Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week 2 at the MTC - "...the past two weeks have been amazing"...LOTS OF PICTURES!!!!!

Greetings!!!!! I only have  ten minutes left  to email so I'll write a letter home this time instead.  I hope all is well!  Thank you so so so much for all the mail!  Honestly I could never have too much mail. 
I have some homework for everyone in the family:

1)  Watch the "The Work of Salvation" World Wide Broadcast with the entire family.  This was so incredible and I was lucky enough to be there for the real thing!  There's actually part of it where I am shown on camera but you probably won't be able to see me because it's really dark and I'm kinda tiny ;).  All of the newly called mission presidents were there (well over a hundred), many general authorities, ALL of us missionaries, and some other lucky guests.  Every seat in the BYU Marriott was filled.  In part of this broadcast I just started bawling.  It was during a clip about member involvement and spreading the gospel, and I just felt the spirit so strong.  This whole broadcast was directed towards missionary work.  But, me and my fellow sisters and Elders aren't the only ones who are missionaries.  Every member of the Church is a missionary!  This whole broadcast talked so much about members, and how they can serve the people around them.  You should let me know what you think.  And try to guess the part where I started crying haha.
2)  Keep writing me letters because I love them so much!  You could ask the other girls in my room how much mail means to me . . . Let's just say I have gone to bed more than once with a lump in my throat feeling very loved :)  Also occasionally I will stay awake and read them with the light of my alarm clock haha, since the lights go out at 10:30.
All in all the past two weeks here have been amazing.  Every day there is a little bit of laughing and crying.  My heart just feels so full like it's going to burst.  I feel the Spirit so strongly here every day.  My German has improved so much too!  Just yesterday my companion and I taught for 45 minutes.  The words just came to me, and I found myself using words and phrases that I never had before.  Just being here is a miracle. 

I'm sorry I don't have much time to write but I will write a letter tonight.  Feel free to update my blog with pictures and information from my letters.  I only have time to really send one email and then write 1-2 letters.  So you'll have to be patient with me.  I wish I could just call you on the phone and tell you about all my experiences!  I am keeping a very good journal here though, so even though I can't share everything with you, I will be able to someday :)
Sister Shelley.

 My books in the classroom.  This was AFTER our first cleaning check.  Pretty much I had taken over four desks in the room (everybody else only had one :P).  But now I have a lovely box to put my books in!  yay!  Thank you mother for the amazing package!!! I enjoyed the contents very much AND even the box.

  This is my amazing companion Sister Rasmussen.  This is her in our classroom where we pretty much live 24/7 a day.  (Seriously the only time we aren't there is when we are at meal time, sleeping in our residence, doing service, or laundry . . .). She is from Murray, Utah if I didn't mention that in my last message . . .

                                   Completely staged picture of me studying in the classroom.  Haha. 

       A little taste of what it is like to be in our class!  This blackboard is magical.  We learn so much from it. 

 Me and meine Mieterbeiterin!!! Ich Liebe sie! :)  This was us on our Sunday walk to the temple.  Seriously I never though I would enjoy going on a walk so much!!! We are never allowed to leave except for temple walks and trips.... I feel like I'm living in a cave.  Or worst, ALASKA!  Haha just kidding ;)  I love my roommate Kiera Clark! :)

  This one is just me.  It was such a sunny day!!!

       Me and my district.  from left to right:  Elder Spencer, Elder Smith, Elder Barber, and then me and my companion (Sister Rasmussen).

                                           All of the elders in my branch (or most of them at least)

       A few of the elders from the branch.  They think they're pretty cute..... hahaha  honestly they make me laugh so hard.  They have all become my brothers here!

    Sister Larissa Merrill and me!!!!!  Holy crow I love her so much.  I have missed her and my other roommates             from college.  It is so nice running in to so many people whom I know and love here!  It makes it easier being away from home. 

