Saturday, February 1, 2014

Two Days and I'm Already Stretching

Hello Everyone!!!!

Wow. This place is incredible. I don't really know where to begin. In these past two days I have learned so much about myself and about how I can improve. Hours upon hours upon hours of sitting in the classroom studying the gospel, learning to love and teach as Christ does and evaluating yourself and your companionship is exhausting, uplifting and educative in pretty much every single sense of the word.

Ok. My mind is going to be everywhere but I want to give you the best impression I can of the MTC. First of all, we learned a cool thing. You know how MTC is normally Missionary Training Center? Well, we are told to think of it as My Time with Christ. I love that. And of all the places, this is absolutely the best place to draw closer to Christ.

My companion is Sister Mason and she's great! She's from Connecticut, loves to read, fenced in high school and is a spiritual rock. All her life she has wanted to serve a mission, and boy oh boy is it clear in everything she does. I have a lot to learn from her. We have a really good relationship in that we are pretty much polar opposites aside from our testimonies of the gospel. But it means that we bring completely different things to the table when we study or discuss, and then those opposites mesh into a beautifully blended lesson. Like, it's awesome. I'm impressed. 

My first day was SO CRAZY BUSY. EVERY day is SO CRAZY BUSY. We have literally 30-45 minutes of personal time when we don't have our exact schedule or study habits planned out. Hahah I guess it is scheduled, but it's the only time we have during the day to even think about ourselves for a second. The rest is focused completely on investigators and Christ. That has been kind of a hard adjustment. I'm terrified of losing myself, but at the same time am trying so hard to do exactly that.

They give us no time to sit and linger and mope so I was honestly (like really truly I was) just ridiculously happy and excited for most of the past two days. Then, last night I had a bit of a rough go. We were in a Branch conference (OOOOOOOH! My Branch is AWESOME. Super duper international and cool. I'll get to that later). Anyway, we each got up and bore our testimonies and said why we're here now. These missionaries are incredible. Their stories are filled with trials, and, more importantly, with case after case of turning to Christ and choosing to serve a mission. I know I must have had trials, but honestly my life feels so easy. I guess moving was hard, but it mostly just feels like a blessing, so hearing the lives of these missionaries was very humbling. Well, the Spirit was so strong and then a wave of emotions just hit me. You know...those same ones of inadequacy. I was sitting there and I couldn't really stop the tears, while in the meantime our President is saying these incredible things to us. Hahaha I knew I'd be "that sister". Can't help it I'm an emotional amusement park. Long story short I was pretty much bawling and I asked for a blessing. My Zone Leader gave me one and I'm doing much better now. Like I said before, I'm clinging to "me" and am so scared of losing that identity. I don't want to become a robot missionary. But I also know that clinging to my old self means no growth. And no growth means I'm not helping anyone. So it's hard, but the blessing brought a lot of comfort.

Righto! Everyone says missions are hard and at the same time the best thing to ever happen to them. My good people, I've solved the puzzle!! At least for me. Right now. I can legitimately feel myself stretching. I am so uplifted and determined to grow, while at the same time 100% overwhelmed. We've been learning to compare ideas to things that investigators know and understand so I took some of my own medicine: I know sports. I know track. I know hurdles. It's a metaphor: I'm in a hurdles race with myself. Six lanes all with a different me in them. And ultimately, I want to be the winning hurdler, the best missionary at getting over obstacles. Everyone knows that the best athletes have to warm up and stretch. Well, the Spirit is my warm up: it fills me and draws me closer to Christ and is (I've learned this without a doubt) ABSOLUTELY necessary to succeed. And now I have to do the stretching. It hurts a little, and I've got a few knots to work through, but in the end that's the only way I'll be flexible enough, and even able, to get over the hurdles. I don't know, it helped me, hopefully it makes sense.

But Mother I know you said you'd dwell on everything said for the whole week so I don't want you to be worried. I am HAPPY. I really am. We got to do a really cool thing (my favorite so far) where we sat in a room with about 50 missionaries and had one investigator. And as a group of 50 we raised our hands and taught them. Wow. It was incredible. The first time I understood the power the Spirit has. And I volunteered multiple times, which surprised me hahaha. You raised me to be bold and to participate, so participate I shall! I had no idea how quickly they have you teach in here, but it's pretty much "Welcome to the MTC! I'll take your bags! Here's your classroom! Here's a brief summary of your investigator! Teach them!" hahah uhhhhhh ok, I will?

Hahaha alright, I hope this was "real" enough for you. They surround us with optimism and love and support, so I feel like I'm already sounding like a missionary and that may not be the "real" letter you're looking for. But this is my life and I'm sharing it with you :)

p.s. Random tidbits of my mind:
-I was the only one of all the new missionaries to stand up for the DC area. Yay for awkwardly standing alone and not realizing it until the crowd chuckles.
-Favorite quote: Don't just be a tool in the Lord's hands, be a sharp tool.
-Favorite scripture: Mark 3:26, "be not afraid, only believe"

Much love,
Your exhausted, happy, overwhelmed, spiritually filled, physically really hungry (weirdest thing ever for the first time ever food isn't that appetizing, but i'm always so hungryyyyy), stretching, excited Sister Missionary, 
Sister Evans

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