Thursday, June 13, 2013

MTC Week 1



So I can't remember exactly what I wrote you in my letter earlier this week so I will just tell you everything that has happened over the past 8 days! On our first day we started off in class and had a whole lesson about the rules and obedience. Later we went to this thing called "teaching experience" where we went to 3 different rooms and started teaching an investigator. There were tons of people in the class so we were supposed to all act like we were one big companionship and stand up if we had something to say or a way to answer their questions. I learned a ton because it taught me how important it was to sincerely get to know the person and their religious background so you can figure out what they need to hear.

Also I hope you won't take this the wrong way but I am surprisingly not at all homesick and I don't miss everyday things as much as a thought I would! I am so glad that I am not distracted at all about home things so I can focus on my missionary work! 

Remember that one day you dropped me off?
On Thursday we studied ALL DAY. Really though, we had personal study, companionship study, additional study, more additional study, and more additional study. It was just a weird day because we only had one 3 hour class when we usually have two of those a day taught by two different teachers. Anyways, we used that time to memorize Our Purpose, memorize some scriptures, and prepare to teach our first investigator.  We had a meeting with our Branch Presidency where we met them and got to know the missionaries in our zone/branch a little more. 

Friday we had class where we learned about the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end), practiced committing people to be baptized, and learned how to handle when investigators turn us down. Haha we got down to business. We taught our "investigator" Lisa today and it went pretty well. She was just stoked to hear about Heavenly Father and prayer. We had our first gym day! A few sisters from our zone went running for gym which was torture but it was still exciting to get out and get to wear some comfy clothes!

  I thought my name tag would go really well with my pajamas

Our first gym day! Can you tell how excited we are?
In class on Saturday we learned about the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I know, so exciting! Haha we actually learned how to teach those lessons and invite people to live those principles. We also took a break during class and tried relating random things like rocks, fire hydrants, and trash cans to principles of the gospel like the apostasy. Haha that was really funny. Thats the things we do here for fun!  It was cool though because during comp study, we ended up staying together as a district and teaching ourselves the Word of Wisdom lesson. It was awesome because we all shared things that stood out to us in the lesson, found some really powerful Word of Wisdom scriptures, and really learned from each other. We taught Lisa again and it didn't go very well. We ended up just preaching to her about Christ, Prophets, and the Apostasy. Really we probably didn't need to include half of the things we said because I don't even know if she understood them. The lesson ended up good though after she read an awesome scripture about Christ. The spirit was so strong and out of nowhere Sister Snow invited her to be baptized.. and she said yes! Hahah so it was a confusing lesson but it ended up great. We learned from that lesson that we had planned too much and we were just teaching her things we were supposed to teach instead of listening to the spirit for what things she needs to be taught.

Sunday we got to sleep in till 6:30!!! Seriously though.. that was a dream come true. Usually we have to be ready to go meet at breakfast by 6:45 am. All the sisters at the MTC met together to watch the Music & the Spoken Word broadcast which was cool and then we had Relief Society. Relief Society was seriously amazing! The lesson, the hymns, and the musical number was just perfect! Our lesson was about the 3 things we need to learn as a missionary: our purpose, how to be bold, and to expect miracles. After Relief Society we had a new sisters meeting where they talked about the dress standards and obedience. It was a surprisingly interesting meeting because they brought up things I wouldn't have thought about and they gave us great advice. Our branch meets together on Sunday for Sacrament Meeting. We all had to write a 3-5 minute talk on the Atonement and then the Branch President would announce after the sacrament was passed which missionaries would be giving their talk. I didn't have to talk but I am glad I was able to study and prepare that talk anyways because it was a great experience. We also went with our zone to take a Sunday walk to the Temple and take pictures there! We had a devotional at night where the MTC Administrative Director spoke. He talked about how lots of time the investigator and the missionaries are on totally different planes and how we need to find out about them and what they are expecting so you can teach them what they need to know. After that we watched "films" where Sister Snow and I watched an old MTC address by Elder Bednar about following the spirit. Sheesh that was one amazing talk let me tell you. It was just such a wonderful day! 

My District at the Provo Temple

Monday we learned about stress management, The Plan of Salvation, and "how to begin teaching" from PMG (Preach My Gospel). It was really funny though because as part of our stress management class we ran around doing some hardcore parkour off all the benches outside.

Hardcore parkour!
We taught Lisa again and it went way better! We ended up completely following the spirit and teaching her about the Restoration, how The Book of Mormon will help her learn about Christ, and committed her to start reading The Book of Mormon. It seriously was a pretty awesome lesson! We also randomly started teaching another "investigator' Jamie. It was kind of difficult with her because she is Catholic and says she isn't interested at all in joining the church. The lesson was kind of iffy because Sister Snow and I unknowingly tried to go two different ways with the lesson but I guess it was okay. We also taught this "investigator" Michelle and she was difficult too because she didn't believe it is possible to have a relationship with God, she doesn't believe in scriptures, she doesn't believe in Christ, and she wouldn't open up and answer questions we asked her. It was okay though.

