Wednesday, January 28, 2015

She made it to Omaha!

Helloooooo people of Arizona (or wherever else. But i think most of yall are in Arizona.)

Well, I'm in Nebraska. I definitely don't have enough time to write about my last few days at the MTC and since i got here. So, There will be lots of summing up. We went to the Provo temple and did a session and that was pretty cool. I don't know if I like the Provo temple though . . . is it bad to say that I think it looks like an awful giant cake? Because it kinda does. The mountains are so pretty around provo, and a lot of days they were covered in snow and I definitely can't live anywhere without mountains when I grow up. Well I guess I am grown up. I should say when I start my adult life. 
I got this really cool Captain Moroni shirt from the bookstore with a Captain America shield on it and that's my favorite pajama shirt now. I wish I could actually wear it around. 
M. Russell Ballard came to our last Tuesday devotional and my favorite part that he said was that if we ever feel discouraged on our missions, we should write a letter to Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail and try to cheer him up. And that really put things in perspective cuz he went through way more than anything I could ever go through, and then Christ went through way more than anything Joseph Smith went through, so really I have nothing to complain about.

So that's all I have time to write about at the MTC. On Wednesday we had to get up at 2:30 AM and then we rode a bus to get to the train to get to the plane. So that was pretty fun, except we were freezing and our luggage was super heavy. We had to make sure that each suitcase was less than 50 pounds and I was totally fine but then Sister Johnson had so much stuff and I let her put some in my suitcases so about half of one of my suitcases was all her stuff and they were both 49 pounds. So I don't know how she's gonna get everything back home. But anyway, when we got to Nebraska we met President Weston and his wife and they're both so nice and then we went to the mission office and got a ton of orientation and then at night we got to the motel that we would be staying at for 2 nights and Sister Johnson was like ummmm what's that smell? And it smelled like gross dogfood, and I'm starting to realize that pretty much all of Nebraska smells like dog food or cigarette smoke or manure. At least in my experience so far. The next day we went to the Trail Center and the pioneer cemetery next to the temple and it was freezing and silly me from Arizona only had a cardigan but Elder Lindgren gave me his coat cuz he had his suit coat on underneath and I felt bad for being so unprepared so Sister Johnson and I took some wonderful selfies with the camera that he had left in his coat pocket as repayment. 
Then we got our assignments and I'm now serving in York, which means I get to live on a farm! So that's pretty cool. There are only 2 missionaries in York so that's me and my new companion, Sister Christensen. She's really nice, she's a lot like me and she says that she was super shy when she first came out too, so that gives me hope that I can be as good at talking as her in the future. President Weston says he wants all the missionaries to live with members and I didn't really like the sound of that at all and turns out I get to live with members here in York. BUT they have a guest house of sorts so it's like we get our own house on their property, which is basically the ideal thing, I'm so lucky it worked out like that. And they put a piano in our main room! It's really badly out of tune and I have to hold 2 pedals to make it sustain and we don't have a hymnbook or anything but hey, it could be worse. 
Waking up is still the hardest part of the day. I just have no motivation at all to even care to get up. At home I would've thought 8 hours of sleep would be wonderful, but I guess now that I'm actually doing stuff all day, I'm actually pretty exhausted. I keep falling asleep whenever we have any free time at all. Like if I eat lunch really fast, I'll lay down on my bed and be out in like 2 minutes, so I get nice little 10 minute power naps every now and then. 
The bugs are just lovely. And everywhere. I'm so glad we have a fly swatter. I saw this huge mosquito thing in the bathroom and I call it an Antsquito cuz it has the body of one of those giant ants but then it's still a mosquito. But hey, when I get home, I may be over my extreme fear of bugs. It'll probably take a while though, since I saw a beetle next to the mirror while I was brushing my teeth and I thought I was fine but then I saw it jump from the wall to the mirror and I jumped back and slightly started hyperventilating, so we'll see. 

Oh I forgot about pictures. I'll try to do that next week.

Quote of the week: Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds (Pres Hinckey. And i connected that quote to Alma 32 since that's my favorite-ish chapter now.)

OH and I need a favor of all yall: Can you send me your conversion stories and testimonies and when you knew this church was true and stuff? thanks.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rebekah's Second and Last Letter From the MTC

Alright. I have no idea where to start. 

