Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First Letter from the MTC!

Yo yo yo, fam! I am so excited to finally be e-mailing you guys (or sisters and elders, as they say here)! It feels like it has been so much longer than a week. Time moves so slow and so fast here, and the veterans say that once you make it to Sunday, your time flies. It's the truth!  

Alright, let's get into this. Day one was so good (and just get used to that little saying, it's sort of my MTC motto). When Grandma and Jordan dropped me off, Hailey Bunker was my host missionary! I was so nervous to jump from that car into this crazy new experience, but seeing her smiling face made it so much easier. I felt like the Lord was looking out for me all day, through all the craziness of MTC day one. You get a nametag pinned to you and packets of stuff tossed your way- super overwhelming. I was so excited to see my sweet Sister Bunker that I pretty much sprinted from Grandma's car- Jordan had to get out and hand me my water bottle! Everyone is the nicest here, even when you have the little orange dot on your name tag telling everyone you're a newbie. I have a great district and great teachers. Two companionships are going to Tacoma, such a small world, and the rest of us are going to North Dakota. My companion and I are the only sisters in our district, and we room with two girls going to Vancouver, WA! I adore my companion. Her name is Sister Shutt, and we just laugh all the time. It's been such a blessing to laugh when things are stressful. We have really similar personalities, and I just love her guts. 
Ya know, just an outfit picture

That first night we had all the greenies together for this huge meeting...where we taught investigators! It made me realize that this is the Lord's work, and that everyone has a need for this gospel. We also met our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders that night, and they are simply the greatest people ever. So sweet, so Christlike, and they explained that once you put on that tag, you aren't you anymore. It's the truth. 

Day two was all about being converted to the gospel yourself before being able to convert others. We learned about the study cycle and began utilizing it. You start with a prayer (the norm here), plan for your day and your investigators with your comp, pray again, do personal study based on your planning, pray again, do comp study, pray again, and teach you lesson. It's hard at first, but crazy effective. You really come do know what your investigators needs and what matters to them as individuals. You feel God's love for them through every step of the way, and once you get into that lesson, the spirit can guide you. 
And yet another outfit picture (these pictures and getting wraps at lunch are our biggest strengths as a companionship)!    

We met our branch presidency Thursday night, and Sister Shutt and I were called to be Sister Training Leaders. It's exciting, but also super overwhelming. Today, our new sisters come and our job really starts, but no real work quite yet. I'll tell you how it goes next week! 

Friday was great, but days at the MTC are just long. You have three hour block classes in between teaching appointments and eating, all while trying to study and come closer to Christ. 16 hour days are just killer, and by Friday, I felt so spiritually exhausted. You learn so much here, but I learned on Friday that you can't take your time here too seriously. You have to find time to laugh and relax, or you can't relate to those you teach. At every moment, you have to find joy in this work. I felt such love for my teachers (Sister Thayer and Brother Farrelles) and my incredible district. We had a great class about teaching how to pray, and prayer is just so real. But honestly, pizza Fridays here (with like, actual Papa John's pizza. Not some crummy MTC pizza. Real people food, ya know?) saved me. So blessed for two Fridays of good pizza and trying to have a better attitude. 

On Saturday, Sister Shutt and I taught out investigator, Channy, for the second time, and it was rough, rough, rough. She didn't want to pray and didn't really want to her from us, and we had to serious talk about what we as missionaries were doing wrong. We had sort of hit a brick wall of exhaustion, and our hearts simply weren't in the lesson. We weren't teaching to her needs, and she in turn wasn't responding to our message. Having the spirit with you is just so important, and you have to have some tough experiences in order to become better. And, despite our crummy lesson, we still had an incredible experience later that night as a district when we had a mini testimony meeting. The MTC is a place of extremes for sure, and Saturday to Sunday is just one example of that. We had such a tough Saturday, but Sunday was pure bliss. For the first time since being here, I could relax and ponder and actually breathe. 

