Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Strength Not My Own

Ni men hao!
My time here at the MTC is drawing to a close. Like I thought I would, I am starting to get sad about leaving all of these amazing people that I now call friends in my district and branch. However, I am so excited that I will be in England next week and I do not think I will be sad for long. When we got our flight plans this past Friday it was so hard to focus. And then but three of us, including me unfortunately, got our all Mandarin Chinese name tags and then it was even harder to focus. (I did not get my tags because they put the wrong character on what I am guessing would have been my tags).
This past week probably takes the cake on being the hardest week at the MTC because how much energy was required. Let me give you a quick overview: last Monday we had our first Skype TRC then right after that Sister Goldrup had a progressing investigator to teach. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday we taught more investigators. We were also asked to teach this past Sunday for our District Meeting so I also tried preparing for that all week. And then I was also called on to give a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting. Busy, busy! Being so busy wasn't easy. Reflecting on how mentally and spiritually draining this week was I know that I did not make it through on my own strength. There was definitely divine assistance helping me push forward every second and minute of the week.
Going back to last Monday, we had our first skype TRC and boy, was that an experience. It was super stressful because when ever you do something new here at the MTC you do not know what to expect. We were supposed to have one 40 minute lesson with a volunteer over Skype and they ended not having enough volunteers so we were only allowed one 20 minute lesson. Sister Goldrup got all set up to Skype and then we weren't able to hear the person over Skype. Ahh! After 10 minutes of not being able to get the sound to work, we waited for another 10 minutes to get another Skype to be set up for us. Round 2: we are Skyping this young man and he seems to be Skyping off of his iPhone and he was standing in this stairwell and the connection was horrible. In the middle of us saying a prayer, we were disconnected. Awkward. We kept calling him back, having the connection weaken, the call being dropped for maybe 5 cycles. Super frustrating. Although we only got to talk for 2 minutes at a time between interruptions, we still managed to ask questions, share a scripture, share testimony, promise blessings, and extend a commitment-- I'll take it. 
There wasn't too much time to recover from that experience before we went to teach our investigator. Our lesson went well but it was definitely hard to stay awake and focused the whole time.
Tuesday was a nice day to re-cooperate since we did not have an appointment with an investigator scheduled and we also had devotional. Love Tuesdays. Last Tuesday's devotional was being broadcasted to all 14 international MTC's, maybe a first. We also had a picture taken of all of us at the MTC right now. We were told that this was only the 3rd time they have ever done this. It is pretty cool to be able to be a part of this history.
Nothing too noteworthy happened on Wednesday. There has been a ton of construction happening on that road in front of the MTC and Wednesday the construction looked like it was completely blocking off the way for cars to enter the MTC so I still wonder how all of the new missionaries got in that day.
We hit a rough patch with one of our investigators because we asked him to look up a talk by a General Authority on our lds.org site and he ended up running into some anti-Mormon sites.. I guess we have to be more careful in the future with investigators going on the internet. It took us another lesson until we were able to sufficiently resolve his concerns but I think what he found wasn't too destructive, thank goodness.
As I said ealier, we were asked to teach the lesson in our District meeting and all week leading up to it was trying to think of what we could focus our lesson on. The topic we were asked to speak about was recognizing the spirit and literally every devotional the week before was about recognizing the Spirit so we tried to think of a unique angle we could take. What was really cool though was that Sister Goldrup and I did not discuss too much before what we wanted to talk about until the day before and we both ended up having the prompting on what to teach about. We wanted to take the direction of Spiritual discernment and we had a really cool discussion between the two of us as we prepared our lesson. Our actual lesson ended up having a somewhat different focus but I think that was because that is what our District needed more.
Let me tell you about my talk! Remember when I first told you that we were all to prepare a talk each week and they only picked 2 missionaries to give them each week and that with my luck I would probably give one before my time was up here at the MTC? Well I guess you can call yesterday a self-fullfilling prophecy because I totally got called on. Our district knew it would be our turn to give talks because none of us had yet. The topic was Enduring to the End and I made it more specific by saying how faith in Christ is a part of enduring to the end. I used the story in Matt 14:22-33 and related Peter joining Christ on the water to how we all can "walk through the storms" and challenges of this life if we have faith. We are also like Peter when he starts to sink because "as he saw the wind boisterous" he took his focus,his faith, off of Christ and allowed his worries about his surroundings and circumstance to waver his faith. There is a good message in this scriputre that we can gain strenth from because as soon as Peter cries for Christ to save him from sinking, Christ immediately stretches out his hand to save him. If we can remember to rely on Christ in this life, and retain our faith in him, he will help us endure the mighty storms of life. It was a great talk but I would not have been able to come up with it on my own. Once again, divine help. I encourage you all to read that story this week.
I hope all is well back in the Midwest. I will be over in that area soon enough.
Wo ai ni men!
Sister Jordan

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