  Me...and  my best friend Natester !  *cough cough* Elder Blackhurst.  It's so weird that I can't just run up and hug him.  I see him here ALL the time!  He seems to be doing well learning Dutch.  A lot of the words sound very similar to German actually so I can understand him (somewhat) when he speaks!

  Elder Cavin and me. He pulled  a muscle in his neck while playing soccer . . .(don't ask me how that happens).  So he got to wear this for a few days!  Haha the doctor said that if he wore this his neck would be better sooner.  I told him that of course he should wear it! And that he had to let me get a picture with him.  He is from Scotland and when him and Elder Barber are together . . . Holy crow . . . Something about English and Scots together haha.  They are crazy!

                                                                     Elder Barber

Delicious cupcake from Sister Rasmussen's package.  I hate to say it but I have actually gained some weight here . . . In my building there is a luggage weigher where you lift your luggage up and hang it on a hook to weigh it.  The scale goes up to 110, so I was like, hey!  No need to weight myself at the gym!  I can just weigh myself here in our building! I kind of hang there like a monkey and look at the scale . . . um.... NO.... I guess I weigh a little bit more now.  

  I wasn't joking when I said this place was exhausting.  This was during my two day zombie phase when I completely fell asleep on the classroom floor.  I didn't even care that it smelled gross and was dirty.  I WAS SO TIRED.

     This is Elder Smith from Clearfield, Utah.  He's been my pal in the district.  Out of all of us he and I are always the first one done, the first ones volunteering, the first ones memorizing, and as you can see the first ones asleep ;)

 Pictures of me with my package and contents!  OH MY GOODNESS THAT TOTALLY MADE MY DAY!! I'm pretty sure every missionary in the MTC could hear me shrieking in excitement like a little kid on Christmas :D
                                      Thank you so much for the package and all the mail!!!!!!!! :)

Heidi's Missionary Farewell talk given on June 9th

Heidi's  Missionary Farewell talk - " Gaining a Testimony of the Book of Mormon" (June 9th, 2013)

