Wednesday, October 29, 2014

LAST Week from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - July 20, 2014

All is well,

First off something that happened yesterday.... during the devotional Sister Marquis and I were sitting next to each other in the choir. Anyway my pen wasn't working so Sister Marquis told me if I suck on it then ink should start flowing again. I didn't really think it would work, so I sucked, and then sucked again... and surprising got a really interesting taste in my mouth. I made a sour face at sister Marquis and she just cupped her hand to her mouth and started laughing. Apparently I sucked too hard, because I had black ink ALL OVER in my mouth. I had her take a pic so I could see and my tongue was completely black. I looked like a pirate or an old woman with disgusting rotting teeth. It wasn't super easy to get out either, I didn't end up getting it all out til I brushed my teeth that night. I would turn around during the opening hymn and just smile at people super big with the most disgusting black teeth and would get some pretty concerned and sorry looking smiles back at me. We joked about how embarrassing it would be if the cameras zoomed in on me and showed on the jumbotron while we were singing in the choir. Just some poor sister with gingivitis. Sister Marquis is going to Rostov, and is super fun to talk to because she went to high school with me and we hung out with a similar group of friends, but were never friends ourselves. Too bad! Because she is a champion. I love her to death. 

Anyyyyway! This week we have planned for a week of miracles. Sister Palmer and I have come up with sacrifices that we are going to make every day until we leave that will help us to be better missionaries. I saw my first miracle on Sunday!
In case you didn't know, I am absolutely terrified of playing piano in front of people... like if I am practicing and somebody walks into the room I start messing up because I get so nervous. Well, Elder Young asked me at the beginning of last week if I could maybe play a solo musical number on Sunday. I told him I'd practice a song, see if it was good enough, and then get back to him. Well... I never found time to practice cause we've just been so busy, and so two days before Sunday he says to me,"you're still playing on Sunday, right?" .....right??? I never said I was going to! But I took courage, put a dumb smile on my face, and said, "yeah I can do it!" 
So Sunday rolls around I am just praying so fervently to my Heavenly Father. I told him that I am definitely NOT playing this song for my own glory, I am playing to help others feel the spirit, and I can't do that if I'm messing up the song the whole time. I KNOW you can help me with this and make it perfect. I kept getting reassurances like, sharing talents will increase them, and have faith have faith have faith! I walked up to the piano, hands shaking, and silently praying I'd somehow manage to play despite my nervous state. As I sat down the music flowed through my fingers so naturally, and I took courage! I concentrated everything I had into that song. And the parts where my mind went black? Heavenly Father filled it with other notes that made it nearly impossible to recognize the mistakes. I asked for perfection, and what does he do? Because of course I am not perfect, he makes up for my imperfections, he provided another way to accomplish the task in an even more beautiful way than my way... his way.
That's how I want to do my missionary work ALL the time. I want to concentrate all of my efforts into this, I want to rely on Him fully. Because like I witnessed while playing the piano... I didn't fail, because not once did I doubt him while I was playing, otherwise I would have failed. His abilities are far greater than mine. God is the master piano teacher, he is the master Russian teacher, He is our Heavenly Father and the greatest teacher of all. 

I can't believe that I can count on one hand how many days I have left in America. I am so in love with the MTC, I feel like this place is my home. I loooove my district, they all have such character and the most different personalities which always keeps things interesting. But I also can't stay here another week or I am probably going to lose my mind :) Samara needs me, for some reason or another... so Russia, here I come!

Sister Wilson

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week Seven from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - July 12, 2014

Be still my soul, The Lord is on thy side
All is well,

Okay first of all I just want to ask a huuuge favor of anyone who gets emails from me. Unfortunately here at the MTC we can't get on google... I was just wondering if anyone who has been on a mission would be willing to send me some of their favorite lesson outlines that answer questions that investigators might have really well. Scripture evidence is really important too. For the restoration (the 1st lesson) or the plan of salvation (2nd lesson) it would be so so so appreciated. I wish I had more time to study all of it but we only have about an hour or two for it every day. Which really is not enough.... also some ideas for approaches that help people to open up to you, "we are missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ" type of things. I would appreciate any input I can get. Mom, will you make sure Cole and Ryan do this for me? That's your assignment;)
The weeks are starting to slow down a little bit here. I am just looking forward to getting out to Russia. I am just striving to keep my head above the water with this complacency thing... heaven help me. Missionary work is hard, not in that BEING here is hard itself, it is hard to truly and consciously put forth your very best efforts every day. Any advice for that? I want to give him my all, I have that desire! But then I am a weak human being who forgets to practice with consistency throughout the day.

