Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fire Drill in the Night

So there I was, peacefully snoozing away, most likely having some sort of ridiculous dream, because I ALWAYS have strange dreams here, when it happened. BEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP with flashing strobe lights!!!! I sat straight up and looked around. Yes. Fire alarm! "What time is it???" I hear as I turn to look at my clock. 2:15 AM. What's going on? I try to get out of bed, but can't find the ladder and end up just jumping from the top bunk, landing hard. I shake myself, grab my shoes and head for the door. Hna. Binks and Hna Hill are ahead of me. Hna. Binks looks out the door and turns back, which sends us all into a tizzy! "What are you doing? What are you taking? What--? says Hna Hill in much impatience and confusion. "Where's my companion???" I exclaim. "I'm SOO angry!" from Hna. Binks. It's soon determined that Hna Binks was only going back for shoes. Satisfied, Hna Hill is ready to leave and I have finally found my companion, all of 2 feet away from me. We drowsily go down the stairs (luckily, my amazing companion had studied the emergency exit plan the night before) and out onto the lawn. All of the Hermanas in 17M look to our building, desperately hoping that it's not a real fire. We wait in silence (sort of) as the security guards run up and down the stairs. About 20 minutes later, we get the all clear and can go back inside. The mystery of the fire alarm still remains.
Yes... that really did happen. It was hilarious... AFTER the fact. We were Sooo tire the next day. We hear that maybe it was a faulty smoke detector. No se. Anyways, we were all happy to write home about it.

This week was AMAZING!!! The center of my week was definitely Sunday, so I will start there.
We had Branch Council, and that was good. There was some concern with one of the sisters, so I had to do some hard things that day, but I really did feel guided by the Spirit and that Sister is MUCH better now, so I am really grateful. Relief Society was AMAZING. President Brown, out MTC President was the speaker and he started off by saying that we all should be "Princess Moroni's" and talked about how to be an effective missionary. The part that touched me the most was when he said that we will be bringing hope and healing to people and that there is no better medicine than to feel the power of the Atonement. I am so grateful for the Atonement in my life and humbled by the opportunity to share it. After that, we meant with our branch president, President Nelson for a Sister's meeting and talked about The 4th Missionary. We all studied that together, but this time I learned different things and it was amazing. We talked about how the best missionary is one who gives 100% of her heart to The Lord. I have to give up even my good desires and realize that Jesus Christ wants the VERY BEST for me and that I want to align my will with his. We talked about boxing up all of our desires and being totally committed. Then when we get home we can unbox them and see what doesn't fit anymore, what we just don't want any more, and what we do still desire because it is what the Lord desires for us. I am going to rededicate myself to the Lord every day. President said that we need to give "it" up... whatever "it" is for us and I really liked that. The Fireside on Sunday night was really great too. It was from President Steven B. Allen and he brought in a bunch of old Church Commercials and talked about the one liners in them. My favorite was "when everything says you can't, believe in the part of you that says you can." I needed to hear that. It's difficult to learn Spanish and we definitely have hard days, but we always tell each other "Si, se puede!!!" He also talked about how it's TOTALLY worth it to change the non-Celestial parts of you. That really connected with the 4th missionary lesson for me and I made some goals about the kind of person I want to be and how to get there. I have a long ways to go, but I know that through the Atonement, I can be the kind of daughter that Heavenly Father wants me to be.
After that, we went to the Sunday video (we can choose from a bunch) and chose to go to a MTC talk from Elder Holland. Without being too dramatic, I must say that it seriously changed my life! He said that this is the closest we will ever be to the Apostles (big A) because we have the same commission and desires that they do and to never miss a chance to be apostolic (small a). Even though they have a high and wonderful calling, I can still do the same work. You all know how powerful Elder Holland is, and this was no different. I felt that he was looking into my soul
Tuesday devotional was also very good. It was all about how the sanctification of the missionary is just as important as doing the work of the Lord, because they are really one and the same. I am my first convert. I have to be pure in order to teach others. I have to become something. I thought about the refiners fire and how a purifier of silver knows that the silver is pure when he can see his reflection in it. We are like that. Christ keeps us in the heat until He can see His image in us. What more could we want? Hna Hill and I went and sang with the choir as well and that was amazing. I felt in my element.
We got new roommates yesterday. They will be here for 3 weeks until they leave for the MTC in the Dominican Republic. They will serve in Puerto Rico. We like them and they seem really nice. One moves a lot in the night and is really loud and she snores, but we will all get used to that. They are both really kind and will be great missionaries.
Our teaching is getting much better. I feel like Hna Hill and I are much more united and that we can really build off of each other. The other day, she bore testimony and I shared a personal experience related to the testimony she bore and it was our best lesson ever. Even with simulations, we feel the spirit guiding us in all that we do and say.
Spanish is getting harder. I have decided that I need to be more specific in my prayers about Spanish. I am still always praying for the gift of tongues, but this week, I really need help understanding the difference between Preterite and Imperfect and when to use them. Could you please all pray for me to get that? Thank you.
I started a new copy of the Book of Mormon to be my Preach my Gospel set and as I read, I color code scriptures that go with each of the 5 lessons and it has really taught me a lot. I really like the study I have been having. What are you all studying right now? I would love to hear it! I read in the Book of Mormon, study a topic that goes with the lesson we are teaching, and am reading Our Search for Happiness. I love studying the gospel!!!
Went to the Temple today and it was so great.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"If you aren't tired, you aren't a good missionary!"

