Monday, April 28, 2014

Missionary work is the Lord's work.

It's been a wonderful week, but it'd be hard to tell you each and every part of it.  So for now, I'll just tell you about our wonderful Sunday!

So Pete and Doenice got married last week, which was so exciting!  This is the first week they've been to church as the 'Chavez' family...which was lots of fun.  I think I mentioned to you their daughter, Brooke.  She was technically baptized when she was younger, but then ended up joining another church later down the road.  Really, she's just as much of an investigator as Pete, and is searching for her own testimony.

Since she's pretty shy, we went to Sunday School and Young Women with her.  At the start of Young Women, the leaders called me and Sister Cox out of class and asked if we would teach the lesson.  She explained that there were a lot of young women in the ward that seemed to be struggling, and thought maybe since we were closer in age, we'd be able to get through to them in a way that the leaders hadn't.  No pressure, right?  But the lesson was on the Restoration, which luckily, is something we've taught a time or two. :)  So of course, we agreed, and taught an on-the-spot lesson.  Woohoo!

We taught the Restoration in a way that we had never taught it before, which hopefully means that it was taught somewhat by the spirit.  So often we think of the Joseph Smith story only in the history, and we don't always apply it to ourselves.  But it was so neat, as we talked to the girls, that we were able to explain that it really DOES mean something to them.  He was a 14 year-old boy, lost and confused, just like some of them have felt they are.  Normally, we don't focus so much on the power of the adversary that overcomes Joseph.  But today, that was really our focus.  He really is SO strong, and we all feel those temptations in our life. Sometimes we ARE completely overcome.  But as we have faith, as Joseph did, there is always the light of our Savior to show us the way to go.  He is our light in the darkness, and will never fail us, as we have faith in him.  I was SUCH a cool discussion, and the girls really participated.

After the lesson (here's my favorite part), Brooke asked if we would talk to her for a few minutes.  She said, "Sisters...I have a question.  It seems like whenever you come to my house and teach, or whenever I come to church, I feel different.  There's a voice in my head that I only hear when you're there, and it says 'This is true, this is true.'  Is that normal?"  I think we both about jumped out of our seats and cheered...But, we kept our cool, and explained to her that that's the way the spirit answers our prayers: through that feeling, and that still small voice.  She was so excited and we were so excited for her.

At the MTC, one of my teachers said something that made an impact in my mind: "Missionary work is the Lord's work, and he's going to make it happen.  It's our choice whether or not we take part in it."  I see this every day, and feel so blessed to be able to witness it.

All my love,

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter with Elder Nelson!

Okay, so MAYBE I didn't have Easter dinner with Elder Nelson, but this weekend was definitely one I will never forget!

We found out a few weeks ago that Elder Nelson would be visiting the Ventura mission, and since then, I think every missionary has been counting down the days until April 19th.  Just in case you forgot, Elder Nelson was the first surgeon to do a successful repair of Tetralogy of Fallot.  Of course, I love all the apostles, but Elder Nelson holds a special place in my heart (punny, punny :).

Well, April 19th finally came, and was everything we hoped it would be.  He spoke with such power, and brought such an amazing spirit, more than I can even explain.  And of course, he left enough time for each of us to meet him, and shake his hand.  Oh, I love him.

His message was straightforward, clear, and simple: there is ALWAYS more that we can do!  We can be more faithful, more positive, more diligent, more obedient, and more like our Savior.  We can talk to MORE people!

He explained it to us this way: Before we came to our life here on earth, we promised our Father, and accepted the call to be a missionary.  And for our brothers and sisters that knew they would be coming here without a knowledge of the gospel, we promised that we would share it with them!  They have been waiting since they came here, and the Lord has been preparing them to meet us and learn of the message we promised to bring them.  It's not a chance, but a duty we have to share the gospel with everyone we meet!  What a good perspective to have as I go out every morning.

