I'm so sad to hear about Bro Thompson. I will definitely been praying for them and their family. He was such a wonderful man. His testimony strengthened mine so much.
Life at the MTC is fine. I'm finally getting into a routine, which has been good. This really has been an emotional roller coaster. I've learned so much this week, and I'm going to try to answer all the questions you asked, but I'll probably be sending a snail mail letter as well. I'm going to basically try to write as much about my experiences this week in the next 25 minutes or so (and yeah, I only get a half hour to email. The computer has a timer on it, and it'll kick me off when the timer runs out.)
Hna Demke and I had a cool experience on Sunday. We had our companionship study in the morning, and we were studying from Preach My Gospel, in ch 4 about the Holy Ghost. We talked and learned about the difference between the gift of the holy ghost and the power of the holy ghost. We definitely felt the Spirit. Then later, we went to Mission Conference, and while we were there, one of the speakers spoke about the same thing! I got a lot more out of his talk because we had studying about the things he talked about too.
Another thing I've learned this week is that it is impossible to do missionary work without the Spirit. There have been a couple of times this week that I just haven't been feeling the Spirit as much, and it is so hard to do what I need to do. I have no idea what I need to study without the Spirit. I don't know what the investigators need to hear without the Spirit. The Spirit is so essential to missionary work.
Teaching with Hna Demke has been good. We've struggled a little bit to balance out our teaching. She's much more willing to speak up and talk, and I'm much more willing to sit back and let her talk. We realize that it's not the best way to do things, so we're working on fixing that. That means she's going to try and step back a little bit, and I'm going to have to try and step it up. We did have a really good experience in the TRC the other day (The TRC is a place where people from the "world" come and pretend to be investigators while we teach them). We were teaching an older woman named Joann. We started off getting to know her and then Hna Demke started talking about prophets, and then I brought up the Book of Mormon. Joann had some questions which we were able to answer, and then Hna Demke started talking about the Restoration. She touched on it, and then turned to me to let me talk. I recited the First Vision (this was all in English) and I felt the power of the words that I was speaking. Hna Demke and I both felt the Spirit, and we knew that Joann could feel the Spirit as well. It is so amazing the work that the Lord can do through the Spirit. We still are working on our weaknesses in teaching, but we know that when we do let the Spirit work through us, amazing things will happen.
So...just so know, I'm actually going to be speaking Spanglish for the rest of my life. It seems so be a good language. I pray in Spanglish. Good thing Heavenly Father understands all languages! A mission is definitely the best way to learn a language. I figure this is so because we are learning the language not for ourselves, but to communicate to other people who can't speak English that God loves them and that He had a plan for them. And because we aren't learning it for ourselves, the Lord blesses us so much more as missionaries. I love it. I just hope I soak in enough Spanish to survive in Peru.
Oh yeah! I got my flight itineraries! I'm going to make a copy of it and send it to you in the snail mail. It'll be a lot easier than typing it all up in an email, and honestly, who wants to read about it anywho? :)
So this week we the MTC got to hear from Sis Sheri Dew at a Sunday Fireside and Elder Bednar at the Tuesday Devotional. Both were very exceptional. Elder Bednar's talk was really good too. He taught us a lot. I wish you all could have been here. It definitely will help me not only for the rest of my mission but for the rest of life as well. He talked about doctrine, principles, and applications, and how the doctrine is really the basis of application. It was so good.
So I wanted to tell you a little bit about my district. There are 12 of us right now. There are 6 elders and 6 hermanas. All 6 hermanas are leaving to go to the Peru MTC in 2 weeks though. My comp, Hna Demke, is serving in the Peru Lima South Mission. Hnas Flores and Reid and serving in Ecuador Quito, and Hnas Morlock and Nielson are serving in Bolivia Cochabamba. Then, we have 4 elders serving in Torreon, Mexico, and 2 elders going to North Carolina Charlotte Spanish speaking! We're just going all over the world! It's great! I love my district. They really are like my family here at the MTC. We eat together, spend all day in class together, go to the temple together. Even though the elders are a little immature at times, they still do have strong testimonies and they want to do what is right. I love getting to know my district. We have a classroom that is specifically for us. We each have our own desks and can keep stuff there. It feels kind of like I'm back in Elementary school again! We only have 2 teachers- but they're awesome! One of teachers, Hermano Black, married my Relief Society president last year in the Colony. She also served a mission, and I remember one lesson she taught about making decisions that was one of the things that pushed me to serve a mission. So basically they are just awesome people.
Oh-fun little fact about Hna Demke-she loves the movie Oscar!! We spent a while a lunch today quoting it. It made me love her even that much more! We have been getting along pretty well. I definitely think that she will be one of my good good friends when we get back from our missions.
Because today is P-Day, my district got to go to the temple this morning. It was the first time I've been to the Provo Temple so far. It was kind of neat to see that there is more to that building than just the baptistry. It was a really good experience. That temple will always have a special place in my heart though, because of all of the many times that I would go and do baptisms on Wednesday nights with Ilarene and other friends.
Well, I only have 3:30 minutes left, so I should probably wrap this up. Thank you so much for the letters and the packages! I love it! And that shoulder strap you sent me Mom has been a lifesaver. Thank you!! And yeah, I'll definitely be sending you a snail mail letter with answers to all of your questions. I just wanted to get in as much about this week as I could. And I'll be sending Cameron a nice long advice letter too. So be watching for that either this week or next week.
This Gospel is true. I have felt the Spirit in confirm truth to my heart more this week than I have before. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that He restored the Church. I know that God has a plan for everyone, and right now, His plan for me means being on a mission and serving Him with all that I have. I love you all so much!