happened to her because she was a floral designer and painter...creating beautiful things was her passion. I was able to testify of the seemingly small trial of diabetes and the questions that brought me and how I didn't understand. I then read with her 3 Nephi 17: 7 ....and testified of the healing that comes through our Savior Jesus Christ. That He understands all things and there is a purpose for all things...
This day made me rejoice in my heart to my Father in Heaven for all things He has blessed me with and all the trials I had been through in my life because on this one single day, I was able to bear testimony of the Atonement and my Savior three times. Because of my diabetes, because of my heartache, because I had been there and back, I was able to comfort and lift others. In this one day...I literally felt like Heavenly Father was carrying me around from heart to heart and using me as his tool to patch up a few heartaches and bring understanding and turn hearts to the Savior and a loving Heavenly Father. It literally left me with nothing but a heart full of gratitude and I cry with Nephi in saying, "Oh how great is the plan of our God!"
I hope you are all well and I hope you all keep your eyes towards your Heavenly Father..He will work good in your life and bless you with all righteous desires as you do all you can to walk his path and do what is right. Just always look to Him.
I had so much more I wanted to share but time does not allow. I have completed my 3 weeks of official training and tomorrow I start my Visitor's Center training with a visit to Temple Square!! It is going to be a crazy week of new adventures!!!
All my love!
~ I will be able to write again on Friday so check your emails! = ) XOXO!