Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4, 2011

I have so much to say I hope I can type it up in 26 minutes!! First of all MUCHAS GRACIAS for my birthday package and wishes:) The cupcakes were delightful. Squished but delightful nonetheless. I shared them with my district. They all say thank you:) Elder Sutterfield's birthday was on the 3rd so we've been getting lots of packages and treats in our district. He just turned 19 though!!! He just graduated from HS this year! I can't hardly believe that. He is 4 years younger than me, but is so impressive and spiritual. But don't worry all these 19 years olds are normal 19 years olds. I saw how amazing they are and how much I love them, but they still do funny 19 year old boy things:) I think I smile too much though in class and when people are talking. I just love everyone here and so I smile at them when they talk. I think one of my teachers might have been slightly wierded out the first week because I was so attentive and expressive. Oh well:) And my zone leaders who I loved so much got released! In the MTC you only have a leadership assignment for 3 weeks so Elders Shirley and Roper are no longer the Zone Leaders (plus they leave for Honduras on Monday:( ) Now Elders De Lora and Ingersoll are the Zone Leaders. At lunch the other day they dared us to drink root beer, orange juice and chocolate milk together. So we did! It tasted like a rootbeer float with an orangecreamsicle in it. Those are the types of things 19 year old boys do that we hermanas get pulled into:) Elders Gregroy and Hartmann also leave on Monday to go to Guatemala. We in our district will miss them soooooo much. E. Gregory is our district leader and is soooo amazing! They are going to the MTC in Guatemala. I also had an hermana friend leave on Wednesday. My host (the person who showed me aruond the MTC on my first day here) was Hermana Lao from SLC. She moved into our room a week ago because she had to stay at the MTC a week longer than her district to recover from ACL surgery. She was so loving and so fun. She left to go to Argentina!! And yesterday two new sisters moved into our room. They are from New Zealand and Arizona going to the Saint George visitors center and san fernando california. It is crazy how much shifting goes on in the MTC. People come in and leave all the time. And these new sisters will only be here for three weeks. So in three weeks we'll get NEW roommates!! Crazy!

So this last week we taught our first lesson in the TRC (teaching resource center). I used to volunteer here before my mission. People (usually BYU students) come and volunteer to be a fake "investiagtor" and be taught by the missionaries. When we went on Friday not enough volunteers came so we actually taught one of the TRC administrators. Intimidating!!! Our teacher told us he "wouldn't follow the script" which to me meant he would be hard to teach. But he wasn't. In fact the lesson went amazingly (well it was in English so that helped a lot!) The feedback that our "investiagtor" gave us was that the lesson was very powerful and that we could focus a little more on the doctrine. The lesson was powerful! I was able to recite Joseph Smith's first vision and the Spirit was there and my companion testifies of how she knows that the Book of Mormon is true and can bless you life. Even though it was only a mock situation it was still a great booster for us, who have been trying to teach our teachers in Spanish and failing miserably.

The Spanish is coming along though. In my setting apart President Ellis told me that I would be able to learn the language quickly and I have! I feel like I speak spanish about as well as I spoke French after one year of French in HS. Granted I can say different things. I don't know the days of the week or the numbers all the way, but I can bear my testimony in Spanish and I wrote a 5 minute talk about the Book of Mormon in Spanish (luckily I didn't have to give it in Sacrament Meeting - I just had to have it ready in case I got called on). Learning French has DEFINITELY helped me. Sometimes french words slip out, but overall it is a benefit, not a limitation.

This week was a little tough. We've been here 14 days. And it is finally setting in that this is our life now. We've been a little more restless in the classroom. I knew it was bad when our fearless district leader E. Gregory was asked a question by our teacher and he couldn't respond because he was so hot. All he could manage to say was "isn't anyone else hot? I'm dying!" It was funny, just because E. Gregory is SO diligent and obedient. I knew we were in trouble if HE was having a hard time paying attention:) But we get little boosters every week. Like on Sundays and Tuesdays we have a Devotional/Fireside where awesome and important people come talk to us. This Tuesday Gerald N. Lund (former member of the Quorom of the 70 and author of the series Work and the Glory) came and spoke to us about Faith. It was very inspiring. One of the coolest things sometimes happens at these devotionals. The elders all have to wear their suitcoats to the meeting and they are only allowed to remove their suitcoats if the speaker invites them to. Sometimes the speaker does and sometimes he doesn't. Last week the speaker said they could take off their coats, and all of the sudden the room was full of light! It looked like it had snowed or something. 2,000 elders who had once been wearing black were now wearing white. It was way cool! We also get to watch a movie on Sunday nights. They show church movies or conference talks. The funniest thing though is that in some movies (like Legacy or the Joseph Smith movie) there is a little bit of kissing. Like one kiss really, not that much. But whenever there is a kissing all the elders (mind you hundreds of 19 year old boys) whoop and holler. It is very amusing:)

This last Sunday I had the chance to play the piano. One of the hermanas in my district, Hermana Hathaway, used to be a piano major and has a beautiful voice!! She wanted to sing one of her favorite songs "Rescue Me" by Jenny Philips (I think there is a youtube video of a man singing could put that on the blog maybe) for Sacrament Mtg. And she asked me to accompany for her. So three days before we ran through it. We practiced on Saturday and again on Sunday before church and then performed. It went very well. It is a beautiful song. Especially in the context of Hermnana Hathaway singing it. She has been having a very hard time with anxiety and homesickness here at the MTC. She hasn't been able to keep food down, etc. And so to have her sing this song about how the Lord will always be there to help us and strengthen us was really meaningful.

We also saw the former president of the Ukraine here at the MTC. We were having a lesson in the hall and the MTC president stopped to talk to the former president of Ukraine about us and what we were doing and where we were going. Cool!

I am almost out of time, so the last thing I'll say is that one thing I am in the process of learning is that the reason I am here, on a mission, and I think one of the reasons why we are here on the earth, is to learn to love; to love everyone! I have to go now, but I love you all very much!

Hermana Bowns

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