I'm flipping through my notebook trying to pick what things I want to share with y'all! My heart is just so full and there is just so much to say!
Let's acknowledge this moment of all nodding our heads in agreement of the fact that General Conference was AMAZING! MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK! YOU can be a part of it! This is the Lord's gospel and let us never be afraid or ashamed to share the greatest message we have on this earth! Thomas S. Monson said it best, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto Him." Read his talk here! And may I just say how much the music of this conference touched my soul... Maybe it's partially because I haven't sung in a choir for a while, but the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was so excellent! And that family choir...when they sang "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me" was just so touching and so beautiful. I love music. God can tell us He loves us through music.
Speaking of music! Elder Seegmiller and I auditioned last Wednesday with The Olive Tree and we were a yes! We performed yesterday in the New Missionary Welcome meeting for about 200 missionaries who had entered the MTC that day or the day before. It was a success, not on my part, but on the part of the spirit. My prayer was that the spirit would touch those Elders and Sisters, and as I looked out on them and saw the tears in their eyes, I felt so grateful to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. God has blessed me so much and more importantly, He has blessed those missionaries with His love.
Speaking of new missionaries! Two of those missionaries in that meeting were people I knew! Sister Charlotte Nicholls ,from England serving in the St. George Utah Mission, was there! What an amazing beautiful girl! We have been able to talk and she told me that she was able to visit St. George with her family before coming to the MTC! I'm so excited for her! (Luke, I don't know if you'll ever read this but you have an amazing, beautiful sister! But, of course, you already know this haha) Also my friend Elder Weidner was there! He was a Yellow Group Counselor with me for BYS! And speaking of BYS family, I've been able to talk with and see Maren (another yellow BYS councilor) a couple times in the morning since she works here at the MTC! And while were on the subject of seeing familiar faces, I've also seen Elder Garish (an old friend from St. George Utah), Aubrey McBride & Abby VanOrden (went to high school with them, they work here), and a young sister missionary who knew who I was because I spoke in her institute ward back when I was living in Boise! Lastly, but not least, Brad and Michele Armstrong will be very excited to hear that I did meet their little brother Elder Armstrong during this last conference weekend! We took a picture (with his companion) that he said he will email to me when we are both no longer in the MTC (since emailing another Elder/Sister in the MTC is not aloud haha). He is staying on the West Campus right now and it's kinda crazy because he is the only person in the entire MTC who is learning his mission language! And he can't even finish learning it until he gets into the field, so right; now he's a solo missionary. (A.k.a. his companions are going to a different place and speaking a different language.)
The Elders in our district are all in Austrailia now preaching the gospel! Well, except Elder Nielsen who has been temporarily reassigned because his visa hasn't come through yet. But you'll be excited to hear that his reassignment is to...BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA! AH!!! I told him if he gets assigned to the Gadsden ward he HAS to visit all the family and tell them I love them for me!!! Haha!
So on Wednesday we got to go visit temple square and take a tour of the North Visitor Center. I'm so excited to hit the square next week! Tomorrow (Saturday) we will be going back to the square to be assigned a temporary companion for the night to experience teaching and doing missionary work IN our mission field! I can hardly wait!!! On Wednesday evening we did training with these volunteers that come to the MTC and we practice talking to them as if we were on temple square. Our teachers don't tell us if the volunteers are members or not, so we don't know. But something so amazing happened...one man we talked to asked us about the church's family history program. I was able to talk to him kinda about how it works. Then he asked me "Well do you know about your family genealogy line?" I was so happy that I could say yes! I told him about where I come from in my ancestor line and about the temple work I did for family members over the summer while living in Boise. After he heard that he became very open with us and excited to talk to us! Some people thought he was just playing a role (like some do) but while we were talking I just kept having this feeling that said "He's not a member! He's not a member! Ask him if he wants to learn more about the church!" So we went to him after the class was done and said "Sir, are you a member, or no?" He said "No I'm really not! Everything I told you was true!" We asked if he would like to have our missionaries go visit his daughter and he said Yes please! Then we asked if he wanted to meet with missionaries and he seemed a little nervous about having people come to his home. But then the spirit reminded me that I had a mormon.org card so I gave it to him and said he could chat with missionaries online and there were tons of answers to questions about our church! He got SO excited and said "Thank you thank you! You three just made my day! Please send the missionaries to my daughter as well!" We got our first referral IN the MTC! So amazing...
Yesterday was our first day of training for mormon.org chat. You would be AMAZED how many people go to mormon.org and want to talk with missionaries and want to learn about the church! I talked with two people yesterday, one sir from Europe and later, a girl from New York. They both are very interested in the church and want to keep learning. Because of the way our system works my companions and I will be able to teach them lessons all just over the internet if that's what the investigator wants. Our teachers told us that there have been several people who were taught on mormon.org by missionaries and were baptized and their baptism interview was the first time seeing the local missionaries! The world is a changing out there... We are also being trained on talking to people over the phone! We feel pretty legit cuz we get to wear these cool headsets and we look like super tech savvy missionaries:)
Last night we were able to teach a young college student who is inactive. (Well at least she played an inactive, we don't know if she is active or not or even a member!) While we were talking to her I was really just praying to know what to say that would be right for this girl. I opened my mouth to talk and said a couple fumbled words, then all of the sudden the words just started coming out. This happens EVERY DAY here at the MTC. I feel like I never really know what I should say, but as soon as I open my mouth and start to talk, the spirit fills my mouth with the words. It's so humbling and so incredible.
Heavenly Father loves us so much. He sends out missionaries because He loves all of His children and wants them to return back to Him. I love being a missionary! There is NOTHING I would rather be doing right now. I love you all! Don't ever forget that God is always there!
Here are some pictures!
My name tag!
My companions (Left: Sister Garisau from New Zealand. Right: Sister McBride from Canada).
Eating vending machine food.
Room number and message for visitors.
The Provo Temple.
Elder Despain photo bombed our picture :( haha
The sisters in my 1 MTC zone!
My 1st MTC district! (Left to right: Elder Lang, Elder Neilsen, Elder Musters, and Elder Despain).
Us before study hour.
The best picture you'll ever see.
Trying to represent our countries with our faces.
Our gift to our zone sisters the night before they left for the field :( we wanted to make it cuter but we don't have the resources.
One of my favs!
How I feel every day!
Being happy on our first P-day!!
I was happy to wear normal shoes and Sister McBride loves her flip flops!
Our MTC water bottles.
With Elder Musters discussing some progressing investigator ideas!
Hope you enjoyed everything!