Hello dearest family and amigos! This week marks my halfway point in this crazy experience that we call the MTC. Also happy P-day, something always worth celebrating. I think tonight as Sisters in the district we are going to make a pinata (a trashbag filled with candy to celebrate). Sounds so swell:)
As always, thank you so much for your emails, dear elders, prayers, and telepathic sendings of love-all are so appreciated! It is so nice to hear from you. It is so fun to hear about how well KC sports are going! Jared made me cackle because in his letter he wrote that Obama made a comment about their amazing successes and it was the only thing he’s agreed with him about 🙂 I can’t believe that Camille and Bryant get home this week! Give them big hugs for me!
General conference this week was definitely a highlight- it was so amazing and spiritually uplifting! And for sure a nice break from our rigorous class schedule. I loved Elder Bednar’s talk- it was so applicable! I also loved Elder Goodoy and Robbins. One of my favorite though was Elder Uchdorf’s in the women’s session- it was so cool about our eternal potential. I really learned through conference how to be a better disciple. It’s also crazy because the whole time during conference I thought about our investigators, it was like every talk was about Claire! ALSO big shout out to our two elders who sang in general conference during the Priesthood session! We felt like their mothers, so proud of them singing the wonderful missionary songs. And crazy-ness, Elder Hunter (more about him later), who we saw in the Nauvoo pageant, is so talented and was the elder who sang the solo at the beginning of “ye elders of Israel.” He’s somewhat of an MTC celebrity now, so talented!
So in my past emails I have written things that have happened in the MTC but not a lot of specific stories. The next part of this email will just be comprised of random stories/ tender mercies that have happened! I love the MTC, it has helped me grow spiritually and our district is so united and close. Okay, here goes!
–In Dutch to say “how are you”, you can say “hoe is het” which sounds like “who is it” in English. So one of the first times we spoke with our investigator Judith, she answered the door and said “how are you” but I thought she was saying “who is it” and so I responded enthusiastically in Dutch “It’s the missionaries!” She laughed and let us in and I didn’t realize my mistake until much later.
–Another funny Dutch story – I had a “ELDER THAT AIN’T THE LANGUAGE THEY TAUGHT ME IN THE MTC” moment! last week we got to do TRC for the first time(not to be confused with TLC and all it’s cake boss and honey boo boo wonders), where you get to go teach lessons to Native Dutch speakers-most of them are old people and so sweet! So our first time, Zuster Johansen and I went in to teach this nice older gentleman about obedience. His voice was deep and he spoke really quickly so it was hard to understand him but for the most part we at least knew what he was saying. Then we asked him,. “How have you seen the blessing of obedience in your life?” Suddenly, he seriously starts telling us a story about his days in Vietnam and it was seriously hilarious because Sister Johanson and I had NO IDEA what he was saying. We maybe knew two words, five tops. Most of the time that would make us feel despaired, but in this moment it was hilarious!
–I want to tell a funny story about how hilarious our elders are but I can’t think of a way to put on ein words-bacially they keep us laughing. And we don’t know whose accent is stronger- Elder Hunter’s Scottish or Elder Silva’s Portuguese! They are both so kind and spiritually strong though.
–Funny story about Sister Johanson – when you go in the gym, you have to take off your name tag and put it in a cubby, and one day after leaving the gym, she accidentally took an Elder’s. She wore it for a couple of hours and no one even noticed! We even took a picture that morning – so I have it documented when she was an elder!! She was so mortified:)
–In our district, we call tender mercies “pop tart moments” because one night when Zuster Johanson was having a really rough time I gave her a not and poptart which she described as manna from heaven. So good things, are poptarts!)
–Sister Twiggs has been feeling a lot better! We have been praying for her a lot. But what really helped was the combined faith of the elders in our distirct who have given her blessings and fasted for her one day this week. Her improvement has been incredible.
–I’ve been able to see SO many people that I know in the MTC! Like it is crazy – at least 8 people from my student ward, people I knew from BYU (like a teacher here who was in my stats class!), people I met from EFY, Maggie Brown and Andre Fuller from our stake, the list goes on and on! It is amazing to see so many good people enlisted in God’s army! Speaking of crazy connections- I learned new things about Elder Hunter this week-he basically has done so many performance things in the church. You know that wonderful song Kiki sang at my farewell “Come unto Christ?” He is the one in the music video playing the piano! He also told me that all of the people singing in the music video – their stories are true! To audition for the video, you had to include a description on how coming closer to Christ has helped in your life, so they are acting our their own stories – incredible! Also Elder Hunter and I realized that we had met each other before–family-remember how I went on that roadtrip with strangers (haha) to see that performance in St. George that Andrew from my ward was in? As it turns out, we met each other after the show but neither of us remembered that experience until a couple of days ago! Crazy times.
–We learned how to sing “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam” in Dutch and it always cheers us up!
–I have learned so much about faith here. In order for me to learn the language, I have to have faith that God could help me and I can do this. We’ve struggled with one of our investigators but we have to learn to have faith that she can change and use her agency for the better!
–Speaking of Claire, we had an amazing lesson with her this week! Zuster Johanson and I have amazing experiences on how the Spirit can guide us as we prepare lessons to our specific people we are teaching
–This week for devotional Vai Sikahema came and spoke to us (who apparently is some big whig football/TV star) so that was cool and so so inspiring!
–Sister Johanson and I have grown so close in our service with each other. I have come to love and appreciate her SO much! We can’t wait to welcome in the Danes.
There are a million more things I wish I could tell you, so sorry I rant so much in these emails:) Ik hou van julie! Thank you for everything! You make life so amazing!
Love, Zuster Joshlin Manning