Monday, October 21, 2013

Last email from the MTC

Kumusta lahat mga tao!
     This morning as I struggled to wake up, (which was most mornings this last week) I realized that I am waking up in that bed only two more times! Ano bayan??? (what in the world??) It is such a crazy feeling. Although I feel like I have been here at the MTC forever, I just never thought the day would come that I would actually be going to the Philippines! I think I was convinced my mission would be here at the MTC haha. But luckily, reality is starting to hit me now and I could not be more excited! We actually got an email from Sister Reategui, a sister who left just before us, and reading it got us sooo pumped! Here is just a quick bit of her email that got us so excited. 
     "Well, I absolutely love it here. The people are so humble and they have already taught me so much. I have learned more than I ever thought and it hasn't even been a full week here! I laugh at the things I used to think were hard at home or in the MTC. It is totally a different world here! I have like 30+ bug bites all over me and I'm sweaty ALL the time and I have no idea what anyone is ever saying and I take bucket showers and wash my clothes by hand but every single hard thing is so so so SO WORTH IT for these incredible people here. Ah missionary work is the greatest ever."
     Isn't that just awesome?? Oh man after that we were like, okay and we are supposed to focus on classes now? Just get us to the Pines! Hahaha. So this week I want to share a small spiritual thought and then I mostly want to talk about my district. I have no idea what I have said about which Elder or Sister here but I absolutely love them all and they deserve to be acknowledged individually! So that will be most of this email :)
     So we are back at main campus! I could not be happier! Our first day back, we moved into our rooms which are so much bigger and smell so much better than at west campus! Then we got into our classroom and since it was an actual classroom, not just a bedroom of an apartment, we wanted to jump right into language study! We were able to conduct the best language study session we have ever had! It was just the best. The whole district was together and learning and ah man, being back at main has been awesome for us. I think throughout the moving back and forth, it has brought us even closer together as missionaries because we have had to be frustrated, flexible, and patient with each other and with the situation. But yes, so being back at main was great just from the first hour we were there, and then at dinner that night, Elder Waldron whispered to us that there was going to be a special speaker at the devotional that night. Our relationship with Elder Waldron is probably 30% serious, and 70% sarcastic/teasing and so of course he wouldn't tell us who it was! He wanted us to follow him around like little puppy dogs and he also wanted us to wait in line with him super early to ensure good seating. So we fulfilled his wishes and got in line really early. And I am so glad we did because the speaker turned out to be Elder Dallin H. Oaks!
     I was sooo excited when I saw that it was him because his talk from this conference was one of my favorites! And boy, he did not disappoint. He started off by sharing the three things that new missionaries struggle with. Changing, achieving, and becoming. We usually have to change our schedule, the music we listen to, and the things that we choose to spend our time on once we are missionaries. Then the things we want to achieve change quite a bit. We are setting goals for ourselves that we never thought we would set, like memorizing 50 vocab a day, or the entire first vision in Tagalog, etc. And the last thing we must do is become. Elder Oaks said there is a significant difference between being a missionary and becoming a missionary. In order to become a missionary, a change of heart must take place. I honestly believe that this change is occurring in me. I sure hope it is at least! 
     Then he shared the three reasons why we claim that we are the "only true church" on the earth. (I am not sure if this is too much to share on the blog but I wanted the family to know this. If you want to post it great, if not that's fine too) The reasons are that 1. God has given us the fullness of His gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith. 2. The power of the Priesthood. 3. We have a unique testimony of Jesus Christ. (1) The fullness of His gospel includes the restoration, plan of salvation, and mainly the idea that enduring all experiences in life is made possible through the Atonement of Christ.(2) The priesthood is a necessity. We have a living prophet who holds this power and that is why we are the only true and living church. (3) And lastly, we believe that the godhead is made up of three separate beings. They are united in purpose, but not in identity. I wish so badly to just scan my notes and send it to you because he went into so much detail. But at the end he testified that the message that he shared with us, about the reason that this is the only true church on the earth, is the most important message for our day. So it's important y'all! He closed with his fervent testimony that the things he shared were true. He said something along the lines of, "to me, the miracle of Jesus Christ is incomprehensible. But the spirit has been a witness to me so many times. Enough times that I know this to be true."
     That testimony is a great comfort to me. I don't have to have a perfect knowledge of things to believe in them. Or even to know if they are true. Because then where would my faith be? And if I weren't exercising faith, would I be enduring to the end? Enduring to the end is literally a spiral staircase of faith, repentance, baptism (sacrament), and the Holy Ghost. So once I have stopped needing faith, I am no longer enduring to the end. I know this to be true. I know that through faith, even if it be a tiny spark of faith, we can come to know of the truth of all things.
     Okay time for pictures/sharing about my district! I will do those in separate emails. Ingat!

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