Monday, August 30, 2010

MTC Communications 08302010

Hello my dear momma. How are youuuu??
Just so you know, I went to the doctor last week and not only did I have pink eye, I had an ear infection! Yay! The MTC is basically a sickness incubator. The doctor hooked me up with some antibiotics and I'm now all better.

My clothes are still discolored. But there are people somewhere in the world who maybe have one dress to wear to church, so I'm fine with my 9, now off-white, shirts. Maybe I will be able to get some cheap shirts in the Philippines. The sisters who are over the relief society here keep giving us dress and grooming presentations--the latest presentation said that the MTC standards have changed. No nylons needed, skirts just have to cover the knees when sitting, more color allowed, and things like belts and modest accessories are allowed. If you have any more things you need to send me, momma, could you maybe include some of my cute things? I know I left that black and white skirt that was really cute, and my black and white dress, and my black belt. Also maybe things with color??? I miss color. Hello my dear momma. How are youuuu??

Speaking of packages, I got your two packages. It was kind of bizarre though. The one sent priority mail arrived in great condition. The other box that was sent was all mangled and taped up everywhere, and when I opened it there were tons of random things that I knew you wouldn't have sent: a batman costume mask, movies and cds, pictures of some girl and her boyfriend in a photobooth with personal progress booklets and other things, an iHome?, an empty earring case, used markers, etc. Those things weren't from you right? If they were...haha, I'm a little confused? But thanks? Thanks so much for sending my shoes and vitamins and other necessities. I really really really appreciate it, momma.

There's so much to tell you! Last week we got 104 contacts and taught 13 lesson twos about the plan of salvation. I loveeeee teaching about the plan of salvation, because I know how much it has influenced my way of thinking about life and about where I come from and who I am. This week our goals are a little less numerical and a little more spiritual. A lot more spiritual. Sister Pence and I are working on charity as a companionship. I dont remember if I told you. But we've been making each other's beds in the mornings instead of our own. And I kind of love it, because in the midst of doing MY hair and getting MYself dressed and putting MY make up on, I actually get to stop and think about someone else. And it kind of refocuses me for the day.

Lately, for some reason, I have been struggling to feel God's love. I know that I have been the hindurance. But still its been something I've been working on--to feel it more deeply and readily. Because I know that if I feel God's love and if I feel all of these things I am teaching and will be teaching, I will touch that many more people. The Spirit only works through truth. So the other night, Sister Pence and I decided to study outside on the grass between some tall evergreens. There were some dark clouds in the sky and the temperature was perfect. But while we laid there, water drops began to fall on us, and we needed to go inside. We found this place on the 5th floor of the building we usually hold class in, and there is a great view of the mountains. I turned my seat to face the window and just sat there and watched the storm, praying in my heart to feel God's love. I began reading my scriptures and found some nice verses. When Sister Pence and I finish our personal study, we usually share one thing we learned or liked. Sister Pence shared 2 Nephi 7:11 with me and said that in stake conference back in Iowa someone shared this scripture and said, "never doubt in the dark what you knew in the light." And of course I started to cry. And I felt a wave of comfort come over me. I know that sometimes it can be hard to see God's love or to remember anything good when we are going through a hard time, but that we should never doubt what we've known before when times are good. There have been so many times when I've felt God's love in my life. Even being able to see that beautiful storm through the window on the 5th floor was a manifestation that God loves me, and he gives me beautiful things every day. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And he loves me through all of it. I also loved 2 Nephi 8:12.

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm so ELDER HOLLAND CAME this week. He spoke at a fireside. When he walked in the room all of the 2200 missionaries stood and we kept standing while we sang Called to Serve. It was such a powerful moment. There's so much I could share from the experience but i have 5 minutes! AHH!!!11 I will probably mail you what he said. Did you get my mail this week?

Also, I lost my scriptures and had to buy a new set on my credit card. What is Alainna's addresss?!?!?! How is Dudley? How is pop?

Alam ko po na trabaho ng Diyos ang ito. Dito ako dahil Mahal ko niya. Alam ko po na totoo ang ebanghelyo at nagpapasalamat po ako para sa mga niyaya sa buhay ko mulang nito. alam ko po na may plano ng diyos sa iyo at lahat mga tao. Ina, mahal niya po kayo. Sa pangalan ni jesucristo amen.

I sang in church yesterday. Come Come Ye Saints. And I spoke on the restoration.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010-MTC


Hi momma! It's Monday and I get to write you yet again. There are SO MANY FUN THINGS TO SHARE. I will type really fast.

I will start at the beginning. So, Tuesday this past week I woke up and went to take a shower, and I noticed these tiny bites on my arms. This was the second night I got them. They were so itchy. I showed my roommates, one of which is a nurse in training. I was like, "Check out these mosquito bites!" And she was like, "ummmm those aren't mosquito bites." So I calmly freaked out inside and asked what they were. She said they could be bed bug bites. Immediately, I switched my matress and sheets and called it good. I went upstairs to the maintenance and let them know there were possible bed bugs on the mattress I was sleeping on. The lady said they would need to fumagate our room and that she would set up an appointment for me to meet with the health clinic on campus. So, I though, "okay, no big deal." And I went to class.

