The MTC is so crazy. How can it feel like it is taking forever yet also, going by REALLY fast. It just feels like I've been here ONE long day.
I appreciate all the letters. You don't have to limit them to one a week. If something is going on, tell me about it. It is not a distraction to get letters - it is motivation, at least for me.
We had a visit on Sunday, from LDS church songwriter and lyricist, Janice Kapp Perry. She came to speak to us and sing with us. How cool! She had us sing 6 primary songs, and I hadn't realized before how many songs she had written. We sang, "Army of Helaman," "Child's Prayer", "I'm trying to be like Jesus," "Love Is Spoken Here," "I love to See the Temple" and "I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." It was so powerful. In the beginning of the meeting, we sang "As Sisters In Zion," but the projector wasn't working so we all messed up the lyrics. Even though we have sung it 100 times, we still didn't know the whole song. But, when it came to singing six primary songs she had written, we didn't even need to look. What a powerful testimony to me that was, of the importance of raising your children in the church. These lessons we teach them and these songs that they learn will last with them forever. They will never forget them. What an amazing spirit it was to sing those songs with her. This place is the coolest.
The Elders is my zone are so funny: Elder Brown told me that they are supposed to be amazing breakfast burritos in Croatia. Like, he knows some missionaries who went there, and they never even cooked. It was just cheaper and easier for them to buy breakfast burritos every day. Oh. My. Gosh. Can you imagine? And Elder Mason and Elder Pitt are like me and my companion's best friendizzles. They are both really funny. Elder Mason and I played a basketball game the other day where we tried to test each other in our vocabulary. And we thought it would be tricky and fun, because he's learning Czech, and I'm learning Croatian, but it is less tricky than we thought because we have a lot of the same words. Elder Pitt looks like he's 22 but he's actually 18, and makes me laugh. Can't forget Elder Prochaska either - (he is from Switzerland) so Dad, seriously he is your long lost son. He's sooooo Swiss and he's adorable. He also has diabetes, but that doesn't stop him from eating Swiss Chocolate all day every day. It's like, his family sends him a box a week. He hates Hershey's chocolate. He always shares his chocolate too, which is great. I can't forget Elder Frahm! (He is going to England, speaking Czech) We bonded the other day over our love for Carne Asada Fries. We had to stop talking about it, because we were getting too upset. Elder Dyer is a good one too. The other day, we had our first lesson with our new "investigator" Katrina. (a Video teaching lesson with a person who speaks the language, and is a pretend investigator) It was so bad - we had challenged ourselves to go in there and not bring notes, but we totally didn't know what we were doing. I just felt so embarrassed and upset and I was crying like a loser, because this is so difficult. So my companion and Elder Dyer came into the room to cheer me up. And Sister Kropushek said, "What used to Cheer you up at home." And I said, "I don't know, watch movies and stuff." So then she said, "All right, let's watch some Mormon messages." So we turned them on, and turned the rest of the night into a mini devotional and just uplifted each other. It was fabulous. There are angels in mortal form here…I'll tell you that much.
Brother Hansen, our teacher, is seriously the greatest. I can't even tell you enough. He gave us a devotional the other day about the true meaning of missionary work, and it was incredible. he is so straightforward and honest, and you can't help but be motivated by him. He said, "I can promise you that the Lord KNOWS where we are supposed to be. We are not trying to turn you into missionary robots. We are trying to instill the rules into you, so you know what you're doing, but you cannot forget to be yourself. That's what people will love about you -- it's you.! When you pray and when you ponder on what your calling is, and when you realize that you are literally the offspring of God, on the errand for the Lord and Savior of mankind, Jesus The Christ, I can promise you, you will wake up in the morning with a sure and firm purpose in what you are doing. I can promise you that. It will be like a fire in your bones. You will never regret it, and you will never feel greater joy." He must think I am crazy because I pretty much cry every time he talks. He's the best teacher I have ever had, and probably will ever have. He also co-wrote the textbook we are using for Croatian. How cool is that?
And he's so funny! He just created a language plan for me and S.K., about how to track our language studying and his reward system involves him showing us pictures of his mission and his wedding and stuff. As IF we asked him to do that. He always shows us pictures of his life and he's like, " OKAY, fine. If you insist, I'll show you one more." And I'll say, " We never asked that." But that's what's so funny.
Also we found out that our "investigator", Valentino, is actually our THIRD TEACHER. I pretended like I saw it coming, but I was actually stoked. We walked into the classroom, and I was like, "VALENTINO?" His name is Brat West. He is super nice and speaks just as quickly in English as he does Croatian. But the story of Valentino is real. If you listen to the talk, "We are One" from the April General Conference Priesthood session, the beginning story references Valentino. DO IT. It is amazing. He is this incredible person, and he lives in Bosnia. Elder Brat West, and his companion are the missionaries who found him and baptized him. I could totally meet him for real. My mission is so cool.
It's seriously so hard though. I can't even tell you. I was really getting down on myself the other day, because I thought I could learn a lot faster than this. But then cutie Sister Lefler helped me out. She said, "I could not have blossomed in an English speaking mission. I envy them every day, but it's not for me. I'm too smart and witty to have been humble. I needed this mission so I could get so down, and fell so inadequate, that I would NEED to turn to the Lord. And it's made me a better person." And I feel that's where I am.
Here's a spiritual thought I discovered during personal/companion study yesterday, which is the best study we have ever had - it was amazing:
Faith is developed by reading the word of God.
Faith is nurtured by prayer
Faith is strengthened by keeping the commandments
THAT'S IT. Faith, Faith, Faith and we can endure to the end, and that is essentially the exact formula it takes to do it. it was a perfect answer to the prayer I had in how to strengthen my faith, and it is so important for all of us to develop and keep strengthened too.
I love you stinkers! Thanks for all of your love and support.