Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011 – Provo MTC

Hola mi familia!   :)

I am so happy!  I'm spontaneously whistling Christmas songs in the bathroom, able to laugh at myself while I'm learning, and am so grateful for mis companeras.  The funnest whoopsie this week was while I was trying to pronounce "autoridad", and while trying to make the "au" sound, made a [semi quiet] Hermione/werewolf-esque "AaaahhhhhoooOOOOOO!" in our classroom....   I busted out laughing with mis companeras, and eventually went into silent laugh mode incapacitated on my desk...  yeah, Espagnol is fun.  :)  And my district (four companionships in our district, four districts in our zone) said they had never heard me that much before.  :)  I'm getting closer at pronouncing my "r"s right too!  :)

I'm also learning how to play volleyball!  We have 50ish minutes of gym time every day, and mis companeras took a whole gym period to teach me how to bump, set, and spike.  I'm so grateful!  Now at least I cognitively know what to do when the ball comes at me, even if I still have to conquer that strong urge to duck...  :)  But yesterday was a milestone: I SPIKED MY FIRST BALL!  :)

I'm learning and relearning the importance of having faith and not letting myself be discouraged.  A speaker this week said MAYBE we could have permission to let ourselves be discouraged five minutes a week, but we had to do so in the bathroom where we couldn't pull anyone else down.  I testify that as we center ourselves on Christ faith replaces fear.

One of our Zone leaders bore his testimony and I was touched by what he shared.  He said that in the New Testament, a lad gave his tiny bit of food, two barley loaves and seven small fishes, to the Savior who took it, blessed it, and made it enough to feed thousands.  He testified that the Savior can take what small amount we give Him, bless it, and make it enough to bless thousands.

Yesterday I was touched by 3 Nephi 27: 13 "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you--that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me."  (emphasis added)

I was reminded of the Savior's words in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not my will but Thine be done."  When I have tasks appointed to me that I don't want to do, it should and can be enough to do it just knowing that "My Heavenly Father wants me to do this.  He will prepare a way for me to do so." 

I love you LOTS!  Via con Dios!

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept. 26, 2011 – Provo MTC

Hola, mi familia!!!  :)

I'm excited to email you tonight!  My p-day is on Thursdays (the day I'm allowed to write letters and email), but we have special permission to write today because this is our first week. 

I love mis companeras!  I'm in a companionship with two awesome sister missionaries, Hermana Sm. from Wyoming and Hermana Su. from Hawaii.  Both know more Espagnol than I do, and are thankfully very diligent at speaking it whenever they can.  I'm grateful for their example.  I’m grateful for their patience as I take so long speaking and ask a lot of fairly basic questions. I’m also grateful for the relative openness we have to positive feedback and critique. 

Even though I felt the Spirit often my first couple days, I was fairly emotional all through Saturday.  Transplant shock has been hard.  No wonder tomato seedlings keel over when we first take them outside from the basement.  I felt so overwhelmed with all the Espagnol our maestros speak.  So much.  And I understand so little.  I didn’t know that in here in the MTC the public school second language basics of alphabet, colors, pronouns, and numbers are just skipped.  We first learned (memorized) how to introduce ourselves, then how to pray, then how to testify.  All very basic, but that meant I needed to teach myself the alphabet including how to pronounce all the sounds (mis companeras had to repeat the "r" sound many times).  I’m grateful for the resources we’ve been given to help us learn. 

On Sunday I was walloped by a burst of homesickness.  I finally started reading my "The Living Christ" flashcards and felt a beautiful sensation of peace and love.  I felt assured.  I was touched by the scriptures in D&C 88: 67-69.  We find peace and are filled with purpose and light when we focus on our Savior.  I won't feel better dwelling on thoughts of home, but I allow myself to receive the Spirit and Christ’s love when I focus on Him, not me. Another motto I’ve learned while here: I'm serving Christ for 18 months so that other families can be together forever.

An empowering lesson from a fireside on Sunday focused on distinguishing between the Holy Ghost and Satan (what I called "lighties" and "darkies" in my talk).  The speaker talked about how Satan is doing all he can to thwart us from doing the Lord’s work.  When we think thoughts of doubt and despair, remember that "It’s not that I can’t do it.  It’s that Satan doesn’t want me to do it!"

Today I proved with mis companeras that it is indeed possible to not be where you’re supposed to at the MTC.  We were told to go to a certain room in a building for a service project, an "Elder" (male missionary) let us in, and we found out that it was an Elder apartment building (off limits to sisters).  We were mucho embarassed, and grateful the elders we ran into were fully dressed...

 I’m grateful for the Spirit.  The Holy Ghost is so strong, when we choose to believe and receive Him.  I’ve felt so much better since yesterday afternoon remembering that.

I testify that Jesus Christ lives and loves us.  I know that we can do whatever He asks us to do.  A tender mercy of a thought has been "remember the end from the beginning".  Right now may be hard, but I’m remembering the blessings I’ve been promised, that at some point I will be able to speak.  I testify that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed from our sins and mistakes, be made whole, and become worthy of all the blessings Heavenly Father would give us.  Families can be together forever.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

I love you very much!!! 

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mission: Lighties vs Darkies--My talk before departure

The following is a rough summary of a talk I gave in church on September 18th, 2011

Thoughts and promptings can come from the Godhead or Satan, and we must choose who to believe and what to act on.

I've dubbed thoughts from Satan "darkies" because when I think about or choose to believe them, I feel dark feelings of despair, doubt, worry, distress, discouragement, sadness, despair, etc. "Lighties" are those thoughts or promptings from the Holy Ghost that, when I choose to believe and act on them, fill me with light through peace, love, calmness, assurance, happiness, faith, etc.

I've come to realize that acting on promptings of the Holy Ghost can be a choice as much as a physical action. "I feel darkness when I believe this thought, so I choose to not believe it. I choose to replace it with believing in Gospel doctrine." For example, I can replace darkies such as "God did this to me" "Nobody loves me, no one will ever love me"  "There is no solution to this problem" and "Maybe that family member will die today" with thoughts like "I am a daughter or son of Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I choose to love and trust Him."