In this email, Kailei clarifies the teaching she has been doing.  This should help understand last weeks letter a little better.

As for teaching, things here at the MTC have changed. My District is part of a new pilot program. We taught our first 30 min lesson all in Spanish on our first Friday here, our second full day. It was a bit nerve racking, but we got through it, and it really just forced us to use what we know. Even though it was simulated and the "investigators" here are either volunteers or our teachers, we are still learning to teach and can feel the Spirit guiding what we do. Jose was our first investigator and we accepted baptism this week, so we are muy animado!!! I can testify that the gift of tongues is real and that when we work really hard, we see the blessings and learn more... I will share more on that later. We also go to the TRC and teach. We teach members there now (they used to assume a role of an investigator at the TRC but now they are just themselves so that we can just practice testifying). We teach there twice a week and 2 people each time. We also picked up two "progressing investigators," Edmundo and Fernando. Even though they are our teachers, we act as though they are investigators, and the teaching is real, so esta bien! I really love teaching, and as you can see we teach a lot. We also practice teaching each other, so we are teaching and testifying all the time and I love it.
Since everyone asked about my music calling, I might as well tell you... I got released. hahahahahahaha. Yes, you read that right. Shortest calling of my whole life! LOL. I did it for one week and I really did love it, but on Sunday, the Branch President called me in and told me that he felt that I needed to be the new coordinating sister, and so that is my new calling. The point of a coordinating sister is just to take care of the Sister missionaries in the branch and do things for them that the Zone Leaders or District Leaders can't do. For example, Elders can't interview sisters, so I do a weekly one on one interview with each of the 8 sisters in the branch to report about at Branch Council. They also obviously can't be in our residence halls, so I take care of any problems and business things there. Basically, it just means more meetings, but they are all good meetings so it's ok. Branch council and New Sisters/Coordinating Sisters meetings on Sunday, Monday leadership training, and Tuesday facility meeting with Friday being interview day. It's a blessing.
When I was released, I was really confused because I really felt that I was supposed to use music to learn Spanish, but I had faith that The Lord needed me in the other position, so I didn't think much of it. Well, one day Hna Hill and I went in for our Spanish tutor session and the tutor told us that we were doing well, but to make sure that even language study time was a Spiritual experience, and not just an educational one. So, we went to work and started studying Ch 7 of PMG about learning the language. I had 2 Nephi 31:3 written in the margin from a study I did back home, so I went there. "For my sould delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." I had always thought that this was about me learning a language so that I can then teach people in a way that they understand. However, this time I had a really strong prompting and had a great answer to prayers. The Lord will teach me according to MY language, or in other words, a way that I will understand so that I can THEN go and teach others in a way that THEY will understand. I felt strongly that my "language" is music and that I must begin using it to really learn the language. The Lord told me in my setting apart that I should do so, so why haven't I been. That's the way I have always learned best, so why not here too? It was awesome. So Hna Hill and I made a new language study plan, including hymns, words, grammar, sharing a spiritual experience in Spanish, relating scripture stories in Spanish, speaking, and reading. It's really good for us.
Spanish is going well. The other day, we made a goal to speak only Spanish for 4 hours, and we could surprisingly do it! Granted, lots of that was class time and we were listening, but our teachers only speak in Spanish so it was good.

