I'm alive! I feel like I haven't been gone for that long, but I have learned so much already. I love that the Spirit is here all the time. The spirit of peace has helped me keep my head above water and stay calm. I haven't felt homesick or overwhelmed yet (though it has only been two days) and I think that is because of the Holy Ghost.
My companion is Sister Husted (Pronounced Houston with a d instead of a n). I've only known her for a few days but it definitely is an inspired companionship. We work well together and have a lot to learn from each other (though mostly I learn from her!). She is 22 and just graduated from BYU in Recreational Therapy. She loves horses and played volleyball for Snow College before she transferred up to Provo. We have a good time together. The other sisters in our district are both 19--one just graduated from high school in June. Several of the elders just graduated in June too! In our opening meeting with all the new missionaries, he had all the missionaries who just graduated stand up, and there are a lot of them! There is a good mix of ages and we all bring different things to the table. The elders in our district are going to Pocatello, Idaho (they are going to have the best mashed potatoes!). What mission does Bedstamor live in? Where is Pocatello in relation to Burley and Boise? Our teachers are really fun and teach us a lot. Our elders are young, make us laugh a lot, and are really sweet boys. Our zone leaders asked us all to have viles of oil on us if we ever need a blessing and our elders bought one for each of the sisters. It was really thoughtful! There are 3 districts in our zone--one district has been here for a week already and the other district came in with us . Half of the sisters in the other district are also going to Knoxville including Stevie's friend Sister Hamilton! It's fun to make connections :)
Thank you Nana, Grandpa, and Marianne for the letter! I just picked it up a few minutes ago and can't wait to read it. Also, my branch president, President and Sister Boone say are from Mapleton and know you!
Mom, thank you for the gold fish and candy corn! My bag of gold fish is almost out so it came just in time :)
There are so many food options--I think even Jonny could find food he likes here ;) We figured out why everyone gains weight in the MTC-- there are so many desserts and we sit a whole lot. My comp and I have been good and not had ice cream with every meal ;)
There really is such a special spirit here. I love that we pray all the time and that the Spirit is there to answer our prayers. We're getting ready to teach an "investigator" today and it's incredible how much love we feel for him already as we've prayed for him and studied for him. I love studying my scriptures with a purpose in mind. We're not just reading, but we are we're searching for what our investigator needs to hear. It's fun to have so much time set aside for studying. It's kind of crazy to have our days so packed from , but I feel like we are accomplishing so much and getting ready for teaching real people. It's exciting!
Yesterday after dinner while my companion and I were looking for a bathroom, we walked passed Sister Nalley's office, the Mission President's wife, and she invited us in. When she found out it was our second day, she quickly gave us both big hugs and an even warmer smile. She had a beautiful picture of Christ on the Sea of Galilee hanging on her wall (I think it's the same one by the entry way at Nana and Grandpa's house). I try not to talk about Jerusalem all the time, but the experience changed my heart and perspective so anything related to Israel is extra special to me. The majority of the picture was the dark and stormy sea of Galilee with the apostles in the background in their storm tossed ship. But in the center of the painting is Christ walking on the water with a light around Him. If we stay close to Christ, he can help us "walk on water" on our missions. Moving across the country, living with people I don't know, teaching the gospel all day is not in my comfort zone, but I know like Alma that I can do all things through the strength of Christ. If we stay close to Him, He will calm our seas and bring peace to our lives.
I'm so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I can be here at the MTC!
I love you all!