Friday, July 19, 2013

WEEK 5 at the MTC- "I love who and what the gospel helps us become."

Letters  dated July 17, 2013...

Mamanette!!!! :) 
...Goodness..Can you believe I'm headed to Germany in LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!???!!! I'm so excited!!!! Thank you for your mail this week. I LOVE your letters!...And thanks thanks thanks a million for your sweet package!! The ginger snaps were so tasty! Thanks for the other goodies as well ( the tea and Crystal Light! )
When Elder Spencer saw me with more Crystal Light his eyes got huge and he said, " Oh, no! That stuff makes you crazy!!" Haha, he remembers my episode the other day when I had a laughing attack (while drinking Crystal Light in class) ...Buahahaha, ...
I hope your week is AMAZING!!!! I miss you sooooo much. I can't wait to call you from the airport!! 
I love you! Love, Heidi

Hallo meine familie! :)
I hope all is going well there in B-town! What adventures have you been up to this week? This week has been rather uneventful for me actually. The best experiences for me were with teaching in TRC and my "investigators."I've also done a lot of reflecting this week about my MTC experiences as a whole. It seems strange that  I've been here for So long but at the same time I feel like I've been here even longer. These past five weeks have been truly remarkable though and  I am grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I have had . Am I ready to be a missionary for the German people? I guess I'll find out in about a week. Part of me wishes I could stay here , learn a little bit more, and perfect my Deutsch a little bit more , but deep down I really feel I am ready. I have used my time wisely here, worked hard, and learned a lot. I really don't think I could have given more.
So I told you last week how I was struggling to teach from my heart. I had such amazing experiences teaching my teachers but for some reason I still couldn't teach my investigators in the same way. What was so different? They were the same people in both situations ( My teachers  are my investigators) but I was having such a hard time. I told you last week how Bruder Alston directed me to the scriptures to find an answer to my question. The scriptures really do hold all the answers to our questions. They are like our very own Liahona. When we have faith and we are actively seeking for direction they will offer us the help we need. I have learned of the revelation we receive as we read the Word of God. I have found it so helpful to have questions as I study( like the  one I mentioned above). I have got quite the collection of questions ( on sticky notes) in the front of my scriptures. When I read with a question I find myself so much more focused. I don't just read but I think about, I ponder, and I apply what I read to my life. I look for answers. Every time I read and study in this way I always learn something. I always have a question  answered in some way.. Very rarely will I come across a scripture that  explicitly states in a perfectly worded response , an answer to my question. Rather the answers  usually come from the above method- thinking, pondering, applying.. Sometimes I do find verses that jump out of the page at me- showing me something I've never seen before. I'm learning that revelation does not only come from the words we read but it can come in other ways while reading. Our minds can go to other thoughts while we read. Thoughts that may just be inspired . That's actually how my question about teaching from the heart came. I just had some thoughts come to me while studying with that question in mind.
On Friday Sister Rasmussen and I went to the TRC. We were to teach one 40-45 minute lesson and we were supposed to help our volunteers understand how they can receive revelation while reading the Book of Mormon. ( Perfect topic, right?) The thing that is often hard in the TRC is finding out what people's need are. These are all usually faithful church goers who read and study their scriptures daily, and volunteer because it gives them a chance to strengthen their testimony further and help us missionaries strengthen ours. In reality, no matter who we are , or how grounded in the gospel we are, we can always come closer to Christ in our lives. We all have needs. In this particular appointment we had two men at the same time. They are both from Germany- one a convert, one a life long member. But it was the neatest experience as Sister Rasmussen and I took turns listening and answering questions. Throughout the entire lesson Sister Rasmussen and I were on the exact same page! Every time she spoke it was like she took the words right out of my mouth. It was so incredible that we were able to have such great testimonies that supported each other. There was such a good feeling in the room. For the first time we were able to find out what their needs were (even though on the surface they would have been invisible) . We were able to teach and bear testimony. We asked them to make commitments that we felt would help, them become closer to Christ and increase their faith. Almost ironically the commitment we  felt inspired to give then was to read and study the scriptures with questions in mind. This was such a  neat experience! 
I also want everyone in our family to do the same. Read with questions in mind. We don't have to ask questions only when life is rough or when we're having challenges. We should always be seeking spiritual knowledge and counsel. When we do this we will always be progressing,  and strengthening our faith.  
