|McKenzie's first companion - Sister Johnson from Gilbert, AZ|
Oh my goodness. I can't believe that I just left a week ago, it feels like it has been a month since we ate lunch at Carraba's before you dropped me off. The sister that hosted me, and showed me my room and class is from Brazil, Sister Barbosa. She has been such a great friend to me, such a sweet girl.
Thank you so much for the Dear Elders!! I felt so happy getting all of those letters yesterday, and that is definitely the best way for you to talk to me so I'll have enough time to write you on P-day.
First off, I love it here so much!! Let me tell you...it is the hardest, most tiring, and mind blowing thing to be here. But it is the most beautiful, spiritual, and special place. I can't believe that I am finally a missionary. I look down at my tag with Christ's name on it, and I feel so happy to be here right now.
My companion is Sister Johnson, she is perfect for me! She is from Gilbert, Arizona, and is such a fire ball. She dominates when we play volleyball with the elders and gets our "cordner humor" so well! I know that we are supposed to be together. We can tell each other exactly how we are feeling, the impressions we are having and we laugh so hard all day together. In our district we have four sisters and eight elders. We are already a little family, and it is so hard not to get distracted from studying because we all get along so well. Not a half hour goes by when I haven't laughed so hard!
Portuguese is the hardest thing I have ever done. But because of my four years of Spanish I am picking it up fairly easily, but we study all day every day and by the end of the day my brain is totally fried! Me and Sis. Johnson have already taught our "Pesquisador" two lessons. His name is Juau, he goes to BYU, and is very sweet and understanding with us newbies. In our first lesson we taught him about God's love for him. He told us that his grandmother died, so we taught him the plan of salvation, very simply of course with our limited portuguese. When Sis. Johnson was saying the closing prayer Juau was whispering everything she was saying as well, we had a good laugh after that! Yesterday we taught him about the restoration and the first vision. He even prayed in our lesson all on his own, and said that he would read the pamphlet that we gave him about Joseph Smith. It is amazing to be teaching in Portuguese already in our first week!
On Saturday and Sunday I imagined you all waking up to the smell of ebylskievers and listening to Music and the Spoken Word before conference started. Be grateful for the comfortable couches you all were lounging on, because by the end of each session, our bums would be totally numb from sitting on those hard chairs!! I loved every second of listening to our prophet's voices. I felt a direct line from the Savior to me through the prophet and apostles. Revelation is real, and praying for revelation is the only way to receive it. I testify that we have living prophets on this earth today that speak for our Heavenly Father to His church.
Saturday night we watched the General Women's mtg while the elders watched the priesthood session. Mary Anna and Maddy please watch Sis. Barton's talk again from that session and carefully listen to the stories of young girls that have done family history work, I know that the blessings that they received can be yours as well if you take her advice. I needed that session of conference this week way more than I needed it last week, it was absolutely beautiful.
Sunday night after conference we all had a devotional together. We all stood and sang "Called to Serve". My whole life I couldn't wait to sing that song in the MTC with literally thousands of missionaries! It was glorious! Vai Sikahema, former player for the Packers, spoke to us. He shared many stories from his life of missionary work and not being scared to sharing the gospel with others. After the devotional, we stayed to watch a talk given by Elder Bednar to the missionaries in the Provo MTC. "The Character of Christ" was his topic. I have never heard a talk that made me think more deeply about the Savior's Atonement and His ministry. The character of Christ is this: He turns outward when we or the natural man would turn inward. This is what we need to strive to do to become like our Savior. There are so many examples of this in the scriptures.
Well, Sister Johnson and I were called to be the Zone Sister Training leaders! What a great way for me to serve and try out my new knowledge of the character of Christ. Naturally we have no idea what we are doing because we are so new, but I know that as we pray for the sisters in our zone, we will be able to receive revelation for who needs some extra help. They even gave us a mini cell phone for very limited use! I thought I was leaving all technology at home, but no! haha
Mom, they gave us all flu shots here at the MTC, and they also said that it was time for me to get my Hep. A second shot. I will send you the number that you can call and pay for them next week, I forgot it today. It feels to have that done! Thank you for all that you wrote me. I needed it so much! I think of you guys throughout the day and wonder what you are all doing!
Dad, thank you so much for the sweet words you wrote me. I love you so much, and am so grateful for your strength!
Congrats Mitch and Matthew on your wins!! I was so happy about that, and I read my whole district mom's play by play account of Mitch's epic game, they loved it. Some of our elders remind me so much of you guys, and make me miss you so much. They crack me up, just like you guys do.
Nana and Mads, I love you! There is such a sisterhood here in the MTC, and I know that when you guys serve, you will love it so much. The Elders truly do need the sister's support here. Do everything you can to strengthen your friends, boys and girls with being righteous daughters of God.
I will try to send pictures if I can figure it out! You know how technologically challenged I am!
Wow, I love you guys so much, and just know that I love it here, and I know that being a missionary is exactly what God wants for me right now.
I Love you with all of my heart, Sister Cordner