I"M GOING TO CHILE IN 6 DAYS!!!!!!! I'm only STOKED OUT OF MY MIND!! Ah, sorry that was kind of spastic, but I cannot wait to go. Anyways, Hi! How's it going? I LOVED the bday backage. The pictures were definitely the best part. It was so weird to see the pics of me on my first day here. That seems like years, and years, and years ago. I feel like a completely different person. All of you look great! I loved the Valentine's day package as well. I don't know if I already told you that or not, but those little valentines made my whole week! That was really sweet. I'm so glad that I have such a supportive family. It would be hard to be here in the MTC without any family support. I can't believe we're going to have a family of Chinese speakers. Haha that's great! I absolutely love hearing from all of you. Seriously, nothing is greater than a letter from my family! (Shay and Mina, you fit in that category!)
So let me explain why I am excited to leave the MTC. Yo he amado el MTC, pero estoy muy, muy lista salir!! Because I want to share this gospel. Knowing that there are people that don't know about the gospel makes me want to get out of here and bring them to a knowledge of God. I love the way Ammon puts it, "bring others to sing the song of redeeming love." I have felt that within myself and want to help as many people as possible feel that. My only desire right now is to do that. I feel like I'm about to jump in head first into this work. I'm on the brink of familiarity and ready to push off into the unknown. I was reading the story of the people of the Brother of Jared the other day and realized that I really can relate to them right now. They left their land in their barges by "commending themselves unto the Lord their God." That's how I feel. I'm leaving the MTC, I don't know what is going to happen to me, I have no idea what I'm jumping into, but I know that the Lord will guide me just like he has the people in the scriptures.
I was reading in Alma 26 about Ammon praising the Lord. He talks about how the Lord took care of them, "wanderers in a strange land." I'm about to become exactly that. And I look at the miracles and great things that happened among the Lamanites during Ammon's mission, and I know that if I have faith in the Lord, I will see miracles. In Ether 12 Moroni talks about how it was because of the faith of Ammon and his brethren that caused such great miracles to happen among the Lamanites. That has caused me to think deeply about my own faith. God never changes and perhaps according to my own faith, I can see similar miracles among the Chilean people. President Packer talks about having the type of faith that causes things to happen. I want to have that type of faith as I head out into this adventure. I can feel that my entire life is about to change yet again. And I am so excited. But at the same time, I've never felt more completely and utterly reliant on the Lord.
Ever sunday all the missionaries in my branch are supposed to prepare a talk, and then the branch pres picks two people randomly. So I was picked last Sunday! I was so glad I'd actually prepared a decent talk! It was actually a really neat experience. I felt the spirit helping me and I had the words that I needed, and I actually felt like the words I was saying were from my heart. Afterward the Branch Pres told me what I great job I'd done and said, "it's incredlble, you don't have speech problem at all when you speak spanish." ....uh, thanks?! Haha so yeah, there you go! My "speech problem" isn't evident in Spanish!
OKAY, I have travel plans. I got them last week and literally just about died of happiness. 10 weeks here is just way too long. Let me give you the Low Down.
--I report to the MTC travel office at 4 am (fun. Seriously though, it's fun. Because it means I'm OUTTA here!!!!)
--My flight leaves SLC at 7:00
--I arrive in Los Angeles (LAX) at 7:55 (i'm assuming that's local time?)
--I leave LAX at 12:30 pm (Feb 25th)
--I arrive in Santiago, Chile at 7:00 am (Feb 26. Yeah, that's a super long flight)
--I leave for Concepcion at 12:45 pm
--I arrive at Concepcion at 1:50 pm.
SO!! Loooong flights. But it doesn't matter! I just hope I sit next to somebody that needs the gospel! The best time to talk will be in LAX. I have a few hours to call there. I have no idea how long it will take to get to the terminal, find phones, and all that.... I'm assuming I should be able to call at approximately 9 or 9:30 cali time. So, 10 or 10:30 for you. What do you think?? Will that work? Dad, I know you have work. A conference call would be good. I can do whatever! I can call mom first, and then dad, and then kinsey. Or... yeah. I'm just so incredibly excited to talk to all of you. I should be on the computer for the next little while, because I have to do some stuff for travelling. So if you email me back I will see it!!
I love you all so much. CRAZY that this time next week I'll be preaching the gospel! Or at least... trying to butcher my way through in broken Spanish!