He then asked the question, "As you prepared to come to this conference, how many people did YOU talk to?"  I'm pretty sure we all avoided eye contact as we thought about our nice, cool, 30-minute drive to Ventura.  Luckily, that was the answer he had expected.  He smiled, and loving said, "Cars are the curse of the mission.  If you are not face to face with a member, an investigator, or a less-active, you are not a missionary - you are unemployed."  Right now, every Sister missionary in our mission drives a car, by President Castro's request.  But I think there's a good chance that will be changing after today, and as we get a new mission president!  Elder Nelson urged us to leave our cars behind, so we will never drive past someone prepared to hear our message!

He left us with the message that every day, we will continue to grow, for the rest of our missions.  So try a little harder to be a little better!  Don't set false limitations for yourself, as there is always more we can do.  I think we all left that conference with a new conviction, and a new dedication, to be the missionaries we promised our Heavenly Father we would be.  What a wonderful day!

Sunday was my first Easter away from home.  Of course, to start, we decorated Easter eggs in our apartment, and hid them for each other to find. :)  We had so much fun, and it felt a little more like home.

Today, I tried to imagine Easter from the apostles' point of view. They had been with Christ for three years, and had dedicated their whole lives to him.  To them, He was everything.  They had seen His love, His miracles, and the blessings of His gospel.  They knew Him to be the Son of God, and they loved Him so much.  He was their light, their hope, and their life.

Friday would have been unimaginable.  Christ, their all, who they had promised to follow all their lives, was crucified.  I know it's not for me to say what the apostles were thinking, bur I think for ME, watching this happen, I would have the hope of "This is the Son of God.  Surely He will stop this from happening; it can't be."  But it WOULD be, as this is what was needed to break the bands of death.

Then, came Saturday.  In my mind, this day would have been the hardest.  The man who came to save the world, to change the world, is gone.  The world is dark, they have lost the one to lead and guide them.  They were left to carry on, however they knew how.  They returned to what they did know, back to their nets.  I think that dark and lonely Saturday would have been by far the hardest to endure.

However, the Lord never leaves us without hope, and on the third day, that Glorious Sunday, Jesus Christ broke the bands of death, and rose from His tomb.  Mary Madgelene rejoiced, as He visited her in the garden.  Peter jumped from his boat, to stand with the Savior.  The Nephites knelt at His feet, and felt the wounds in his side.  He had risen, and because He is risen, we may each have the chance to return to our Father in Heaven. Christ gave everything to us - He gave His life to save us from our sins.  He is Risen, and Sunday is a bright and joyful day!

In this day and time, I feel so blessed that I never have to endure that dark and lonely Saturday, and I am never without hope.  We are blessed with the knowledge that He Lives!  Elder Nelson said, in the last session of General Conference, "There is only One in whom your faith is always safe, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ."  On our dark days, and our low times, we can have hope through Him.  He is our Savior, and Redeemer.  He saved us that Easter morning, so many years ago, and I know that I have felt his Redeeming power, every day that I have been here.  I feel so privileged to be able to serve Him, and testify of His truth.  I love Him dearly.  He is my brother, and my best friend.

I hope that once this Easter season has passed, we can keep Him in our hearts at all time, in all things, and in all places, as He does with us.

I love you all so much, and love you for listening to my jumbled thoughts and feelings.  I hope at least some of this letter makes sense.

Happy Easter cute family.  I love you with every bit of my heart. ♥
Sister Shay Shay

P.S. - That family picture is my favorite thing I've ever seen.  I'll hang it on my wall for my entire mission!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My top 10 favorite lessons, so far...

Hello, hello!  I've officially been on a mission for three weeks!  But with so many new things, there's too much to tell. So, instead, I broke it down into the top 10 favorite lessons I've learned so far:

#1.  Elders are everything.
Since my stay at the MTC, my love for the Elders has grown so much!  I think I mentioned in my last letter, the Elders in my district were Elder Payne, Elder De Costa, and Elder Wickern.  The last night at the MTC, these wonderful guys took us back to the classroom, sang us God Be With You Til We Meet Again, then gave each of the sisters a priesthood blessing.  Never in my life have I been so disappointed to not be able to give someone a hug.  It was SO SWEET.  Since I've been out here, I've gained such a love and appreciation for the Elders, and how admirable it is that they keep themselves worthy to hold the Priesthood.  They are great.  (Cough, cough, ELDER LARSEN.)

