Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 12: Fourth Week at the MTC

Hello family and friends! Wednesday's come around so fast and I can't believe this Wednesday marks my 4th week of being in the MTC! Time has just flown by and I know it will go even faster with the 4 1/2 weeks I have left. I head out on September 14th to Belgium and I have very mixed feelings about it. I am excited of course to get out there and share the gospel but I feel like I will never be ready enough in 4 1/2 weeks with the language and my ability to teach effectively by the spirit in a manner that I can represent the Lord. But I find comfort in knowing that since this is his work he will make of me what I need to be...I have definitely already seen that happen here at the MTC. I have to say that I LOVE the MTC! It has been such a humbling experience here to see all of my weaknesses and faults but I have seen how I can be changed through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. This is his work. He is not just on the sidelines cheering me on. He is playing right beside me. Lots of miracles have taken place this week and I have felt the love of my Savior and Heavenly Father through the spirit. Monday our class had our first English fast and spoke Dutch all day! It was difficult to not be able to express myself as well as I wanted to and I know I made a lot of mistakes as I did speak but I promised my Heavenly Father that I would do my best to speak the language all day. I can now see that because of my committment to my promise I have been so blessed to better understand others as they speak in Dutch and I can communicate so much more! What a miracle and tender mercy! I can even teach the first lesson in Dutch now (a pretty basic and simple version) and I am progressing! On Monday we had the TRC again and the scenario was that we had to help our investigators move and teach them how to pray in Dutch. It went so well! After the Dutch part, Zuster Fritz and I had to teach one investigator a 35 minute lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and focus on the Word of Wisdom. The spirit was so strong as we catered to the needs of our investigator, used scriptures to help our investigator understand the Plan, and testified of the love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for her. The love I felt for the investigator by the end of the lesson was beyond anything I have ever felt before. I wanted her to be baptized and I wanted her to partake of the joy that comes from following the example of the Savior! I have really tried to focus on developing the Christlike attribute of charity this week because I know I am lacking in that area. The Sunday night fireside was focused on charity (another tender mercy) and the speaker told us to develop charity by asking ourselves not only "What would Jesus do?" but "How would Jesus feel?" This struck me with so much power and has been on my mind since the fireside. I love to serve others and I find it easy to act in the way I should towards others but I do not always have my thoughts and feelings focused on doing things out of love but because of the need to be obedient. I need to forget myself and get to work. I need to have my actions AND my heart totally immersed in serving the Lord and in loving the people that I serve. In Moses 7:33 the Lord lays out the 2 essential things that we all must do during our time on earth to become like him so we can return to him. He says, "that they should love one another and that they should choose me, their Father." This is reaffirmed in Matthew 22:37-40. President Ezra Taft Benson said, "When we put God first all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives." This is so true! As I have tried to put God first in my life here at the MTC, everything has fallen into its proper place or has gone out of my life. This gospel is the most important thing! It is what enables us to have joy and return to our Heavenly Father and live with our families forever! I am so excited for that day! Sorry, I always seem to ramble on about my studies but I love the things I am learning. This week has been a great one! I love all of the new sisters that came into the MTC last Wednesday and we have a really close and unified District and Branch! I am happy and doing well. I love all of you so much! I thank you once again for your prayers and letters...they help me so much! I am growing and changing everyday through the Atonement of Jesus Christ...I have a lot more to change but that is what is so wonderful about the infinite atonement of the Savior. I love my teachers here-Brother Bond and Zuster Spencer. They are amazing! I love the Dutch language and I am excited (and nervous) to have another English fast tomorrow and on Friday. I hope this e-mail finds you well and happy. I think about you and love prayers are with you too! I am way excited because Tish (Sister Miles) will be coming in here today! It will be wonderful to share in this missionary experience together! IF I remember correctly, Mom and Dad, you left to Oregon today! I hope you are having a safe trip and I can't wait to hear all about it! I love you so much! And the family picture is awesome! I show it off to everyone! Thanks for sending that so quickly! You are awesome! Have a great week! Love, Zuster Sharp

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