My Dearest Readers,
Wow. What a week. I've learned so much that it's hard to choose what to include in this email.
First of all, Happy Fourth of July!! We were fortunate enough to celebrate it with a special
devotional on Saturday night.
Sis. Foote was asked to carry the Latvian flag since she is going to the Baltics.
I was able to join her
in the flag "parade" for the devotional. We just got a good laugh from it.
Some poor souls had to carry a piece of paper with their flags on it.
We were just flag we didn't have to share it.
The devotional was really cool. After, the missionaries were able to stay up "late"
and watch fireworks.
I stayed up a solid hour later than normal: 11:30pm. It was great haha.
I felt like such a rebel while I drank a whole bottle of root beer at 11pm. I seriously love all the Russian missionaries. We are all such oddballls. It's fantastic.
Friday was our halfway mark in the MTC. We had been in the MTC exactly a month.
Now just one more month to go, then I'll be on a plane to Russia!
I don't think it's hit me yet that I'm leaving everything that is familiar and comfortable in the states
to a completely foreign country.
As scary as this can seem, I know exactly why I'm doing this. I thought about this last night
when we were discussing the devotional (or talk/sermon from a general authority of the church).
I am serving a mission because I want to help bring people closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ.
This knowledge has helped me so much in my life that it's the least I can do. Luckily,
I'm doing the Lord's work. Which means that He won't let me fail. Of course I'll make mistakes.
It's impossible not to.
But there is beauty in making mistakes. I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me
to learn from my mistakes.
Some things just can't be learned without first trying unsuccessfully.The best part is
that despite all my shortcomings, the Lord makes up the rest. Not only that,
He helps us along the way, every step of the process. God's hand is in our lives.
We just can't see it.
I really do love the MTC. It's incredible.
Yes, it is super difficult and can feel like a pressure cooker.
Yes, I can sometimes be frustrated with the language.
Yes, I have eaten every meal they have to offer in the cafeteria.
But there is such a wonderful spirit about this place. Everyone here is worthy to attend
the Holy House of the Lord. Everyone here just wants to help people.
We are the 2,000 stripling warriors of which Helaman guides in Alma chapter 56. Each of us
have made a decision to leave our loved ones, scholarships, career opportunities,
marriage proposals - you name it - to serve God and His children.
Wow. Eighteen year old boys and nineteen year old girls roam these halls
with such power and authority.
Yes, we are young and naive. Yes, we are immature.
But hasn't worked greater miracles than this?
If God can turn water into wine, have manna appear from nowhere, make 16 stones into lamps,
divide the Red Sea, can't He also make use of us weak things?
By small and simple things are great things come to pass. In choir practice on Sunday,
our choir director, Ryan Eggett (the coolest person ever!),
taught us something really special.
Heavenly Father is so proud of us for serving a mission. We will never understand how much.
He is just as proud when we reach out a helping hand, or befriend someone new.
We are all God's children. How do you feel when you see one your kids helping another
beloved child? Or maybe your child is the one sitting alone at the lunch tables,
and another inspired soul sits next to them and keeps them company?
Is that not love? God feels that way towards every single person on this earth.
That person who passes you by on the street is a child of God.
That person in line in front of you at the grocery store is a child of God. We are all different.
But that's the beauty of it. No person is identical. Yet we are all of divine heritage.
There is great power in this.
Fast Sundays are always great in the MTC. We get to have mission conference in the morning,
which is just another devotional but from our MTC Presidency, and an evening devotional.
I was able to bear my testimony in Russian on Sunday. Simple but true.
The Spirit could not be restrained that day. The evening devotional was so cool! Jenny Oaks Baker,
a renown violinist and the daughter of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, gave a wonderful presentation.
She went on in the various ways God has touched her life through music and personal revelation.
Then she and her 4 children performed beautiful arrangements.
I hope my kids can be musically talented.
It made me think a lot about my dear Whitney Haddock.
I would watch her perform a lot at BYU this past year.
I love people. So much. I am so grateful to be surrounded by such great servants of the Lord.
Of course I miss everyone back home and abroad. I pray and think about you all everyday!
Tuesday night devotional was incredible. I feel so spiritually edified. Spencer J. Condie gave a wonderful talk on Joseph Smith and the First Vision.
Wow. Joseph Smith Jr., a simple young man, saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
He spoke to them. All he asked was to know which church to join,
but through his outstanding faith,
He saw God. This actually happened.
This is what started it all. Almost two hundred years have gone by and yet this vision still stands,
just as immaculate at when it first occurred. 15 million members of the restored gospel,
humanitarian aid around the world offered, and a simple girl from Southern California
going to Russia are results from this man's testimony and hard work.
It has to be true. If not, then all I have done my entire life has been a sham. I can tell you right now,
it is not a sham. I am putting my life on the line for 18 months because of what occurred
that day in that sacred grove.
If you don't believe me, "ask God, He was there. He will tell you!"
God answers our prayers.
It's so easy to blame other people or outside forces as to why we can't achieve a certain goal
or why something doesn't work out in our lives.
Sometimes people even blame God for the trials in our lives. It's understandable.
But what we sometimes forget is that someone else is trying to bring us down.
There are opposing forces to righteousness. Satan is real. He has some power.
However, God is real. Jesus Christ lives.
They love us so much! God is our Heavenly Father.
That means that He cares for us just as you care for your own children,
or your parents care for you.
If you don't have the best relationship with your parents,
just know that you have a Father in Heaven
who loves you and cares you so much, beyond your own comprehension and mine.
Don't give up. We have a Brother who gave His life for us."Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you."
John 15:12-15. All He wants us to do is to come unto Him.
Partake of the rich and wonderful blessings
He has so freely offered to us.
I would apologize for the length of this email or the outright testifying I have done, but I'm not sorry.
This is what I believe and this is how I feel. If you wish to not receive any more updates I totally understand. This is honestly like a weekly journal for me.
t's only going to get more interesting when I'm finally in Russia.
I have a feeling I'll have some great stories to tell. I mean, I have been bit in the face by a seagull,
and that was in the comfort of Zuma beach!
I love you all so much! Seriously I do. Keep me updated on your life.
I love getting letters (i've had a severe lack of this past week but that's okay, I still love you).