I just realized that all my friends are home from their missions.... Cole, Ryan, David. and Lydia comes home sooo soon! Part of me is a little jealous of that but I am happy to be here. I need to grow, and the mission is going to help that growth happen a little faster. But will someone get them to write me? I want to hear what it's like being home! 
The Elders and Sisters above us just left, and so now we are the oldest here. But we had to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to be with one of the sisters whose companion was leaving earlier than her. Walking through the MTC in the middle of the night with suit cases... really made me feel like a missionary, like that's what it'd be like, moving from place to place. Also it made me a little nervous and aware of how soon our departure will be. I am leaving in less that 2 weeks! I only have one more P-day here. We get our flight plans in two days... so on Friday. (I am secretly hoping our visas haven't gone through and we get to go to Iowa or something). 
On the 4th of July we got to watch 17 miracles and then the fireworks from the stadium of fire. It was supposed to be a "surprise" but every person knows that the missionaries get to do that hahaha. Not much of a surprise;) Mom, I will send home my MTC journal and you can read more about that later. 

So yesterday night we got to listen to our apostle Neil A. Anderson for the MTC devotional. When we took our seats I just kind of had a head ache and wasn't feeling so much like myself... but before he spoke it was announced that the choir would be singing, "Be Still My Soul," and I knew I was done for. The feeling of numbness, the shield that I had put up to defend and conceal my heart was lowered; and I surrendered to the spirit as I listened to the words. "Be still my soul: Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as he has the past." I felt the majesty of God flood through that room, I knew he was speaking to each missionary... not to worry, not to doubt, not to be discouraged with short-comings, but to be still and know that he is God. "Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake." 
I know that God knows me. I forget that I can't do this work on my own, and then suddenly my heart is hardened. But God is so smart, wants me to feel of his majesty, of what I can do with his power, and I am entitled to it! It's not that I'm choosing NOT to use it, but sometimes I just forget to use it. He uses the spirit as a gracious reminder.

I walked out of the devotional feeling so happy. I just smiled dumbly and walked around the MTC campus thinking to myself, "I am in love." with this place, with all these people, with my God. I'm in love with my mission. And that is that.

Love, Sister Wilson

  1. 1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
    With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
    Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
    Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
  2. 2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
    To guide the future as he has the past.
    Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
    All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
    Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
    His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
  3. 3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
    When we shall be forever with the Lord,
    When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
    Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
    Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
    All safe and blessed we shall meet at last

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week Six from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - July 3, 2014

All is well,
This week Brother Mckay came in to the classroom to teach us, wrote two words on the whiteboard, told us to translate them, and then walked out saying he'd be back briefly. "ded moroze" (how it sounds in English) I translated the last word, which translated to "frost" then as an Elder translated the first word I heard him say, "Grandfather...?" Ded moroze=grandfather frost. SAAAANTA!!!! We were all jumping for joy when Brother Mckay returned. We all knew what he had: our RUssian nametags! Okay it might sound lame... but MTC nametags are in English, so seeing my name in Russian on that nametag, really was like Christmas haha:)

Something that I thought was really quite humorous this week... I was sitting by an elder in my zone at lunch who said that sometimes they couldn't fall asleep at night because an elder who lives above them would play his Ocarina... as in the Ocarina of time from Zelda. I guess that make little flute thingies that resemble it? I thought that was funny, but then I asked who was playing it and they said, "Elder Tonn," in the elder that Elder Graf is training right now. I just about died laughing after hearing that. Holy cow. 
Also on Thursday, I was returning from PE (why do I call it that?) and waiting outside to cross back to the MTC on the crosswalk. I heard a car honk at me and behold... my brother Tanner and his darling young wife, looking at me with jaws dropped. HA! Feels like I said goodbye only 5 days ago! They were stopped at the light while everyone was crossing the street. I was so happy! I jumped up and down and said, "Hiiiiii!!!!" I was crossing the street so I couldn't really talk to him. But I was just so happy to see him. 10 seconds later after I finished crossing the street my stomach dropped. WHY didn't I stop and talk to him?! I totally could have! I just for some reason felt like I had to keep walking. Ugh I'm so mad at myself! Oh well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be haha :) but I was a little frustrated with myself when I realized that I could have because he was just stopped at the light.

