Hello, beautiful people!
Happy December! It doesn’t quite feel like December yet here in Provo, for which I’m grateful. I’ll be seeing plenty of snow during my mission and am in no rush for it to get here 🙂 Although the Christmas spirit is definitely here. I love how Christmas is the time when we can change a complete stranger’s life and not get too much attention for it because everybody knows it’s a gift to our God. For all of you Utah people, I’d recommend you listen to 98.7 (on the radio) when they do their “12 Days of Christmas” specials in the mornings. They pretty much find people with ridiculously sad sob stories and CHANGE. THEIR. LIVES. I would listen to it every day driving up to work and bawl my eyes out. It really made me want to get outside of myself and bless somebody I don’t even know.
The MTC is still the happiest place on earth, the Spanish is still improving (I’m speaking it a lot faster now) and the church is still true. Big surprise there. Another district in our zone left Mondy to the Arizona Tucson Mission (my second-favorite mission!), and it was both a happy and sad day. I love those Elders so much and there’s less laughter without them. But I’m so excited for them to start teaching the gospel. I know they’re going to be awesome. Oh, and we get 3 new Hermanas in our zone today. It’s going to be great! And I loved the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday. Ruth had a good camera moment 🙂
Elder Taylor, and Elder Dayley (and me in the middle).
Now that our district has a firm basis of Spanish comprehension, we’re really focusing on the fundamentals of missionary work and Preach my Gospel, like applying the doctrine of Christ to our missionary purpose, the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion, and revelation through prayer, the Book of Mormon, and Church attendance. One really effective tool we use in learning how to teach, testify, and invite is role playing, or as I call it, “real playing”. We think of people in our lives whom we love and whom we want to see join the church and be them as investigators.
If you know me, you know that I LOVE this stuff. Finding that investigator inside me is quite an experience. Even though I, Hermana Ball, know the gospel and know what my companion is teaching, I’ve been blessed to feel the same legitimate confusion and experience the internal struggles and thought processes that this investigator I’m playing would have. It’s a true method acting experience, and it’s so so so fun to do. I’ve used two friends from back home as the investigator I’m playing and sometimes it’s hard to switch back to Hermana Ball. So, if I’m doing nothing else here in the MTC, you can rest assured that I’m strengthening my acting chops.
Joking. Here’s what I’ve learned as a MISSIONARY from these experiences:
- There’s a lot going on inside the mind and heart of an investigator and they’ll only reveal to the missionaries a fraction of this (so I shouldn’t be disheartened when it APPEARS an investigator isn’t internalizing what we teach)
- Better insight into the confusion, questions, and concerns an investigator might have and how to thus adapt my teaching
- Investigators are real people with real lives and real feelings. Everybody tries to do what they think is right. This knowledge has helped me feel more love as I teach.
- The Holy Ghost is the REAL teacher, 1000%.
Another cool thing worth sharing is how many stories I hear about how these “investigators” we play come closer to the gospel IN REAL LIFE as missionaries teach “them” in the MTC. I hope that makes sense. But it’s kind of like teaching by proxy. But you hear story after story after story about how the “person” somebody taught actually started coming to church or was baptized or quit smoking (if that was what was taught in the lesson). There are enough stories from teachers here that I choose to believe them and hope that the work I’m doing here will bless my family and friends back home.
I want you all to know that I’m being changed here in the MTC. Yesterday as I was reading in Helaman 10 it occurred to me that I do truly want to seek the will of the Lord in EVERYTHING I do and put my own desires aside. And I can feel this happening slowly but surely. I’ve got a long way to go in losing my life in God but the Spirit testifies to me that through Christ’s atonement I can have a complete change of heart. I want you all to know that I KNOW that God is real and His power can heal us. I know that His church has been restored in its FULNESS today and this knowledge brings me so much joy. I’m just so happy all the time as I truly commit 100% of my efforts to the Lord. God is good. So, so good.
Switching gears. I’m so glad that Ziggy Ansah is getting attention from Sports Illustrated. I really like him. Not only is he great at football, but he is so NICE! He always seemed to be so grateful to have the opportunity to play football. And he was always very courteous to the media and made it seem like it was HIS pleasure to talk to me. So he’s on top of my list. I’m not happy to hear about the 49ers. But I’m still a Kaepernick fan. I’m glad the Giants resigned Pagan, although I’m not sure about 4 years. And I really really hope Scutaro is good this year, but in my mind he feels like a Cody Ross. I think we’ll trade him within the next two years. Just my opinion. Also, thanks for letting me know that Melissa and Tony won Dancing with the Stars. Oh wait, that was intended for the email I’m sending to Hermana Hansen’s family 😉
Shout out to Dan and Diana for their letter. It was totally unexpected and a delight to receive. Tell the gang I say “hi” and send Mr. Speilberg my regards.
I truly love you all and know that God loves you even more!
Love and light,