Saturday, February 14, 2015

el 13 de febrero-Last Prep Day in the MTC

i have been extremely blessed here at the MTC. let me explain why: for every week I have been set apart as a missionary, I have found a friend. the first week, it was Sister Kah and Elder Hamby in the Ogden Mission Home. The next week, it was Sister Ray and Elder Irvine headed to Boise Idaho. The following week was Moe, a friend's fiance, at the temple. Skip a week. I found Motra Henderson on my way to dinner last P-day, but I think my favorite run happened this week at the temple.

We were attempting to take a Zone selfie, which was successfully done (i will have to send the proof next week...) and I was trying to find Motra Henderson; all of sudden I hear my name. And I couldn't tell you if he called me Janelle, Hermana Graves, or Sister Graves. But he called my name, I responded "yes," looked up, and say Elder Evan Nelson standing in front of me. I have never wanted to break the missionary rules so much in my entire life. My Branch President was standing across the way, and I'm pretty sure he thought I was crazy as I screamed and got really excited and just was being me.... Elder Nelson got into the MTC last Wednesday, and leaves on Tuesday for a mission in Colorado. The Lord knew I needed a friend this week, and so he sent me Elder Nelson. 

Hna. Garfield, I, Elder Nelson and his companion.

Motra Henderson and I outside of the Provo Temple.

in other news:

-district a left, and so we spent quite a solid hour posing for pictures. 

elder muirbrook (our district leader), his companion elder jungers, and our district leaders elder wiscomb and elder ipson.

by the time we had gotten to this picture, elder ipson had posed for quite a few pictures, so we had to do a funny one and try and imitate elder ipson's glorious smile!
(elder ipson, elder wiscomb, hermana smith, hermana cornell, hermana garfield, and me)​

district c had to be cool, so they got a picture

The Zone selfie!

this picture is a little out-dated, but this is my district:
from back to front, elder jagneaux, elder muirbrook, elder jungers, elder rankin; hermana smith, me, hermana cornell, and hermana garfield.

tuesday: each week you have two service assignments, and usually on tuesdays we sisters help clean the main building on campus, one m. also, there are 33 flags that fly outside of the MTC each day, the American flag and the England flag (because the pulley system is broken) always fly. But we got to pick 31 flags to fly over the MTC! It was fantastic!! so much fun to have races to see who can crack the flag up the fastest... :) we also got the news that hermana garfield and i would be participating in "people and our purpose: part 1." the next evening.

wednesday: when you come into the MTC, after dinner your first night, they have a seminar called "people and your purpose" where you have the opportunity to have the first lesson with an investigator basically. you meet three investigators and the "old" missionaries help you get to a point where you could kind of start talking doctrine. then the moderator pauses the scene, and then the new missionaries (there are like 40 of you in a room) take over. guess which part we got to do? in english!! yeah, it was not my favorite thing to think about doing, but we got it figured out.. and we really were able to ask some great questions that I will be writing down to use in later lessons. 

before I came to the MTC, uncle curtis gave me some advice. "don't translate, just speak." and I had no idea how to do it. the first couple of weeks I was here, there was just no way I was going to understand myself. and then this past week, i figured out what he meant. if i tried to just simply speak spanish, but sentences were much more fluid and i could actually speak the language, but if i tried to translate from english to spanish, my head was a mess... needless to say, i have been trying to just speak and not translate this week.

as i prepare to leave the mtc, i thought i would share some thoughts with you:
-love your companion, you are supposed to be with her/him every waking moment. if you don't, you will be miserable.
-love your district. they maybe juvenile at times, and you don' t have to love the decisions that they are making, but that's it. those decisions are theirs to make.
-have a sit down and really get to know the district.
-go to the temple as a zone, at least once.
-there is no tree that smells like cream soda.
-the vending machines get stocked on tuesdays. (i think...)
-yes, your MTC card works at the vending machines.
-print off your emails in the morning, write responses, and then go and do emails in the afternoon.
-sack meals are great for pdays, and the mornings you have service.

and then something for mom:

Who can we pray for on your end of the world? Is there an investigator that you are leaving that could use some extra prayers? pray for the gifts of tongues and discernment, heaven knows i will need it
What has been your biggest challenge this week? in field orientation. a 9 hour seminar, all done with a pounding headache
What has been your biggest concern? i will be in a foreign country, with no ingles, in four days.
What has been your biggest success? i feel comfortable speaking the language. if i don't translate (like uncle curtis said) and just try and speak simply, my spanish is understandable and for the most part grammatically correct.
Who has been your favorite person this week & why? the Lord. we taught a lesson on Sunday to the district about having faith through trials, and the blessings that can come through enduring through those trials. 
What has been your most significant tender mercy? teachers who are willing to sit down with you and help you understand hard topics. we are focusing on the subjunctive form in spanish this week, and it just wasn't making sense. thankfully, hermano ostler took the time to kneel beside me and help me understand it a little bit better....
What are you looking forward to this coming week? this week? an exciting new adventure in Nicaragua!
Do you have a goal set for this coming week? Tell me about it? love my companion, don't drown in the spanish. memorize a new scripture
Which scripture has had the biggest impact on you this week? 3 Nephi 5:13 -- He aquí, soy discípulo de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. He llamado por él para declarar su palabra entre los de su pueblo a fin de que alcansen la vida eterna. 

this gospel is true, the book is blue, and i love you!

the tennessee Hermana

Friday, February 13, 2015

el 6 de febrero- almost Nicaragua bound!

