Did I mention I get to call home on Wednesday? I'm still not exactly sure if I can call home when I get to the Salt Lake airport or the San Jose one but should I call the home phone? That's what I'm planning on. And I bought a calling card with 500 minutes...only it takes 129 to make the call in the first place. So hopefully you can answer the first time? My flight leaves SLC at 835am so if I call from there it'll be 7 or 730? Not sure. But sometime in the morning so make sure you're awake :) And then I'll be in California at 1036am (Utah time) so I might be calling closer to 11. Dad will you be able to stay home from work that late in case I can't call until I'm in California? Also, I don't know how it'd be possible to talk to Andrea and Jessica too...so if anyone has ideas let me know!
So this week has been pretty crazy with getting ready to leave for the field. And it's gone by even faster than most other weeks. I'm over my cold now...which means I stopped taking my cold medicine at night which means I'm not sleeping as good anymore haha. Our teachers think (at least they say) that our Spanish is more advanced than any other district they've taught. They might tell that to every district though. I feel like I technically understand everything they teach us, I just can't quite apply it to my speaking yet. But when I write and can take my time with everything I do a lot better. Unfortunately I won't be writing lessons to my investigators though huh? In our fireside last Sunday we learned about the importance of saying positive things to people...especially when labeling them. Make sure you only use labels that Christ would. We also learned, from an old Elder Bednar fireside, the importance of our missions. This mission isn't an "experience" that will be over in 18 months...it's training for the rest of my life and it will shape the kind of person I am. I only have 16 months left to shape the kind of person I will be for the rest of my life! Well obviously there will always be growth and progress throughout my life but 16 months just seems so short. I just pray that I'll always have the desire that I have right now from being in the MTC for 2 months and that is to bring others unto Christ.
I also realized this week how AWESOME the plan of salvation is. I've never studied it like I have these past two months. We are so lucky to know where we came from before this earth, why we need to experience earth life and what happens once we leave this earth. Such a blessing. I think I've just always taken it for granted. I don't know how you (my parents) talked me into taking piano lessons but I have been so shocked how many people DON"T know how to play the piano. I've been able to play a lot for workshops etc and I think I've taken that talent/ability for granted a lot of my life too. But it's been fun to be able to help out through playing the piano. My kids better take piano lessons. Our Devotional on Tuesday was with a member of the 70 Elder and Sister Gavarret and they were native Spanish speakers with real thick accents but it gave me hope that if they can learn English then I can learn Spanish. And sister gavarret bore her testimony in Spanish and I understood it! It was so cool!! But then she switched to portuguese half way through and I could only pick up a few words and didn't realize she had switched languages until someone told me. Listening to them speak gave me this huge love for latinos and I'm so excited to be working with them next week! I want to share my testimony in Spanish so you can see where I am at the end of my MTC experience...then after my mission we can compare and see how much I thought I knew leaving the MTC...but really didn't: (I bore my testimony in Spanish to our district on Wednesday but it's going to be hard to type because I don't know where the accents are. And I'm sure there are tons of errors!)
Yo tengo gracias a mi Padre Celestial por la oportunidad yo tengo estar aqui en la CCM y preparar servir El y a mis hermanos y hermanans en San Jose. Yo se que sin ninguna duda en mi corazon que Jesucristo vive y cada dia yo siento el amor de Dios y Jesucristo por mi. Yo se que Jesucristo es mi salvador y a traves su Expiaction puedo regresar y vivir con mi Padre Celestial otra vez. Estoy muy agradecido por el Evangelio en mi vida especialmente que mi padres han ensenado estas cosas a mi. Yo se que si obedece los mandamientos, tenga paz y gozo en mi vida. Mas importante yo se que Jose SMith fur un profeta de Dios y hoy tenemos profetas qui gian la Iglesia a traves revelacion de Dios. Tambien, yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero y contiene la plenitud del Evangelio. El Libro de Mormon es un otro testimonio de Jesucristo. Yo ouedo testificar que estas cosas son verdaderas porque el Espiritu Santo ha confirmado. Y yo se que todas personas pueden saber estas cosas son verdaderas timbien a traves el Libro de Mormon y oracion a Dios. Yo digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.