In the 8th Article of Faith it states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. Many of us have this Article of Faith memorized from primary but can we say we have this belief as an individual and not just as a church. Do we all have testimonies of the Bible and of the Book of Mormon? Today I was asked to speak on gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon, so today I will direct my comments to that part of the question.
As the 8th Article states, We believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God- and it is another testament of Jesus Christ, just like the Bible. The Book of Mormon is such a powerful book and I am really glad I can give this talk today because of all the topics I feel this is the topic I can speak most from the heart on. The Book of Mormon has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I consider myself to have a really strong testimony of this book. I wanted to say a few things about the Book of Mormon before I speak about gaining testimony of it. The Book of Mormon can change our lives, change our hearts and change our minds.
The thing that I find most incredible about the Book of Mormon is that it was written for us in our day. In the ending of the Book of Mormon, Moroni , who is the last prophet in the Book of Mormon, saw our day and our time. In Mormon chapter 8 Moroni says, “ Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which  must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not, But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing”(Mormon 8: 34,35). When Moroni says “these things”, he is talking about the Book of Mormon, and we have that amongst us today. The Book of Mormon is available to all of us and yet not all of us have read it. Not all of us can necessarily say that we have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. And even though we might be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we might not have actually taken the step to read such a vital part of our religion.  We all have access to the Book of Mormon but we are also all entitled to having a testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon.  In Preach My Gospel it says, “In order to know that the Book of Mormon is true, a person must read , ponder, and pray about it.”.That’s how we gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. The website defines a testimony as “a spiritual witness given to an individual by the Holy Ghost.” But how do we actually have that witness? It is by reading, pondering and praying about it. Today I would like to talk about these three parts of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
First, we have to read The Book of Mormon. This makes the most sense to me because how can we say we believe in something, or not believe in something, if we haven’t actually gone to the source. If we haven’t actually read it.  When we read the Book of Mormon we can’t be passive ; we have to be active. We cannot casually read a verse here and there every once in a while and expect to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  That’s not how it works. It is “by diligently searching the scriptures [that] we come to understand the truth” (PMG). “We have to study the Book of Mormon diligently, applying its principles to our lives  and doing our best to understand the lessons that God wants us to learn” (  I started reading the Book of Mormon for the first time when I was nine years old. When I was nine years old I wasn’t the best reader and my mind would wander when I would read. I didn’t understand almost anything. But I read because I knew that I was supposed to. I started making it a habit to read every day. I think what I’ve learned from that and what we can all learn from that is that God wants us to do our best. He wants us to be diligent and put forth the effort. He wants us to make reading the scriptures a part of our lives. We have them and they are written for us so we should take advantage of that. I like the verse in 2 Nephi 9 that says, ”Come , my brethren, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come but wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness” (2 Nephi 9: 50-51). I love the word “feast” in this verse. It’s talking about feasting on the word of God and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Can all of us say that we feast upon the word of God? Can we say we have a spiritual feast when we read the Book of Mormon? This last semester at school as I was preparing for my mission I was reading the Book of Mormon again and it was so amazing to me because as I was reading it I felt like I was having a feast . I would come home every day from school and I had reading assignments from my Book of Mormon class and my mission prep class and I would read for at least an hour every day. I came home every day so excited to pick up my Book of Mormon and Bible and read from their pages. The more you read the more you crave to read. The more you want that  feeling that it gives to you … the feeling of the spirit. The thing that we need to remember  is that we can’t just be passive. We  have to be active. We have to read continually whether it’s our first time reading the Book of Mormon or it’s our hundredth time.
The second part of gaining a testimony of the Book of Moron is pondering what we have read. In the end of the Book of Mormon the prophet Moroni saw our day and in the conclusion of the Book of Mormon he actually addresses the people of our day when he said, “ Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things , [these things being the Book of Mormon] if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts” (Moroni 10:3). Ponder. President  Eyring said, “ as you read and ponder the Book of Mormon , verses you have read before will appear new to you and bring you new ideas “(“How Do I Gain A Testimony,” Henry B. Eyring). I have read the Book of Mormon several times as I am sure so many people in our ward have and every time there are so many new things we can learn. Two things I do to help me ponder  deep about the things that I read are marking my scriptures with a pencil as I read and I writing down things that come to my mind . As I was preparing for my mission I read with four different  colored pencils and I read and marked scriptures relating to  the four discussions, The Plan of Salvation,The Restoration, The Commandments, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was amazing to me as  I read and  was pondering those  four topics how I learned so much about the gospel that I didn’t even know existed before.  I was able to think  so much more deeply about the things I am going to be teaching the German people very soon. Another thing I do personally is keep a scripture journal. One of my professors at BYU recommended that we try this for a few weeks. He suggested that after we read we  take time to write a little bit. At first I wrote summaries and they were a little bit boring , but after a while I noticed that the more I thought about the scriptures and the more I contemplated about the things that I had read the more they became a part of me. I wasn’t just writing summaries . I was writing about me and my friends. I was writing about applications, about how I can act. The scriptures are there for us to learn from so by pondering the words we read increases our level of learning and understanding. Pondering should be coupled with prayer.
