August 16, 2012

MOM--It was SO good to hear from you! I've been waiting to check my email all week and it was so good to see an email from you today :) Our P-day is Wednesday, and we only have 30 minutes to read AND write emails, so I didn't get to read it as in depth as I'd like, but once we get to Indiana I think we'll have more time! We won't have 3000 other missionaries scrambling to email their families :) And I saw Michelle Craig again at the temple this morning!! She gives me a big hug every time I see her, and it's so good to hear that she's talked to you. She said she talked to one of the boys at home on the phone. She is awesome--I had no idea she was a Danes. You and dad must be home by now!
Ah there is so much to write!
We've sung "Battle Hymn of the Republic" several times here, and every time I think of Brina's video on Youtube. Yes, we still think of Youtube videos haha. It's amazing what missionaries do to entertain themselves :) On Sunday on our temple walk we found some acorns, so we have a family of acorns sitting on Sis. Tagg's desk in our bedroom. Those acorns are our newest investigators, so we're going to practice lots with them.
JORDAN, CALEB, AND JOSH - Oh my gosh, these elders remind me EXACTLY of you boys. Things haven't changed at all...they definitely have 19-year-old boy humor and I LOVE it! I've been trying not to laugh so hard at their dumb jokes...but I think you've all trained me to think your jokes are sometimes I can't control myself. I laugh a lot here...I think I need to work on that haha. Elders Bebee and Moore do this thing where they ask a question in jibberish, but they're speaking English and they wait for you to answer, but what they say makes absolutely no sense at all. They are so funny. Elder Palfreyman makes more puns than anyone I've ever heard, and he laughs so hard at himself because he thinks he's so funny. In class the other day one of our teachers opened his scriptures and the page was totally marked up in red, and Elder Palfreyman said, "Wow, you've really RED those pages!" I exploded laughing...and I couldn't stop. It's an issue sometimes. But I'm working on it, I promise :)
On Sunday we had a fireside and President Heaton spoke! Apparently he's over administration here, I had no idea! He talked about staying at the level of the investigator instead of trying to tell them everything we know and expecting them to catch up. Our purpose is to teach the INVESTIGATORS according to their needs and their understanding, not teach the same lesson to every single person we talk to.
I've been very open about my diabetes here, and I'm lucky to have Sis. Memmott because she worked as a nurse before the mission, so she knows exactly what it means when my blood sugar is too low or too high. I've had to ask her for snacks once or twice, and she is super understanding. All the sisters are very watchful and they ask from time to time how I'm doing. I feel safe with them, and it's nice to have people always checking up on me! It's interesting how easy it is to adjust to having a companion 24/7...we all freak out if we're not together! This is great practice for marriage, because I am learning how to be with someone constantly and how to love them and look for their strengths and go through everything together. It's wonderful :)
Sis. Memmott and I have one progressing investigator who is way cool--he's very well-spoken and he believes in God and Jesus Christ, and that he can be saved by obeying all the correct principles. He loves discussing religion, and he's meeting with us because he has a lot of LDS friends who told him he should meet with the he's more interested in learning about the religion and having an intellectual discussion rather than changing his life in a way. The Lord is definitely trying to teach me something with this guy...because I cannot figure out how to allow the spirit to teach rather than let the conversation turn into an interesting discussion about how the Bible and Book of Mormon support each other. Every time we talk to him, he asks a lot of questions and he really wants specific proof. Everyone tells him it's really simple--all you have to do is read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true, and you'll know! But for him it's not that simple--he says you would already need to have the idea that there is more than just the Bible, that there is a need for more truth than he already has. And he is content with his life, he doesn't have a need for more. It is so hard to teach the gospel to someone who isn't looking for it. Of course everybody has the need for the gospel, because it is true, and it is something that we all knew before this life, so we are really just reminding people of what they already knew. But how do you explain that to someone? It's all about asking INSPIRED QUESTIONS and allowing the spirit to take over. The investigator has to find out for themself that there is something more, that what we are saying is true, and is necessary for gaining eternal life. He is a good person, but he can become better!! It's so natural to leave a discussion and think, "Oh, I should've said this," or "I shouldn't have said that!" But what our teachers are really trying to get us to do is to leave and think, "How is this person increasing their faith in Jesus Christ?" This investigator has let us in 3 times and he really is interested in learning more, so that in and of itself is a step of faith. After our last lesson with him I was just stretching my mind as much as I could because I just want to help him so bad!!! I care so much about him, it's kind of weird, but it is so hard to not be able to get our message across...and I am really trying to figure out how to do that. It's easy with people who are open to it and really want to know more, but as missionaries we have the responsibility and the POWER and AUTHORITY to preach repentance and to bear pure, strong testimony to people, so that they can feel something they've never quite understood before. It takes a lot of studying and PRAYER on my part, because I cannot teach people without the spirit. I'm not the teacher, the spirit is. That takes so much faith to understand!!! It's a crazy concept, and we're really working on it...that'll be something we'll have to work on the rest of the mission. There are so many principles I thought I understood, but the mission is the ultimate test of our understanding and faith!! Seriously, I can totally understand why missionaries say this is the hardest time of their lives, but the MOST rewarding!!! It's crazy! I love the MTC and being a missionary!
Although some teaching experiences have been rough, most of them have been so incredible. It is amazing to feel what it's like to teach by the spirit. Oh man, so cool. Sis. Memmott and I were teaching one of our investigator's, Timmy, (played by one of our teachers), and I started teaching the plan of salvation but I could tell he wasn't really listening. I asked him what he was thinking about, and he was concerned cuz he felt like he didn't really have a purpose in life. We completely switched our lesson so we could talk to him about how God loves him and he does have a purpose, and we could tell it hit him. Another time we were teaching Cameron, another investigator played by our teacher, and we didn't have time to teach our full lesson so I just decided to bear my testimony. Sis. Memmott bore hers right after, and as soon as she finished I had the distinct impression to ask Cameron to share his testimony. My heart even started pounding. I asked him, and he was kind of surprised and unsure of what to say, but the spirit was so strong. Really cool.
The spirit is so strong here, but I've had a couple experiences where I could hardly handle how strong the spirit was. After one of our classes last week I was shaking because I was so excited from what we were learning. We only read 1 Nephi 1, and at first we were all like, okay, starting the Book of Mormon from the beginning again, but we had so many insights I'd never seen before!! Lehi's whole experience is exactly like Joseph Smith's!!! He prays, sees God the Father and Jesus Christ, gets a book, and prophecies the destruction of Jerusalem...any way, really cool stuff. The Book of Mormon is true!! And our teacher Bro. Grabau is so amazing. He is not just a teacher to us, he sincerely cares about each one of us in the district, and he lives completely by the spirit. Such a good example for all us missionaries...we all want to be like him :)
After that awesome spiritual class, Elder Moore told me he met a girl who told him her name was Beth, and he asked her what it was short for and she said, "Bethusela." I started laughing uncontrollably when he told me that, I don't know what it was so funny. We are just entertained really easily here I guess.
Ah no time! I wish I could write all day! Well, this is our last P-day here at the MTC (this has flown by!!!) so next week this time I will be in Indiana! We leave super early Tuesday morning. I love you all so so so much, and I love hearing from you :)

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