Sunday, the second counselor of the Young Women's Presidency spoke to us. She said something that really made the hairs on my neck stand up. Actually a lot of things have been making the hairs on my neck stand up considering I am leaving so soon... I feel like I've been stuck in week 2 forever. MTC time cannot be explained, only experienced :) Anyway. She said, "your heart is changed when you give it away, you cannot white knuckle your way to a changed heart. Ease up. Trust God." UGH. I am trying to do that right now but it is just not as easy as it sounds. There is a part inside of us that is really afraid of trusting anyone but ourselves.

I have a friend who has been out in the mission field for about a year now, and he says he is just now realizing that he hasn't been trusting God. I really don't want to come to that same conclusion after I've been out for sometime... realizing that I've been doing all of this work alone when I could have been doing it with the help of God. I don't want to be holding onto my heart with white knuckles while Christ is patiently waiting for me to give it to him. It's just like that scripture... D&C 103: 27 "Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again." 
When I lose myself, when I realize my weaknesses and buckle to my knees is when God is most ready to help. Christ can help us build our strongest towers when we start with him at rock bottom. He loves starting from scratch because then he can build us up in his way, with no faulty foundations leftover from our ways.

God knows every single hair on our heads, not even a sparrow drops to the ground without him knowing. I promise he knows us, better than your parents know you. Better than your wife or your husband know you. Because he knows us perfectly he can help us to make decisions that will make YOU happy. The choice that makes one person happy won't necessarily make you happy, ask God before you follow anyone else. He won't lead you astray. Promise. 
Be good :)
--Sister Wilson

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week Five from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - June 25, 2014

All is well,

 Well this week I walk into the classroom for who we're teaching and it's Sasha. Remember Sasha from last week? I saw him at TRC and he was just this fireball convert? When we walked in the room he just about crushed my hand when shaking it. Sis Palmer and I asked for a prayer and Sasha offered it. The spirit just enveloped the room, I could only catch about 50% of what he said because he's a native... but it was so sincere. As we shared our thought with him and our scripture with him his face just got beat red and he threw his hands up in the air as if the heavens were opening. I was so scared and confused. He said he's read that scripture about 15 times in his life and he's never understood it until now. Why now? don't know. But it was so cool to see his understanding opened. On our feedback report he said, "it's experiences like THIS that bring me back to TRC every single week." Sasha looks so scary and intimidating but he's really just a big teddy bear :)

On Monday we had to go down the the travel office to resign our visa papers... but apparently this happens to most missionaries. So I am not too worried. Just pray we'll get them on time.

Thursday night President Bennett came to see the Russian Elders and Sisters. When we found out everyone started panicking and all the Elders went and changed into suites. We've all heard scary stories about him. But actually meeting him... gosh I hate preconceived notions about people. He is such a kind man, he just cares a lot about obedience. Which is SO good. Because without obedience there are no miracles, and we really need miracles in Russia :)
Sister Palmer really cracks me up sometimes.... Today as a class we watched two of the elders give a lesson to an investigator. Sister Palmer was trying to tell me something in the middle of them teaching, but I didn't want to interrupt them so I told her to write it down on a note. Here's what it said, "Elder Young is writing his pen and it is squeaking at a horrible pitch and it is giving me a headache! Can you hear it too?" I listened for the squeaking and then started laughing so hard... I have no idea how she even heard it. You'd have to have mice ears to hear it. Sister Palmer is so OCD, I get a really good kick out of it. For any movies we watch on the computer with our class, it has to be full screen and the mouse has to be out of the way (she makes sure it's like that everytime without fail) and any unstraight lines on the whiteboard are often corrected by her :) 
Sister Wilson with her district at the Provo LDS Temple

So all of the apostles are here at the MTC because of all the new mission presidents right? Well something kind of funny that happened this week was while my district and I were outside with our teacher (this is near the front of the MTC). On this day we saw a really nice car pulled up on the side of the sidewalk... meaning an apostle was about to come out (they park their cars close to the doors up on the sidewalk) and we saw MTC employees washing all of the windows of the door the apostle would be coming out of. I got a little laugh out of that. It's just amazing to me, these men get treated like celebrities, like kings! It just got me to thinking how ridiculous it even is that we have celebrities. People who are famous for beauty and riches. It's just flat out dumb. Who would be our "celebrities" if everyone were blind? Who would the beautiful people be then? I think the prophet and his apostles may be a little most favored by the world if everyone were blind. We are so set on the THINGS of the world rather than the GOOD we can do in the world. 
I am grateful for the spiritual thoughts and revelation I receive every day. God loves to show me how weak I am... THAT is definitely not easy. Once I feel like I am FINALLY getting it, I slip up again. Thank goodness for the atonement.

