Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5, 2013, Missionary Training Center

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks so much for your Dear Elder and for your e-mail. I am glad to hear that you are doing awesome with Relief Society. Mom you are amazing!! Dad I love you so much and really appreciated your e-mail last week. It made me cry, lol! That is so awesome that you have been able to meet up with old friends. It gets me excited to have those experiences later in my life. Meeting up with my mission buddies will be so awesome! I heard from Chris and got some other unexpected e-mails which were so awesome! Also, please tell the Champagnes thank-you from me for their Dear Elder letter. It was so sweet of them and I love them so much!

I am loving it here. This week has had its ups and downs, but definitely a lot more ups than downs. On Sunday we watched a MTC Devotional from 2011 by Elder Bednar about the Character of Christ. He really emphasized that missionary work has nothing to do about us, it is about others. He pointed out that the character of Christ is that in situations when the natural man would normally turn in and only think of themselves and be selfish, Christ would turn outward and only think about others and how he could help them. It was soo good and really changed my perspective and made me realize that I need to be less selfish and less self-centered.
On Monday evening we had to say good-bye to the Elders in our district. It was so hard. They are such great men and have treated us sisters so well. We got pictures with them and their e-mail addresses. They are going to Carlsbad, California. They are so amazing, though. I had them write in my journal if they wanted and they are so sweet. At the end of the day we shared what we all love about each other and then they walked us back to our dorm. In front of our residence hall we sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" by verse two I was balling like a baby and even Elder Daniel and Elder Parker cried. It was so sad!
The Elders leaving really made me start wondering if I was really ready to head out into the field, and I was worrying way too much about it. Luckily in classes we learned more on how to teach better and my confidence in teaching started to improve. I began to realize that I need to have more faith and trust in the Lord and I can't demand the Spirit to be with me, because then he won’t come. The way to receive the Spirit is to prepare and then have faith that the Lord will help you know what to say; listen to the investigator intently instead of worrying about what you will say next and then the Spirit will prompt you in what to say.
We also got to go to Temple Square this week and receive a tour and be taught more about what we will be doing in the Visitor's Center. It was re-emphasized that our purpose as Visitor Center Missionaries is the same as any other missionary: to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. The only tricky part is we only have 5-7 minutes to get to know them, figure out what their spiritual need is and help teach to that and help them see how it applies to their life. Our goal isn't to have them leave the visitor's center having a "great experience", but it is to have them leave feeling CONVERTED unto Christ! Its been really amazing gaining a better understanding and testimony of the doctrine of Christ and how everything in life comes back to it. I have been loving having opportunities to see how the doctrine of Christ can truly help us in any situation.
I love it here so much and I feel so blessed. This week in visitor center training, one sister told us the process of how sisters are assigned to visitor center missions, it is so cool! So our picture comes up and then looking at our face, the apostles can tell if we should be in a visitor center. Elder Perry (in Quorum of the 70) said that they know because of what they can see in our faces" the light they see in your smile and the testimony of the atonement that shines in your eyes". That is so cool!! That makes me feel so special. They know that we only have a limited time with the people we meet and we need to be able to influence them to come unto Christ. After they set our pictures aside to be Visitor Center sisters, they then do the process again in deciding which visitor center we should be assigned to. 
This week we got to work in the referral center. So we got to go online and actually talk to real people who had questions about the church or wanted to learn more. Sister Anderson (my companion) and I got to talk to an investigator and we also talked to a less active member. In short we invited the less active member to attend church this Sunday. He has just moved to Texas and his wife is not a member. The missionaries stopped by his house a few weeks ago, but his wife was very opposed to them coming in and she sent them away. He is schizophrenic and because of that changes religions on an almost daily basis. He said he has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and prays about it every day. He wants his wife to learn more about the church but knows she is not ready yet. We invited him to come to church, read the Book of Mormon and pray to Heavenly Father, because God can help work with him in softening his wife's heart. He said he will continue to read and pray and he will come to church on Sunday. I asked him why he went less active and he said about 25 years ago he was baptized but after he was baptized he was struggling to support himself and so he wasn't paying a full tithe. The ward members judged him for that and basically shunned him. I thought that was so sad. I told him I was sorry to hear that and that wasn't right of the members to do, but I told him if anyone knew about what he was going through the Saviour did. I emphasized that God loves him and wants to hear from him, so he can always pray. What I said I didn't think would impact him as much as it did. But he was so thankful and appreciative of what I told him and testified of. It’s crazy that he was able to feel the spirit even through a computer screen, haha :)
Well, the 4th of July was awesome. We got to cut class early and watch 17 Miracles, sing national anthem songs and then we ended in watching the fireworks. Us 4 sister missionaries coordinated our outfits. So all of us wore red, white and patriotic! The fireworks ended at about 11pm, and we talked for an hour. Curfew is usually 10:30, but the whole MTC received permission from the MTC president to stay up past it to watch the fireworks. We didn’t get to bed until midnight, thank goodness today is P-day, because getting up at 6:00 AM would have been brutal to get ready for class. So we were able to sleep in until 6:30 AM (the stated arise from bed time). It iss so sad to hear myself say that 6:30 AM is "sleeping-in", lol!
Anyways, I am still loving it here and I can't wait to use everything I am learning in the field. I honestly feel like Ammon in Alma Chapter 26. I am just amazed at how much God has blessed me and how much love missionary work really brings me! At the beginning of the week I felt kind of sick of being here and just wanted to get out in the field to use what I have learned. I know I felt that way because of seeing the Elders go, but at the same time I was feeling very inadequate. I have been having such great teaching experiences that are helping me to humble myself and truly trust and have faith in the Lord. If I prepare and don't demand the Spirit to be with me, but go into teaching by listening the investigator and being prepared the Lord will bless we with the Spirit and it will prompt me in what to say.

