Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11, 2011

Hola! First of all THANK YOU all sooooo much for all your letters and packages and love and support. I feel SO loved and SO blessed to have such great friends and family!!! Having said that I will try to get back to all of you ASAP, but my letter writing time is limited so be patient with me:)

I think my body is finally adjusting to being in the MTC. Yesterday was my three week anniversary:) And I've finally gotten used to the schedule. The first three weeks I felt overfed because we eat every 4 hours (7:00a, 11:30a, 4:30p) but this week I am starving by the time we eat again! My sleeping is still a little wierd, I just don't think I'll ever be awake at 6:30. One day in gym (which was right after waking up), I almost fell asleep while riding the stationary bike!! and while stretching, and while studying! Once it hits about 10a I am fine, but before that it is a struggle! Not even exercise will wake me up. But I am not getting sick (I am fending off a little cough, but nothing to really get in my way). This week  I had a couple moments where I thought to myself, "I am on a mission. Like for real!" It's still sinking in. This week was also the first week that I actually felt frustrated! Day 19 was bad. I had a venting session to my roommates when we got back to the room. It is just hard to not really know what to do to meet your goals effectively, but I knew the next day I would be fine because I know that all things that are happening are for my good and are teaching me. I just feel like a 3 year old, kind of miffed and frustrated because I'm not "getting" everything (like teaching investigators, etc.) perfectly the first time. Duh! Diane.

The MTC is definitely a hub though and I've seen more than a couple people that I know. Two guys from one of my BYU wards are teachers here so I see them occasionally, and I ran into a guy that I went to EFY with in like 2002! I don't even know how he recognized me, I didn't recognize him for sure! And my friend Dave Roemisch works here and so I saw him too!! AND I saw Tucker Ferwerda yesterday! It was his first day and I was looking for him like crazy at dinner. Finally he saw me and I went over to say hey. His nametag is crazy. I don't even know what to think of Bulgarian! I'm glad I'm learning Spanish:) He looked good and happy. Hopefully I'll run into him often. But Mom, tell Debra that he is doing good and looks the part of a diligent missionary:)

Sadly this week we lost some elders (meaning they left to go to their missions). My favorite Zone Leaders are gone to Honduras and my beloved District Leader and his companion are now in the MTC in Guatemala:( They will be missed. My new District Leader is Elder Tingey (grandson of Elder Earl C. Tingey) He is awesome! And my new Zone Leaders (Elder De Lora and Elder Ingersoll) are SO fun:) I would send pictures so you can see all of these wonderful people, but sadly there is no way for me to e-mail pictures home. I have to print and mail them, or get them on a CD and send them home. I will do the latter when I have more pictures to send. So eventually you will get to see me in the MTC.

Oh man I have learned so much this week. The amazing thing is that here in the MTC I feel like my prayers have been answered so much quicker than ever before! And my measly efforts yield such amazing results that I KNOW that I am not doing this on my own. For example, I think my companion is awesome; so wonderful, but we could always be closer. One of my teachers suggested that I try to serve her to strengthen our relationship. I was like "yeah right"! How can you serve someone who is ALWAYS with you?? Then it's not a secret or a surprise and it's kind of embarassing to try to serve someone with them watching (like make their bed and stuff, since that's the only thing I could really think to do...I mean we are in the MTC, all we do is sleep, study and eat). But I said I would try it. So I made her bed twice while she was in the bathroom, and took her meal tray a couple times, and tried to be more encouraging and engaging. And oh man, this week has been so much better. We are definitely closer than we were before. At first I was like, "wow this is awesome!" I'm feeling so much more love for my companion, and we are laughing and sharing with each other, and we are working better together. And then I was like "oh. I've been praying and trying to serve her." I know that it wasn't all me, I know she's been working to strengthen our relatioship too, but I was astonished by the results of even my small efforts. Another example, I have been feeling a little lost in my studying. So much to study, and no organization. It was getting to me, and so on fast Sunday I decided to fast that my studies would be more effective. And guess what, THAT DAY i had incredibly effective studies. I felt edified and uplifted. By the end of the day I was so happy. And I had only fasted that day! I know that Lord was helping me. ANOTHER example, my companion and I have been frustrated about teaching one of our "investiagtors" and teaching in unity. We decided to try something new, and prayed about it. We each studied on our own what we thought our investigator needed to learn about and them came together to share. I knew that something amazing was about to happen when my companion started smiling as i was sharing what i had studies about. she was like "i was thinking the exact same thing!!" amazing! The Lord really does want to help us and does want us to be effective, and I have seen first hand in many small but amazing ways how He blesses us for our small efforts:)

This Gospel is all about change! Changing to become better and more like the Savior. I have been experienceing some of that change the past three weeks and am excited for more of it. Change isn't easy and it definitely isn't comfortable, but it is worth it. The joy that comes from becoming more like Jesus is priceless, really! What can you change in your life to be more like Him?

I also know that all things have a purpose. We don't always understand the purpose, but there always is one. We are put with the people and in the places where we can bless and be blessed. I have experienced that as I've been here in the MTC, but also in other times in my life. The sisters and elders that I am surrounded by are blessing my life more than they know because of their love, testimonies, and faith.

I love you all. You are a blessing in my life too! Thank you for your prayers and letters!
Hermana Bowns

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