Tuesday we learned how to teach about The Book of Mormon. We taught Jamie again and the lesson went a lot better but we ran out of time to finish our lesson about prayer. Sad. Gym time was so much fun though! Our zone usually gets together to play some hardcore foursquare and it it hilarious! So we did that, played a few games of speed, and played volleyball district vs district. It was seriously so fun! We had another devotional tonight and it was so awesome! There are too many missionaries here so we are now having our devotionals in the Marriott Center at BYU. This was the first devotional at the Marriott Center and it was just an amazing experience! Somehow our sisters got to sit on the floor on the second row so we had total VIP treatment. It was just incredible to have that many missionaries all in one room!

[Deseret News wrote a story about this:]
MTC overflows with LDS missionaries, moves devotionals to Marriott Center

Hike to the devotional at the Marriott Center
1st MTC devotional at the Marriott Center
Yesterday we learned how we can receive revelation through church attendance and how to teach people not lessons. We taught our first investigator Lisa again and explained the importance of the Book of Mormon. It went pretty well! We also taught our lady Michelle and although we didn't feel like we taught her much, she was way more open and it was a positive experience for her. Seriously the lessons have been stressing me out but none of them have ended up a complete disaster so far!

Today we were able to go do a session at the Provo temple at 6:30 am. It was so early but it was awesome! So today we have just been chilling, cleaning, and doing laundry! It is so relaxing!

We have 5 girls in my room (Me, Sister Cusick, Sister Hegstrom, Sister Anderson and Sister Snow). Three sisters are in a trio companionship and then there's just me and Sis. Snow.

My Sister roomies!

Sister Snow is my favorite! She reminds me a lot of Caitie Crandall. She is so hilarious and we get along really well. I actually love spending time with her!

Me and my lovely companion Sister Snow
We all are best friends already and they are the coolest! Seriously we have so much fun! They are amazing and strong girls! I love them I love them I love them. So we have us 5 sisters and 4 elders in our district. I seriously love my district and over the past week we have become so close. 

[This is what Sis. Snow says about Sis. Mason in her blog:
"Now for my companion Sister Mason! She is great. We became friends instantly and she gets my sense of humor and has quiet a funny subtle one (she'll give really good one-liners out of nowhere). She from Mesa Arizona and have her devils shirt which we took a picture of her wearing with her name tag. She started singing to me yesterday in the tune of the song "Hey Soul Sister" except she said "Hey Snow Sister" Ha it was pretty great, I still do my little singing songs and they rubbed off on her. This is my first companionship but I'd say it's really strong. Even though, or perhaps DESPITE, having to be next to each other ALL the time we talk to each other a lot even when in big groups or at lunch."]

The Sisters in our district decided to have polka dot day and the Elders randomly decided to have red tie day
The other district has 6 sisters and 4 elders. Our district, the other district, and 7ish Spanish missionaries are all flying together to the California Ventura mission on Monday! It looks like there are going to be about 26ish of us showing up together at the same time! 
Today we finally had our first p-day. I can't even tell you how jealous we were all week of people who got to wear p-day clothes and wash their laundry. Our day finally came!
Our "Abbey Road" laundry day
Basically the MTC has been hard and stressful at times but it has been amazing!
Sister Mason

[Here is what Sis. Snow said in her blog about teaching with Sis. Mason:
 "On Sunday we were both having a hard time trying to balance all the teaching semantics and the order and points of the material like they stressed in class versus going by the spirit. We had taught a lesson the day before that was very strange. We said what we were "supposed to" but there was no conviction behind it. We had rewritten our lesson a few times that day to incorporate what we had learned in class. But what we said only left the investigator confused. It wended well however when Sister Mason had Lisa read Isaiah 53:3-5 where it talks about Christ being bruised for our transgressions and by his stripes we are healed. The spirit was very strong at that point, for which we were grateful but knew we weren’t responsible. So Sunday we went into our meetings trying to learn how to better teach by the spirit.

"We had some great lessons on Sunday and a devotional and they all seemed to say teach by the spirit. They emphasized talking and ASKING the investigator soul searching questions not throwing doctrine at them. Sister Mason was frustrated and confused because she felt conflicted with the two charges (I was a little as well). We went back to our classroom to get our stuff and ended up staying an hour and a half talking it out. She explained her feelings and I suggested we pray. So we knelt down and I asked Heavenly Father to please help us. I told him we were confused and wanted direction "how God, do we teach?” We would study with faith that he will answer our pray. It was very empowering praying as a companionship. My eyes glossed over with baby tears (I say that because I have yet to cry) and we said amen, got up and started studying our scriptures. It's nice to have someone to support you and help you out. We are that for each other. And through that companionship we encourage each other to constantly rely on God."]

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