I can't believe that I have just one more full week next week and then I will be off on the 14th! It's so exciting! Brother Burgess showed us all these neat pictures of Thailand and I kept getting more and more excited to go. I know that I will have an amazing experience.
I have had an amazing week. As many of you know, I was able to participate in the General Relief Society Choir. And oh my goodness! What an experience. It was so incredible to be able to sing praises unto the Lord before the whole world. I sang my heart out, I tell you. I was so, so happy to be there as a Sister Missionary to the Lord.
|All us Sisters in front of the Conference Center|
|Here I am singing with the wonderful sisters from the MTC choir!|
But on the way there, I got a little car sick from riding on the bus because it had been so long since I have been in a car! Haha! It wasn't that bad though. I just thought it was a little funny. And looking through the window and seeing everyone in their cars and in the streets, going about their business, I felt a sense of peace and love for all the faces I saw. I thought to myself, "Here are all these people living their normal lives. I wonder how many of them know how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father and Dear Older Brother." It was a very neat feeling to know that as a set-apart missionary, I was caring so much for all these strangers I'd pass by. I hope that I always remember this feeling.
|We made it to the Conference Center! Yay!|
Overall, the entire experience is one that I hope I never forget. I am so happy that many of you were able to watch it and see me on the screen. I hope that you felt the spirit as I did when I sang my heart and soul on that stand.
This week, I have been realizing a lot of things about myself. I remember being very critical and negative in certain aspects of life or the Gospel. I rationalized a lot and I always tried to think more "logically" than anything else. I told myself that I would be teaching a lot of Buddhist people with solid cultural backgrounds. It would be hard to convince anyone that the Gospel that I would be offering to them was better than what they had. I told myself not to expect any baptisms or miracles for that matter. But now, I look back and shake my head at how foolish that sounds. I was so blind and frankly, a little stupid. I realize that it will be hard, there's no doubt about that. But I feel my heart and mind soften to the Lord and the Spirit. I realize now that I have every reason to hope and to expect many miracles on my mission whether they be big or small. The Lord is hastening His work for a reason. I need to trust him and have every optimism and love for the people I will be serving. I will be more hopeful and more faithful in that aspects. Yes, there will be disappointments. But more importantly, there will be miracles. And no one will ever convince me otherwise. I will not heed to negativity about the Thai people any longer. They are God's children, and He has prepared some for me to bring them to Him. I will try to put logic aside and listen and earn the promptings of the Spirit. Only then can the Lord use me upon His will.
Recently, Brother Burgess did this activity where people would sit in the "love chair" and everyone would say all the things they admired about the person. The whole experience was so nice. I felt the Lord's love as I freely expressed my love for all those in my district. And when it was my turn, I was surprised by all the nice things they had said about me. I felt like they were exaggerating at times and I felt a little embarrassed by all the praise. I think what surprised me the most is when people talked about how they love how I smile a lot. I hadn't noticed that I did. Usually at home, I am told to smile more! Haha! I guess it's just a testimony to me that this Gospel will bring nothing but joy to us, and I have been feeling more joy than I ever have before. I feel loved. I am so blessed to have the teachers, district, and companion that I have. All are inspired of the Lord and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This last Wednesday, I was able to meet Elder Edwards and Sister Reed when they arrived in the MTC. It's so nice to see people that I know here. I see Elder Brewer often and I am so happy that my friends are serving the Lord like I am. I feel like a mission is one of the best decisions of my life so far. I do not regret it in the least. And I hope that any of you who read this and are considering a mission... Do it. Please, I promise that you will learn so much and the Lord will be pleased at your sacrifice. I know that I am not on the field yet but I don't have to be to know that this is the Lord's errand. I can't wait to be in Thailand.
I have been struggling with the language this past week as well. I have felt my frustrations rise at the lack of understanding and the level that others are at that I am lacking in. While many can read and write Thai decently, I can only read it somewhat okay. I can't even begin to write Thai without looking it up and seeing how it's spelled. So, it has been a bit of a difficulty to say the least when I feel so inadequate. When we were all told to read aloud from the Thai scriptures as a group, I began to feel so flustered and on the spot. I paused a lot and I felt really dumb that I was the only one that needed a lot of help reading. I felt like a child. But, afterwards, I had cooled off and prayed so fervently unto the Lord. I pleaded and cried so much. I just didn't want to feel the way that I was. I wanted to be better. I have the desire to learn Thai in all its aspects. So, why didn't I get it? Wasn't my desire righteous? But as I prayed, I felt his arms around me in comfort and one thing stuck out in my mind, "Trust me." I couldn't hold back the tears. I needed to trust my Heavenly Father. I need to seek him out in all that I do. And so, before I read Thai or I am about to study it, I pray fervently to have it retained in my mind. It is coming along but I have felt all the difference.
I love you all so much. I pray for you and I think of you. Please help your missionaries out. Please open your mouths to your neighbors or co-workers or classmates. It doesn't matter where they come from or what they are doing, it matters where they are going. More often than not, I wouldn't think my friends would want to hear the Gospel or accept it because of their lifestyle. But, I know now that there is no level where the Lord cannot reach them. He loves everyone, and He wants them back in His presence.
I love you.
P.S. I would invite you all to watch Mormon Messages. They are so inspiring and I love them so much! I have too many favorites! But I really love the Earthly Father, Heavenly Father, the Love My Mother, A Mother's Hope, Enduring Love, and Road to Damascus! At least watch those! They are so good :)
|The empty conference center|
|Me in front of the tabernacle, I am so excited!|
|Sister Thain, Peterson, Barber and I|
|Sister Peterson, Me and Sis Thain up on the stands! SO cool! The organ was so loud and awesome!|
|A shot of all the sisters in their seats, there are so many of us!|
|( L to R) Me, Sister Maughan, and Sister Peterson posing before we go through the Make up and hair check on Choir day. (Sister her didn't make it in the choir :( I was so sad!)|
|(L to R) Sister Peterson, Me, and Sister Maughan. Sister Peterson (we have three sister Peterson's in our zone) is totally photo-bombing us. It's so funny!|
|(L to R) Sister Peterson, Sister Ellis, Sister Barber (all going to Thailand, they are in a different district) and Sister Thain and Sister Peterson (going to Cambodia)|
|All the girls in my zone that went to the General Relief Society Choir|
|Sister Maughan, Peterson and I on the bus to Salt Lake!|
|Zone Sisters on the bus! I'm way in the back! Haha|
|The beautiful sight of the Salt Lake temple after the meeting. Such a gorgeous sight after a wonderful meeting|
|Elder Wolfley and Elder Hartman being goofs|
|Elder Madsen, Wolfley and Hartman posing again. They crack me up! Ah, I have great Elders :)|
|Silly shot! (L to R) Sis Her, me, Sis Peterson, and Maughan not paying attention and cracking up at the Elders.|
|Elder Batey (going to Thailand, in my zone) He's one of the funniest Elders in my zone! He's being weird eating his Beef Jerky|
|This is Elder Gage and his classic "Elder Gage Pose". (going to Thailand, in my zone)|
|Elder Hartman messing around and throwing a bouncy ball. Elder Batey is being funny/weird as usual and the rest aren't paying attention. I love them all!|
|All us sisters in the Marriot Center for the last time. We used to do devotionals here but now we do them in the gym now.|