Wooo! I’m posting the same day she sent it to me. Success? Yes, indeed. Lisette
I’ve received some revelation on how to survive 12 weeks at the MTC. Well…. I’ve received lots… some real revelation, and some just trial-and-error learning. Today’s insight is downright divine. You’ll often hear members of the MTC Presidency and Branch Presidencies refer to your time at the MTC as your “MTC Stay.” I always thought that was a little qiguai (weird) until last night. It was too late to walk to the Front Desk to ask a logistics question about getting my moderately crippled (aka still recovering from surgery) companion to the Temple at a downright unholy hour, but it needed answering. The words “MTC Stay” floated into my mind and that’s when lightning struck: “Use the hall phone!” So I called the front desk, the answered my question cheerfully, speedily, and even made a note in the early morning secuirty officer’s schedule about the solution to my problem. I hung up the phone, walked back into my room and said, “I’ve just realized that if you treat this like living at a hotel, things go a whole lot smoother.”
By the way, my companion is doing great! AiJeiMei is a trooper and so good for me as a person and as a missionary. We’re still learning and growing together, though. As we came to realize this week. On Friday, we went to the TRC. Just as we opened the door, FanZL and RuanZL came pelting around the corner and out the door in the opposite direction. We called after them, thoroughly confused. They just yelled back, “We gotta go get something!” Weird, but not totally unexpected from the two of them. 😉 Thinking nothing more of it, we sat in the prep room and began deliberations on which lesson we would teach today. We could choose any one of the first three (God is our Loving Heavenly Father, The Plan of Salvation, or The Doctrine of Christ). Logically, we thought that most TRC volunteers are LDS already and really only ever need two things: 1) a reminder of their relationship with God or 2) a new perspective on applying the Atonement in their life. We completely threw out the idea of teaching the Plan of Salvation. We were assigned a room with a volunteer and start getting to know him. We asked him what he’d been studying in the Book of Mormon recently. He says… drum roll… the Plan of Salvation. My jaw dropped. AiJeiMei grabbed her Book of Mormon, whispered “buhaoyisi” (I’m sorry!), and dove right in. It was rough, but we muscled through and actually ended up with a great experience. (as an aside: I’m always terrified of our TRC time, but I always love it the most… ah well.)
When our entire district returned to the classroom, FanZL and RuanZL looked like kids in a candy store! They said (finishing each other’s sentences), “Do we have a story for you!? We decided on teaching the Doctrine of Christ, but decided to pray about it. So we did… and when we said amen, we just knew that we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation. So we RAN back to the sushe (residence hall) to get our Plan of Salvation puzzle incase there were kids. Turns out, the volunteer is LDS but his parents aren’t….” They went on to describe the volunteer’s situation and how the doctrine in the Plan of Salvation (that we came from our Heavenly Father’s presence to this Earth in order to gain experience, that Christ died for our sins and provided a way for us to return to live with God, that families are central to this plan because they are the best place to learn, and because of that they can be sealed together for eternity) was exactly what he needed to hear and needed to be able to share with his parents. It was beautiful and both AiJeiMei and I realized the same thing: “We need to have FanRuan like faith.”
I am happy to report that we learned our lesson (be it the hard way) and this week, we prepared a lesson for LiDX (Li Dixiong or Brother Li), offered it to the Lord for approval, and received confirmation. We told FanZL and RuanZL about our experience and they were in shock. I think that’s the greatest attribute of 19 year old missionaries: they understand that without God’s direct guidance, they could not do the things they do. They are incredibly humble and don’t realize how much of an example that makes them… not only to the Sisters, but to other Elders, their families, and eventually their investigators in the field.
In other news — Elder Ballard came to speak. In the ramp up to Conference, we’re expecting this to become the norm… so be excited for the next few blog posts. 😀 What struck me the most from Elder Ballard was this: he reminded us that second only to the Prophet, missionaries are the most prayed-for people in the Church. He described in detail the meeting the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 have every Thursday morning at 11 in the Salt Lake temple where they discuss the needs and pray for guidance in missionary work, specifically for the missionaries themselves. As he finished the Devotional, he invoked an Apostolic blessing on each of us in that room: that Heavenly Father will hear and answer your prayers, that you will have an exhilirating feeling in your heart and mind: “I am a missionary!”, that you will overcome discouragement, that you will be wise and don’t compromise, and that you will be safe. We (speaking for the 15) want you to go out and have a good experience. It was touching and a good boost to our morale.
Last, but not least, we managed to throw the greatest event in the whole history of the MTC. That’s right. An Elders/Sisters Dance.
Just kidding! But…. our younger generation totally bought it for 9 hours, which is a feat. Elders asked sisters (in quite possibly some of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen. Boys — if you need proposal ideas or just asking-to-a-dance ideas, email me and I’ll send you a run down) throughout the day. Such a riot! When it came time for the “dance” we gathered everyone in one of our larger district rooms. We had them all divide up by which country they would be serving in after their MTC Stay (haha!) and do some getting-to-know you games. In the last five minutes, I brought everyone back together and broke a few hearts by telling them there wouldn’t actually be dance. However (and this was my speach, atop a desk chair…. so treacherous!) our puprose in this was to teach one thing: commit early and commit often. The only way you will be able to know if your investigator is progressing and gaining a testimony is by them following up on commitments. But if you don’t commit them, how can they excercise that faith they’ve developed? So, if you can commit a Sister Missionary (arguably the scariest thing in the world to a freshly set apart 19 year old missionary) to attend a dance with you, why should you be afraid of commiting an investigatory? a friend? a neighbor? They loved it and it definitely sunk in. 😀
Ok. Aaaah! I’m way over time. My bad! I love you all — study Chapter 3 in Preach My Gospel (yes, the PDF is on LDS.org if you don’t have a hard copy) this week and look specifically at the commitments at the end of each lesson. How commited to these things are you in your own life?
Ps — thank you for all the emails this week! You’ll be getting letters shortly! 😀