#2.  The most frightening thing you could be dressed a missionary.
I honestly think I'm pretty approachable.  I shower every morning, and I try to get nice and ready (some days I don't do my hair...).  But I'm smiley, and I always wave at people when they see me.  And they LOVE me.  But as soon as I put my black tag on, I am terrifying.  Today, a lady seriously sprinted down the street and away from us, and closed the doors and windows behind her, as soon as we made eye contact.  YIKES.

#3.  All you really need to live is strawberries, whipped cream, and Cadbury Eggs.
This one's pretty self-explanatory.  But it's safe to say there are four very happy sisters living in our apartment.

#4.  Poodle hair isn't bad hair.
So, with such a busy schedule, I've started trying to do my hair naturally curly.  I figure I was called to preach the gospel, not to look pretty.  And you know how I always say my curly hair looks like a poodle?  WELL, guess what sister Cox said while we were walking!  HEY. Your hair looks kind of like that dog.  "POODLE."  I'm learning to live with my hair though, and it'll be staying this way for the next 18 months.

#5.  Persistence isn't always polite.
In our mission, when we meet someone on the street, or at their door, we have to get 3 no's before we move on.  PERSISTENCE.  Nephi was persistent when he went down to get the plates from Laban, because God commanded him, and he would not give up "until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us."  Three cheers for Nephi!  However, I've never considered until now, that his "not taking no for an answer" approach may have been a little uncomfortable (and ended in one of them dying).  Maybe it wasn't quite as uncomfortable for him as it is for me, but I'm not as bold as Nephi.  It's harder than I thought to walk that fine line of being polite and being persistent.  I think I cross the line a little too often.  But hey, I'm still learning.

6.  I, Shaylie Rae Williams, am capable of running a mile.
Who knew?  I sure didn't.  But as it turns out, there's a little extra pressure to be able to run when you're outside with three other sisters, instead of on a treadmill in the basement...So as of yesterday, I can officially run a mile.  Tell Gina Larsen I'll be running a 5k with her when I get home. :)

7.  Old habits die hard.
It's hard to hold back my wonderful sense of humor, which consists mostly of Dan in Real Life and Juno quotes.  Because once you take those away from me, all that's left is the super-awkward Shaylie humor, which makes most people feel...well, super-awkward.  Luckily, the Camarillo 6th Ward is slowly learning to love Sister Williams, and her lame jokes.

8.  Ten minutes of sleep DOES make a difference.
So, every day we wake up at 6:20, so we can be up and running by 6:30.  On Sundays, though, we get to sleep in all the way until 6:30.  Those ten minutes could be debated to be the happiest part of my week.  I mean, not really...I do love my mission...but really, they're wonderful.

9.  Positivity is key.
Sister Cox and I play the positivity game all day, every day.  It's really pretty easy to just say two positive things for every negative you say.  In theory...we wouldn't be saying negatives to begin with.  But SOMETIMES, it just happens.  It usually goes something like this: "AH! I hate when stupid drivers cut you off!...BUT, his shoe size is probably bigger than ours, which automatically pushes the pedal farther down...and we are glad that he was blessed with the foot size he needed to get him to his destination a whole second before us."  Sometimes, we have to stretch a little to find our positives.  Be we laugh our heads off, and it keeps us upbeat all day!

Even though I haven't been in Camarillo for very long, I've seen so many miracles.  I've been so amazed by the people I've met, and the strength I've seen in my investigators.  It's like everyone has told me: The Lord is preparing people, that we will meet.  We won't be the ones teaching them, but we can be the tools in the Lord's hands, so the spirit can teach them through us.  It's pretty amazing to be a part of this work, and I'm so lucky to be a missionary at this time and place.  I know that the Lord will provide a way for his children, and I'm just lucky to be able to see it happen!

