Saturday, August 17, 2013

Washington DC South!!!

August 17, 2013

Dear Family,

I finally have a ticket out of the MTC!  Our district has felt anything but wanted this last week.  The mail people almost gave away our mailbox, the Elders beds were almost given to new missionaries, and one of our teachers went on vacation to California.  BUT, this week was also really great.  On Sunday, we went to Music and the Spoken Word, and one of the songs the choir sang was "You are Never Alone" from the Broadway musical "Carousel" which has the song that says..."When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark..." I don't remember the rest of the words, but I loved hearing that song :) and it reminded me of Dad :)

Also last Sunday our district sang "How Great Thou Art" acapella, and in Spanish for Sacrament meeting.  It was cool!  And after Sunday devotional, the Elders gave each other and us Hermanas priesthood blessings before some of them left.  It was cool. 

Something cool I learned this week is that my mission experience is like an MTC for the rest of my life, and the next.  Everything I learn while serving is a lesson for my whole life.  And also missionary work is like gardening.  If you are worthy, the Lord lets you serve in His garden. Some missionaries pull weeds, others pull out rocks, some fertilize, some plant seeds, and some pick the fruit....but it doesn't matter at which point a missionary finds themselves serving...BECAUSE IT IS ALL THE SAME WORK.  I just think it is cool to think about.

This last week, while teachers were fumbling for things to teach our district, we practiced door contacts.  And it was so fun!  Our teacher took on the role of a very bitter ex-member and getting in was difficult.  She slammed the door a couple of times, but just like Thomas Edison found all the ways to not make a light bulb....during this experience I found all the ways to not door contact.  What works best for my companion and I is to knock on the door, look them squarely in the eye for the ENTIRE CONTACT and with power, confidence, boldness, and sincere belief in what we are teaching...have one of us say, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ....can we come in?"  Less is most often more, and if Christ were knocking on these doors, he would probably be invited in nearly every time.  I can be invited in every time too, but I need to make the first impression good.

On Tuesday we had choir practice and it was sweet.  We sang Jesus Once of Humble Birth.  We all knew someone important was coming because the floor was decorated to the nines.  When the leaders were starting to walk in, I think every missionary was sitting on the edge of their seat, anxious to see who it is...like kids waiting for Santa to come around the corner.  And who was speaking?  ELDER RICHARD G. SCOTT.  It was so awesome.  He had an awesome message about prayer, and I made sure to take good notes.  At every devotional, the opening hymn is always “Called to Serve”, and it is so fun to sing that with so many other missionaries in the Marriott Center.  After the devotional was over, it was dead silent and no one seemed to move a muscle.  Elder Scott yelled out, "Be Good" and all the missionaries incredibly in unison, yelled back "We Love You!"  It was cool :)

So I am headed to Washington DC South for a while and I am super excited!  I am starting to wonder if my Spanish is sufficient for the outside world and not just the MTC. Here, we have like "special MTC Spanish" meaning we say things like "como un jefe" which means "what a boss" and "solamente vive una ves" which means "you only live once" and "pues pues pues, que tenemos aqui"  which is supposed to mean "well well well, what do we have here?"  and the most random of them all is "oh mi gato" which translates into "oh my cat."  I am fairly certain that our MTC Spanish doesn't exist or directly translate into anything in the outside world.

Okay, so here is something that is funny.  The MTC lets people volunteer to help with stuff, like conduct the gathering hymns and hymns during the meeting for the devotionals.  There is one particular volunteer who is so funny...and by funny I think she is so frustrated with how we sing. There are almost 3000 people in one room trying to follow her command, and it’s hard to stay together all the time, especially because she sometimes picks hymns that no one knows.  She tries so hard to get us to stay together, and then during the parts you would have a natural tendency to sing loud...she always wants us to sing above a whisper.  So during Onward Christian Soldiers, we sing normal, and then at the chorus she tries to force a whisper....and it fails every time.  The idea of leading a bunch of missionaries to sing quietly has the word fail written over it already...but guess what?  She doesn't just keep going, she stops the whole show.  She says, "ohp, ohp"  I think we can do better than that.  She makes the organist stop, makes us start over, and it’s crazy.  We never get to hear music, so when we get to sing it’s so awesome and we don't really care what we sound like, but this lady is so determined to make us sound good.  Maybe one day she can leave this place happy.


I get to go to the temple today, I am so excited!  Keep me posted on everything!
I love you all more than the number of hours I have spent studying these last 7 weeks,
Hermana Withers


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