Saturday, August 31, 2013

Extra P-Day? Woo!

Hey family! I had just one more quick minute to write an email. Since we had to move yesterday, they gave us half of a P-Day to write our families again and tell them what we did.
So yesterday was an adventure. We packed up and left main campus and got over here to west campus. We live in the apartments called WyView (I think...?) and we have class in RainTree. It's really interesting actually...imagine a college apartment exactly how it is (fridge, couches, sink, kitchen, bathroom, etc.) and then imagine putting desks and a whiteboard in the living room and bedrooms. Yeah, kinda weird, but it's the best we have for now while they're still working on real classrooms. We have class as a district, so all 11 of us, plus our teacher, squish into this little living room and have class. Then the 5 of us going to Moscow go into one bedroom/study room and study for a few hours, and the other 6 go to the other bedroom/study room. It's really weird, but we're making it work. Our district has become pretty tight over the last 6 weeks, so it will be really sad to have to part with them when we leave. I love these Elders and Sisters, and I can't wait to see the amazing things that they accomplish!

I'm not entirely sure why they moved us over here for only 3 weeks, but that's okay. It's pretty nice over here. They didn't give us a tour or anything...and they don't know the answers to ANY of our questions because this West Campus thing is still getting up and we don't have answers to questions and we don't know where anything is.. so we just wandered around looking in random buildings until we figured it out. Which is funny because my companions and I are the Sister Training leaders and we have to give the new Russians a tour TODAY. WE'RE GETTING NEW RUSSIANS TODAY! I'm SO EXCITED. We've waited about 4 weeks for them, which, in MTC time is A LONG time. I can't wait to meet them! I can remember my first day at the MTC like it was yesterday. Overwhelming, crazy, insane, bittersweet, LONG, and I couldn't believe it. And now, here I am, 6 weeks later...3 weeks to go and going crazy because I can't wait to get to Russia! But I'm so excited to meet them. I can't waaaaaaaaaiiiit. I want to be their best friend..hahahaha! I can't wait to see their wide-eyed, deer in the head light, faces. :D I love them already and I know even know them. Just like the real Russians in Russian. I love them so much. I'm so homesick for them, even though I have never met them. I'm homesick for places and faces I haven't seen..but I'm POSITIVE that when I meet them, I will recognize them. I may not have seen their faces in this life, but perhaps the life before. Anyway, I'm still homesick for them. It feels like I've been on a vacation away from them and I'm now just going back home. It's like I have two homes now! :) Anyway, I can't wait. I actually got an email this morning from my mission president about the day we arive in Russia. I BAWLED like a BABY when I read it. Both my companions and I read the email out loud here in the computer lab. We were crying and laughing about it all. I can't wait to get to Russia and start contacting IN RED SQUARE. Can you believe that? And then we get to meet our trainers. Oh trainer's going to have a lot to deal with with me, but that's okay. I've been praying for her for a long time. Hahaha! I'm so excited. I get to go to Russia in 19 days. 19 DAYS. I'm going to Russia...has that hit anyone else like a bus yet?
Anyway, coolest experience happened yesterday for devotional. We went to devo and guess who spoke! Elder Neil L. Andersen! It was so great. We had Elder Richard G. Scott came last time, and now this week it was Elder Andersen. It was amazing. The Spirit was so strong. He spoke about love and sacrifice. He said, "We sacrifice for the things we love, and we love the things we sacrifice for." He also talked about how love and sacrifice didn't start with us. We know what love and sacrifice is because of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was so amazing. My favorite part, though, was when he said that the Atonement couldn't be understood physically. There is no possible way that we could understand what Christ went through because we can't fathom that much pain PHYSICALLY. The Atonement can only be understood spiritually. However, understanding the love of God and the Atonement is the quest and journey of a lifetime. We will never be able to comprehend the Atonement, even spiritually, in this life. It will only be when we have a perfect knowledge of all things that we will understand it fully. Elder Andersen also said that he is a living WITNESS of Jesus Christ and the Church. That part hit me hard. When he said "witness" it made me think about when I was in debate and we did mock trials. What IS a witness? Someone who knows the story; someone who has witnessed, or see, what has happened; someone who testifies in front of a judge and a jury to tell the truth about what they have seen and heard. How applicable is that to apostles and prophets? They know the story. They testify of the truths they have seen, heard, and know. They testify before us, the jury, and God, the judge. It was amazing to think that an apostle, a witness, of the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to us. It was so inspiring!

