This week was a blast!!
We got to experience TRC for the first time and it was a lot of fun. TRC is when people from outside the MTC come and we get to teach them a lesson. They are usually hispanic and what's unique about it is that they act as themselves, even if they are members. So we get to teach them and actually help them with trials they are facing in their lives. I'm really excited because in a few weeks, we will get to skype Spanish-speaking investigators from all over the world. That will for sure be a Spanish slap in the face when that day comes!!
Breakfast With My District
There is an Elder in my zone here named Elder Toala. He's a 6'5" Samoan football player for the University of Washington. Seriously the biggest guy I have ever met. I have become such great friends with him. The day after Christmas his mom passed away. There is nothing more sad than seeing a guy that big cry out of pure sadness. He's one of my best friends here and it stinks not being able to give him a big hug and tell him that everything will be ok. He is such an amazing example to all of us. His testimony is one that I will never forget. He is by far THE strongest (spiritually) guy I have ever met and he inspires all of us to be better people. It's amazing how something like that can bring us all closer and build each of our testimonies of the plan of salvation. He might not know it, but this trial in his life is helping all of the people around him. On Sunday, I witnessed a sacrament meeting that will stay with me for years to come. Elder Toala sang a Samoan Hymn with another Samoan sister in our zone. Toala had a hard time getting the words out because he was so emotional (by the way he has the voice of an angel). As they began to sing, the spirit poured into the room. Though none of us knew what the words meant, we all knew exactly what the message was: that families are forever. When they finished, Toala leaned to the microphone and whispered with tears in his eyes, "Love you mom." Everyone in that room had tears in their eyes too. I will never forget that sacrament meeting. I know without a doubt that Toala's mom was there.
I also got a calling! I'm the Zone Leader for the Sisters! It's so crazy to me because I remember when I got set apart as a missionary, the words said that I would have many sister leadership roles on my mission. I guess it's already being fulfilled! We haven't gotten any new districts to our zone yet but we will this upcoming Wednesday. I remember feeling so new to this MTC experience and looking up to the Hermanas who had been here and it's weird to think that that's who I am now. My roommates and I are thinking about freaking out the new sisters somehow...suggestions would be greatly appreciated;)
18 + Pounds of Books
One of the members of the branch presidency, named Brother Dowman, has practically become my dad away from home. He played BYU football back in the day and when he learned about my love for sports he got THE biggest smile on his face. He loved hearing my story about how I came about serving a mission and tells me how proud of me he is everytime I see him. I love hearing from him because he speaks to us like he's our coach or something. The look on his face when I compare gospel principles to sports is priceless. His wife is also the best lady ever. She always tells us three things when she sees us: 1) Work harder than everyone else. No one, no one, no one works harder than you do. 2) Love like you've never loved before. Everyone wants to feel loved, even the rough ones. 3) Laugh! Have fun! I literally live by these three things while I'm here. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Dowmans. They will be lifetime friends of mine for sure.
Feliz año nuevo!!! On New Year's Eve we invited the sisters from our zone over to our apartment and we drank Martinellis, had all sorts of treats, blew up a bunch of balloons, etc.
We didn't have a bottle opener for the drinks and as I was trying to open them, I cut my hand pretty bad (but it's fine now). We ended up using our big metal front door to get them open. We celebrated a little and then at 10:25 (lights out at 10:30) we went back to our own apartments. My roommates and I took the mattresses from our beds and moved them into the living room and had a big slumber party. I set an alarm for 12:00 AM and we turned out the lights. Midnight came, we jumped up, grabbed our kazoos, ran out the front door, stood on the balcony, and watched all of Provo celebrate by shooting off fireworks. It was funny to look down the street and see all of the other missionaries on their balconies giving little cheers every now and then. I remember standing there just taking it all in...though different, it was a fun way to celebrate the beginning of a year that will be different from every year I ever live.