My dear family and friends!
Hello!!! It was SO good to be able to talk to Mom and Dad for a little bit last night! For those of you that don't know, my visa has not come yet. So I can't leave quite just yet to go to Brazil, so I am temporarily assigned to serve in Tulsa Oklahoma! I met a ton of Elders in the laundry room this morning that are going there at the same time as us, and they say that there's about 30 of us reporting on Wednesday, and that there'll be over 300 of us in the mission. Wow! Apparently, it covers parts of Oklahoma (duh...haha), Arkansas, Kansas, and wait for it...Missouri! Say whaaaat?! But I am SO EXCITED! Anyone that wants to pepper me with random facts (or lyrics) about Oklahoma, it would be cheerfully welcomed. I'll leave at 3:00 a.m. this coming Wednesday! WOOHOO!!
In other exciting news, Elder Nelson spoke at last Tuesday's devotional! It was so exciting, I can't believe I was blessed enough to hear from two members of the quorum of the twelve while I was here! He and his wife both spoke about the power of this work, and its importance in the salvation of all of God's children. So inspiring! It was great to feel his power, and know that he has been called of God. Sister Nelson spoke about the angels that minister to us, and about their part in this work. She said that it is no small thing to continually be told that we have angels to assist us. We have the privilege of praying to receive their help, specifically by their names, or by attributes. He talked about how the ancestors of people we will meet are praying for us to find them, and will gladly assist us. Mom, could you send me more stories about our ancestors? I'd really like to get to know them better. Also, no blog, I want you to know how special it has already been to know I have angels to assist me, especially Grandma Dud (spelling?) and Grandpa Bunnell. I have felt their presence, to strengthen and encourage me. I can't remember if I told you about it, but during the first week here, there was one day I was sitting outside during personal study and looking around the MTC, thinking about what I'd heard of the blessing Elder Holland gave when he rededicated some of the buildings. This is dedicated, holy ground, and I feel so privileged to be here. Apparently, he called down the powers of heaven and its angels to protect the missionaries from Satan's forces, and from the evil of the world. And suddenly, when I was thinking about that, I just knew how literal that was. I felt the presence of angels all around me, and knew that the MTC is always watched over. I know that the Lord loves the missionaries, and I know He's keeping us safe. I also know how much Satan wants us to fail, and I am ever grateful for the strength I have access to so that I can always overcome whatever he throws at me!
At Relief Society on Sunday, Janice Kapp Perry spoke! I'm so grateful for all of her talents, and that she's been able to bless my life so much with her music. The new Sisters told me that it's been all over Facebook, so you may already know, but she was asked to write a new version of "As Sisters in Zion" for the Sister Missionaries--called, "The Sisters of Zion". AMAZING. I'm pretty sure no one was singing by the time we got to the last verse, because we were all crying! It is amazing to know I get to witness the miracle that is taking place right now, all over the world. I feel so blessed to be a part of this great work, and to know with all of my heart that the Lord wants me here, right now. And to stand with over 1200 of my Sisters, singing the debut of this song with lyrics written for us? It was a special moment for all of us. I'll never forget it!
One of the things I keep hearing this week, and that I'm really trying to internalize, is that the key to missionary work is love. Love for the Lord, love for His children! I've decided that this is something I can use in order to be the missionary God needs me to be, and as I continue to work on loving unconditionally it'll become a strength in my life. So that's what I'm working for! Actually, it's probably going to make my mission kind of hard. I already feel so much love for all of the missionaries I know here, and am so sad to leave them. I mean, of course I'm excited to go, too! I've just learned to love my district, and the Sisters in my branch, and my Branch Presidency and their wives. I've been so blessed, especially with the opportunity to be a Sister Training Leader--I get to have five times as many people to know and love, and receive their love right back! We got a whole new district this week, so it's been fun to train them and help them get their bearings. And now I have to leave them. Ah! All of this leaving in missions is SAD! But the going is just as exciting, so we're good. I have to remind myself all day long that there'll be people to love wherever I go...and the Lord is always with me!
So I really am doing great! I love you all, and am so grateful for the examples you are in my life! Devin, Sterling, I am so proud of you. It means everything to me to hear from you, and hear how much you're growing and how great you're doing. Dev, what a great goal with the Book of Mormon! Follow through on it, and I promise it'll bless your life and so many others. I love you so much!
Oh, p.s--totally spent an hour vacuuming the outside mat/rug thing Elder Nelson walked on during my service time on Tuesday morning! (It was very large and had lots of grooves) Sooo I vacuumed a mat for an apostle! Haha