California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First MTC email

Estoy excellente y muy entusiasmada de ser en el CCM(MTC)! (translation -- I am excellent and very enthusiastic to be in the MTC)
This week has been a wonderful week! While I was very sad to leave you all, I am so exctied to be serving the Lord and learning how to teach the Gospel in the Spanish Language.
My companera (companion) is Hermana Stoeltzing. She is from Sacramento, CA and is going to be serving in Colorado Denver South Mission --so we are just kind of switching states. (I have some pictures of us and the district that I will send next P-day when I have a camera cord). We get along very well. The other companionship we share a room with is Hermana Johnson and Hermana Guzy. They are going to the California Fresno Mission too and are also wonderful! Our district has 4 companionships--2 sister companionships and 2 elders: Elders Palmer and Kane and Elders Brown and Davis. We are still getting to know them, but we all work well together and are patient with one another. Our teachers (Hermana Sherwood and Hermano Wells) are fantastic! They never speak English unless they ask permission first(which is hardly ever). I am pleasantly surprised at how much I can understand. Occassionally(at least once a day), I slip into Portugese or some French, but everyday is getting better. I can now pray and bear my testimony completely in Spanish.
We taught our first lesson on Friday. It was entirely in Spanish! We are teaching a woman named Manuela (it is actually our teacher acting as un investigador-- someone who is investigating or looking into the church). She is so sweet and loves her family so much. She had a child in the hospital in a coma and was very worried about that. We have taught her 4 times (completely in Spanish) since then--Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday.We teach her again tomorrow and are hoping to do it competely without notes! During these 4 lessons we taught her about the love that God has for all of His children, the Holy Ghost, Prayer, Faith in Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, the Atonement, Repentance, the Priesthood, and Families being together forever. During each lesson we sing a song about the topic that we are teaching about. Hymns always bring such a wonderful spirit into the lesson!

During our lesson on prayer, we had her pray at the end. In that lesson the Spirit was so strong! When she prayed, I was overwhelmed with the Spirit--like I was receiving a huge hug. This is why we are doing missionary work--to bring others closer to Christ and to help them feel of God's love for them and allow them to experience the feelings of the Spirit. We challenged her to be baptized that same day. She said she would! On Monday, we set a date for her baptism--it helps her and us to be focused on her goal--to follow the Savior's example and be baptized by the proper Priesthood authority. She said that she would be baptized on the 22nd of June. We are so excited for her!
On Sunday we were able to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast of Music and the Spoken word--it was amazing! It was celebrating Memorial Day! Then we had Relief Society (a church meeting for adult women) with all the Sisters. There are 1,254 sister missionaries here right now! AMAZING! We all sang the new version of "As Sisters in Zion" by Janice Kapp Perry together. It was so wonderful to feel the spirit that entered the room when we sang about sisters enlisting in the army of Helaman (a prophet in the Book of Mormon). Please go read the lyrics! They are truly inspired! (see below)
That night we had a devotional with Elder Stephen B. Allen--Managing Director of the missionary department. He had come prepared with a talk, but said that when he came into the room he was inspired to change topics.It was amazing to see him teach completely by the Spirit. During part of his talk he had all of the missionaries sing with a recording of the Tabernacle Choir singing "Come, Come Ye Saints." (lyrics below) Wow! How powerful! There was barely a dry eye in the room. He explained to us that this hymn was a missionary anthem. He then explained that as we watched Sister Monson's Funeral afterwards that we should try to feel joy--joy for her wonderful life and joy that she has returned home to her Heavenly Father and that she is preparing a heavenly home for her and President Monson. What a wonderful perspective! I am so grateful for the knowledge to know that families can be together forever! Elder Allen also said that "All is Well!" because the most difficult part that anyone can ever play has already been done by the Savior.
I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. I know that the power of the Holy Ghost is real and that the Holy Ghost can touch our hearts and testify of truth. I know that Jospeh Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is called of God and is the prophet and leads and guides our church today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it teaches us the doctrines of Christ that we need to know to be able to return back to Him again. I know that my Redeemer lives! I know that He suffered and died for us so that we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again! "Oh sweet, what joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer Lives!"
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Hermana VanWie
Here are the lyrics of "The Sisters of Zion" and "Come, Come Ye Saints" and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" that Anne refers to in her email. Music is such a part of her!
The sisters of Zion are called to God's labor,
We willingly serve Him with spirit and might.
We go to the nations with truth everlasting,
We teach of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us,
We trust in his words and our purpose is clear.
The angels of heaven are walking beside us,
We'll share our glad message with all who will hear.

We go forth enlisted with Helaman's Army
In numbers much greater than ever before.
With power and spirit we'll faithfully witness
The heavens have spoken and truth is restored!
Come, Come Ye Saints
1. Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!
I Know that My Redeemer Lives
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

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