Friday, May 31, 2013

Third Week at the MTC!

Hey Everyone!!

This week has been great so far!!  I feel like every time I email, I don't have a whole lot of new things to say.  The days are pretty much the same thing repeated over and over again, but I still absolutely love here!  So, every week in Sacrament Meeting, our Branch President gets up and calls on two random missionaries (one elder and one sister) to give a talk on the subject of the day.  This means that we have to prepare a talk (in Spanish) every week even though we have no idea who's going to be speaking.  The subject this past week was Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  I got to give the talk on Sunday!  It actually wasn't as bad as I though it would be, but it was still a little nerve wracking.  I talked a lot about how our faith starts out as a little seed, but can grow into a wonderful powerful source that we can draw from at any time in our lives.  On top of that, Hermana Morgan and I did a flute-piano duet in Sacrament Meeting!  We played "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and everyone told us that we did really well.  Sister Johnson AND Sister Dowdle both told us that we should try out to play the special musical number at Relief Society or a Devotional.  I didn't think we did THAT good, but overall I was pleased.  I was just happy that I was able to check out a flute and play it for a little bit before leaving the MTC. 

My district is still rockin' it and I'm pretty convinced that we're still the best one in the zone.  Every day we get closer and closer to family that it's going to be even more difficult to leave them in two and a half weeks.  I can't believe how fast time has gone by!  Today, one of our teachers, Hermano Turner, went to the temple with us.  He tells us everyday how much he loves us and I can tell that he's really trying to show us that love.  The new district is settling in really well and they have a lot of unity, which is really good.  At first they didn't, but now, it couldn't be better!  We got a new district yesterday, but we haven't met them yet because they don't have any Hermanas in their district!  It stinks! :(  Oh well!  We'll probably get another district next week too at the rate the missionaries are coming in.  Every week there are just more and more and more!!  There's finally missionaries at Wyview!! They moved some of the less common languages over there as well as some English speaking ones.  It's crazy to think that there are missionaries living where I lived just over a month  ago! 

On Sunday for RS, we were supposed to have Carole Stephens, the first counselor in the General RS presidency, but she never showed! We're hoping that nothing too serious happened and that she's  okay.  Instead, the members of the MTC RS presidency talked to us about Joseph Smith and everything he's done for the church.  For devotional on Sunday, we listened to Elder Allen (he has something to do with MTC media or church media or something to that effect).  He talked about how we need to realize that All is Well in the grand scheme of things.  He told us that "Come, Come Ye Saints" is our anthem as missionaries, which made me happy because I already absolutely love that song!  After devotional, we watched Sister Monson's funeral.  It's amazing how the church can make death seem so wonderful.  I love knowing that we have a life after death and that we can live with Heavenly Father again.  For devotional on Tuesday, Craig Zwick from the seventy talked to us.  He created an analogy of Building Christlike Attributes in our lives to the construction of the Portland, OR temple.  It was really neat!  Apparently, Elder Ainge's previous YM leader is his son, so him and his companion, Elder Tanner, got front row seats!  The rest of us were pretty jealous, but we still felt the spirit! ;) 

Yesterday as we were walking to lunch, I ran into Chelsea Fisher!  She was going up to her classroom for the first time with her host missionary!  It was so nice to see her and think of home.  Today, I talked to Alivia Jordan in the cafeteria as well.  They're both doing great and are really excited to be here as well.

I forgot to mention this last week, but Hermana Morgan needed a blessing.  It wasn't anything like life threatening or anything, but she was just struggling a little bit.  We tried to hunt down our elders until we found them.  Our whole district found a spot outside and we all got to listen to our elders give a blessing to her.  It was a really neat experience being able to watch guys my own age administer a priesthood blessing.  My testimony of the priesthood was strengthen so much.  It helped confirm my desire for my future husband to hold the priesthood and be able to lead our home.  Not that I'm thinking about that all the time :)! 

This past week, I had a pretty bad cold and struggled a little bit with concentrating on what I needed to be concentrating on.  I had some doubts about if I was being a good enough missionary, but when I prayed about it, I knew that I was and that the adversary was just getting to me.  On top of that, Hermana Higgs and I taught the "Sunday School" lesson to our district on Sunday.  It was, once again, all about faith.  We focused on faith during hard times in our lives and how it can help improve whatever situation we're placed in.  If any of you haven't seen the Mormon Message, "Mountains to Climb," I highly suggest watching it.  We used it in our lesson to help support our point.  Another good one is "Courage."  Seriously two of my favorite.   I'm all better now and ready to plow through whatever challenges are put in front of me! 

