Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Second week in the MTC

Hi everyone!!!!
Sounds like everyone is doing well! It’s awesome to hear that everyone is ok. 
     This week has been kind of crazy! Another one of our Elders, Elder Frost, got his Visa! He is from Georgia so he might have even used the Miami consulate (you will have to check on that for me Mom). Our entire district is now made up of 4 sisters and my companion and I! It's awesome that missionaries are getting out there though! There is still hope! Elder Frost was a super funny person and a thoughtful follower of Christ, he is a great missionary and our companionship will miss him. It’s a lot quieter now without him, I have no one to sing country songs under my breath with anymore! Hahaha but I really am very excited for him.

     Let me tell you a little about life here. In the mornings we get up and have about thirty minutes to get ready. At six thirty we have breakfast and then, depending on the day, a combination of classroom work with a teacher, computer guided study time on the language (TALL), personal, companionship, language, and additional study time. Surprisingly, everyone talks about how the MTC is so busy and about how there is something planned for you every hour of every day, and there really is, but it is not in a normal sense that your day is planned for you. The schedule is built in such a way that you have the idea of what you need to be doing planted firmly in your mind, but the how to go about doing those things is always up to you. It is not always as easy to understand, but after a little reflection I am coming to understand why the MTC is built this way. Heavenly Father invites us to do things. He asks us simply and in a straight-forward manner just enough so that we can remember what we need to do, and after that it’s our call what we do. The MTC is just like that. No one is walking around policing the hallways ensuring that missionaries are engaged in personal study time during personal study time. No one is forced to do anything. This is the Lord's way, He does not compel nearly as often as he invites because he knows that when people freely choose to follow him they are blessed in added measure (Alma Chapter 32). I have felt that blessing. The freedom that is afforded to missionaries to allocate their time as they see fit and to learn to use their time to the best of their abilities has added for me extra blessings beyond those afforded for simply obeying. In my short time in the MTC I have felt the profound difference in how I feel when I obey, because when I am obeying I am doing so by choice, when I am wasting time and unfocused I feel even more distraught because I know more clearly what I am missing. I feel greatly blessed to be able to be here.

     Elder Harris and I were made zone leaders this week. I'm actually pretty intimidated, but I'm confident we can and will do a good job. We are working hard (mostly) and trying to improve where we are falling short. I have such a long way to go, there are so many things I don't know and understand yet about the gospel yet that I am really trying to learn. I am confidante I can and am working to get there. In our leadership meetings we have been taught to lead by example. Our mission is to be a missionary for missionaries. I have a growing desire to be good and to keep getting better, because doing so will allow me to bless others. 

     We work a lot here, and it’s not really the educational, spiritual, or the physical work that's hard, its seriously a lack of sleep! Days are looooooonnnnnnggg and nights are short in comparison. I wouldn't have it any other way however, I like and expected that the experience of a mission would cause me to stretch my faculties beyond that which I was capable of before, and as long as that is happening I will be happy. Growing pains are expected and welcome, granted uncomfortable, side effects of that stretch. I hope I will come back from my mission in the "best shape of my life", and no muscle grows without resistance. Right now I am trying to figure out how to better feed my spiritual body so that I can turn it into a lean, mean, converting machine. I'm seeking how to understand how the spirit can work through me and how I can be capable of having it as my constant companion.

I love each of you, and miss you.
Elder Showalter

I know the Church is true!