Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:22

Saturday, September 13, 2014

3 days until SLCE!!!! - 13 September 2014

Beautiful Family, 

I can't believe that the last email I wrote you I was on my 3rd day at the MTC and now I only have 3 days left! As Elder Peterson in my district said, “I feel like I’ve been born and raised in the MTC!" But, at the same time I feel like you just dropped me off yesterday. Crazy.

Well I have LOTS to report so I’m doing a more general letter this time but I just want to express my gratitude for the MUCH love and support from SO MANY!!!! Thank you for sending me all the comments and picture comments from Facebook and my blog and such, that has been so fun. All the elders are jealous of the sisters because we all get like 4 "dear elders" a day! They get like one a week. Elder Palmer actually only got one email from his mom last week that was titled YOU DIRT BAG because he got a ticket and a fine before leaving and didn't tell his dad until right before he left and they just found out the cost :'D But then she sent him treats to share with all of us so he is doing better. All of our elders are seriously like the little brothers I never had. I know they are only a year younger than us but I just love them so dearly and the sisters, too.

My companion sister Scott is so funny. She reminds me of a little kid. She wasn't feeling well, so I asked if she wanted a vitamin C, she was like “what flavor cuz I only like watermelon flavored medicine.” HAHA She cracks me up. I gave her a On Guard Doterra bead and I think I traumatized her for life. She was not a fan, poor thing. She is such a sweetie and I am learning a lot being with her. The other sisters have really become some of my best friends. Sister Rogers and I especially have so much in common. We literally had a 15-minute conversation about American Girl dolls one night and we are the same. Like they were our lives for like 15 years and that’s all Christmas and birthdays were for us. We were telling stories about the ridiculous things we did with them, like fill their stockings for Christmas and sending them to the doll hospital and our companions were dying of laughter! Our nights are fun. The 4 us are so close that when one of us gets a package, we all rejoice as if it was for us and we are genuinely so exited for each other and it makes us feel like we know each other’s family, and then we all show pictures of who our packages are from and there are lots of AHHs! And, "I want to meet them soooo bad!" We're pretty cute. haha.

I have gotten the sweetest packages since being here. But wow, I can't thank the young women in our ward enough! WHAT SWEETIES!!! I loved all the quotes and drawings and letters so much! I was tearing up so bad. I love all the YW and the leaders and hope they know they are just as much of an example to me. The Ghormley boys’ pictures made my heart melt. I could not stop smiling! I read them to all of the sisters. Conner's was so sweet and made me miss all of my nursery kids so much! Tell them I love them and thank Conner for the adorable drawing. All of the notes and drawings and quotes will for sure make it on my wall when I’m out in the field but let Cody Ghormley know that his is already on my wall at the MTC because it specifically said, "put this on your wall plz" (: so it's there, and I loved learning from him that dinosaurs were the 1st missionaries! haha he drew a dinosaur and said, "go be like a dino and share the gospel." They are the cutest. And the Peter Pan figurine is on my desk! It makes me so happy and will always remind me of all those sweet girls!

I also got a package from Alayna! That same day I saw her roommate and my good friend Sister Sorenson! We got to have a good long conversation in the cafeteria. It was wonderful to see her happy face and spirit! Alayna is pretty much perfect. Her package was the highlight of my day. She is really such an amazing friend. I also got goodies from Uncle Bob and Aunt Lynda to share with my district. Aunt Lynda will never cease to amaze me with her heavenly cooking and baking skills! Oh my goodness the sisters could not stop RAVING about how those cookies we're the BEST they have EVER had! So, give them my thanks and my love! They are in my prayers. It was also so nice to get a "dear elder" from Brenda and Mariah. They are so sweet and I miss them so so so much! Hopefully I will have time to write back to them ASAP! Oh and tell Wyatt the sisters could not get over how amazing my flowers looked. They said their whole life would be made if someone would give them flowers like that. So, Select Choir is basically just perfect. Loved hearing about them and how well they are doing with you mama! And that they enjoyed my note, they are too cute (:

I just wanted everyone to thank everyone for the sunshine they have sent me with their updates and gifts. I LOVE YOU ALL!! 

