I love you so much. I just feel so much love for all of you. Everytime I pray (which is QUITE a lot here) I think about and pray for all of you! I hope everything is going great. Where to start... so in my weekly planner that all the missionaries use I keep a list of things to write you about I have filled 2 whole pages with things I should tell you. So we'll see how much I can get through!!
First of all, one of the executive directors of the MTC came and did a fireside with us last tuesday and was talking about the way this MTC was going to increase. He said that the huge devotional room that fits 3,000 missionaries will be completely filled with sisters by the summer time. CRAZY. He said that probably around april or may, devotionals and MTC conferences would have to be moved to the Marriott Center! It's incredible to see how much more crowded the MTC has become just in the 6 weeks I've been here. I saw the Cosgraves on Sunday! That was fun. We took a picture and I think they sent it to you...
I've had a lot of powerful experiences this week. Earlier this week I seriously could not handle it anymore and the only thing that was going to keep me from snapping was praying. So I said probably the longest prayer I've ever said in my life. And just pleaded with the Lord to help me. Well at the end of my prayer I had this thought come to my mind "look inward." and after thinking and pondering I realized something.. I was the problem. There was something inside of me that was off, not her. I had to fix myself. So I've been studying Christlike attributes and Charity like crazy. And just trying to really change me. And WOW, things are changing. I have to tell you about this one experience. One of my investigator's (her name is Erika) has been progressing so well. Then her husband Gerardo started sitting in on the lessons. And he is a pain. He doesn't believe in God and we spend most of our time with him talking in circles in broken spanish. All of the other missionaries in my district can't get ANYWHERE with him (the investigators are our teachers) and we're all frustrated. Well my companion and I decided to plan a lesson yesterday and we prayed very sincerely for the gift of discernement and to be able to plan this lesson the way the Lord wanted it planned. So we show up to the appointment and we're giving our lesson and it's going nowhere. When all of a sudden I had the thought to ask him hypothetically, that if there were a God, why would that be important? And he said a pretty good answer. And then Alma 32:27 came to mind so we read that and all of a sudden the spirit came into the room very strong. I asked him, "do you have a desire to believe in God?" And he said yes... and then my companion bore the sweetest, most sincere testimony. And the spirit was THERE! It was incredible! And then we decided to ask him to pray. And of course, he said no. Well, I asked him if he had a question to ask God. And he said yes, I want to know if God is real. And then I asked if there was a blessing he wanted to thank God for. And he said his family. And I said that was perfect! That's all he had to say in his prayer. So we all knelt down and Gerardo prayed and he asked, "will you let me know if you are real?" And the spirit bore witness in the most powerful way... I can't even describe it. I have never felt so strongly that God was real before. For lack of a better word, it was amazing. The spirit in the room was tangible. Afterwards, he committed to reading the Book of Mormon! I am so excited to help real people feel like that. To feel that God is so real and change their lives!
My branch president is incredible! Dad, he reminds me of you so much. The way he speaks and everything is just bold and powerful. He came to our district meeting on Sunday (and that is kind of like Sunday School here) and we were talking about the Book of Mormon. He REALLY inspired me. He was talking about living in this day and age. This is the time of all times to be alive. I wrote similar things home after Elder Holland came, but I still feel them burning inside of me and want to share them you! This is the time that prophets have looked forward to and prophesied of since Adam. Every dispensation before now has failed , but we aren't going to. I don't know what I did before this life to merit being born at this time, but whatever I did, I better live worthy of it. I owe something! This is NOT the time to be weak and waver and doubt. It's time to get a testimony that will astonish people. And siblings, you can't wait until you're on a mission to get a testimony like this. The sooner you catch the vision of this work and become fully converted to the gospel, the better it will be! . My branch president said (and like I said he's bold and passionate, like Elder Holland), "Do you have the ability and power within you to forget your petty fears and insignificant lives and fully enlist in this work?" Seriously, I need to pull out all of the stops. And I don't think that applied to just missionaries... we should all figure out what might be holding us back to fully committing to the Lord. Cause this is the place to be!!
Another thing that I have realized here is the importance of Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ falls into an entirely different category with the Atonement, and I owe every single thing to Him. But he wasn't solely mortal, He was divine. No mortal man has changed my life more than Joseph Smith. I have put my entire life into the work that he started. Because of him, everything I have, that I am, that I'm doing, that I will do is different. His ability to swim in deep water is inspiring to me. It reminds me that even when it gets rough, that he had it worse. And then I think about my Savior and that he descended beneath the burden of everyone's pain and sin and struggle. I'm so grateful to be associated with this gospel. It is such a blessing that I can never express my thanks enough for!
Well, I gotta go. I love it here but I am excited to go to Chile!! I'm hosting new missionaries tomorrow so I'm excited about that! I love you family. I feel a little self centered to just write about myself. Know that I LOVE hearing from you!! Let me know if there is anything I can do for all of you.