--Sister Wilson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week Four from Brooklyn - at the Provo MTC - June 18, 2014

All is well,

 This week after our TRC lessons, Sister Palmer and I saw a man down the hall talking with our district. My face immediately lit up once I realized who is was. SASHA!!!! He is a Russian convert. I don't know if I've even told anyone about Sasha, but I met him when Sister Twede and I went up to the Russian branch in Salt Lake. He left a huge impression on me. So let me draw a visual image for you about him. Holy cow. That man... is thee most hardcore Russian man I've ever met. He is HUUUUGE, just tall and ripped and looks like he could break someone in half. Basically he looks like he'd play the perfect part in a movie for the leader of the Mafia.
He speaks amazing English with a thick, beautiful Russian accent. And when he talks you are always amazed with what profound things he says.  It is just amazing to me that HE is a convert. It just goes to show that God really does know his children, even the hardest looking, scariest looking Russian man is a child of God. It's just amazing to me.
As a missionary you talk to EVERYONE. Do not assume that someone does not want the gospel just because they look scary. Sasha is living evidence of that! After listening to Sasha speak to us
I just realized how much I love Russians, and I know 
God loves Russians. I'm so excited for Russia
During our lesson with Nastia this week (who is actually our teacher, sis jackson) Sister Palmer had a prompting in the middle of our lesson to stop and pray. We asked Nastia to say it, and while she prayed in her beautiful Russian she began to cry. It's amazing to know we are teaching with the spirit so strongly that even our teachers, as REAL people, are touched. I don't exactly get along with Sister Jackson but as I have taught her as an investigator I have felt my love grow for her more, it's really actually interesting... I don't get along with her as a teacher, but I get along with her as Nastia. There's something wrong there haha:)

Oh! Something cool... There's a teacher here named Brother Parsons. He is a champion, and he served in Yekaterinburg and said that he heard lots about my brother and went into his same areas and found people he taught in the area book.

Also an Elder in our district got a concussion this week... because someone was tickling him and he ended up throwing his head back into a wall while being tickled.

This week for the devotional Elder Ballard spoke to us. After the devotional we gathered together as a district for our own little district devotional. I was very distracted during Elder Ballard's talk and afterward in our meeting. I have realized that my will has not been aligned with God's will. That is not good as a missionary :) As I realized this it troubled my mind greatly. Everyone else in my district had shared their thoughts/testimonies except for me. I said a small prayer asking for God's help, but I felt that the spirit was absent. I looked at 2 lines from my notes and just decided to talk about that because I was not feeling inspired about anything in the least.

As I stood the speak the most marvelous thing happened... my mouth was filled. I was suddenly given thoughts and words and was able to bear one of the strongest and most honest testimonies that I ever have in my life. I spoke about how missionary work is SO important to Christ because not only are these people OUR brothers and sisters, but they are HIS too. He knows us better than we do, he has felt our pains, he remembers each of us from the pre-mortal life. But there is also another brother we have... who also remembers us from the pre-mortal life, and because he knows us so well he is able to use our weaknesses against us. And although I don't understand everything about the atonement... I know that it works. I have seen people's lives changed because of it. Returned missionaries are the #1 example in my opinion. Some of them go out into the field as punks, and they return as some of the most valiant men I've ever seen. They could not do that on their own. The atonement changed them, and I know it can change us. As I spoke I even got a little bit emotional, and that just doesn't happen to me when I'm bearing my testimony! It just felt so good, it felt so real and sincere coming from myself. I didn't say anything I didn't know or anything I didn't mean. It was all honest. It was all truth. Bearing that testimony gave me the witness that God is proud of me, that he wants me to stop worrying so much... and that he will not abandon me. Even when I don't feel worthy of his help.
As I laid in bed that night I just felt God's love for me, I felt peace, I am feeling the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And the fact that I can recognize that is so humbling to me. I love missionary work, I feel like I am in heaven here in the MTC. 

Til next week.
-Sister Wilson

  • It shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak or write:D&C 24:6; ( D&C 84:85; )
  • The Holy Ghost will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance:John 14:26;
  • The voice of the Lord came into my mind:Enos 1:10;
  • Everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good is inspired of God:Moro. 7:13–16;
  • I will tell you in your mind and in your heart:D&C 8:2;
  • My Spirit shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy:D&C 11:13;