Wednesday, April 27, 2011

First Preparation Day

Hey everyone!
So excited for p-day, here at last. It's amazing to think that I was in the States just a week ago. The weather here is unbelievable. We've spent as much time as possible outside practicing teaching, investigating, praying, studying, walking through the village, playing football, and just taking pictures.
There are eight sisters and we all LOVE EACH OTHER. My companion is one Sister Filichia (Felicia) who is full of zest and hyper and theatrics, as well as insights on spiritual topics and an insistant self-improvement attitude. When we're not chatting with the elders (trying not to make people think we're breaking rules or anything), we have a good time talking about our lives and what we've been learning. Sister Keogh's from Dundee, and she's undergone quite a few medical challenges in the past, culminating in this mission. She's a fantastic person and we can't wait to be companions. Will I have a bit of Scottish accent? Maybe...Our other sisters going to London South is Sister Mills, who is our "district leader", enthused and bubbly and a natural leader, and Sister Sebald, who's from Germany and despite struggles with the language is hands-down brilliant, super sweet, really funny, and reminds us to slow down when we talk. Others are Sister Stucki (hysterics at lunch, she used to be Sleeping Beauty at Disneyland), Sister Baker (out of Seattle and Beijing), and Sister Delgado (age 32, gorgeous, from Uruguay. Also hilarious.) Basically we're all trying to not be super loud and super hyper during mealtimes, but if anyone's MET Sister Stucki, it's sort of impossible.
I guess the most important things that have happened were in the classroom. We're learning to ask our investigators questions inspired by the Spirit, so that they can feel his influence and consider things they never had before. It's a bit awkward when you have silence for twenty solid seconds while you're looking for something to ask, but when what comes out of your mouth is inspired, it won't matter in the least. We're also learning how to introduce investigators to prayer and feeling the Holy Ghost, adjusting lesson plans to fit needs, answering questions with the Book of Mormon to testify of its truthfulness, and just doing our best to follow the Spirit when we teach. Sometimes we feel really silly; Me and my companion are teaching one of the instructors here, who as it turns out, is re-living his own conversion at age sixteen. Scary stuff. It definitely doesn't feel like role-playing anymore. Tomorrow we actually go out into the streets of Manchester and try our hand at tracting for the first time, something a lot of MTCs can't do. Rather than feel lucky, I think most of us are scared spitless of the notion of real people; I'm actually really excited because I'm really tired of trying to convert other missionaries. Practice is good and all, but I think we need a perspective most. Pray lots that we'll feel guided in our steps and prepared to find.
We had a session this morning (Elder Hedafi's endowment, he's from South Africa) and the Preston Temple is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We all trickled into the Celestial Room and you could just feel the comaraderie and friendship and spirit in that room. The elders were all hugging each other and a bunch had to go hide in a corner and sneak tissues, including our District Leader who just broke down. So sweet. The sun gleamed through the stained-glass and we knew that it was the Lord's living room. We were all just waiting for Him to arrive. Hands down the highlight of my week.
How is everything back at home? Is the weather any good? Any news since I went away? I sure can't wait to hear from everyone! The Church is true and stuff. Pray, read your scriptures, do what you can. Find that talk Elder Bednar gave in Provo on the Spirit in 2009, everyone needs to hear it.
Love from,
Sister Willard

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arriving at the Preston MTC

Dear Family,
I'm pleased to report a safe arrival in Manchester to GLORIOUS SUNSHINE and they didn't even lose my luggage. I'm rooming with two sisters, Mills and Felicia; Sister Mills is in my mission, and Sister Felicia is in Birmingham. So delightful, we're all giggly and super excited to be here. The plane ride included absolutely no sleep, so I'm hoping to stay conscious until at least nine pm tonight. So far I've got eleven hours to go. I believe!
Thanks to everyone for helping me get here. The Preston MTC is itty-bitty (seven total sisters), which means we all get personal interviews with the president and his lovely wife. I met all the missionaries in my terminal in Chicago, most from Idaho and Utah, a few from Mesa, and one from California. We are all SO stoked to be here.
The temple looks so beautiful from here; it's fifty degrees and all I want to do is lounge outside with my journal, but I have to register my medical, learn about mail, send emails to all the leadership, do my interviews and assess temple clothing before I can even go upstairs to see where they've taken my luggage. Regardless, I love you all and I'm excited to report more fully on P-day! Just so everyone knows, I got here safe and am raring to learn until my brain cells burst...
Hurrah for Israel!
Love from,
Sister Willard