I love it here.  It's already been the happiest, most exciting, and probably the scariest thing I've done in my life.  But it's the most rewarding work I could possibly be doing, and all is well.  I love you all so much, and send all my love from here, in Camarillo. ♥

Love, Sister Shaylie Rae

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Camarillo, California"

I'm alive and well, in the beautiful city of Camarillo!  This really has to be the prettiest place I've ever been.  It's about 75 degrees year-round, with just a little bit of a breeze.  Basically, it's beach weather all the time.  Great, right?!  Everything is so green here, too!  There is every kind of tree, ivy covers all the walls and buildings, and the ground is seriously covered in flowers!  It's got the nice, homey feeling, because it's a pretty small town, and I'm so lucky to get to walk around here.

My trainer/companion is Sister Cox.  She's from Orem, she's about a week younger than me, and she's been out for nine months.  At first, she seemed pretty quiet, but I found out pretty quickly, she's secretly got Ashlyn's sense of humor. :)  We have SO much fun, and it reminds me so much of home.  I am definitely blessed to get to work with her.

Our daily routine is something like this:  We wake up at 6:20 every morning, and run until 7:00.  On our run, we meet up with one of our investigators, Brooke,  because she hates walking to school by herself.  So, we walk her to school, teach her a lesson on the way, and run home after. :)  When it comes to missionary work, we get creative!

We teach Brooke's family once a week.  Her mom, Doenice,is a member, but is recently becoming active gain.  Doenice is getting married on Saturday, to Pete.  So we're teaching them, and helping prepare Pete to be baptized!  They treat us like family, though.  Doenice makes us sack-lunches all the time, and sometimes brings us breakfast in the mornings!  Brook also makes us Mac n' Cheese for dinner, some nights. :)  I love them all, but Pete reminds me a lot of Dad, so I think I love him a little bit extra. :)

Our ward is holding a "40 Day Fast" for missionary work.  Each day, a family fasts for someone in particular, and for the courage and strength to share the gospel with that person.  Then we follow up with them and see how it went, or what we can do to help.  We've already gotten so many referrals this way, and have seen so many miracles!  I'll share just a few with you. :)

Miracle #1 - An elderly couple in the ward, the Romneys, had the wonderful idea to fast for a missionary opportunity, on a specific day (April 3rd).  They fasted and prayed, and the morning of April 3rd, a new man came to the pool that they hadn't seen before.  They introduced themselves, got talking, and brought up that they were Latter-Day Saints.  This man responded with "I used to have a friend who was Mormon, and I've always wanted to know more!  I just didn't know how!  The Romneys referred him to us, and we now get to teach Peter once a week. MIRACLE.

Miracle #2 - The priest quorum in our ward decided to fast for their friend, Sean.  He had gone to church with them in the past, but his mom didn't support it, and moved him to the Simi Valley, about a year ago. The boys had barely seen or talked to him since, but fasted that he'd get the chance to hear the gospel.  The next day, Sean called one of the Yong Men to tell him that he's be moving back to Camarillo with his aunt, and asked if he could come to church with them.  Yesterday was his first day at church, and we got meet him.  He asked to set up an appointment THAT night, so last night, with the help of the priest quorum, we taught the Restoration.  He asked if he could be baptized for his 18th birthday. :)  We're meeting with him now, a few times a week, so he can be baptized at the end of the month!

Miracle #3 - We actually met Rob, tracting.  We knocked on his door, and he was so friendly and nice!  Missionaries had gone by a few times before, but he was a Born-Again Christian, and wasn't interested.  But this time, he said "Hey! I was hoping some of you would come by soon!"  He had been emailing back and forth with a friend from Utah, and had been asking her all kinds of questions about the church.  He asked if we could clarify the Joseph Smith story.  After explaining the story, we told him about Moroni's promise, that we can pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  He smiled at us, told us he would read, BUT that he could already feel it.

