Monday, February 20, 2017

The Happiest Place On Earth (Aislin)

OK, no disrespect to Disneyland and all, but it's got NOTHIN' on the MTC. Except maybe Space Mountain. . . ANYWAYS. I love it here. So much. I can't believe it's already been another week! We got our flight itinerary yesterday! I have to be at the travel office at 4:50 am on February 28. Our plane leaves for Toronto around 9:30, where we'll have a three hour layover and then get on another plane to Halifax where we'll arrive around 9:20 pm. I'M GOING TO BE IN A PLANE NEARLY ALL DAY. Ugh. They better have cookies.

By the way, my camera isn't connecting to the computer correctly so I might have to send you pictures of my district later on. My district is seriously the best. It's comprised of missionaries heading to Portland, Oregon and missionaries going to Halifax, Canada. Oh and then there's Sister Sage who got reassigned last Friday to Pittsburgh! I'm pretty sure she was assigned to go to Portland in the first place just so she could be in our district because I can't imagine it without her. Funny how things work like that, huh? She told us all later that night about how when she first opened her call she was kind of upset because it just didn't feel right to her. She didn't feel like she was supposed to go to Portland, but she prayed and basically told Heavenly Father that she trusted Him and would go wherever He sent her. She's one of my biggest role models here. She's just so amazing and has a beautiful testimony. She's the only member in her family and I am so ridiculously proud of her. So there's Sister Sage and Sister Horlacher (pronounced like Horlocker). The first couple of days I could never remember Sister Horlacher's full name, I just knew that it started with "Hor". . . But that sounds bad by itself, so I just called her "Sister" for the first three days. Sage and Horlacher are our district's Sister Training Leaders. They're pretty awesome. Sister Horlacher talks almost as much as Fionn does! She's so funny though, we just have to keep her on topic and remind her people are sleeping after 10:30 pm. The other night, she was showering in the stall next to me and just talking non-stop. I told her three times that I was going to go brush my teeth but I don't think she ever heard. So I just slowly started backing towards the sinks while she kept talking. Haha! Good times. 

Sisters Ward and Ceron are the two other sisters in the district going to Halifax (Sister Haughawout is abandoning me for Portland! *Sniff*). Sister Ward's been having a hard time getting used to the MTC but she's gotten so much better this week. And Sister Ceron is such a good companion to her. Sister Ward told us about how stressed she gets just being around people, so sometimes during class, she'll get up to head to the bathroom and tell Sister Ceron that she doesn't have to follow her 'cause she's just heading to the bathroom but Sister Ceron just gets up without a word and follows her. Sister Ceron is amazing and you can really tell just how inspired the companionships are. 

Elder Wadsworth and Elder Leavitt are the elders heading to Portland. Elder Wadsworth is such an amazing missionary already. He's always so focused during study time and reminds everyone else to stay focused as well. We all know to turn to him when we have doctrinal questions. he's kind of the dad of our district, which is why he's the perfect companion for Elder Leavitt too. Elder Leavitt is the district leader and is basically like 5 year-old Howie. He's so ADD and random, and gets distracted by EVERYTHING. He's hilarious but also really distracting for the rest of us sometimes too. I wish I could get my camera to connect 'cause I have a couple funny pictures of him to send you. The other day he just randomly started telling us about his love for cheese. He said, "dairy actually makes me sick but cheese is so worth it." But he also knows when to be serious. On Saturday, Sister Horlacher had asked Elders Wadsworth and Leavitt to give her blessing. We were all sitting in the classroom joking and laughing (mostly at Elder Leavitt's random comments) but when Sisters Horlacher and Sage walked in, Elder Leavitt jumped to his feet and asked them, "do you want us to give you your blessing right now? Do you want to do it in here?" then he gave her a blessing and I was so awed and proud of him in that moment, 'cause he's like my younger brother (or the 5 year-old I used to babysit) and he has the Priesthood and the Priesthood is just so cool. I love hearing priesthood blessings, they're always amazing. 

