It has not been a week since I have written. I mean, obviously it has been, but it does NOT feel like it. It feels like this week has been like a month. So much learning, so much growth, so much of the spirit, so many rollercoaster of emotions, so much bonding...it's crazy.
I've learned quite a few lessons from this week.
The first is that it is okay to not be in a happy mood all the time. I think some missionaries think we just have to be happy and positive and upbeat all the time, but we just can't be, we are still human, and to try to do that 24/7 is just exhausting. Realizing that everyone has ups and downs and that it is normal is important.
Second, that even though we can't be happy all the time, at the MTC (and I expect out in the field as well), you will have about as good a day as you decide to have. Even if you have some trials, lingering in frustration or disappointment will do nothing for you. I decide to get over it and just get engaged in the work and its like, Boom, I feel great again. I learned that on Sunday. I was having a pretty bummer day, just struggling with the stress and the rules and the work, and it wasn't until the beginning of Sunday devotional that I thought "you know what, I want to get something out of this devotional, so I'm going to be in a good mood!" All of a sudden I became a sponge, soaking up every great part of that devotional, and what an amazing one it was. Then we watched a talk by David A. Bednar called "Character of Christ" (don't bother searching for it, it's exclusivley MTC) and wow. One of the most motivating, inspiring talks I have ever heard.
It brings me to lesson number three I learned this week. When you learn to turn your attention away from yourself and outwardly to others, that's all you care about! Who cares if I miss home? Who cares if the rules are hard to follow? It's not about me. This is not just about doing, it's about becoming. Becoming as Christ was, and turning the attention towards others to serve them 100% selflessly. Since Sunday, I have determinedly worked to acquire the characteristics of Christ to quit thinking about myself and focus on my purpose--to bring others to Christ.
We've been teaching "Marcus" (our teacher as an investigator) which is a really good learning experience for recognizing the needs of investigators and teaching them according to their needs. Our district has gotten so extremely close. Something else I've learned is that laughter is a fantastic way to relieve stress and having fun is important. However, if we're having too much fun during class, it can be impossible to focus. We're still working on that. Because we have great laughs every day. But the spirit is also felt really strongly, and we are all learning together and growing together and struggling together and picking each other up...I'm really going to miss these guys.
Example of our antics: we had a "complaint jar" drawn on the white-board and if you complained, someone would write your name in it. But it got so ridiculous, every tiny thing you said, someone would say "Is that a complaint??" and write your name, so everyone had their name in so many times. One of the Elders called it the "Salem Witch Trials" of complaints.
We had in-field orientation yesterday, which was learning about goal-setting and working with members and other stuff we'll need to know once we get out there. One of our teachers was Brother Christiansen, who was a missionary in "The District" training videos that everyone has to watch before going into the MTC. So now that he's an RM he teaches here, and basically everyone knows who he is. He's like a reality star here at the MTC. And he's a fantastic teacher too. Sis. Brimley and I have been teaching an investigator at TRC (teaching resource center). That has been a tough trial, because it's hard to know what to teach when you don't know someone well, especially if they are reserved, because if they're not open and you don't know what they need or want in this life, it's really difficult to tailor the lessons to them. We have one more lesson with her, so I hope it goes well. We just have to teach by the spirit and hope she uses her agency well.
I love and miss you all so much! My p-day next week will probably be different, so just send emails whenever you can!