SO. The sleep thing is definitely not getting easier. It used to be that I would fall asleep right when I got in bed but lately I can't fall asleep till midnight, mostly because I can't stop yawning! It's like the most ridiculous problem ever, I yawn like every 5 minutes throughout the day and then I get in bed and I yawn even more, like really, every 2 minutes and because I keep yawning, I can't fall asleep. Which is just lovely. And it's definitely not getting easier to get out of bed in the morning but I'm managing. All the sisters in my room have the same problem of not getting to sleep early enough, which is very obvious if you listen to us. We can't stop laughing at the stupidest things, and it's really bad. And the 5 flights of stairs we have to climb to get to our classroom isn't helping. One day we were both so out of it and we went upstairs and went to our classroom but the door was locked and we were like "What is going oooon?" but then we realized we had only gone to the 4th floor. It was so bad, we both need more sleep. The stairs are so exhausting. We go back up and down and up and down and Sister Johnson calculated it one day and figured out that in one day we climbed an average of 48 flights of stairs a day. Just going up, not including going down. So yeah, I'm gonna be so in shape. Gym time is great, just because it's something to do to keep me awake. Sister Johnson runs too much for me but I find other stuff to do. Like sleep. Haha not really, but I wish.

The food is still iffy. The things that look really good usually aren't. They had these things that kinda looked like those little buffalo chicken bites that I like but then they tasted kinda like hot dogs. So that was gross. And the chocolate pudding is nasty. And other stuff just tastes like disappointment. But we had steak one night and it was either amazing or i had just lowered my standards quite a bit and it was only decent. But either way I enjoyed it. They have wraps that are pretty good and make me feel healthy before I go and eat like 5 cookies and an ice cream bar. 

I've already become known to my district as Sister Temp, the shorter one who is obsessed with food and sweets, is completely directionally challenged, always uses every hand sanitizer dispenser (they have them like at every single doorway and I don't know, they're just fun to use), and has never seen snow fall before. Oh yeah, I SAW SNOW. I mean there were clumps of snow on the ground when I got here but then I saw snow actually falling from the sky in real life. it was so cool. I was jumping around and I got so excited and Sister Johnson was just laughing at me and taking pictures. Which you'll get. Someday. Oh and apparently throwing snowballs in Provo is illegal? Like it's a misdemeanor or something. So that's sad. Also, you can't chew gum as a missionary, which I did not know. 

Oh and they all call me a rabbit. We were going around at dinner saying what animal each missionary was and someone said I was a rabbit and they all immediately agreed because I talk quietly and I'm so white and Sister Johnson also says it's because I'm "cute and snuggly."  

I left my shampoo in the shower on the first day and lost it. Which wasn't that surprising. But don't worry, it showed up 2 days later so I'm good. And I'm really developing a true appreciation for google and I wish I still had it because I never realized how ofter I just look stuff up. So appreciate it. 

Sunday was pretty cool, it was still super busy but it also felt more peaceful. I can really feel the spirit in musical numbers, they're my favorite. They have everyone prepare a talk on a certain topic and then they just call on a random missionary right at the beginning of sacrament to come up and give theirs. I was stressed at first but then I laughed when I realized the talk would only be like 3-4 minutes. Which is nothing after preparing a farewell talk.

I keep looking around and I'm like whoa all these people are missionaries. And then I look down and realize that I have a name tag too. It's so weird. And when you're a missionary you mostly have to study for your investigators. You don't get to study for yourself and your own spiritual nourishment, which I really miss. I mean, you can make time for it, but then you don't have as much time to be studying for your investigators which is really important. 

David A. Bednar does a really good cookie monster impression. I think I heard from someone that the talk we watched on Sunday wasn't available online but I really hope it is. I think it's called Characteristics of Christ. So really try to find it and watch it because it's so good. 

We got to go to the temple this morning so we had to wake up even earlier than usual to get there by 7 but it was really cool. I don't know how much I like the Provo temple though. It kinda looks like a giant awful cake. But the view is so pretty, it's like surrounded by mountains and today they were covered in snow and it was so beautiful.

