Sunday, June 23, 2013

Week Two in the MTC!

“Week Two Finished,” was the title of Natalie’s email last Thursday.  I think she is finding time is passing quickly and that she still has a lot to learn
I will let her tell you what has been going on in her own words.
My favorite part about the MTC: THE DEVOTIONALS!  Some things that I've learned from them lately and just learned from my study this week: 1) Don't compare yourself to others. That always either tears you down or gives you pride. For example, you feel not so good at Spanish as everyone else which makes you sad, but then you feel so much better than the newbies and it gives you pride. I am trying to focus on comparing myself only with how well I know I can do and with what I know God expects of me. 

Okay... uhhh my week has been super good! We do lots and lots of studying. We are in class for 6 hours a day, have about 3 hours of language study (on the computer or with companions/district), 1.5 hours of personal study, and about 2 hours of additional study time (either prepare for lessons, companionship study, more language study). I know that sounds crazy, but honestly we can't even get done all that we need to in that amount of time. There is always more to read and more to learn, but never enough time.

Maybe it doesn't help that my district gets distracted pretty easily either :)
 Yesterday we did TRC for the first time. That's when we get to teach members who come into volunteer. We teach them in Spanish and just share a message for about 20 minutes. I never guessed that it would be harder to teach members than investigators! The first guy, we got to know him a little bit, said a prayer, and then my mind just blanked! We had something prepared, but for some reason I just had no idea how to get started on it. I think its harder because they pretty much already know everything, so its hard to know if we are making a difference or not. Anyways, we got going and it started coming better. We wanted to teach about prayer and personal revelation, but the Spirit lead us more to talk about member missionary work and how it is so important for us to be examples to others and help them (He was an RM so I think it was probably relevant to him). 

We got 2 new investigators this week (but yes they really are just our teachers)! They are Maria and Rodrigo
 I have been really trying to learn to teach by the Spirit. Every person has different needs and different things that they are going through, and the Spirit knows how to help them best. I am trying to learn more how to discern the promptings of the Spirit and how to distinguish the thoughts he gives me from my own thoughts. While we were teaching Maria, we were talking to her about prayer. I asked her if she felt like God answers her prayers. She said that she normally does, but she has been praying for help with her family for 2 months (her and her husband are separated and have a young child), but she hasn't received any answers. I was starting to say that sometimes God doesn't answer us to try our faith, stuff like that, but the thought just came into my mind that I needed to tell her that us coming to her and the message that we have is God's answer to her prayers. It never occurred to me to say that, but it just felt so right. I know that that was the Spirit directing me in how to teach her.
Natalie with Sarah, her roommate from BYU just before Sarah left the MTC for her mission in CA
The Spirit is so strong during the devotionals, and I become so enlightened every time. I leave them with such a strong conviction that I can do this, that I have God's help, and that I can improve in the ways that I need to. Some other things learned from them:
- This is the Lord's work. He is working on gathering Israel. We are here to serve Him, and He will help in all the ways that we need if we are truly trying our best. There are people who are waiting for me in Mesa, Arizona. I have a message that can change their lives for ETERNITY if they chose to accept it. How crazy is that? I cannot miss any opportunity to share with them because that is like denying them these wonderful, wonderful blessings. 
- The Restoration is real. This is the same gospel that Adam had. That Moses shared with Israel. That Jesus taught while He was on the earth. The way that the gospel was restored and now is spreading is all part of God's plan. It seems so crazy to believe, but I absolutely know it is true. I know that a 14 year old boy saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to its fullness. I just know it.
- God loves us. He is involved in every single part of our lives. Jesus has felt personally everything that we have felt. We always, always, always, have support no matter what. He cries with us when we are sad, and He rejoices with us when we are happy. I was thinking about it this week about how it is possible that God can dedicate that much time to us as individuals, and I realized that God is not limited by the same things we are. He is not limited by time because He has no time. That is how He can spend all of our lives with us as individuals. It doesn't really make any sense to me because I don't know how not having time works, but it just helped reassure me that He really is there for me. 
-  PRAYER WORKS. It really really works. It is sometimes really really hard here. But prayer always works. When I just tell my Father everything that I am struggling with, all the ways that I want to improve, all my worries, all the help that I need, He always gives me the support I ask for. He always answers my questions. He always helps me in exactly the way that I need it.
Saturdays we wear stripes
Wednesdays we wear pink!

Okay. Spanish. I'm learning more and more I think? I'm not sure ha ha! Either learning it or remembering it from when I learned it in school. My grammar is probably super wrong, but I make sense to people. They can understand me, and I can understand them. That's a miracle. There's still much that I don't know, and really it does get discouraging sometimes, but I have only been here for 2 weeks! And I'm not really scared to talk to people in Spanish anymore. 
They haven't given me any natives to talk to yet - so I'm sure once that happens I will probably just sit there and cry, but so far I am doing good!
We are in the intermediate class, and are zooming right through our lessons. Its actually really weird though, because they don't really teach you Spanish here. They just kind of expect you to learn it somehow, and somehow you do.
Okay well that's all I have time for now! Sorry I can't really respond to what you guys all say in your personal letters to me, but know that I read them and cherish them! Just tell me about your lives please! Sometimes it's hard to remember that I haven't spent my whole life here. And its so nice to hear about the real world! I love you all so much! I think about you and pray for you every day! Know that I miss you tons! Stay strong!

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