Hello again! Another week has gone already! Time sure does fly.
Okay, let's see if I can remember all that happened this week. Well, first let's start with something exciting last week that I forgot to mention. Hermana Roades last week had her two year anniversary of coming back to the church. Her mom is a devout Baptist and her dad is either not a member or inactive or something like that. So she got introduced to the church by her grandma and grandpa and she was baptized when she was somewhat young like 8 or 9. But somewhere in her teenage years she went inactive and was just living life how she wanted to. She told me the whole story and everything last week while running one day, but yeah, it was her two year anniversary and so that night we all brought out all these snacks we've gotten and we all shared and had a quick testimony meeting on the floor in our room to celebrate. It was fantastic!
One something a little less exciting, the other night the fire alarm went off at 12:30 in our building. At first I was so confused at why something loud and annoying was going off and I tried to ignore it until we realized oh I guess that is a fire alarm. I'm not sure if it was a drill (why would you do a drill that late at night?!) or if something did happen but a police car did come and the cop inspected the building for like half of an hour. It was probably the weirdest fire drill in the world. The sisters were way too excited and awake and talkative for that hour of the night. But we were teasing if this was the real world we could contact people that late and be like "oh, is there a better time I can come back and visit you?"
Before I forget, thanks for the side bag and all the goodies inside!!! I especially love all the fruit leather! Yumm!!! But seriously, the index cards have already come in handy and the stamps. The hair stuff is great and the binder is so useful. The snacks are fantastic and I love the waterbottle! Seriously, you all are the greatest. Thanks!
I got to be a host for new missionaries this week and that was extremely fun! We did the normal drill from when we got in of dropping stuff off, getting name badges, getting books, and then going to class. But it was a really fantstic service that I got to do. My residence hall is the newest one but there is also an older one that has sisters but it doesn't have elevators, so we always got some elders to help carry it up the three or four flights of stairs for us. They were so kind. They were like, "I would have been offended if you didn't ask me to help!" I love that us sisters are treated so wonderfully everywhere we go. Elders love to hold open doors for us. That is the right way to be treated!
The Tuesday night devotional was absolutely fantastic this week. There was a speaker from the emeritus 70 named Robert R. Steur and he has like 26 patents in the medical field and all these other fantastic achievements. He's currently working on a retranslation of the Portugese Bible because the one they're currently using is from like 1910 or something. So he is fantastic but he has this love of words similar to me. To me, I love finding out about words and what they actually mean in their Latin roots etc. Especially in Spanish, I love to find out what words actually mean because when I do it helps me remember the word better. For instance the word for fast in Spanish is ayuno and the work for breakfast is desayuno so it is just like English---you're breaking a fast. This type of idea is sort of like Atonment in English can be broken down into At-One-Ment. Cool things like that make words take on a whole new meaning. So here are some words he broke down (and some of them I had actually been wondering about in Spanish like expiacion what it breaks down into and I wasn't able to figure it out so he figured it out for me!):
Expiacion (spanish word for atonement): the pia part is like pius or to make holy. So the expiacion is the way that we can finally become holy or actually become saints like the name of our church. And our church is the only one which can actually use the Atonement fully through the restored priesthood.
Reconciliation. Re= again. con= with. cilia= seated. In other words, reconciliation is being able to be seated with God again. How cool is that?!
Religion. ligion-->ligor or to bind. So you are binding or sealing or linking or tying or connecting yourself together in the one true order.
Sanctification is to become sunty (I think that is the word in Latin?) or holy
Sacrifice= from the word sacrificar or to set apart (how can you have a full mission if you don't sacrifice? that is one reason why we're set apart?)
commitment or the spanish word compromiso = with promise or real intent
and there were a few more but I love the power of words!!!
Another few interesting things he said were that any excuse no matter how valid always weakens the character. Also, we don't have to fear... the truth can defend itself. Just like in physics where Force always equals mass times acceleration, it is a law. It will always be that way whether or not someone understands it. No matter who tries to test it out, it will always defend itself because it is absolute truth. That is why this church is true and growing. Because it is the truth and it will always defend itself it people seek with real intent, etc. I just thought that was a fantastic way to look at it!
