Wow, I can't believe we're getting out of here soon! There comes a point where it feels like you've been here forever, and then it feels like you've only been here a day. I can't even comprehend the fact yet that I will be in a different country one week from now. I've never been more east than Mississippi! (technically Louisiana, but we crossed the border for fun, so I'm counting it).
This past week we received our travel plans, which feels like Christmas at the MTC. On Sunday our devotional was a musical devotional, and Lloyd Newel was the speaker. If you don't know who Lloyd Newel is, I guess he is kind of a big deal because he does the spoken word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and he is "the voice" of general conference. When you turn on your tv this coming October for conference, and you hear the guy say "this is the (big number)th session of general conference...". So it was really cool hearing from him on Sunday! We sang some songs as the MTC choir (not Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but missionary training center) and he then would talk about the song, and the theme was overcoming fear.
This week I had a cool experience in one of our lessons with one of our investigators. (we call the people we talk to and teach investigators because it's like they're "investigating" the church). At the mtc, they're not real, they are just the persona of people that our teachers taught on their missions, with the same life stories and everything but it is our teaching pretending to be them.
We shall call this investigator Blessing. She is from Nigeria, and moved to Italy to find work. She has great faith in Christ, was baptized in another church before, and cannot read at all. She cannot even write her own name. She is humble, positive, and just amazing. In our lesson this week we were discussing The Plan of Salvation. This is about how we lived before this life, the reason we all came to earth, Christ's role in all of it, and what is going to happen after we die. She was very interested in the fact that we lived before this. She had never heard anything like that before. We draw pictures for our lessons with her to make it more interactive, and we read the scriptures for her because we don't have portable audio scriptures to take to these lessons.
We had a scripture prepared to share with her, but I knew it wasn't really going to help. It wasn't going to answer her question, and it was going to stray to far off from the direction the lesson was going. Then a scripture in Alma came to my mind! I had an idea where it was, but I could not rememebr the exact verse. And if you've ever read the book of mormon, you know the book of alma is pretty long. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find it because, I understand a little Italian, but reading the scriptures in Italian is a whole 'nother story. It uses old language and a lot of words people don't say every day. Reading the scriptures is hard enough in English. But I said a little prayer, flipped the book open , turned a couple pages, and there it was! I knew it was the verse I was looking for, we read it, she loved it, and i double checked it in English to make sure haha. My companion after wards was like, "uhm how did you do that?". I'm honestly not really sure, but it was awesome. I've read the Book of Mormon, I've prayed about it, and there is no way I can deny that that book is the word of God.
Another cool scripture in the Bible, check out Romans 1:15 :) my companion came across it this week, and we just thought it was pretty awesome.
Ciao! Have a wonderful week!
Here is Sister Canino from Calabria! We're kind of best buds now.
Sister Hogan! She was on my floor when I lived in Taylor Hall at BYU! I love her she is such a doll, and she's going to the CALIFORNIA MODESTO MISSION. That's you Stockton. She left this Monday.
We twinned because #compunity
So Sister Taylor has a lot of funny markings in her scriptures because she's had them since she was 7, and she chose random pages to put these little scripture pictures in, and guess where she put the picture of the missionaries. Yea! how cool is verse 15?
I wish you could have seen my outfit I wore yesterday with that new skirt! it was way cute.
The four of us going to the Rome mission
We tried spelling out "Italia" as a district. Let's just take a moment to appreciate how amazing mine and Sister Taylor's "A" is. The Elders try, haha, scherzo.
Here's a pic of the whole zone. It's not the best, but we had all been through about 20 different cameras by then.
I can't believe how close we are getting now to finally getting to Italy!
It was a pretty typical week; devotionals, lessons, teaching lesson. One thing I've been learning a lot about is faith. One of our teachers was telling us about how a lot of missionaries in Italy have given up because there isn't anyone who wants to listen to them. As missionaries, we have to have faith in the mission. Even if the work gets slow, we can't give up. If we've lost faith in the mission, we've lost faith in God, because this isn't our work, this is HIS work. All we can do is work our hardest, and the Lord will make things happen in His way.
In other news, I'm not a big fan of birds or flying things in general, but BATS? Come oooon! Yea, there were bats flying around in our residence hall last night, but the nice security people came in and took them out of the building. My companion came in our room almost crying, and then I freaked out, and then we hid in the bathroom, and you could hear a bunch of sisters screaming in their rooms, hahaha. Some sisters were like, "They're cute!" and they were taking pictures. Sorry if you're into that stuff, but no pictures of bats from Sister Holiday.
Last night's devotional was by Sister Wixom. She is like the Primary President over all the primaries in the church. (Primary is basically the Sunday school class for all children from 4-11). She had a lot to share with us, and it was sweet how excited she was to be speaking at the MTC. Last night for our devotional choir had 1,003 missionaries in it. I can confidently say I have never sang in a choir that big before. We sang a song that is called, "Hurrah for Israel". It was written by a group of cellmates at a prison who had all seen the movie, "The Other Side of Heaven". And they sang it for Elder Groberg (the person that movie is based on) when he came and visited them in prison once. I can't imagine how powerful it was to hear that. These men felt they had found freedom through the gospel of Jesus Christ even though they were still physically in prison. The Other Side of Heaven is a great movie by the way, highly recommend. It has Anne Hathaway and Disney produced it, and it's about LDS missionaries, so it's pretty awesome.