So did anyone know what I said? :) Does Liana have her mission call yet? I swear within the last week every single building is now under construction to prepare for all the new missionaries coming in next year. I'm actually really happy that I'll be gone by then...it's going to be hectic. Our classroom is getting changed into sisters residence so we moved on Thursday to a new buildling...that is super old. Probably similiar to what Dad had while he was here. Tiny desks etc. I guess we were pretty spoiled our first 8 weeks here with padded rolling chairs and big desks and computer labs. But we'll only have 3 more classes in that room. I finished the book of mormon on wednesday...so I read it 1.5 times since I've been here. I was in helamen when I first got to the MTC so I re-started it about a month ago. I can't remember. But that book is SO awesome. And SO true. How could a book that testifies of jesus christ and the bible on just about every page NOT be the word of god? No se.
Yestereday we had in-field orientation all day and it was really helpful. It made me realize that I really am leaving and I really will be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people everyday all day. But it sounds SO fun! And hard. But mostly fun. I realized everything I've been taught here is contrary to what I've been training for the past four years of my life: "Success is given from constant dilligence, not sudden bursts of energy" What?? I'm a sprinter not an endurance runner! But oh well...I just keep relating it to training for those races. That definitely required constant dilligence. I'll try to comment on everyone's letters now:
Dad- I got a foot picture for you but not by an MTC sign. I don't know where you've been seeing pictures of it...but no one here seems to think it exists. So hopefully you're okay with the one I got. It's on the statue where the missionaries are biking across the world. Not sure if i'll be able to send it today or not. But I will be sending my card home one day. They've taught us a lot about effective ways of finding people whom the lord has prepared to hear the gospel and tracting was not one of them. They did mention the internet as a way...not facebook but some missions do set one up. Mainly using mormon.org to help them answer faq. But that story really is cool. I think you're right...that the elders were led by the spirit through technology. I don't think God allowed the internet to be invented for people to do their christmas shopping. He also has better ideas in store. Sounds like the kitchen is definitely coming along. You'll have to send pictures soon. I think my texas airline ticket was about 300 and then I used my voucher. So 387 might not be too bad. How early did you have to get in line for black friday? I did that once...last year....never again. I don't miss christmas shopping this year. Just the Christmas music. And dad I'm gonna tell you what we tell all of our investigator's when talking about the word of wisdom..you only get ONE body for your entire life on earth so you better take care of it. Did you get your foot in a boot yet? It doesn't sound like you'll be doing soccer next year. Oh and horror stories about the overcharges at the airport for making calls..they charge 20$ a minute if you use your debit card. So I'll just use my calling card. And I can call home for christmas too.
Mom- thanks for checking my bank account. Did the christmas tree get decorated? I want to see lots of christmas pictures! Will christmas be at your house? And I don't know what the best form of mail will be while i'm in california. Maybe snail mail or email..i guess dearelder still works but you have to pay for it right? Thanks for sending my package! I'm excited to get it. And I have some clothes that I won't be taking to california with me. Actually maybe just one skirt. I might put it in the donation box I don't think it's worth sending home. It's the pink skirt that I already had and it's pretty old so I don't think I'll miss it. So you've mentioned a lot about member missionary work and we talked about that A TON in our workshop yesterday. I don't have time to write everything but here is what needs to happen for anyone to be converted and you can help in any and all of them:
Be invited to investigatte, be taught the missionary lessons, read from the book of mormon, pray, attend sacrament and other meetings, live the commandments including the word of wisdom, law of chastity, law of tithing, fast and hold fhe etc. There are more but those are a few examples. I wish I could role play with you. We role play ALL The time and it's super helpful. Role play with dad haha it'll be a fun fhe activity. Plus your example of how you live and how you've raised your family is missionary work in and of itself.
Andrea and Jessica- I don't have time to email you back so i'm gonna write both of you real letters before i leave the MTC. I got the package you two sent and I'm so excited to open it!! But i'll wait until christmas even if it kills me. And andrea yes you can give him my address but you should probably wait until I have my california address. Thanks for asking! Jessica I LOVED The pictures of ethan and alex. Super cute.
Okay I have to go but I'll talk to you soon!
Love, Hermana Billings.