Going on that a little bit, one of my teachers, Hermano Bell gave us all a quote that I love by Elder Henry B. Eyring. It says "I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Chrust. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed, will not flinch int he face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the case of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me and when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me."
I love that an encourage everyone to make any changes they need to so that this can be their motto for their lives also!
I just have a few more things to say about the lessons we've been teaching. Every week in class we've been focusing on a different fundamental like revelation through church attendance, revelation through prayer, et cetera. Well the fundamental this week was "Teach People, Not Lessons" and I think because of that our lessons this week have jumped to a whole new level. It used to feel like I had to compete with my companions for turns to speak or else I'd only get to say one sentence during an entire lesson. But that focus this week helped us all calm down and allow for moments of silence to let the spirit really speak to the investigator and to speak to us so we can actually use inspired questions et cetera. Take, for instance, Valdecir. I forget if I've told this already or not, but we had been teaching him for a few weeks and then he told us one day that he just didn't want us to return because he felt like it was causing his family to become more separated. We talked about his concerns and was able to talk about how sometimes we have to have faith that things will all work out and then a week or so later, his wife moved back in and you could tell his countenance was so much different! But the last few lessons were on the word of wisdom and becuase we used the principles of teach people and not lessons, he was so excited to give up his addiction to coffee. He isn't a real investigator, but still, it is so exciting to work with him and be able to really help him develop faith that with the Lord he can do all things. When we worked out the plan for helping him stop drinking coffee, he was so excited and throwing in suggestions like "oh yeah, my friend Rafiel can help me!" et cetera. It was really cute because at the end Hna Roades was talking about how she wanted to give up something too that is difficult for her just like giving up coffee is difficult for Valdecir. So she decided she'd give up ice cream. Then he made the comment "I think I can give up coffee before you can give up ice cream." It was just so funny.
Then our other investigator Rober we've been having trouble connecting to him and really making him feel the joy this gospel can bring. He also hasn't really been keeping his commitments of reading and his faith in himself and in Jesus Christ is lacking. So we've been thinking what could really help him and we decided to give him a compromiso of figuring out a specific question (for him it was something like "after I am done with all my work and my children have moved out, what then?" and even when he told us this he was like "I know you don't have the answer to it, but that is my question." And of course we don't have all the answers, but we have faith that the scriptures and prophets have all the answers) then praying about that specific question then open the Book of Mormon and start reading. So he didn't do this compromiso on his own because he didn't have faith that it would work. So this last lesson we talked about faith quite a bit and the importance of it and then we had him do this compromiso right there in the lesson. So he prayed and opened his scriptures. This was probably a bigger act of faith on us than on him because who knows what he would open up to, right?! Maybe he would open up to the part where Nephi killed Laban and we'd have to get into that discussion. But we acted on faith as well and he happened to open up to Mosiah 2:17 about service and that was the answer to his question. We told him that he can continue to receive answers to his questions if he prays and has faith that he can receive the answer through scripture study and it was funny because he looked at the Book of Mormon like it was going to bite him. I almost started laughing. But he just thought it was weird to open the scriptures and start reading like that, so we said that it's okay to start at the beginning and just start reading too.
Anyway, I don't know if I did those lessons justice in explaining them right here, but especially the one with Rober I was honored to be in the room for that lesson. It ended up being so much more powerful that I could have ever done it on my own. I can't wait to go out into the field and be able to have experiences like that one for real.
Anyway, I'm glad Idaho was evidently great and I hope the Whetten reunion is fun as well.
If possible, can you get me Ann's and Chesea's addresses? I know I haven't talked to either of them in so long, but I'd like to write them. Oh, and Melissa Bench too! I love having people to write on my preparation day!
Anyway, yeah, this week was fantastic. I believe next week is my last full week so we will have something called an "in-field training" on Friday and I'll get my preparation day next Saturday instead. So yeah, that'll be different. I can't believe the MTC experience is wrapping up. Hna Coleman the other night started crying and got up and gave me a huge hug for so long because she is going to miss me so much and we won't be able to see each other for so long if at all (I hope that isn't the case). But she was like "you need to show me the Grand Canyon like you've talked about and I want you to take me rock climbing for my first time" and all these things. I am going to miss her too. It is going to be so hard to say goodbye!
Anyway, I'd better take off. May the Spirit be with you!
~Hermana Whitney Whetten