Okay I should probably tell you about my district, because they're like a major part of the mission experience. You seriously become a family with these people, I can't believe I've only known them for less than 2 weeks.So my companion is Sister Johnson and she's the best. She is seriously the perfect companion for me. God probably knew I couldn't handle having a challenging companion for my first companion which is great. We get along so perfectly. I feel like I've known her for forever and like we're best friends. I feel totally comfortable around her. We all decided that she was either a deer or a moose. And she knows Jon Schmidt! He was her home teacher! I'm so jealous. And she also told me that our mission president is getting released this summer but she knows our new mission president and that he actually went to her farewell. So she's got pretty good connections. 

The other 2 sisters in our district are both going to Louisville Kentucky, Sister Hannah and Sister Rickords. They are both extreme extroverts and talk alllllllll the time. Sometimes they're a bit too much for me and Sister Johnson but we still love them. Sister Hannah goes to BYUI and is super friendly and obsessed with jewelry and Sister Rickords goes to BYU and she's a trained classical singer and loves to sign. She said that when she got set apart, her stake president told her that she would get to work with deaf people and she's really excited about that.

Elder Langston and Elder Duncan are also going to Louisville. Elder Langston we all unanimously agreed is an adorable little bear cub but he hates being called cute all the time so he put on the list of rules for our district that the word "cute" is banned. But it's so hard for all of the girls to not call him that. He kind of looks like Logan all grown up with slightly darker skin cuz he has the big forehead and the kinda pouty lips. He has the best laugh. He's like super smart and he's always explaining stuff and then he'll tell a joke that's really not that funny but his laugh makes everyone else laugh. I wish I could describe it. And then Elder Duncan seemed super quiet at first and he kind of has one of those faces that makes him seem aloof but he's not after you've known him for a few days. Now he's always talking to us about random things. 

Elder Clark and Elder Lindgren are both going to Omaha with me and Sister Johnson so I hope we still all get to see each other. Elder Clark is our district leader and he likes rock music mostly. He hates country and he insulted me for liking Skillet but we both agree that Three Days Grace is great, so he's not that bad. He has that sense of humor where if you don't know him it seems like he hates you. But once you figure him out then it's hilarious. We did a role play where I was an investigator and he was the missionary and we had a conversation that was so sarcastic but we were both talking like we were completely serious. We discussed how he lives in the Atlantic Ocean because it's nicer than the Pacific and we also discussed how baptists sacrifice their converts. So that was great, I love that kind of sense of humor. Elder Lindgren has pretty much the exact same sense of humor and I think it's so funny how the 4 of us going to Nebraska all have it. People will be so weirded out if they overhear our conversations. Elder Lindgren immediately appointed himself as the class clown. He'll tell these long stories and go on for like 5 minutes and then you realize that nothing he's said is true so none of our teachers believe anything he says anymore. On Sunday he and Elder Clark fasted and then that night he shared this story about how he had wanted to go home cuz he barely even has a testimony but he fasted and then when we watched that video by Bednar everything just made sense and he felt the Spirit and while he was talking the Spirit was just so strong and it was really cool. 

There are so many missionaries from Mesa here. I keep seeing Courtney Williams everywhere and a ton of other kids from Mountain View too. Oh, and on the Tuesday night devotional, Elder Russell M. Nelson showed up! So that was cool to see him.Our teachers are pretty cool; one of them, Sister Iglezia, always says "the church is true, the book is blue, and I love you!" which I think is pretty cute. In class we mostly talk about how to be an effective missionary and we do a lot of role-plays and go over the lessons in Preach My Gospel. And we also have these investigators that volunteer to come and get taught here at the MTC. But they're not always investigators. Sometimes they're members or recent converts but they all make up stories and you have no idea if they're actual investigators or not. The one we've been meeting for a while is Chad. He's very logical and asks hard questions that Sister Johnson and I have a hard time answering but I like teaching him because he talks a lot and says what he's thinking. The other one we have, Michelle, is so hard to teach. She's like me where she's really quiet and will mostly say yes, no, or I don't know, to anything you say. She doesn't even really believe in God and she doesn't believe in Christ at all and we're not really getting anywhere with her. 

