Hola Familia y Amigos!
Well, first thing's first...I am being transferred to the Spain Madrid MTC this Thursday! My visa came, which I will pick up in Orem on Wednesday. I also have my travel itinerary which I will post more details on later in the email.
It still hasn't sunk in yet. My companion Hermana Schaumann found out about hers first and was rejoicing and me and Hermana Johnson were kind of happy we didn't get the same news. But right after lunch our Elders came up to us and said there was a slip in the mailbox telling us we were going too, as well as Elder Vogel. Hermana Johnson started crying and I just stood there, like "ah man, dang it". I never thought I'd be this sad about news to leave! I wanted this the whole time! And half and half in each MTC was the dream! But Hermana Johnson and I are pretty sad about it. We love our district and don't want it to be torn in half. But Spain is cool! Haha I'm silly. I just feel bad for Elder Turley because he is the only one who didn't get his visa and will be staying behind with the other three Elders who are going to Mexico. Hermana Schaumann is stoked though so maybe some of that will rub off on the rest of us? But at least we are all going together, and Hermana Johnson and I are going to be together since we are both on the same schedule, language level, and are going to Malaga! So that's exciting!
We had our first visit to the TRC on Wednesday. I was so nervous for it but it turned out to be totally fine! We taught and elderly couple with the last name Thompson, and another elderly woman. They all had served lots of missions and were really nice. It was so funny to here them speak fluent Spanish though haha, especially some of the words that they said. But we carried on great conversations with them and shared a message. I felt the spirit really strongly when we were talking to the first sister, and when both said prayers in our behalf at the end it was so touching. We also had a workshop this week on being truly converted. It was really good to hear and really motivating but also a bit discouraging. They talked about how missionaries aren't doing enough and there isn't enough retention after baptism. They said we were studying and teaching for people to have testimonies and that they weren't being truly converted. They said we need to be truly converted first before we can expect it from those we teach. So that's another thing to add on to the already-intimidating-plate. It scares me to think that people fall away, it is so devastating. We also taught our two "progressing investigators" like 4 or 5 times this week. "Reina" (who is one of our teachers) was talking about how she loved the Book of Mormon in one of our lessons and it just made all three of us ecstatic if I am already crying in lessons with just fake investigators, I can't imagine what the real ones will be like. But we just feel the spirit and God's love so strongly while teaching them. We told both Reina and Jason to write down questions they have and committed them to watch conference and it is amazing that as we were watching conference some of the talks were specifically for them. Especially Elder Cook's on peace. He shared all the same scriptures we had looked up for Jason and said everything we needed to say. And a lot of the talks were things our teachers have been telling us as well. I am so grateful for the inspiration we as missionaries get personally and from our teachers, it just shows how in tune we all are that the same things were mentioned in conference as well.
This conference weekend at the MTC was such a nice break! Sat and Sun were just watching conference and then we had devotionals at night. We even got to lay in the grass in the sun! Imagine that! Best thing ever. Sunday night Vocal Point came and performed for all us missionaries and the spirit was so strong! I am not a huge fan of a Capella but when we were singing before and during it was a testament of how powerful music can be. I feel like I am in the military here sometimes haha, it reminds me of White Christmas where they have people come and perform for them. Maybe Gene Kelly will come next if we're lucky. Just kidding, I'll be in Spain. After Vocal Point we watched an old devotional that Elder Holland gave at the MTC (thanks to Dan's recommendation), and it was SO good! Man, candid Elder Holland is the best thing ever. He was so funny and so powerful! He has a good way of pumping me up. He mostly talked about us needing to teach with power, boldness, and authority, and about being persistent. I need to work on those qualities. He also talked about how this work is so hard because the Atonement was hard, and we need to go through just a little bit of what Christ went through because we are here as his representatives.
Oh and congrats Dad on the new calling! I told my whole district to listen when they were reading the new list of 70's being called :) Let me know all the details on the setting apart and stuff! I was so proud when I got to sustain you as a General Authority, we are both on the same cause as witnesses of Christ now which I love. You should be friends with my companions Hermana Johnson's dad- he is in the first quorum of the 70 and they lived in Chile for a year.
Here's some funny stuff now! So you know how is get pescado and pecado (fish and sin) mixed up sometimes? Well it was only a joke before but I actually said it in a lesson while teaching about the Atonement this week hahaha, I was so grateful that Reina didn't laugh or break character. We can all become clean of our fish through the Atonement of Jesus Christ! Elder Vogel also found a new word in the dictionary this week- aguafiesta! Apparently it means killjoy, so we've all been saying things like "Satanas es una aguafiesta" (aka satan is a killjoy haha) what a gem of a word. One of the counselors in the branch presidency also told us a story of how one of his companions sent home. Apparently he was studying about how light is intelligence in the scriptures and decided to stare at the sun to gain more knowledge. Hahaha can you imagine if you had a companion who damaged his eyes so badly from looking at the sun that he had to get sent home! Elder Turley our district leader also told us sometime funny the first week that I forgot to mention. He basically said "I was always told that sisters bring a special spirit and maturity to the mission, BUT..." and then we were like oh great, they think we are ridiculous, then he finished with "but I didn't think it would be through laughing." So apparently we still bring the spirit? We just have a lot of fun doing it.
The pictures are of us on our last P-day (today) in the Provo MTC, and our collective reactions holding our travel plans!
Love you all!