Friday, January 31, 2014

She made it to California!

Lauren arrived in Rancho Cucamonga, CA on Tuesday.  We look forward to hearing where her first area will be!  We received this photo from President and Sister Hobbs (the mission president and his wife).

What a wonderful group of missionaries!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Dear friends and family,
Well, I have made it through the first week.
The first day we went right to work.  There was no time to unpack at all.  We went straight to class and from then on I have never stopped learning.  I am teaching discussions in my sleep.  We only have 13 days here so they are really serious about this learning fast thing.  Each day we wake up at 6:30 and have to be gone by 7:00; we then have class instruction for 3-4 hours at a time.  We have like a 45 minute break in between for lunch and dinner.  Sometimes we even have devotionals (so we are still learning).  During classroom study we sometimes have time for personal study.  For the first few days of this I'm pretty sure all the Elders in my District fell asleep. :)  We get back to the Residence Hall by 9:30 and then by 10:30 we have to have the lights out.  It's quite the day.  We do have gym time every other day or so.  I ran 2 miles a few days ago and it was 20 laps around the track!!  That is way to many turns.  Not fun.
My companion's name is Sister K and she is Tongan.  She's very interesting and I'm learning how to be patient.  That is all.
But I have been learning so much stuff.  I've been memorizing scriptures like no other.  We have been teaching our teachers who are pretending to be investigators during class as well as each other.  We have taught Joseph (Brother C) 3 times and we have committed him to baptism.  We taught the first lesson after having taught him more about Christ because he did not have any religious background (he just moved from Kenya to Minnesota).  Brother C actually taught Joseph on his mission so he was pretending to be him.  We also have a TRC investigator and her name is Patty.  Her son just died and she is feeling depressed and full of grief.  We have only taught her once but we were there for an hour.  We taught her about Christ and His Atonement.  We taught about the enabling power of the Atonement (Alma 7:11-13) and the Spirit was so strong.  We are teaching her again tomorrow.  I can't wait.
On Sunday we had a devotional with Sherri Dew and then I had the opportunity to listen to a recorded talk from David A. Bednar.  This talk was to missionaries a year or so ago but it is not allowed to leave the MTC so it's not published.  But it was the best talk I've ever heard.  It was titled, "Character of Christ".  Bednar said, "I heard Neil A. Maxwell say, 'There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ' so I decided to learn what that meant".  He then said, "He [Christ] turns out in compassion and love to others when we, the natural man, turn inward.  He likened the natural man to Cookie Monster.  In Cookie Monster's voice, Elder Bednar said, "I want cookie NOW". 
When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, after fasting 40 days, He sends angels to John not to himself.  That is the character of Christ.  After suffering in the Garden and being betrayed by Judas, Jesus heals the guard's ear.  Bednar asked, "If we had just come from that would you have cared about that guard's ear?...Christ turns out when we would turn in".  That is the character of Christ.  Christ was doing missionary work and forgiving others while He was suffering on the cross.  That is the character of Christ.
Elder Bednar also explained the difference between conversion and having a testimony.  He said, "A testimony will never be enough."  Elder Bednar's mission President asked him what his reaction would be if a member of the 12 fell away from the church.  His mission President then answered by saying, "It wouldn't bother me in the least.  I am converted to God.  Not to the church". 
He also said,
"If you think you can't do something then you're probably right.  But in the strength of the Lord you can do it". 
"If you lose yourself in the service of others, you will find yourself because you won't be looking". 
"According to your desire and diligence you will increase in your understanding of the character of Christ and according to that you will increase in every spiritual blessing you need and never fall away"
He shared so many other amazing stories but that's all we have time for today.

I also got a haircut today and I chopped off 11 inches.  Haircuts are free at the MTC so I figured why not. 
We also went to the Provo Temple this morning.  We got to watch the second new film and it was awesome!  If you haven't seen it then you should go!

We leave next Tuesday (P-day in the MTC) so I will probably not write, but the following Monday (P-day in the field) I will write from California!
Hope to hear from you soon! Love,
Sister Moon
P.S. Just kidding about the 9 inches.  I was only 2 inches :)