So now for more of a report on me. This experience here in the MTC has been amazing and hard and exciting and I CAN'T WAIT to be out in the field, but the MTC is what has given me that excitement. Since I got my call I have been excited to go on my mission, being in the MTC has probably been the hardest part. You are learning so much constantly all the time and it made me nervous about all the things that I really didn't know and questioning how strong my testimony really is. Missions are HARD WORK, but I have received so much comfort in the things I have learned and I have had to calm myself down and remember that this is just the beginning of my 18-month journey and though I have a lot to learn to be a good missionary, the Lord is on my side and as long as I have faith in Him I can do all that’s been asked. I know that He has chosen me to be a missionary. I LOVE THE LORD AND I LOVE PEOPLE! So I am happy and wonderful and know I am supposed to be here. The Lord answers prayers. I have had so many wonderful experiences I don't even know where to begin. I will try and remember everything!

Last Saturday after I emailed you we got to go to the temple. It was so peaceful. I love the Provo Temple. The spirit that is there with all the missionaries was amazing! I felt so warm and engulfed by the love of God and the love of Christ as I sat through the session. Dad I still can't believe that amazing experience you had with Elder Holland. What a beautiful blessing! Thank you for the thoughts you keep sending about things that he said. He is soo powerful and his words are a boost in my day! I’m glad you got to see Elder Robbins, too! I love him! His words were so sweet and so encouraging. 

Sunday was an amazing day!!!!! Our devotional was by Richard I. Heaton, the administrative director for the MTC. It was really inspiring, he had us raise our hands if we were converts past the age of 16 and, if you were, to keep your hand up if you didn't believe in or know about God before converting. He then called a sister and an elder from that group up to the stand and just talked to them about their conversion and the missionaries' role in their lives. It was amazing to see and hear the change in people’s hearts and lives as they accepted Christ and are now HERE at the MTC preparing to bring more souls to Christ. Missionaries are so powerful when they are obediently being servants of the Lord. I learned a lot about what it means to be a good missionary from their experiences.

The highlight of my Sunday was that we got to hear from David A. Bednar. It was a recorded MTC devotional from Christmas 2011 called, “The Character of Christ”. I don't know if you could look it up but it was hands down THE. BEST. TALK. I have ever heard in my LIFE. It changed my whole outlook on things. You know how when Elder Oaks came to Holbrook and we all just loved him so much deeper because we saw him as an Apostle in a different and more personal setting than General Conference? I have such a deep love now for Elder Bednar. His words and insights were the most inspiring words I have ever heard. The spirit was so incredibly strong and when it was over I couldn’t wait to go do something about what I had learned and apply it to my life. He talked about turning OUTWARD like Christ did instead of listening to the natural man and turning INWARD. That is not anything new, but the power he had made me understand what kind of person and what kind of missionary I want to be. I want to be like my Savior. I hope this is a talk you can find. Everyone should hear it!

Something else I really liked about what he said was at the beginning when he remarked on how we were all taking notes. He said when taking notes we should make our own small plates and write down personal revelation that comes as we listen intently, not just copying down what we hear because we won’t remember it and we are not likely to return to those notes. He is wonderful. He set the tone for this week and for the rest of my mission and my life!

Monday and Tuesday were both so spiritually uplifting and I felt so empowered from heeding to the words of Elder Bednar. But, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I was struggling a little. I asked our elders to give me a blessing. I had Elder Peterson give it to me, he reminds me of Stratton - his spirit and the way he says things and his sense of humor as well. (: It was so comforting and exactly what I needed to hear. It is so amazing to see how priesthood power works. I have such a strong testimony of it. Since then I have felt the spirit even more strongly. 

We are continuing to teach Harley. I LOVE HARLEY. He wants God's love so badly and is so willing to find that in his life, he is already almost half way done with the Book of Mormon and he just started reading it about a week ago! Sister Scott and I really connect with him and are able to testify to him through the spirit. We have such uplifting and learning experiences with him.

We taught our first TRC investigator, We teach a sweet lady named Liana. She is a Christian with a strong testimony of Christ and the atonement and she graduated from BYU so she knew a lot and it was scary to teach her. But through studying and planning for her needs and being guided through the spirit we were able to commit her to baptism! But we only had 4 days of teaching her, so that’s sad. We don't know if TRCs are members or real investigators but I am going to continue to pray for her. We grew to love her so much in those few days. I can’t wait to have that love for the people I am teaching in SLCE!! 

Wow it is all so surreal . I have so many more things to share but my time is up, and this is already super long! I will email you next week from my first area!! YAY! I get on the Front Runner train this Tuesday at around 6:00 a.m. (: Can you believe it! Stay well family I’m praying for you! Keep the love coming, I love hearing from you! Thanks for your examples. Hopefully this rambling email makes sense.  I LOVE YOU!! Give Molly kisses. Miss her too (: 
-Sister MaRiah B. Hatch

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