Sunday, August 11, 2013

Staying one more week

August 11, 2013

Dear Family,

Hola!  I am doing well.  I can’t wait to leave.  They sell ties here, and the price ranges from 80 cents to 4 dollars in American money, so I’ve picked up a few more. 
¿Por qué no?  I am really happy to get into the field. 

Thank you for the dear elder letters.  They haven’t finished sorting all of today’s mail, so I will check tomorrow for mail.  I got an email from my Mission President or his wife actually, about entering Chile.  I like that kind of stuff.  Nobody has told me anything about when I am leaving.  I am fairly certain (87.45% certain) that I will be flying out on Monday.  I am trying to not repeat myself between snail mail and email, so this is short today. 

The facilities here are marvelous.  Although this is the newest MTC, these buildings are probably older than any of the other MTCs.  There isn’t air conditioning in the apartments.  My apartment is really close to the wall, so it can be hard to fall asleep, especially with all the honking.  The police are everywhere in this city… second to taxi companies and drug cartels, the police force is probably the biggest employer.  A few nights ago, about twenty police vehicles raced by, all with sirens blaring.  None of the police cars ever turn their lights off.  Even if they aren’t pulling someone over, they still have their lights on, all the time.  It is odd.  

I talk with native Spanish speakers every day, and I can usually understand most of what they say, and say most of what I want to say.  The Latinos I’ve roomed with say my Spanish is good, that they understand me.  I am hopeful that I can learn more.  I would like to tell you that I am leading the district in both speaking and understanding, but there is still a lot that I don’t know.  

My testimony is growing; Joseph Smith was a real prophet.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the true church. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet.  I love you all so very much. 

I love you all, more than the number of spoonfuls of cereal I’ve eaten in the last 6 weeks!  Thanks so much for all your love and support. 

I really do love you all, 
Elder Withers

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for writing me and keeping me updated on stuff.  I love hearing from everyone.  This has been another terrific week.  So, yes!  I am here for one more week.  I confess I was a little bummed to get one letter that said, "Hey, we have a reassignment coming for you this week, will keep you posted!”  to "Actually sorry about that...we need you to stay one more week and eat our ice cream and learn more Spanish."  It's all for a reason, but Thursday was a little long as I kept letting myself fantasize what next week will be like....and I must not have a very good imagination.  There are 3 missionaries leaving from our district next week.  On Monday we have one going to Paraguay and one going to Chile, and one more going to Eugene Oregon.  There is one missionary staying for visitor’s center training, and then there are us 6 Rosarioites who have been chosen to stay one more week.  I got rid of the original disappointment and am ready to take on this next week.  It is going to be soooo fun and I get to learn cool stuff for one more week. 

On Friday, the MTC has what is called In-Field Orientation, which is like a last hurrah meeting thing for all of the missionaries getting ready to leave the following week.  Everyone in there was leaving except for like 12 of us (as far as I could tell).  I kept getting asked when and where I was going...and I was just like "Oh… hey, there were too many of you who are leaving, that they had to pick some of us to stay and party without you...I don't know when I am leaving, but Bye!"  I felt as though I was a new missionary who didn't know anything and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So that made yesterday long and hard too.  Over 450 missionaries leaving, and all I heard about all day was every one's flight plans. never goes like you think it will.  Even when you think you have everything figured out, there is never a guarantee and often the Lord has a bigger and better plan, we just have to let Him give it to us, and then follow it faithfully. 

I hosted again this last Wednesday, and it was crazy.  Over 850 missionaries entered that day, and I'm willing to bet that way more than 1/2 were Elders.  THERE WERE SO MANY ELDERS.  It was AWESOME!  But it also meant that I only got to host one Sister (who was going to France) because there just weren't that many Sisters entering this week.  I think the graduation effect is in full swing, and all of the Elders who just got out of High School are starting to come in at full speed. 

I keep hearing people say this line, "Are you going to make excuses, or are you going to make it happen?"  I LOVE THAT QUOTE.  It can be really easy to justify laziness.  And laziness is not the way of the Lord.  The more time I have spent serving my mission the more I have learned... that time is going to pass no matter how you serve, so it might as well be done right.  Not everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows...but having faith that the work can get done, instead of making excuses to not do it will result in so many blessings. 

Last Monday morning, we were getting ready to start class and our teacher said, "Lets have a power walking contest around this floor."  So we did!  And it was so fun!  I'm sure we all looked ridiculous with our grandma arms going as fast as we could swing them, but it was so fun.  And of course the 6 foot Elders won...but we should all just agree that they cheated with their genetic advantage because they have much longer legs.   

The other night (not sure which specifically) my companion and I and the other Hermanas built a blanket fort with extra blankets from the two unoccupied beds.  We shoved all the junk food from packages in there, and at the end of each day, we spend roughly 10 minutes just eating, talking and decompressing.  It is so much fun and I love to go from that to writing in my journal, to prayers, to starting fresh the next day.  It is an excellent system :)

Last Saturday, I learned what missionary work is all about.  There is a HUGE painting of Christ, teaching the disciples in the main building.  And the whole time, all I could do was stare at Jesus feet.  Thinking about what He did, where He went, who He taught...and the thought hit me like a bus, I AM FILLING CHRIST’S SHOES.  I wear his  name on my heart along with mine, and together we are serving.  I am doing what He would do if He were here, and quite literally filling his shoes.  It is just a cool thought for me to think about, and now every time I see paintings of Christ here I can't help but look at His feet, smile, and get super excited to be in the field finding and teaching real people.

On Sunday, we had a devotional...and the speaker was JENNY OAKS BAKER.  My MTC experience has been incredible, but that really put the cherry on top of the whole deal.  She would talk for like 3 or 4 minutes, and then play beautiful violin arrangements of hymns (I know that My Redeemer Lives, Amazing Grace, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and more).  It was the best devotional yet.  Her kids also played I am a Child of God together and it was so good and super cute. 

On Friday, we got to talk to the real Luis, investigator that our teacher has been acting as.  It was so cool!  He is from Puerto Rico, and I couldn't understand anything he was saying, but it was still cool to listen to him. 

 I just think it should be documented that the Elders in my district are such gentleman.  They have always held the doors open and offer seats all the time, but lately they have been taking our trays after meals for us, so that we don't have to go into the disgusting dish room that smells SO BAD.  The cafeteria people can never be paid enough money, because it smells awful in there, and lately we haven't had to go in!  It's so awesome!

Another thing I keep hearing around here at the MTC is, "autograph your work with excellence."  Good one, huh?  I love it.  At the MTC we are all serving and doing the Lord's work full time, but there is something to be said of doing right, and "autographing it with excellence."  And also I hear "Your future is as bright as your faith."  Which is so awesome for me to hear often.  Sometimes I let myself freak out about potentially difficult companions, areas, etc... and I have learned that thinking that way is garbage.  Everything will be just fine, THE HARD PART IS HAVING FAITH. 

Thanks for all of your love and support, I love you more than all of the sand in the seas,
 Hermana Withers

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca's letter helped me on my way today. A mission is a metaphor for life and I found parallels.