July 09, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Amurrica! (Week 4)

Having Carrie Underwood perform right next to us at the BYU football stadiumswas a bit painful.....but at least we got to enjoy some "fuegos artificiales”
Hola familia y amigos!!  Week 4 is done here at the MTC, and I only have 12 days until Mexico!! yayyyy!  Thank you to Katie Barrus, Señora Schmitz, mom, gabrielle, chloe, kyle, and emily crowder for writing me! and for all the emails i recieved!  Last friday we had a mini 4th of July celebration-there was no pool or BBQ involved, but we did get to watch fireworks and have ice cream which was a good enough celebration for me!  Every year they have a concert here for the 4th of July at the BYU football stadium, and Carrie Underwood performed this year. Unfortunately we could not teach and convert here- nor attend her concert hahaha but we still had a great night.  Staying up an hour past our "9:30 curfew" was very liberating to say the least...
Freedom is Never Free:  
people think that Disneyland is the "happiest place on earth" but really the MTC is.... hahahaha
We had a devotional that Friday night about Freedom- the freedom that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemani and died on the cross to pay the price for not only our own sins, but for our burdens, trials, and sicknesses we experience here on earth.  As missionaries, we are inviting people to recognize and enjoy this freedom- this freedom from sin and pain and affliction, freedom to live with God again, and this freedom to be with our families forever.  "Real freedom comes from Jesus Christ and HE is the reason we have freedom".  In 1830 Joseph Smith restored this freedom for the world, and I am so excited to share this restored gospel with others so they can experience the liberating feelings that come through exercising faith in Jesus Christ.  A lot of times people think us Mormons have so many "rules" and "restrictions" but really these principles that we live by are so liberating.  As members of the church, we strive to live a life that leads us back to our Heavenly Father- and he has provided a way for us to do that.  I can't wait to share with people the truths and knowledge that I have, and to bring light to their lives through this "freedom" they can access through Jesus Christ.

Well this week FLEW by.  The first week here was pretty rough just getting used to this new lifestyle, but I can honestly say I am so so happy!  The language is coming along so well, and yes of course you have hard times here but it is so fun being with so many missionaries.  They are moving all our devotionals to the Marriot Center (BYU basketball stadium) because there are so many of us!  Everyday I think to myself:  "How am I so happy and sane?!"  haha in my journal a few days ago this is what I wrote:  "It amazes me how happy I am and how not stressed I am about worldly matters.  I would not be able to do this without the Spirit or Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ.  There is no way!  I would not be sane haha!!  NO one would."  If it weren't for the spirit here, none of us could have the ability to do this work.  You can't describe it to someone- you just have to be in the MTC to experience it!  (for those of you non-Mormons, what I mean by the "Spirit" is the holy ghost who is the third member of the godhead with God and Jesus Christ that acts as a comforter in our lives and confirms religious truths and provides direction in our lives).  When we teach people, it is through the spirit that people really gain confirmation for themselves that the things we are teaching are true.  Missionaries are simply "instruments in the hand of the Lord" and your message has no impact on people if the spirit isn't present.  As we've been teaching our investigator Gabriella, we teach her basic concepts like "God loves you.  You are his daughter.  Christ died for your personal pains and sorrows and understands how you feel"- and there is a tangible spirit in that room and her face just lights up and she explains how warm her heart feels- and that is purely the spirit conveying that message (regarding our investigator- we are lucky to get to actually teach a real investigator because normally they don't let MTC missionaries teach real investigators- normally church members "pretend" to be investigators but a few within the mix are real, interested people and Gabriella is one of those!)  
everyday is so exhausting that you just have to fall on the floor to take a breather hahahah
Last night an apostle, Elder Andersen, gave a devotional all about the Holy Ghost and it was so great.  So many apostles have been giving devotionals here at the MTC lately, and some missionaries never get the chance to hear from any- so i have been so incredibly lucky!  He talked about the miracles we are going to witness on our missions and how we need to wait patiently for the "magic"- it's pretty remarkable already witnessing some miracles here with learning the language.  I have BYU friends here learning italian, french, romanian, korean, mandarin, figian, portuegese, russian, martial islander hahaha literally every language!  And all of us can teach lessons about Jesus Christ and bear witness of what we know to be true.  It's insane how fast we learn these languages- and it's all through the spirit that we can do this.  D&C 84:85 "neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given to you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man"- you have returned missionaries say all the time... "all of a sudden I was just speaking the language so perfectly and it just came out and I had no idea what I had just taught".  it's such a true thing!!!  If you diligently study and prepare for your investigators, Heavenly Father will tell you in your hearts through the spirit what this investigator needs to hear.  D&C 84:88 "and whose recieveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up".  I don't have the ability to be a missionary all on my own- Heavenly Father is blessing me every minute and giving me strength to do this.

They tell us here of the importance to pray specifically for things we need and questions and struggles we have.  In our church, all of our prayers are "personal conversations with God" and we don't have written out prayers that are recited.  We can pray anytime and anywhere.  It's amazing how Heavenly Father really does answer my prayers- hahaha one day I was just feeling really pessimistic and I just said a prayer in my heart that I would have a better attitude and feel love for those around me- and it seriously worked!  It wasn't the minute after I finished my prayer, but throughout the day I really did feel my heart change.  That's just one small example of the many tender mercies I have recieved through prayer.

I know that God wants us to pray and come unto him and when we do, He is more than willing to answer our prayers and help us. D&C 112:10 "be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers"

Today my zone (about 30 missionaries) had the awesome opportunity to clean the Provo temple.  We got to clean by hand the beautiful chandeliers inside- a total of about 150 crystal chandeliers and we only cleaned a few and it took almost 4 hours!!  They deep clean the temple once a year, and it's really neat that I was apart of the missionary group that gets to do that.  The temple is so beautiful, clean, and white inside, with beautiful golden crystal chandeliers.  I can't wait to share with my investigators the beautiful blessings you can recieve in the House of the Lord.

Well- I really am doing so great!  It's pretty hot here in Utah- high 90s all day.  Wednesdays are the best seeing new missionaries come in. I'm a true veteran here.  It gets pretty monotonous here but before I know it, I will be a lost blonde girl wandering the streets of Mexico hahaha 

One last thing I'll leave with y'all is the power of faith.  The world is so focused on needing "facts" to prove everything, and rarely do we just follow the impressions of our hearts.  Have I seen Jesus Christ and God personally?  no.  Did I watch Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon and see his vision of God and Jesus Christ?  no.  Have I prayed and recieved confirmation that this church is true?  yes- and anyone who asks in prayer will recieve this same confirmation!  Moroni 10:4-5 "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask, with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things".  all of us 85,000 missionaries in the world at this second wouldn't be out here preaching to the world if it wasn't true.  Having Faith brings us power:

Alma 32: 21:  "and now as I said concerning faith- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true"
c o n  a m o r
hermana riches  

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