Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Let me start off with a couple of thank yous. Thanks for the cinnamon rolls! They were delicious. Thanks for sending me some more skirts. As always, thanks for the DearElders.
The devotional last Tuesday was by Elder Richardson and he based his talk off of that stone from Scotland that says "what ev'r thou art, act well thy part." Do you remember this stone? You should look up a picture of it because he explained something about it that I have never thought of before. If you will pull up a picture of it, you will notice that on top is the quote but on the bottom is a bunch of symbols that don't make much sense/ seem like they have no relevance. As a result, most people, or at least I, ignore the bottom portion. However, Elder Richardson pointed out that each shape represents a number ( a square= 4, pentagon= 5, hexagon=6, etc..) and that each row and every column adds up to 18. This is something called a Mathematical Magic Square. He made the point that some times we wish we were an 8 instead of a 5 but if we "act well our part" and be the best 5 we can be, we are being the best missionary the Lord wants us to be and we still make a difference. I took his point even further by realizing even the biggest number possible on the stone (10) cannot even make it to 18 without help. Even those we think are the very best cannot do it on their own. We all have a contribution to make, whether it be big or small. Regardless of what stage we are at in our lives, we all need to act well our part or the big picture won't work out.
On Wednesday, my district challenged ourselves to do an English fast. Yep. The goal was what it sounds like, speak absolutely no English all day. It was super hard and I didn't actually refrain from speaking any English ( I don't think anyone of us did) but it was super helpful. After a whole day of trying to only speak Chinese my brain was permanently on Mandarin mode, and instead of English being the first thing to come to mind, it was Chinese. We are going to do another English fast this week. I think the hardest part about the fast is when non Chinese speakers start talking to you. This happened to me last time but I didn't feel too bad about speaking to them in English. It was a good excuse to use English (hehe). While we are on the topic of the language, yes, it is still hard but it comforts me to think of how far I have come since I have entered the MTC. I also get so excited when I can understand what is said in our lessons with our investigators and when I understand what a Hymn in Chinese is saying. I know I have a long way to go still and I hope I can work harder than ever these last three weeks I have at the MTC so I can be as prepared as I can for England.
I am so grateful I got to be at the MTC to celebrate a July 4th! We got to watch 17 miracles (super good. I highly recommend) and we got to watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. First time, and probably last time, I will be going to bed way past 10:30 pm on a mission. It was a fun night not so much so in the morning.. haha.
Sister Goldrup and I are always matching. Most of the time on accident, but the rest of the time we plan it. Yesterday we thought it would be fun to match and the similarity in our dress is uncanny! You'll understand once you get the pictures. The other sisters in our district decided to join us and they matched as a companionship as well. How bout that for some companionship unity?
Yesterday for Sunday devotional we had Brother George Durrant and Sister Susan Easton Black come and speak to us. They are going to be over the mission in Nauvoo, Illinois! Brother Durrant taught us about how we need to be bold as missionaries. He had us say bold all together and we all shouted as loud and as mighty as we could. Brother Durrant, however, taught us that bold is not loud. Bold is quiet and sincere. I hope I can be a bold missionary. Sister Susan Black, who just finished her career as a religion professor at BYU, taught us quite a lot as well. She told us of a time during her freshman year at BYU back in the 60s where her and her friend went to Salt Lake for a "wild weekend" and to finally get out of Provo. She ended up meeting President David O McKay, the prophet at the time, in the hotel she stayed at that weekend. I wish I could tell you the whole story but it's pretty long. She told us that before meeting the prophet, she was quiet the wild child and was not exactly converted to the gospel. After shaking hands and meeting with the prophet, however, she changed. She knew when she saw him for the first time in person that he was a prophet of God and that this gospel is true. The parting words of David O McKay to her were "Be happy." She went back to Provo after that weekend and she no longer was as wild as she was before. She wanted to be happy and not be dishonest and she wanted to feel worthy the next time if she was ever to shake hands with a prophet again. She mentioned how the end of the song "I Am a Child of God" used to be "teach me all that I must KNOW" but then was changed to "teach me all that I must DO". Her finally change to this song is that we should say "teach me all that I must BE". It is who we are, not what we know, not what we do, that really matters. Don't just know what is honest, don't just do what is honest, BE honest. Don't just KNOW what it means to be Christ like, don't just DO what is Christlike, BE Christlike.
We also had the chance to watch Elder David A. Bednar's MTC Christmas Devotional from a while ago yesterday called Character of Christ. So good. Christ's whole life here on earth was always focused on those around him, never himself. Even after suffering for the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was worried about the one solider who came to take him to ultimately to his death, and healed his ear when it was cut pretty badly. If there was one thing we can learn from this one instance it is to seek to heal others even though those around you may hurt you. Never stop serving.
I encourage all of you to read, no STUDY, the Book of Mormon. It is so important that we do our best to study the Book of Mormon each day. I hope all of my letters home are inspiring you all to do good and try every day to be a little better. I learn so much each week here at the MTC and I hope you are learning with me.
I would also like to tell you all individually how much I love you.
Mom, I love you!
Dad, I love you!
Ash (Jazpy), I love you!
Austin, I love you!
Grandma, I love you!
Cynthia, I love you!
Joe, I love you!
Joseph, I love you!
You all mean the world to me. Thanks for being my family.
Also, anyone else reading this, I love you too!
Until next time,