Monday, March 25, 2013

MTC Week 3!

Dear Familia,

Ah, your emails are seriously what I look forward to all week.  I feel like I have so much to answer and to tell you but I'll probably forget a huge part of it.  So this week was better, it becomes better and better each week.  It is still really hard and I still struggle with patience, but it's crazy how much I have learned.  I never realized how much prayer has helped me.  Even this morning, for example, I probably prayed five times just during the temple session.  I pray in gratitude over good moments, I pray for help in hard moments.  But what matters, is I have learned how to depend on the Lord.  I can't imagine my life without prayer, I'm not sure how well the MTC would be going if prayer wasn't such a big part of my life.  The Lord knows US and he knows what we need help with.  A sister this week was saying how frustrated she was because she felt like Heavenly Father wasn't answering her prayers and she was sick of not being able to be patient with others.  I sat there honestly astonished.  Prayer is nothing without faith, it is us showing the Lord that we know He is there and that we believe in Him.  So a little about this week.... my attitude has changed a lot.  I have come to enjoy teaching our "investigators".  Before I go in the room I imagine them as a person that I met on the street in Los Angeles.  When I do that I seriously feel so much love for them.  I don't know how it is possible that I love these people so much and I don't even know them!  The Lord is softening my heart more than ever before.  This is the most humbling experience that I believe I have ever had.  Someone talked about why we leave all of our worldly possessions home.  I've never thought about it except for just the fact that we are supposed to be on our missions and just focusing on that.  That is one reason, but the biggest reason is so we can learn to rely on the help of the Lord.  When we are going through a hard time, we usually go do something by ourselves or play on our phones.  But, during those hard times is when we are supposed to ask for help.  I have learned that really fast.  I have focused so much on my relationship with my best friend, my Heavenly Father.  I love what a sister told me, that "you are so much better today than you were the first day you started your mission."  I know that EVERYTHING is possible with the Lord's hand.  No one could do a mission on their own.  There is an incredible force here, so many missionaries!  All here for the same reason. I love Hermana Quayle (the blonde one) from my district.    Throughout the day, we share with each other scriptures and notes of encouragement.  From the time she came in, until today, is incredible.  I have watched her testimony sprout in a short two weeks.  That is the incredible thing about the MTC here.  Spanish is rough but it is coming!  I know alot for two weeks!!  I can pray and bear testimony in Spanish.  Please know that I am good and happy!  This is the best experience I could ever have. So this week I was pretty sick with a cold. Like my district leader made me go back to our residence hall, I felt so guilty not being in class.  And it made me realize how I need to constantly be doing something or I might go crazy.  I'm so used to having my whole days planned out that it's weird if I'm not doing anything.  But while I had that little break time I went through the picture book that you sent me (for like the 18th time in three days...) and seriously thought about how thankful I am for my family.  I can't even try and express how much I love you all, but never forget that you guys are my life and I thank Heavenly Father multiples times a day for such an amazing family.  Also I was wondering if you could send me some pictures of Michael?  And some more of the family? That's another thing about being here.  I have always longed to feel Michael as often as I can, but I haven't always been in the most spiritual aspect to receive that blessing all the time.  He is here with me.  I have never in my life felt it so strong, and something about this last week just hit me.  Ah!  I am so thankful for him. I also have been so blessed to be able to feel Cameron, papa, grandma, and Doug.  Truly I feel them so much, and I thank Heavenly Father for it constantly.  Easter is next Sunday!! An Apostle is going to be here!!!!!!!!!  I am so excited!!  I LOVE letters!! You have no idea!  I have heard from some friends, I have been blessed with letters and your dear elders!  Please don't forget about me! I can write letters after the day is over or if I have a free minute, which is never.  I love the EAM (Expect a Miracle) you heard at church, I am going to do that.  It's true we need to have faith or we will receive nothing after.  We won't receive a witness until AFTER the trial of our faith. Okay, well I don't have much time left but I want to leave you with my testimony!  This church is SO true.  The Lord has given me so much, I don't know how I deserve it all!!  Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo es muy verdadera y que Jose Smith es un verdadera profeta.  Estoy agradacido por my marveloso familia y por el amor que ellos dan a me.  This gospel is true, thank you for giving it to me.  I love you so much!! It is right before our eyes, and I hope we take advantage of what a blessing it is.  My testimony has been strengthened ten-fold in the last three weeks.  It is so hard, but it is so worth it.  I hope you have the best week ever!! You are in my prayers and all my thoughts.  I love you so much!!!!!

