Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Week Five in the MTC

It has been an eventful week in the MTC! Let's see how much of this I can remember! Last week we had the ASL missionaries (there are only 8 of them) come and share their testimonies with us. Actually, they did something that they call "blue boxing" which is what they do for deaf people who don't understand ASL. Pretty much it is them acting out a story or a personal experience that they had, but they act it out all by themselves. It was incredible! Most of the stories were stories from the Bible or Book of Mormon and most of them I was able to tell what they were. One sister acted out Joseph Smith's first vision and I didn't realize what it was until after she was done and told us, but the Spirit was powerful during her blue boxing, even if I didn't understand what she was portraying.

This week was the week that they held the new mission president seminar at the MTC! All the new mission presidents for all the missions across the world gathered together and for 5 days were taught by the apostles and prophet. They held the seminar in the main building where our cafeteria is, but had every thing blocked off so that us missionaries couldn't just wander around and find an apostle to bug. It was neat though because if we left the cafeteria at the same time they were having a break from the seminar, you could see them all gathered around in the halls talking, including apostles! For example, we left lunch once and Sorella Tutt casually said "Hey, there's Elder Oaks" and he was just standing on the other side of the rope talking to some people. The MTC held a special devotional for us on Friday night with Elder Oaks speaking. My companion Sorella Ryan is in the exclusive MTC choir (only 36 people) and because the choir sang for the special devotional, we were able to get there before anyone else and sit right up front! Sorella Tutt and I sat on the third row on the side, about 15 feet away from where 8 apostles sat on the stand! It was awesome!

We also were able to meet our mission president, because he is one of the new presidents here at the seminar! His name is President Kelly and after the devotional on Friday, all the Rome missionaries (12 of us) met in a room and spoke with him and his wife for about an hour. I am not quite sure what I expected, maybe someone who was stern and more distant, but President Kelly and his wife were both incredibly kind and warm! He served his mission in Milan, Italy and we know he co-founded JetBlue although he didn't talk at all about that. We talked a little about the temple because even though they haven't started building it, he saw the plans. He said it was about the size of the Draper temple, and I heard rumors from other missionaries that it looks a little bit like the DC temple and should be started this fall. It’s on about 15 acres of land and they are building a visitor's center and a nice park/temple square type area. His wife doesn't speak Italian yet so she is in the same boat as us missionaries. They both seem very easy going and kind, I am so excited!

My birthday was great too. I was spotlighted in my district and got to show pictures of all my family and talk about my "previous life" (gasp!). My wonderful roommates bought me Jesus the Christ in Italian with the expectation that I would read it in Italy (ha! That will be tough but I am determined to do it!). I also tripped over someone while playing foursquare in gym on my birthday and slightly rolled my ankle, which of course brought a lot of pain because it is still in recovery.

I have such exciting news! We have an Italian named Matteo who is here in Utah for school and is not a member of the church and he is coming to the TRC! We just found out yesterday and he is going to be a real investigator for our district only! The three companionships in our district will take turns teaching him. He apparently talked with the missionaries in Italy and is really interested! It is difficult to describe the feelings I have about this, I am so stoked and feel love and concern for him already and yet also I feel the weight of the responsibility starting to rest on me. Me and my companions are teaching him next week, just as he is, no role-playing like everyone else who comes to the TRC. This truly is an incredible opportunity and we already pray for him every day so we can understand what he needs and how to help him. I'll let you know how next week goes!

I've learned and felt some wonderful things this week. I've been reminded how central the Atonement is to everything we teach. It is all about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and God's plan for us, and how we use the Atonement more fully. That is so central to our purpose here as missionaries! Also, I know that the Spirit of God is giving me the power and authority to teach. I am able to teach in a way that I would never be able to before when I am in tune with this Spirit. I know it because I have seen it. I have seen the tremendous difference between when I am focused on listening to the Spirit and praying and when I forget to. It gives me a confidence and power that is not possible when it’s me alone.

Love you all!!

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