I'm still reveling in the miracle that is being able to produce my own paragraphs in this e-mail. Who knew paragraphs could bring such great joy?
A few funny/interesting things and a few spiritual things this week. Gotta go fast, time on P-day is always running out. First of all, my companion Hermana Nielson and I happen to wear the same size clothes and shoes, roughly, and since like week two we've been planning on switching our clothes one day to see if anyone noticed. We did it last Wednesday and it worked out really well. H. Nielson has this ridiculous sleeveless dress/jumper covered in roses that she usually wears with a pink button down shirt underneath. She also has foot problems and needs to wear these really wide shoes with orthotics in them. Wore it all. Hilarious. She wore my sunshine yellow sweater (this BRIGHT yellow sweater I have that I usually wear on days when it will be really noticeable, like when we're singing in the choir so it will be on camera, etc) and this skirt that I kind of wear a lot. She always wears knee highs and I rock the black tights quite often, so we switched those, and though I have both glasses and contacts and she has glasses, she normally doesn't wear hers and I always wear mine. Entonces, she wore her glasses and had her hair up in a little bun and I wore my glasses and wore my hair down. Basically, WE LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE EACH OTHER. It was really hilarious. I'll send a picture eventually, hopefully it can be posted on the blog somehow, because it was really convincing. Only our Elders really gave us the reaction we wanted, everyone else just kind of passed it off, but when we walked in the room and the Elders were sitting down they were SO weirded out and added it to their book of weird things that happen in the MTC. I've been in that book more than once. I don't know if that's good or bad.
Thursday was our teacher Hermana Decena's birthday and we had a party for her. In the giveaway bin in our dorm someone found Happy Birthday streamers and we bought her a metal chalk holder because she always wraps a paper towel around the chalk so her hands don't get all chalky. Basically it was a really fun birthday... but actually we just gave her the present and then had regular class. But I think she appreciated it.
Saturday night we were having orange chicken in the cafeteria and I had this big piece that I bit into and then noticed that it was COMPLETELY pink and raw in the middle. Unfortunately some of it was already on its way down my throat. Gross. When we went back to class we had a sub from Chile and he asked how we were and I told him maybe sick because I ate raw chicken. He asked where I was serving and then told me that I would probably eat a lot of raw food on my mission. Then he said the Lord protects missionaries and I'll probably eat a lot of things that would make me sick at home but I'll be fine. Ha! He told us lots of things about Chile, but mostly just the same old stuff that I've heard about my mission: tons of substance abuse, winters are hard because it's REALLY hot during the day but FREEZING COLD at night, and it's not pretty at all. Mostly I just want to GET THERE and develop my own opinion about my mission instead of always being told bad things about it. Ugh. I've heard through the grapevine of people who loved serving in Antofagasta though, so I have hope.
After last Tuesday's devotional [I'm having a total mind blank about who spoke or even the topic], I decided that I'm going to read the entire Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC and once again ask for a witness that it's true, so I can go out into the field and just absolutely proclaim the truth of the Book of Mormon. It's been going well so far, I'm already in Mosiah chapter 20something and I've been learning a lot. I've never read it quickly before and I'm really catching a lot more of the story aspect of it. It's been a really good experience so far and I recommend it for all of you, though I understand it's not as easy when you don't have an hour and a half + every day to study.
So last Friday we had our LGM about Following the Spirit and I was kind of hoping for some secret key to following the Spirit as a missionary that I hadn't discovered yet, but mostly it was just more of the same stuff that I've always heard. But right after that we went to the TRC to teach our lesson for that week, which was the first lesson in Spanish (for the last time in the TRC!) and it was an amazing experience. Even though as always it was just a member pretending to be an investigator, this guy seemed more like a real investigator than any lesson we've taught other than in the TE with our "progressing" investigator, Georgina. He was Jewish (I know, it's a stretch to pretend like we're going to encounter Jewish people in South America) and that was kind of intense because we've never even considered teaching the first lesson to someone who didn't believe in Jesus Christ. But right before we met the investigator and found that out, I had reviewed the list of scriptures we usually use for lessons and read one that I normally don't read, in 1 Nephi 11, about Nephi's vision of Christ. As soon as we started prepping for the lesson I realized that scripture would be really useful, and to teach him about how Lehi and his family had left Jerusalem and had been Jewish but since Lehi and Nephi were prophets they saw visions of the things that were to come in the future. I'd never described the beginning of the Book of Mormon in Spanish before, I'd never even used that scripture, but the Spirit was totally guiding us on what to teach and how to say it. It was AMAZING. As we kept teaching, neither of us had any idea about where the lesson was going until we needed to teach something else and then it would just instantly come to us. It was my first real experience of teaching with the Spirit and once again, I cannot wait to get out into the field and teach people with real concerns by the Spirit and help them come into Christ.
I've been having lots of disappointments with the RC lately, aka people never answer the phone when we try to call them back. The first person I talked to that was interested, Tammy (I think I mentioned her a while ago) hadn't answered the phone for weeks but I called her Saturday, intending it to be the last time if she didn't answer, and she answered and was just so happy and excited all over again. The missionaries went over and gave her a Book of Mormon but her sister hurt her back and she's been spending all her time with her sister so she hasn't had time to meet with the missionaries. She mentioned earlier that she did Bible studies with her sister, and I suggested that she read the Book of Mormon with her sister. She said she had been thinking about that! Ah, it was so wonderful. I'm supposed to call her again Saturday, but the RC will be closed because of conference, so I hope I can get a hold of her another time.
Speaking of General Conference, I am so excited! Not about sitting in that ridiculous gym with bleacher seats for a million hours, but it will be totally worth it. I hope you are all looking forward to it and are planning on watching all the sessions. Our first counselor in our branch presidency recommended that we all prepare questions to take to conference and he promised that we'd get them answered. Intense.
Anyway, I love you all, I hope you're doing well. I didn't hear from Ashley or anyone in our family besides Mom (I did get that e-mail from dad) this week, that was kind of a bummer. But I love you anyway! Only one more e-mail from the MTC, and the next time I write I'll have my travel plans and can tell you when I'll be calling. Love!