Prayer is the last step in gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  In Doctrine and Covenants 88 the Lord is talking to us and says  “My friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near – Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&D 88:62-63) This  is an invitation for us to come unto Christ. He wants us to come to him. He wants us to ask him. He wants us to be thinking about the scriptures, making them a part of us and then coming to him. This is such an incredible thing that we have these scriptures here and we are given a layout of how we can gain a testimony of them and how they can influence our lives and all we have to do is just ACT. I am sure we are all familiar with Moroni’s promise. It is in the conclusion when Moroni is talking to us still; he is talking about the Book of Mormon and what we should do when we finish reading it. I read verse 3 already but I am going to read it again.  “I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things , if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. [So there is that word again. Ponder.]  And when ye shall receive these things I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true,; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:3-5). I think this is a beautiful promise. I know I have personally had the power of the Holy Ghost witness to me that the Book of Mormon is the truth. We have to have our hearts in the right place when we read the Book of Mormon. We have to read with faith and we have to be reading for the right reasons. I like how in verse 4 it says  that if we ask “if these things are not true”, because I think that if we are asking if the Book of Mormon is not true that we have the assumption already that it is true. I have found that if I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover it does something to you. You are not just reading the Book of Mormon, you are experiencing it. And I think that by the end as you are reading it you can’t read the Book of Mormon and not have the spirit with you the whole time thinking that it is true because you will already will have that feeling in your heart and in the end all you are doing is taking the final step and just saying a prayer and asking so you can have that final confirmation. The Book of Mormon has been a part of my life for my whole life. My family has been reading and having family scripture reading for as long as I can remember. I started reading on my own when I was nine. And I have been reading almost every day without fail since then. I can testify of the power of reading and the very easy possibility of gaining a testimony of it.
I have watched this book change the lives of so many people. Just recently my  friend Hali King was baptized and I have watched how this book has changed her life. It’s been amazing as I have watched my friends who are members of this church and also nonmember friends read this book . For my friends who were already members , this is what converted them to the gospel. They were already members; they were already baptized but this is what converted them. As I watched my friend Hali read this book, I watched it change her. Just like I said in the beginning of my talk, the Book of Mormon can change our hearts, our minds and our lives. And I have watched that happen. I‘ve watched as Hali’s persona has changed . She is happy all the time and she has this glow and I know that without the Book of Mormon and without feeling of the spirit and praying about it I don’t know that she would have been baptized. But I know there is power in this Book; it has the power to touch all of our lives. I have watched friends read this book and I have watched as they have made the commitment to begin reading every day how they make gradual changes and the Book of Mormon is what gives them that desire.
 In the introduction of the  Book of Mormon is a quote from the prophet Joseph Smith. He said, “The Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” I know that this is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that when we read it, it brings us closer to God. It invites the spirit into our lives and it helps us every day by giving us direction , by helping us make the small changes, By giving us courage to stand strong. The Book of Mormon is an incredible book and having a testimony of it is essential because having a testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a testimony of many other things. My testimony of the Book of Mormon is what has given me my foundation in this church. [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints]  It is what has brought me to church very week because it is where I initially felt the spirit so strongly as I was reading it. I feel the same thing when I come to church. A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a testimony that the prophet  Joseph  Smith was in fact a prophet of God. It leads to the testimony that our prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is a prophet of God. Because  he has had the same priesthood keys passed down from prophet to prophet, from the first prophet in this dispensation, Joseph Smith. A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a testimony of Jesus Christ because the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ.You can honestly feel so much of his love as you read this book. I want to invite everyone in our ward to read this book just as I have. If you have already read it, continue to read it. If you haven’t…pick it up. There isn’t anything scary or bad that will happen if you pick it up. It is a beautiful book and the only thing it can do is bless your life. It can only bring you happiness and bring improvement . As I said, my testimony of this book has really helped me get to where I am today. One of the main reason I want to go on a mission is because I want to share this Book with the world.
 I want to be able to go to the German people and I want to be able to give a Book of Mormon in their native language and I want to be able to give them my testimony that I know it is the word of God. I want them to be able to see it in my eyes that I know and then have a desire to read it themselves. As I mentioned I am going to be serving the German people. I have been called to the Germany Berlin mission and I am incredibly excited. I will be entering the MTC in three days and I am little bit scared and nervous but mostly excited. I want to thank people in our ward for helping me  get to this point in my life. So many of you have taken me under your wing. When my family moved here six years ago so many of you treated me like your own daughter and loved me and my family. So many of you are supporting me even now and when I am on my mission I know I will continue to receive your support. My parents have been amazing examples to me and so many other parents here have set the example high and helped me want to live up to high expectations. I never thought the day would come that I would be serving a mission because I never thought it was in my future. I was always the girl who was like “I’m not going on a mission.” I am going to school. I am going to get married. But when I received my answer that serving a mission was right for me there wasn’t any going back. There wasn’t any putting in my mission papers and then thinking, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t be going”. It was from day one getting my answer , going to my family and telling them, “I’m going  on a mission!” And then following through every step of the way. I want to close with my testimony again that I know this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that God loves all of us. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he restored the true church to the earth today; that Thomas S. Monson is the  prophet today and that he is called of God. I want to thank you all again for everything you have done for me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Week 1 at the MTC:  Excerpt from Heidi's letter to her brother Andrew (who is 12 years old)- written June 19th : 

