This week is the mark of our halfway point here at the MTC. Things are moving along great. I still adore and love Syster Winterton! She is just the greatest companion. The Lord really is blessing me every day through her.
What a blessing it is to be a missionary! Sometimes it is easy to forget that this is a gift from the Lord to be on a mission, it's not something that I deserve or am entitled to. But even though this is a gift already the Lord continues to shower us with blessings. Syster W and I were talking about that today on our way home from the temple. On our way out we met an older woman all-full of smiles named Sister Hammond. She grabbed us by the hands and told us that we were doing great things. It turns out that this is the same lady and her husband who gave the devotional two weeks ago. She and her husband talked about love, and it was from that devotional I began to realize that everything that happens here on earth that brings us joy is directed from Love. It is all about Love!! I just love that woman so much--so much so that I had to go back into the changing room and give her another hug! Yesterday I got sick again and my throat has been really hurting. It was hard during the middle of the day when I was really tired and didn't feel like talking much, so I decided I'd better start loving someone fast. And what do you know, the next moment I wasn't thinking about myself and I was making someone else happy (although it might have made me more happy than it did them!)
So Syster W and I have two "investigators" right now. One named Leo and one named Anna. It has really been the greatest acceleration of my learning here at the MTC by having the chance to try and develop lesson plans for these investigators and then teach them. We are of course still teaching in Swedish. Isn’t that amazing that I am teaching people in Swedish! I think its just crazy! But it can be done.
I also have come to believe that Swedish is possibly the easiest language out there. It is easier than Spanish. That must be one reason why the Lord is sending me there. Because He knew I couldn’t handle anything worse. I love Swedish though, and it is coming slow and steady. Now that we are at the half waypoint we are trying to speak a lot more Swedish. We have tried to have two full Swedish only days. It was hard and we ended up speaking some English :) but! The more we speak the better we do. The biggest help comes when we are in class and I make sure I respond in Swedish even though it takes longer. I tried working on that yesterday and when one person takes up the courage to speak in Swedish (and our teachers are teaching us in Swedish) more of our class takes courage and will answer in Swedish too. Yesterday the whole class started to answer questions in Swedish. It was really great. So my Swedish is far from perfect but I’m trying not to be scared of making mistakes and just trying to get out the feelings I want to convey.
This week I have really been studying a lot on repentance. I'm a little scared to call someone to repentance from some reason. It is just a little uncomfortable... So I have been trying to better understand repentance and what it really means to repent. I loved the BD's explanation that Repentance. Before it was translated meant "turning" or having a fresh view of God. That makes repenting seem much more of a positive thing to go through. Also I'm studying humility in the Christ-like attributes and I read something really interesting. It said that competition is a form of pride. So I have been trying to decide if competition is a bad thing all around. I can’t really see Christ competing with people. But competition does lead people to improve. But often just to be better than another. If we can really learn not to compare ourselves with others. Oh how much sweeter life would be! Right now I am so grateful that I have only one girl to worry about not comparing myself too. As an elder it would be much harder.
My favorite time of the week is getting to sing with the choir. We practice on Sundays and on Tuesdays and then perform Tuesday night at devotional. Syster W is great at singing so I often ask her to sing alto to help me get better. Love it!
Overall life is of course going great. Sometimes I really don’t seem much change going on. It is only when I look back over a longer period of time that I realize. I actually have changed! That is pretty exciting! Another thing that has been really interesting to have to learn how to deal with is the way teachers teach here. They are more like guides than teachers. They prompt us with questions and guide our conversation. But when you come out with a direct question for your. They never answer and want you to find it out yourself. It is often frustrating at times because I love to get answers from people. But I am beginning to realize they are teaching me the way the Lord answers us. We can ask him questions and ask for help. But he never really seems to answer directly. He wants us to go out searching on our own and find that answer. We tend to learn the best when we learn it ourselves. Such an interesting concept. Today I read in the Bible Dictionary "Conversion: completed conversion comes after many trials and much testing". Life seems to be all about these challenges that we overcome. Maybe it would be a good thing for us to ask for more trials. Then think about how many big steps we would be taking!
Well I love you all!!