Love,  Hermana Michelle

 Michelle and an Elder from her Zone
 The four sisters in her district  
Hma Sorensen, Hma Quayle, Hma Warner, Hma Blair
 Sisters from her entire Zone
 Elders and Sisters from the Zone
 Missionaries from the District with the famous world map!
Missionaries from Olympus High!

Monday, March 18, 2013

MTC Week 2 !

The four sisters in Michelle's district.  Her companion is beside her
Olympus Titan 2012 Graduates!
Sister Ellingson, Elder Jeppson, Elder Sorenson, Hermana Warner

Hola Madre y familia!! Thank you for your sweet and encouraging words my dear. I've tried to think of something funny to tell you about, one day Hermana Quayle and I were going on a walk and a bug flew directly in my eye. Literally squirming and stuck in my eye. I cried and then I laughed for about four days about it. So this week, it has been interesting. Full of ups and downs. I think the best way I described it to Brooke was how on the mission you have good days and bad days, but in the MTC, you have good hours and bad hours. I am trying so hard to just focus on the good hours and laugh off the rest! It has been a very humbling experience to work on relationships with a companion and focus that this is the Lord's work! I have a long list of scriptures to share with you and of course I forgot my English scriptures (my Spanish scriptures usually do me no good at this point, ha!). But one of my favorite moments in this week was a scripture I came upon in Moroni 8:2-3.... Look it up. I changed the words 'son' and 'Moroni', to 'daughter' and 'Michelle'. It made me realize that even though I am going to go through hard times, the Lord is so incredibly grateful for the things that I am doing. He is continually shaping me into who I need to be.    I prayed before personal study for guidance and came across Charity. THE PURE LOVE OF CHRIST. 1 Corinthians 8:1, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." In the footnotes, edifieth means to build up, strengthen, establish, repair. My whole purpose as a missionary is to "repair" the lives of those whom the Lord is preparing for me. Another thing I wanted to know more about is Grace. Have you ever stopped to think of what that word means? Look it up in the bible dictionary. My favorite part of it says "The main idea of the word is divine, a means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ." Ha, this was made for me! In John 15:7 it says "7 If ye aabide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall bask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (I am looking these up on Look at the footnotes. I can use this throughout my whole mission, no matter what I am striving to do. If I ask for it in humble prayer, then I will be blessed. I am so thankful that I have been able to point out the tender mercies from the Lord, he has helped me daily through scriptures and I have felt His love when I need it the most. 
My schedule? I wake up at 6:30, work out, breakfast, then class. In class, we study language for an hour, doctrine for an hour, and then something else that varies with the day - so 3-hour time frames of class. It's sometimes hard to focus and stay awake but I do! We have an hour of companionship study, an hour of personal study, and an hour of language study, so I am literally in the same classroom from about 7:20 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  I am learning every single day. Thank you for the package! I was talking to a sister in my room and was telling her how it is so hard to even explain and put in to words how much I love and appreciate my family. And then she said, "That's probably how our Heavenly Father feels about each of us, we are so special to Him!" 
So Spanish, pretty much I feel like I'm in a different world when I try and speak it. It is so incredibly hard, but I know I will get it. I am trying to be patient with it, but I just need to up my study time. I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to study for everything. And there aren't enough hours in the night. I need more sleep! I am trying so very hard and am truly putting all of my effort into learning and growing. I have my moments where it is very discouraging. But then I recieve my own personal witness of why I am HERE! So we teach these fake "investigators" (volunteers) and we had our first one on Friday in SPANISH! I had no idea what I was saying, but I did bear my testimony about God's love for us and it was just like a rush flowed throughout my whole body! It was incredible!
I am learning so much everyday it is amazing.  It is overwhelming and some days I don't think that I'll ever learn Spanish, or that I'll ever be able to teach others adequately.  But, I do know that EVERYTHING is possible with the Lord's hand.  No one could do a mission on their own.  There is an incredible force here, so many missionaries!  All here for the same reason.... 
I have learned more about myself in the last two weeks than I ever have. I know this incredible experience isn't about me, this is about the Lord. I am making it a goal to surround everything I do, to do it in Christ's name and remember why I am here and why I chose to be here. I may or may not be counting the days until I am in LA., only 30 more days, less than 4 and a half more weeks! Patience... patience.... ;) 
It is hard but somehow it is so rewarding..... 
I love letters and dearelders! My family and the Gospel are the greatest blessings in my life.  
I LOVE YOU! Hermana Warner  