    "...Every night we go to bed at 10:30 but last night I stayed up a little later so I could read your letter, Hayden’s , Dad’s and Mom’s. The lights were all out in my room so I had to use my alarm clock as a little light. Haha.  Letters really are like Christmas presents out here so I hope you’ll keep writing me J

The work here is really hard. I spend most of my day in the classroom learning German and learning in German. It’s kind of like summer school! There are only five people in my classroom and it’s called a district. There is me and my companion, Sister Rasmussen; and a trio companionship of three Elders: Elder Barber, Elder Smith, and Elder Spencer. Elder Barber is from England so he has a pretty cool accent. It’s really neat learning with just a few people because our teacher can teach better to our needs and teach us individually. My district has become like my family here. We have all left our homes, friends and families to do the Lord’s work and we are all each other has. My district is one of several in my branch. (A branch is like a really small ward) Everyone in my branch is going to Germany so at  church and other meetings we pray, sing, and speak in German. Isn’t that cool? I just got here a week ago and I am already speaking, reading, writing and teaching in German! It’s hard to learn but at the same time I am surprised at how much I’ve learned. At the MTC we work hard to learn and prepare ourselves to be teachers. We learn how to study, be obedient, and most importantly how we can teach with the spirit.  Without the spirit our work is nothing. It is the spirit, not us that converts people. This is my purpose as a missionary: “To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.” I might be going out to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I do so by inviting people. I have to be reading my scriptures, praying and keeping the commandments so that I have the spirit guiding me. Not everyone is ready to hear the gospel so I have to work through the spirit to find those that are.
There are so many Elders and Sisters here at the MTC ready to go out and serve! It’s incredible. I really hope that you and Hayden and maybe even Heather and Nakita get this opportunity. As a missionary you are entitled to POWER and special blessings . Missionaries see and experience miracles every day. And we become so close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Last night I went to a devotional and I sang with a whole choir of missionaries. We sang “Hark, All Ye Nations,” and there was so much power in our song. The song is written about the true restored gospel being spread to all the world. After so many years of darkness the Book of Mormon was able to come to us as the word of God  and Joseph Smith restored the true church to the earth with the help and direction of God. Isn’t that an amazing thought? I think that all the nations have reason to “hark” now too because since the age change for missionaries the gospel is being spread to even MORE people. The truth is reaching areas and people who have never heard it before. It’s up to all of us to do our part, to be a missionary. Even though you are at home now you are a missionary because you are a member of the church. Last night at the devotional I wrote down something I want to share with you. The only testimony that matters is your own. You need to KNOW for yourself. I can teach and testify but I can’t give anybody their own testimony. We all need to become converted to the church will all our heart so that we can be strong and lead the way for others. Missions are hard but they are worth it! You should start preparing now. Read your scriptures, study them, ponder the words and pray. Just remember my words from my farewell talk about the Book of Mormon. I promise you that as you do these things you will be happy and you will be changed for the better. You will become strong. Your friends and our family need your strength and example! I wanted to share a scripture with you that I really love. Helaman 5:12 (in the Book of Mormon) “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it  shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail.” Isn’t that a great scripture?

