Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week 1: The MTC (otherwise known as the new Disneyland)

Hello everyone!

Wow! Where to even begin? First of I love the MTC so much! Everyone is so nice and helpful and it's just so great! Whoever said that Disneyland was the happiest place on Earth lied. It's really the MTC! I don't think I've ever smiled as much as I do here. There is such an amazing spirit here and it totally changes you. I love being a missionary!

Ok so I'll tell you a little about my district. They're the ones we spend all day everyday with in the classroom. First is my amazing companion, Sis. Dastrup. She's from Provo and she's also going to NH-MAN. She is just so amazing! We compliment each other so well! Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He put us together. I learn so much from her everyday. The other sisters in our district are also going to NH-MAN. They are Sis. Eddington (from Broken Arrow, OK) and Sis. Tucker (from Snowflake, AZ). We have four Elders in our district and they are Elder Craig (from Gilbert, AZ), Elder Taylor (from British Columbia, Canada), Elder King (from Murray, UT) and Elder O'Brien (from Alberta, Canada). I'm so sad, because the Elders are all going to the Canada Halifax Mission, so I won't see them after the MTC. :(  But I love my district so much! We have some amazing discussions in class, and we are super close! It's such a blessings to have a district that gets along so well, and I'm so grateful for them and the amazing examples they are to me!

At the MTC I thought that I would be learning how to be a better teacher and teaching techniques, but that is not why we're here. As a missionary, my purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." Right from the very first day at the MTC we learned that our purpose it to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them. Everyone has specific needs that need to be met, and everyone needs to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. But it's up to us as missionaries to find that need and tailor the lessons to fit their personal needs.

Here we do lots of role playing to practice teaching. Right now Sis. Dastrup and I are teaching Paul (he's really our teacher, Bro. Barton, but he takes on the role of Paul (someone he met on his mission, as we teach him. Hope that makes sense!). We first visited with Paul on Thursday to get to know him and we taught our first lesson on Friday. We felt strongly to teach him the message of The Restoration (the first discussion) and it went really well. Then yesterday we taught him and we had a "member" present (just another on of the teachers, Bro. Christensen). Bro. Christensen asked so many great questions to figure out exactly what Paul needs. Sis. Dastrup and I planned on teaching The Gospel of Jesus Christ. But as we asked him more questions we found that he's trying to quit smoking and the message he really needed to hear was the Atonement. We testified that Christ can help us with whatever we're going through and He wants us to ask Him for help. The spirit was so strong and it was such an amazing lesson! That's the tricky part about missionary work is finding that need and then letting the spirit be the teacher.

Sis. Dastrup and I have another investigator at the TRC (teaching resource center). Her name is Devon and we tried to get to know her last night to figure out what message she needed to hear. Only problem is Sis. Dastrup and I forgot to pray as a companionship before the lesson and we forgot to say an opening prayer! So we didn't have the spirit at all with us in the lesson and it was not good. We just lectured rather than taught. Bro. Christensen told us earlier yesterday that if we keep asking the investigator questions, they will tell us what they need to be taught. It's so true! And the spirit is the one who helps so much with that! So we learned a valuable lesson last night that 1) pray always! You'd think we'd remember since we say like 20 prayers every day! D&C 42:14 says, "And the spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the spirit ye shall not teach." 2) Don't just find someting you think you can teach and run with it. If you plow right through a lesson, all you do is push the investigator to the side. As missionaries we are called to be representatives of Christ and to be their friend. But we have to rely on the spirit when we teach. 

We had an amazing devotional on Sunday night from Pres. and Sis. Worthen (the new BYU president and his wife). Pres. Worthen talked about being a missionary with power and authority. We get our authority because we are called of God, and we get power when we keep our covenants, are faithful, and obedient. Heavenly Father did not call us to be successful and he will not let us fail. As long as we are faithful and obedient we will be blessed. 

Another great thing we've done as a district is read from The Book of Mormon together. One of the fundamentals of teaching is being able to receive revelation from The Book of Mormon. We started at the very beginning (a very good place to start!) and read as a district. I have learned so much from the few chapters that we have read. It's amazing the things you can learn when you really "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3). I challenge all of you to apply this to your study of the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon. Take time to really ponder the things you read and apply them to your own life (1 Nephi 19:23). I can promise you that there is a certain spirit you will feel when you study The Book of Mormon. It is life changing and it's the greatest feeling ever!

This afternoon we have the opportunity to go to the Provo temple, and Elder Taylor is receiving his endowments! (I don't think there's a temple close to him in Canada, so he's going here!) Our district is so excited to be there with him! I love going to the temple! Please go to the temple as often as you can. It will bless your life so much!

Ok well sorry for writing like the great American novel, but the MTC is just so amazing! I have learned so much and I wish I could tell you everything! I love all of you and pray for you every day! I feel so blessed to be here. I love being a missionary! This is The Lord's work and it is the greatest work there is. I love you and hope you have an amazing week!

Love, Sister Harper

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