We leave on Wednesday morning and we have to be ready by 3:35 AM. So basically I get no sleep that night. We're going to the Salt Lake Airport and then Minneapolis and then Omaha so hopefully there will be a lot of time to sleep. We'll get to Omaha at about 3. And then my next P-day will actually be P-day so you won't hear from me till the next Monday. I hope I wrote enough this week and I hope I got it all.

Quote of the week, and I think President Monson said this: Stick to your task till it sticks to you; beginners are many, but enders are few.

~Sister Temp

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rebekah's First Letter From the MTC

It appears that Rebekah's P-day is Friday while she is in Provo, but we are late getting this out because she didn't have her list of emails with her, and it got a little lost.  But it's here now!

Everyone is so friendly here, you get "Hi sister, welcome to the MTC" about 20 billion times on your first day.It's so weird that I'm "Sister Temp" now. It's hard to not introduce myself as my first name. Oh, and on my first day, there was this musical number that an elder played on the piano and it was an arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and it was SO beautiful. I want it. It really brought in the Spirit. I'm so glad that I love church music, otherwise this transition away from all the music I normally listen to would be infinitely more difficult.

This whole MTC experience has been COMPLETELY overwhelming. From the second you get here, you go, go, go, go, eat, go, go, sleep. Since the days are so packed it seriously feel like I've been here for weeks. Every day feels like another week. Like there is no time for anything. You wake up and have like no time to get ready and you have absolutely no free time all day and then you get like half an hour at night to get ready and prepare for the next day and write in your journal and do everything else before lights out at 10:30. I haven't even had time to unpack so I've been living out of my suitcases and it's stressing me out because I just want to organize everything but even if I did have time, there's no where to organize my stuff because I have 5 other roommates in our super tiny room that was made for 4 people. One of the hardest things for me is not being able to sleep when you want. I want to sleep ALL DAY because it's so exhausting but you can't. And then I realized that I won't be able to sleep in later than 6:30 for 18 more months. It's only been 2 days and I'm dying. The thing that used to get me through each week is knowing that I get to sleep in on the weekend. But I'm sure I'll manage. Hopefully. 

I heard from some people that the food here is super good but I also heard from others that it's disgusting. All I can say about that is yes. Hahaha really, some of it is delicious and then other food . . . not so much.

My companion is awesome. Her name is Sister Ella Johnson and she's a soccer player for BYU so maybe you've heard of her. Plus she's 5'10. One of her first questions for me was "How tall are you?" But she's so cool, I was afraid it would be awkward but she's so awesome, within the first hour of meeting her she said something super sarcastic and I thought heyyy we're gonna get along just fine. And we do, she's so smart and spiritual and fun to be around. Everyone keeps saying how having a companion 24/7 is one of the hardest things because you're not used to alllllways being with someone but honestly it's one of my favorite parts; I know I couldn't do like any of this on my own. I hate being alone and the fact that someone is stuck with me and I can always depend on? Awesome. 

Everyone in my district is so cool. There are 4 companionships, 2 elder ones and 2 sister ones. One of the elder companionships is also going to Omaha like me and Sister Johnson so it'll be cool to still see them. The other 2 companionships are both going to Kentucky, so not that different. All of the sisters went to at least one year of college at BYU so that's kind of intimidating since I literally just became eligible to serve 4 days ago. They're all super smart and talk about how much they like chemistry and a bunch of other stuff and they also all have boyfriends back home that they keep talking about and about how they've pretty much all decided with their boyfriends that they should get married after their missions, so that's fun for me to listen to all the time. But they're all super nice and I really feel the Spirit when I'm with them. The elders here are generally closer to my level, fresh out of high school. They're so funny, I love being with my district. I hope it's this easy to get along with everyone out in the mission field.

I already feel blessed with being able to talk more easily. I don't feel awkward trying to talk to my companion, it feels like we've been friends forever. I even raised my hand during a big class with like 50 other missionaries and I made a comment and I barely even felt like I was gonna pass out.

Quote of the Week! I decided I was gonna send a quote each week, either something I learn here, or something I had written down before I got here, or whatever pops in my head. So you can take it to heart, or think about it all week and try to apply it, or completely ignore it, I don't care.

"Peace is not the absence of trials, but the presence of Christ."

So there you go. Happy Friday
~Sister Temp