Sunday, September 28, 2014

Letter #1 (9/24/14) MTC:

Hello dear family and friends!
I have survived my first week in the MTC!! YAY! So many people got me so pumped up about how hard it is here and everything, and it is challenging, don't get me wrong, but it's not hard. My  roommates and I talked about the difference between hard and challenging and we all agree that a mission is definitely challenging, but it's not hard. Hard is too intimidating. Challenging makes me go "challenge accepted." So, missions are challenging, as is the MTC, but not hard. 
I absolutely love it here! I really don't mind sitting in a classroom all day and a I haven't fallen asleep during something important yet! YAY! I thought I wouldn't be able to make it, having been at college for 8 months and not being able to make it through 50 minutes of class. But I love it! My teacher, Sorella Mohrman (yes, it sounds like Mormon, it was super confusing when she told us her name. I was like, "Si, anch'io Mormon." But I didn't actually say it, I almost did.) She is the sweetest woman ever. She is so soft spoken and one day she came to class with red eyes like she had been crying and she told us that on her way to class that day she began thinking about us and she got emotional because of how great she thought we all were. She's so sweet. 
My district is super fun. My companion Sorella Snow and I are the only sisters and there are 4 Anziani (Elders). Anziani Davis and Anz. McPherson are total opposites. It's hilarious. Anz. Hubbard and Anz. Mayberry are quiet, but super funny. Anz. Hubbard actually really reminds me of Jared Bucko, just a little more talkative. 
The Italian is coming along pretty well. Even though i already took a lot of it, I am learning so much. They don't teach how to bear your testimony in Italian in high school...
Our "investigator" is Claudo and he is super nice. He's really patient and he helps us when we can't figure out a word or how to say it properly. Our first lesson with him was pretty rough. But the second lesson was sooooo much better and it amazed me how much improvement there was just in our language in just one. The power of the MTC is so real!
It's funny, everyone always talks about the gift of tongues in the MTC and everything, so I fully expected that I would walk in, start studying, and in a few days I would have the gift of tongues and I would be able to speak the language fluently. HA! I have learned the errors of my ways. As everything with God, the gift of tongues comes with A LOT of hard work. AND PRAYER. OH MY GOSH PRAYER IS SO IMPORTANT. I pray for everything now. If I'm getting a little frustrated I just bow my head and say a prayer. If I'm feeling a little grumpy because I'm not getting enough sleep, I just pray. It's so amazing! I LOVE IT.
Okay, maybe I should start talking about some events that have happened...
I'll have to go backwards because each day feels like three separate days so it's hard to keep track...
Yesterday we had a devotional and Elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke! WOO! So cool, he gave a great talk on missionary work and everything, I loved it. I had the opportunity to sing in the MTC choir for it and we sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer and it was soooooo beautiful. It was incredible to be a part of it. The choir director is awesome. 
Monday hahahahaha oh Monday, that was a crazy day. So Monday we have service at 6:15 am so my roomates set one alarm for 6:00. Not a good idea. Some how the alarm didn't go off, but luckily I woke up to hearing what sounded like girls cleaning up the building outside our room. So I jumped out of bed to check the time and it was 6:28! AHHHH!!! So I flipped on the light and started panic screaming. Some of you may know what that looks like. It's actually very funny... Anywho, so we all jump out of bed and get ready and rush out. Luckily the people who were in charge of the service my comp. and I were doing were super understanding and nice about it, so it wasn't a big deal. Later that day, two other sorelle in my room plus Sor. Snow and I decided to shower early, and while we were in the shower, the fire alarm goes off! AHHHHHHHH!!! We didn't know what to do. I was worried about whether or not we were allowed to go outside in our robes for a fire drill. I didn't want to get kicked out! But it was fine. One sister, Sor. Yonk (from Logan!) ran out of her shower yelling "SORELLE?! SORELLE?!" over and over. then we all ran back to our room and well it was just a fiasco. We've all be laughing about it every night since then. 
Sunday was awesome. It was soooo nice to rest and just have a relaxing day. We got to be a part of the Rededication of the Ogdon temple which was super cool. i love hearing from Pres. Monson! Sacrament meeting was really good too. I had to play hymns and then our district sang. I hate singing in front of people, but I actually sang loud! Like, above a whisper. It was freaky scary. I saw Elder Selfaison Sunday night at the devotional. He's doing really well. It was good to see him.
The rest of the days are all pretty much the same: Wake up, get ready, study, eat breakfast, gym time, get ready again, go to class, study, lunch, study, teach, study, study, study, get ready for bed, quiet time, then sleep. It sounds boring but I absolutely love it.
Anywho, I can't really think of much else to say. My companion is great, she's super sweet. My district is great, my teacher is great, my zone is great (we have Romanian missionaries! Cool!) Everything is just great. Except for the showers.... But oh well, I can live with that. 
I love you all!!! Thanks so much for all the love and support I have gotten this past week, you are all the best!! I miss you, but luckily I'm too busy to dwell on it yet, so I'm doing great :) 
I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!!! I wish I could express it! My love for people has increased so much while I've been here. I just wish I could hug you all because I love you so much. GAHH!! The MTC is fabulous!! I love you!!!

Sorella Hawks :)
P.s. if you send letters or packages, don't put Oct. 29 they've been crossing that out and putting 28, so write Oct. 28 :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Few Words Before I Leave

Hello dear friends, family, and any and all who read this blog!
This blog is open for all to read, whether you are a friend who wants to know how I am, preparing to serve a mission of your own, or just someone who is trying to learn more about this gospel. Welcome!
To start things off, Why did I decide to serve a mission?
I was born and raised in this church and it has helped shaped me into the person I am today. Growing up, I always viewed the reason girls served missions was because they couldn't get married. But one Sunday a sister missionary serving in my ward talked to me about why she decided to serve a mission. I don't remember what she said, but it changed the way I saw serving a mission as a sister. Ever since then, I've grown to love the gospel more and more, which has increased my desire to share it with others.
When the valid age for sisters to serve missions lowered from 21 to 19, I knew I would have the wonderful opportunity to serve a mission of my own. Ever since then, I have looked forward to when I could send in my papers and receive my call.
As my date to enter the Missionary Training Center in Utah draws closer, I have become more nervous. I've felt a lot of things these past few weeks; fear, excitement, panic, and sometimes nothing. I became more and more afraid that I wasn't ready and that I wouldn't be able to serve the Lord well enough. But through much prayer and spending more time in the scriptures and with the missionaries, I have been able to gain the confidence to know that as long as I continue to work hard and be obedient, that I will be ready to enter the MTC when the time comes (Five days!!).
I can't fully express my excitement to serve the Lord and His children in the Italy Milan mission. This gospel has brought so much joy in my life. The knowledge that I am a daughter of God who loves me and that Jesus Christ loved me enough to die for me that I might return to Him has brought me so much peace and comfort. I want to spread that message and the joy that it brings to all that I meet. To serve a mission provides me with that opportunity and I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for that. 
 I wish you all the best of luck in everything you do. I'll see you in 18 months!