¡Hola Familia! Can you believe I´m on week 6 here at he CCM? Time here has flown by so extremely fast it´s like a dream. It feels like you guys just dropped me off at the airport and we said our goodbyes. Hope everyone has had a fabulous week and school/work is going well. This week was 10x better than the last one, and a lot of great things happened. Today after breakfast while we were walking back to our casa Hermana Tchan and I noticed that the staff at the CCM posted the missionary´s leaving information in the common area. Our name, mission, group, and time were leaving is posted on it. We leave here on Monday morning at 4am (woop woop!) In the pictures I sent earlier this morning I attached my info and the pic of me next to it. Later on today our district is going to reception and we are going to pick up our flight itinerary! I´m so excited to start this new chapter and to teach real investigators. After we read the scriptures this morning we cleaned our casa, and wrote in our journals. I had a lot to write about from the past couple of days. Next we went to the TALL labs and emailed for a while then headed to lunch. Our district just finished playing our last game of kickball together. It´s going to be so hard to tell everyone goodbye Sunday night. We are all SO close here and we are each other’s family. Hermana Willis is my best friend and I´m closest to her, she´s like my mom. After our districts first testimony meeting here and I lost it, I leaned my head on her shoulder and she hugged me so tight. Ever since then we´ve connected and promised each other that when we get married we are going to each others weddings. Her dad is a dentist in Oregon and she goes to school at the University of Utah. She is sarcastic and silly like me, we go on a bunch of walks together when we get stressed out. I´ve enjoyed getting to know her and I´m thankful for our friendship.
So this week was a lot better than last week- as I said I was determined to make it better. Last Wednesday evening our district signed up to help with orientation and the new missionaries coming in. So after dinner we helped the new missionaries get signed in on the computers, and my hermana and I took the new hermanas to their casa with all of their luggage. It was so much fun and we all felt like the oldies here at the CCM. It brought back so many memories of the first day here and it seems just like yesterday that I got off the bus at the entrance of the CCM and the hermanas that were in our zone helped me and Hermana Willis with our luggage back to our casa... time is such a crazy concept and it seems to go by faster every day. I´m sure when I step off the plane in Indiana my mission will seem just like a dream (that’s what everyone here is saying) and I believe it!
Sunday was amazing like always! I´m going to definitely miss all of the wonderful devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday... they always get me though the week. In relief society the topic of discussion was continuing in Patience. CWOW was that inspired or what? During the lesson the spirit was so strong and it taught me several key things that I need for my mission. I loved how Hermana Johnes (2nd counselors wife) said that patience is the ability to endure trials calmly in God´s timing. It requires so much patience to be able to wait for answers on God´s time and not ours. I also loved how she said that Christ knew the deep doctrine, but chose to teach in parables to everyone. That is such a beautiful example to me, of how much patience the Lord has for us. Patience is a lifetime attribute. It´s not all acquired at once. This lesson was so important for me because I did not have patience at all this past week (when I was struggling). After I had the lesson in relief society I was pondering the message and came up with a conclusion on why I was struggling. I found the reason for the contention behind everything during the week I was struggling. My comp has a very strong personality and she likes to be right 100% of the time, it was aggravating me and therefor I stopped talking, and would go on splits whenever I was able to with Hermana Willis. That occurred the whole time during the week I was struggling. The lesson Sunday on patience taught me to not only pray just to have patience but to pray more specifically. I didn´t realize that there is so much more to patience. I´m thankful for the lesson we had because it got me thinking on a deeper level and how I can go from making patience the thing I struggle with most, to one of my better attributes. The Savior is the prime example of charity (the pure love of Christ) and I can only hope to be as loving and as patient as he is.
