Before I start, I'd just like to point out that I have done my hair every day of my mission thus far (oops, except today). Ten points to Gryffindor.
I have NO IDEA how I am going to summarize this week. I should probably start out by mentioning that I can read my emails every day on my iPad! So everyone who has emailed me this week - I saw them soon after you sent them! So that has been super fun. Thank you to everyone who sent me nice, encouraging words.
It is sooooo nice having iPads. Turns out there are WAY more resources on the Gospel Library app than I ever knew. Like church art and pretty much every church video and so much more. There are also a bunch of other apps we are authorized to use. So that has been way nice. Especially because we have been able to use Mormon Messages when teaching.
My classroom is on the fifth floor, and we can't use the elevators, so basically I don't know why I still have to go to gym time. I probably walk up and down those stairs AT LEAST three times a day. That is fifteen flights. Come on, you're going to make me exercise for an hour too? We usually just play volleyball as a zone, though, so it's not too bad.
We watched a Bible Video at mission conference where Jesus tells his disciples that he will make them fishers of men. They do such a good job with the music in those videos! Super powerful.
Elder Bednar emphasized that this mission is not about us. It is Jesus Christ's work, and I am just lucky enough to be a part of it. I will only find myself and my own conversion if I am not looking for it and am choosing to turn out.
Mini sermon over. It was just SO good.
That has been a big theme at the MTC. That my mission is not mine. It is Christ's, and I have to devote myself to Him and the work. On Tuesday, Elder Dube of the seventy was here (remember him? He has an accent and looks like Kid President in fifty years??). He talked about the same thing. It was really good.
We joined the choir fornight, and for all of my friends that are coming to the MTC in the future, you should do that! The director was hilarious. He was telling us about how Stephen Hawking is credited as basically being the smartest man in the world, but he doesn't believe in God. He was all, "you guys are smarter than Stephen Hawking!! Isn't that awesome?" Haha.
While we were in gym time this week, a girl playing basketball hit the fire alarm with the ball on accident, so we all had to stop playing and evacuate for a while. It was pretty much the highlight of my week. Down with exercise.
Oh wait, also the highlight of my week was when they had Chick fil A at the cafeteria. There have been a lot of highlights.
Sister G and I have gotten to know each other really well. She is way more funny and sarcastic than I realized at first. So I have really enjoyed that. She also knows more "Holes" quotes than me. Score.
A couple of cool random things -
-- I somehow totally don't even mind praying in public anymore! I have always been willing to say prayers in church meetings and stuff, but I also sort of dreaded being called on and felt like I didn't know what to say when I was in front of everyone. But now I totally don't care, and I feel like all my prayers turn out well.
-- Jenny Oaks Baker spokenight! She brought her four kids, and they played violin, piano, cello, and guitar while she played on her violin. THEY ARE PRODIGIES. Like, the kid on the guitar was 9, and the girl on the cello was 11, and the girl on the piano was 12. And they were so amazing. What have I accomplished with my life. Nothing.
-- One of our branch counselors is a professional guitarist. He does a lot of work for church videos, I think. Anyways, he has this longish (on top) hair that is always swooped, and he wears sunglasses on the top of his head. He totally looks like a rocker. And he has 35 different colors of watches, and they always match his tie. And his wife is super conservative and is the one who was lecturing the elders on getting haircuts. Go figure.
-- One of our zone leaders (Elder D) is like the actual human version of the energizer bunny. He is always bouncing around and smiling, and at one point he randomly came into our classroom and gave us this motivational speech where he was like, "With God on our side, WE CANNOT FAIL!! ISN'T THAT AWESOME!!!!" So now whenever we see him, we are like, "Elder D! I CAN'T FAIL!!" Someone told him if he doesn't become a motivational speaker one day, they will have lost faith in humanity. It's hard to explain over email, but everything he says is just so smiley and motivational. "IT'S GREAT TO BE ALIVE, ELDERS AND SISTERS!!!" Haha he is going to Provo. They will love him.
One cool thing that happened this week while we were teaching Brooke, who is actually one of our teachers: We had asked her to be baptized in a prior lesson, and she said she would maybe like to, but she didn't understand how baptism/the gospel could really bless her life enough. The next morning, one of our other teachers shared in class three ways she feels like the gospel can bless our lives every day: it cleanses us from sin, heals our hearts, and enables/empowers us to do things we never thought we could do. I suggested to Sister G that we use it in our lesson with Brooke. She shared it in the lesson, and later Sister S (the one who was playing Brooke) said that she was almost crying and felt like it was really inspired and she really needed to hear it. Turns out Brooke is her inactive sister in real life, so she was hoping to hear something that could help her.
I wish I could recognize more when the Spirit is working through me or working in a lesson, but it's also a cool thought that I might be so used to the Spirit that I don't always notice it. I just have to look harder, I guess, because I like noticing it!
Our other investigator is Doris. She comes into the MTC to be taught, and may or may not be a member in real life. They don't tell us. She likes to ask a lot of random, irrelevant questions. It's hard to get her focused and keep things simple, because she likes to philosophize. But I feel like we have made some progress.
I hope this wasn't too long and boring. I wanted to be sure to end with the fact that I am SO happy all the time. Like, all. the. time. They must put some sort of happy powder in the water that makes it so everyone just feels really pumped up to be a missionary all the time. I am already dreading taking off my name tag and being released one day. It actually makes me feel kind of sick. We had an in-field orientation yesterday with all the missionaries who are leaving next week, and we learned about contacting and working with members and stuff. But we watched this video that showed how the church has grown over time. It just flipped through the years on the bottom and little dots would appear on a world map of where all the stakes and temples were created/built. It was so cool how at first things moved sort of slowly and were based in Utah and the U.S., but then all the stakes started spreading out, and they were spreading SO FAST. I feel so honored to be a part of this work, and I just already love it so much.
My roommates are the best, my district is the best, the gospel is the best, Jesus is the best, being a missionary is the best, and I just feel so excited and overjoyed all the time!
I am leaving for New York, and I am so excited!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!
Love, Sister Barton