I like to compare the MTC to the City of Enoch: we are not a part of the real world. We, the missionaries of the Provo Missionary Training Center, live in what I like to call a time warp of spirituality and awesomeness. Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like moments but moments sometimes feel like hours and sometimes they feel like actual moments. I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: I don't understand the concept of "time." Not that I really did before... but not I really really don't understand it.
Ready for the accident of the week? On our temple walk this past Sunday it had been snowing all day so all of the sidewalks were completely iced over. Sister Glauser, Sister Anderson, and I were all walking arm-in-arm up to the temple when one of us (and I think it was probably me) totally slipped on the ice and successfully knocked over the other two in the process. We hit the ground so hard that Sister Glauser ripped her tights and I accidentally peed a little. We can't make it through a week without some sort of injury, that has become very obvious. On the bright side, we built an eight-foot snowman with our zone and then we killed it all before returning to the MTC. Yay for the Korean-speaking branch!!
We're a couple of messes. And by "we," I am referring to Sister Glauser and myself. Sister Glauser got sick at the beginning of the week so we were given the opportunity to burst free from the protective walls of the MTC for approximately twenty minutes in order to walk a block down the street and pick up some meds. We were so excited. Snow was pelting our faces and it was freezing cold but we didn't let that put a damper on our spirits! We saw real life people with real life problems driving real life cars down a real life street!!! Sometimes we forget that there are real things happening outside of the MTC. My whole life revolves around three buildings that are all right next to each other. Everything I need is right here. So leaving the MTC with my super cool companion was and extremely exhilarating experience.
Oh, and for the record, now I've fallen ill too. So we're basically a couple of zombies. It's fine. (Surprised? Me neither. I swear, I'm always sick.)
We teach our "progressing investigators" nearly every day and it has been so neat to see how much we improve with every lesson. Korean is starting to come!! Just last night, we were practice teaching our companions in class and I was able to teach 95% of the lesson in Korean. It was a discussion too; there was no lesson plan, I just spoke. I'm so incredibly grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and who has promised to make up for all that I lack. That doesn't mean I can just stop working hard, in fact, it just gives me more of a reason to start working harder. God has a lot to make up for when it comes to me-- but hey, He called me forth so here I am.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Mine was legendary. I may or may not have withheld some vital information about my Christmas plans when I emailed home on Christmas morning... but I wanted to keep everything a secret so that I could make this email super duper extra exciting and special with a surprise. Are you ready?
I celebrated Christmas by eating lunch with Elder Bednar. A total of 24 missionaries were invited and by some chance of fate, I was one of them. What an experience! And then I got to sit second row in a historical devotional! They passed out 200 cellphones into the auditorium full of missionaries and then displayed a number to which we could text in questions we had. Elder Bednar had a "magic iPad" that would display all the questions that were texted in and he'd would simultaneously answer the questions as they were being sent in. The phones were passed around as the meeting took place and the entire devotional was in "question and answer" format. I loved it. I had so many questions that were answered-- some of which I didn't even realize I had. I can't even explain what it's like to be in the presence of an apostle of the Lord. SO. COOL. He spoke so simply and so bluntly and every word that came out of his mouth was meant just for me. (p.s. fun fact: I gave his two adorable granddaughters some of the cards with Mary and baby Jesus on them that Mom sent me... I miss babies. Give Jake, Sophie, Kason, Quincee, and Riley big hugs for me!)
So yeah, this Christmas was significantly different from every other Christmas I've experienced in my life. But I was so grateful for that. I was also so grateful for all the love I received via Christmas packages. Seriously, you're all wonderful. (Props to Ginay for smuggling a grande caramel apple spice into the MTC. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.) I literally walked out of the mailroom carrying a stack of packages one day and all I heard from the missionaries I was passing was, "Ohhh. SOMEBODY's loved." Yep. I am so loved and so supported by all of you lovely people back and home and I count that among my blessing every day. I love all of you so much. The pajamas and food were the best. I'm extremely wealthy on MTC terms... (aka FOOD).
We got to spend our entire morning cleaning the temple today! I was so happy to be there. We've been temple-deprived for a whole month now and it's been so awful. I was beaming from ear to ear the entire time we were there. We got a tour of it at the end of our service shift and I was in complete awe. It's such a pretty temple! I've never been to the Provo temple before today but I definitely loved it. I think it opens back up in about a week or so and I'll finally get to go for reals a couple times before I head out to Korea. I'm pretty excited about that.
Fun facts of the week: I do my hair in messy buns that are held up by a solitary pen on a regular basis because I somehow manage to ALWAYS forget to grab hair bands from my residence hall in the mornings when I leave. (Dang it.) We've befriended the Cambodian-speaking Elders. Their classroom is right next to the sister's bathroom and since we're in a trio companionship (during class time) we spend a great deal of time on the little bench outside their classroom. Oh, and last of all, I have a permanent pink scar on my forehead that is in the shape of a metal leaf pan.... (mom).
I've always been a woman of many (and elaborate) words. Yet, as I've been here, I've watched my vocabulary begin to diminish. God's gospel is simple and easy to understand. And I truly believe that God is sending me to Korea in order to help me figure out how to simplify the way in which I teach of Him. My prayers are simple and short-- my testimony is well. But that doesn't make them any less powerful. In fact, merely bearing my testimony in Korean is a testimony in and of itself: We are children of an almighty being who loves us and gives us the ability to do things that are beyond our own capabilities. The atonement of Jesus Christ "magnifies our natural capacities" and helps us to become far greater than we could ever be on our own. Everyday, we should practice choosing happiness and success through the gift that Jesus Christ has given us.
He has given us the opportunity to choose our fate. We don't choose our journey, but we can choose our destination. I choose to follow Him because He is my strength when my own strength crumbles and He is my light in a world that is so dark and so lost.
"Come, follow me." He beckons.
And with His name on my chest, I am doing my best.
I love you lots.
To the moon and back, actually.