So it's a little later now (about 9:50 at night) and I just got home from the classroom a little bit ago. Today has been such a good day! P-days are always so busy but it's nice having a break from the normal schedule. Today Sister Rasmussen and I spent most of our P-day with Elder Smith and Elder Spencer- doing laundry, writing letters, emailing, etc. I know I say this often but they really are like my brothers. Leaving them is going to be so hard. I think that my district is one of the closest in my branch. We do everything together! It's nice that there is so much trust and respect between us. We can have so much fun together . It is nice that while we are really close with each other we maintain Elder-Sister relationships.It's been really amazing getting to know the people in my district and branch so well. . I wanted to share a experience with you all that happened tonight. One companionship of elders has had a lot of problems during our time in the  MTC and in the past few days it has  become a lot worse. The problem is that one of the elders is really shy, a little naïve, always striving to be obedient, but overall a really good guy. The other elder comes from a completely different background. He is constantly breaking rules, but at the same time he is the first of seven brothers to serve a mission which is impressive. Deep down they are both so good but on the surface the latter doesn't always appear so.. Elder Y ( the first elder I mentioned) has gone through so much during his time here at the MTC as he has struggled with  his companion. The only reason I  know so much is because I hear it from the elders in my district. Anyways,  tonight Elder Y was in our classroom studying since his companion was off doing who-knows-what.. And Elder Y looked so sad. He looked like he had been crying or something. I kept trying to talk to him to make him feel better but I really wasn't having any success. He was just sitting there trying to read his scriptures. He made a comment under his breath that I barely heard, "Sometimes enduring to the end seems impossible." In the next few minutes I saw a small sheet of paper fall onto my desk from Elder Smith. I was a little confused but when I picked it up I finally understood. He had written a sentence at the top : "scriptures that can help you get through ANYTHING." Underneath this heading he had written three of his own scriptures. I was so touche by the thoughtfulness of Elder Smith- seeking to reach out to Elder Young. I added three of my own favorite scriptures: John 14:27, Helaman 5:12, D&C 121. I wasn't quite sure what Elder Smith's original thoughts were but when I looked up at him we both understood each other. I passed the paper on and in just a moment there were several scriptures  written  down- scriptures that have given us peace, comfort, strength, and hope in our own lives. I watched throughout the evening  as Elder Smith and Elder Spencer quietly watched over Elder Y and made sure he was okay. They invited him to stay with them in their companionship. I am just so touched and impressed by the examples of these elders. You've seen pictures of Elder Smith and Elder Spencer ! Just looking at them I would never see this side of them. In fact it has taken six weeks to see them in all their glory.But deep down I see sensitive young men looking out for each other and seeking to be Christlike in their actions. Elder Smith just graduated from high school in June! Elder Spencer has only been graduated a year like me! I find it so incredible what we are capable of  as human beings. We are capable of inflicting pain,feeling sorrow, experiencing joy, and loving one another. I love watching the love of Christ work within people. Just like in Moroni 7- we need to have charity for our fellow men. I love who and what the gospel helps us become. I love how powerful an example is and how much an act of love can mean in the life of another. 
We are all children of God- we are all brothers and sisters. What do we do with  this knowledge? Do we show love for those around us- our neighbors,co-workers, students, teachers? Our own family members? 
Our actions matter.Our actions affect others. By reaching out to serve others out of love you experience something different within you. It's such a good feeling, and every time I look beyond myself in this way it just makes me want to cry out- because  it makes me so happy and so full of light. 
After returning to resident tonight  Sister Rasmussen was very frustrated with the behavior of Elder Y's companion. She looked at me and said. " I know that Elder                      and Elder Y can work through this. All of their differences don't matter. If only Elder                    would do what you do; what you did on day one with me.'Always give your companion the bigger slice'. If you can love your companion and serve him or her , nothing else even matters."
As Sister Rasmussen said this I couldn't help but think about how much that mindset has helped our own relationship/friendship/companionship.Her words touched me. It mad me feel so happy knowing that she had felt my love for her and known that I was serving her sincerely in my actions. I was surprised she brought that line up , about giving  your companion the bigger slice. I shared that with  her  a couple weeks after we arrived  at the MTC.. Once again this proved to me the importance of our actions and examples. This principle doesn't have to be for missionaries though. You can change the words to anybody you want."Always give                     the bigger slice!" Will you guys in our family think about this statement an apply it to you relationships? When we look past ourselves and look towards others we will truly notice a difference in our lives.
So just a recap of things I've mentioned in my letter that I think you would all benefit from:

1) Read and study the scriptures with question(s) in mind
2) Read Moroni 7 that talks about having love  and charity for others
3) Apply this statement to your relationships- "Always give                   the bigger slice."
I love you all and I hope you are doing well! I'll be in Deutschland a week from today! Please, Please,Please,bitte,bitte, bitte remember me in your prayers. I 'm praying for you all every night. Be happy and love each other. Love God and show it by the way you act every day. Would you guys all mind sharing your favorite scriptures with me in  your next letters? :) I would love it if you wold also include why it is your favorite.
 I must be getting to be now, so guten nacht! I hope to hear from you all  soon. Have a great week! :) 
Ich liebe euch!
Liebe Grupe,
Ihre Trochter,schwester, and freunde:)
Sister Heidi Shelley

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