Singing that song last night with over a thousand other missionaries, was a really special experience, and the spirit was so strong in that building.
Vi voglio bene!
Sister Holiday and Sister Taylor
Sister Taylor and Sister Holiday 9/16/2015
il nostro insegnanti
I don't know why we took a picture of our teacher in his ROTC uniform
I'm half-way done with the MTC - wooooo! I received a letter from my mom this week complaining about the lack of pictures, and apparently too short of an email, haha. Sorry, it's busy work! Last night we had a really great devotional from Gerald Causse and his wife. They are from France, and you've probably heard him speak in General Conference before if you've ever seen it. (General Conference is this big church meeting we have twice a year in fall and spring where a lot of the church leaders give talks, and its broadcast so the whole world can watch. the next one is this October!) I loved Bishop Causse and his wife, they were so sweet and humble, and they seemed just like real people. Sister Causse, had on a nice blouse, but no suit jacket, she still had her sunglasses on her head, and she even shared how nervous she was to be speaking. I liked it, you don't hear that too often. She shared how her family came to find the church in France, and pretty much how life is hard, but she knows she is never forgotten by her Father in Heaven and she can turn to him anytime in prayer. Bishop Causse talked a lot about weaknesses. It's okay not to be perfect! But be humble, and be bold. The atonement of Jesus Christ, (atonement-His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross) covers more than just our sins, but everything that makes us imperfect. Life is hard, but it's hard so that we will turn to our Savior in times of need. We're making it harder than it needs to be if we are trying to do it all on our own. Another highlight of last night was in choir, my companion and I sat next to two sisters going to France for their mission. One is from Scotland and the other is from ITALY! :D I was sooo pumped. She is from Calabria, which is one of the cities I might be in once my mtc time is over. I don't remember what her last name is, but she told me I had a good Italian accent, and honestly nothing could have made me happier. :) My companion and I had a very productive week. We're learning a lot. The language is still review as far as grammar, but I'm learning some new phrases along the way. We started doing TRC last week. I honestly don't know what the acronym stands for, but what we do is practicing teaching lessons with people that are members of the church, but are fluent in the language. It's good practice, and actually a lot of fun. Elder Freidman got a TON of packages this past week, so we've had krispy kremes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and candy for daaayyyys from Elder Pyper's family. I've accepted that I am going to put on some pounds at the MTC, but it's not from the cafeteria food. I did however, give up chocolate chip cookies for a week. It made me feel for people who give up smoking or drinking so they can be baptized. Giving that up for the rest of your life! That's a big commitment, and how awkward when you go to parties, and someone offers you something, and you're like, "no, sorry, I gave up chocolate chip cookies for the rest of my life". Definitely gave me some perspective. But, what your blessings are for giving it up, definitely worth it. I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week :) -Sister Holiday
It was another good week, with a lot of good experiences. My district is beginning to feel even more like a family, it's like I have 6 new little brothers. One Elder was really excited about today being p-day today, and described yesterday as p-day eve, hence the subject. Yesterday was a particularly special day.
First off, Kyle Collinsworth was in the MTC having dinner for his wife, random, right? But one of the Elders in my district is a BIG fan and you should have seen his joy as he ran out of the cafeteria to get his camera, and his poor companion chasing after him, haha.
More exciting than Kyle Collinsworth, ELDER DALLIN H OAKS. Ohh yeaaa, we had an apostle for our devotional last night.
I was really glad I sang in the choir last night. His devotional was really good, and really powerful. You can't deny that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ when he enters a room and when you hear him speak. It's just really special.
We have two new people we are teaching. We have had two lessons with one of them, and we meet the other one tonight! If you have the chance, you should take lessons from the missionaries, you will make some 18 or 19 yr old's day, and maybe learn something really cool!
Sunday nights, we also have devotionals, and then we watch a film, which is your choice. It is sometimes a movie like film, but mostly recorded talks. My companion and I went to the recording of a talk by Elder Holland. He shared one poem that I really liked, it went like this, but I can't remember it word for word.
"Go to the edge"
"No, I will fall"
Go to the edge"
"But I will fall"
"Go to the edge"
"but I will fall!"
"Go to the edge!"
So I went to the edge, and I flew.
Sometimes, we are asked to do things that we feel are out of our capabilities. We feel inadequate, or we don't trust what the consequences will be. But if we follow God's advice, have faith in Him, He will help us do amazing things, He will bring about miracles. I know these things are true. Sometimes things are asked of us, that lead us to rely more on God's strength. But I've been learning at the MTC, if you're too comfortable, you're probably not growing. Just like in any sport, or class, or learning an instrument. You only become a better athlete if you have those days where you just gave your all, you're muscles are burning and you feel really weak. That's when you become stronger. So sometimes we are in uncomfortable situations, but if we keep working hard, that's when we will become better people.
Thank you for everyone who wrote me! Sorry I wasn't able to respond to each person, but your love and support means a lot to me. Ciao!
Love Sister Holiday
Provo, Utah Temple
Sister Taylor and Sister Holiday
Sister Holiday and Sister Taylor's name tags in front of picture of Rome, Italy Temple