Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Dad, Mom, Matthew and Jonathan,
So sad story to start the letter. I was emailing you today at 5:30, right before dinner and I lost the email. We have a 30 minute time limit and with under one minute left, I was trying to close up what I was saying and the time ran out. I had assumed that an option would come up saying, “Would you like to send this email now?” Well that is not exactly what happened and the entire email that I slaved over was lost. You can imagine how much pain I felt when this happened. It was hard enough to go one week without writing and I was so excited to write to you as I think about it everyday. I know how much anticipation there is for letters. I am sorry. Tonight just got worse and worse. I couldn’t get the Spirit back because I was so stressed, worried, sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
It was especially hard to lose the email because of this following experience I had last Thursday. Thursday was rough. We had to spend most of the day doing orientation stuff and it involved a lot of listening. I am not used to listening that much and my mind wandered a lot. Most thoughts were of you and home. I was worrying about staying a part of your lives while gone. The only thing I felt I could do was pray for you and I don’t like to pray for things that I can’t help to be fulfilled. Near the end of the day I had the prompting to pray for things to say to you in my letters that would have an impact on your lives and keep me close to you. I then had the feeling that I needed to treat my district like my family. Get to know them. Learn their needs and help uplift them. Elder Perry spoke for our MTC devotional last night; his topic was strengthening our companionships. Afterwards we had a district meeting to discuss the devotional. I shared my prompting from last Thursday and Brother Gurney (a counselor in the branch presidency) stressed the importance of writing our families meaningful letters.
My big spiritual moment and understanding of being away from you all rested on writing this email today. When stepping away from the situation it all seems kind of silly that I am so heartbroken over this email. Jonathan, I did pray to get it back just like you did. My prayer wasn’t answered exactly like yours was, but it was still answered. Sometimes the things we ask for are not necessarily the answer to the prayer. I did not get the email back, but I was given permission to write to you tonight – it is going to cut into my sleep time, but it will be worth it. It also showed me how much it hurts me to let my family down. The very, VERY last thing I want to do is cause you pain, cause you to worry or inconvenience you in any way. I cannot believe how much this has affected me. This is the first time I have cried since coming here and I have had some rough days.
On a happier note and speaking of rough days, the last week has been very up and down. Emotions change from one minute to the next. Friday was a really good day. I think it was because Thursday was hard and so I prayed and tried really hard to make Friday better. The MTC is INTENSE and is a big change. It was hard to make the adjustment and not knowing many people made it harder. Saturday was good until I got on the computer and worked on TAL, which is a program that helps you work on Spanish. It was frustrating and made me feel discouraged. I had to focus so much that my head hurt for the rest of the night. So Saturday day good, Saturday night negative about Spanish. Sunday was rough because we had a lot of free time and that is when I have the most trouble, because it allows me to think about home. Days have been good since Sunday. I am settled and have lots of friends. It is much easier to be happy when you have friends. Whoever thinks that sister missionaries are ugly, frumpy, awkward, etc, are totally wrong! I have seen so many cute sisters here!
There are two Hermanas (sister missionaries) sharing a room with Hermana Atkin and I. Our district consists of four Hermanas and 3 Elders. There were 4 elders, but Elder Holmberg got moved to an intermediate class on Monday. He was a nice kid and has had a hard life. His mom had him when she was 16, got remarried several times, and when he was 14 she started getting apartments for him to live in alone while she went off with her various boyfriends. Missionaries came to his door and got him going to seminary and then he joined the church and now he is serving a mission. He is a little different and straight up speaks his mind. Saturday was a rough meal day for me. I just made the wrong choice at every meal and at dinner I wanted an ice cream bar to make things better. I walked over to the cooler and there weren’t any left. I walked back to the table disappointed and Elder Holmberg knew I really needed that ice cream bar to salvage my day. Well, he asked a food worker and got me my ice cream bar! He has a good heart and I love him for it.
Elder Kearsley is probably my favorite. He is also a convert. He is just a happy person and he tries so hard! He is from Vancouver, Washington and was taught by sister missionaries. He gives us great insights on how investigators feel and react to lessons.