After our relief society meeting we went back into the class room and I was asked to give a spiritual though. I chose to talk about continuing in patience and connected it to how we need to have it in order to teach our investigators in the field, because sometimes they might not be progressing as fast or the way we want them to. But we still need to have patience with them and love them as Christ would. I enjoyed doing that, because that topic means a lot to me right now. Later around 4 on Sunday we had another devotional on The Atonement, we figured out shortly after it began that it was the first devotional that our district got at the beginning of our time here at the CCM. It was still great and I enjoyed listening to it. My favorite devotional next to the first time I heard the one on the devotional was right before dinner. The topic was Communication with God and was given by Richard G. Scott. Hands down one of the best yet, and I wish that these devotionals could be recorded or the talks printed off so you guys could read them, but they are only given for the missionaries. This topic of this talk was also inspired, and applied to me. One of the things that he said that hit me like a brick wall was, "As you pray realize that Heavenly Father is near, and that he loves you perfectly." That saying went straight to my heart because one of the things I have always struggled with was prayer. More specifically receiving answers from God. I have always believed that he knows me and listens to my prayers but as far as receiving direct answers from him I haven´t had any strong experiences in my life. He also shared a story from his mission which I highly enjoyed. He said that he was struggling with receiving answers from God during the beginning of his mission so after his mission companion was asleep he went into another room and said a prayer to Heavenly Father. He tried something new, he said that he didn´t feel that silent prayers worked for him so after he kneelt down he said a quiet but vocal prayer to Heavenly Father. He expressed his gratitude and feelings vocally instead of just inside of his head for personal prayer. He said that this completely changed the way he prayed forever. After that another thing he said that I enjoyed was that you need to focus of changing from asking what you want, to what the Lords wants you to do and where he wants you to be. He said that in order to receive answers to your prayers you need to be spiritually sensitive. That is so key. Place confidence in the Lord that he will help you step by step. He said that answers to your prayers will seldom come while you’re on your knees. They come at other times often when we are pondering. In order to receive answers take time to be still and feel the spirit sometime during each day. He gave us some scriptures to understand God´s responses to our prayers. It´s in D&C sections 6,8,9. Tonight if I have time I´m going to read those sections and ponder them. The two lessons on Sunday went hand in hand for me and since then I have put a lot of thought into them. Sunday night I decided to act on what my feelings were. Since I loved Richard G. Scotts story so much I followed his example and went into the empty room next door to ours. I took my picture book of our family looked through all of the pictures and kept the one of our family all together outside the OH temple open on the bedside. After I knelt down I immediately was overcome with emotion... and gratitude for so many things. I said my first quiet vocal personal prayer. I asked Heavenly Father to put me where he needs me to be when I get into the field so that I can best serve him and help his children come unto him. After the prayer I didn´t receive any answers right away but I did the next day. That was probably my favorite prayer and most sincere prayer that I´ve ever said. After I woke up Monday morning I found that my mind was still on my experience the night before. Throughout the day I really tried to keep my mind and heart drawn out to Heavenly Father so I could be more spiritually in tune. At the end of the night I came up with my answer to my prayers... after I was pondering. I´m so thankful for the power of prayer and I´m excited to strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
So... Monday (yesterday) was the best day so far! It started out wonderful and I was in a happy mood! Then the Hermana´s asked me to teach them how to curl their hair for our district´s picture later on. My prayer was answered because I was able to serve my hermanas and there was no tension between my comp and I. The rest of the day went smooth from there on out. During our service project our district got to clean a casa, inside and out! When hermana shrieve and I got to the outside we had to scrub the walls and spray it off with a hose. Soon after we got outside the elders went outside too. Elder Goodman kept spraying us with the hose so Hermana Shreve and I went inside, filled some buckets up with water and then dumped it on Elder Goodman. Then he filled up a bucket and Dumped it on top of my head! Hermana Shreve and I were drenched!! The service project completely turned into a water fight, so fun. In the pictures attached earlier is the pic of all of us after the waterfight/service project.
Later on last night for FHE our district was in charge and it was our last FHE together here. We decided to read the powerful poem on the Atonement that we read after our first week here, to the new district in our zone. As soon as Elder Goodman stared to read it the spirit filled the room- it´s that powerful. Somehow we all managed not to ball like last time but there were a few tears. After that we all went around and everyone in our district and the new one shared our testimonies. My district is just amazing, I look up to everyone in it and their testimonies strengthen mine everytime they share theirs. I was close to last for sharing so I had time to think about what I was going to say. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak I started to cry, I said, "I can feel the spirit so strongly right now". It was wonderful to just sit in the silence with the spirit in the room. Then I decided to share my reason for coming on a mission since I didn´t get to during our districts first testimony meeting. I said, "as you all know I´ve had several hip surgeries... 9 to be exact. For everything there’s an opposite, for joy theirs pain. During the past 4 years I´ve felt a lot of physical pain. My reason for being here on a mission is because I´ve felt the joy from the gospel and I want to share it with everyone because the gospel is a wonderful thing and I don´t know where I´d be without it. During one of my surgeries while I was in the hospital my dad gave me a blessing that I would be able to better understand the Savior´s Atonement because of my surgeries. After we had read the Atonement poem, watched the video on the Atonement, I gave a talk on it, and had the devotional on it. I gained a better understanding for it. I also bore my testimony that I know the power of the Priesthood is real, through my surgery experiences. I said that I know you can feel the peace from the scriptures because I have while I´ve been here at the CCM. And I know that Joseph Smith helped God with the Book of Mormon, because I´ve been to Carthage jail in Nauvoo and have felt the spirit testify the truthfulness of it to me." After my testimony I had a bunch of happy tears (; The spirit was so strong in our class room and I´m thankful the new district could join us for our last FHE. Yesterday overall was simply wonderful! So tonight I´m going to sing in the choir before the devotional with my 3 other Hermana´s to the song I Stand All Amazed. Mom- I thought you would be proud of me for singing and getting out of my shell. Can´t wait to hear the devotional tonight, they are always so uplifting. Dad- this morning I decided to shine my shoes, and I was thinking of you. It made me grateful to have a father that takes time to teach his children about new things even if it is something small like shining shoes. Thank you for all you guys do for me while I´m away, and thank you for the prayers... I know Heavenly Father answers them. Hope everyone had a wonderful and happy week. Love you so much! (: