Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week Six at the MTC

Mis queridos amigos!!

I have now made it in the MTC six weeks. Next week we will be the oldest district in our zone. A zone here at the MTC is composed of 5 districts. I am not sure I feel ready to be the oldest zone but I do feel like I have been here for a while and this is really starting to become my home. I think I might be a little sad to leave the MTC in three weeks.

I always think of all these really funny things that happen during the weeks but then can never remember but this week’s! I did want to share just one experience with you. For three hours twice a day we have class and we have two differ rant teachers for each block of time. One of our teachers was gone last week and so we had a sub. This Hermano is from Mexico and is 21 he has been home from his mission for only 14 months. This is because for some reason men in Mexico can go on their missions when they are 18 instead of the usual 19.

Anyways we were suppose to review all the different forms of subjunctive conjunctions that day (remember our teacher grew up in Mexico and has been speaking Spanish his whole life). He was very confussed on how to teach this concept and made this huge long equation on the board and then told us everything in the equation was option. Next he decided to write on the TV screen in order to show us how to better use subjunctive. Afterwards he jumped on the a swirly chair to point to something on top of the white board we were all pretty sure he was going to fall off and break his leg. An elder in our district had to hold the chair. He next proceeded to tell us that the top of the white board needed to be clean. It was all very entertaining and no one could really understand what he was talking about.

Which I presume that is how I am going to feel in McAllen. Every single person I have talked with about McAllen has told me what a wonderful place it is everyone in our district except for my companion and I are going to Chile, two are practically going to Antarctica.

One of my favorite things about being here are the meetings with the wives of our branch presidency. We just got a new second counselor two weeks ago; their names are Brother and Sister Smith. They live in Orem and just got home from being mission President's in Philippines last year.

Yesterday, I spoke in Relief Society about my conversion story, which was fun because at the MTC all the sisters meet together for Relief Society. We have it in the gym; which, converts to an auditorium on Sunday. Anyways we got to sit on the stand and my companion loved watching the TelePrompTer.

I have been thinking a lot about trust this week and having trust in the Lord. What does it really mean to trust the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength? How can I turn my life over to the Lord? How can I allow the Lord to make more of me than I can make of myself? How can I not fear the Lord meaning a fear that he might have something other than the best thing in the world prepared for me?

I have been thinking a lot about this especially in regards to learning Spanish. I feel like sometimes the muscles in mouth will not move to make the correct sounds. Or that the words that I say are not coming our correctly. I have this fear that people will not understand me and get sad when people do not understand me. The only problem with having these fears is that when I worry about me and my inadequacies I am not trusting in the Lord. The Lord has called me to learn Spanish because for some reason He thinks that I can. He knows there are people waiting for me in McAllen, Texas. But sometimes I still doubt sometimes it feels as though I will never learn Spanish sometimes I find my self as God if He is sure that this is the correct place.

I feel like Enoch as he states in Moses 6: 31 "And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and I am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow in speech; wherefore am I thy servant." I think the Lord answered to Enoch lamenting which is similar to mine is found in 2 Nephi 3:21 " Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their breathe who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.

I pray to trust the Lord in my life. I pray for you to trust the Lord in your life. I know that he has great things in store for each of you.

Te Carino muchas,

Hermana Zani

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week Five at the MTC

Hola Mis Amigos,

I have made it to another week at the MTC. I am now past my half way mark, which is crazy to think. My Spanish seems to be about the same but each week when my mission president sends us an e-mail (in Spanish, of course) I can read more and more of it. Which must mean my Spanish is improving. :)

There are six people to a bedroom here at the MTC and there are four Hermana's in my district. We all share a bedroom, which leaves two spots open for someone else. We are now on our third set of roommates. The first two we had at the beginning were with us for about a week. These sisters were Hermana's also going to Florida and California. The night before they left, which was between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., they did not sleep and were up packing all night long which sort of kept all of us up. Not to mention the fire alarm went off at 2:30a.m. And we all had to parade outside our residences hall, half asleep and wait for the fire alarm to go off!

Another sister and I thought the fire alarm was just someone’s alarm clock going off. Luckily another sister got up and told us that was the fire alarm. Seriously though if people did not have such loud alarm clocks you could probably tell the difference between the two!

Anyways then we got two sisters that were going to Taiwan but they were only with us for two weeks and then got moved into another room with other sisters going to Taiwan. Then this last week we got two new sisters going to Kiev, Ukraine. One of the them is from Georgia where she lives in a town super close to Athens. Her dad was in the military and they lived in Germany two or three times. She was born in Berlin, then they lived in Hohenfels and Stuttgart (going to Patch school in the latter).

I was talking to my companion the other day in Spanish and Ceptra Smith (one of the sisters going to the Ukraine) stated it gives her hope that she can learn her language after hearing me speak to my companion in our language. Which was a nice compliment but I still feel like my Spanish is sort of caveman like sometimes.

I love the Devotionals here we have them every Sunday and Tuesday night and a man I know from Clear Horizons Academy always gets my companion and me front row seats which is really nice because our scheduled dinner time is last and without this man's help I am pretty sure that we would be sitting in overflow.

I am speaking in Relief Society this Sunday (is just for the women and it always has uplifting speakers such as the General Primary Presidency, or the General Young Women's President) which at the MTC includes all of the sisters. I will be speaking about my conversion story so that should fun.

I am learning so much at the MTC and really am so grateful for my wonderful companion. We are continuing to teach investigators, which is fun. We did a door contact the other night and it took us about 5-10 minutes to get in the door. Did I mention that our investigators are our teachers but they all have different characters from their missions that they play which are really fun?

Well time is quickly running out (limited amount on the computer once a week) So I wish everyone the best.

Hasta Luego,

Hermana Zani

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week Four at the MTC

Hello All,

I cannot believe that I have made it to week four!! I have almost been at the MTC for a whole month, which is crazy because sometimes I feel like I cannot even remember life outside of the mission. Everyday is super busy and you learn so much in one day that it feels like it must have for sure been three days.

A perfect example is this morning. I got up a 6:30 a.m., my normal time, got dressed and went to our classroom. Our classroom is where we spend much of our time at the MTC. This morning, we had personal study for an hour. I worked on a lesson plan for one of our investigators that my companion and I are teaching tonight. We are going to teach about the plan of salvation, which is Heavenly Father's plan for how we can return to live with him.

The short version is that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life as spirit children, Heavenly Father wanted us to become like him and to do that we needed to grow up which meant that we needed to gain a body like God and to have experiences that will help us to mature and to learn. Then we have Adam and Eve who were the first children to be placed on earth. When they were in the Garden they lived in a state of innocence not knowing good from evil and they could not have children. So in order to know good from evil they partook of the forbidden fruit which allows us to choose for ourselves to follow God or to not. Nothing is forced upon us, everything is of our own free will, which is liberating.

2 Nephi 2:26 states regarding the fall; "And because they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to ACT for themselves and not to be acted upon." I think that is such a liberating idea. Then Christ comes to redeem us through His atonement and help us to return to our Heavenly Father. We then die a physical death and are taught the principles of the gospel in either spirit prison of in spirit paradise. Which is not like a prison or a paradise here but is like a school for learning the gospel. We are then resurrected with our body and will be judge by God. From there we will go to one of 3 degrees of glory.

This should all be a very fun lesson to teach in Spanish but I am learning how to simplify things and get my investigators answers for lots of question and reading which decreases the amount of what I have to say in Spanish. Well, let’s face it, this is really about them anyways. The more they talk and read the more they learn.

Anyways getting back to my point of the days being super long I spent an hour studying the plan of Salvation and then my companion and I left for the temple. As we were crossing the street to walk up to the temple I have this weird feeling that it was already twelve o'clock, when it was only 8:00 a.m. Crazy!!

Yesterday my companion and I taught our district meeting which is sort of like Sunday school. We taught about dispensation and apostasies. It went really well. We had each companionship in my district take a portion and wrote questions on the board about the point and then each group was able to share and it went really well. I think everyone in the district learned something new and was strengthened.

We are sad to be losing the only other sisters in our zone which is made up of five districts but happy to know that we are getting some more sisters on Wednesday. Well I hope everyone is doing so well. I miss you all, love you and am praying for you each day.

Thanks so much for the letters and mints that were sent this week. Getting mail at the MTC is always a joyous occasion.

Love ya,
Hermana Zani

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week Three at the MTC

Hola Mis Amigas,

How is everyone doing? I hope great, fabulous and wonderful if not that is okay as well. :)

I finally made it to week 3 of the MTC, which was better than weeks 1 and 2 combined. Everyone says that if you can make it to Sunday than you will be fine but I say that if you can make it to week two then you will be fine.

They have implemented a new curriculum at the MTC, which is designed to help missionaries learn the language faster. In this new program the teachers will not speak any English in class for at least the first week and you teach your first lesson on the second day in Spanish. Each week you have to teach a progressing investigator in Spanish. A progressing investigator is just someone who is interested in the church and is taking steps to be baptized. The investigators you teach are your teachers who are using real acting like different investigators from their mission.

Last week my companion and I taught Taylor, a student studying anthropology in Barcelona. She is great and I really enjoy teaching her as she reminds me a lot of myself before I joined the church. We are also teaching a man named Juan Jose who lives in Texas and is from Mexico but is struggling to find work in America. He has four children and a fifth child on the way.

I have been studying Spanish a ton and would say that I can successfully give a prayer, bare my testimony, and have a basic religious conversation. I even bore my testimony in Spanish last Sunday at church. It was a really good feeling. A few summer's ago I went to El Salvador to do humanitarian work and I always wanted to bare my testimony in Spanish but never got up the courage, but last Sunday I was able to do just that and if felt really good to accomplish a goal. Even if it was a few years later. :)

The MTC is super crowded right now; we have more missionaries here than we have had in a long time. There are 2,800 missionaries here, which is at an all time high. Typical summer high is 2,500 and we are getting a bunch of sisters next Wednesday. I really enjoy my district, as there are 11 of us all together. However we will be losing 2 elders on Tuesday because they are going down to the Guatemala MTC to finish their MTC time. We will miss them.

 I have been thinking a lot about faith this week and the type of faith that God requires of me not only to do missionary work but to show that I trust Him fully and completely. It is hard to trust God fully to have Faith in things not seen but in things hoped for, I am learning to put my trust in God because I know that his timing is perfect and my belief in God and his plan for us is growing everyday. I know that God loves me, that Jesus Christ is my brother, friend redeemer, and that Joseph restored the fullness of the Gospel, so that we can have temples, the priesthood, and return to live with God one day. A line from one of my favorites songs by Laura Story stated " the pain inside our heart reminds us that this in not our home."

Thanks always for the letters, prayers and support. Please send me your addresses and I will try and write you letters.

Love ya,
Hermana Zani

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week Two at the MTC

" For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is , Christ, and he cometh in the fullness of his own time." 2 nephi 11:7
" For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever, and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patinet, full of love, willing to submit all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. : Mosiah 3:19
Buenos Dias Mis Amigas,
This week I am learning a lot about humility in my personal life. Humility is a virtue requiring each person to seek equality within themselves and within those around them. Humility comes from not saying I am nothing or I am better than but comes from saying I am equal to them. Humility is knowing that all good things come from God. "For I will boast not of my strength but in the Lord." This concept may seem easy and simple but the levels and complexities in which humility in my life is huge. For example, I am learning that each person is equal in the sight of God a concept that I have always known but not fully understood or applied in my life. However, having someone by my side 24 hours a day means that I am learning a lot about myself. I find myself occasionally comparing Spanish to others in my district in, which leads to judgement, which creates status and finally becomes pride. I can judge or make comparisons to others because each person has something to give in building the Kingdom of God and those gifts and talents are different and perfect. I find myself needing to use this principle when working with my companion as I seek to find the middle ground. The middle ground is some where between taking over a lesson because nothing is getting accomplished and passively letter her do everything. I am really getting better at this task but fully internalizing I am great and so is every one else is something that is hard for me. I think that is because the world likes to judge and place status on individuals but that is not of God. I remember hearing myself make this statement one time: "many people have great things to say and you should listen to each and every persons statement but remember that you are one of those important people and have so many things to say. I feel like sometimes I am riding this roller coaster of emotions. I also feel like I cannot really speak Spanish but then I cannot really speak English I find that it is hard to go back and forth between Spanish and English. Formulating sentences when speaking Spanish is really hard for me but I think I will get. I love the Elders and Sisters in my district they are great. I love my companion and I love this gospel. Thanks everyone for the letters, packages and prayers.
Hermana Zani