What a week! To start off.. I'm actually staying another week. Apparently my mission president isn't ready for me to come. (lots of meetings or something). So I'm getting held at the MTC for one more week after this. I'm still not quite sure what they're going to do with me because my entire district will be leaving Tuesday or Wednesday. So... I have yet to know what's happening. My MTC address will probably change though.... so don't mail me after Tuesday if I don't let you know any info. I'm not sure what's happening. But I'll be leaving early on the morning of September 29th. I think my flight leaves at 7:30ish for Atlanta, then I have a 3 hour layover there before finishing up in Montreal :) I'm so excited. I feel like we've learned SO much this last week. Holy cow we've learned tons. But at the same time I feel like there's so much I still need to learn. We're working to teach by the spirit though and to allow it guide us more. We have taught investigators and been taught by teachers amazing lessons this week.
So we teach two "investigators"--Todd and Alexandra. Both are going really well actually. Last night we finished teaching Todd about the Restoration. He said it just makes sense and that he doesn't understand why everyone else in the world doesn't believe this. It's just so clear. It is clear... because it's true :) It was the most wonderful feeling and I really felt the spirit as we talked about Joseph Smith and the First Vision. He understands the importance of the Book of Mormon and reading it to gain a testimony of God and of the Church. He is reading :) We also invited him again to be baptized and he said yes! We just have a lot more to teach him. Alexandra is also progressing. She's grown up Catholic, and wants to really know for herself because of what the scriptures say about false prophets. But she also said the message of the Restoration makes sense. She said she's been brought closer to God and felt him more in her life since meeting with us. She also commited to be baptized as she felt it was the right thing that God wanted her to do. It's amazing! I know these aren't necessarily "real" investigators. But they are real people. Both our teachers play the role of someone they love and taught as missionaries. The spirit is real as we teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Teaching these things has already strengthened my testimony so so so much. Wow my testimony has grown.
We also do Zone teaching quite a few times a week. We had an amazing experience our first time doing this (Saturday night I think). Sister Wisanbannawit and I were assigned as companions, assigned to teach Sister Teekiu (my wondeful Tongan sister who was converted last year). She played the role of Sio. A Tongan woman whose son had died a few years ago. We all felt the spirit SO STRONG as we testified of God's love for us, Christ's atonement, and the ability to live with our families again. Sio was so hopeful. She was so touched by our message. As we spoke with her, I felt as if we really were sitting in the humble home of that beautiful Tongan woman. We really were telling her what she needed. Sister Teekiu said she felt such a strong spirit as we taught. She felt like she was Sio. She felt that she was sitting there, a sad mother whose son had died. She had wanted to cry as we taught her the truth of the Gospel. It was an amazing experience!
I love this place so much. I love these sisters with ALL my heart. I am going to miss them so much. I can't begin to describe it. I feel like I know them so well after a week. They are my family here. We have the most amazing gospel discussions. I've never had such amazing gospel discussions with a bunch of 19 and 20 year old girls. But we talk about the most amazing things. We laugh SO HARD together. And we cry together too. I love them. I'm already planning my trip to Tonga and Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, and Figi to visit them all ;) They really are amazing.
Wednesday our wonderful Tongan sisters got assigned to another district (so they can start learning Korean for their mission to Korea). I was so sad to see them leave. Every time I see them I give them the biggest hug. They are so kind and loving. Oh my goodness. Sister Teekiu and Sister Faanunu. I wish I had more time to talk about them. They have the strongest testimonies. Sister Teekiu has been a member for about 19 months. But she knows SO MUCH. She has so many scriptures memorized, and has studied so many deep gospel topics. She is amazing. Sister Faanunu. I love her so much too :) Both get so into what they are discussing. They can be very calm and quiet, and let the spirit in so well. And then they can be so loud and lively. I love how hard they laugh sometimes ;) So yes, we miss them terribly. It doesn't sound all bad to stay in this place for the full 18 months of my mission if I could just stay with these wonderful sisters. I will miss them terribly.
But I'm so excited to get into the mission field. I can't wait to really bring others unto Christ :)
Oh, and we have two new sisters in our room. From Samoa and Tahiti.... so I've been able to practice a bit more French! So that's wonderful :) I'm still waiting for a French tutor, but I'm trying to study a bit on my own:). It's hard though with no free time.
Also, one more thing. Last night we talked about the importance of the Sabbath. Have you ever sat and really thought about the importance of the Sabbath, of going to church, and especially the Sacrament? I was just pondering the sacredness of this ordinance. We partake of the sacrament every week, so I think it's easy to forget how important it really is. So I want everyone to read the Sacrament prayers. Ponder all we promise to do and what we are promised in return. Also read D&C 59:9-10. And any other Sacrament or Sabbath-related scriptures. This is our time to partake of the blessings of the Atonement. Our time to be cleansed from sins. To begin a new week with our baptism renewed, to repent of our mistakes from the week and to commit again to do our best. But it's also the time for us to partake of the other blessings of the Atonement. Strength, comfort, healing, stability, peace. Everything. Grace is able to heal us and strengthen us where we fall short, as we take the sacrament. It really is an amazingly sacred time. We are so blessed to be able to go to church EVERY Sunday and partake of the Sacrament. So I just wanted everyone to make an extra effort this Sunday to focus on that spirit. Pay attention to the strength you receive from going to Sacrament meeting. I know Sacrament meeting was SO welcome for me after such a crazy first few days here. We are always learning about the gospel. But there is something different about sacrament meeting. I hope you all can feel that too :)
I love you all! I'm running out of time now. Everyone do your best this week and be your best and pray for strength. I know the Lord will give it to you.
I love you all so so sos os oso so so so much!
Sister Heather Shelley