22 February 2013

Semana Cinco

Hola Familia!
Today is my last P-Day in the MTC. I can't beleive it. The days here have slurred together so fast, but I feel like I can barely remember a time when I wasn't here.
The number of days I will be here at the MTC is exactly 40. I feel like that is a significant number because 40 symbolizes "completion." These past two weeks were a little bit more rough on me because I realized that I will be in the feild so soon and I became so much more aware of my deficiencies. I don't think it was enough to bring me down too low, but it was enough to make me realize how much there is for me to learn. I felt like there has been a lot for me to reflect on how I can be doing better, but I just keep continuing in Faith. I hope that I can live up to the 40 days of "completion" I was able to spend here at the MTC. I know that everything I learned here will be a reflection of what I learn and encounter in the feild--- to the extreme of the hard and the good. There is a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley, "Everything you are learning now is preparing you for something else." I know that this is true and that my MTC experience will turn out to be a miny microcosm of my mission, and that my mission will also be a microcosm of my life. I hope that I can thus live it up well and be the best I can!
Last night our teacher asked us to reflect upon what we have learned from the scriptures during our MTC experience here at the MTC. I bore testimony (in Spanish, thank you very much) about how I have learned that the Book of Mormon is TRULY a testimony of Jesus Christ. I beleive that every word testifies of Him. Our purpose as missionaries is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." I know that the Book of Mormon has the EXACT SAME PURPOSE. There is none other book more true than it. I know that it probably does a much better job of bringing souls to Christ than I would with my words alone, but I know I am so glad to have the Book of Mormon as my companion these next 17 months. On page 100 of the Book of Mormon the scripture is 2 Nephi 25:26. Are Mormons Christian? 100%, yes they are. I don't think it was too much of a coincidence that is on page 100 of the English Book of Mormon. A scripture that has become a comfort to me before I head out to the feild is Moroni 10: 32-33. It states that we must come unto Christ and be perfected in Him, denying ourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all of our might, mind, and strength.... THEN by His grace can we be made perfect and thus nowise deny the power of the Holy Ghost. I feel like this is a really applicable scripture because I feel like that is what I am learning to do as a missionary. Not only am I trying to bring souls unto Christ, but I am also bringing myself unto Him as well. I know that I am not perfect, but that through His grace if I do all that I can do that I will become perfected in Him and that I will NOT be able to deny the power of God. 
Thank you family for all of your love and support while I've been here at the MTC. I am also so grateful for my friends who have written me while I've been here. I know that I have written a lot more than I have received, but I am grateful to hear from my friends who have written me because I know that they are such great examples of faith to me and I know that they are there to buoy me up.
I'm nervous to be in Tennessee (but who knows, I could be in Kentucky or Illinois) next week, especially knowing my Spanish could be so much better and who knows what kind of Spanish I will be encountering  out in the South. I'm expecting to come back with a Tex Mex accent, with a Southern slur, so I hope everyone is getting excited for that....
This time next week you might have a postcard from Tennessee! I will be able to call on Monday, so please let try and answer the phone in the morning. I will try and send you more information about my flight plans soon!
Con affecion,
Hermana "Kristy" Rica
P.S. I have found TWO Elder Riches since I have been here. Both were Stateside Spanish speaking.
P.P.S. I got to host on wednesday and I hosted Becky Rhoden! It was so fun, she is headed to Costa Rica so we got talking a lot about what I know. Crazy to think that I am experienced enough here at the MTC to be hosting!

15 February 2013

Semana Quatro

I think I told you a lot about Elder Clark's talk last week about conversion. Since then, ALL of our MTC talks have been focused on conversion. It makes me realize the reality of true conversion and not just baptizing people who have testimonies. We can baptize people who have testimonies, what when the going gets tough are they going to hold on strong? 
So today was my birthday and P-Day. One of the greatest combinations if you could ask me. We were able to go the temple today and then we have TRC tonight. Last week was my first experience with TRC. I really loved it! It felt like a way more genuine experience because we were working with real people and not just our teachers posing as investigators. We got to talk to them and help them through their real problems. Our old roommates who were English speaking here in the MTC were able to talk to an investigator of the church and she is getting baptized! They were super excited about it. She told them that they were exactly what she needed and that she had been on the edge about baptism but they were the push that she needed. Back to Hermana Sasser and mine's teaching experience with TRC....The spirit was so strong in our lesson! It was a really great experience and I felt like the spirit was able to flow through us even though our language was pretty weak. 
My spiritual thought for the week is a quote from St. Francis of Assisi (?)He said:
"Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." 
I think that that is a really applicable quote to us as missionaries who are learning a language here at the MTC. One of my companion's and mine problems is that we say too much and don't involve our investigator as much as we can. I think a big thing that has to do with that is because we try so hard to work around the language and then end up saying way to much. But I really do beleive that you can preach the gospel by the way you live. Our most recent devotional speaker talked to us and told us that we are the second scriptures for our investigators. We are the second witness that this church is true and that is how we live our lives. Great thought, right? I hope that I can always live up to being a good example of the truth of this church.

