I made it through week 1! I'm not going to lie, the first three days were some of the hardest of my life. But my Zone leaders really helped me get through it, and so did my Branch President. He's a funny guy, he's super old and he forgets almost everything but he loves each and every one of us and I can feel it. But what really got me through those first few days was the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Knowing that I can pray and ask for strength was really nice, and I have definitely gained a testimony of that. And it hit me pretty hard when I remembered what President Randall said about how I would learn empathy through the Atonement. I'm still learning it, but I think I was meant to feel that homesickness and it has helped me grow. And the scripture you shared with me and Sammy when we were little and going to school has helped me. 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Once Saturday hit, I felt so strong with the spirit, and every day has just gotten better and better.
So in my district there are 9 of us, there were 10 but one Elder went home on Friday. So because of that I have 2 companions. Elder Calkins, who is from Arizona, and he's going to Vancouver, Washington! And then Elder McCammon from Idaho Falls who is coming with me to Virginia. We get along pretty well, and the more we teach the better we are able to work together. The other two Elders in my district are Elder Hansen from West Jordan, and Elder Davis from Seattle, and they're both coming with me to Virginia. We joke around and say that all 5 of us are companions cause we pretty much are. And we get along so well, every day we always hang out in class and at meals and we have so much fun. There are also 4 sisters in our district, Sister Hibbard from Arizona, who's going to Vancouver, Sister Palmer from Idaho, who's going to Vancouver, Sister Finn from Richomond, Virginia (crazy right) and she's going to Vancouver, and Sister Iverson (still weird to me haha!) who is from Las Vegas, and going to Virginia with us! All 9 of us have become so close and it's going to be sad to split up. We keep talking about how in two years we're going to meet up and hang out.
The more I'm here, the more I am able to feel the spirit. I have been able to recognize that the Spirit is what really converts people, not the missionaries. I am trying my best to follow the prompting of the Spirit, but it is hard! I need to get better. Something else I'm learning is that Love is the most important tool we can have in order to convert others. If the people know that we genuinely love them, because I do, then they will know how important it is to be converted and come unto Christ. In the words of Elder Bednar (no he didn't actually come speak to us, it's from a video), "We must have a character of Christ." Which means that when the natural man would turn inward, and be selfish, we must turn outward and be selfless. We must learn to love others even during the toughest of times.
A very cool moment happened on Monday. All of the sisters in our district were feeling kinda nervous and asked for blessings. Sister Iverson asked me to give her a blessing and so I did. During that time I had never felt so confident in speaking before. The craziest thing was that I barely knew her, but I felt like during that time I was able to speak to her and tell her exactly what she needed. That is the power of the Priesthood. If we are worthy of it, we can act in God's name and perform miracles. It is crazy. Since then she has felt very good about where she is supposed to be.
Thanks for the cinnamon rolls! They were really good! So many people have been getting those care packages so we just have a party every night because we have so much food. Plus the Elders that left last night to go out into the field didn't want to take it, so they gave it all to us!
Tell everyone in choir that I love them and to work hard and that I know they will sound great this year! And tell those freshman guys that they better be working hard.
And I heard about the BYU game, it makes me so happy! I literally yelled and celebrated when I found out.
I leave for the field Tuesday morning early. I have to wake up at 3:30! But we get a chance to call you at the airport, I just don't know what time that will be. So be prepared Tuesday morning.
And if you could send me just some recipes while I'm out in the field that would be great! And yes Mom I'm doing my laundry today... haha!
I'm glad to hear that you are all having a good time! Just remember 2 Nephi 31:21 "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," The Doctrine of Christ is real!
I hope you have a good week and I can't wait to talk to you.