Next thing I knew, I'm being called on the intercom to go meet with the health clinic right away. I go, and standing in the hallway at the clinic, the doctor looks at my arm and says, "Hmm, interesting bites." And I'm thinking, yeah I could have told you that. And he makes me set up an appointment. (I got them to wave the 10 dollar co-pay because this was MTC protocol and not really my decision to meet with anyone about the bites) So I show up a few hours later, the doctor says, "Hmmm, those definitely look like they're from some kind of insect." And I'm like...okayyy....I knew THAT. And he initiates the MTC Bed Bug protocol. Which means, THAT NIGHT, we had to evacuate our room, move everything to the top floor of our building (all four of us sisters), wash all of our clothes in HOT water and dry it on the hottest setting (and clothes that couldn't be washed in hot water needed to be sent to the dry cleaners on campus), shower before we enter the room, and notify the clinic that all had been done.

So, we all laughed about it and moved our things to the top floor of the building, said goodbye to our favorite 3rd floor room and buddies, and brought ALL of our clothes to the dry cleaners, because nothing of ours could be washed in hot water. We bagged everything in red biohazard bags, stole a big tub from the laundry room, rumbled everything on down to the dry cleaners. (No one was there, so we left a note)

Well, the next day our clothes were of course not done, so we had to wear the same exact outifts two days in a row. Which really wasn't a big deal, cause the elders aren't THAT observant. ;) We picked up our clothes the following day and I discovered that all of my white shirts were now purple-grey, all of my grey shirts were now purple, and all of my creme shirts were now grey (9 items of clothing). I talked to the person at the front counter, pleading with them that this was not my choice to bring everything to the dry cleaners, and I had no money to buy other clothes, but they kindly said, "There is nothing we can do." I pouted a little bit, like a sister missionary shouldn't, and he said he'd try to remove the dye from my clothes. I will get them back this Wednesday and let you know how they are.

Meanwhile, I'm getting really sick--like coughing and nose-running and fever-y. They also gave me my last hepatitis shot on Wednesday also, which costs 97 dollars. (I think I am going to put it on my credit card, Mom. Let me know what you think.) So, I've been trying my best to get better. I've been taking lots of Sudafed, Airborne, and drinking as much water-fountain water as I can possibly stand--it's hard. I also asked my branch president if I could take a few naps during missionary directed time and other breaks, and he told me I had special permission and to feel better.

The next day (yesterday) I sat on a red plum berry thing that fall from the trees all over campus and stained my long, grey sweater. Then I noticed my eye kept burning and itching. I looked in the mirror and sure enough, I have pink eye. I woke up this morning, and noticed I have it in both eyes. I've thrown away all of my eye make up.. I have an appointment with the doctor later today. He'll probably say something like, "Oh yeah, looks like there's something wrong with your eye," and give me some nice antibiotics.

So, it's funny because Sister Pence and I have been working on some Christlike traits. This last week was humility. I prayed for humility. And you know, I really think I was fighting it up until the dry cleaners. But the more things keep happening to me, the more I am laughing about it. It's actually really funny.

We watched a video the other night in class, while I was in the middle of all of this turmoil, and I really think this video changed my whole perspective. It's on the mormon messages on, and its about the man who lost his family in a drunk driver accident. What a beautiful story. I dont think I have ever, ever seen the application of the atonement shown so beautifully. And the video really made me see that the atonement is REAL. I cried the whole way through, basically. Watch it.

I know that what I've gone through this week is NOTHING, compared to what other people have to endure. I know that my Savior lives and I am actually so blessed to have these trials. I have seen myself change and I have grown closer to my companion through them. (We make each other's beds every morning. It's cute.)

READ D&C 35: 9-14. This is me! Heavenly Father is on my side and on your side, Mom. I so admire you for your attitude in all of these trials. We are only given them to be made stronger. I love you sos ososososososososososoo much.

Sister Missionaryyyyyyyyy, Aly

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 9, 2010

This is Aly's first email home.

Hello my dearest mother! I only have about 20 minutes to write this because I spent like 10 minutes of my alotted 30 trying to figure out my username and password, which I forgot. Nice one.

This is kind of crazy. Before dropping me off at the MTC, Brittany and Victoria took me to the nearest frozen yogurt place--sigh, the last time in 18 months--and the girl that was working there overheard that I was going on a mission. She asked me where and said that her friend was reporting the same day to the exact same mission. "Look for a Sister Pence!" she said. So, sure enough, I was sitting in my district classroom, and Sister Pence walks in, and she is my companion.

Sister Pence is from Iowa. She's blonde and tall, has short hair, and we are totally on the same page with everything. We are both dedicated servants of the Lord and have a desire to be obedient in all things. We also make each other laugh a lot, which I think is important. I do my Mexican accent for her, and talk to her in that Victoriaaaaaaaaaa voice, and it feels like we've known each other for years. We are joined at the hip.

