Akong pamilya ug mga amigo!
I love you all- that's what the title means and it's so fun to say. Thank you so much for your letters and uplifting spirits. Dear Elder is the greatest invention ever. I love hearing about all of you! Are you having an exciting summer? Did you have so much fun with Yuna and Yaya and David? I love those pictures Grace- you model you!
The MTC is a wonderful place. I already feel comfortable here, and I've started to get the routine- I guess that's what a week and a day and the Spirit can do for you. There's such an amazing enthusiasm here with this wave of missionary work. On our first night, we had to fill four different auditoriums to be greeted by the MTC president. The first few days had a lot of information. As soon as I walked in with my host sister, I walked through a building where I was handed papers and grammar books and scriptures and all sorts of things and they put a name tag on me. I stand in the mirror for a few seconds every morning looking at it. That's me, right there, wearing the badge of a missionary, with my name, and Christ's. So cool! I got to put down some things and then they took me to class, where my teacher spoke Cebuano the whole time. I could feel the words flying over my head. But it's okay! We were all so scared and nervous, but also strengthened by our Heavenly Father. I told you a little about my companion Sis. Rugg, but I just want to tell you that I've been blessed. We're so similar, which isn't always good, because we're both a little more quiet, but her dedication and diligence are an inspiration to me. I get to be senior companion for the next 3 weeks and then we switch, so I'm being blessed to learn about decision making and being in charge even when it's scary. We went to all sorts of devotionals and firesides the first two days- I'm here to teach people. And not even people, I'm here to teach a person, one person at a time and help them feel God's love and plan for them. That's reassuring. I can do that. There is a tangible force present here. I can't wait for us to go out to all the world.
We got to have more class, everyday- I live in my classroom, but I like classrooms, so that's fun. I've gotten to a point where I can kind of understand what my teacher's saying in Cebuano. I can testify that miracles happen here. On Friday, we taught a lesson to our "progressing investigator" named Cixto who's actually a teacher here. I taught a lesson in Cebuano, and then I taught 3 more. I'm sure he's holding in the whole time with our halting words and mixing up consonants and making up words. In our first lesson, I kept slipping to Spanish and he kept reprimanding me with a "Castellano!." I'm trying not to do that again. We're teaching our fifth lesson, completely in Cebuano without notes- only our scriptures and Preach My Gospel. That should be impossible, but it's not. I can feel myself being helped by the Lord. Cebuano is so fun. I love it already. It's a lot more Asian-sounding that I thought, and the grammar is always interesting since it's not actually a written language. We're always trying to memorize more words and sometimes it feels like there's no more space but I find some more. More importantly, I can pray and testify and commit and promise blessings to the people that my Heavenly Father wants me to teach.
We get to exercise almost everyday, at a gym on treadmills and Mormon Messages, or a big indoor track, or volleyball and basketball. It's a good time to make sure that I'm still doing okay and assess the day. So I know that I'm doing great. It's hard work, but it's what I want to be doing. I know that.
Sundays are so cool in the MTC. We have a huge mass Relief Society meeting, and Branch sacrament meetings, and 1600 people choir practices and a Sunday night devotional. I think I needed to here each of those messages. Isn't this gospel great?
Tuesday evening was also incredible. Walking to the Marriot with the mass of missionaries was great. We stopped traffic, and got to see places that I had been just a few months ago. My whole district is in the choir, which will also be singing for a worldwide broadcast on the 23rd, so you can look for me! We walked over and filled 5 sections of the Marriot. Singing Called to Serve among thousands can't be described.
I absolutely love my district. There's so much pressure here and we all want to do so well, and so the littlest things seem hilarious. I think I've laughed more here than in the past month. It's good for us. It helps that they're all hilarious people.
Dad, I met an Elder Cameron Perkins in the laundry room, who stopped me because of my last name. He asked if I was from Logan. He's Heather Tueller Perkins's son, grandson of Uncle Rod. He's going to the New York New York North? Spanish speaking mission. It's certainly a small world.
I'll try to send pictures next week. I haven't been very good about remembering to bring my camera places, but I'll get good picture for next week.
Family, when do you actually leave? I don't want mail to miss you, and I like to know where you all are.
Thank you for the pictures Mom- I love all of them- I'll try to be the best elementary school teacher missionary that I can be.
Thanks so much to the Tuellers and Daltons in Utah for the best send off ever. I feel so loved and supported among all of you and your wonderful examples.
I'll add my testimony for your testimony meeting. I know this gospel is true. In Cebuano, there's a word for "I know with my heart" and " I know with my head", nasayud and kahibalo. I love that distinction. The gospel is somethign that we can know in our mind and in our hearts, but I think our hearts have more power. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, revealed for our day, and it can change lives. I know that with God, nothing is impossible, and that faith can always conquer doubt and fear. I know that Heavenly Father loves and looks after each of his children. I know he has a plan for each of us, and I'm so grateful that I have the knowledge that I'm accomplishing some of my plan right now. I know that I am strengthened and forgiven and uplifted only through Christ's Atonement. He is the light, and the way. Thank you for being my wonderful family, and teaching me so that I can live my life in the way that makes me the most happy. I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers, and the love and support of my family, and people thinking of me, who I know I can't possibly imagine. Thank you Dad for that reminder. I'll try my best to always remember. I love this work and I'm excited to learn more.
Love wala'y katapusan (forever, without end),