June 25, 2014

Chocolate and Good Music Warm the Soul (Week 2)

mamariches pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are a success in the MTC
First I wanna make a big shout out to mamariches- your *muy delicioso* pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and chocolate chip cookies were a big hit here at the MTC.
 Chocolate really is a cure- when you have 17 hour days a nice baked good hits the spot.  I wanna thank all those again who sent me mail this week!! (Ted/Michelle, Grammy/Grandmpa, mom, Chloe Bray, the Walker Fam)- You can also go to DEARELDER.COM type in my info, and send me an "email" that the MTC prints out and delivers to the missionary the SAME day for free! THanks to chloe bray for sending me my first dearelder letter ;)

This week went by a lot faster than the first- time is really starting to pick up the pace!!  It's nice no longer being "freshman" here at the MTC- we're moving up in the ranks.  It's nice to be "sophomores" and to see the new missionaries come in each week- like little deer in the headlights haha!  Also- this goes out to Jordan riches- my black "nacho libre-nun- incarnación" shoes you mocked me for getting have been WONDERFUL hahahaha no blisters for me! ;)
Us being really cool in front of the famous missionary biking sculpture haha
So much to discuss from this week!!! here are some highlighted subjects we discussed:

MISSIONARIES AREN'T SIMPLY TEACHERS:  It's cool how here at the MTC we really focus on how we aren't going to all these different countries and states just so we can teach others about our beliefs- we are seeking to establish friendships where we can instill new hope and happiness into people's lives and to tell them that there IS a God who knows and loves them.  Not only are we going to experience changing lives, but a "mission is just as much about the missionary as it is the convert"- Holland.  Missions strengthen the person serving as well- God could easily send down an army of angels and have them perform miracles among the people on this earth- but he doesn't.  He knows that missionaries need just as much of a "faith booster" as the people being taught.  As they repeatedly tell us:  "You can't convert someone beyond your own conversion".  We also have focused a lot on how charity is the most important quality that a missionary should have- we wear a badge everyday with christ's name on it and it's our responsibility to show tat same compassion and kindness to others-.Our message means nothing if we do not express charity.  This obligation can bring a lot of pressure!  My teachers always remind us that we have the obligation to take on some of the responsibilities of Christ- to tend to their needs and struggles and to love them as God loves them.  It's pretty crazy to fully understand and comprehend this obligation we have.  

PERFECTIONISM:  perfectionism is a big problem in our world today and especially in our church- we seem to always compare ourselves to others, and we form expectations for ourselves that EXCEED what is asked of us.  I know that I struggle with this- along with so many other missionaries here.  We tell ourselves that we need to master the language as soon as possible, that every principle of doctrine needs to be taught with fluidity and exactness, and we expect every lesson to go perfectly well- and this isn't what's asked of us!  One scripture that I often read is Ether 12:27 "and if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will i make weak things become strong unto them." I often get frustrated because I don't have a "perfect study plan" or I don't know how to perfectly explain a concept in spanish- and I set expectations for myself that are way above what God expects of me.  This experience has humbled me in that I know that I NEED to rely on prayer to make me stronger.  As I've solely relied on the Lord to help me with my weaknesses, He has given me the power and the assurance to become stronger.  It's important to always remember that "the destination is not as important as what we've become on the way".

DILIGENCE:  diligence defines everything we do as missionaries haha.  Every minute of the day is planned out-
- what we are studying
- how we are studying
-when we are studying
-where we are studying
- who we are teaching
-how we are teaching
- what we are teaching
- what we are eating each meal
- how we're exercising
- where we're going to be at every specific time

every night as companionships we plan for the next day all those things listed above in our little missionary planner haha.  Now i know why returned missionaries are so diligent!  Being lazy isn't an option here.  As President Monson says: "when performance is measured, performance improves.  when performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates".  Every minute I am doing something in preparation for the people of mexico and it's such a great feeling!  It's hard being here and not having any "real" people to teach, but I know that I need to make the most of my time here at the MTC.  Our teacher gave us this quote:  "When i find myself away from my [missionary] duties by other interests, and when my body begs for rest, i give to myself this rallying cry:  Remember Him! The Lord is our perfect example of diligence.  He is our captain.  He called us.  He goes before us.  He chose us to Follow him and to bring others to us"- Pres. Eiring.  I know that these 18 months are going to go by so quickly and it's important that i really make the best use of my time!