Elder Bringhurst and Elder Willoughby are the elders going to Halifax with me (YAY!) and they're AWESOME. Elder Willoughby reminds me a lot of Amik. He's so sweet and funny and sometimes a little awkward but he just goes with it. He's also amazed at my whistling skills (I mean, who isn't?) and can't believe I've never taken singing classes before. *Ahem* but I'm humble. Edler Bringhurst is the nicest elder ever. The first week he was so stressed that he was making himself sick. He barely ate anything and anything he did eat, he just threw up. So he's lost some weight, and he just always looked so sad, even though he was trying to hide it. I could tell that he still wanted to be out here, and he didn't want to have to go home, but also knew that he couldn't continue his mission of it was gonna make him this sick. I just wanted to give him a hug but I COULDN'T! I've never really been a huggy person, but dang, that poor kid needed a hug. We've all been praying for him constantly. Then Wednesday night, during dinner I noticed he was eating again and he was joking with us and he just seemed much happier. Thursday, after class he told us that he had something to say to us all. HE'S STAYING!!! Yay! There was much rejoicing. I couldn't stop smiling! I'm so happy 'cause I really wanted him to be in our group when we all left for Canada together. So that was the highlight of my day. I gave him high-five 'cause I couldn't give him a hug, haha.

So that's our district. They're the best. I love them all so much. The other day (I realize I say that a lot), Elder Leavitt said, "We've only known each other for a week! How are we all so close already!?" and Elder Wadsworth turned to him and said "Are we. . .?" haha! But yes. We are. Sister Sage and Sister Haughawout and I have already agreed to room together when we go back up to BYU-I. And Elders Wadsworth, Willoughby and Leavitt will all be there too! Well, six months later

OK, now you kinda know my district. I'll get on to some other stuff.

Sunday here is super busy. We're in meetings all day long. Also, Relief Society was AWESOME. AND since our ward is just our district, Sister Rivera is in my ward! Look at that. Tender mercies, guys. 
  
Monday morning we went and did service and I saw Raechel! (cousin)  Ah! That was cool. I don't think I've seen her since I was maybe 11. . . Anyways. We just had to sweep and mop. The elders were on bathroom duty. HAHA suckahs (sorry, Mom. I won't say that again). 

Tuesday was Valentine's day! All us sisters went to the classroom early and put candy on everyone's desks and wrote "Happy Valentine's Day!" on the board and then Sister Sage and I found a bunch of scriptures about loving one another and God's love for us, wrote the references on my handy sticky notes and stuck them all over the room. It was pretty great. ALSOOO. Tuesday night is devotional night and GUESS WHAT. Elder Ballard came and spoke to all of us! AAAAAAAHHH IT WAS SO COOL. He talked about making and keeping righteous (and attainable) goals and just being the best that you can be, which was really awesome to hear because before coming out here, I just kept praying that I would be a good enough missionary, 'cause I knew I wasn't going to be the best, or the most spiritual, or maybe not always the most obedient, who knows? I just knew I had to be good enough. Good enough for my investigators in Halifax. So that was awesome. Elder Ballard's awesome. He kept pausing to wave at us as he was walking out. Oh! And I sang in the choir! Not to brag or anything but uh. We sounded pretty SICK.

Wednesday was my week mark! Which also means that there were new missionaries coming in WHICH MEANS that it was our turn to get to yell "Welcome to the MTC!!!" at everyone wearing the red dork dots. We also taught our TRC on Wednesday. TRC stands for Teaching Resource Centre and it's where we practice teaching investigators. Sometimes our "investigator" is actually a member volunteer, but sometimes they're real investigators. But they don't tell us. Sister Haughawout and I taught a woman named Barbara this week and she's so sweet. She and I bonded over our mutual love for history. And Harry Potter. And the Beatles. Which was basically the BEST. Her parents were Holocaust survivors! We got a little distracted on our first meeting, talking about WWII. Oh and Joan of Arc. ANYWAYS. Barbara's awesome. And was so blown away by the fact that God has a physical body. We talked about the Godhead at the very beginning of the lesson, and during the rest of our meeting she'd pause us every five minutes or so and slam her hand against the table and say, "WAIT A MINUTE. God has a BODY??? For REALS???" YES. Yes, he does. We shared with her some scriptures from the Old Testament about prophets talking to God "Face to face", and she'd just give us this really confused face and say, "He'd have to have a face to talk to someone "face to face." And a mouth to say things. . . " Yup. MIND-BLOWING. Kind of funny about how crazy that sounded to her, because I've known that my entire life! I just never really thought about how weird it would be to someone who's always believed God to be some all-encompassing universal power/spirit. Our second lesson with her, we finally convinced her to pray with us and it was so sweet I CRIED. It hit me then that I was good enough. And whether Barbara is a real or "fake" investigator, her prayer was evidence of my abilities as a missionary. I can do this!

