Ohhhh my goodness what a week. Mom, I really wish you could've been a fly on the wall because that would be so much easier than trying to cram a week's worth of 16 hour days into a quick email. But, since that wasn't possible, I'll do my best :) The past week has been so intense and full of a vast range of emotions. But I am so incredibly happy. So much joy comes from working hard, specifically for Heavenly Father. Plus satisfaction. We've taught 10 lessons to three different investigators (played by teachers and staff) and that has been so great. The beginning was a little rough. I didn't realize how hard it would be to teach a lesson with two other sisters. There is so much trust that is involved, as well as the huge need to rely on the Spirit. But I'm happy to say that we've gotten better as teaching together as a team and that we commited our first investigator to baptism yesterday! Even though the "investigator" was our teacher, my heart was pounding and I was so nervous. But the feeling after I said it was so worth it, I wish I could explain it. Our teachers are wonderful. We have two teachers, Brother Palmer and Sister Brinton. They are both very spiritual and I can feel their love for us.
The longer I'm here, the more I realize that this is the Lord's mission, not mine. It's His work, not mine. I think that's why I felt uncomfortable when people said I would be a good missionary because it's really not me doing the work, it's Heavenly Father. But I do know that in order for Heavenly Father to do the work, I have to give everything that I have. We had a devotional the other day and the wife of the elder who spoke (who happened to serve in Japan) said that we must give our entire soul to the work. So that's what I plan to do. Last week I was a little stressed and uptight about following the rules, but this week I've relaxed a little bit. I'm still definitely trying to be strictly obedient but maybe not as hard about it ;) It's actually pretty interesting because every time I do something wrong or something that doesn't invite the spirit, I feel it immediately. I've never felt the need to say sorry so fast haha.
I wrote last week a little bit abouty our district but here's a little more. In our district we have someone from Samoa, Tonga, Brazil, Guatemala, Seattle, and Japan. A wide range of languages, culture, and experiences. But I love it so much. The Elders in our district are so spiritual. Two are 18 and one is 25. They are still definitely young boys but their testimonies are powerful. The 25 year old is a convert and is serving a mission without any support from his family. His desire to serve and the sacrifice he's making makes me feel even more grateful for the support that I have. It's been fun getting to know them because I treat them like brothers. We laugh a lot and share too much information with each other about the lack of fiber in the MTC food haha (oh and I tried the orange juice just because everyone said not to....I was fine). Sister S (one of my companions) eats about 1/10 the amount I do but I guess that's why she's 90 lbs. Having a trio is definitely a learning experience but we get along and are continuing the grow closer.
Yesterday we had in-field orientation, which is basically a bunch of workshops that go over different things that the classes don't have time to, like finding, planning/goal setting, working with the members, etc. I never realized how much more there is to missionary work than just tracting. But I'm happy to say that I learned a lot more from the Hermanas and being a ward missionary than I thought. The teaching record forms, progressing investigator forms, working with members, etc., were all things I learned about while I was home and were a review here. Also, please tell the Hermanas that I've fallen in love with Spanish! We have a bunch of elders in our zone who speak Spanish so I'm actually learning a little bit from them! Not exactly sure how that's going to help me in Japan but it's fun nonetheless.
Seriously though, everyone who can should go on a mission. I'm not even out of the MTC yet but I really feel like I've had to dig to find my testimony. I've had to dig to find out why I believe in certain things. I'm learning so much about the gospel, but I'm mostly learning how little I know haha. There's such a joy that comes from service, too. I love it so much. I love you all, but there's no place I'd rather be than here on a mission. Oh and a little update on travel plans. Not sure exactly what day we leave to go to Japan. We haven't received our itineraries yet, plus we ran into the daughter of our mission president and she said they were getting their next batch of missionaries on April 1. So we might be here a little longer. But if that happens, we'll probably we moved to the Japanese branch like a few of our fellow Mandarin speaking sisters did last week.
I love the work and I love this church so much.
Love you all! And thank you so much for the letters/packages! My district thinks I'm popular haha. Anyways, church is true!