SUNDAY DEVOTIONAL:  We had the honor of hearing from Janice Kapp Perry ( well known LDS composer).  She was such a delight to listen to.  She focused her talk on the power of music and how hymns always invite the spirit.  One of the highlights of my time here so far was she had all us 1200 missionaries stand together and sing a medley of "As sisters in zion" and "armies of helaman"- a little change she added was she changed the lyrics of "as sisters in zion" and created lyrics for sister missionaries.  SHe added these lyrics changes these past year, and it's just so special to be apart of the sister missionaries who she wrote this for.  We all stood and sang together, and the power of all of us singing brought tears to everyone's eyes- I looked around at the Elders and they all had their arms around each other and smiled and laughed as they saw how emotional they all were hahaha.  I can't even put into words the unity that was felt in that room as all of us are doing this work together, along with the other 85,000 missionaries around the world.
we go to church right next to the BYU football stadium....serious nostalgia
#selfysunday with BYU homie elder whitmarsh!
TUESDAY DEVOTIONAL:  so this week, there is a big training here at the MTC for roughly 150 new mission presidents- so all the 12 apostles and the prophet are here working with them.  Last night we had the chance to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson and on the stand sat 5 other apostles- this was such a rare and exciting opportunity to have all of them at the MTC devotional.  All of us missionaries sang "Praise to the man"- and again, it was just so powerful.  I wish you all could've heard us!  All of the new mission presidents were sitting in front of us, and they and the apostles were just all watching us with biggest smiles on their faces.  Music reallly does bring so much power and conviction (hahaha funny story- so the devotionals are broadcasted to all other MTCs in guatemala, brazil, mexico, africa, new zeland, spain, England, Chile, columbia, philipines... i'm forgetting rest, and while we're singing they film us all and during our practice, the camera zoomed RIGHT in on my face and i just started laughing and basically died hahaha cuz the huge screen is directly in front of the room and everyone just looked and laughed at me- that was my claim to fame- having my face broadcasted in front of the whole MTC)  anyways, D. Todd Christofferson's talk was so well done- his talk focused on the worth of souls and how they are great in God's eyes.  He began to reinforce the idea that only satan has the ability to "destroy our souls" and convince us all that "sin can obliterate the value of our soul".  This is entirely false, for God sees every individual human being on this earth as one of his children, and no matter what sin they have committed, they can repent and be forgiven and cleansed through the atonement of christ.  Some quotes include "there is no greater work than what you are doing"  "greatness is you forgetting yourself and losing yourself in the work of god" " charity is a spiritual gift that we must ask for and pray for"  "we must see individuals through god's eyes"  "when we love them, they will have faith in christ and themselves"  "they will sense their own individual worth when we share charity and love those we teach" "heighten your awareness of your OWN potential" "This experience will both excite and humble you" "you will sense and know christ's love and trust in you" "you're nothing in this work without christ" "this restored gospel gives you reassurance that you do not walk alone"  "your faith in god reflects his faith in you"  "He's put you a little below the angels and crowned you with glory"  "i testify that your soul is precious in God's eyes"  "missionaries stand as companions with the apostles"- at the end of his talk he blew us all a kiss goodbye- it's so amazing how he is speaking to us directly.
Needless to say, this talk and all the other wonderful speakers we hear from really instill the importance and seriousness of this calling as missionaries.  I need to love the people of mexico in the same way that god loves them- i need to see them through his eyes.  That's not easy to do all the time!  We all know people who rub us the wrong way, but we need to always ask ourselves the same question:  "how does God see this child of his?"  Being here, I have been made well aware of my weaknesses and how much I need to rely on my Heavenly Father.  Alma 26:12 "yea I am nothing, as to my strength i am weak, therefore I will not boast of myself but i will boast of my god, for in his strength i can do all things"
Wednesday temple day
here is our missionary purpose en Español

A invitar a las personas a venir a cristo al ayudarlas a que reciben el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en jesucristo y su expiación, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del espiritu santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin.

Today was great as usual- getting to rest and get out in the "real" world- everyone loves seeing us missionaries haha we're like celebrities- little kids just run up to us and love to say hello.

well, cheers to another great week here at the MTC!  THe spanish is getting better and more comfortable, and this week we will be teaching even more "fake" investigators- my hour is up.....so see ya next wednesday!
shout out to CHLOE BRAY. WE MISS YOU!!!!
c o n  a m o r
hermana riches


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