Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week Three from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - June 11, 2014

June 11, 2014
All is well,

The weeks are finally starting to blend together. It's not so crazy anymore trying to get into the fit of things, I think I finally got it down. This week flew by... I can't even believe it. But then again at night time I try to think of what I did that morning and it feels like 2 days ago. 
12 of our Russian missionaries left on Monday. That means there are only 18 total in the MTC, but next week we get 40+ new Russian missionaries, it's going to be psycho. There are only 6 people in my district which is tiny, usually its double that. Since there are so few missionaries here we all get to become such good friends, it's cool to think that I know whoever Elder Graf is training right now. I have my fingers crossed for a few I know he'd love. 

Okay... so maybe a little bit about my companion. She is very much like me, she likes things done her way. We really aren't all that interested in each other's lives but we really do love each other (that is so bad huh? we're working on it). She loves to sing whatever she says. She always says, "great" in a Scottish accent. She loves to eat desserts here :) She always eats all of her food even if she doesn't like what she's eating hahaha. Our styles are NOTHING alike. She likes to walk in the shade while I step into any ray of sunlight I can find... there are always roofs over our heads and I really miss the sun (I'm sure I won't feel that way when I get to Russia). She is also very technical, like for instance today I mentioned that Samara is about a 12 hour time difference and she didn't hesitate for a second to correct me that it is actually 11 hours hahahaha ah... If she could describe herself in 3 words it would be: graceful, charismatic, and poised. She's really humble :) I've never heard her fart or burp so I guess that's true. 

On Sunday we gave a district lesson about repentance. Our district reeeeally struggles with concentrating during our 3 hours of personal, companionship, and language study. So Sis Palmer and I focused on that because we need to repent of that. I can actually study really well with people talking around me, so it hasn't been too much of a problem for me, but of course I can use some improvement too. We read the class a few interesting facts saying that if they waste 5 minutes of personal study every time then they will waste a total of 35 hours of study time here in the MTC. Yikes.... we really drove it home that our study time is actually not even for ourselves. It's not for Sis Wilson to learn more about the gospel, it's not for Sis Palmer to learn more Russian. It's for the people in Russia. Everything we do should be for them, and if we waste that time then what are we even on a mission for? 
A little bit about the language.... I love Russian. I can't get enough of it. When our teach Sis Wrigley speaks to us in Russian all I can think is that she sounds like an angel. Russian is beeeeautiful. However, I have learned Russian MY way. I have not yet figured out how the Lord would have me learn Russian. We are supposed to start from scratch in everything we know (rock bottom if you would) it's unique to every person learning the way that the Lord would have your learn. So my struggle is that I need to know HOW God wants me to learn Russian. All I know is the way that Brooklyn knows how. Also I can understand my teachers like a champ (this has been my biggest blessing), but at TRC, where we teach Russian speakers from outside of the MTC, last week we taught 2 natives speakers and it was basically like playing charades for 20 minutes :):):)

The most influential part of my week was definitely listening to "the Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. Everyone's heard of that talk... but holy cow, it really changes your life. I have never seen Elder Bednar speak with such passion, he actually reminded me a little bit of Elder Holland with how bold and direct his message was. His main emphasis was about how the natural man always turns inward and the character of Christ always turns outwardly. This turning outward turns testimony into conversion. Every person who is a member of the church has a testimony, but not all of us are converted. Conversion is when we have Christlike qualities that are both striking and consistent. Those two words really stuck out to me, "striking and consistent". Think about yourself for a moment. How consistent are you with patience and love and humility? How striking are those qualities in yourself? Christ was consistently patient, his love and sincerity were striking to people, even shocking! Every person you meet on the mission has the capability in their mind to remember you forever, whether they do or not depends on the impression you make with them. They will want to meet with us again; not because of what we say or do, but because of what they feel. 

I feel that I am finally beginning to see just how important this calling is. I think that sometimes we forget how urgent our message really is. However, we must realize that the salvation of every single human being depends upon it... and it can only be received by the means of the Holy Ghost. I am beginning to see how vitally important it is that I truly learn to understand that what I teach does not matter if the receiver doesn't feel anything. 
Yes, your mission is your own, but it is not about yourself. The greatest convert on your mission ought to be you, but that's not what will happen if that's what you're trying to do.

love you all, I'm glad I know my place right now :)
Sister Wilson

Friday, September 26, 2014

Week Two From Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014
All is well,
I am going to take entries directly out of my journal while I write to see if I can keep things more organized.

