I'm just going to start every letter out saying how I can't believe how time has flown. We have less than three weeks here! It's a little bit sad because we've now gone through two sets of English sister missionary roommates... and we're still here. Haha! It's great though, every week I'm more grateful for the MTC. It has been such a spirtually nourishing/strengthening experience, above all else.
Last week, on Tuesday, Elder Nelson came to the MTC! Now we've seen three apostles: Holland, Ballard, and Nelson. We're SUPER blessed. His talk was great, and it was all about the Book of Mormon. It was based on the October Ensign actually. The Book of Mormon is SUCH a RICH blessing to us from God. Through it we can gain access to heaven. It's so pure. Cool fact: the King James Version of the Bible was translated at the average speed of one page per day, and today in the Church scriptures are translated into other languages by the top translators also at the average speed of one page per day. When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, he translated an average of seven to eight pages per day. I thought that was amazing! The Book of Mormon is a shining light in the darkness, a bright and strong testimony of the reality of our Savior. It's such a faith-strengthening book.
I've been thinking about pride over the last few days. On Sunday we had an amazing Mission Conference and one of the talks was on pride. It was JUST for me - I don't always feel like talks I hear are "just for me" but this one I did. Pride has been the cause of all my hardships since I've gotten to the MTC. Pride is a "root sin" of many other sins, for it's the cause of contention, reluctance to obey, reluctance/slowness to repent, ingratitude, finding fault in others, withholding praise/generous thoughts, caring most about gaining approval for others, and the list goes on. It was an answer to my prayer, because with that knowledge comes the truth that the opposite of pride, and thus the SOLUTION to these sins/problems, is humility, meekness, and submissiveness. There is true spiritual power in humility. There is spiritual strength, spiritual protection, unhindered spiritual progression, truthful perspective, love for others, sincere prayer, repentance, faith, baptism, the reception of the Holy Ghost, a closer relationship with God, strength to overcome temptation, the ability to forgive, glad/natural obedience, peace, increased capability to perform tasks... all of these things and more are fruits of--or at least are connected to--humility. And not just humble actions, but humility of HEART. Sincere, honest humility. Know who you are and what's really going on--Who is really in charge. This has been a major focus for me the last few days.
I've been thinking about something my stake president said years ago. He said that the depth of your discipleship can be measured by how you see other people. That is really meaningful to me. When I am truly following Christ, love for those around me will be natural. Love is the core requirement for discipleship.
For some reason in my stake, we don't put favorite scriptures on the missionary plaques. But if we did, Alma 26:21-22 would be mine. I came across this last week and it's been on my mind constantly. My natural man can't know anything! I can only know the things of God if I have a penitent, or repentant, HEART. I need to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent (true faith leads to repentance naturally) and do good works (as the Savior did) and pray continually without ceasing in my heart. This is the way I will have a successful mission, and a successful life afterward. I have reflected on this time and again and I wish I had time to share all my thoughts on these two verses.
Read that scripture that talks about having faith unto reptenance, which reference I forgot but you can look it up on lds.org. Faith and reptentance really go together. Faith in Christ results in (so immediately that I nearly want to say that it includes) a desire to repent of and be freed from your sins. I'm really grateful for that.
Also Nehemiah 6:3, and Joshua 3:5. Since being in the MTC my testimony of the truthfulness of the Bible has also been strengthened a lot. There are so many spiritual insights, and so much we can learn about God through prayerful study of the Bible.
I love this gospel and I know it's true. I know that through the plan that God has made for us, through Jesus Christ's redeeming sacrifice, we have the ability to become clean and live in Heaven with God and with our families forever. Make this gospel (faith, reptentance, baptism/covenants, and the gift of the Holy Ghost) the center of your life. Let Him into your heart.
You are all in my prayers! Thanks for all you do for me.
P.S. Three weeks left in the USA!