Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mom and Dad's first email from the MTC, day one of the mission!

Like so many times when we would go places, I find myself wanting to share our experiences. My computer was down again last night, even though it said I was connected. Ugh! I obviously have not appreciated the technology that I use so much because when it is gone, I've felt helpless. I had homework to do last night, and I'm wondering if the Lord knew that I needed to do that and not write like I'm doing now.  When I woke at 4:30, I felt a need to ask the Lord to get my computer to work, and when I turned it on, it has worked like a charm. So, finally, I'm going to give a rundown of time from Sunday to this morning. If we do not call, it is not because we don't want to, we find we just have less time to do so.

We are in the MTC.  What a great place.  The Church is so well organized working with the missionaries.  There are 112 couples and 4 single sisters in our group. There were so many coming on one day that they staggered our check-in times. We were everywhere.

We first went to the wrong place to park, and then we were directed to the right place. We were here, just in the back and not the front of the building. Our GPS told us we were in the right place, and heavens know that when the GPS says we have arrived, we should stop there. We then drove around to the front of the building and were officially welcomed to the MTC. We picked up some important papers, and went from the book store where we could get some good discounts on missionary stuff (thank goodness we didn't need anything), to the health station where Craig got an appointment to get another shot that the doctor said we had to wait 6 months to get - I knew that wasn't true, but let them set the pace.  Wish I had insisted that Craig get it at home.

We then proceeded to the Chapel where we began to get lots of information on what we could and could not do. Senior missionaries really get a lot of leeway on what we can do. As they say, we are adults. We know (or should) what is expected of us. It was good to get some concrete information and be reminded of the fact that we are not 18 years old and are responsible adults. hahaha I'm not sure if they were talking about Craig and I.
We got set apart on Sunday by our Stake President Alex Jensen. We have had so many computer problems, not being able to connect to the internet, that I allowed my frustration to keep me from sitting down and writing about my blessing that night. I knew better because I can't remember much of anything. President Jensen gave me the longest blessing I can ever remember getting. I thought at the time that I must be a really needy person and the Lord wants to remind me that I am more than I know. Not that I'm that great. During a meeting yesterday, every couple stood and introduced ourselves as Brother and Sister so and so. Then where we were from, where we were going, and what our calling entailed. As couple after couple got up and told us of the fabulous places they were going, it ran through my mind, "And we get to go to Wisconsin." It then went through my mind, that evidently, I need to remember who is in charge, and he knows where we need to be. It's not where we serve, but how we serve. I feel much more humbled about our call. I just hope we can serve honorably.

Back to the blessing. I was blessed with many things. I will be able to remember more of what I needed to remember. I will be given opportunities to work with the youth and single sisters. There are a lot of people out there that I need to open my mouth (like I have ever kept it shut) and just talk to them. I don't always have to be trying to convert people, just love them and help them as needed. It is not about me but about others. I know I shouldn't have to be told these things, they are simple truths that should be evident to me from all the years I've been in the Church. It was good to hear them from the Lord.

We definitely don't have to worry about starving here. There is way more food than we can eat, and they are generous in providing for us. We could easily gain weight this week, and neither Craig or I want that. I hope we get to exercise later today, if not too tired again.

After lunch, it was back to meetings until 4:30. We heard from those who work with us here at the MTC. We have all kinds of help. The day was a day of building us up, reminding us of why we are here, encouraging us to share our experiences, and get organized so we will know who to go to for problems and where to go to get the information we need. Tonight (Tuesday), we have a devotional with one of the General Authorities. They won't tell us who and somewhere I read that if we know who it is, we shouldn't tell others.  hahahaha

We have met so many interesting people. One couple lived in Albany, GA in the 70s. They saw the Church then when the Stake Center was in Albany. Recently, Craig got to go with Noel Luke (Belinda's father) to visit a Brother Glenn Rudd. Craig and Noel are both interested in the welfare program of the Church (how it started, what was involved, etc.). Noel is actually writing a book about it. Anyway, it turns out that Brother Rudd was the Stake President in the Albany area during the 70s. He found, taught, and baptized Richey Marbury who was our Stake President when we were in Columbus. What a small world. I think that was a big highlight of Craig's day.
As we talk with other missionary couples, we are learning so much. Many are from the Utah area and grew up with many of the General Authorities. How fun to hear about their life experiences. We are so blessed to be with these brothers and sisters as they strengthen our testimonies. We love it.

Last night Craig and I were so tired. At 10 we were exhausted. We had some reading homework that we had to complete. We will be working from the Preach My Gospel book. Adam worked in the MTC when this book was coming out. He told us about what a great book it was, and then we got to use it when we were called as missionaries to the Ft. Benning group on post. We used it for four years, and we loved it. Of course, once we were released, we haven't picked it up again. So, last night, I used my old copy and found many notes and thoughts that I had written way back when.

I like to write about our experiences during a day, so that I do hold on to the thoughts and ideas that come to me. I tell you it was so hard leaving Adam and Belinda's place and their babies. We have grown to love and appreciate them so much more. Those babies have such a big part of our hearts. Just writing about it makes me cry. I cannot imagine not being with them for the eternities. It also makes me appreciate all of your families more. So much of our talk is about our grandbabies and their parents. Our prayers include all of you every morning and night. We care about what is happening in your lives. You strengthen our testimonies. I truly believe we were together in the preexistence. I can see when Father asked, "who will be the mother," I couldn't wait to raise my hand, knowing you guys would be part of our family. (Please don't think - she couldn't know that we did that - it is my dream so let me have it.)

We now need to get going for the day. Craig says to tell you how much he is enjoying this experience. He has been sitting and studying the Preach My Gospel book. He stopped me a moment ago to tell me how in awe he is to recognize the book as Scripture, telling us not only what has transpired in the Gospel, but how to teach it to others.

If you have a moment, we would love to hear from you. Like I said, we will try to call, but if not, I'll definitely try to write something each night about the day.

Mom and Dad

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