Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2nd Week at the MTC! "Sister Tiffany is on Her Way..."

From 12/31/2013

Hola familia and friends!! 

First of all, thank you so much for your letters this week. It's really a blessing to know that there is so much support and prayers offered in our behalf at the MTC. We really feel them here and I'm so grateful for each of you.  ALSO, I CAN'T BELIEVE TIFF IS COMING HERE!!!! I squealed a little from excitement when I read that, and Hermana G completely freaked out too. I am so excited to see Tiffy!!

I heard a rumor that I might be going to get my visa this week, but I haven't received any official news or itinerary for that. The truth is that I love it here and I don't mind staying here for a while. My district all thought I was crazy because I wanted to stay here. This past week they've all traveled to get their visa, my companion and Hna C got their visa in Vegas, and Hna O just traveled yesterday to get hers in Salt Lake City. Once you receive your visa, the travel itinerary to leave for your mission comes in the next few days. Typically, a person receives their visa then stays another week before leaving, but we'll see. We can only call when we are in the airport headed to the mission field, so when I receive my itinerary I will email you to let you know when to expect a phone call.

Now I'm starting to realize that maybe the Lord has allowed me to stay a little longer to see Tiffany one more time before leaving. I should definitely see her then because I'm in the only Advanced Spanish Zone on all of west campus.  We most likely won't be in the same district (class) but I will definitely see her :D YAYAYAY. As far as advice goes for her, I don't have much to say. She will get a schedule when she first arrives and it includes what you do hourly for the next week. So you'll know what's going on at all times.

It IS a bit cold here, so if Tiff is worried about that bring a coat or tights. I actually LOVE the cold. I usually walk around without my coat. All the sisters and even the elders think I'm crazy. But I don't think it's so bad. It snowed everyday the first week I was here, but right now it's been warming up a lot more. Our residence halls (apartments) are far from our class rooms. It's about a 5 min walk, so all day everyday, you'll be in and out of the class room. I love it though! Everything at the West Campus is different than Main. We spend most of our time in the class & on our campus, but when she first arrives, she may be traveling a bit for orientations and classes at the main campus, but again don't even worry about it now, because once you're here there will always be someone right there to help you.  Every Sunday & Tuesday evening we travel to main campus to have a devotional which is really great.

Okay so a watered down version of this week. So much happened it's difficult to know where to start!! Christmas day, all the missionaries on West campus spent the day at the Main Provo MTC campus. Literally, the whole day. We got there at around 8 or 9 am and had a classroom to ourselves for our whole Zone....... = party. In the morning we went to watch a missionary talent show. And wow! It was SO good. The very first performance was a MASTER violinist sister. It was incredible and the whole auditorium of missionaries stood and cheered for her. It was funny and impressive to watch different missionaries share their talents. Probably my favorite performance was the most ridiculous one. haha One elder in the program stood on the stage and balanced a glass juice bottle on his head while dancing. It was hilarious. I wish I could have taken photos! 

In the afternoon on Christmas, we had the BEST Christmas gift in the whole entire world. Elder David A. Bednar came to talk!!!!! What what! First Sister Bednar spoke about our purpose as missionaries. Then Elder Bednar spoke. He spoke for 3 minutes then stopped. He looked around and said, we are going to do something historic today. We are going to pass around 200 cell phones around the auditorium and if you have a question for me to answer, text your question to such-and-such number and I will get it on my iPad. We basically had a Q&A session with a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles. No biggie, right? The devotional was also broadcasted live to other MTCs around the world, so they also had an opportunity to email him questions and he tried to answer those also. I didn't text him because the questions he referred to were the very questions I had in my heart!
The very first question was something every one of us feels at the MTC: "Why do I feel so inadequate?" The question was in regard to our ability & capabilities as a missionary and I have felt this all day every day since I've been here. He answered with a simple, definitive statement: "You feel inadequate because you have some sense of your calling".

Wow. So powerful, so humbling, I really know that it's true though.

I realize that missionary work isn't necessarily something that is supposed to be easy or fun or comfortable for us. It's truly humbling because it really is not about us as missionaries. We are serving the Lord because we love Him and we love all of His children. I've met missionaries that are going all over the world, to every continent, to every land, language and people. Many wonder why 18 & 19 year old young men and women put their education, careers, families and relationships on hold at this time in our lives. It is because we know that God lives! We know that the gospel is true and that it brings true, enduring happiness to us and to our families and all those we love so much. We are called & desire to invite all to come unto Christ and help them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. No matter where we have been or where we are in our lives, the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that of good news! All our burdens, guilt, pain, and feelings of inadequacy can be lifted through faith in Jesus Christ and His infinite atoning sacrifice for us.

What a privilege it is to represent Him as a witness of His divinity and extend His light and love to others. I know that Heavenly Father truly knows every one of us. He desires for us to have joy now and forever, and through His way and Plan of Happiness it can be realized. 

