Olá familia! Eu amo vocês!!! I love the MTC. Have I mentioned how much I love it here? So, this week I came up with a fantastic system for remembering all the nifty things I wanted to tell you. I keep a sheet of notebook paper on my desk and I just list a bunch of the things that I loved. It's a pretty fantastic system, if I do say so myself. :)
So one thing I forgot to tell you about last week was our Sunday evening devotional. The speaker was Wendy W. Nelson (Russell M. Nelson's wife) and she brought her good friend Sheri Dew with her. Sheri Dew is an amazing pianist. Sister Nelson gave a beautiful talk and then afterwards Sister Dew played the piano while we sang a new hymn. It made me so happy.
Tuesday is my p-day... obviously, but on Tuesday afternoons my branch goes to the temple. Oh my goodness. I love the temple so much! It made me feel so much better and it gave me the energy to do everything that we've been asked to do. The temple just makes me so happy, and to be able to go with my companions is so nice. Oh! The Provo Temple is BEAUTIFUL! I love it. The grounds are amazing and the inside is so pretty. I love being a missionary. The Spirit is so strong, and to be able to go to the temple as a missionary is so special. Also, on Tuesday we were invited to go to BYU's devotional in the Marriot Center. I think the speaker was Elder Evans... he mentioned that he was the brother who gave the final closing prayer for General Conference and prayed that our "strength may be faithened." He gave such a good talk though! He talked about diligence and tenacity. I really liked the devotional and I got so many good notes, but I think I prefer BYU-Idaho's devotionals. I just like hearing President Clark say, "Welcome to another great day at BYU-Idaho." I can even hear it in his voice inside my head. Before the devotional I ran into a friend from BYU-I, Elder Dalton Willard. We had seen each other last week but we ran into each other again and he gave me a great piece of wisdom. He told me, "You know, everyone always says 'make it to Sunday' or 'make it through the first two weeks'. Honestly, just make it everyday. Gratitude every day." That Elder Willard is a pretty smart kid. We said goodbye because we figured we wouldn't run into each other again, but then we ran into each other three or four more times that day. We decided we had to get a picture together, but then we didn't see each other for several days so I figured we probably wouldn't get a picture. Well, on Saturday morning Sister Anaya forgot her MTC card for breakfast, so we had to go back to the classroom and I had the thought to bring my camera. The timing was perfect and we ran into each other on the sidewalk and we got one picture before he left for Mexico. It just kind of made my day.
So our "investigator" Carol is actually our new teacher. Her name is Irmã Kimball. Oh my goodness, I love her so much. She is so sweet and such a good teacher, but the first day in class I had kind of a hard time. She speaks with a very different accent because she served in a different mission than Irmão Gray. I couldn't understand her. For 15 minutes I was sitting there and I had no idea what she was saying. I started to get really frustrated because I wanted to know what she was teaching us. I was almost in tears, and then I just started praying that Heavenly Father would help me to know what Irma Kimball was teaching us. Immediately after that I could understand everything she said! Then I REALLY started crying because what she was saying hit me like a brick wall. In Portuguese she was reading 1 Nephi 3:7 (or something like that) about how the Lord prepares a way for us. Well, what she said was that the Lord COMMANDED us to learn Portuguese and teach the gospel in Portuguese, and if the Lord commanded us to learn Portuguese He will prepare a way for us to learn the language. That was all in Portuguese and it all happened right after I prayed to understand what she was saying. Heavenly Father really does love me, and I know that He wanted me to hear that message. I love being a missionary so much! That same day I found the grammar lessons on the computer program we use. Those are a huge help.
On Sunday a huge group of missionaries from our branch was leaving so my companions and I got the callings of "Sacrament Meeting Greeters." They said we have to smile and welcome people.... I'm sure I'll learn to love it... eventually. :) Because so many people are leaving there is a solo sister without a companion, so she's been assigned to our trio. Her name is Sister Knapp and she was born in Spain. She's going to Brasil and she got her the week before I did. For the Sunday Devotional the speakers were Elder and Sister Condie. He spoke at a BYU-Idaho devotional and I love hearing him speak. His wife is German and he worked for the Church and had a lot of callings in the German-speaking countries, so they used a fair bit of German references in their talks. I understood it and it made me so happy, and Sister Condie is just cute. Super cute.
On Monday we found out that 6 of the 18 missionaries in my class got their visas and they will be leaving on Wednesday for the São Paulo MTC. We've only known each other for two weeks, but we're all really sad to see them go. We love all the missionaries and it's just so much fun to be with them all. We had a good little cry and then we had just had fun the rest of the day. They're all off to do whatever the Lord needs them to do in Brasil, but we're sure going to miss all of them.
We do interviews with our teachers just so that they can make sure that we're all doing okay and that everything is going well. My interview was with Irma Kimball. I love her so much and I want to be like her. She said some amazing things and I just sat and cried and laughed because I knew that what she was saying was not her own words and I needed to hear everything she said. She talked to me about my potential and my purpose as a missionary. I can't tell you how much I love it here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere but here. This is definitely where I'm supposed to be right now.
Matthew I think I found the corner in the gym you were talking about with the view of the mountains and the canyon. That is my favorite corner. It has the bikes in it so I get there early with my companions and I sit and ride the bikes and just look at the scenery. It makes me happy. Gym time is fantastic, and apparently Sister Anaya says my calves look great so that's a good thing. :) Oh! Your fuzzy pj's were stunning. I loved the pictures so much.
I'm running out of time and I still need to put pictures on, but I love you all so much! Oh.... so I haven't gotten any emails from Mom and Dad... I got Matthew and Inette's email, but I haven't gotten any emails from any other family members. I don't know if the emails just aren't getting through the filters or if they just aren't emailing me. Oh well.
The Church is true and I love you all!
*P.S. I have a really neat experience that I'm going to put in a letter to Mom and Dad and then they can share it with you all. I love you!
|Sister Smith and Sister Mills|
|Picture with Elder Willard|
|"Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of the priesthood of God?"|
|Sister missionaries going to Portugal|
|Sister Smith and her three companions|
|Sister Smith with most of the missionaries in her zone|