Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wednesday, August 5: Third Week at the MTC

Dear Family, Can you believe it!? I have been here exactly three weeks! Time has just flown by and I am already starting to stress about not having enough time here in the MTC to feel fully prepared to speak the language and teach the gospel, but I guess that is just how it goes! I will just have to make the most of the time I have. This week has been excellent and I appreciate so much the love and support that you keep on giving. The letters and the prayers mean more to me than you will ever know! I read and re-read them and they give me so much strength. Mom, the zucchini bread was amazing and my companions loved it too! That was so thoughtful of you to let me enjoy some of the fruits of the garden...I wish I could still help out with the gardening so it means so much to me that you took the time to send the bread! It was absolutely delicious! And I love how you related it to the work I am doing right now...so cute! I love knowing that everything is alright at home and that everyone is happy. I hope that you know that I am happy too! Things are really picking up here with the language and the teaching. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed but I always feel great comfort from the Spirit. Last Saturday I had the opportunity to make calls in the Referall Center to people who requested a Book of Mormon, Bible, or church video. I called three people to see if they received their Book of Mormon and how they felt about it. It was awesome! One gentleman stayed on the phone with me for 20 minutes and allowed me to share my testimony and some scriptures from the Book of Mormon with him. It was a little nerve-racking but awesome to do the real thing instead of just practicing on pretend investigators. He didn't commit to having the missionaries come to his home but he said he would look more into the Book of Mormon. The next lady I called said that she would like a copy of the Book of Mormon so I shipped one out to her. I hope that I can get in touch with her once more so I can see what she thinks about it. This experience got me so excited to share the gospel and I was amazed at the love I developed for these to people in just minutes of talking to them on the phone. I know I really am going to love the people of the Netherlands so much! Last night we had a devotional and President Merril Bateman and his wife came and spoke to us. He shared a story about the song, "Because I Have Been Given Much." He said that in Peru there was a time when food prices rose so high that the people could not afford to eat and were starving to death. The Church Humanitarian Services sent planes full of food to help them. Once the food arrived Elder Bateman went there for a stake conference and was amazed at how giving the people were even though they didn't have that much. They had spiritual nourishment and that was enough to share with others around them. I have been so blessed with that spiritual nourishment as well and I know that I must share that with others. This is a gospel of joy, happiness, and love! Bishop Williams sent me the ward newsletter and I loved the talk that Brother Jentzsch shared in his message, especially this part..."I come out this evening with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I'm suggesting that we accentuate the positive. I'm asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort...What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land in times which we live, that we speak of one anothers virtues more that we speak of one anothers faults, that optimism replaces pessimism. Let our faith replace our fears" (President Hinckley). I love this quote! It made me reevaluate my attitude and recommit myself to be more joyful and positive, just like the Savior is and wants us to be! We find joy in living like him and through his amazing and infinite Atonement. Example is so crucial in missionary work and I know that I need to be a better example of joy so that others will be interested in hearing the message of the restored gospel. THank you all for your examples of joy and optimism! You inspire me to be better everyday! I am way excited because I will have three new sisters coming in today that I am over. I can't wait to meet them and serve them in any way I can to make there MTC experience the best that it can be. THe language is coming but it is difficult. I am trying to speak as much as I can so I can improve but it is taking time to settle in. But with all I have learned so far I know that the Lord has blessed me so much! I love my teachers, Brother Bond and Zuster Spencer! THey are awesome...but they think that out of any missionary in our class I will be the most likely to get in a wreck on my bike...I don't know how I always send the message that I am clumsy like that...oh well! I love you so much! You are in my prayers! I will send a letter and pictures home today! THe gospel is true and is so amazing! I love being a missionary! It is the best thing ever! Love, Zuster Sharp

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