Week 4! Time is going faster and faster! Some of the Sisters in my district now call me Sister Shippie because a couple of our teachers have. I think I keep forgetting to tell y'all that 700 missionaries entered the MTC with me on July 31. Also, no one from my district is from Utah. Neat :)
Wednesday we did some amazing stretches for our work out. It included putting our feet up against the wall, standing on our head, and running up and down stairs as well. Since we finished our cleaning assignment early, it put us ahead of schedule and I got a little power nap in! The first and probably very few of the mission I'm sure, but it was so nice! We taught Vander again that night. We taught about baptism and faith. He asked "Quando posso ser batizado?" which means when can I be baptized? BEST QUESTION EVER. We were so excited! I got a package from home that had 3 loaves of coconut bread and a big bag of Reese's! My mom is the best. Thanks so much! Still working on eating them. Roommates are in love with you and one asked for the recipe.
Thursday we had TRC again and taught the same man who is in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! We saw him during Music and the Spoken Word last Sunday and this Sunday. After the lesson, I felt a little discouraged with the language. During class we learned about setting goals and asking God for help. He told us to make a list of what we wanted to do this week. Make a plan of what you will do to accomplish those things. Then take that to the Lord and say "Okay, I want to accomplish this this week... I will do this... Will you please do _______________?" It's including God in your goals and asking Him for specific things to help. I love it. I used it during personal study and it turned the whole day around!
Friday we taught our 3rd lesson to Landon. We gave him the talk "Where is the Pavilion" that I talked about in my last email. The lesson went really well and he actually was excited for us to come back and teach him again. I found another conference talk about repentance and obtaining forgiveness from the Lord. I know that it is never too late to repent and remove any guilt you may have in your life. Pray to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Because Jesus Christ suffered for your sins, you do not have to pay the price for them if you will repent. I testify that it is possible and it is worth it.
Saturdays here don't feel like the weekend. I learned some preterite tenses today. We planned 2 lessons today in one of our study times. I love planning lessons. I love learning about the people we are teaching and figuring out how to best help them with the questions they have or the trials that are going on in their lives. I learned today how far a simple testimony or statement of love can do for someone. I was sitting in a lesson pretending to be an investigator. Out of the whole lesson (which was a lot of great information and doctrine), the moment I felt the best was when the Elder stopped and said "I want to help you" and shared a few things that he knew. I felt so loved and hopeful and warm. Don't underestimate your testimony!
Sundays are so great! A member of the new General Young Woman's Presidency (Carol F. McConkie) came to talk to us for Relief Society and the Sunday Devotional with a Brother Stephen B. Allen was really amazing as well. So uplifting. Brother Allen really impressed upon us to live our missions in such a way that Heavenly Father will say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" at the end when we pray and ask how we did. I am really going to do that! I have 2 more weeks here, but I'm really getting excited to leave and work, work, work!
Monday. An Irmao Belchor taught our class who happens to know Elder Josh Menden! Surprise! He had some crazy stories. We talked a lot about the Holy Ghost in both classes and how to follow the Spirit. If you are trying to live in a way that you are doing good continually, don't worry about whether those thoughts are from yourself or the Spirit. Any good thought that invites you to do good and brings you closer to God is from God so ACT. Don't hesitate! We were supposed to teach Landon that night. Basically, the other sisters went over their time and the teacher was ready to leave because it was already 9 pm, but Sister Marchant told him to get back in the classroom and please let us teach him. We taught for 5 minutes, half outside the door and half standing inside the door. He read the talk we gave and thanks us immensely for it. We gave a brief lesson and gave him the other talk about repentance to read before our next lesson. After saying bye to Landon, Irmao Taylor asked how we had selected those talks. I explained that I'd been thinking a lot about Landon's needs and the Eyring talk just came to my mind. He said that he would send them to the real Landon. It impresses me how much Irmao Taylor trusts the sisters. He picked people that mean a lot to him to act as for our investigators and is actually using things from our lessons to help the real people. I cannot express how much joy I had knowing that I am part of something here. Just like Irmao Taylor trusts us with his loved ones, Heavenly Father trusts me as a missionary with His children. I cannot wait to go out and teach people.
I had an interesting experience sitting outside writing in my journal while waiting for laundry (by the way, it was the best laundry day ever... empty machines instead of fighting for one... what a small but significant blessing). An Elder came up to me and had his scriptures. I thought he was just fulfilling an assignment from his teacher to share a scripture with so many people everyday (gotta love the MTC), but I got suspicious when he was only talking to me and not my companion. He stuttered as he shook my hand, asked my name, introduced himself, and asked to share a scripture. He pulled out Mosiah 18:8-10 which talks about the promises we make at baptism, including to be willing to bear others' burdens. He then said that he felt that I was really good at this and in fact doing it right now. He testified how powerful that was and that he could feel it as he walked by me and just felt compelled to share that scripture with me. He said he hoped that it helped me in some way. He thanked me for listening, thanked me for allowing him to have this experience, and with tears in his eyes, he shook my hand and walked away. How could this Elder have known the thoughts and feelings of my heart last night and this morning? It was the Lord. I testify that God knows you. I testify that He is directing your life even if you cannot see it right now. I testify that He will guide your life more as you look to Him and ask for His help. I know He loves you and wants to help you. He wants nothing more than for you to return to His presence after this life and you can. I promise there is no greater joy than the joy that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ and following the example of Jesus Christ. I love y'all! Thanks again for the letters. Have an amazing week!
P. S. I have not heard anything about my visa. I will either get a reassignment to somewhere in the states or my visa next Thursday or Friday, a few days before my estimated departure date of Sept 9.