Thank you so much for the letters and prayers! Your testimony and all the friends I have had who have written me letters (including Brad Wilcox, which is super special) lift my spirits. I'll need to keep in mind that if I don't write all the family and friends who wrote me, that is okay, but I am so grateful for them...Brad Wilcox, Grandma and Grandpa Parker, Jenepher Roberts, Heather Holdsworth, Jessica Simpson, you, Dad, Jason, and Richard and Devie... There are some things if you could send from home I would love, but I'll write about that in the other letter.
So much is on my mind. Part of me wonders if you want to post a lot on the blog. All of your faith is amazing and I've been helped a lot this week, especially by my companion and the Lord. My companion is Sister Brinkerhoff, and she is going to San Bernadino too! (Interesting about San Bernandino, the people there are being prepared.) We are very similiar and she has such a firm belief in this gospel. Our roommates all left on Monday and Tuesday this week, going to different parts of the United States. They were really sweet and encouraging. Today, we get 4 new Sisters in the room, all arriving today! My teachers are amazing, Brother Austin (whom I knew at BYU :D) and Sister Hoopes, who is so full of spiritual power. They have taught us more about the doctrine of Christ, and I really liked reading it in class from 2 Nephi 31. I'm learning that there is a balance in everything, but you know me so well, I am getting stressed out really easily. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I've been really humbled. There is so much of the gospel I don't know, and my testimony is being tested quite a bit. The MTC though is an incredible experience! We have had wonderful devotionals and Sunday services. Yesterday, Elder Featherstone gave a devotional about what he would tell missionaries, and the main message I learned was that the prophets would die for this Church and they serve with all their heart and might, even when they are depressed, stressed, lonely, sick. I love that.
Well, one week has passed, and I've been learning to use the Atonement more than ever. I make so many little mistakes that need to be corrected, but as it says, "Come unto me." I will come to Christ and keep changing. One of the hardest parts is getting to bed on time and making sure I am focused. Sadly, there is no running at 6 am. I may suggest to my companion that we do the early morning fitness class, but she doesn't really like to run, and we love sleep, ha ha. Maybe another Sister coming will like to run, I think it will really calm my nerves. It never seemed hard for me to stay focused before this mission, but it is extremely hard. I am getting the routine more and learning that personal study now has to be focused on others. That was a challenge for me, as well, since the way I studied before the mission won't work for the investigators. Sister Hoopes advised our district to read the Book of Mormon or anything from the scriptures and PMG with a question in mind. I am starting to do that more, and yesterday, my companion and I had an amazing teaching experience.
We taught George, or actually he taught us. He is an amputee and not a member...yet. After he almost died and was very angry about his leg, he prayed to Heavenly Father and he received an answer as to why it happened. His heart is so open to the gopsel and the Spirit was so abundant. Sister Brinkerhoff and I taught toghether as one, instead of one speaking, then another, like we have always done. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and probably the highlight of the MTC. I know that more will come as I continue to study the gospel, pray with faith, and develop Christlike attributes.
Knowing Grandma has passed was hard to hear, and actually right before I was called in to the branch president, I said a prayer she would be alright. But like Dad, I know she is happy and with Grandpa and Heavenly Father, furthering the work up in the Spirit World. I hope the service is amazing, and that you arrive safely in Utah. You are all in my prayers. Thank you for thinking of me always. I know this Church is true, that the gospel is the only way to come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that Their arms of mercy are always extended. It is through others that we usually feel it. I'm excited to preach this amazing truth to the world.
If you could send me letters through dearelder.com that would be great, I'll get them quicker. P-Day is on Wednesday :) I love you all!
The Church is True!