Hello family and friends. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It’s been almost a week and a half since I have been able to write. My p-day is still on Tuesday but I just didn’t get one last week. I have never been so grateful to do laundry in my life! Nothing too exciting happened my last few days in the MTC, besides bearing my testimony and sharing my conversion story in front of about 500 people. I feel insane to say that I wasn’t really all that nervous. It actually felt amazing to be up there sharing something that is so special to me with all of these amazing sisters. As I looked out, I saw hundreds of faces looking intently at me. I knew that I was saying the words that God would have me speak at that moment. What was also really cool about it is that I had so many people come up to me afterwards and talk to me until I left last Wednesday. I felt like a celebrity. It was weird to have so much attention from strangers.
Well, I have been at Temple Square for almost a week now and I LOVE IT! People kept telling me that if I didn’t like being at the MTC then I wouldn’t enjoy my mission either but that was a complete lie. I much prefer it here, not that the MTC was terrible or anything. I have a new companion, her name is Sister Ibarra and she is from Lancaster, California. She is super fun and I absolutely love her already. When people say that Temple Square has missionaries from all over the world they really mean it. Our roommates are from Sweden and American Samoa and there are sisters from Madagascar, Latvia, Taiwan, even some countries I have never heard of before. I am, however, one of the few African American sisters (or should I say sistas), which makes me feel special. However, if I had to estimate how many people, missionaries and guests, that have asked me why I have an American flag because I have to be from Puerto Rico or something I would guess about 30. And I’m not exaggerating. Everyone thinks I speak Spanish, but the truth is, I’m still just learning English.
It has been a little bit strange adjusting to being here because my first full day was Thanksgiving. We were on the square until about three and then we loaded a bus and drove to a secret location. No one had any idea of where we were going but I was thinking two things. 1) Don’t take me back to the MTC and 2)There better be food. Lots and lots of food! Well, prayers were answered. We ended up at this reception hall where there was Thanksgiving dinner and all sorts of fun stuff. We were able to watch the movie Brave and there was music (like real music but it was country so I went somewhere else). We had so much fun. Sister Wixom, who is the General Primary President of the church was there and she served dinner to us with her family. It was so nice of our mission presidency to put it all together for us.
On Friday, the lights came on and it was soooo busy. I was thinking about how strange it was to not be working on Black Friday but I can guarantee that I saw a bigger crowd than Bed Bath and Beyond. There were so many people to talk to, it was insane. Earlier in the day, we were asked to cover a shift in the Beehive house, which was Brigham Young’s house. (I love the Beehive house, it is decorated so beautifully. It’s like an interior designer’s dream). So, without any training and having never been inside this building before, I gave people tours. The first few tours, I didn’t say too much but after that, I started to talk more and more. Sister Ibarra had the idea to have me begin speaking as we entered each room and that she would follow my lead. The group that we had for this tour was only about 3 people so I thought, whatev I can do this. It was an amazing experience because I really didn’t know anything about the history or the dates but I know a thing or two about art and a bit about the Gospel. It felt amazing to be able to teach people using the limited knowledge that I have. I then realized that the Lord really had been preparing me to serve a mission for years and years. There have been so many things that I have experienced in my life, especially in the past 5 years that I didn’t understand why I had to experience it but I felt the Lord directing me to do those things anyways. I am finally realizing the why for some of those things, not all of them, but some of them. I have felt that be reaffirmed to me so many times in the past week and it has strengthened my faith. I’m now thinking, wow, I can do this, I have been prepared, the Lord is helping me. Its so nice to know that I don’t have to rely on my own intelligence and abilities.
We had a baptism yesterday, I had absolutely nothing to do with it but I got to go anyways. We took a little field trip to the city of Sandy and we were able to witness this sweet girl be baptized. One of the Elders there asked my companion and I to bear our testimonies immediately after the baptism while we were waiting for her to dry off and change. My first thought was: wait, aren’t missionaries supposed to do that? and then I thought, oh yeah, that’s me now. It was such a great way to celebrate my first week here and also to celebrate my 5 year baptism anniversary coming up this week on December 1st.
I am seriously so blessed, more than I can describe to you. Yes, my feel may hurt and I’m tired and occasionally a little awkward as I talk to people but I love being a missionary. This is exactly what the Lord has intended for me. I am grateful that I can share what matters most to me in the entire world with people who have been prepared to receive it just as I was 5 years ago. It is a blessing to serve, especially in the best mission in the world!!!