June 11, 2014All 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 :)