Love and miss everyone bunches!!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Second Week at the MTC!

I've loved getting updates from everyone and hope to be able to keep getting updates!! Although I love getting email updates, (it's free!) tends to work better because I only have an hour each week for email. I still definitely want to hear from people though.

This week has been a blast at the MTC!! I've learned so much from so many different people and hope that I'll be able to keep learning at the rate I am!! Spanish is going better than great. Hermana Higgs and I have made it our goal to only speak in Spanish unless it's absolutely necessary to speak in English. We know that we'll be able to improve a lot faster this way. My district is stil THE BEST!!  We all feel like family and are able to share anything with each other. My teachers still teach really well and with the spirit too.

As far as my day to day schedule, it's still pretty much the same as every other week, but this week we got a new investigator. We have two now! At times it can be challenging, but we know that we're
definitely being helped by the Lord to accomplish as much as we can in our time here.

On Monday our Sister Training Leaders, Hermana Boyd and Lyons, for our zone left to go to Chile. I miss them a ton, but at the same time I'm really excited for them to teach the people of South America. Because they left, we didn't have any Sister Training Leaders anymore, until Sunday.  Hermana Higgs and I were called to the Sister Training Leaders for the zone. This means that we're in charge of all of the sisters in our zone and have to make sure that they're okay. We work a lot with the zone leaders and go to a lot of meetings, but I love serving the other Hermanas in zone. Yesterday, we got a new district that was supposed to have five more sisters, but only four showed up. They're super nice and I can tell that we're going to have tons of fun with them. They seemed to be struggling a little bit, but who wasn't on the first day?!

On Sunday, as we were sitting in Relief Society, Hermana Lyons came up with the analogy that the
Book of Mormon (BOM) is like a bomb.

-your life will be changed forever
-you become closer to God
-only takes one try (1 sec)
-it changes the lives of people around you
-it's impossible to deny it's power

I got a kick out of this and thought you'd all enjoy this as well!

At the temple, earlier today, there were three people who were going through the temple for the first time!  It was a really neat experience and it helped me think about when I went through the first time. There were two girls who were about to get married and a guy who was about to serve a mission!

So, randomly, the hermanas in my district and I were talking about where we've had other relatives serve missions. Hermana Higgs had a cousin who served in Salmon!! His name's Zach Rasmussen. She also has a friend who's grandparents live in Salmon as well! Their last name is Glover.

At devotional on Tuesday, we sat by some sisters who were going to Independence, MO on their mission. One of them was Elder Thompson's sister who served in Naper 2!! What the freak!! I also ran into Levi's (FHE brother) sister randomly at the residence halls!! Small world!!

Earlier this week, right before the old zone leaders left, they gave the other district in my zone fiber gummies, but didn't tell them what they were. Apparently, they ate WAY too many and had issues for the next few days...if you know what I mean. I felt really bad for them, but at the same time, I thought it was hilarious!

We also found out this week that we can check out musical instruments from the front desk, so Hermana Morgan and I are doing a flute/piano duet on Sunday during Sacrament meeting!! We're playing Joseph Smith's First Prayer. I was super excited when we found this out cause I really miss my flute!!

Every day that we're here I can feel myself growing closer and closer to Christ and my testimony is increasing. I absolutely love it here and am so grateful for the opportunity to be.

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First Week at the MTC!

Today's my first P-day!!  It feels like I've been here an eternity, but at the same time it's gone by so fast!!

I freakin' LOVE the MTC!! I've met so many people that I'll definitely remember for the rest of my life.  My companion, Hermana Higgs, is one of the sweetest people that I've ever met in my life.  She's a lot like me and is in to the same sort of things, so I know that we were meant to be companions here.  We've helped each other adjust to the different lifestyle and with the language.  The other two hermanas in my district and room are Hermana Morgan and Hermana Luna.  They're some of the sweetest people I've met too and all four of us just have a blast all of the time.  The elders in my district (Elders Tanner, Ainge, Cunningham, and Palmer) are some of the coolest people I've met too.  Elder Tanner reminds me a lot of Matt and Joe (looks, interest, and personality).  Elder Ainge is the son of Danny Ainge (aka the GM of the Boston Celtics and BYU Basketball player!!!).  Elder Cunningham and Palmer are pretty awesome too.  Hermana Higgs and I are the only two going to California in my district.  Hermanas Morgan and Luna are going to Peru Lima, Elder Cunningham is going to Texas, and the other three elders are going to Chile.  My district is unique because we're the only intermediate spanish class that entered the MTC on the 8th! The rest were only beginner!  This definitely boosted my confidence, but at the same time put a lot of pressure on us because everyone thinks we're so much better than them. 