Me and my roomies during the temple walk    
I ran into my dear BYU Relief Society President on Sunday (because tender mercies are real) 

Our district during the temple walk. Quite a lot of elders, but it really is great. I just love everyone in our district and zone- we were meant to be!
My fave part of Sunday was watching a talk by David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ". Basically, what makes Christ who He is and what made Him able to live the life He did (so many capital h's back there, #noregrets) is the His character. Elder Bednar explained that when we would turn inward, Christ turns outward. Through trials and afflictions, Christ always focused on the needs of others. It was just the greatest talk, and it left me feeling so whole. He invited us to buy a Book of Mormon and mark it with a specific question in mind- totally doing it! It's already the most incredible experience, and I'd invite all of you to go out and buy yourself a fresh Book of Mormon with a question in mind. It'll change your life, I guarantee it. By the end of Sunday, I was totally back. I felt so good (there it is), and so ready for the new week. 

We taught three lessons on Monday (AHH!!), and they progressively got better. By that third lesson, Sister Shutt and I were unified as a companionship and so in tune. It was our greatest lesson yet, and we even took a celebratory selfie to commemorate our joy afterwards. Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE AUNT LITHIA!! Made my Monday, to be quite honest. Only downside it that I did I little jig upon receiving my package notification, and was rudely informed that dancing is against MTC rules. Lit'really living in footloose over here. Someone send Kevin Bacon. Sister Shutt had a pretty good laugh about that one, haha.  Monday also was the first time Sister Shutt and I had wraps for lunch and OH MAN, changed my life. Made me want to serve a mission. Made my heart feel full and the MTC feel less like a prison. Funny story, Em actually sent a Dear Elder that night telling me to get wraps at meals, and I just laughed. Oh, Emily. So wise, that one. Always wrap at the MTC. Always. Don't even mess around with the other food here. 

Yesterday, we again had three lessons to teach, and we started the day with a member lesson. We prayerfully decided to teach about the Atonement, and we had the most incredible (someone should really keep track of how many times I've written that. I'm losing control) conversation with her. She told us of her personal experiences with the Atonement, and we are able to teach so completely by the spirit. This church is just the truth! 

Also, happy late birthday, Goob! I know you're at camp, but I send a card and hopefully you'll get it as you get home. I love you so much, and I am so proud of my little teenager!!

Today has been great- maybe the best so far. I am definitely typing in my new MTC sweats (they were 100% necessary, obvs) and being the biggest hobo of all time. And honestly, I don't even care. P-day is the b-day, as the subject says. We were able to go the temple this morning, always the greatest. What I really love about being here is the ability we have to just talk about the gospel. We can bounce ideas and talk openly about our questions, which is the most helpful. I am just loving missionary life! It's not easy, but it's the greatest. The gospel is just good, and I love coming closer to Christ each and every day through learning how to teach. 
Sister Carter taking p-day to the extreme (WE LOVE P-DAY) 

Later tonight, Sister Shutt and I get to greet the new newbies- we're the veterans now! One week down and one week to go, but already feeling so nervous and excited to get out in the field. Missionary work is just the best. Have I said that yet? It's the best, just in case I haven't made that clear. I have so much love for everyone in my district, and I know we are all together for a reason. I love laughing with my roommates, Sister Carter and Sister Jacobs, and being able to talk about whatever is on our minds.

Thank you so much for all your emails and letters and love! I love hearing from all of you, and ahh, I loved, loved, loved reading about your weeks today. Mamacita, your letter brought me such joy and happiness. I just giggled through the whole thing, and I'll be anxiously waiting for your package! Thank you so so so much for thinking of little ol' me down here in p-town. Dad, I've seriously loved your Dear Elders! Hearing from you everyday has been such a blessing. Keep writing and keep e-mailing- nothing (but teaching investigators, of course) brings me more joy. P-day is the b-day (best day, lol...should've explained that eons ago) because of all you beauts. 

I love you so much, and I'll talk to you soon! I fly out from Salt Lake at 6, but we have a layover in Minneapolis at 8- so be ready!! I'll e-mail again next week (I think? Maybe? I'm not sure how it works here), but I'll write again real soon. 

Sister Robinson 

The zone leaders took a picture with my camera. They are the greatest ZLs ever. I seriously just adore them.     

Our sweet teacher, Sister Thayer    

Us and our post "incredible lesson" selfie.

Our outifts today post temple (hey Em, take note of that shirt. You're on my mind, chica)

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