It’s sad thinking that I won’t see you or the rest of the family for so long but I know this is where I’m supposed to be. I was called on a mission. I am going to the Germany Berlin mission because there are people there that I need to meet...."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

WEEK #1...Our long awaited email from Heidi..."I LOVE THE MTC. I LOVE THAT I AM A MISSIONARY. I LOVE EVERYTHING!!

The LONGEST week ever...we finally received our first email from Heidi!!! She is doing GREAT and so HAPPY!!!!

WEEK 1...MTC!!  :D)

HOLY CROW THERE IS NEVER TIME HERE TO DO ANYTHING.  EVEN P-DAYS (TODAY) ARE INCREDIBLY BUSY AND I'M HURRYING AS FAST AS I CAN SO I CAN WRITE TO YOU ALL!  First of all, I love you all and miss you!!!!!! My first day here was insane.  On day two I wrote in my journal that it felt like I had been here for two weeks instead of two days . . .  It's that crazy.  Everyone told me if I could make it to Sunday that I would be okay . . . and it was true.  I don't know what I expected the MTC to be like exactly, but it's definitely different from everything I imagined.  I'm used to teachers and people that take it easy on you and never really push you to your limits.  In high school and junior high I felt like we always wasted a lot of time learning, but NOT HERE.  I have decided that the MTC is a mixture between boot camp and studying for chem 105 finals all at the same time.  (I would say studying for the MCAT but I've never actually done that . . .).  Every single second of EVERY single day is planned out.  A typical day here includes waking up at 6 (half an hour early), getting ready, going to the classroom to study for an hour and a half, going to breakfast (30-40 minutes), going back to the classroom with teacher instruction for 3 hours (ONLY GERMAN is spoken in the classroom), we go to lunch (30-40 minutes), come back to the classroom for three hours of teacher instruction (MORE GERMAN--YIPPEE! And the second part of the three hours I work mit meine mieterbeiterin (with my companion) to plan a lesson for our investigator).  At the beginning of that three hour classroom block we go visit our investigator and teach him or her a lesson.  Our investigator's name is Justus and we have taught him three discussions now.  We will be teaching him until Friday and then we will get two new investigators.  So . . . you know how we heard rumors about how they have you start teaching in your mission language on day 2 in the MTC? Well that's actually spot on!  I taught my first lesson auf Deutsch (in German) on Thursday!!!!  Pretty crazy huh?  I would like to say that there is something eerily cool about being a missionary and experiencing the gift of tongues . . . because I can speak, write, and teach in German and I have only been here for one week now.  The first day walking into our classroom was crazy!  Our teacher (Bruder Alston) just started talking to us in German, and somehow we found the words to respond (IN GERMAN).  There were some words and phrases on the board to help us, and on that first day it was really stressful and hard.  The teachers here teach with an immersion technique which means that they ONLY speak to you in German.  They teach you the gospel in German, they teach you Grammar in German, and they teach you about the MTC in German.  This approach words incredibly well because you are constantly out of your comfort zone, and you realize that you need to speak German in order to survive (no joke). 
So, I mentioned my teacher.  His name is Bruder Alston and he is incredible.  He returned home from the Alpine German speaking mission in July and I look up to him a lot.  He is such an example of an obedient missionary.  He actually served under President and Sister Miles for part of his mission which was really cool.  My district consists of me and my companion (sister Rasmussen), and a trio companionship of three elders (Elder Barber, from England; Elder Spencer, from I don't know where; and Elder Smith, from Clearfield).  My companion is from Murray and she is awesome!  We are incredibly different, but I have found that our differences don't matter as long as we are united with the same purpose.  Unser Ziel:  Andere einladen, zu Christus, zu kommen, indem Wir inhen hilffen das Wiederhergeshtellte evangelium anzunehman.  Dies geschiet, wenn die betreffenden glauben an Jesus Christus und sein Sunopfer uben, umkehren, die Gabe des Heiligen Geistes, und bis ans Ende ausharren.  So there you go!  That is my purpose auf Deutsch.  (From memory so don't judge me on spelling :P).  I finally got that memorized Tuesday.  My district is awesome.  At the beginning of every class we sing a German hymn (with our little hymn books :D), and then kneel in prayer.  Of course we pray in German!  We began learning how to pray in German on Thursday and now all of our prayers: district meeting, class, church, companion, roommate, and as much of our personal prayers as we can are spoken in German.  It is really neat! 
