Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pictures of Sister Magness Entering the MTC 6/6/12

The One With No P-Day

Hello dearest family!!
Okay so this week I have no P-day. How sad right? The reason being is that this weekend the apostles and new mission presidents are coming to the MTC so the schedule had to be changed around quite a bit to make everything work out this week. So instead of getting rid of class, they get rid of P-day. Makes sense, we just need to figure out when to do laundry/go to the temple but at least I got to email you!!
I am really excited about the mission presidents coming though. I got to meet President Shumway and his wife this Saturday night so that will be exciting! The main MTC building gets shut down because the apostles are here and they don't want missionaries trying to meet them and have them shake their hand so this week will be interesting!! I am guessing we will have wonderful speakers this upcoming Sunday!
So, how is everyone doing!! Happy Car's Land opening weekend!! Haha I loved how all of you mentioned that it was opening on Friday. You know that is one of the first places I will go after the mission. That will be a good Disneyland trip :) How was Father's Day?! I was thinking about dad, grandpa, Corey and Andrew all day!! I love all of you!! Dad I hope my card got to you if not it should soon. Also is grandpa getting my emails?? He wrote me such a nice note. Tell him I love him!!
Ciara and Dad/Mom, thanks for the packages. Those always make my day!! Magness cookies are a hit with my companions and the calling card will work great for when I can call home.
Thank you thank you to everyone who writes me!! I am SO blessed. My district is baffled everyday by how much mail I get. They are like, "umm who writes you?" Haha I am so appreciative so thank you. Because of the crazy schedule though I don't have time this week to write. So just know I have a list of who I need to write back and a letter WILL come your way.
Okay exciting news next....I have my flight plans!! The MTC will be over for me in 1 week from today. I leave Monday June 25th. I have to be at the front of the MTC at 3 am...wish you could witness that! I leave SLC at 6:00 AM and arrive in Denver at 7:28 AM. Then I leave Denver at 8:09 AM and arrive in Tulsa at 10:40 AM (an hour ahead of MST). I am flying United Airlines. SO that is pretty early for you but you gotta answer your phones!! I am guessing I will call at the layover but thats still not a lot of time so it will be quick. Please dearelder me your phone numbers just incase my mind goes blank at the airport and I don't freak out. Ciara and Andrew I want to call you too so just be ready!! I am so excited to hear your voices before I head out!!
We are so blessed at the MTC to have wonderful speakers. On Tuesday Per G. Malm from the seventy spoke and he is from Sweden!! I loved his accent. Then yesterday for RS we had Elaine S. Dalton!! And guess what.... I got a hug from her!! So after she let everyone meet her in the foyer. She hugged me and looked at my companion and I and said, "Wow you can't buy eyes like yours...that comes from living the gospel!" I hope that's true and she just didn't think my eyes were really blue haha but she is so nice. Such a kind woman! She gave an inspiring talk as well. Then guess who spoke last night....Sheri Dew. I immediately thought of you dad! She gave a great talk as well. We are really lucky at the MTC!
There are always moments throughout the week I wish you could witness because you would be entertained:
- My hard, HARD investigator teaching experiences. She thought we were nuns and then she thought we were Amish. And the look on her face when I asked her to pray was priceless. She thought I was crazy.
- Vacuuming the entire main building for service at 6:00 am
- At the end of the night, there are books all over my desk, journals, scriptures, etc. and I literally look like a mad scientist/researcher. Trying to figure out what that investigator needs!! Let's just say when 10:30 rolls around I am more than ready for bed!
I saw Elder David Orgill! Got a picture too! He is doing well.
My roomie only speaks Cebuano this whole week so I actually know some now haha. It has made the week entertaining because it is more like playing charades with her cause she is on an English fast. I wish you could hear the language!! It is a jungle language so it is pretty crazy.
Okay so some spiritual experiences this week :)
One of my teachers started class and said I need to show you something before we begin. So we went to a place in the MTC that has a beautiful picture of the Savior before His Ascension into heaven as he showed himself to the remaining apostles. Our teacher said that the Lord has something to tell you and to just take some time to yourself for a moment. So as I sat and pondered and prayed to have what the Lord needed me to know then, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love. I think that the Lord just needed to remind me that He loves me and is here for me. He is helping me and will continue to help me as I do His work. I was reminded of the song "I Feel My Savior's Love." I am so busy at the MTC that there is no time to just sit and ponder some days. I was reminded that I need to do that even if it is just for a few minutes. It gave me strength to finish the week. I am grateful that my teacher followed the spirit and allowing my district to have this experience because we needed it.
Another experience was teaching an investigator (played by another missionary in my zone). After we taught and evaluated we had extra time. I felt like I needed to ask him how his MTC experience is going. Right after that, he just began to cry. I was like ugh what did I do?! But then he went on to say how he has been so homesick and it is good for him to just talk about it. I told him how we have all felt that way too, that he isn't alone. I learned a lot this week about how we aren't just here to serve the investigators, etc. but we are also here to serve each other as missionaries/companions.
One teaching experience that I can share was with an investigator named Joe (one of my teachers). We taught a lesson about prayer and Joe was so hesitant. He just didn't really understand how he could receive an answer and didn't feel like he needed to do so. He didn't see the need for God in his life. After teaching a lesson and using the Book of Mormon as our main aid, Joe felt the spirit and began to see how prayer could help him. When Joe said a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson I felt the spirit so strong. It is a wonderful feeling to see others come unto Christ and recognize their need for Him and their Heavenly Father. There are ups and downs with teaching - sometimes it goes great because the spirit is there and other times you just have to evaluate how it could've been better. These teaching experiences at the MTC really have helped me recognize how the spirit is the only way to teach.
Well family, that is my week!! There is so much I could always tell you but the timer thing really scares me :) Know that I love you so much and am so grateful for all that you do for me!! I feel of your prayers and love each day. Know that I pray for you always!! The next email from me will be from the mission field!! Crazy crazy! I am excited though. I keep meeting people who have had friends or family go to Tulsa and all the say is "Oh the Bible belt." So hello Bible belt!!
I am so grateful to be here. The MTC has a wonderful spirit but I can't wait to be a missionary in the Bible belt.
I love you!!!! Keep sending those dear elders while you can :)
Sister Magness

