Yep, we are over halfway done! I cannot believe the time is going by so fast. I love it here and am trying to soak everything up. There is so much to learn!
One of my favorite parts of the day is waking up bright in the morning before the sun even does and walking to breakfast. That might sound strange, and it does feel ridiculously early sometimes, but every morning walking out of our residence halls and bursting into the cool morning light always refreshes me. I love walking into the middle of campus and seeing the sunrises over the mountains and through canyon. It is a beautiful sight that most missionaries don't get to see because they wake up so late (6:30). I will definitely miss these great Utah mountains when I have to leave in a few weeks.
So last week you asked me what my daily schedule is like, so I wanted to give you a very details. My days are organized slightly differently every day, but we usually do about the same things. We wake up at 6:00 and get ready for a 6:30 breakfast (which I get to have oatmeal every morning :) yayyay!!). Then at 7:00 we usually have class/teaching progressing investigators for three hours. They have this MTC manual that goes through the basics of missionary teaching and we usually do one section from that a day. Then we have personal study from 10:00 to 11:00 and then lunch (I usually get their wraps. You can get pretty much anything you want in them like subway:) delicious). Then in some order we have additional study (which is usually planning and discussing lessons for us), language study, and gym (for 50 minutes, and time before and after to get ready). We then have dinner at 4:00 (which is kindof weird because we're never hungry by then, but you can't take food out of the cafeteria for later so we eat a lot anyway). After dinner we usually go to a computer lab and do TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning--it helps with our vocab and grammer, since we are taught very little of the language in class). At 6:00 we have class again for another three hours (usually one of the hours is for lanugauge instruction, one for teaching investigators, and another for scripture study or more MTC manual info). Then at 9:00 we plan for the next day (of what we are going to study and such), and then at 9:30 we go in to get ready for our glorious beds. We get pretty exhausted by the end of the day, even though we aren't doing much physically. Learning by the Spirit is an tiring job! That schedule may be more than you wanted to know but know you can see a little better into my world. What a great place to be don't you think?
Sister Shipp and I are still doing well and our investigators are progressing. We have had a lot (about 6) of different subs so it is sometimes difficult to teach consistently, but when our two teachers Irmao Taylor and Irmao Chamberlain are here, we have had some great lessons. Irmao Taylor looks a lot like and reminds me a lot of Gil. He is awesome and gives super interesting and life changing lessons. I learn so much from him. We also found two new investigators this week. It is actually really neat because we are now teaching each other in the class. We each pretend to be a nonmember we knew back home and then get taught by another companionship in our district. We can feel the Spirit strong in those lessons. It is amazing what a simple, heartfelt testimony can do. Two elders were teaching us this week and were struggling with their porgtuguese, but when they sat back and bore a short testimony at the end, I could still feel the Spirit super strong. Our two new investigators are MaryAnn and Bridgette. It is interesting and a little harder to teach two people at once because they have different needs and parts of the gospel they don't understand as well. MaryAnn (53) is an inactive of about 35 years. Bridgette is in her first year of college and has a friend who is a member. This week we taught them about the nature of God and a lot of the Plan of Salvation. Bridgette accepted baptism and MaryAnn said she would come to church this week! I hope it happens, and at the MTC, we have pretty good odds with investigators. The more times we teach these lessons the easier they become. Every lesson and every investigator is very different, but as we learn new scriptures to use and ways to apply them to our investigators, the lessons are coming smoother. Sister Shipp and I are working off of each other better and teaching more in unity. Lessons are finally not as intimidating, but instead I now look forward to teaching. I hope I can have some lessons as good as these in the field in real life!
Another neat experience that happened this week was with our investigator Landon. The other companionships in our district took too long that night, so by the time we were supposed to teach it was time to go in for bed. Our teacher was turning out the lights and about to leave but we pushed him back in the room so we could share a short little message. (He said afterwards, "I've never seen so much determination at the MTC to teach!") We have never taught a five minute lesson before, but we were able to share a scripture and a simple, powerful testimony on his doorstep. It went really well and was awesome to know that we can share our testimonies and feel the Spirit strongly in only a short amount of time. I think that will be a very important skill to learn in the mission field. Landon is slowly but surely progressing, and I cannot wait to see where he will go from here. I have a good feeling about him.
Vander is also doing really well. He is keeping all of his commitments and we have a baptismal date set for the beginning of September. It almost seems too good to be true. It makes me a little nervous every time we go in teach him because I'm afraid there is some concern he has that is not surfacing and that will be a sudden huge roadblock. But he just accepts everything so well and says he feels really good whenever he reads. Hopefully we can just continue to bask in this golden investigator!
The Sunday devotional this week was awesome. It was given by Brother Stephen B. Allen, who is the Church's Missionary Managing Director (he reminded me a lot of Uncle Fred, super nice and funny). He told some neat stories that were very applicable to me. He also talked about how Satan is pushing as many of my buttons as possible right now. He is very interested and eager to see us fail, but I won't let him! It's true there have been some really difficult parts about the MTC so far, but none that I can't overcome with the help of the Lord! Brother Allen said that every time we feel pain or discouraged, look down and see the other name on your badge. He also promised us in the name of Christ that we will never regret this decision to serve a mission. I know this is true for me. I know that the best things in life are the hardest things to come by. I will work my hardest to be worthy of my calling!
So this week we were studying about the Holy Ghost and found some really neat scriptures about missionaries. The scriptures have really taken on a new life for me as I've been focusing my studies from a missionary viewpoint. There is so much good in there! What was really inspiring and struck me this week was D&C 68:2-6 and 3 Nephi 19:9. This is what I most desire! Alma 17:2-3 has also been brought up at least five times so it is clearly the important scripture of this week for us. There is so much more guidance and help in the scriptures that I never fully appreciated. The Lord is looking out for us!
I want to write more but I really need to go today. I love you all and am VERY grateful for all of your lovely letters! I get excited over every one. You are the best support I could ask for!