Hermana Ball has been issued an Honorable Medical Release from her full-time mission. She is grieving her release but hopes to recover and return to the field with time. She asks for space and privacy at this time but thanks everyone for their support these past two months.
Hello, beautiful people!
Oh man. Wasn’t part of the whole missionary deal that the world wouldn’t change at all while I’m gone? Robin’s home, Cameron’s engaged (4 months on the dot!) and girls 3 grades younger than me are getting their mission calls? I don’t know that I’m totally comfortable with all of this change!
Okay. So. Last Sunday we got a new counselor in the Branch Presidency, Brother Chambers. And by a series of miraculous remembrances we figured out that his son, Scott, was Uncle Brian’s roommate and did the infamous Hanz & Franz skit with him, and knew my parents from the Singles Ward. It was pretty hilarious, Sister Chambers and I were exchanging Stanford 3rd Ward stories like we were actually there; everybody was looking at us like we were crazy.
Everybody leaves for the field tomorrow! Ergo today is P-day and I’m writing you on a Monday. This Wednesday I start my Visitor’s Center training, which will be conducted both here at the MTC and at Temple Square. I’m really excited! I found another Sister is my mission doing VC training, and she said that her friend just got back from our mission and spent about half her time in the Park City Genealogy Center. So that may or may not be the plan for me. That would actually be a huge tender mercy for me in many many ways. Plus I am a BOSS at Family History. So I’m excited to find out what’s in store for me.
This week I started reading the New Testament with everybody in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission. I’ve loved the Spirit that has accompanied me as I’ve pondered more on our Savior and wondered about my role in the grand scheme of His Gospel. I’ve been thinking about how building the kingdom of God is like building a temple. Christ is the rock of our salvation. He is the chief cornerstone of the gospel. But there are so many other stones required to build a temple of the Lord. There’s a Christian song called “Upon this Rock” that invites each of us to be a disciple of the Lord and build His kingdom. (Side note: Kristin Chenoweth sang this on her last tour and after the concert in Berkeley everybody was saying how it was their favorite song. The religious song. In Berkeley. It was that powerful.) There’s a line in the song that says “If you will give your life away with nothing in return, then you are where my kingdom will begin.” That’s what Christ’s disciples did, and that’s what missionaries do. We give our whole lives to the Lord for 2 years for little or no reward. But we are the beginning of the kingdom of God in the respective areas we are called to. And each missionary is like a brick in the temple. If I were to abandon my call and go home, a portion of the Lord’s kingdom would be unbuilt and there would be a gaping hole in the wall of the temple. The work I’m doing is so important. I am a disciple of the Lord. I have been foreordained to this work. Like Peter, I am a rock that builds the kingdom of the Lord upon the foundation which is Christ. And I will willingly lose my life in the Lord’s work so that others may be blessed.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, I pulled my first MTC semi-prank. I was in the cafeteria talking to the MTC President a few days ago and in the middle of our conversation I turned around, yelled to everybody in the cafeteria that it was President Brown’s birthday, and led the 1000+ people in singing Happy Birthday. It wasn’t his birthday. But now I’m his favorite missionary in the MTC. It was HILARIOUS.
T minus 9 days until I hit the field. Thanks for everything y’all do; you are truly the Lord’s hands!
Yours in Christ,
First off, funny story. I was in the gym on the stationary bike, reading my Libro de Mormon, when Hermana Jeromin commented about something on the televisions. So I look up and there is Casey up on the screen. I don’t know how long they’ve been showing that Alex Boye music video but I guess it could be said that Casey has been at the MTC longer than I have! Speaking of which, my official guess for his mission is France Leon. I’m so excited for him to get his call! Missions are THE BEST.
So today is the first day of a new era of missionary work! The young’uns start coming in today in masses. The MTC curriculum is changing, the time schedules are totally different, and the work is truly being hastened! What an exciting time to be a missionary!
We’ve committed both of our MTC investigators to be baptized. Vanesa is a senior in high school, wants to become a teacher, and has a 2-year-old daughter. She has felt the Holy Ghost as we’ve taught her and really desires to have its influence in her life consistently. Which just happens to be a blessing of baptism. She really tries to understand and apply The Book of Mormon and believes that the Lord will bless her as she keeps the commandments. She has a difficult life but knows that God will ease her burdens. Our other investigator’s name is Angel, and he is golden. God has truly prepared him to receive the Gospel. He’s Christian and has studied the Bible his whole life but has felt like all the church he’s been to are too much “de hombres.” His testimony came through The Book of Mormon, which I know will be an anchor for him. If our investigators know how to receive revelation through The Book of Mormon they will be ay-okay when the missionaries are no longer in the area. Anyways, he read it voraciously and loved the stories of Nephi and totally understood how to apply the lessons to himself. So we pretty much just had to hand him The Book of Mormon, teacher him how to receive revelation through prayer, and he gained the testimony for himself. And that’s the way if should be. Missionaries are guides and the Spirit is the personal tutor.
Let’s see: some other things you all might like to know:
- At night I dream about missionary work. In Spanish. Booyah to the max. I never thought it would happen this soon. I love Spanish so stinking much.
- I survived the Zombie Apocalypse. Or rather, I’m one of the rare few who didn’t get the intestinal virus that took the MTC by storm on New Year’s Day. Everywhere you looked somebody was puking. In the classroom, in the hallway, in the bathroom, in the bedroom… it really did feel like an apocalypse. There were so many hundreds of people sick that they couldn’t quarantine anybody so they just told everybody to let it run its course. It’s a miracle that I didn’t get sick given the contact I had with everybody who got the virus. Which is a HUGE testimony to me that God knows me and my needs; with other things that have happened during these past couple of weeks, I know that getting the flu would actually have been more than I would have been able to handle. God is so merciful!
- I finished reading El Libro de Mormon! My purpose this time around was studying the missionary purpose/doctrine of Christ with the desire to gain a testimony of extending the baptismal invitation in the first lesson. Haha, I never thought the day would come but… I got that testimony! Oh, and for the record, the Isaiah chapters are a million times clearer in Spanish. Another reason why I love the language so much.
I want everybody in the world to know that I KNOW that The Book of Mormon is true! I’ve always felt and believed that it was true and have received revelation through it in the past but I never received that life-changing divine witness until I got here in the MTC and started reading it cover-to-cover studying one specific question or topic. I have learned SO MUCH from the Book of Mormon. My questions have been answered, my testimony solidified, and I feel like I’ve been jipping myself for the past 21 years because The Book of Mormon is the REAL DEAL and I never took full advantage of it until now.
This is my last week with my district! Where on earth has the time gone? After that I have a week of training at a nearby visitor’s center (hmm, I wonder where that could be?) and then I’m OUT IN THE FIELD! What the heck? I’m so excited to go out and help heal the world on my mission. Soon I’ll be off in Salt Lake City, helping the whole human race. I know my mission will be something incredible! Dear Heavenly Father: I LOVE my calling! To answer some questions: I will be living here in the MTC for my last week (until like the 22nd or 23rd of January) so DearElders will still get to me. I’m still completely in the dark as to when and where I’ll be using this Visitor’s Center training, but I know that it’s what the Lord has in mind for me and so I cannot wait to get started!
I’m so grateful for you all; I have seen many tender mercies in the last week or so that have come because so many of YOU paid attention to the promptings of the Spirit. You inspire me so much and I’m sending love beams to each and every one of you.
Love and light to you all!