Talk about an uplifting devotional. It was truly a special gift to be there and listen to the testimony of an Apostle of the Lord. We later had other devotionals and activities that we watched at main campus and we got back home at about 9:30 pm. It was an exhausting but great day!

My ABSOLUTE favorite part of Christmas & just being at the MTC is the people that I'm here with. My Zone, my instructors and branch presidency and so many other missionaries that I've met. It feels like we are family here!! The elders and sisters really do feel like brothers and sisters. This week was really sad because we had to say goodbye to some of our 'family' here.

The class next door to ours, our neighbors, if you will, is a district of all elders [the only all elders district] and we are the only all sisters district, so naturally they tease us all the time, like older brothers do with their siblings. Pretty much every time they pass our door they knock on it. They don't ever need anything but they love doing anything to irritate us haha. The funniest part is that when they actually need something, they never knock they just walk in and get what they need. haha. Well we always 'tag' each others' classrooms. We gave them snowflakes that we made and they made us skull and cross bones snowflakes in return.

One of the elders has a pretty heavy Spanish accent so one time he said he just loves cheese poofs?? He was actually saying cheese puffs, but we laugh so much at the funny things he says, like seeesters instead of sisters. So a couple days ago, we bought a bag of 'cheese poofs' and decorated their room as a goodbye gift for them. We made a sign that said give them heaven, & we'll miss our noisy neighbors. haha. We also left cupcakes for our brothers. They were really surprised and happy about that.

So this past Sunday morning, we left our classroom to get breakfast and when we came back our classroom had also been 'tagged' by the elders. They went all out and decorated our ceiling, board, and left treats for us. :') It was so sweet! We really get along with our whole Zone, so all of our companionships are that fun.

Later Sunday evening, our Zone got together and we had a testimony meeting and shared the reasons why we are serving missions. The elders and sisters here all have had really incredibly hard trials in their lives. Our Zone Leader, Elder B was baptized last year and decided at 21 years old that he wanted to serve a mission. He had been a member of the Catholic Church before that, but said that he felt so much life and peace once he was baptized that he knew he wanted to share that with others on a mission.

We heard all kinds of miracle stories too.  Elder "C" told us that he and his family are really poor. He always had the desire to serve a mission, but never the financial means. Because his family struggles so much with money, he felt that he should stay and try to find work to support his family. So he said he lost the hopes of serving a mission and just started to work and save money. Well, one day he received a phone call from his bishop. His bishop told him that he had a check for $10,000 dollars for him. A family wanted to donate that for him to be able to serve a mission and not worry of the cost. Elder C wept as he told us of this miraculous experience of how he is here on a mission. He testified of how the Lord knew him and his desires and his struggles. Through the love of others, he was able to leave his family and serve knowing that the Lord would care for his family and be in His watch care.

This past Sunday was the greatest day yet at the MTC for me. We said farewell to 6 of our brothers, and another sister who is serving in the same mission as Tiffany. I told her to look for a Sister Fernelius in Quito :) It was a sweet and sad experience on Sunday to say goodbye, but I know that this is just the beginning of their missionary service & I'm excited to hear from all of the missionaries here once they enter the mission field. SO SO amazing :)

Again sorry for all the jumbled thoughts this week!

One more experience: yesterday I was struggling with a few things. It was a good but difficult day. My companion picked up on that right away, but the truth is that I didn't want to discuss it and I closed up so much. Just before I went to bed, I found a note on my pillow from her. She wrote a letter of encouragement and love for me. I was so surprised. I found it once she had already gone to sleep, but it really touched me that someone cared about me so much to do that. It reminded of charity, she expressed her love and support in a way that really strengthened me. Seriously, what did I ever do to deserve such a great companion!

In the Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:45 it says: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

She emulates charity in every way, in her speech, character, by her actions and teachings and I'm grateful for her example to me. I hope that sometime this week you might slow down a little to listen with love, to care for others, and to physically express your love for someone by doing service for them, or simply saying how much you appreciate them. I promise that if you focus on others a little more everyday, you will find such great happiness. 

Well, I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week!! :))


Hermana Fernelius :)

P.S. Sunday night I went to the main campus to watch a devotional in the auditorium with all the missionaries at the MTC. The devotional ended and as my companion and I started leaving, I ran into Elder Covel (from our ward in Vegas)!!! We took a photo that I'll try to attach today or next week. It was kind of a little miracle too because there are literally thousands of missionaries that meet at those devotionals and I was ready to go out the door, and so was Elder Covel, but we did run into each other and got to say goodbye.

He left for the mission field already, so Sunday was literally the last day I could say hi! Yay! So excited for Colin! Can't wait to hear how everything goes for him in Tennessee! ADIOS :)

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