March 25, 2009 Dear Family,
Crazy! I just saw Andrea. It is a little bit of a shock to see someone that you don't think you will see for a year and a half. I loved seeing her! I hope she can pass hugs on to all of your for me! I also saw Julia Olsen at the temple today! She was in my session and at the end she gave me hugs and kisses, saying that she was giving them to me in place of you, Mom. She is so sweet and she says life is really good now.
I just got your St. Patrick's day card! Mom, you are so funny. And want to know what is ironic? I just told the hermanas last night about my "potty dance." Ha ha. Andrea let me know that Matthew wrote me last night, but I haven't received it yet. We usually get our dearelder letters after dinner. I am anxiously awaiting it!
Flowers! I forgot last week to thank you, sorry. I blame it on how late I was writing. They were beautiful and really cheered me up. I took them to our classroom because we are not in our residence hall much. Everyone that came into our class commented on them and they really brightened up the room. They lasted until this morning actually and I was sad to throw them away. You can see what they looked like in the picture I sent you of me and the hermanas with our "learning glasses," they are on the table with the computer. Thanks again! The flowers are starting to bloom here! Yay! Hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips!
Thanks for the package last week! Hermana Atkin and I especially like the dried strawberries. I have the nuts and fruit in the classroom so that we can snack on them whenever we need a little wake up boost.
I really wish Ben were here with me! But I can just see him doing everything that I am doing and it is so awesome! His letters actually prepared me well for this MTC experience. I have used a lot of his advice and it helps me to cut out wasted time. I love mi hermano SO MUCH! Hermana Patten often comments on how much love I have for my family. I must talk about you all the time. I don't really realize it at the time, but when looking back I see that I do talk about you ALL the time.
Did you go to the Draper temple dedication? The MTC president wanted the gym to be super clean as it was to be an extension of the temple, so we spent one of our gym times cleaning. Guess what my job was? I got to scrape gum off of chairs. So fun, let me tell you. I enjoyed the dedication I hadn't been to one since Nauvoo. I fell asleep again at the temple this morning. Last week the elders were making fun of me for falling asleep and a member of our branch presidency said that falling asleep was not such a bad thing because it meant I am working hard. Hermana Atkin and I make a goal everyday to not fall asleep and yesterday we did it! Today not so much.
I always have hymns stuck in my head now. It is kind of weird. Last night Sister Johnson, wife of Kenneth Johnson of the seventy, said to always have a song in our heart and it would help us through the tough times. Check!
So remember how I had a tough time before I left with worrying that I didn't have the desire to serve a mission and that I was just going because I knew that it was what Heavenly Father wanted? Well we watched a talk that Elder Bednar gave here at the MTC and in it he said, "Don't just go on a mission, BE a missionary." After hearing this I felt that I had up to that point just been on a mission. Well I can tell you now that I am here because I WANT TO BE HERE. I am coming to love the scriptures and just want to read them all the time. There is so much great stuff to learn! On Sunday it hit me that we only have seven weeks left here. That may sound like a lot to you, but to me it is just not enough. There is so much to learn and I really want to be ready to teach the people of Chile.
My teachers are Hermanos Peñailillo and Caramella. Peñailillo is from Chile and he has been awesome about letting us know about Chile. He really cares about us and is also really relaxed. We get into lots of doctrinal discussions with him. Caramella is really good about getting lots of Spanish taught. He explains concepts really well and provides us with fun games to practice. Spanish is coming along ok. I obviously wish I knew more than I do, but it will come with time.
Hermana Atkin and I go to the teaching evaluation center a lot because we learn so much there and it is the best way to practice. Yesterday we had our weekly teaching appointment where we have to do a task in Spanish and then teach a lesson. Yesterday we had to get to know someone in Spanish, that part was a little rough, but we did ok. The lesson though, oh moses smell the roses it was awesome. The spirit there was stronger than I have felt it during two weeks here at the MTC and there have been some really powerful lessons and meetings. I think what invited the Spirit was that Hermana Atkin and I shared experiences and testified of what we were teaching. I shared how I gained my testimony of Joseph Smith´s first vision and Hermana Atkin testified of the reality of being with our families after this life. Her father died when she was eleven and it was very touching for her to share this with our investigator. I don’t think any investigator could deny the concept of eternal families after hearing her testimony. That is why I am here. To bring families together and give them the opportunity to be together forever. I am so blessed to have that knowledge and I am so grateful you are my family.
I love you so much. I think of you often and pray for you always. Have a great week and write me letters!