Pretty much I feel completely at home here and I wake up every day with a smile on my face.  I LOVE THE MTC.  I LOVE THAT I AM A MISSIONARY.  I LOVE EVERYTHING.  I think the thing that I am known for most around here is the smile on my face, my eagerness to try anything and everything, and my optimism.  My companion and I often joke around with each other that we complement each other perfectly.  Ha ha sometimes she is a little on the pessimistic side, doubting her abilities, and her potential, but I always boost her up!  The other day I was wearing my orange flowy skirt and my brown shirt with white polka dots . . and she was wearing all black so we joked around that I was the pumpkin and she was my black cat!  :D  I know I should call her sister Rasmussen ALL the time but my favorite name for her is "meine meiterbeiterin."  You know how I have certain sayings that I really love?  Like "Oui, bien sur!, and hurry hurry hurry!" I have started saying "meine mieterbeiterin" with the same tone of voice ;)  hahaha don't worry my companion likes it.  I think we are really good for each other because I am constantly working to set an example for her, and boost up her spirits, and she helps me by feeding my ambitions . . . You know I am a little competitive at times . . . . ;).  I really have come to love her though.  In fact my district and my branch has become my family here.  We spend every day ALL day together.  There are so many quirky, different, unique people and we all make up a nice mixture!  In my branch (like a really small ward) there are a few girls from Finland, one girl from the Netherlands, and a few elders and sisters from Scotland and England.  Holy crow . . . my district leader (Elder Barber from England) and another Elder (Elder Cavin from Scotland) drive me crazy when they are together.  Ha ha they are just crazy, they never study, and are always really loud! And Elder Barber tries to slide the mission rules occasionally which is a little bit annoying considering that he is our district leader.  When Elder Barber was made district leader I was a little bit baffled . . . but my feelings have completely changed.  I realized last night that my branch president is inspired in making assignments for us here in the MTC.  Elder Barber may not be perfect but he is perfect to be in that position.  We had our first district meeting last night (my district combined with another one), and our branch president sat in on it with us.  I was so impressed with Elder Barber and his manners in conducting the meeting.  And when some people were getting emotional as we bore our testimonies he brought tissues around to all who needed them.  He was so sensitive and led the meeting perfectly.  This district meeting was really incredible.  So much spiritual strength in such a tiny classroom.  The spirit was so strong. 
Everywhere here at the MTC is the same way.  I am often so overcome with the Spirit that I can't hold back my tears.  When we walked to the Marriott center for the devotional last night I imagined us as the Army of Helaman marching together.  That really is what we are like.
I will write more soon.
Heidi, Schwester Shelley, Sister Shelley, sister, daughter.

ALSO.  Thank you so much for the letters and the package today!  I wish you could see me every time I get something in the mail.  It's like Christmas!!!! So please don't stop!!!
Bisous bisous. 

**Well I was going to attach some photos . . . but I can't get the computer to work :(  So that will have to wait until next week.  It's like a Bountiful high/BYU reunion here which makes me feel extra at home :D.  I see like 10 people I know every day!  It makes the hard days not so hard.

Saying Our Goodbyes

Saying our goodbyes at the Provo temple and MTC. Not an easy thing to do...but we know Heidi is heading off on an amazing adventure that will change her life forever!!!