I finally figured out how to print your emails, read them, and then log back on to save time here on the email. The timer is really scary... But thank you all so much for your emails. I love hearing from you and knowing how loved I am. I cannot lie, it's hard being away without a really strong support system that's in front of me every hour, but I am doing well. The teaching is great. This pilot program has us teaching anywhere from 1-3 lessons a day, minus P-day and Sundays. We are teaching a ton and the experience really builds confidence. I've learned so much and now that I'm typing... it's all left my head. Great.
Well, I'll tell you what I do remember. The "oldest" district left last Tuesday and it was really sad, even only knowing them for 5 days. The next district is leaving tomorrow and these are 8 Elders that we got really close to in the last 1.5 weeks. 4 of them are going to Illinois, so I told them to look up Cacia and Robert, Angie and Chris. We took a ton of pictures of everyone on our Sunday temple walk and I'm not sure how to do it electronically here at the MTC without wasting time so I'll get those printed out and sent your way here soon. They are crazy though. It's great just having someone to learn with and from. During one of our zone studies, we had Week 3 teach week 2 (I'm week 2) and vice versa. We got a 20 minute lesson, 20 minutes to prepare, and then go back for another 20 minute lessons. My investigator committed to be baptized! Woo! That's something that I'm learning here that was different when I was investigating this church. I thought baptism was the "hit or miss" of it all. If you commit to being baptized, you're golden, and you don't have to do much afterwards. Now, once we teach and have the people find out for themselves if this is true and something they want to continue with, we invite them to come unto Christ to be baptized in His name, and then there are more critical things to come afterwards. I thought the Elders knew everything... now that I'm in this position, I realized that they were very good actors. This is hard. It's hard to be in tune with the Spirit constantly. I pray so often, because I have to. We can't do anything correctly without having the Spirit here with us. I've tried both ways. I am nothing without the Holy Ghost.
Last week during the Tuesday devotional, we had ... someone.... speak. At the end of his talk, he told a story of a missionary who was having a really hard time in the field. he wanted to go home because he didn't believe he could do this work. The mission president said go back to the apartment and talk to me Sunday. The president prayed continually for guaidance on what he should do about this Elder. He felt he had received nothing. When that day came, the mission president and the missionary sat down, knee to knee, and stared at each other for 15 minutes without a word being uttered. Finally, the mission president decided he had to say something. he didn't know what. He didn't want this missionary to go home, for he knew of the blessings he would receive by working out here in the field and the people that were waiting to see him and have him teach them. The mission president leans forward, puts his hand on the Elder's shoulder, and says "Elder, I promise you that if you stay out here, you will conquer the 7-headed dragon".
He continued to share with us how we had no idea where that came from. He knew absolutely nothing of a 7-headed dragon. His mind was unsure of what his mouth said. Suddenly, the Elder starts weeping. he reaches into his jacket and pulls out a notecard. Drawn on this notecard was a 7-headed dragon. Before his mission, he and his stake president went over the 7 fears this elder had and was trying to overcome.
The mission president had no idea. But the lessons here is the spirit will help us in our moment of need. We need to just be faithful and believe in Christ.
I'm learning a ton out here. I can't even begin to write out everything that is happening. I've been writing in my journal of the really important things so hopefully when I get home (17 months! ha!) I can go back and compare these two records and share all my experiences with you all in full.
Yeah, angels walk the halls here. Casey was right. I have been meeting so many incredible people. I found Jessica Black (old roommate), Kimberly Romrell (really old roommate), Robin Char (a young man from my ward last semester), Mitchell Garey (who you wouldn't know, but he was in my I-Team group a couple semesters ago), Whitney's cousin, Elizabeth, and I'm sure there are more... but those are the ones that keep reappearing.
I received a letter from Grandma Claridge. Please, someone thank her for me! There wasn't a return address for her to write to. If you want to forward this to her, I'm fine with that! Mam-ma Jo, too.
I look forward to any letters that come my way. It helps lift me up, especially since I get along better with the Elders than with the Sisters. I'm not much of a girl sometimes... ha.
Well, my time has come to an end. Yes, Mom please post this on my blog. And Dad, expect a hand written letter from me soon. I have more things to tell you but I don't have time to write an email today. And Henry, if I come home and you have broken bones, I will not be happy. Understood? I'm glad Sam gets to experience that bed. It was good to me while I was there. Oh and hey! Say hi to the seminary students for me! I was thinking about them and miss them. Maybe one Friday you could have them write me letters... eh? I did receive a letter from Heather from Germany. How cool!
Well, maybe when I'm not so rushed I'll send off another snail mail letter. My mind goes blank when I see that annoying red timer in the corner. 1;20 left...
I really want to bear my testimony of why I'm here and about this restored gospel,. but instead I'm going to leave you with this. I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet and through him the restored true gospel from God was restored. I love you all and I hope to hear from you soon!