Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday, September 2: Seventh Week at the MTC

Hello Family and Friends! How was your week? It was so great to hear from many of you and such a comfort to me to know that you are all doing okay. I do pray for you and your individual needs and think about you often. You are such a great source of strength to me! This week was so wonderful and full of many opportunities to do "real" missionary work! I know that all that I have done here at the MTC has been real but we have mostly practiced teaching with pretend investigators. Last Thursday in the RC I called a real investigator whose name is Bryce and he lives in Texas. I think he is about 19 years old and is going to college, thinking about majoring in theology. The week before I had commited him to read Ether 12 and to pray about it. I was a little nervous to call him back to see how the reading and praying went for fear that he might not have done it. I was so happy and filled with joy when he answered his phone and told me that he had read and prayed and that he felt good about it! He had a lot of questions and I taught him about the Plan of Salvation, and I was amazed at the scriptures and words that the Holy Ghost brought to my mind as I spoke to him! He commited to read more and he said that he was going to go into the woods on Saturday and pray to God to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. How cool! He really has a lot of faith and I think that I learned more from him than he learned from me. I can't wait to call him back tomorrow to see how his reading and praying went again and to commit him to meet with the missionaries or attend church. This experience is giving me a little taste of what I am going to be doing in Belgium and the Netherlands and I am so excited! Last Wednesday our Branch got 2 more sisters so I got to help orient (I don't know if that is spelled right...I can't spell in English anymore!) them to the MTC. One of the sisters was really struggling on Thursday night with feelings of inadequacy and so I had the opportunity to spend an hour or so with her, talking with her, sharing personal experiences, and being there when she received a priesthood blessing from the Elders. Although I didn't get to sleep until about 11:00 and I didn't have time to worry about myself and the things I needed to do, I was so happy! I don't know why I have to learn over and over that serving and caring for others is not a sacrifice but a blessing, but I do know that it is true! I have been so blessed to be able to serve as coordinating sister and my love for the sisters is amazing! They give me so much more than I ever give them. 4 of them left this week, as well as Tish and her roommates that I really got close to, so I am sad to not see them anymore but I know they are where they are supposed to be! I can't believe I only have 10 days left here! I am sad and nervous and overwhelmed...I have lost my appetite again just like I did about 10 days before I came into the MTC! I am praying to have more faith and trust in the Lord and his ability to make me what he needs me to be and able to share his gospel to bring more people unto him. My language skills are weak but my testimony of trusting in the spirit is growing as I am seeing how its not the words that I say that matter, it is the spirit that touches the hearts of the people I teach. I am so thankful for my two amazing teachers, Brother Bond and Zuster Spencer, who are trying to teach me that and reassure me that I will be fine once I get to the Netherlands...I sure hope so! I actually received a letter this week from a sweet sister who I was acquanted with at school last semester who is serving in the Netherlands. The letter really boosted my spirits and got me excited to be out there! I know it will be amazing! Our teachers are putting a lot of confidence in the four of us in our class and are giving us the opportunity to teach them, not as pretend investigators, but as themselves. I am a little nervous because they are the epitimy of great teachers but we are going to fast and pray to prepare and hopefully we are going to be open enough to recieve inspiration about what we should teach. I let you know how it goes! We should get our flight plans this week! I am trying to start packing so I can be prepared. I am excited to be done eating the MTC food...9 weeks is just a little too long for cafeteria food (sorry dad!)! Thanks, Mom, for sending the zucchinni bread, craisins, and cashews! You are a lifesaver! Those are some of my favorite things and such a good change! My companions enjoyed the food too! I am going to be really sad to say goodbye to my companions, roommates, district, branch, and branch presidency! The relationships I have formed her are so unique because they are built on the gospel! It is such an amazing privelege and blessing for me to be here and to be serving the Lord. There are hard times, but so many more amazing and wonderful times! I can't wait to start teaching and see the changes that people are willing to make to follow the Savior. I have so many changes I still need to make to be a better representative of him and I am so thankful for the Atonement and his mercy and grace that allows me to do that! I love the gospel and I know it is true! Thank you all for the impact you've had on my life and the examples you've been to me! I love you and hope you have a great week! Thanks for your prayers!Love,Zuster Lauren SharP.S. pictures are coming

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