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!