He told us a story about a long time ago, when he was told he had a long lost daughter he had never know about.  He said the day he got to meet her, and the moment he saw her, he felt this "overwhelming, unexplainable, unconditional, indescribable emotion, and love."  He said that even though she didn't know him, she was his, and he loved her more than anything.  He then said, that as we told the story, of the Restoration, he felt that same overwhelming emotion, and feeling of love.  But this time, it was love for him.  He could feel that God felt that love for him, and wanted this for him.  He told us he knew this was the direction he needed to go, but that he needed to know a little more so he could be a good disciple.  We'll be going back this week!

Now of course, I can't say the whole week went as smoothly as those three stories.  There have definitely been harsh comments thrown our way, doors shut in our faces, and many discouraging moments.  The wonderful thing is, though, even if THEY don't get why I'm here, I KNOW.  And because I know that, anything hard or discouraging I may have to do is NOTHING compared to the blessings that come from the work.  It may be the hardest work I've ever done, but for more importantly, it's the most rewarding!

Mom, I absolutely love the quote you gave me, and it hangs in my room, to read EVERY day.
 "I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, he will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set your families free.  This is my missionary promise to you, and your missionary message to the world." Oh, Elder Holland is wonderful.  But I love what he says:  He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set your families free - what a wonderful message that I feel privileged to know, and even more privileged to share!

I know it's just my first week, but I love being a missionary!  I'm so happy to be in this wonderful city, and to meet so many amazing people.  I'm sure there will be days much harder than these...
So, every morning, I wake up and remind myself, even if I had NO other successes on my mission, It's okay. :)  I have met Sean, Pete, and Rob!  No matter what happens, they would make this whole 18 months worthwhile!  It's hard to explain, but I really do love each of them.

Don't worry, though.  I love you guys most. :)  I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family. Your letters make my days, every single time!  As much as I love it here, I'm excited to give you all the best hugs I've ever 18 more months. :)

Love you all!
Sister Shaylie :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm here!!

Dear Family,

I'm here!  I made it to California!  And I love it here already, even though it's just the second day. :) I'll write you ALL about it when I have more time, but for now, what you need to know is:
The mission office will be my permanent mailing address, my whole mission.  All mail, packages, etc. will need to go to: 3301 W. Gonzales Rd., Oxnard, CA  93036.  They will forward everything to us same-day, as long as it's sent first class or priority mail.  If you send a package standard mail, it'll probably be a month til I have it. :)

President Castro is wonderful.  He's so sweet and caring, as is his wife.  We also met their two kids:  Hannah and Samuel.  So we have a home away from home!

It's like 70 degrees here, and warm, sunny and bright.  I walk out the door, and can see the ocean, and the islands!  Ventura is a beautiful place!  People are so nice to us.  We met at the church this morning, and early-morning seminary students were waiting to help us get our bags.  We stayed at members houses last night, and they made us breakfast this morning.

I'll be reassigned to my new apartment and new companion in about 2 hours...WOW!  I've already been tracting, and had doors slammed in my face...but I've also met so many nice people!  I can tell it's going to be hard, but it's going to be so worth it.

I love it here, and Heavenly Father is taking care of me.  I don't feel out of place, I feel like this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.  I think my hardest part is stepping our of my quiet, shy comfort zone, to be BOLD, and declare!  But, I'll get there, slowly and surely.  Tell everyone I love them, and Mom...I love you!  Hopefully you like the first picture of Shaylie's life as a missionary.

♥Sister Shay Shay

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love you! Go UTES!

I just wanted to share with you that I've learned that the MTC was placed in this exact spot for a spiritual purpose.  It was no accident.  Here's why:

Being at the MTC is much like being in Lehi's vision.  Surrounded by the darkness around us, we can look to the tree of life, or the temple of the Lord.  It shines bright out of every window at the MTC.

But, I cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side, a great and spacious BYU Stadium...and it stood as if it were in the air, high above the earth.

(Hey, I'm just saying it how I saw it.)