Before I go I will have to tell you about a WONDERFUL experience that I had today when I went to the temple. It was great that I was able to go to the temple on my P-Day! When we were in the Celestial room I poured my heart out in thanks for this opportunity to be a missionary. Since I am turning 20 today I realized that my 20th year will be a full birthday year in dedication to the work and to the Lord. I prayed long and hard that I will live up to giving the most that I can during this 20th year. I know I may not be perfect at all times, but I hope that I will always try to be the best that I can and give the best that I can. I prayed for more charity and to think outside of my self during this 20th year. Another great quote that I love is "Charity isn't selective" I hope that as a missionary I can always give charity to everyone and that my heart will grow ten times larger!
One last thing, as Sister Sasser and I were leaving the temple guess who I saw? The Lovely DANIA FRANDSEN. It was like a scene from a movie. We were walking out and she was walking in to do baptisms. We were 30 yards away from each other and we paused. Realized we saw each other and than ran and hugged and cried and hugged some more. It was one of the best birthday presents I could have received. It was so great to see her. I know that the Lord orchestrated us to be at the temple at the same exact time. It was so great to see her and has probably been one of the best things which could have happened to me today.

03 February 2013

Semana Dos

Hola Familia!
I don't feel like I have a lot to say about what has happened this week. I've missed out on half of the activities because I've been sick, but that's okay because I guess that gives me more time to talk about what went on last week!
Something that I wanted to talk about in my letter last week was my testimony of Priesthood Blessings. After a week of being here I was getting super tired and having a hard time focusing sitting through what is basically 9 hours a day sitting in the same classroom. I was getting pretty frusturated and I knew that a lot of that was because of my hypothyroidism. I decided to ask my district leader and his companion for a preisthood blessing. I'm so glad I did. It was such a cool experience and I'm also sure that the elders really enjoyed the opportunity. During the blessing I started to feel tear drops on my arms and I realized that they weren't my tears but the elder who was giving me the blessing. It was such a tender experience! I haven't had that happen since I received my Patriarchal Blessing.
Since I've been here at the MTC we have heard from several General Authorities. We have heard from David F. Evans of the seventy twice, L. Whitney Clayton of the first presidency of the seventy, Sister Wixon (the general primary president) and Sister Burton (the general RS president). They have all spoken about how excited they are about the new changes in the missionary age. You wouldn't even beleive how many new missionaries we have gotten here at the MTC. I'm pretty sure we will double in size by the time I leave in February! There are some rumors about how they will be handling all of these missionaries, but we aren't supposed to leak too much information out. It is definitey going to be an exciting time for the church. The majority of the missionaries in my zone are 18 year old elders or 19-20 year old sisters. Something that David F. Evans and his wife said was that we are going to have to grow up fast as missionaries because we WILL be training after 12 weeks in the field and probably the entire time we are in the field. I know that that is probably true of the Nashville Spanish group because there really aren't that many Hermanas out serving right now.
The language is coming a little rough still. It feels like I've been here at the MTC for forever though. Since I've been so sick I haven't been able to use my voice since Tuesday, so it is a little dissapointing that I am missing out on working on the language. My companion is improving in the language a lot though. We taught a lesson a couple of days ago and it was probably the best lesson we could have given. We've been working on memorizing the baptismal invitation in Spanish and I'll tell you that it is probably one of the most powerful things I could memorize in Spanish. The other day we made a "contact" (who was really our teacher) and my companion and I decided to invite him to baptism on the first visit. It was probably one of the most powerful things ever. We felt a little silly doing it at first, but there is a lot of power in the invitiation, the spirit just couldn't help but not be there for us.
Sorry to keep this email short, I LOVE YOU ALL.
Please use Dear Elder to write me, remember it is FREE in the MTC.
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich
p.s. I got a pretty funny letter from  my distant cousin Elder James Skidmore. He wrote in the return address "Elder Hot Boyfriend" and then made it look as romantic as possible. In the letter he wrote "Hey prima! Hope your district leaders got a kick out of that..." It was pretty funny because that same day I got a couple other letters from elders and so my district had  lot to get on my case about.

