Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 8, in which my life resembles a Navajo quilt, and in which I receive a letter from Africa!

Only 3 more weeks in the MTC! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying! Thank you so much for all the letters this week, as well as for the package and the FUDGE! Grandparents, I love love love you!

So once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was in the middle of organizing a dance for one of my Young Women's projects, and in the midst of frantic preparations, I accidentally let go of a bunch of balloons and watched them float away to the top of the stake center ceiling. I then proceeded to flop down on the floor and cry. You know, a completely normal reaction. And one of my very good friends sat down next to me and told me about Navajo quilts. Apparently, they are never perfect. And they do that on purpose. They intentionally put in a flaw because they believe that nothing can be perfect, and that flaws are what make things beautiful. That's exactly how I feel about this missionary experience. It's never going to be perfect or predicable, but it's the mistakes and the flaws and the embarrassing moments and the unexpected blessings that make it the best, most beautiful experience of my life.

500 new missionaries entered the MTC last week. FIVE HUNDRED. What a miracle. I honestly cannot get over the fact that there are about 2900 missionaries here right now. The four new sisters that came in last Wednesday are great! We have some very different personalities, but again, that's what makes this into the Navajo quilt.

I've had "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" stuck in my head all week. But I keep putting in other people's names... usually elders' names. Elder Morton had some pretty special moments this week. Here is my favorite:

Elder Morton: So where are you from?

Sister: New Zealand.

Elder Morton: Oh that's cool. Have you ever been to Hobbiton?

Sister: No, I wish!

Elder Morton: Have you ever happened upon any of the Maoris? I hear that they eat people. Is that still true?

Here are a couple other great MTC moments:

Sister Tai (my teacher): My favorite candy? Probably... Kitten? Kitty?

Class: Kit Kat?

Sister Tai: Oh, that might be it.

A random, unathletic, yet hilarious elder with whom we've played volleyball several times: (everytime he missed the ball) Yay sports!

Elder Staheli (the new Cantonese elder, in one of his first prayers without looking at the book): Ngohdeihge gatihng, ngohdeih gamjeh leih chibei ngohdeih ngohdeihge gatih--- Dang it!

Interpretation: Our family, we thank thee for giving us our family...

Also, I had about a 20 minute conversation with one of the new districts in the branch where we basically just asked questions like this: "Who would win? Dumbledore or Gandalf?" "Who's more dominant? Sauron or Voldemort?" "Who's cooler? Sirius Black or Faramir?" (That last question was mine. I know. It's good, isn't it? It stumped them too.)

Question: Will someone send me the poem "Friend in the Desolate Time"? Also, Grandma, you promised me some poems while I was gone! I'm anxiously waiting :) Thank you!

I got a letter from Jesse this week! It made my whole day, and I keep reading it over and over again, and then bragging to whomever I'm sitting next to about my cousin in Sierra Leone.

So on Tuesday, Elder Neil L. Andersen came to speak to us! It was such an awesome experience, and he talked a lot about President Monson. I was amazed by how humble and honest he was, and his testimony blew us all away.

I've had quite a plethora of incredibly spiritual experiences this week, but the best happened when I wasn't even looking. Isn't that how it always goes? After lunch, I was playing piano in one of the classrooms, when two elders walked in and asked if I'd play a hymn for them to sing to. One of the elders was a skinny white boy, and the other was a tall, big Tongan boy. They were quite an amusing sight, let me tell you. So they picked "How Great Thou Art," and the moment they started to sing, I was blown away. Wow. Their voices, though as different as their appearances, blended so well together, and I can't even describe the Spirit that was in that room. Sister Ainge was in tears, and I couldn't stop smiling while I was playing. When we finished, we decided that we should audition to do a musical number. Unfortunately, they were scheduled to leave today, so we figured we probably wouldn't get to do anything. But the audition was awesome. So good. And President Brown came in right near the end and asked us to do the last verse again. That was the verse where they both belted it. And he insisted that they be fit in somewhere! So they had us perform for the devotional for departing missionaries on Sunday afternoon. And after that was over, President Brown said that he would use his authority to insist that we perform again at the Sunday evening devotional for the closing song. And let me tell you, I was shaking during the whole devotional! But it went so well. And the Spirit was so strong. Mom and Dad, I am so grateful that you pushed us while we were taking piano lessons, because it is such a blessing to be able to accompany these kinds of performances. Music touches people in ways that words can't. Although I've got to say that nothing beat that first time we performed. It was so unplanned and powerful and unexpected.

Well I'm almost out of time, but I've got to tell you something awesome! So every Tuesday we have a General Authority come and speak to us. And we never know who it is before we get there. But tomorrow's speaker wants to hold a special meeting with just the Mandarin and Cantonese missionaries tomorrow afternoon!!! I am so excited! So next week's email is going to be awesome, just you wait.

I love you all so much! Thank you for all your prayers and support, I really can feel them making a difference! Have a wonderful week!

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