Last Friday (9/18): After e-mails I went to the Provo temple with a thankful heart for my friends and family and their e-mails. I also got to be there at a session with a lot of people from my zone. I thanked God for all the amazing people in my life.
Saturday (9/19): I woke up with a sore throat and then got a fever. I don't really remember much from that day.
Sunday (9/20): Sister Nunez and I taught a RS lesson on repentance. I thought it was going to be a drag since it's not really a topic I resonate a lot with, but I really learned a lot while we were giving the lesson. I wrote in my journal about that lesson: "Repentance draws us closer to God, and as it does so, it helps us love the people around us more fully." Interpret that however you will. I think I realized that repentance isn't really about feeling bad about the things you did in your life. It's really about your relationship with other people. Thank you, whoever said that during the class that day.
We also had to say goodbye to some of the people in our zone. The non-visitors center missionaries left this week to be in their assigned field. I had so many great laughs and heartfelt moments with them in two weeks; it was a rough day. I really really hope I see them again someday.
Monday (9/21): We got a third companion!!!! Sister Sapera from the Philippines came to the MTC Monday night after serving in-field in the Philippines for 2 transfers. She's quiet, hilarious, and powerful when she teaches.
Tuesday (9/22): Our last day of regular MTC classes before Visitors Center training. Said goodbye to our teachers and zone mates. And Sis Rauta from my district got surgery for her kidney stones.
Wednesday (9/23): Sister Rauta was pretty beat from getting lasers in her kidney, so we took turns staying with her. It seemed really awful and painful until the drugs finally started working and knocked her out. We also started our first day of visitor's center training. I missed most of it, but what I gathered is that our purpose as missionaries is the same in visitors' centers (VC), we just have to get to know and empathize with people a lot quicker. It's basically sped-up multimedia proselyting, which is cool, because I think using paintings and videos and statues to help people feel God in their lives is a lot more effective than using my own stupid monotonous voice.
Thursday (9/24): Sister Kogure, from Chiba, is in my VC class! We were companions for online chat, in which we basically are the people on the other side of themormon.org chat function. CHAT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE GENUINELY WANT TO KNOW WHAT MORMONISM IS. WE DON'T HAVE TO TRY TO GAGE INTEREST. They literally just come online with questions, and we help them come closer to Christ the best way we can. Every investigator on there is the dream investigator. Sister Kogure and I didn't get to chat with any Japanese people, but we basically had our first real lesson with our first real investigator, since all the lessons we've been giving so far were role-plays with teachers. REAL PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR THIS GLORIOUS MESSAGE ABOUT CHRIST AND I'M SO EXCITED.
Friday (9/25): We went to Temple Square to get the "VC EXPERIENCE" since not all the people in the VC class are going to serve at Temple Square. While we were waiting for the train to take us to Salt Lake, we saw a gang of three guys in face paint and devil horns, and I thought, "weirdo Provo youths. Bunches of hooligans." But then we started seeing more of them. We saw a batman, a baby pikachu, a marceline... Turns out it's Comic-con this weekend, so I got to see some cool costumes and old BYU friends. As for Temple Square itself, I was with Sister Li from China, and we ended up giving a tour to a group of Chinese folk. I didn't know anything about the stuff we were taking them to see, so I just smiled and made conversation. They were in a hurry, so we only got to show them the tabernacle, and they ran off... They missed all the good stuff! There were ten billion other things that happened, but all I can say in this e-mail is that Temple Square is beautiful beyond words, and I can't wait to talk to people about God there for the next 18 months.
Saturday (Today): Since we went to Temple Square yesterday, today is our P-day. Thus the late replies. Apologies to all.
Thought of the week: I've been thinking a lot about the gift of knowledge God has given to us. Whenever I hear about someone's conversion story, I just think about how cool it is that God gave that person the ability to think for themselves. We have scriptures. We have missionaries. We have friends that give beautiful testimonies about whatever they believe in. But God gave us the freedom to accept or reject him, and the ability of a human being to come to accept Jesus Christ as Savior after all the knowledge that they gain in life is pretty amazing. In 3 Nephi 17:3, Christ tells the people, "go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare in your minds". Christ trusts us as thinking, intellectual individuals. He knows that we can come unto him eventually, by our own knowledge and choice. That's pretty cool.
I love you all.
Spanish sentence of the day: Soy una misionera de la Inglesia de Jesus Cristo de los Santos de los ultimos dias.
(fun fact: I accidentally said "ultimos dios" (last gods) instead of "ultimos dias" (Latter-days))