So, let's get down to business! (To defeeeat. The Huns.) They switched my P-day to Wednesday, so to answer your questions, yeah, I'll only have one P-day here. next e-mail will be from Canada:) BRING IT. Birthday S/O to JOHN (best 16-year-old in the world, watch out). I'm sorry to all the girls whose hearts he's about to break. And I hope you had an awesome birthday, even though your favorite sista couldn't be there. But I did get you pretty great presents so you're welcome. Also birthday shout-outs to Britney Levetan and Taylor Poulsen.... Will someone please tell that dear Taylor child happy birthday and that I was thinking of him from the MTC?! Miss the primary kids!!!!!
One last piece of business... Totally sounds like I'm conducting a sacrament meeting there. But I need more things haha. This will be it though. If you could send me a camera cord, a copy of my call letter, and my ankle brace I'd love everyone forever (lame promise since families are forever and everything, but whateva). THANK YOU!!! So pictures next week, not this week. But sounds like you already got pictures from the Hendricksons! Cutest couple, I'm lucky they're serving in Halifax with me!!! The people in those pictures were Sister Echols, Sister Starkie, Sister Christensen (companion, me, Sister Weaver, Sister Laxton, Elder James (with the broken hand) and one random Elder who was just a sub comp for Elder James. There are 4 other Elders here headed to Halifax! I have yet to track them down and interrogate them and try not to give them huge hugs.
Soooo, I'VE GOTTEN 17 LETTERS AND 3 PACKAGES. #feelinblessed. Seriously, my district's jealous that I've gotten mail everyday here (except for Sunday). And apparently I have a few more letters waiting for me today, so I'll have to find Elder Bradshaw (DL) and tackle him for the letters (they hate giving me my mail:)). But guys, I love mail, it seriously makes the worst days suddenly the best! So thank you for the letters, and the prayers, and the encouragement... And if you're not religious, then just the good vibes:) I can feel it all and it gives me a ton of strength! LOVE YOU!!
Missionaries I've seen here that people would know... Elders Regehr, Felt, Head... a few Elders and Sisters from my missionary prep class... And Sisters Reese and Ward!! I know I'm forgetting some, but it feels like the week I've been here has been two months, so I can't remember haha.
My flight schedule! My plane leaves to Georgia at 8:30 AM on May 7 (less than a week left say what?!). At 3:35, we'll catch a plane to Toronto, and we'll leave from Toronto to HALIFAX (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!) at 8:50 PM, arriving at 11:51:) So that's my life yo!
Every Sunday night, we have "movie night," where you go to 18M and watch old MTC addresses from general authorities. So I sat with my district and watched a talk Elder Bednar gave here at the MTC on Christmas 2011. It was about the character of Christ (turning outwards and being selfless when others would turn inwards and be self-centered, self-absorbed, and selfish) and conversion. Oh man. I don't think a talk has EVER hit me so hard. It was 90 minutes of pure spiritual feasting, and I left so edified.
Elder Bednar had us turn to Alma 23:6. He pointed out that testimony is not what keeps people from falling away from the Church. You have to have a testimony, but you also have to be converted--continually living what we already know.
Growing up, I've watched so many people with testimonies fall away from the Church. And I didn't understand how they could just stop KNOWING. But not I understand it. You can never un-know something. You can't unlearn something. Once you have a witness, you can't undo it. But if you're not converted, you can choose to forget your witness. Elder Bednar had us ask ourselves if we are truly converted.
I am converted. I have a testimony, and I am converted, so I will never fall away. I know I won't.
I'm not trying to be a preachy missionary writing home, but I'm begging everyone to convert themselves--to continually devote themselves to Christ--so they will never become weak and choose to gorget their own KNOWLEDGE. When people say "the Church isn't true anymore," NO. You weren't true to the Church.
I know that God is real. He lives. I am sure of it because I have received real witness of it from the Spirit. And I trust myself, and the things I've felt and learned, more than I trust mankind's idea of "possible" and "impossible". God lives. Christ is our Savior, and only through Him can we find real happiness.
The biggest tragedy to me is learning of people who KNOW God lives, who received real witness and still know it, but who have chosen to forget it because they stopped living according to what they KNOW is right. That is tragic. I pray for them that they can let themselves remember what they know and trust their feelings above man's.
So! Yesterday we (Sister C and I) got our new (fourth) investigator, Pascal! We had our first lesson with him.... And the Spirit was really, really strong for a lot of it, but it was not there for most of it. I left feeling really, really discouraged. We went to dinner right after that, and I was sitting by myself while my companion was talking with our district. I was just thinking and trying not to get down on myself, but I was feeling probably the worst I've ever felt in my life. I'm sorta embarrassed to say that because I'd rather just be soooooo excited and love every moment of it, but I was really having a rough time. Then a Sister in my district, Sister Falaula (she's incredible) came over to me and asked if I was okay. So of course I just started BAWLING. It was so embarrassing. Right there in the middle of the cafeteria. And my wonderful companion came and hugged me, and the Elders came over and started comforting me and encouraging me, and got me to grow up and quit bein' a baby:) But I was really down, so that night I asked the Elders in my district for a blessing.
Let me interrupt myself to describe my district for a second. There's me and Sister Christensen, who is a year older than me and also going to Halifax. Then Sisters Oswald (sister trainer leader, from Austin) and her comp Sister Falaula (from American Samoa). The Elders are Elder Fietonu (ZL, from Hawaii) and his comp Elder Taufa (also ZL, from Hyland), Elder Bradshaw (DL, from Idaho), and his comp Elder Terry (from Provo). Out of the Elders, I've become really close to Elder Terry (NOT in a crushy way obviously daddy:)). So when I asked Elder Bradshaw for the blessing, Elder Terry asked me if he could give it. It was a really simple, short blessing, but as soon as he said my name at the beginning, I felt overwhelming peace and comfort. The Spirit was SO STRONG, guys!!! You know how I start shaking really bad whenever I feel the Spirit? Yeah, all night long I was feeling it. The blessing was immediate relief. I'm grateful for the priesthood and worthy priesthood holders!
I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY. But I'm short on time. Just know that I'll reply to everyone's letters! I won't ignore them, I just have to find the time to do it. It's P-day, P-DAY, and I've only been able to write half a letter so far.... So they're comin, just give me some time.
Again, thank you, friends and family, for the letters/prayers/thoughts!!!!! It all means everything to me and I feel so strengthened whenever I hear of another family who's praying for me.
And thank you to the parents!!!!! I'm so lucky to have supportive parents!!! We had a testimony my second night here, and Elder Taufa said "I've been born of goodly parents, and they deserved to have a son who served a mission." And I realized how lucky I am to have such devoted, hard-working parents, who got me on my way. THANKS, PIP AND MOW-MA!!!!!
Well, I love and miss everyone!!!!!!!!!! The Church is true! God speed guys:)
Love love love,