Can you believe I've been in the MTC for almost a month? I found a way from one of the elder to "freeze" time while reading your email so Dad since that is easier for you send them my way. :-) Mom, thank you as always for all your letters, your words of encouragement and love. How are things for everyone? Mom how was your lesson in Relief Society?! [I’ve been so busy that] Tuesday is the only day of the week that I have time to think about all of you in more detail. I imagine everyone is going to school/work [as usual]. Mom, you're still busy running errands and taking care of the family? Oh, man do I miss home cooked food. There was finally snow!! How are things with your callings and the new bishopric etc.?
It's kind of funny because “real life” seems to be fading from me. My life [now] is learning the gospel, feel the spirit and share that with others. Yesterday was a holiday right? It doesn't even feel like there are real holidays anymore because the MTC is a whole different world! This past week was a hard one because “Yes, Dad” I do in moments have cabin fever but before I came to the MTC I reminded myself about it and wrote it down that the experience I have here in the MTC will be what I make of it. So I'll share ours (my khuu's [companions] and I have done to make it fun). Good news: I am no longer sick. Last Wednesday I was feeling 100%! Thank you mom for the Teddy bear and please thank Trina for me for the card (I'll also send her a letter later this week) and “Thank you” for the necklace. :-) :-) I love it and wear it everyday! Since I was sick for a few days, I felt like I “hit a wall,” so to speak. It has been about 4 weeks and I had to ask myself, “What have I learned so far in the MTC about the gospel, about Thai and about myself?” I had to re-evaluate and construct some new goals that would really push and stretch me to be my best. I love this gospel so much because when I took those questions to the Lord and asked Him what He wants me to become and how I can be a better missionary for Him; of course, He gave me an answer.
Last week, Elder Don Clark of the 70 came to speak with us and basically outlined 5 things that we, as missionaries should remember:
2. Prayer and fasting
3. The Holy Ghost
4. Work Hard
I have so many favorite thoughts and feelings from that talk and some of the few were from the Holy Ghost and family. Every day, trying to be exactly obedient can be hard, especially, because we need to do it as a companionship. But he shared a story of an Elder who had companions who didn't feel the same way he did about obedience so when the mission president talked with each one of them, he asked this Elder what’s different for him. He said that even if his companions aren't ready to go in the morning or did not up at the right time, he was. I'm not sure how to explain that but basically in his heart He was ready and He knew that the Lord knew that. Then, about family, I loved what he said because I read later from a talk in relief society that just confirmed that. He said that if we [or I] serve in the way that I am suppose to be serving, the Lord would bless us [me] at home, and of course to share with you what I am learning. I hope that I am keeping up my end on that. He said that if your companions or people you know are not getting mail, to have your family write them because your family will always love you and always write you. This week during branch council I learned of an Elder that has not been getting mail and it made me so sad because he was so sad about it. So like I mentioned earlier, the MTC experience will be what we make it. During companionship inventory I asked them if we could write encouragement notes to our Elders to help them feel loved and just to serve one another. It has been so much fun! I am so grateful for my khuus and how we get along so well.
Another thing we did to find joy in each day is going on an “adventure” within the MTC. Some of my companions get more cabin fever than I do, so yesterday we ventured up to the 5th floor of our language building (exciting already.... I know) and we found their study area has a huge window. There we can see campus; Dad I can see your office and the general area of home! We also saw the mountains!! It was very refreshing because I felt like I learned so much in an open lighted area. Our floor is a little dark and has no windows so it kinda does feel like prison. j/k j/k. We don't get out much. Haha... On our way to the temple this morning we always kid around and say, “we're free.” Or if we see volunteers, we check out the girls and their outfits and say “real people clothes!” Hehe. It funny what a mission does to you because during mealtime, my khuus and I sit and check out the other sisters and say “Ooo I like her skirt or her outfit is cute etc.”
As far as the language is concerned, it is going well. Everyday I make little objectives to reach my big goal. Before the mission, when I was in the YSA ward, I used the “spiritual push ups” we had to prepare me so that when I came here to the MTC, I could just hit the ground running. Now I want to do the same thing here in the MTC so when I get to Thailand, I can hit the ground running and be that angel in someone's life. It was very overwhelming--the things we have to learn, especially about this culture, language and script but I am reminded by the spirit, and from teaching and the phii thay's (the older district ... who are leaving next week!) that I can't eat an elephant all at one time; just one bite at a time. So I've been trying to think about the Thai people in everything that I do, the way they sit, they way they eat, how the gospel can help them, how scriptures that I read and apply can bless someone. The time will go by fast ... I just know it! So I ask the Lord every day for the strength and energy to do His work. To refine my weaknesses and if I lean on Him and TRUST Him, I will do just whatever and everything I can to help someone else feel and know what I have.
I don't know how to type my testimony in script (cause it sooo hard and there is NO punctuation; so you'll have to wait for a paper letter version but the Romanized version is essentially the same.
“Sidtee ruu waa phraphuubencaw ben phrapidaabonsawaan. Sidtee ruu waa phrayeesuukrid ben phuuchuayhayrood khoon raw. Sidtee ruu waa phrakamphii mormoon ben khwaamcing. Sidtee ruu waa thaa raw tamtaam phrabanyad raw goo mii phrawinyaan boorisud chuay raw nay chiiwidd yuu. Nay phranam khoong phrayeesuukrid, Amen.”
I didn't realize that would be hard to write in Romanized too :P Mom and Dad, thank you for all you've done for me. The things I learn and feel here would not have happened if it weren’t for your examples and teachings and always loving and having faith in me. You have given me so much and I hope that one day I can give that back. I'm still learning and I make mistakes but I know and feel that you love me. You are the best. Travis, Trina and I are lucky to have such great parents who know the importance of the gospel and testimony.
Love you all!!!!!!!!