Lauren has the opportunity to email us each week. Every Wednesday we look forward to hearing from her. I'm sure her letters will brighten your day, just as they have ours!
Dag! Hoe gaat het met u? I hope things are absolutely wonderful! I cannot express to you how much your letters, prayers, and support mean to me! Each day I think of you and thank my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such amazing family and friends. I can't believe I have been at the MTC for a week today! Some days have been a little long but overall the week has flown by. 1 week down, 8 more to go! I totally feel for the new missionaries that are coming in today...I am glad I will never have to go through that whole process again. But don't get me wrong, I do love the MTC and I am learning so much! My companion, Zuster Fritz, is awesome and we get along so well. She is from South Jordan and it turns out that we have many mutual friends. It has been such a blessing to have her as my companion because she has such a strong testimony and a vast knowledge of the gospel and has picked the language up very quickly. She really helps me out a lot! Sometimes I get overwhelmed when she can carry on a whole conversation in Dutch and I stand there not understanding a word they are saying but I just have to remind myself that she studied three years of German, lived in Germany for a period of 6 months, and took a class on Dutch linguistics because German and Dutch are very similar. The Lord really has blessed me as I have tried to learn the language. I said my first prayer in Dutch in behalf of our District (which was way scary but a good experience), I can introduce myself in Dutch, and I can bear my testimony. I am picking up more words and beginning to understand the sentence structure as I SYL (speak your language...Brandt will understand what this means). It really is amazing that I am beginning to think using Dutch words and I sometimes say words like "well" as "vell" because the w's are v's in Dutch. Anyway, the language is coming and I am so excited about it! I love the district I am in and I am so impressed by the Elders. Elder Johnson and Elder Matthews are in the classroom with Zuster Fritz and I, and we have about 8 other Danish Elders in our district. Sunday was an amazing day and really pumped me up for this week. I was called as the Coordinating Sister for our zone, which means I am in charge of taking care of the sisters in our zone, I participate in Branch Presidency meetings, and I get to help with the orientation of the new missionaries. I am so excited to be able to serve the Lord in this calling! My time is totally filled here at the MTC! I don't believe I have ever used my time more effectively in my whole life! We study from 7 in the morning until 9:30 at night. Although many missionaries struggle with the sleeping schedule, I am doing very well! I feel like I am getting more sleep than I ever did while at school or home. The spirit is very strong here and it is such a neat place! THe showers are not as great as I said they were in my first letter...I think they just clean them right before the new missionaries come in...thank you so much for the shower flip-flops mom! You are a life saver! The food is okay...I miss good old home cooking but the food here will just have to do! I had a few rough days when I first arrived here, not being home sick but just missing home! I think Wednesday night was the first time it really hit me that I wouldn't be coming home for a year and a half! The letters you gave to me when you dropped me off sustained me throughout the week and gave me a lot of comfort. I know I was also blessed by your prayers and love! Thank you! I have had many other awesome experiences and adventures this week, including getting my blood drawn (they had to poke me three times to get a good vein so they gave me a stuffed animal, getting a stool sample (I will let you know that my mission and the Taiwan mission are the only ones that require this and for anyone who knows me, you know this was very difficult!), and having my testimony strengthened like never before! Wednesday is my P-day and that is the only day I can write home. I only get 30 minutes on the computer so my e-mails might be really short but I will write back to you. "Dear Elder" is awesome (Brooke and Kristin) which might be helpful in writing. My time is ticking and we get to go to the temple (I still get to go to the temple on Wednesdays-what a blessing!) so I want you to know that I love you and I will be sending a letter off today as well! I love the gospel and I know that it is true! I know that families can be together forever! I am so thankful for the resoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith! I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve as an official missionary for the Lord and invite his children to come unto Christ to find the greatest joy and peace available! I love you and pray for you everyday! Tot ziens!Love,Zuster Lauren Sharp