Hello dearest family and friends! I loved getting that email from you that you all wrote me your thoughts in. That was really touching. There are some power-houses in our family! I think all of you are going to do some great things in life and make some awesome missionaries. Boys, I can tell that you have grown so much. It's weird to think there's only 7 kids at home... ha. Only 7. That's still a lot, but it seems small! Mom, thanks for your dear elders. I absolutely love getting letters from my friends but nothing is better than letters from you and dad. Kinsey, I totally forgot to mail your letter last week. I'm sorry!! I love you and wish we could do a Zupas run. You have no idea how bad I want good food. Shay, mina, you two are the best friends in the world. I loved all the letters Haley gave me from all you. I laughed for a long time! I need to send a special shout out to Aunt Shaunna... you have no idea how much your packages and letters have helped me!! You are so sweet. Thank you so much for being so supportive of me. I wrote you a letter as well, so be expecting that. It's been a really good week. A hard one, a really really hard one in a lot of ways, but great.
So I have a few updates. I saw Haley!!! We had such a joyful reunion! I haven't been so happy to see anyone in my life. I thought I was going to break her back I was hugging her so hard. We both cried. And our dorms are in the same residence halls so we were able to talk for a long time. It's so great to see her and be able to have one of my best friends here! It's fun speaking spanglish to each other! Hopefully in 18 months time we both speak beautiful spanish... but that day seems quite far distant at this moment! So guess what? Cassandra Anderson is going to be in my zone! Which is CRAZY. There will be three Morgan girls in one zone. What are the chances?!
I was taught a really important lesson this week and had a powerful/life changing experience... I was walking out of the temple last week and had been praying for a lot of things, but especially the ability to love others, particularly my companion. I read in Alma 5 about being "sufficiently humble" and asking God to help me increase in Humility. I've been praying for a lot of things that are hard for me and so and so on. Well, I have never had this happen before but it was like I heard the words come to mind, "serve your companion." And so this week I've made that my priority. I've tried to make her needs and her feelings the important thing. And then on Sunday night, I heard a talk that seriously has changed the way I see the world. Every sunday night the MTC shows like 4 different talks and you can choose which one you want to go and see. THey're all recordings of previous talks from general authorities and apostles that have been given within in the last few years here at the MTC. So it's great! Starting in April, the talk that Elder Holland just gave will be showing! So Kinsey you'll get to see it!! But this week I went to a talk that Elder Bednar gave 8 months ago. It's called the Character Of Christ.
I'm sitting here at the computer crying trying to express this talk... I wish so bad these talks were available to the public. During his talk I was writing as fast and as much as I could because I knew I would never be able to hear it again. I'm REALLY hoping that he gives it at an upcoming general conference! But it still wouldn't be the same. He was addressing missionaries and wasn't nearly as "formal" as he would be in general conference. Watching this talk, it felt like he was really there. I felt the power of his words just as powerfully as if he was! I'm going to do my best and tell you some of the highlights. (Dad, you would have LOVED this talk. Mom, I think it ties in with the talk you are sending me about conversion!)
He quoted Neal A Maxwell and said (more or less, I don't have my notes in front of me!), "without the Character of Christ the Atonement would not have been possible." So what is this Character of Christ? Elder Bednar said that he had devoted much of his studies to this topic and challenged us to do the same. There were hundreds of examples of this character being displayed in scriptures, and to continue developing it within ourselves. He defined Character as this, "moral attributes strongly developed, strikingly displayed, and consistently lived. And this is the character of Christ: Christ turned outward when the natural man would have turned inward. Isn't that profound? That every time in Christ's life where all of us would have turned inward and been self-absorbed, self-centered, and selfish, Christ turned outward. When Satan came and tempted Christ, Elder Bednar said that there was only one primary temptation and that it was this: if you Thou be the Son of God, betray your divine heritage, and use your powers to satisfy the natural man. Of course, Christ did not. I wish I had time to point out all of the instances that Elder Bednar said that Christ exemplified this character trait. He quoted Mosiah 3:19 probably 5 different times and emphasized the part about putting off the natural man and becoming a saint through the Atonement of Christ. We should, in our lives, focus on turning from the natural man. Turn from selfishness, and look outward. Then he shared multiple experiences where others he has seen have exhibited this character. We are able to put this natural man off as we apply the Atonement of Christ. We become saints through adopting the character of Christ: turning outward when the natural man would have turned inward.
Then he look at us and said (pretty emphatically),
"Get over yourselves. Get over yourselves and get out of the way. Turn your life outward and miracles will start to happen. This mission isn't about you. It's not your work. It's Christ's."
