Just to add a bit o' Hermana Hillary spice to my email, I was tempted to start off with "Hola home skillets!", but then I realized the White handbook (the inspired book of LDS missionary guidelines, as set out by the Lord through his modern apostles on the earth today, for this who don't know) says to have "dignified speech" and avoid slang. So... I just snuck it nonchalantely into this sentence instead. Because that's so much better, right? :)
Guys. I'm at the MTC.
Seriously! It's the coolest place ever! All my life, I've seen LDS missionaries, heard the stories, and known all the "lingo". However, I never really imagined that I too woudl someday be a part of this sacred work, but through the Lord's guidance and hard core hints, I AM! It's a wonderful feeling :)
I guess I'll rewind to day 1 and sum things up from there: as many of you know, I was dropped off on temple square to be a companion wtih my sister, Eden Marie Lake, last monday. Though it was just over a week ago, it feels like a whole other LIFE TIME has passed since then. To sum it up, temple square was an AMAZING experience, and I have already used much of the knowledge/examples I saw there (from my Sister and her companion, Sister Chung) in my life at the MTc already. For example, I pulled a trick out of Sister Lakes hat, and did a "name 5 good and 3 bad things we did in that discussion" with my companion after ever investigator discussion. It's worked wonders for us so far!! I also LOVED seeing my sister, for she is one of my greatest friends and examples, and I always miss her when she's not around- not to mention I got to make ANOTHER amazing friend in Sister Chung, who is Sister Lake Sr. companion from Taiwain. She's wonderful :)
After that excitment, mom brought me to the MTC! I love it here - i've heard many a mixed review about emotions that occur in the MTC, but I have loved every uplifiting minute. My compaion is amazing, and definetly inspried to be the woman I need in my life right. Hermana Alyssa Ann Goodrich is her name, and she is just all sorts of wonderful. The first day I got here, my host (the missionary who was helping me get my stuff put away) brought me into my district's classroom. When I walked in, a girl by the door asked "are you Sister Lake?!" I said "yes! Are you Sister Goodrich?! I'm your companion!!" She then hugged/tackled me and started crying almost right away. She said "sister Lake, I have been waiting to meet you my entire life, and been praying for you since the day I turned in my mission papers. I'm so glad you're here!" There is no doubt we were meant to be compaions - we help each other and strengthen each other in so many ways, I love it :) Not to mention she's a super cool girl from Idaho who has a pink shotgun and wears lace and polka dots every day of her life - she's pretty grand :)
As for the language, my spanish is getting along pretty well! For those taht don't know, I actually took 2 years of Spanish in HS, but forgot most of it after I graduated (since that's what happens with pretty much all info after HS, it feels like :) However, as missionaries of the Lord, we are entitled to ask for "the gift of tongues" as found int he Bible (sorry, I can't remember the reference - help me out Mom? haha, sorry to make you read my mind from 3 states away! :) My companion and I pray for the gift of tongues daily, and have been blessed tremendously! Personally, I have had much of the Spanish I learned in HS brought back to my rememberance, and I often will find myself speaking Spanish words before I can even remember what they mean - it's a gift indeed! As one who tried to learn Russian for 4 months and got absoulotely nowhere, it's amazing to see what more we can accomplish with the Lord on our side! Another thing, the MTC wastes to time at all in throwing you into the work! Hermana goodrich and I taught our first lesson to an investigator (don't worry, he's already a member, so we're not endangering someone exaltation with our awful spanish :) on our second full day here! That was exciting/awful. However, we quickly were able to learn through the Lord, and have improved drastically. In fact, we'll be teaching another lesson leater today, and we plan on using my mom's "Plan of Salvation"visuals that SHE made when SHE was on her mission in Argentina years ago!! (for those who may not know what "The Plan of Salvation" is, please visit www.mormon.org, and there is a tab explaining this saving doctring that allows us to live with our families forever!) I love having a part of my mom on my mission with me - truly, she is one of the best examples in my life!!
Couple fun facts about the MTC:
1) Did you know that the Laundry room is actually underground? You go into a door that's on sidewalk level, but it leads through a delicious smelling tunnel (mmm, laundry smell) that pops you out into an undergroudn laundry room. There's also a bar that goes the length of the room, so you can hang your clothes to air dry if you'd like. However, the MTC elders have magically turned this innocent bar into a challenge of manhood, and try to monkey bar across the entire room without letting your feet touch the ground. I've only known of one elder whos' actually done it, and he's built like popeye. soooo... that make sense.
2) I've heard many a horror story about not gaining weight in the MTC, and quickly realized why - it's buffet style, and I'm amazed at how people seem to interrpret the word "buffet" into "heck with keeping a 2 years supply for food storage - I'll just eat 2 years worth of food now, and then I won't have to organize the shelves of food storage!" No, but really. It's ridiculous. As for me and Hermana goodrich, we're regulars at the "wrap" side of the buffet - gracious, but they're good. Spinich (I had to retype that word about 5 times, becasue I kept accidentally writing "Spanish", hehe :) wraps with bacon and salsa? Amazing.
3) BEST FUN FACT OF THE MTC!! The elders have older closets in their room, which apparently have a secret cupboard on top. If you opent the cupboard, it apparently goes the lenght of the whole closet, and is big enough to hid all sorts of goodies in it! Thus, the Elders have affectionately nicknamed them "Narnia closests". Seriously, one elder was cleaning in a room, and found 10 bags of popcorn inside such a closet. Another found a mini christmas tree. It's pretty cool :)
Phew. My fingers might just fall off pretty soon here, so I'll wrap up! Basically, just know this - I LOVE being an ambassador for the Lord, and have clearly seen his influence in my life. Although I had a strong knowledge of the gospel before my mission, never have I felt so guided and strengthened in my life - I mean, I've been here a WEEK, and already given 3 discussion in the Spanish langauge. If that doesn't testify of a loving and miraculous Heavenly Father, I don't know what would :) I love being a missionary - though it's often so surreal and I have to remind myself it's really happening, I have never felt so empowered or happy. I can't think of any other way to express the joy and happiness foudn in this gospel than through the words, HALLEJUAH! Hallejuah, and what a glorious Heavenly Father have I :)
I love you all!!Hermana Hill