  On Thursday, we taught our PI, which just means Potential Investigator (I think. . . ), which is actually just our teacher pretending to be an investigator that she knew on her mission. Her name is Dani, and I love her. It's weird because when Sister Fulton is in character as Dani, she IS Dani. They're completely different people. It's bizarre but also AWESOME. So anyways, we taught Dani in an OBSERVATION ROOM this time. So that the rest of the district could watch and evaluate each other as missionaries. It was kinda weird at first but not bad. And Sister Haughawout and I did pretty well, I think. We already invited her to be baptized and are now just working on through the other lessons with her, and helping her prepare for baptism. Hopefully I'll have investigators like Dani on my mission *crosses fingers and wishes on a star*. Actually, Friday was our last meeting with Dani, and it went pretty well but was also a little funny because Sister Fulton is pregnant and so Dani is too. But Dani isn't married, and Sister Haughawout and I kind of forgot about this little bit of information the other day, while we were discussing baptismal dates with Dani. I don't remember how it came up exactly but we were discussing the requirements and worthiness aspects of it all, and briefly mentioned the law of chastity and Dani asked about how that would work since she wasn't married to her boyfriend and my mouth just fell open and there was this short silence for a bit while the whole "boyfriend = not husband' part processed in our brains. But Sister Fulton said we handed it really well. We just talked about repentance and the importance of marriage and told her that she could still get baptized. So yeah, that was fun.

FRIDAY! As Sister Haughawout and I were walking to get some water, we walked by a classroom and I saw a bunch of missionaries drawing Star Wars characters on a whiteboard. So of course I had to stick my head in and say, "Uh, hi. I saw you were drawing Darth Vader and I think we should be best friends now." So we bonded over Star Wars. I was practically jumping up and down while we were discussing The Force Awakens and then I had to run to back to my classroom to grab my sketchbook so I could show them my Star Wars drawings. One of the elders took a picture of my Rey drawings because. Well. They're GREAT. And they told me I'd been raised well and I like "YEAH, I KNOW." So I don't remember any of their names but we had a good ten minutes of bonding time before I had to head back to class. Ah, Star Wars. Bringing people together since 1977 (I hope that's the right date because mission amnesia is already starting to set in BUT IT SOUNDS RIGHT).

Oh and funny story. As we were getting ready to head out to dinner, Sister Haughawout said quietly to me, "Hey, let's head to the bathroom. Then I can ask you a really important question I've been meaning to ask you." And so of course I'm thinking, "OH NO, what's wrong? What have I done? I KNEW I was a terrible companion." but then as we're walking down the hallway she turns and asks, "What would happen if you put cookie dough in the microwave? I had a dream about it last night and I've been wondering all day what would happen!" so of course I burst out laughing because THAT WAS YOUR IMPORTANT QUESTION??? Hahaha! So then we had an in-depth conversation about cookie dough and microwaveable foods and came to the conclusion that you could probably eat microwave cookie dough and come out just fine. Man, I love my companion.

ALSO, really important news here, guys. Last Saturday, do you know what I did? I USED A VENDING MACHINE. Sister Rivera was so proud of me. Sister Haughawout insisted on talking a picture to commemorate the momentous occasion BUT MY CAMERA WON'T CONNECT. So next time. I volunteered to go buy Sister Horlacher some gummy worms the other night, JUST so I could use a vending machine again. Sister Haughawout just laughed at me the whole time 'cause when the gummy worms fell I gasped and went "ooh!". 19 years old and I've used a vending machine twice in my life. I feel a little like Arthur Weasley would.

Well. Now it's Saturday. We went to the temple this morning and it was FANTASTIC just like always. Sister Haughawout and I just did initiatories again so that we could head back to our residence and I could grab some Dayquil 'cause Sister Horlacher gave me a COLD. Ugh. 

Now we have to go grab some lunch before I die of starvation. Or dehydration, that'll probably come first. 

I love you guys lots!!! I miss you more and more every day! Send me lots of emails! You guys are the best! Byyyeeee!!!

- Sister Enright







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