We need to BECOME representatives of Christ and be outward focused missionaries. I can't explain in this short amount of time (I took 8 pages of notes) how much this talk changed me. I wish there was a way to convey better the message! But it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Okay I gotta go!! I love you all so much. Happy Valentines day! I pray for all of you everyday and I really hope everything is going great. Can you believe I leave in under two weeks?! ONLY ONE MORE PDAY!!!!!!! CRAZY!
Greeting Familia and Friends!!! How are you doing this week? Okay, first of all. I loved your package! Thank you so, so, so much. Seriously, packages make so much of a difference here. Kinsey, I wrote you a letter already this morning, but your package was SUCH a hit. Haha all the sisters in my zone thought you were the most awesome thing ever. And you are!! Both of those packages came on the same day when I was having a pretty rough day. So they really made an impact. As always, so many things to say and not enough time! But here goes...
Can you believe I don't leave until the 25th? Good grief I'm ready to go! I'll have been here 10 weeks. That's longer than Shaylee will be here and she's learning Cantonese!! I love the MTC, I really do, but I want to go teach real people with real lives and just real everything! There's this thing they do here at the MTC called TRC and it's where members come in once a week and we teach them a lesson (in Spanish, of course!). It's really great. The lessons are 40 minutes long and I had some really neat experiences this week. The guy we taught was Jake and in his evaluation note he told us that he hadn't felt the spirit that strong in a long time and that he felt his faith was drastically increased in the Savior. That made me feel so good that the spirit was able to touch people's lives through me. Kinsey, you should check out signing up for TRC. With all these new missionaries I'm sure they need a lot more volunteers!
I had a few Spanish mis-haps this week. One of my "investigadores" wife's name is Charity. Well, the day before I taught him my comp and I had been practicing teach the law of Chastity. In the lesson with this guy, I called his wife Castidad instead of Caridad. Ha, whoops. Also I was posing as an investigador for one of the missionaries in my district (for more practice) and it was like 8 at night and I was tired. I opened the door and met to say, "Hola!!" But instead opened it and said, "Gracias!!!" Hahah, it was a little funny.
Last Wednesday I got to be a host for new sister missionaries! It was so fun. I was assigned to a girl and took her to her room, got her books, and dropped her off at her class. I remember that day for myself so vividly! It was weird to be the experienced "old" one. I'm hosting tomorrow as well! So I'm DEFINITELY on the look for Haley and Kendal! There are a thousand new missionaries coming in tomorrow. Last week there were 750! The growth is CRAZY and just so great that so many people are answering the call to serve. Elder Clayton (from the 70) came and talked to us last week and read a part of Elder Holland's talk from the general conference before last (so April) and Elder Holland called for more missionaries in the upcoming years and months. Who knew that that would really be happening!
Honestly, this week has been pretty hard. I feel like I'm... I don't know. I just feel like I'm still lacking so much and just spinning my wheels. My Spanish is mediocre and so are my teaching abilities... but, we'll see. It's kinda hard sometimes to stay feeling good about yourself when the person that is with you 24/7 is constantly picking you apart. But it's good. It's good. Because at least I'm aware of my weaknesses! I just happened to already be aware that I had a boat load of them... But I'm learning a lot about the promises of the Lord and about faith. Ether 12:27 is kind of my motto.
I'm trying to learn to love the snowy days. Because I've learned that it's only when we're pushed to the very edge of the perimeters of our comfort zones that our abilities are expanded. I wrote this in my letter to Melina last week, but I was thinking about running and how much I wanted to go run outside instead of on the track. It's because the track is monotonous and boring. I actually miss the hills. What's so great about the flats of life? Nothing good in life is flat. Growth happens on the hills. Kins, I loved the quotes you sent me. The master carpenter keeps building our inner mansions, and it hurts. The divine physician keeps working, and it's painful. The master coach tells us to keep running, and it sometimes feels like too much. Eventually the finished product will be good as long as I keep following the plans of the Lord. At least, I have faith in that.
Okay, gotta go. I love you all! Mom, you're letter was sweet. I'm writing you back a real letter. I liked the one sweetheart box ;) But thanks again for the packages! Dad, your emails are so great. I love hearing from my dad, sometimes I just need a dad's letter, you know? I really, really enjoy hearing from you. Ellie and Jackson, you both have letters coming that I wrote this morning! And Kinsey :)
Haley, I'm gonna find you tomorrow!! I'm STOKED to see you!