Monday, June 11, 2012

My first 5 days... (Sister Magness' First E-mail!!)

Hello dear family and friends!!!
Well, I have 27 minutes to type this to you and who knows what happens when the time is up so here we go.
Everything is going great here overall. These past 5 days have felt like the longest 5 days of my life. I already feel like I have been here for 3 weeks, but I haven't even hit a week yet. I guess I am almost there though. The days are SO long, but then you realize that time is moving quickly. It is a strange time warp in the MTC. I am getting used to falling asleep at 10:30 but the first few days were so hard to fall asleep. I would just lay there and wonder if I was really a missionary and really at the MTC. I would wake up and turns out yes I am still a missionary and yes I am still at the MTC.
Some funny things about the MTC....
Everyone speaks to you in their language. And they continue on a conversation like they expect you to answer something back. I am just like ugh I speak English, then they mumble something in their language and laugh. Probably happens 3 times a day. It is cool to hear everyone walking around and feeling like you just had the cliff notes version of all the languages in the world.
Also the gym has movies playing. Kinda like how it would be at a normal gym, but instead of the news you watch the Restoration and The Testaments. It still cracks me up everytime I go in there.
Last random fun fact is that at night before I go to sleep it is freezing cold (I am at the top bunk, right by the vent) and then I wake up and I feel like I am in Tahiti cause it is so humid and hot. We can't figure out the thermostat still.
Okay so on to more important things...
My companions: Sister Carter and Sister Meredith. Yes I have two. A trio is difficult because it is working with more personalities and more ideas when teaching. We have had some challenges but we had a wonderful devotional last night on relationships with your companions and it was an answer to my prayer (really). I was so grateful for everything that was said and I think things will improve! They are wonderful sisters and we do have a lot of fun together despite our differences. Sis Meredith is going to OK with me and Sister Carter is going to South Dakota.
District: We have 9 missionaries total in our district. Half is going to Tulsa the other half to South Dakota. They are all great and love the gospel. I love district study because I learn so much from everyone!! We have a lot of fun too. Some of the elders keep me entertained during the day so that's good.
Teachers: My teachers are so good!! Every time they teach I am so amazed at everything they have to offer. One of them was actually in my ward last year haha. I guess that comes with being right next to BYU. Our teachers are actually our investigators that we teach when we do role plays. My investigators are Mike and Shawn. We have taught each of them once and I teach Shawn again tomorrow. At first I was SO nervous about role play because I remember in mission prep class I could not take role plays seriously. I didn't know how to feel the spirit during them and would chuckle because I was teaching my friends. But it is incredible the experiences we have had even already. In one of my lessons I was asked to give the opening prayer for one of my companions and as I was praying for the investigator I felt so much love for him. The love that our Savior and Heavenly Father have for them. It was wonderful to see the spirit preparing me for the kind of love I need to feel for the people I teach. It is also cool to see how when you truly invite the spirit in your lesson it can go another direction. You try so hard to get the lesson plan down and after you walk out you realize it went another direction. We have a lot to work on still and it will take a lot of time to learn how to truly teach by the spirit but I am grateful for the experiences I have already had these first few days.
The first time I walked out of the MTC was gym time on Friday and I was so weirded out!! It is crazy seeing the same temple I would go to at school, the same Y mountain but to not be a student or be able to walk down the street. Still getting used to that. Walking around the temple on Sunday and going to the temple this morning are the best parts of my weeks! I love taking a break for a brief moment and going to the temple. It brings so much comfort. I do miss the Vegas temple though :)
