Hi everyone! First of all, thanks to each person who has written me a letter. You should know that getting mail from family or a friend during a really challenging day is really a boost and has helped me keep going this last week. I'll try to mail you back letters soon!
Week two was CRAZY. Our first (fake) progressing investigator, Juni, was so very open and amazing to teach. The Spirit was super strong, and we taught him about baptism and how that is a really important way we are asked to follow Jesus Christ. He said he was baptized when he was a child, and he believed in baptism... so we nervously taught him about priesthood authority and also how the Savior taught that we should be baptized by immersion. He was so open and receptive and he knew we were teaching him things that were true. He said he believed what we said, and he asked if he should be baptized again because his first time wasn't the right way. We all got really really excited and I invited him to follow Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. He said that yes he would, and we set a date! I wish I could tell you the joy we felt in the room at that point! It was a true "spiritual high." I was beaming, almost laughing, glowing. So were my companions and so was Juni! I know that it's just the MTC, and that the investigator was actually a teacher, but this really is the way that Heavenly Father wants His missionaries to learn. He sends His Spirit to testify of truth and to show us the way, even when it's just "practice." It's really edifying and spiritually strengthening.
After that it got really hard, though. I know in my last email I sounded like I was having a blast. I am still having a blast, but it's starting to hit me now what is really happening. This is such an important work. This is God's work, absolutely. And the language, although I'm making progress, is a big handicap. The task is really, really daunting and I'm not sure anyone can understand until they face this situation. I have been hard on myself for little things. I feel like I've been here longer than I actually have--it feels like a month instead of two weeks, just because we've been so busy and learned so much. So I feel like at this point I should be able to communicate better, I should know more words. There's so much I want to say that I don't know how to say and it can be really frustrating. There have been times this week when I've just been wondering how I can ever fulfill my purpose as a missionary--it's hard enough in my native tongue. I'm working on developing more faith in Jesus Christ and trust in His ability to do miracles through me. I need to remember that God knows what he's doing, and there's a reason He sent me here, and I really CAN serve Him and accomplish much good. I CAN be successful because I have God on my side. I will not be useless just because I don't speak the language well. If you feel prompted to, please continue to pray for me as I try to learn this language and more deeply learn the doctrinces of the gospel so I can share them.
I have been thinking lately about my friends and family at home who are preparing to serve missions. I need you to know that the MTC is not a place to gain your testimony of the Gospel. It is NOT. It's not designed for that. Someone said once that your mission will make your testimony soar, but you need to develop the wings here and now. Do not wait until you're a missionary to "get spiritual." There's no time for that, and honestly if I didn't have a strong testimony of the Gospel I wouldn't want to be here because it is hard. It is hard if you want to succeed as a missionary, and the only motivation you have to succeed is the fact that you know the message you have to share is TRUE. I personally have fallen back on past spiritual experiences, spiritual strength I've gained over a long period of time, more than I've ever fallen back on them before. If I was to start now I wouldn't be able to muster enough spiritual strength. So start now. It's been the most important thing. There is honestly no TIME to gain a testimony--only to nourish a preexisting one.
We are starting to teach 2 new (fake) investigators this week. One is named Siti, and she is meeting with us because she wants to stop smoking and drinking, and she knows we don't do either of those. She is going to be hard because of her addictions, but I'm excited to see how things go with her.
Also, I have to mention that I LOVE THE TEMPLE. We went today. It's such a heavenly place. Go as often as you can. God is there, it TRULY is His house. I LOVE what I feel when I'm there. I KNOW that this Gospel is true and that Jesus Christ is real and that He is my Savior. Believing is the start to feeling His love in our hearts.
I love you all! Read the Book of Mormon every day! It will change you, and change your life!