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...."