Semana 1

Semana Uno in el CCM
Como estan? I sincerely hope you are doing bien because I have been praying for you in the MTC. Funny story actually, I was praying outloud with my district and I said 'Bendiceles nuestras familia con gozo y pan". I didn't even realize what I had said until an Elder in my district started laughing. What I meant so say was "con gozo y paz"..... Either way, I think that my prayer was pretty poetic, and I also hope that you had lots of yummy pan to eat this week.
How is the family doing? Today was my first P-Day in the MTC and my zone was able to go to the Temple. It was such a good break from being in classes all day. I put David Gow's name on the prayer roll. Keep me updated on how he is doing. Please also keep me updated on how my mission president's wife is doing. I've talked to a couple of other missionaries who are going to my mission and they have only heard just as much as I have.
So.... the MTC. It feels like I've been here FOREVER. When you first get here everyone tells you "Just make it to Sunday and it will get easier." My companion and I kept thinking that that was really weird, but Sunday really has made all of the difference. The days have seemed to go by a lot faster since then.
My companion is Hermana Sasser. She would tell you that she is from all over, but she is most recently from Mesa, Arizona because that is where her family lives right now. She was already planning on serving a mission before President Monson's announcement. She took a year off from school before her mission to start raising money for the mission-- she even lived in Korea last year as a nanny, so it is kind of fun to exchange stories with each other. Hermana Sasser is headed to the Argentina Resistencia mission. Since I am in intermediate spanish barely anyone from my district/zone is going to the same mission. Most of my zone is actually going stateside spanish, including two elders who will be going to the Utah Provo mission speaking Spanish. Something that I wanted to write about this week is how much love I already have for my district. It is INCREDIBLE. I respect these missionaries so much. My district includes me and Hermana Sasser and two Elder companionships.
Elder Parry and Elder Hobbins remind me of the Elders from "Saturday's Warriors." They discovered that they had the same birthday (February 18) on the first day... obviously their companionship is divine because they, like the companions in 'Saturday's Warriors," must have planned to be companions in heaven. I mean they came down from Heaven on the same day! (Thanks for humoring me, haha, but really my companion and I can't help but breaking out into "In our humble way" every once and a while. (Yes, I am super blessed to have a companion who is able to make "Saturday Warriors" references with me, haha). Elder Parry is from Bountiful and is going to Phoenix on his mission and Elder Hobbins is going to Kennewick, Washington. Elder Hobbins is also our district leader and his from California. I can't even describe to you how much I love these Elders. They are both 18 and were ready to put their mission papers in immediately after President Monson's announcement. We actually joke that Elder Parry was the first missionary to put his in because he submitted his papers 20 minutes after the announcement (He already had his papers done with his Stake President but his availability date wasn't until his birthday in Feburary, so all he had to do was change it to after the semester.)
Our other Elders are Elder Wallentine and Elder Ashcraft. Elder Ashcraft doesn't turn 19 until April, so the announcement was a pretty big deal for him as well. He is going to the Oregon Eugene mission and he is from Hurricane, Utah. Elder Wallentine already had his call before the announcement, since he was already 19, and he is going to the Chile Santiago East mission.
I feel so close with my district, it is incredible. I guess that is bound to happen when we spend probably 10 hours together in the same room with each other everyday. My love for my district happened only after a couple of days being together. Something I was thinking a lot about on Sunday was that if I could develop such a strong relationship with them so fast, I can't even imagine what it will be like developing a relationship with the people that I teach.
The language hits you hard the first day. My companion and I had to teach an investigator in Spanish on our third day here.It was pretty nerve-wracking, but somehow we were able to bring the spirit with our little/broken Spanish that we had. The spirit here at the MTC is incredible. I can't even describe it. I love the variety of missions that my district and zone are going to because it makes me so excited for how the work is going to grow.
There is so much that I could write about being here. On Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder Richard F. Evans in the seventy. Him and his wife talked a lot about obedience. It was so great. They also spoke on our first day here at the MTC and had us memorize our mission purpose in spanish and D&C 31;3. I gain so much strength from that D&C scripture. I hope to be able to write a lot to you tonight because my time on the computer is almost up. I hope that I can hear more from you soon.
"Hermana Rich"