This week has been great, comme d'habitude. Mom, I cannot believe that you got the FBI Clearance and Apostille all done and sent off! That blows my mind. I cried when I realized I wouldn't be reassigned, even temporarily. Thank you SO much for taking care of all of that. I love you! Also, thank you for the cute skirts from ASOS! I needed them. I'm holding off on sending you a package of my clothes that don't work, until just before I leave so I don't forget anything.
We trained the new Polskis (Polish) this week. I've definitely been put on the spot for more lessons and talks than I ever have in my life. It's been a really great (and definitely a humbling) learning experience. The new missionaries seem so nervous, but I hope they know how Ioved they are. I tell them everyday. We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival for over a week!
4th of July was really great. Everyone was dressed up in red, white and blue. We managed to see the Stadium of Fire fireworks at the end of the night, which are always spectacular, watched 17 Miracles, and were allowed to stay up until midnight which was perfect, because we have P-Day today.
I get to play a ton of soccer here, which I love. Also, badminton. Steven, I've really honed my spiking and swatting skills, so watch it. ;)
This week we heard from Sheri Dew in Relief Society. WOW! Is all I can say. She's incredible and so refreshing. I love seeing powerhouse women like her. She's so knowledgable and strong in the gospel. She talked a lot about doubts in the gosepl and how it's okay to have questions (which are of the Lord), but not doubts (which are of the adversary). I may just see if you can look up her whole talk, because it was incredible. If you can't find it, I may just send you my three pages of notes that I took because I'm pretty sure I wrote the whole thing down, haha.
My companions and teachers are all still wonderful. My companions and I have grown to close to each other in the past month. I feel that there's just so much love and trust between us. I love them, I love them, I love them. They are such a Godsend. I love my district and zone. They make this experience so great.
It's interesting how quickly we become sensitized to things here in the MTC; especially songs that are not hymns. I've decided to embrace the inevitable weirdness though, haha. Bednar (just site him for all my thoughts by the way. I've read so many of his talks lately that I don't know what's what anymore) talks about how we should not leave the mission field with any regrets, so we need to serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength; how we need to not just go on a mission, but become a missionary. He also said something to the effect of when we come home, be tired and be weird. When we are released we should come home, but never leave the mission field. I love that long-term perspective-- it helps me to know who I want to be through this experience and especially when I get home. It's crazy, I'm already over a month in and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. We've set lots of goals of how we can be better.
This week I've been thinking about the importance of the gospel in relation to our souls-- how we need to actively make the gospel not just something we practice and live, but so much a part of ourselves that on those days where we question our purpose, or are so exhausted that we just want to give up, that the principles of the gospel are already innately and intrinsically part of us, for us to fall back on. In that, I know that we will be obedient because we already know who we are. In studying the principle of virtue, I think that this has quickly become one of my favorite Christ-like attributes. In Preach My Gospel it talks about how you can gauge virtue by our thoughts, by what we do when no one's watching, and by the inner desires of our heart. I think this is one of the most beautiful traits, and is something that I'm trying to train my heart and mind to do; when something frustrates me, or if I have a bad thought, to train myself to turn outward. Bednar (if you can't tell, I LOVE him. I listen to/read every talk of his that I can get my hands on. He's so forthright and I love it.) talks about how when the natural man would turn inward and be selfish in a bad moment, Christ would turn outward and serve others. This is obviously a life-long plight, but is something I've been really conscious of this week, and want to continue working on.
I love in Thessalonians (the scripture I shared at my farewell talk) Paul is talking to the Thessalonians about why he teaches them and in verses 1-8 he says: "For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us." I think that's such a beautiful and perfect way to articulate why I want to serve. I know that as we increase our understanding of the gospel, our desire to share it will also increase, because we will see them as Christ sees them.
I'm sorry, I sometimes feel like I'm giving a never-ending church talk, haha. We've been encouraged to share our spiritual experiences and thoughts with those back home, and I think that's an important part of my call as a missionary-- strengthening ourselves and those we love. I hope you can draw something from my letters. Again, I apologize if this doesn't make a ton of sense; I'm just praying I'm relatively coherent... I don't have a lot of time to proof-read/develop my thoughts as much as I'd like in these e-mails.
I'm running low on time, but I love you SO MUCH! I hope you have such an amazing week!!