Week two at the MTC. I am proud to say that I have figured out my way around campus and have become quite comfortable in my routine here. I miss family and loved ones dearly, but find a great deal of peace and happiness when I give 100% to my studies here. When I do that, God always makes up the rest.
Our class is digging deep into French and teaching doctrine. I feel for these sisters and elders! In one day they were taught the equivalent of a week's worth of information in a university course! Wow! How do they leave the MTC speaking their languages? It's a miracle. Period. At the MTC we follow the example of the Army of Helaman, who KNEW that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. (Alma 57:47-48) Don't believe me? Read the Book of Mormon and take Alma's word for it (in chapter 26, verse 12) " Yea, I know that I am nothing. As to my strength, I am weak, therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I WILL boast of my God, for in His strength, I can do all things. Yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise His name forever." What wonderful news we have! What a wonderful book! To have the gift of the fullness of the gospel to share with every people in every language on the earth!
This week we experienced a huge learning curve. We continue to teach Manuarii and have also acquired another teacher who looks strikingly similar to him. Hmmmmm ;) Let me say this: Frere Asay (ay-see) is on FIRE!!!!!! I have never had such an incredible teacher. His teaching style is in direct contrast with Frere Coulson's, though they are both wonderful. During his first lesson I learned more than I have at my entire stay in the MTC up until this point. We also had quite a bit of time to study the doctrine in the first lesson -- the restoration. Preach my Gospel is priceless. It contains EVERYTHING we need! (Other than the actual scriptures, bien sure ;)) I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful teachers and tools at my disposal. My faith and testimony have been deepened and strengthened immeasurably since I have begun to diligently study and read the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel.
Another interesting note that I took from "Our Search for Happiness" is that "the philosophical meanderings of the learned, but uninspired men [ or women]" are destructive to the pure doctrine of Christ. We should never leave ourselves to our own devices, but always turn to the Lord in prayer and seek to understand the pure, essential doctrines of Christ. And no matter what is going on in our lives, when we do that we know that "the truth will set [us] free" (John 8:32).
Overall, I have been impressed with a deep understanding of our divine nature, the love God has for us -- he knows us all personally - and what a gift the restored gospel is. The doctrine of Christ will change lives. It will not be our lesson plans, it will not be our ability to speak the language. While necessary, these things are not sufficient. It will be those simple, pure truths that will touch the hearts of the people we come in contact with. The spirit of God speaks every language and can reach every heart on earth. The MTC is an amazing place where we learn to give everything we have, and leave nothing for ourselves. In this state of utter dependence on God, we, to our delight, will find joy, peace, and courage that we would not have otherwise. I have learned that when we act on our faith, it is strengthened. Miracles often take place in our lives after we have taken a few steps into the darkness. Ether 12:6 was one of the first scriptures I memorized in French. In English, we know that the gist of it is this: And now I, Moroni, would like to speak somewhat concerning these things. I would show unto the world that faith is things that are hoped for but not seen. Therefore, dispute not because you see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. This scripture applies to so many of our troubles! How great is the tenderness of God! We know not, we cannot even comprehend the depth of His mercy and care.
Another thought that has been on my mind is a favorite quote of mine: "The blessing of those with faith is to see all around them what they believe." How true is that?! I challenge you to study something this week that you have faith in, and as you go about your normal life, pay close attention. You will see the evidence of your faith all around you.
If I have some time, I will type up a sample schedule! Suffice it, for the moment, to say that we have 17 hour days and twenty minutes to get ready in the morning! God runs a tight ship!
Let's see......we found a missionary from Tahiti here at the MTC! His name is Frere Noho, and he left for Salt Lake City last night. Before he took off he stopped in to visit his two favorite districts-- the Tahitians (us!) to drop off shell necklaces for everyone :) They attract a plethora of questions here on campus!! We were all touched by his generosity and simple love.
A few lessons ago, while teaching Manuarii, Soeur Taylor and I decided to be bold. We bore powerful testimony of the truth and had a nice discussion about the principles he had been studying. At the end, he committed to praying about the Book of Mormon and reading it daily. We are so happy! At the end, I told him: "Okay, Manuarii, I know that remembering to read everyday isn't going to be easy, but if you can try to do that, I can try to do something that is hard for me too" (all in French, of course) He asked, "and what is that?" Then I proceeded to give my best attempt at saying the closing prayer...in TAHITIAN. No one has taught us how to pronounce anything yet, so I am sure my attempt was far from perfect, but he was beaming at the end and greatly appreciated the effort I put forth to speak to him in his childhood language. He said my accent was great! He was being kind :) But the important thing is this: I did something that I KNEW that I could not do by myself. And though the words did not come out correctly on my end, the spirit carried them fluently to his heart. I was so touched by this experience and Soeur Taylor and I were so proud of ourselves for really hitting the nail on the head in that lesson! Missionary work is amazing!!!!!!!!
Yesterday in Relief Society, Sister Janice Kapp Perry spoke. Don't know who she is? Prepare to be amazing. She is the talented one who wrote nearly all of your favorite hymns and children's songs! As Sisters in Zion, A Child's Prayer, I Love To See The Temple, Army of Helaman, In The Hollow of Thy Hand, and my personal favorite I Walk By Faith! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxIOvc-EKN8 We even ran into her this morning on our morning jog! What a sweet and inspiring woman! Her lesson had the entire gym full of Sister Missionaries choking back tears, myself included (who has managed to avoid crying up until this point). She just wrote a new song and we were the first ones ever to sing it! Journal moment, indeed! It is set to the music for "As Sisters in Zion" but is all about sister missionaries! Soeur and I tried to scribble down the lyrics, but were too busy beaming, singing, and crying to get them down. Look for it in the next hymnal! ;)
Our favorite Frenchies left this morning for Paris! Sad moment, but new ones should be coming soon! An Elder in our district cracks us up by referring to the chapters in the BOM as "episodes"... Clearly he is having TV withdrawals! hahaha! "Okay, where did I leave off last night? Oh, episode two! Nephi and his brothers da de da de da..." hahahaha Another Elder accidentally said that he "love[s] the branch president, but doesn't he walk like a penguin?" when President was RIGHT BEHIND HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahaha How mortifying! But Elder White is a champ, and rock solid, so we all laughed about it, including President. He and his companion were named the new zone leaders the next Sunday :)
Well, this is a long email and I have no time to proofread it! Hopefully it all makes sense and conveys my great love for the gospel and my enthusiasm for the work!!
Miss you all, but love you more!