Elder Roundy is our district leader and is from Draper. He is kind of a big deal – he was in High School Musical 1 and 3, playing basketball. In the third one he plays Zac Efron’s double for all of the basketball scenes. Pretty exciting! We tease him about it pretty much everyday. Watch the movie and look for him; I know I will when I get home. He reminds me a lot of Matthew. Very confident and not afraid to show it. Can you imagine Matthew as a District Leader? Yep that is what it is like with Elder Roundy. He does a great job getting our mail, though, so no complaints.
Elder Smith is from California, Sacramento area I think. He went to BYU-Idaho for a couple of years and then decided to serve a mission. He will be 21 next week. He still goofs off with the other elders, but does seem closer to our level of maturity. I am glad he decided to serve and I know he will be blessed for it.
Hermana Weir is from all over but has spent the last couple years here in Provo. She went to massage therapy school and was working at the Homestead. Hermana Patten is from California and will be leaving for the Spain MTC in two weeks. She had her boyfriend propose to her in February and has spent the last week seriously considering going home. Today she made the decision to stay! Yay! Just in one week I have learned how important missions are. They affect SO MANY people. I think EVERYONE should go. It is a huge test of faith and will prepare you for all the challenges that can be thrown at you.
I love my district! We get along so well and we are pretty tight for being here just one week. I will tell you about my teachers next week. I am tired and need to finish this up quick. Speaking of being tired, I fell asleep at the temple today. Oh and it gets better. I started snoring. Hermana Atkin nudged me pretty much as soon as I started, so it wasn’t too embarrassing. Good thing the Elders didn’t hear. I would have never heard the end of it.
Jonathan, thank you so much for your letters. I can tell that you have a strong testimony and that you are trying hard to be a good person. I absolutely LOVE how excited you are about crawdad diving. Keep it up! I can’t wait to go with you. How is Foods? Do you love tennis? You asked me to remind you if you hadn’t sent me a package, so here is your reminder! Love you!
Matthew, I am not feeling the love, homie g! I was going to say in my email that I got you a present and you needed to make sure to ask Mom for it, but that Mom wasn’t allowed to give it to you until you wrote to me. But I am sure you have already opened it. Here are some new phrases for you straight from the mouth of Elder R. “Dude that’s legit!” and “That’s right, I like to party.” I told the Hermanas about your “Valid” and they love it.
Dad, I love that you are making a scuba GPS! I laughed pretty hard when I read that in Jonathan’s letter. I thought to myself, “That is SO Dad!” Those are the kinds of things I want to hear about! I have some research for you to do. I have really bad posture and I think I sleep in the wrong positions at night because my shoulders and back really hurt at night. If you have some suggestions that would be great! Remember to check up on Grandma and Grandpa! Give me updates on them too because I can’t write to them until they move back to Idaho. Oh, and give them my address.
Mom, my meal times are Breakfast – 8:15, Lunch – 1:00, and Dinner – 6:00. I think they are really good times. I eat all fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and whatever for dinner. I am already sick of the food. I work pretty hard at the gym: running, weights, and cycling. Yesterday I was cycling and could see “our” part of Provo and had to get off the bike and go run to keep myself from crying. On Monday I picked up a basketball for the first time in three years. My shot is not completely gone and I did pretty well in a couple games of speed. I have a couple requests. First, I forgot my passport! So I will need that before leaving the MTC. I still don’t know about recipes, so whatever is fine with me. Now some food requests – I need some nuts to snack on throughout the day to keep me awake! And I am seriously missing microwave popcorn. We have a microwave here if you could send me some, I would love you even more than I already do! Thank you for writing me!
I read all your letters from the week each night and it helps me to feel closer to you. I hope you can do the same. Read this letter over and over. The spirit will help you to feel me. Send this to Ben, maybe you could copy it and mail it. Thank you, sorry again. I talk about Ben everyday. I am sure everyone is sick of hearing about him. When I get discouraged with Spanish, I think if Ben did it, so can I! More about Spanish next week!
I love you. Amy