Sis Palmer got a migraine last night, poor girl. She's had chronic migraines the last 5 years apparently and that makes me nervous. She woke up with a bloody nose and was throwing up in the middle of the night. she's also been complaining about one of her teeth being sensitive to hot/cold...  but won't go to the dentist. I think the tooth ache plus learning psycho Russian triggered the migraine. We had to stay in our room until 12 so she could rest but I got some much needed personal study in thanks to that.
I have a goal to learn 1000 words before I leave the MTC, that means 19 words a day. God's going to help me:) I wish I could just pull a number out of my head of how many I already know!

Something I learned today is that it is often very hard to be motivated during class to study. But If you really do personal study the right way you should never want it to end.

Brooklyn asked for us to edit out Saturdays' entry...

We were about to get started with district meeting and right as it started my branch president (pres Peer) pulled me out of the classroom and asked if we could talk for a minute, you have NO IDEA how scared i was. I timidly sat across from him in a classroom down the hall. He told me he sees something in me that he doesn't see in anyone else in our district, and that is drive. Somehow... he knows exactly all that I've been doing. That i am very focused when we have study time. She says i am leading by quiet example. He told me that he knows God is proud of me and that i am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing right now... that it is satisfactory to him. My heart was filled with joy at his words.
Also... I COMPLETED MY FIRST 24 HOUR FAST, and i wasn't even grumpy :):):)

The Russian speaking missionaries... like to do "challenges." They're a little goofy. But one of them is the "jello challenge" to cut jello out of a cup, set it on a plate, exhale.... then inhale the jello in one bite. SO DUMB. But entertaining. Also I guess a few weeks back a Russian elder ate 30 bananas in one day. That one is called the "banana challenge" and no one has been able to get past 10 bananas.
Also at the end of the day a random sister came up to me and stopped me and said, "hi... I just needed to thank you for calling me out on my language the other day. I really needed to clean up my language, thanks for helping me to notice." At first I didn't even remember her, but 2 days ago a girl said "shiz" in the hall and i looked at her and said, "hey, watch your languge here. you shouldn't be saying things like that at the MTC" she said sorry and looked embarrassed. When she approached me I didn't even remember her, but I am glad I opened my mouth:) D&C 11:5-8
 Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you willknock it shall be opened unto you.
 Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause ofZion.
 Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be maderich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.
 Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.

We had an amazing devotional by a man who served his mission in Yekaterinburg Russia. Afterward we had a district meeting and there were a few things that really touched my heart.
Christ told Peter, "After you are converted (implying that he was not yet converted), strengthen thy brethren." Even Peter, who had seen miracles, who had WALKED with Christ, was not converted. Just like Laman and Lemuel after they saw an angel, continued to question God's power. Conversion does not happen by seeing miracles. That is why FAITH is so important, it is a hope for things NOT SEEN. Conversion takes place by developing faith in our hearts that the Savior can do anything, and that with his help we can bring to pass anything, even miracles.

I love it here. i love these relationship I've made, I love this kid in our district named Elder Young. He's so nerdy but in the best peter priesthood way possible. When he laughs it sounds like a little school boy's laugh. I love the MTC and walking through it on a warm summer night. I love that I get to study Russian every single day. I love that God loves ME, sister wilson! And that he is mindful of me and that I get to go to such a personal and significant place in the world. I love that somehow my bladder has shrunk to the size of a dime and my companion has to come to the bathrooom with me every half hour. I am just so happy :) Everything is good.
With love,
Sister Wilson

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week One From Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014
All is well,

(also I will not be capitalizing in my letters, it just takes longer and I don't have time)

I will start with my last day in Pleasant Grove. It was such a lovely and sacred time last few hours with my family. Driving past that G mountain I felt my heart swell and I appreciated the beautiful mountain more than I ever had in my life.

When I got to the MTC guess who I saw within the first 5 minutes? Sister Twede! She is an angel. Her Russian is amaaazing, and her accent is just lovely. (Note from Brooklyn's Dad- Sister Twede is a sister Brooklyn met on facebook then in person a couple of weeks before she went into the MTC, even went to her farewell. )

The first night in the MTC... I was slightly disapointed to hear that no body goes to bed at 10:30. I actually hated that, because I wanted to hear that everyone is just 100% obedient. I went to bed at 11:30 my first night just thinking it was normal to do so... no, no no no! Haha good thing there is such thing as repentance :) There is a boy in my district who says he promised the Lord 110% and I'd like the promise him the same thing.

Let me tell you a little bit about my district, my companion, and my teachers. 