I see a lot of people I knew each day at the MTC. Girls from freshman year, and other years at BYU, I have seen Cameron Timpson more times than I can count haha. It is a huge comfort to see people you know at the MTC. It is nice to have my friends give me a hug and just say I love you and ask how your day is going. I love knowing that I have sisters not only here at the MTC with me, but around the world trying to be their best as a missionary.
Oh random but we have another sister in our room besides my comps and she is awesome!! She is my little guide around the MTC. That's one thing I thought would be different - more guidance about the logistics of stuff but you kind of just have to figure it out on your own. So having her as been a blessing since she has been here for 5 weeks. She is going to the Phillippines and is speaking Cebuono. So I am learning a few words. Be prepared to be wowed with that when I come home.
Sunday was incredible!!! We walk into RS and guess who is speaking? Cheryl Esplin from the Primary general presidency!! We are so blessed to have such wonderful speakers. It is just funny cause you don't know who is speaking and then they just put it on a screen and everyone gets really excited. It is amazing how every talk I have heard, there is always something said that comforts me or answers my prayers. Heavenly Father is truly taking care of me!
I have so many experiences I want to share but I will try to share a few. The first night we got here we observed a teaching session. We then had to try and teach (in a group of 30) this woman. We all were giving comments, trying to answer her questions and she finally said to stop. That she didn't understand anything and we were confusing. Then she said, "If Christ were here, what would He want you to tell me?" That hit me so hard. It really is so simple. We just have to let people know that Christ loves them. He loves them, their Heavenly Father loves them, and they want us to come home!! I will always remember that line throughout my mission.
Another experience was listening to a talk from Elder Holland. He talked about how hard missionary work is and how often we get discouraged because it doesn't come easy. We wonder why people aren't flocking to the font, etc. And then he said something along the lines of - Why should it be easy for us, when it was never easy for the Savior? I love that. I know that these next 18 mos will be hard, because these past few days have already stretched me. But I am honored and so grateful to be here!! I look down at my badge and still can't believe it. Elder Holland said this is the only time in your life you will have a calling that even comes close to that of being an apostle - a representative of Christ all the time.
Thank you for all of your love and support!! I love reading my letters after a long and hard day. It helps me keep going!! My district is jealous by how much love and support I get so keep it coming :)
I hope all is well at home. Know that I love you SO much and pray for you constantly. I can't thank you enough for your support.
I am almost to a week in the MTC. Woo hoo!!
Until next time,
Sister Magness
P.S. Can't upload pics in the MTC. So sad right? But I might be able to print them out. I will figure something out. Or I can upload them in the field.
P.P.S. The timer is really about to go off. So much stress haha

Monday, June 4, 2012

And...I'm off.

I can't believe that it is time for me to head out into the missionary world and become Sister Magness. The time from opening my call until now flew by as I finished up school, hunted for cute missionary clothes, hung out with family and friends, and got my last few movies in. I am so excited and grateful to have this opportunity. I will never forget February 22, 2012 when I received my call and read where the Lord needs me. Oklahoma was the last place on earth that I thought of, but when I read "You are assigned to labor in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission," everything felt right. Most importantly, the letter starts out with, "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I am simply thrilled to be a missionary and represent my Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you (whoever reads this, if any haha) for being a part of my life and supporting me in this next endeavor. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas... I am all yours! Here's to the next 18...

Before Tulsa was revealed

Me with my wonderful parents after we found out I was headed to Tulsa!