Friday, July 19, 2013

Sundays are the Best and "Garlic" Father!

Sydney started her letter with thanking us for the packages we sent.  I guess between Steve and I, we loaded her up with fruit snacks.  Ha ha!   She is still loving the MTC and her district.  The pictures are 1) her name tag 2) Sydney and her companion at the Provo Temple 3) Some of the Elders pointing to where they are going. One is going to Vancouver  4 &5)  Sydney and her companion showing where they are going. 6)  Pointing to Egypt because someone thought their name tags looked Egyptian (Sydney wrote, face palm, after explaining this picture) 7)  Her companion is an art major and drew cartoons of their district. 

I’m back!

Thank you all SO much for all of your lovely letters! You guys are the best. I promise I’m working on replying to them all. It’s just that writing letters by hand takes long and p-day is short. :) But, I’ll get to work, I promise! First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!!!!! I love you so much! I meant to wish you a happy day in my last email, but I sat down at the computer and saw the clock ticking down and literally forgot EVERYTHING I needed to say. Also, YAYAYAYAYAY FOR EMILY IN THE MTC!!!! Lastly, THANK YOU SISTER YOUNG!!!! I got your adorable box of yummy treats a couple of days ago and it seriously MADE. MY. DAY.  Thank you everyone for all the love and the support. You guys make me so happy. :)

Firstly, I must say that Sundays are the best days at the MTC. First of all, it's the one morning of the week when we actually do get to wake up at6:30. Whoever said missionaries wake up at 6:30 every morning was lying because we definitely wake up at 6:10 every day in order to be in our classrooms by 7:00 each day.  Then, on p-days, my district has to wake up at  FIVE THIRTY to be ready for our service/cleaning assignment at six. It’s pretty much the saddest thing in the world, having to wake up extra early on p-day (p-day eves are completely wasted for us), but I guess it just makes waking up at 6:15 the next morning feel like sleeping in. So, that's good.

Anyway, Sundays are the best.   After we wake up and go to breakfast, we have some time for personal scripture study etc. and then all the sisters in the MTC meet together to watch Music and The Spoken Word (This is the weekly broadcast of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, in which they have songs, stories and uplifting words. and have relief society (Relief Society is the women’s organization at our church.   It’s the oldest women’s organization around). Music and The Spoken  Word  was AMAZING. I don't know if it was so amazing because I hadn't listened to music in a few days or because I’m a missionary now, so everything is amazing, but it was SUCH a great way to start my first Sunday at the MTC. Also, I definitely saw Uncle Earl  THREE TIMES. YAYAYAYAYAY!   It was comforting to see a familiar face. :) (My brother-in-law sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  We play the game “Where’s Whitmore?”  when we watch the choir.  His last name is Whitmore. )

After Music and The Spoken Word, we had Relief Society. Since there are so many sisters, we can't really have small relief society meetings so we just have a special guest speaker every week. This week it was Carole Mikita from KSL news. (This is a local news station.) She told this amazing story about how one by one, over the course of like twenty-five years, her whole family listened to the missionaries and joined the church. she said that as a little girl, she saw and listened to the missionaries teach her mother and that it was an experience that she remembered and carried with her, her entire life until she finally accepted the gospel as well. I suppose you had to be there, but it was incredible. many joyful tears were shed.

This week we started teaching our first investigator, Kim Gyong Won, IN KOREAN. We met him on Saturday with a short lesson prepared about eternal families.  Not knowing at all what to expect, the lesson went okay. Our Korean was dismal of course, but I think we got him to understand some of what we were trying to convey. Our second lesson, however, was AWESOME. It was the lesson in which I had my first language mix-up and my first missionary miracle! We were talking to him about how God is our Father and that we are all His children. He wasn't really getting it and he kept writing "7 billion people" on the board and shrugging his shoulders (ha. also, teaching lessons in Korean is one part language and one part Pictionary :)). Since he wasn't getting it, I tried to explain to him that god was our heavenly father, unlike our mortal fathers here on earth. Since I couldn't form a complete sentence in Korean, I just kept saying "heavenly" over and over again. Well, what I thought was "heavenly." as I kept saying it, the poor man was looking more and more confused, so I quickly realized I was doing something wrong. Yeah, remember how the fruits and vegetables vocab was pretty much the ONLY vocab I solidly memorized before I left for my mission? Well, the word for heavenly is "haneul”, but I was saying "maneul" which is the word for....garlic. Whoops.

In that same lesson, though, directly after my little language mix-up, I had my first teaching miracle as well. We were then explaining to Kim Gyong Won how when we pray to our heavenly(not garlic) father we can feel the holy spirit.  Again, he wasn't really understanding and we kind of explained things by putting our hands over our hearts and saying, "happiness" over and over again.  That made things a little better and we decided to plow on with the lesson anyway.  We went to give him a scripture to read about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon (ha. now that I think about it, this lesson covered a LOT of material), but he accidentally flipped to the wrong scripture I had marked in my Korean scriptures.  At first, I was horrified, but then after he read the scripture, he looked as if he understood what we had been talking about before.  It turns out the scripture he turned to was D&C 8:2, the scripture I had actually marked earlier that week, about the feeling of the holy spirit.  It reads "Yea, behold, I will tell you in you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”.   How cool is that! It was exactly what Kim Gyong Won needed and it wasn't even on purpose! A MISSIONARY MIRACLE!

We had two other lessons with Kim Gyong Won later in the week. The third one was a struggle. There was more confusion and drawing on the board and shrugging of the shoulders than is probably good. But our fourth and last lesson went awesome. Because guess what, Kim Gyong Won agreed to be baptized!!!! (Ha. i should probably mention that Kim Gyong Won isn't an actual investigator.  Most of the lessons taught in the MTC are just taught to members that turn out to be your teachers later. But never doubt that it was still SO EXCITING.) Our last lesson was on the characteristics of Christ and how since Christ is such an example to us of how we should be as people, we should likewise follow His example of baptism. At the end of the lesson, Sister P…. and I both bore our testimonies (did I mention that I can both pray and bear testimony in Korean now? because I CAN :)) and as Sister P…. bore her testimony, followed by Kim Gyong Won giving the prayer, I could feel the Spirit. Even in a language that I hardly understand, the Spirit was there. I felt it, in both my mind and in my heart and I was able to understand that it doesn't matter if my Korean is poor and my understanding of the language is small. The Holy Spirit is something that transcends language and culture. It is something that can be felt by everyone.

We truly are all God's children. I know that He loves us, ALL of us, with an infinite love. He wants all of us to hear the message of the Gospel and to live with Him again and I know that He's not going to let my rudimentary Korean skills get in the way of the progression of His work.

I love you all so much.
I pray for you every day.

알바니타스 자매님

(Sister Arvanitas) 

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