My teachers, Hermana Heinzen and Hermano Savio, are really nice and have definitely helped out a lot with learning the language and effective ways in teaching the gospel.  Sometimes it can be a little stressful learning Spanish so fast, but overall, I can defitniely tell that I've improved so much!  I can already say a prayer, bear my testimony, and teach multiple lessons in Spanish without too many problems.  My accent is also coming along pretty well and I don't sound as white! :P It's amazing that I have the opportunity to feel the spirit so strong everyday here.  One of the first things that President Nally told us was that the MTC is an extension of the temple and that's why we're able to be so productive and accomplish a lot in only six weeks.  President and Sister Roach (aka the former Chicago Mission president and his wife) are in the MTC presidency here and I totally didn't even realize that until a few days ago!! It's crazy to think that I've actually met them before coming here!

The first day that I came here, it was a little rough and I teared up a little after I left mom at the curb.  I struggled until I met my companion and the other hermanas in my district, but most of my issues disolved when I met Hermanas Boyd and Lyons.  They're the other hermanas in my zone and they welcomed us like they were our own mothers.  They have such strong testimonies and hilarious sensese of humor.  I'll definitely be bummed when they have to leave next week to go to Chile, but I'll be happy for them at the same time. 

I'm living in the actual MTC, not Wyview or Raintree, which is an absolute blessing!  I did, however, see bunkbeds in my old apartment at Wyview which was really weird! 

For Relief Society on Sunday, Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke to us!!  She talked about the power of music and being a missionary.  We sang a medley of a lot of her songs that she wrote for the Children's Songbook and the Spirit was so strong.  We conclude the meeting by singing "The Sisters in Zion".  This was the same tune as "As Sisters in Zion", but she rewrote the lyrics to apply to missionary work.  I teared up, but the song helped confirm that serving a mission is what I'm supposed to be doing at this time in my life. 

For our Tuesday night Devotional, Elder Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us!! Janice Kapp Perry AND Russell M. Nelson in one week!!  He talked about the power of the spirit in our teaching and how we need to look in to the souls of our investigators to figure out what they really need.  One scripture he shared was D&C 126:32.  It talked about how we need to humble ourselves and ask of God for any help we need or answers to any questions we may have.  At first, I thought that this would apply directly to future investigators that I'd have, but then I realized that it directly applied to my life.  Sometimes I forget that prayer is the most powerful thing that I can do in my life to help me become closer to God and receive help with problems I have.  We can't do everything on our own and we need God's help to get through this life.  

We started teaching our first "investigator" on Friday!! At first, it was really nervewracking because we had to teach him in spanish on our third day there, but the spirit helped out and everything went well.  We had our last opportunity to teach him yesterday and we didn't end up getting him to committ to baptism, but we did finally get him to pray.  The spirit was so strong in that lesson because we finally realized that we had to point out that the good feelings he's been having are from the Spirit which are from God and God wants him to know that he loves him.  

Most of our days are spent sitting in a classroom learning spanish, but when we aren't in the classroom, we get to eat, go to the gym, do personal exercise, or other various personal things.  Normally I don't like going to the gym, but here it can actually be a lot of fun!! We play knockout or volleyball most of the time and I'm actually getting kind of better!!  The food in the cafeteria actually isn't that bad, but I've been told that it's essential you stay away from the orange juice, scrambled eggs, and the beef.  I haven't tried the orange juice or the eggs yet, but the beef IS NASTY!!

This morning, we went to the temple.  It was such a neat experience because it was the first time I went without mom and went only with people that were my own age.  It's amazing to see so many young people in one room knowing that all of them are worthy to be there and are working towards the same goal.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to go to the temple every week here on P-day.  

My branch president, President Johnson, is nice, but he's kind of intimidating at the same time.  I know that he means well, but at the same time I try to avoid talking to him if I can! I haven't met the Slingerland's yet, but I have met the Harris' and I love them a lot.  They're super sweet!