Friday, March 8, 2013

MTC Life

Hey Mama!

This week has been a roller coaster ride. I'm not even going to play with ya. This mission is the hardest thing I've ever done, but the greatest. For realsies.

Luckily we had some amazing devotionals/firesides. The Provo Temple President came and THREW DOWN! He talked about some seriously sacred topics. I hope your picking up what I'm throwing down. I was seriously the coolest thing. Everyone was so reverent, and the Spirit was there and he spoke very openly, but respectfully about the temple and how important it is to the children of God, but also us as missionaries. It was so cool. There are SERIOUS reasons why missionaries go through the temple before they go on their missions. I always knew there were deeper reasons than I understood, and there are even more, but he shared some. This is stuff you'll just have to read later from my journal because I don't really want to email about them. :)


After devotionals on Sundays, they offer us like 4 different movies and/or talks for us to watch, so our District chose to watch 'Characteristics of Christ' by- David A Bednar. It was from when he came to speak at the MTC on Christmas. I don't know if you'll be able to find the transcript, or tape to it (because MTC devotionals are special, and not for the masses), but if you can, try to find it, okay? I learned so much about Christ. SO MUCH! My whole life changed because of that one talk, Mom. My whole life. How I live my life will never be the same. He talked about how if you study your scriptures every single day, you will NEVER fall away from the church, and it made me think of my patriarchal blessing, because it gives me some warnings that I have just been pondering in my heart and THAT WAS MY ANSWER. Read your scriptures and you'll be okay. :) Then, he also talked about how Christ even when He was in the depths of pain, He always looked outward. I want to do that. I'm trying to do that. I'm not perfect, don't get me wrong, but I'm going to try so hard to be more Christ-like. Which leads me to my next point.

Elder Bednar said that if you take a normal blue copy of the Book of Mormon and have a question in your heart, or that is troubling you...ask the question and then read it cover to cover underlining things you find throughout it that give answers to your question, then when you are done write in pencil a short paragraph about your question, and the answers that came through your study, and your testimony in the front the time we get to be his age I'll have HUNDREDS of copies, and I'll not only have a testimony of the restored Gospel, but I'll begin to be REALLY converted to the Gospel. It's amazing. He promised that through desire, and diligence I will have an increased understanding of the true character of Christ, and every available spiritual blessing. It was absolutely amazing.

I've also learned on my mission (like Elder J Jarnagin- thanks Mom for forwarding me his letters) that I am hard on myself. I need to work on that. I need to work on loving myself. My Branch President mentioned some things to me (Ether 12:27 to be specific) and I know I need to work on accepting myself as a mortal human being and just do my best. It was really insightful. Our Branch President out here is a man of God. He is incredible. :)

So yes...this week has been rough. I got my feelings hurt and it was really hard for me. I felt very lonely for a couple of days. But don't worry, I'm great now. I just miss you Mom and how you'd always hold me, even though I'm grown, and your hugs in the mornings. That always made me feel better. Here though...I felt alone. But then...I had an amazing spiritual experience in...THE SHOWER! Not kidding, one of THE most tender experiences:

The showers here have terrific acoustics. All the showers are in one big room, but are separated by walls, and curtains. The Sisters love to sing in there. So one night, late, I was taking a shower and I could hear that there weren't many showers running because it was kinda all quiet in there, and I started to sing 'A Child's Prayer'. You know the one that goes;

Heavenly Father are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.

Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.

---I was feeling so alone and I just wanted to know that Heavenly Father loved me. I'm tearing up now as I am writing this, just FYI, anyways...I sang the first verse, and then the second verse...and then ya know how on the third verse it's a duet and two people sing the two verses at the same time? Well, some random Sister somewhere in the room started singing the other part while I sang the top part:

She sang this while I sang the other two verse simultaneously.

Pray: He is there;
Speak, He is listening.
You are His child;
His love now surrounds you.

He hears your prayer;
He loves His children.
Of such is the kingdom,
The kingdom, of heaven.

---And I just started to cry. I mean, I started to choke up WHILE SINGING in the shower because I knew Heavenly Father could hear me singing. I knew He was there and could hear my prayers, and could also feel my pain and loneliness. I knew at that moment that I wasn't really alone, and that simple Primary Hymn was a prayer to the Lord (D & C 25:12). It was just a moment of peace and confirmation that Heavenly Father is always there for me. Always.

Okay- one last thing because I have about 2 minutes left. We had an amazing talk from Marcos A Aidukaitus. He basically broke down the three kingdoms and told us that we can choose which one we will go to. I had never thought of it like that. I can choose which Kingdom of Glory I inherit. So, he said we need to choose today which one we want to go to, because once we choose which Kingdom we want to inherit, ALL other decisions in the world are simpler. So, I picked the Celestial Kingdom. He said he wanted us to go home and write in HUGE letters in our journal so it can easily be found when flipping through the pages. He said write it down in HUGE letters in your journal so that your posterity knows that you CHOSE where you are going and that you know where it is you want to go, and they can follow you there. So I picked two blank pages side-by-side in my journal and wrote in HUGE block letters, "I CHOOSE CELESTIAL!"

I love it here. I love everything I am learning. THIS is where I am supposed to be!

Now a bit of quick business: I'm sorry I have been spending money at the BYU Bookstore. I've been buying things like a laundry bag, better pens, some highlighters, a black undershirt, etc. And like 3 of the Elders in my District (like, my favorite ones) got real sick, and so I bought them some powerade, sprite, and pepto bismol, and stuff, and an anti diarrheal  med for Elder B. Bless his heart. They were SOOOO grateful.

I love it here, Mom and Dad. I love these people. I love this language. Our whole District has been improving drastically with our Spanish. Mom, I'm getting pretty good at it. I'm awful at grammar, but I can teach well! :)

Sister Moore found me. I was in line at the cafeteria and she came up and put her arm around my shoulder, and I was like...."WAIT A MINUTE!" hahah but then I turned around and was SUPER happy to see her. Obvi.

I love my WHOLE family. I don't want any empty chairs. I love this gospel. Jesus Christ died for my sins, and for the whole world. All we have to do is have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. So simple, yet so amazing. I love you.

~Hermana Dodge~

PS- Ask Grandpa if he could get me some cream colored Toms instead...size 8 and 1/2 would be great! I also need more stamps please, and little no-show socks. :) Thank you!

A little silliness too. Hah!
Hermana Barnes, Me, and Hermana Clifton
I ran into Elder Christensen who is a friend of Erika.
Yeah! This is for you Erika! :)

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