And it came to pass, that the great and spacious stadium was the pride of the world, and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great.

I just felt I should share with you that personal revelation.


"Yoo-hoo! Hello Family" (If I were there, I'd do my "Frozen" impression...)

I wish I could just share with you everything that has happened to me this week, but that would take a whole lot of paper, a whole lot of words, and honestly, I don't know that I could really explain it all!  So, instead, I'll just share a couple of my favorite stores and experiences.

So while in the MTC, we teach "investigators."  They each have their own character, their own stores, their own experiences, etc. They walk around campus for us to get to know, and to teach.  Sister Currie and I taught two this week, let me introduce you!  Joe is about 22.  He's a recovering alcoholic, and has 3 kids with his girlfriend.  But he doesn't quite understand what it means for him.  Joe is golden, basically.  Our second investigator is Whitney. Whitney is about 24, and is also a recovering addict.  She and her husband are theist, but her 90-day program asks her to discover a "higher being."  So she is learning about all different faiths, and asked to speak with us.  YAY!

The first day of lessons went wonderfully with Joe.  We taught him the blessings of the atonement, and how we can be cleansed through Christ, and he accepted our invitation to pray, and to be baptized!!  Whitney's lesson went much differently.  When we arrived, they threw us a little bit of a curve ball.  Whitney lives in El Paso, TX, and we would be teaching her over Skype.  Oh no.  How can I share a scripture, or convey the spirit, over a computer screen?  In our panic, I can say, the lesson did not go as planned.  We left as friends, and connected to her, but didn't give her the experience we had hoped.  Still, she invited us back for Wednesday.

Wednesday, we improved!  By the end of our meeting with Joe, he told us he felt peace through prayer, and he committed to keeping the Word of Wisdom, and was working toward baptism on the 26th.  Whitney's lesson went much better as well.  She was able to read the Book of Mormon with us, using her kindle.  She talked about the good feeling she had when she read, and told US she wanted to start reading the Book of Mormon, from cover to cover.  WOW!  She asked us to meet with her again on Friday, to talk about what we read.  (Keep in mind, they are allowed to say no to return appointments, and are even encouraged NOT to , if you aren't helping them.)  Needless to say, we were stoked, and SO happy!  Fast forward to Friday: because we'd be leaving the MTC the following Monday, this was our last day with them.  We decided to have a district fast for all those who wanted to, to invite the spirit into our lessons, and to help them feel God's love.  Our first lesson was with Joe.  He had relapsed, and felt he could no longer be baptized.  Of course, we were sad.  But we were able to explain that we will make mistakes.  Though he needs to overcome his addition before baptism, he can be forgiven, and strengthened through Christ, to which he responded, "I've felt His help, and I know that he won't give up on me. "YES!"  He also committed to living the law of chastity.  The spirit we felt was so strong!  Next, we were meeting with Whitney.  We sat down and called...with no answer.  A few minutes later, we tried again: with no answer.  Sad and discouraged, we left her a message, letting her know our appreciation of getting to know her.  We let her know we would be transferred, but left our emails so she could still contact us if there was any more that we could do for her.

We then said a prayer.  All of our discouragement and disappointment was replaced with understanding , and we knew it was okay.  Whether she was unavailable, not in the mood to talk to us today, or not ready for the message we shared, it was okay!  We had tried, and would continue to try.  We can do all that we can, the Lord will do the rest, for those who are prepared, and willing to accept him.  I think we learned an important lesson that I know I'll see many times more throughout my mission.  We still have our agency.  I'm sure there will be times that we will be rejected, even by some of our most promising investigators.  It will be okay!  "Keep calm and carry on." ;)
The Lord loves us, the Lord loves our investigators and He is taking care of both of us, even if it's in a way that we don't understand yet.

Lastly, I just wanted to share my favorite testimony strengthening moment of the week.  So, as missionaries, we are told that we are called to teach with power and authority.  When they set us apart, we receive authority.  When we learn to teach by the spirit, we receive power.

