Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mornings Tire Crazy (MTC)

Yea... So as you can tell by my subject, it's been a pretty tiring week so far. It was cool cuz I had an Elder on my plane and he and I actually sat next to each other! Once I arrived in Salt Lake, I met with a group of missionaries and we took the shuttle to the MTC. We had to sit around for nearly an hour until it was time for class. Which meant, I didn't get lunch!! I was really bummed about that. 

But anyways, I met my companions. Yes, with an "s"... I am in a tri-some. Sister Larsen is a redhead from Provo. She is almost twenty. She talks a lot about random stuff, but she means well. Sister Holst is from Colorado, near Denver. She is more of the quiet type. But when she does speak up, it's always something that is super inspirational and insightful. 

I also met my District. SUPER GREAT! I love the Elders and Sisters. Elder Zickella is from Florida... super cool! He surfs, so that was fun talking with him about surfing. He was actually assigned as our District Leader; which he's been doing really well. He directs out meetings and always brings the spirit back. Elder Tucker is from north of Rexburg. He's a great elder. I love hearing his thoughts. Elder Hymas is a laugh. He always has something cleaver to say. He's from north of Salt Lake. Those three are companions. We had another named Elder Thorne that was with Elder Tucker, but he went home yesterday because he was feeling homesick. We all wrote him letters to send today. Elder Vanderwood is a quiet fellow, but really sweet. He's from West Haven, UT. Lastly, Elder Pearson. He's such a cute little brother! He always has something to say. Elder Pearson and Elder Vanderwood have been assigned as our future Zone Leaders. They don't get the assignment until this Sunday though. And..... guess what! I've been assigned as the Sister Training Leader!!!! Basically, I have no idea what all that entails... But pretty much, I'll be welcoming the new sisters that come next week. I'll be the one that sets up District Prayer and is the friendly one that helps them get situated into the MTC life. I also have two amazing teachers: Brother Pitt and Brother Barrett. I could not have asked for two better MTC teachers. And that's my District! 

I've been having such an amazing experience while here. I love every second of it. I think I thought it would be harder than it actually is. But I love it! I'm not at all as overwhelmed as I thought I would be. I am learning a ton and soaking it all in. I learn so much from the other missionaries here. They really help my testimony grow and help me come closer to my Savior. We've been as large groups and have taught investigators and answered their questions. It's always such a neat experience. 

I learned that not only do the ones I am teaching have to have an open heart to hear the message I am sharing, but also, so do I in order to feel the Spirit and be inspired as to what I should share with them. Also, I learned a very important lesson... I am teaching people, not lessons. Everyone is going through something different and I can't teach the EXACT same thing to every person. Also, when I feel a need to say something, I should say it! I've been tearing up so much! Which is kind of uncanny because I don't get emotional! But I've definitely been feeling the spirit so much while here. I kind of don't want to leave, but at the same time, I was ready to leave yesterday. I want to be out in the field in Arkansas already! 

My first impressions of the MTC are kind of scattered, but these are my thoughts:
     -Dang... I now understand why everyone gains weight here... There's just so much good food!
     -All of these happy people are going to start to bug me by the end of the week...
     -By next week, I am going to be at the point of my MTC experience as the Zone Leaders are right now. I look up to them, but they've only been here a week more than I have.
     -I don't think I'm ever going to figure this campus out... Or so I thought!
(Map of the Missionary Training Center)
     -Everyone is so friendly and always says hello!
     -It feels really natural to address everyone as "Elder" and "Sister". Some people struggle with that.
     -Being with two people for 24 hrs a day can really irritate you......
     -I am never going to get enough sleep. Between all the classes and the walking around, I will never feel refreshed.

Yesterday, I received mail for the first time! I'm winning! Haha.. In our Zone, we keep score and points of letters and what not. If we get a DearElder, it's 1pt, a handwritten letter from family is 1pt, a handwritten letter from non-family is 2pts, and a package from family is 2pts, and from non-family is 3pts. So far, I have 9pts and have the highest score in my District... And all are from DearElder. So thank you! (: I love hearing from all y'all. It really brightens my day! 

We also received in the mail our travel itinerary heading to Arkansas. Get this... We have to meet at the Travel Office Desk on Monday (the 29th) at 3:30AM. Our flight is at 7:20AM to Atlanta. We then have a 1 1/2 hr layover there. Then we fly to Little Rock. We arrive in Little Rock around 2:30PM (Ark time). So basically, my District is going to become very acquainted with each other more socially than spiritually, because we will be spending a total of about 12hrs straight together while traveling. Should be good!

We had our first gym time yesterday as well. My District (District 43A) all went up to the volleyball courts. We played barefoot in the HOT sand. Holy, by the end, my feet were burning! I've also seen a few friends while here as well, including Nicole Decker, Brandon Tanner (from EFY), and a couple of sisters from BYU-H. 

I'm incredibly grateful for the knowledge of sharing the gospel with investigators that I had formed previously to coming here. It really helped me to feel more confident in sharing my feelings. I really love the opportunities we get, as missionaries, to teach. 

I've developed a greater love from my Father in Heaven and I feel His love for me daily. I feel so blessed for the knowledge that this Gospel provides me with. I know this Church is true and I love it so very much. This week, I am striving to appreciate all the good that God gives me. I'm really seeking to find His hand in my life. I hope you can do the same! (:

Much love,
Sister Jessica Ann Smith

PS... I haven't quite figured out how to send pictures, so there won't be any for this week. Sorry about that!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And She's Off....

Introducing "Sister Jessica Ann Smith", the newest Missionary for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And she's off to start her new adventure as a Missionary...