Actually Brother Green on Wednesday acted as an RLDS investigator. That was interesting. We asked what his views were and then tried to teach him. The problem is we went about teaching him entirely wrong. We weren’t' really getting anywhere with him, because we were focusing too much on trying to help him see how wrong his beliefs were instead of focusing on what beliefs we had in common and then building on that. We were teaching for about 15 minutes and then Brother Green stopped us and asked why we thought it wasn't going anywhere. We told him we felt like we were trying too much to convince him, instead of enlightening his view on some truths. With that in mind he invited us to start over again. Sister Hunter blew our minds. She taught totally out of love, she built on top of his faith and testimony of the Saviour and God. This RLDS member also had a firm belief in the Book of Mormon, but they believed in the succession of prophets through lineage. Sister Hunter invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if Brigham Young was a prophet. ( in the RLDS faith they believe that Joseph Smith's son was the prophet, not Brigham Young). She told him if he was sincere in his desire to know, that he could find out for himself, because it would be revealed to him through the Holy Ghost. It was very humbling to us to see that when we teach, we need to go about it in love and really ask ourselves how can we help them come closer to Christ and how will the doctrine we are teaching will help help them (the investigators). It was just amazing!!

The Visitor Center training is bringing back my fire and desire to continue to learn J!  I am so excited to have the opportunity tomorrow to spend 6 hours at temple square GIVING TOURS!! I can't wait to apply all I have learned and use it on REAL people in Indepenence.
 I still see Jeremy every day, which is awesome and I hope everything works out with his Visa. Oh yeah, I fly from Utah to Missouri on Wednesday at 9:30. So I will try to call you from the airport at 8:30 :) Just dear elder me and let me know if you will be home. Mom if you won't be home I will call dad at work J! Anyways I can't wait to talk to you and let you know more about how it has been here. It’s so hard to really explain everything that is happening here and what it really is doing for me. The spirit is amazing and I love learning more about the Doctrine of Christ. I love you all so much!

Love Always,
Sister Luening

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