So after the devotional, the rain, thunder, and lightning was so strong that they couldn't let us walk back to campus yet. So we stayed in the Marriot center and just sang hymns and shook hands with Elder Andersen until it was safe to walk home. The lightning had stopped, but the rain continued to pour as over 4,000 missionaries walked back to the MTC campuses. It was amazing to see that, even in the rain and cold, every single missionary still had a smile on their face. The weather could dampen our clothes, but not our spirits. It was amazing! And even though we were wet and cold, we continued through our meetings afterwards. It was amazing to feel the Spirit so strongly even though we should have been miserable, according to the weather.
Anyway, the West Campus is pretty nice. The language is coming along for us. I'm learning new things every day and I'm actually starting to forget English more and more. My brain is making room for more Russian by pushing out English. Hahaha, but it's great. Our entire district decided that from 10 am - 4 pm EVERYDAY we would ONLY speak Russian. No English at all. Then the last week we're here at the MTC, ALL WEEK is Russian. No English at all. It's going to be so awesome! When you can only speak Russian, you find out really quickly what you need to learn to get around. Which will be SO helpful for the field. It's going to be awesome! I'm so excited!
So, this week, I've been praying to feel the Spirit more. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the Spirit is always here because we ALWAYS feel the Spirit. So in an answer to my prayers, Heavenly Father has put us in so many positions to feel the Spirit. In our lessons, in devotionals, and even during the quiet moments of the day, Heavenly Father lets us know that we're feeling the Spirit. I can remember yesterday when I was reading the scriptures, I wasn't reading a chapter that was particularly powerful or anything like that, but I can remember feeling like I didn't want to stop reading. And during the devotional yesterday, when it was over and it was time for us to come back to campus, I didn't want to leave the devotional. I didn't want it to be over. And I decided that that's what "having the Spirit" is all about. When we go into people's homes, we have to bring the Spirit with us because the Spirit is what makes them want to know more. The Spirit is comforting and when we feel the Spirit, we never want it to leave. The Spirit is also the one who does the converting. We, as missionaries, don't convert people. THROUGH US, the Spirit works with people's hearts to make changes and to help them see what they're missing. And isn't that amazing? Isn't it amazing to know that Heavenly Father trusts us, set-apart missionaries, AND member missionaries, to preach HIS Gospel to HIS children? How humbling is that?

Anyway, I want you all to know that I have a testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I don't believe it anymore...because I KNOW it. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be healed from any ailment that we have, be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. I don't know HOW, but Christ knows exactly how each and every single one of us feels. He knows what we feel, what we think, and how to help us? How does He know that? Because He went through EVERY SINGLE pain. He knows it all because He suffered for it ALL. There is nothing that we have done that can't be overcome through the Atonemtent of Christ. I know that God calls prophets in our day to give us direction and comfort and guidance. He called Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith had a third grade reading and writing level, MEANING that there is NO WAY that he could have translated that book through the power of God. I know that's true. I know that through Joseph, God restored His gospel and priesthood keys. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet today and that he is a prophet, seer, and revelator in these latter days. He holds all the keys and powers of the priesthood. I know God lives and loves each and every single one of us. He is mindful of us ALWAYS. We are His children and that's why He loves us. He helps us in EVERY aspect of our lives because that's His purpose. God doesn't have anything else to do except help us return to Him. Moses1:39 says, "For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of MAN." That's all God does, is watch after us! His purpose is to help us fulfill OUR purpose. And our purpose is to get back to Him. And if we are faithful, keep the commandments, and do all the small things like reading scriptures, going to church, keeping ourselves worthy, then we will be able to return back to live with God and bask in His eternal glory forever. If we will do the things that He requires of us, even when we do not understand them, and even when the trials we have hurt us, we will be blessed from on High because of the faith that we have had in Him. He will ALWAYS be there to help us and to take care of us. Even when it seems like He's not there, He is. Why would a loving Heavenly Father created children only to forget them? He wouldn't. God loves us. I KNOW that's true. We have to give it everything we've got, because HE has given US everything we HAVE. I know this Church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that we are God's children and that He loves us.
I love you all so much. I pray for you every single day. Keep me updated on everything! I look forward to hearing from you all!
All my love and then some,

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy for you. Your going to be an amazing missionary. Always remember Christ and the things he taught us...especially in those hard almost unbearable moments. You are truly a strong spiritual young woman. don't ever forget that. I love and wish you all the best jessie.....Aunt Debbie