Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday April 9, 2013

Hi everyone,

Conference was amazing, and it was so interesting to listen to it as a missionary. I have definitely felt the strength of the Lord since coming here-- I truly feel like I have gained an extra something since being set apart. I can tackle difficulties and work harder than I ever have before. I just feel . . . the Lord strengthening me. I feel like I can be all that I want to be. I WANT to be God's hand in the lives of those around me, especially my fellow missionaries, I WANT to work as hard as I absolutely can, 100% every day, and I feel like being set apart gives me extra access to God's strength to be able to do it. I feel like I CAN do those things, because for perhaps the first time in my life, I feel 100% certain that I WILL have the Lord's help in doing it, and that I can fully rely on Him. It's neat. I know being here is right. I'm not sure I know that not being here would be wrong, but every time I've felt the spirit, I have felt so RIGHT about being here.

That has been confirmed even more to me through my companion's experience. My companion is Sister Stebar, and she is AWESOME. I love her. We click really well and hit it right off the bat. Here's the bad news however: as of about an hour ago, she is officially going home. I'm really sad for myself, because I love her and she would have been a really really good missionary, but I'm happy for her, because I think she has followed the spirit in deciding what is best for her. She dated a boy (an Asian boy! Who served in Taiwan no less) for 2 and a half years, and they were planning on getting married after her mission. Since coming to the MTC, things have been really up and down--many many tears :) She was just not at peace. She really didn't want to go home, but she was hating the MTC and thinking about her boy, Travis, a lot, especially with conference. Yesterday she thought about the real possibility of going home, and there was just peace. She has been at peace ever since. No tears, no roller coaster of emotions. I'm going to miss her, but I honestly feel like there has been such a peace since she's decided to go home, and peace has always been the most reliable manifestation of the spirit to me.

 My Chinese was bad and I didn't understand a ton, but Sister Stebar took Chinese at BYU for a year so she could communicate a lot better, and the spirit was there. It was funny, after teaching the lesson, I realized 1) that the language is not the most important part, and 2)I  felt a greater desire to learn Chinese so that I can communicate with people. Those two things seem contradictory, but they're not in a way! The second lesson was yesterday, and it wasn't quite as awesome, but that might have been because my expectations were so low the first time. Someone told me going into our first lesson to just wait to cry until you get out, so my experience was likely enhanced as I expected to be in tears.

Learning Chinese is HARD, but I love it too :) It's definitely overwhelming, but I have a strong desire to learn, and that helps a lot. It's . . . fun! I'm really grateful that Chinese grammar is so simple, because it is so much easier to learn. If the grammar was really hard, I would be way too much of a perfectionist about getting it right to ever say anything. Granted, I'm not very good at memorizing Chinese, but I believe I can do it. Our first lesson teaching an investigator was on Friday, and it was really good!! 

Some funny stories from the first week! Yesterday morning we had service assignment. We sisters didn't know where we were supposed to go, so we asked our elders, and they told us. When we got to the building, our cards weren't working!  But, a few elders on their way out of the building let us in. They didn't say much. We walk in and see the word "residence" pasted on every room  . . . what?? We walk to the room they told us, and an elder says "Sisters!!!" Sure enough, we were in the Elders' residence hall. Thank you dear elders, for leading us astray.  We were breaking rules our very first Monday. To make things even better (or worse), our Zone Leaders were coming into the building as we were on our way out! Perfect.

Last night we had another adventure! I will try to send the blurry picture I have of it, but our residence hall (the Sisters' this time) hosted a visitor: one cute little baby bat. At first we were frustrated with how loud things were during quiet hours (10:15 - 10:30), but when we realized the cause of the noise we grabbed our cameras too. Not to mention, yesterday morning Sister Stebar fed some of her banana to a mouse we found in the bushes :) We told her that mouse was going to follow her around now! Alas it didn't, but it was a nice threat anyway.

 Also, email is NOT the very best option at least for the MTC, but dearelder is. It's pretty simple and is the best method, because I get your letters the day you send them, and then I can have them with me when I email back. If it's an email, it cuts into emailing time to read the email, and I also only get it on Tuesdays . . . and nothing is better than mail!! Course it CAN be a little distracting . . . but it's so good too. I 've had a few people whom I'm barely even friends with write me just a few sentences through dearelder (it's free), and it's so fun and takes so little time!