My first day here was craaaaazyyyyyy. Think of how the temple is, but much more face-paced. I had no idea what was going on or where I was supposed to go or do, and people were speaking to me in Tagalog, and I'd just stare at them like a deer in the headlights. The best way I could describe it is it felt like I was in a tornado? Thursday wasn't as bad though. Honestly, I haven't even had time to think about it. I'm just in here on complete faith, doing what I'm told to do. And people say things slow down after the first week. They've already started to.

My classes are great. We study Tagalog and Preach My Gospel every day for like 4 and 5 hours at a time. There is no time here at the concept of time. I feel like I am eating every hour, when its really every 3-4 hours. But eating is really the only breaks we get. My teachers are fun, and they make sure everyone is on the same page with everything. They'll stop a lesson to ask if we're feeling overwhelmed.

My district is made up of 6 companionships. All Elders except for us Sisters. I love 'em. Sometimes I'll be sitting in class and I'll think, "Wow, these Elders are really great and spiritual and only 19 and I love missionaries." Then I think, "Hey, I'm a missionary." And I have to look down at my nametag to double check. So, I'll think the Elders are really great and spiritual in class, then other times outside of class, I'll overhear conversations about aliens and fighting tigers, and I am reassured that they are indeed 18 and 19 year olds. It's kinna funny. My comp and I laugh about it a lot.

Last week we were all challenged as a district to make 20 contacts in one day--basically that just means we talk to other companionships around the MTC, in Tagalog. We learned intro phrases like "Where are you from? I'm from...." Taga saan ka? and "What is your name?" Ano ang pangalan po ninyo? and "Where are you going on your mission?" Saan ka magmimission? Well, Sister Pence and I decided we weren't really challenged by the 20 contacts, so we up'ed it to 40. And we did it! With encouragment from each of us, we talked to as many people as we could find. Needless to say the Elders in our district were kind of floored. :) It's neat though. You'll walk around and a companionship will stop you and just start bearing their testimony in Cambodian or Russion, and you have no idea what they are saying, but the Spirit is absolutely there.

So far I know how to introduce myself in Tagalog, say my prayers in Tagalog, and bear my testimony in Tagalog. I can only speak simply, but I can do it. "Alam ko na Tagapaglitas si Jesucristo. Alam ko na totoo ang ebanghelyo, at alam ko na mahalaga ang aklat ni mormon. Sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, Amen." The language is going well. But actually teaching Preach My Gospel is tough. Especially because I am trying to focus on the moment in my lessons and on what the investigators are feeling. And there is no way to know where a lesson might lead. Preparing for that is TOUGH. But I will learn. It will come. I know it will.

August 16, 2010

This is actually Aly's second email.

Hello my dear momma. Thank you so so so so much for writing me those DearElders. You have no idea how amazing it is to get mail every day and know that I am being thought of. Some days can be rough and the small reminder helps. I get them the day you send them usually, but I can't write back until Monday mornings. And I only have thirty minutes to write, so I'm always stressed out trying to fit everything in that I want to tell you. There's so much to tell that happens over a week long period.
Things at the MTC are still going really well. My companion and I have been working really hard to feel the spirit more in our lessons. We had kind of an amazing experience where we both studied about the Holy Ghost in our personal study, then had companionship study right after. We were talking about how you know if you have the spirit or not, and this Elder came up to our table. (Everyone is working on getting contacts here, so they'll just walk around and find a person to share a message with. People are usually pretty agreeable when it comes to hearing our message...Weirdddd) So this Elder came up, and he asked if he could share a message. We agreed and he said his message was from a devotional that Elder Bednar gave here at the MTC on the spirit. Sister Pence and I just looked at each other with open mouths. Then he said something like, "Don't worry about whether or not what you are thinking is from the spirit. If you are obedient and doing all you should, just go forward." It was the perfect thing we could be told, in the perfect moment. Later that night a group of 4 Elders came by and asked if they could share their testimonies. One of them was from the Philippines and learning English. He bore his testimony to us in English. Another bore his testimony in Samoan, another in Portuguese, and another in Korean. Then we bore our testimonies to them in Tagalog. It was a beautiful moment.

I think the most difficulty I am having is not with the language at all. It's with the teaching. Every lesson must be tailored to meet the needs of the people we teach. So we have to get a feel for who the people are and what God wants them to know and be taught. I have to remind myself that worrying about what I'm going to say is a completely selfish thing to do during a lesson. I have to focus on the person in front of me. I love teaching though. I feel like I am making progress. Sister Pence and I have a goal to hit 12 lessons this week. We already have about 7 scheduled.

Speaking of schedule. It changes every day. But a typical day would be: 6:00, wake up; 7:00 breakfast; 7:30 class; 10:15 gym; 11:30 lunch; 12:15 class; 6:00 fireside; 9:00 planning with comp; 9:30 back to residence; 10:30 lights out. It's a pretty jam-packed day. The days feel like weeks. I can hardly remember what I've done the day before half of the time. And the weeks feel like days. I can't believe I've been here for over two weeks already
I love you momma. God loves you.
Your little missionary, Sister Fort.