Monday, March 11, 2013

WEEK 1 of the MTC

Dear Mom and Dad!I don't have a lot of time left, and I am going to write you a hand written letter that will be much better.  So I am in the MTC and I am alive!  Who would have thought.  It is very different than anything I could have ever expected, but it is awesome.  There are four girls in my district.  I get along really well with Hermana Quayle, she is going to the Washington, DC South mission (Kris?)  My district is AWESOME!  I love them a lot and my teacher is incredible!  It is so fun to be with them.  It is a huge adjustment not being able to have my alone time, but hey it's all right.  I am quickly learning that we must rely on the Lord in everything that we do.  It has been such a humbling experience for me to pray throughout the day for things that I need.  I am praying so hard for charity, humility, and patience.  And I know that as long as I keep praying for that, then I will get through any hard challenges.  The spirit hits in the most random times and I LOVE it!  Yesterday at Relief Society the first councilor spoke to us and it was sooo cool!! And then we had a devotional last night. He explained that we don't have only a few "golden" investigators, but that every investigator is golden.  It was a good thing to take out into the field.  I have seen a lot of my friends!  Taylor is on the same floor as me and I love seeing him and talking to him.  I have seen Danielle and a lot of my guy friends.  So I have pictures, but I don't think that my camera works with this computer... I am trying to hard to figure it out!  So maybe if you want to send me one that had a sim card in it, it will work?  I don't have a lot of time I'm so sorry I can't answer to all of this right now! I will answer in my letter! I forgot a lot of things from home... if you can get those things I would LOVE it!  The Gospel is so true! Bryan said in his email to me, to try and deny the spirit after this week.  I could not agree more.  The Lord loves us so much and is watching out for us.  He knows what is best for us even when it is hard.  Don't stress yourself out about a package!  I just want letters!! I love you so, so much!! Hermana Warner

Michelle's first letter home, March 6th, 2013  
(Written her first day there, and we received it on Friday):
Dear Mom and Dad,  Hi! I am alive.  Can you believe it?!   I just read your kind notes. I feel so much love from you both.  My companion is from Provo and is 21!  She's really sweet!!  Today was crazy.  I seriously didn't even have time to think!  I walked in and they gave me my badge and checked me in.  And then I took my stuff to my room and went to my Spanish class.  Well, I think I'm in trouble, jk, but really. They spoke Spanish the whole time, and I just sat there like, Uh, Si!?  Then we went in to a large room of all of the new missionaries and it was awesome.  The spirit was so strong and we sang!  It was such a confirmation to me that I am really supposed to be here.  I know that Michael is with me, I have already felt him.  I am going to learn alot of patience!  The Lord will help me through this!!  Please don't be too sad without me.  Sorry this is short, it's late and I'm falling asleep.  Guys, I LOVE YOU! So much.  I can't wait to hear from you!  (Next morning) Okay, so I wrote that at 10:15 pm and was literally falling asleep.  So I had no problem sleeping last night!  And I woke up fine, believe it or not!  We just went to the gym and then showered and got ready.  My companion is a cute girl.  I think she will push me to do better.  And I think I will teach her patience, ha!  So pretty much, all day I will be in class.  We are going to breakfast soon.  I have forgotten many things from home, including my mind that I've lost.  My P-day is Monday, I'm not sure when you'll get this.  I'm stressed and never know where I am, but I am so happy!!  I am good to do this for 18 months!  I still have sooo much to learn.  You are in my prayers!  Be happy and have a good day! I LOVE you!  P.S. Please send gum and laundry detergent, and keep track of my bank account!  
Love you.... Hermana Warner

Michelle and her good friend, Amy who works at the MTC!
This was taken a few days after she arrived there.
Just before leaving the house for the last time....
One missionary comes home, another leaves!  
Last picture across from the Provo Temple before dropping her off.
He'll miss his sister.  So proud of her. 
Shine your light, Michelle
Stop the world in this moment.  We'll miss you, Michelle 
And she's off!  No tears, she was nervous and happy!
It was hard for us to cry when she was full of so much exuberance.
Trading places
Left: Elder Warner at the MTC, November 2010
Right: Sister Warner at the MTC, March 2013

 Telling dad good-bye