Monday, March 12, 2012

Hello from the MTC

Hello my dearest family!!  Words can't describe my joy every week when I get to write home to y'all.  I know people like getting these emails, but I LOVE sending them!  I love being able to share all that Heavenly Father has helped me learn and enjoy.

Well, things are moving right along here at the MTC and stress levels seem to be getting higher for everyone involved!  We are down to the final countdown... yep three weeks... almost makes me feel like I'm an English speaker... almost lol My Elders, oh those funny Elders, decided to do a "25 days till...WE LEAVE THE MTC" countdown, and yes, Christmas lights are included in their celebration.  I think they are a little excited to be heading to Korea soon.  And finally after much anticipation OUR NATIVES ARE FINALLY HERE!!  YEAH!! I've only met 4 out of the 7 coming, but so far they are just as kind as the last batch (which really isn't that surprising).  The interesting this is, where in the last batch of natives, a lot of them had been to America before, unlike the new arrivals, this is their first time traveling to America.  I guess that means we get to show them how nice Americans can be.  =]

Speaking of the new natives, the 3 sisters get to room with my companions and me!  I'm so excited to have all that extra time with them.  Though I'm not looking forward to possibly being affected by their jet lag... haha it will be an interesting couple nights. 

So with the natives finally here, it brings the grand total of missionaries going to Korea on March 26th to 32!!!!  And of those 32, there are 12 of us that are going to Busan!  I am sooo glad that I am traveling with a large group; I don't think I could handle international airports on my own. 

Class is going great.  It was hard to be in class on Monday with all the beautiful sunshine!  But our teacher promised us a day outside on Friday if the weather is warm (with out luck it'll probably snow again... oh the bipolar-ness of Utah weather... lol) Right now I'm still trying to memorize D&C 4, but alas, it's not going over so great.  But what can you do but keep trying right?  My favorite day of class this past week had to have been when we practiced street contacting.  (Oh man, I almost forgot what it was called in English!)  Anyhow, we just practiced on one another and by the end we had to ask for the person's phone number (in Korean you ask the person if they can "teach" you their number lol) I hadn't realized I could speak so quickly!  It's amazing what happens when you are pressed for time.  I have to admit it was pretty hard though.  There is so much to say and so much to share that I don't want to condense it down to just 2 min. haha But it will be something I am going to be putting a lot of effort into over the next couple of weeks because I know that's what I'll be doing on of my first days in Korea.  (Crazy!!)  I may not be able to understand what people are saying to me, but at least I will have something to say to them. 

Have I ever mentioned how great the MTC is? Because it's true.  My favorite thing, as I'm such I've said before, is the Firesides and Devotionals!  For instance this past week we were able to hear from Elder Holland (IT WAS AWESOME!) and Alex Boye (ALSO GREAT!!).  Awww It was so sweet. 

Alex Boye's Fireside was really neat.  Of course he sang a couple songs for us, but that wasn't my absolutely favorite part.  He explained that he was a convert from England and he told us a little bit of his conversion story.  He explained that the thing that impacted him most was the boldness of the sister missionaries that taught him.  One sister shared all that she had given up to be able to go on a mission, but at the end of her long list she stated that "nothing comes close to the things that I share with you today".  And I agree.  I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss school and dating, but NOTHING comes close to the joy that I am feeling right now as I prepare to share the message of the gospel with the people of Korea.  The joy I have in my life that comes from the knowledge of the gospel is too sweet and precious that I would be sad not to share it with another, so they too could feel this happiness.  Another thing Brother Boye brought up was the power of our thoughts.  He shared Proverbs 23:7 and asked us who we are letting ourselves become by the thoughts that we think.  He said that we need to think about the response we want to give in 18 months when people ask me how my mission was.  Do I want to reply "ok" or "hard" or "ABSOLUTELY MARVOLOUS!!" Whatever I want my answer to be then, I need my attitude to be now.  And that is when we can create the type of experience that will change our lives. 

Then there was Elder Holland’s address.  The hard thing about sharing my notes from a talk like his is that you never quite get the same... experience... as you would were you to hear him live. I guess just think about him in General Conference and you'll have a pretty good idea. 

He began by reminding all of the missionaries of their sacred privilege from being here on a mission.   With fervent testimony and conviction he admonished each of us to not compromise the grand tradition of missionary work of this church.  If there was to be one picture that could signify our church, it would be two missionaries.  We should rise to the full height of our stature as we go out to serve, but even more so when we come home.  A mission shouldn't end just because we no longer wear a black tag.  Even when we are back in the "real world" we should still honor the rich heritage of missionary work that we were apart of.  I'm short on time so I'll only be able to share one more thing.  Elder Holland, at the end of his address, stressed the eternal and divine importance of the Book of Mormon.  He explained that he felt that the missionaries were not getting the Book of Mormon in the hands and lives of our investigators quickly enough.  He explained that he has yet to meet an individual that was solidly converted to the Lord who did not first have a personal experience and knowledge of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.  "You cannot have a true, powerful, lasting conversion without the Book of Mormon." 

In one of my last emails, I talked about the difference between a testimony and a conversion.  We need to have our own conversion, and that conversion begins with the Book of Mormon.  In a talk given my Elder Bednar he challenged us to buy a new, paperback copy of the Book of Mormon, think of a question that we had, and then proceed to re-read the Book and mark every instance that we feel answers that question.  By the time you finish the book not only will your question be answered, but you will also have a firm testimony of it.  I love the Book of Mormon.  I love the truths that it holds within its pages.  I love that the Prophets writings therein are simple and precious truths.  I am excited to share this Testament of Jesus Christ with the people of Korea!

I love you all!! Till next week!!

Sister Hatfield, thanks for the card and the article!  I shared it with my class, and my Korea teacher told us about all the bands mentioned haha it was pretty great!

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