Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fifth (and Last) Week at the MTC

Hola Everyone!!!

This week has been great, but stressful at the same time!  Hermana Higgs and I got our travel plans for California on Friday!  I can't believe it's actually happening.  The time goes by so fast here!  We leave on Monday morning, so this is my last email that I'll send from the MTC, but I'll still email out in the field.  Just a reminder that my address will change on Monday to the Ventura Mission Home address.  It should be posted on Facebook, but if not, it will be soon.  I still hope that everyone keeps in touch!

On Sunday after devotional, we had the opportunity to watch Elder Bednar's talk from Christmas 2011 in the MTC called "Character of Christ."  It was phenomenal.  He talked about how we need to become more like the character of Christ.  We need to turn outward to others during hard times in our lives even if the natural man tendency is to turn inward.  It made me think about all the times I've felt sorry for myself when I've been down.  One example that he gave was when Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Even though His disciples fell asleep, Judas betrayed Him, and the gaurds took Him prisoner, he still turned outward and healed the gaurds ear that Peter cut off.  Another was when Satan was tempting Him and instead of having angels help Him, he sent them to John who was in prison.  The talk was absolutely one of my favorites and I wish the rest of you could hear it.

Also, on Sunday, our whole zone wore purple in honor of the district that just left on Monday.  Everywhere we walked, people kept commenting on how we were so cute, so creative, etc.  We forgot how much attention it drew! :P  This Sunday, since my district is leaving, we chose to wear pink!  It'll be interesting to see how it turns out!

This Sunday my district gets to sing our farewell song too.  I already said that we're going to sing "I Stand All Amazed," but I still can't believe how much we've been practicing and how good we sound.  I'm so excited to blow the minds of the rest of our zone.  They have no idea what's coming!  Although this Sunday will be fun, it'll be sad at the same time because Hermana Higgs and I are going to be released from our assignment of being Sister Training Leaders.  It's been such a blessing to serve the new missionaries and help them feel welcome.  This week we just got 10 new elders, but no hermanas. :( I was kind of surprised!

During church last Sunday, one of the elders in my district, Elder Palmer, had the guts to "dead fish" (go in for a hand shake then turn his hand sideways to make it awkward) President Johnson.  He was so proud of himself and we thought that Pres. J would be disappointed.  Instead, he decided to "dead fish" Elder Cunningham right after Elder Palmer did it to him!  We were pretty surprised and it was hilarious!

On Tuesday, we had a once in a lifetime opportunity!  We got to go to the Marriott Center for Devotional!! We got to leave the MTC!! Not only that, but after my district was settled in their seats in the bleachers, one of the ushers motioned for us to follow him.  We did, but were really confused.  We followed him up to the front row where there were exactly 8 seats left!! We got to sit on the front row for devotional!!  I still can't believe it.  Nothing like this ever happens to me.  The devotional was really good and afterwards we got to shake Elder Arnold's (the member of the seventy that spoke) hand.  Our elders decided that they wanted to shake his hand last so Elder Palmer could "dead fish" a General Authority.  He actually did it, but Elder Arnold took it well and thought it was pretty funny.

As we were walking back to the MTC from devotional, we ran into a bunch of kids that were in a soccer camp.  Because we were the last missionaries out of the Marriott, we were the only missionaries around.  As soon as these adorable kids saw us, they pointed and got so excited saying, "Look! It's the missionaries!"  They all ran up to us and gave us all high fives.  It was weird to think that I used to be that kid that thought the missionaries were the coolest people on earth, but now I am one!  It was the first time that I really felt appreciated as a missionary because we've never left the MTC except to go the temple.

On Wednesday, my district got to host new missionaries.  We got to pick them up at the curb and take them to their residence halls with their luggage, then to get their books, and then to their classrooms.  At first, it was hard because a lot of them would being crying with their families and they wanted to stall leaving.  I almost started crying myself, but luckily I didn't cause it wouldn't have helped anything.  I got to host 3 sister missionaries.  One of the girls that I had was going to the Chicago Mission and was from California!! It was really neat because I got to relate to her and ease her parents concerns.  I can definitely tell that sometimes the Lord does things in our lives that allows us to help!  I also saw one of the VanKammen triplets (not sure if it was Christopher or Cameron...I can never remember who's who).  I waved and asked him how he was doing, but I don't think he recognized me!  He was probably too overwhelmed so I don't blame him.  While we were hosting, there was another sister who was hosting whose younger brother came in yesterday.  Her parents were dropping them off and she got to see them!! It was really precious!!

I've seen so many people that I know here that I've lost track of who I've seen!  I did see Sarah Cunningham (my old EFY roommate) and Stephen Brown yesterday though.  It was crazy because I haven't seen either of them in a while.  I see Natalie everywhere and I absolutely love it!!  It's crazy to think though that I'm leaving and I won't see anyone I know for another 17 months. 

This week, Hermana Heinzen, one of my teachers, found out that she's having a boy!! I don't remember if I ever told you guys that she was pregnant, but she is and she's having a baby boy.  Her and her husband are going to name him Ezra. 

Also, this morning after we did laundry, but before we went to the temple, I GOT MY HAIR CHOPPED!! I can't believe I actually did it, but now I don't have to move my hair out of the way to see my name tag.  It's sits right above it!  I love it and think it's adorable!

One really inspirational thing that one of our teachers told us this week was that "God can't mold a perfectionist."  This made me reflect on how I've treated my mission.  Sometimes I think it's hard to want to change whether it's for the better or for the worse, but God wants to help us become better so we need to give up our whole life to him.  My teacher was also saying how when we came to earth, we fell from our perfect state.  God wants to help us become our better selves, not just another person.  I loved that!

I pray for all of you everyday and want you to know that this church is true! I know it and love it with all of my heart!

Con amor,

Hermana Halliday

PS: Shout out to Hannah Holmes who got her mission call to Korea Seoul leaving on October 23!!!  She's gonna rock it!!

PSS: Happy Father's Day to all those dad's and future dad's out there!! You're all great!!

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