September 26, 2013
I can't believe that another week has gone by at the MTC. It does not feel like a week ago that I emailed home! I want to start off this letter with the things I forgot from last week and the things that I know I will forget if I don't put them first. :)
First--last Sunday was my first time directing a choir! I was pretty nervous because we hadn't had a lot of time to practice, I haven't directed a choir before, and also, we had very low participation...then when I walked into sacrament meeting, who would be there but the MTC president and his wife, President and Hermana Pratt! I think my heart jumped up into my throat. But I just took a deep breath and hoped for the best. So, when it came time to sing, we had 8 people in the choir (way better than the 4 who came to practice!) and it sounded great. The song "Come Follow Me" always brings the Spirit, and this time was no exception. I sat down afterward and President Pratt smiled at me, so I trusted that the musical number was acceptable. :)
Very exciting news--I have lost 10 pounds since getting here! Hermana Young needed to go to the clinic, and so naturally while we were there we weighed ourselves. I was trying to convert the kilograms into pounds, and I was thinking, "there is no way this can be right!" But it's true! I guess what with exercising, trying to eat a lot of fruit, and working to avoid bread, there is now less of me to love. (I got that expression from you, Daddy. ;) )
I'm so glad you guys like the pictures! This is such a memorable experience and I love being able to share it with you that way. I don't have any new pictures to share this time, but I will make sure to take some for next week (my last P-day in Mexico!!). I am not sick of my clothes yet, but I think some of them might be sick of me...lol I haven't been telling you about my clothes mishaps because I've been trying to pretend that it's not a problem...but here goes. The first week I discovered that one of my black skirts is too short for a missionary (which is a real bummer) so I've been using 7 skirts since I got here. Then, I broke one of my necklaces the first time that I wore it and I have also broken a pair of earrings. As you already know, my tan shoes reject the rain, and this week I discovered that my snowboots are not sealed, so water leaked all the way through my socks, and my rubber overshoes are indeed too small. They hardly fit over my shoes, and when I tried to force them, they started chafing my skin. Lastly, my purple shirt decided it felt alone and needed some purple friends last week. My orange shirt is now a strange shade of mauve/country rose with blue splotches on the front, and my berry pink shirt is now mulberry/primrose. Also, all of my pajamas are purple-tinged. I will never buy tops at Kmart again! lol. When this happened last Thursday, I was super mad, but now I'm not so frustrated any more. Although I now have three shirts that are like three shades next to each other on a paint swatch from Home Depot, at least I have nice tops! I do want to ask you when I get to Chile, though, to send me a couple tops. I have a 1/2 or 3/4 sleeve orange cowl neck top and a yellow half sleeve peasant top with white designs on it that I think would make really nice missionary tops and would revive some color into my wardrobe. :)
I also love YOUR pictures!!! Abby looks so cute and so happy on her birthday! I love her so much. Did Benjamin read my email back to him? It was nice to see a picture of him too.
Thank you for your letter! Sports are getting better little by little...yesterday I hit the volleyball over the net twice! YAY! hahaha...it's the little things in life that deserve celebration. I really like the inspiring words from Enya. This truly is a dream and a journey for me. Whenever I get bogged down in little frustrating daily trials, or have negative thoughts, I strive to remember my missionary purpose and why I came to serve a mission, and then I feel great joy, peace, and love from my Savior. I can't BELIEVE that in less than two weeks I will be in CHILE!!! I enjoy the MTC, but for sure, I am ready to be in el campo (the field).
Last P-day, after we emailed home, our friends Hermana Howton and Hermana Ives heart-attacked our classroom!! Right after the purple clothes disaster, it was so lovely to feel the love of friends. They are so cute and sweet for taking the time to do that for us! (Heart-attacked is when people cut out approximately a million paper hearts, write things on them, and tape them everywhere.)
Fridays are easily my favorite days here at the MTC. We get the opportunity to do a service project, and last week we washed and dried a bunch of chairs and carried them into the cafeteria. It is so fulfilling to help out, and I just LOVE it. Then, after the service project, we get to have a little more time than usual to play volleyball! It is so fun to let our hair down and spend time with friends, since we are usually in class for 10.5 hours a day.
On Saturday, Hermana Young and I taught a very spiritual lesson. Rather than gluing ourselves to a lesson plan, we worked on the principle "teach people, not lessons" and we listened to the Spirit to share what our investigator needed to hear. We were all crying and feeling the Spirit, and so thankful for the lessons in the scriptures about faith.
I don't think I've told you about how they choose who speaks in sacrament meeting here. Every week, everyone has to prepare a talk. We are divided into groups in our branch, and each group has a different topic. Then, after the sacrament, a member of the branch presidency announces who will be speaking. This week, I was asked to speak on the Plan of Salvation. It was my first talk in Spanish, and I think it went pretty well. I know enough Spanish now that I can give a decent lesson and have a respectable conversation. Also on Sunday, we were able to watch an UNBELIEVABLE devotional by Richard G. Scott. It was given at the MTC in Provo in April this year. The message was prayer, leading to my title this week...humilde oración is humble prayer. This devotional changed my life. If you guys can possibly find it on the Internet, I would highly recommend it. My prayers are becoming so much more meaningful each day as I strive to pray in faith and as I consider Elder Scott's beautiful words about prayer. I can't quite put it into words. His lessons on prayer took my breath away. I know that Heavenly Father is really listening to us, that He really cares, and that He loves us and wants to help. I am so thankful for the unbelievable gift of prayer. We also watched two videos, one about the life of John Tanner, a pioneer, and one about Christ called "To This End Was I Born." I cried throughout the entire Atonement movie. I truly stand all amazed at the love that Jesus Christ offers to each of us every day. I hope that I can share that love with people who are looking for it.
Throughout this week, I have been working to strengthen my faith and make my prayers more meaningful. It has been a challenging week, but Heavenly Father has been helping me every day. I am thankful for my patriarchal blessing and a companion who listens are helps me out. A couple days ago we had a torrential rainstorm and the rain was really cold, so it turned into tiny hail. It was crazy and scary, and I was so frustrated that my snowboots failed. But I knew that Heavenly Father was on my side, and that some soggy boots didn't really matter because I am a missionary, and Heavenly Father will watch out for me. I cannot wait for General Conference and for all of the things that I will learn! I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and that He will help us to achieve it. I love you all eternally and I miss you every day! To my sweet Benjamin--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I wish I could be there to see you pass the sacrament, but just know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and that I love you with all my heart! Congratulations on turning 12. You are a rockstar in my book. :)
Abrazos, Hermana Latham