​ten days more.... what even!

one of the sisters in my district, {who will go unnamed}, needed to go on adventure for some underclothing that they don't sell here at the MTC, so Tuesday, instead of gym time, we got ADVENTURE TIME! We went to JCPenney's and almost all of us ended up taking something home... I got a new pair of black shoes to wear on Sunday, because I realized that all of my skirts are black, and I have one pair of black shoes.... the math didn't add up.

the first couple of weeks that we were here, the sun never showed its face, so I got in the habit that when I DID see the sun, I would run up and shout to the heavens "EL SOL!" {which is Spanish for "the sun!"}.

we have the fire, for those of you who don't read spanish. and we do! our district is -almost- ready for the real world, and we have been asked to share it with all. the p.s. note is "abran sus bocas" which translates to the command to "open your mouth!" it's a running joke with our teacher, hermano ostler. 

i found one of my friends from Jackson in the MTC this week, and I was so excited I screamed! Motra Shayla Henderson is here for 9 weeks, learning Albania to go and teach the people in the Adriactic North Mission. I didn't get a chance this week for a picture, and I only have one week left, so we best get our act together. :)

We sang "Sweet Hour of Prayer" this week in the devotional and one of the things that Brother Egget said really stuck out to me. He said something to the effect of "We need to make sure that our prayers are like an ATM transaction. 'Hey it's me (insert card); I want these blessings (tell the ATM how much you want), okay thanks! (remove card, take cash) and that's it.' And that really struck me. We need to make sure that we are making our prayers meaningful. 

Fast Sundays here at the MTC are like riding a spiritual wave. Between Mission Conference, District Meeting, and the Evening Devotional, you pretty much don't stand for every long, but it's amazing. You just learn soo much! 

We are drawing near to the end with our investigators, and with one, we almost had a "Come to Jesus!" moment. We have been teaching her for four weeks, two meetings each week, and I don't feel like she progressed as much as I think she could have. After our last lesson with her, I was feeling okay, a little downtrodden, but I finally realized what was missing. "Ella no tiene fuego!" I burst out. She doesn't have the fire! I have the fire of the Gospel inside me and I can't enfore those beliefs on others. I have to let them figure it out for themselves.

I know that this gospel is true. I know that with all my heart. The people here are amazing and are only here to help you learn and grow.

i love you all more than words, and thank you so much for your words of support.
nos vamos! hermana graves

el 30 de enero

Note: The Mom is a few weeks behind for posting.

this week was a rough one. the lord works in mysterious ways and i needed a humbling week.

sunday's devotional was awesome. stephen b. allen, the managing director of the missionary department, the man literally oversaw the writing of preach my gospel and the district (some of the training material that missionaries use). he is so awesome. i have so many great notes that i just wish i could share with all of you. but, these are the best ones:

-do not be your judge and jury
-polishing is sometimes painful, but He's turning you into someone He needs you to be.
-ask yourself: was the spirit the senior companion today? or the junior companion? or was he even in the companionship today?

elder irvine left the mtc on tuesday, and monday night he caught me outside of my dorm. after some well wishes, he looked me square in the eye and asked me: do you need anything from me? and it hit me, this elder has it figured out; what this mission is all about. it's not about us going out and sharing the gospel. it's about being the lord's hands. being in tune with the spirit and knowing what others need.

tuesday, larry kacher, from the second quorum of the seventy, came and it was another great devotional.

-what do you do to give yourself to the Lord?
-are you trusted of the Lord?
-make sure you represent the Lord to the missionaries, not the missionaries to the Lord.
-everything is done according to your faith.
-if the spirit is not present, i have the authority to invite the Spirit into the room.

hermana nistler loves this face, so we of course they had to do their best impressions...

the cutest sisters in the mtc: hermana cornell, hermana nistler, hermana garcia, hermana millett, himself, hermana garfield, and hermana smith

some of the elders in our zone. this is just so totally them.
elder coltrin, elder muirbrook, elder rue, elder jungers, elder ipson, elder poulson, and elder rankin

i love this gospel and i love the learning experiences that i am having here. it's going to be a great week. this church is true!