So often, as missionaries, we find ourselves teaching about prayer, but when we get to our testimony, we say "we actually believe Heavenly Father can answer your prayers!"  Well, that's great...but where is the power?  Our testimonies bring such a spirit, and such power!  So, why are we afraid to share them?  In a testimony meeting, I am perfectly confident in saying, "I know that Heavenly Father will answer my prayers,: yet, I shy away when I have to say "I know Heavenly Father will answer your prayers."  But why?  I know for myself, I think, "But what if they don't recognize the answer?  What if they don't understand?"  But again...why?!  I KNOW that Heavenly Father will answer their prayers!  He loves them, and is preparing them to receive this message. He will not just leave them to wonder.  He wants nothing more than to show his love for them, and pour blessings upon them, he just needs them to ask.

When we withhold that knowledge that we have, we not only hurt ourselves, but those we teach.  If I can't tell them that I know, where is the power they need to have the faith to know for themselves?

WOW.  That was a lot of scrambles thoughts, and words.  It makes so much more sense in my head. :)  I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you know it, share it.  Your faith does matter, and does make a difference, and your testimony can change lives.  The Lord does not leave us to wonder, if we ask in faith.

I'll be honest.  I'm super pumped to get out in the mission field, but I really do love it here.  I feel like I have grown so much and can't wait to continue in California.

The church is true! :)  I love you all!
♥Sister Shaylie

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Week One at the MTC!

Hello, hello!!

There's so much to say, and so little time!!  I only have a few minutes of email time, so I'll keep it brief, but really, I could go on about it for hours.  It's wonderful here, not at all like the horror stores I've always heard.  The spirit that you can feel on this campus is amazing, and I'm finally getting used to calling people Elders and Sisters. I think you're greeted by every single person you pass, "Good morning, Sisters!"  "Let me hold the door for you, Sisters!"  "You Sisters sure look nice today!"  Everyone is so sweet here, and you can really feel the love of our Heavenly Father through everyone we meet.

My companion is named Sister Currie, and she's awesome!  We have so much fun together, but, we also help each other feel the spirit, and do really well working with each other.  I was so worried about having to spend all my time with someone, every minute of the day (truly), but I lucked out.  We also have some great sisters in our dorm: Sister Olsen and Sister Boring.  They are hilarious, and I love working with them!!  The four of us make up the sisters in the Ventura district, along with 3 Elders.  Our Elders are great, too.  I have never met so many sweet, respectful, loving young men, especially with the sole purpose of serving the Lord.  I hate to brag, but our district is the best in the MTC.  No question.

We had a wonderful Sunday Devotional the other day.  We were blessed to see the talents of Richard Elliot, the organist for the Mormon Tabernacle choir.  He was PHENOMENAL!  I've never seen an organ played quite like that.  Especially when he played "Go, Tell it on the Mountain," with his feet.  While he snapped along.  It was great.  Next we got hear from (drumroll, please...), the one and only, recent RM, Brother Daaavid Archuleta!!  What a cutie.  And what a wonderful spirit he brought to the room.  First he sang to us, but then we got to sing the missionary medley together.  (The one that the youth sang at my farewell!)  I don't think the sisters of the MTC have ever been so excited!

We basically have 16 hours a day of intense gospel study.  But, I'm already feeling the blessings and effects, so it's nice to see hard work paying off.  It's hard, but it's worth it, without a doubt.  I love being here, and am so excited to be in California.  It's crazy to think I'll be there in less than a week!!  We leave Monday, at 4am.  So, that's really early...but I'll get to spend my first P-Day there!!  It'll be a nice day with my new mission president while I wait to find out exactly where I'll be going next!!

I'm sure there's much more I could say...but I can't think of it right now.  I'm just focused on getting laundry done, and relaxing as much as possible on my first P-day.  But, I love you all, and have been so happy to hear from you this last week.  I'll get writing you ASAP, but for now, just know, you're in my thoughts, and in my prayers. I think of you every day!

All My Love,
Sister Shay Shay :)