My companion is Sis Palmer, a little bit about her... She is a genius. She knows the gosepl SOOO well. (that's not much info I know, sorry) I knew half of my district before the mission, and we all get along very well. The second day at the MTC I decided to dump my food all over myself went I went to sit down at the table, so that was good. And the third day Sis Palmer somehow felt backward in her chair and just legs went right over her head, garments and all. 

My teachers.... So there is Sister Jackson, Tanner was actually her first Zone Leader, she served in Yekaterinburg, and I am slightly convinced that she hates me :):):) One of my other teachers is Sister Wrigley. She starts with personal interviews with each missionary so she pulled me out into the hallway and just asked me a few questions. I told her about my family, my reasons to serve, and then she asked if it was okay if I could share something that has happened in my life to make my testimony grow. Also, she taught Elder Graf and said he is one of best missionaries she's ever seen come through the MTC in her 2 and half years teaching there! Elder Graf has prepared so many friends for me, and doesn't even know it :) 

A little bit about my language here.... I was sooo so blessed to have taken 1 year of Russian before coming out here. I can speak freely with my teachers and with the 7 or 8 week missionaries. Actually the other day in class another teacher popped her head in while Sis Wrigly was teaching us and the other teacher was speaking in Russian to sister Wrigley, She said, "how's your class doing so far, how's their language?" And Sis Wrigley just kinda smiled and said, "well... uhmm...." I got a disapproving look and my face and called her out on that hahaha. They finished their conversation in the hallway. Me and one other boy in my class are having private lessons with another teacher because I am already to page 86 in the blue board book, and am not learning anything in class. Otherwise I am going to fall into complacency right from the beginning. They might even send us out after we've been here 3 weeks. All the teachers are going to get together tomorrow to talk and pray about us and see if we can get sent out early.

One thing that really humbled me was the other night when I was talking to another sister. She reminded me that although Elder Nally and I know a lot of Russian we should never try to be better than anyone else, because Christ will always be best, he's always number one. 

My favorite day at the MTC so far was Monday. I speak Russian very well when I look at the people around me.... I speak as fluently or more fluently than the 7 or 8 week missionaries...  but during Monday's lesson I could not speak a lick of Russian, since I've been here I've been able to speak as freely as I want, but on Monday it was like all the Russian I had ever learned was cleared from my mind. I couldn't say anything I wanted to, and the part that makes it all a little more difficult even is that I feel like everything relies on me, because my companion doesn't know how to speak yet. There is so little unity in our lessons. I walked out of that room feeling like we accomplished nothing. I just started crying. We went on a walk to calm me and I said a sincere prayer but I still felt so alone. I felt like... because the spirit was not in the lesson I was unworthy to have him with me. That was just such a dark thought to me. I just felt horrible and I didn't know how to make it leave. I'd always heard if you don't have the spirit you cannot teach, I didn't think I'd experience it first hand. It was so very humbling, here I am, Sister Wilson-- who CAN speak Russian and it was like God put a little fog over my brain so I couldn't even tap into my language. It was time to start preparing our lessons and I had no motivation, and I STILL could not start thinking in Russian again. it just made me feel worse. Then some of the other sisters came into our room and spoke to me, they were so uplifting and understanding. They started speaking to me in Russian and slowly but surely my language began to return..... Ohhhh it felt sooo good. I take the knowledge I have for granted sometimes. But I realized the mistake I had made was this: I can ONLY speak Russian if it comes from my heart. If I start reading off a page I lose my train of thought and can't speak anymore. God wants me to speak what's in my heart. (I also think he did it so i would know how frustrating it is not to be able to speak Russian). That was a turning point in my mission.

Last night we have a devotional with Russel M. Nelson and afterward had a district devotional, those times with your district are seriously bonding. As missionaries there will not be a day where someone is not praying for the missionaries. DON'T let those prayers be in vain. Right now we are on the front lines of the most elite army on earth, Lucifer's army has never been more powerful, but neither has God's. Right now we are to give up our lesser selves and submit... the only part you are giving up is your ego. God will replace that lesser self with the girl God was preparing me to become even before my mortal life.

A mission is NOT what I thought it would be. It ALL depends on you. You don't walk into the MTC and put a badge on and you are suddenly a different person. You have to choose how you are going to be, and you CANNOT do it without Christ.

I am grateful to be a missionary. 
Love you all,
Sister Wilson 

(For those of your serving missions and who will be learning a language:
I can't stress that enough. You have ZERO time to study it in the MTC)