So basically there's this duck couple that sits in the fountain by the classroom buildings and I'm high key obsessed with them. They're so cute. Anyways, we were eating chocolate cake out there for someone's birthday, and Elder Sorensen starts FEEDING THE DUCKS CHOCOLATE CAKE. The girl duck disappeared for a solid 3 days. It was concerning. But she's back. She's not dead. Moral of the story: don't let Elder Sorensen near a duck.
The MTC is as great as ever. It's been quite an eventful week.
1. Elder Jones hit me in the head with a frisbee.
2. "Begrijpt u dat?" -the whole district, several occasions
3. "dad-gum!" -Elder Criddle, several occasions
4. Sister Winter (Sister Thresh's best friend from home) has TWO kidney stones and is getting surgery tomorrow.
5. I found an accompanist and will be singing I Am a Disciple by CJ Madsen in a Sunday Devotional here. Funny thing: my accompanist is Sister Winter's companion, Sister Nielsen. It's actually a super huge miracle that we're getting connected in so many ways and spending so much time together.
6. "Married to the mission" and "PAGE 33 ELDER" -Elder Criddle, multiple occasions
7. Blessing: Seeing Clara Whittaker several times this week. She's a cutie.
8. I saw Nell from my BYU ward while running one morning!
9. My new favorite word: 'EEN SPIN' -a spider
10. Because I almost passed out on Sunday (don't worry mom, it wasn't a big deal) I got to TAKE A NAP. How glorious for a missionary.
Probably the biggest thing I have learned this week has been through one of my biggest trials. I have had really hard time not being homesick. Living across the street from so much of my old life, seeing it through the windows of the classroom buildings, is really difficult. I kept having this thought "I can't wait to get back to this" or "It's gonna be so so great when I get back to something."
But the trick to get rid of homesickness as a missionary is to imagine your life as a straight line. You had a part of your life before your mission. You have a part of your life on a mission. You have a part of your life to come after your mission. Whether or not certain aspects are the same before and after doesn't matter. It's not going back to something, it's going to it.
I've had a lot of moments this week where the question has come into my head, "What do you want your mission to mean?" It came to me especially powerfully during a devotional by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve. There are two very strong themes I've been taught this week that answer this question for me:
First: I want to have a full awareness of my power as a missionary at (hopefully) all times. I kind of realized what being a missionary entailed before my mission, but just the basics. WE ARE LITERAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. He is the creator of the entire universe, our Master, our Savior, our EVERYTHING. And we get to represent Him. How incredibly amazing is that? A lot of people say that the first time they knew the Church was true is when they saw the missionaries out on the street for the first time. If we are fully aware of our authority and our power with this unique calling, people will notice us as true messengers of God.
But also, think of how peculiar we are as missionaries. I heard this story this week about how some people from the Peace Corps came and asked Church leaders how we deal with problems.
"What problems?" they said.
"You know, kids running off with the natives, doing drugs, etc."
"We have some missionaries getting up at 6:40 instead of 6:30."
"How do you make them keep the rules?"
"We give them a book."
"How is it enforced?"
"Well, an adult checks up with them about once every month and a half."
LIKE SERIOUSLY. How crazy are we. How crazy cool is this work and how amazing the work force.
Second: I want everything I do to be focused on my purpose.
Our purpose, as stated in Preach My Gospel, is:
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
And now in Dutch: Anderen uitnodigen om tot Christus te komen door met u hulp, het herstelde evangelie aan te nemen met geloof in Jezus Christus en zijn verzoening, bekering, de doop, de gave van de Heilige Geest, en volharding tot het einde toe.
(Yes, I did those both from memory.)
I'm not just learning a language here. I'm learning how to help others come unto Christ through distinct and specific steps to infinitely better their lives here on earth and in the eternities. If I'm not doing something for that purpose, I am wasting my time here and on a mission. Every single action I take with my investigators here and in the field, even though here they are our teachers and members, should be focused on helping them ALL come unto Christ.
That's about all I have for this week. Miracles are happening. I love the people here. The Spirit, as I have told many of you today, is palpable and tangible.
To quote from 3 Nephi:
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called to declare His word among His people, that they may have everlasting life."
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! :)
PS we missionaries love letters and emails and just hearing from all the good people!! (hint hint)
1. Elder Jones has finally realized he is boring.
2. THANK YOU TO THE GRANTS FOR SENDING ME DOUGHNUTS (ignore my messy hair)
3. The infamous chocolate cake and the famous Sister Watts who turned 20!
4. Selfie of part of the zone! Love these peeps.
5. Plankz for dayz.