September 21, 2013
Exciting news!! I was selected to be a part of the sister missionary choir that will be singing at the General RS broadcast on Saturday. I am so excited about this incredible opportunity and blessing that I have to be able to participate in this historic choir! We have rehearsal every morning for an hour and half, so I've been missing class which has been a little tricky, but I'm just so excited that I was selected to sing it's totally worth it! On Friday we had THE general RS Presidency come to watch us rehearse which was really neat. Another thing that is super awesome is that Sister Sally DeFord wrote a special arrangement of As Sisters in Zion and Go Froth in Faith just for us to sing. I'll try to smile and look very happy and glowy so that the cameraman will want to show me! Watch for me!!!
This week I have learned to love the MTC even more than I thought I could. It seems that everyday gets better, more difficult and longer than the last. It doesn't quite make sense, but it's amazing! The Spirit here is so strong in everything we do and I love the missionaries I am privileged to associate with here. On Thursday one of our teachers, brother Poole, was talking about how he felt like he had been called to serve a foreign-speaking mission so that he could learn humility, diligence, and patience and learn to rely on the Lord to learn how to teach the gospel His way. He said that he felt like if he had been called serving English speaking he wouldn't have been humbled enough to rely on the Lord to teach the way He wants us to. That really struck a chord with me. A lot of times I feel like I know the gospel so well that I can teach it MY way. Just starting to learn Tagalog has humbled me and made me realize how much I really do need the Lord. He knows the best way for His children to be taught. I need to learn to be more diligent and patient and rely on Him.
This week we had two really awesome devotionals. On Sunday we had the co-director(or producer?) or 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue come and talk to us about some of the miracles they experienced as they were filming those two powerful movies. He talked about sacrifice and all that we owe to our incredible pioneer ancestors. it was really neat hearing some of the behind the scenes stuff that happened as they made the films.
Then on Tuesday we heard from Elder Schwitzer of the Seventy. He served as a mission president in Russia and told us about the best missionary he ever served with. This elder was always surrounded by the Russian members and investigators and they all loved him. He took the time to get to know each one personally by asking them question after question. His Russian wasn't perfect but he had so much love for every person he met. He forgot himself and went to work with an eye single to the glory of God. I want to be this kind of missionary- the kind of missionary who forgets her insecurities about the culture and language and trusts in God, putting His work ahead of her own insecurities. I want to love the people and know them as our Heavenly Father loves them. I hope I can forget myself and my fear and trust God.
The Tagalog is coming along. We taught 4 lessons to our investigator, Jeffrey this week. I learned that I can understand and speak more Tagalog than I think I can. It's such a beautiful language but so different for English. Everything is SOOOO long!! The Book of Mormon in Tagalog is 771 pages, 240 longer than the English one. "Through faith" in Tagalog is "pamamagitan ng pananampalataya"- it's crazy long!! I like learning it, it's just impossible to keep up with everything that we learn in class because twice a day in class we learn a new type of sentence structure or verb conjugation, so there's no way to get everything down before we move onto the next thing. The Lord is blessing me as I continue to work diligently to learn and study.
My district is still super awesome. I love every single elder and sister so much (in a completely platonic elder-sister way, no worries). We all come from such different backgrounds and have very different personalities, but we come together to form a really awesome unit. We like to have fun and we have a couple of elders who are way funny so sometimes it's really hard for us to focus and get work done in the classroom. The elders still call me Sister G or Sister Gus or Sister New Hampshire because I can't get any of them to say my name right. oh well, I think it's funny.
Sundays here at the MTC are so wonderful and relaxing- way more relaxing than our half-day P-Days! We have music and the spoken word and RS with all the sisters who are here. We have sacrament meeting with our branch and district meeting and then we get to go on a walk around the temple for an hour. In the evening we have dinner and choir and then a devotional. After devotional we are allowed to go to different rooms to watch different videos of church talks. It's such a spiritual and relaxing day!! I LOVE SUNDAYS!!
Everything is really crazy right now because we're getting ready to move to West Campus on Tuesday. I'm so excited though! My address will not be changing that I know of. I think you can still send mail to my regular address and they'll forward it over to me. I'll let you know if that changes though!
I love you all so much and I love being here! Thanks for all your support!
Sister Gustafson :)
Sorry no pictures again this week. I need to go buy a USB/memory stick converter to make my camera talk to the computer :P