The devotional and fireside this week were both very good. On Tuesday, Elder and Sister Hammond were here and they actually talked a lot about music and how to use it to testify, so I of course loved it! They also talked a lot about always being cheerful, so that was great.
On Sunday, my favorite quote of the fireside was "If you aren't tired, you aren't a good missionary." ha ha. Figured it described me pretty well

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Can We Eat A Prayer?"

So this week was FANTASTIC and full of tender mercies of the Lord. You are probably wondering why the subject of this e-mail was "can we eat a prayer?" Well, we are all continuing to teach Jose and Hna Binks and Hna Israelson came back from their lesson laughing hysterically and told us that they had accidentally asked if they could eat a prayer instead of say a prayer. haha. Chistoso! Hermana Hill and I are really progressing in our lessons and in our ability to teach in Spanish. We can really feel how much the Lord is magnifying us and helping us to learn. We pray daily for the gift of tongues and we work SO hard. It is really good. Hna Hill and I really like teaching together and we can really help support the testimony of the other. I have found that even though I don't know a TON of Spanish, I can usually get around what I don't know and figure out how to say what I am trying to say. I can pray, bear my testimony, teach the first lesson, and recite Joseph Smith's account of the first vision all in Spanish. I feel so blessed. I love teaching. Even though I know they aren't "real" investigators, we come to love them and really want them to accept the gospel. We strive to teach and testify with the Spirit and just be instruments in God's hands.
I have found that I have to make sure that I am using my personal study for 100% gospel study. Then I just have faith and work extra hard during language study. When I use that time well and learn and grow in the gospel, I find that my language study time really is magnified. It's truly a miracle.
My first Sunday here was absolutely amazing. I don't even know how to describe it in words. It's kind of funny, but as the music coordinator, I have to go to branch council. I don't really have much say in anything, but it was really edifying and a great experience to talk about the needs of the branch. RS here is kind of like a devotional. It was a really spiritual experience to be with all of the sisters in the MTC. You would be surprised how many are here. Our Sacrament meeting was all about faith. Our Branch President used the scripture "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief." He talked about how i have to give all of the faith that i DO have to the Lord and then ask him to help me where I lack faith and He will make up the difference. It was wonderful. We have a District Meeting for Sunday school and that was awesome. I really love my district. The Elders and Sisters and fantastic and we have set some high goals for ourselves. We will do our best. We also have firesides on Sunday nights. This one was one of the MTC Coordinators, and was about finding JOY in repenting DAILY. It really opened my eyes to more fully understand the Atonement. I know that Jesus Christ provided the way for me to repent and that it is a GIFT to repent daily. If we will ask Him to help us know what we did wrong, He will show us where we need to improve.
We have Tuesday Devotionals with a general authority, usually a 70. This week was Elder Winkel who was in the second quorum of the 70 until 2006. He is from Mt. Pleasant of all places!! Dad, do you know him? I think his first name is Richard. He talked about how we really have to KNOW Christ before we can testify of Him. He gave a simple presentation about who Christ is and His life; although it was simple, it was very powerful. After, we had a district review of the meeting and all bore our testimonies about the Savior. It was really awesome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

She's there!!!

Kailei reported to the MTC on July 6th at 1:30pm.  She was so ready and excited.  Her companion is Hermana Hill from Utah.  Her district consists of 4 sisters and 6 elders.  She has been called as the music coordinator for her branch.  Watch for more updates as the weekly emails come.