Friday, June 28, 2013

It Only Takes One To Change Lives

Hola familia!
         It's hard to believe another week has already passed here at the MTC. That means I only have less than THREE weeks to learn Spanish!! Not good haha. I am almost positive I will get reassigned so I might actually be here an extra week. Lots of missionaries are being reassigned lately.
         Well….Let's see. I never know where to start. All the days jumble together. I'll start with how awesome the missionary broadcast was! It was awesome, right? And yes, mom, I'm famous ;) haha it really was so incredible to be in the presence of such amazing people. The whole Marriott center was packed! Okay, I can tell I'm already weird. I saw a couple holding hands and my first reaction was "Oh. My. Gosh. You can't do that!!" I tend to forget there are people outside of the MTC... It was weird to see people without nametags lol. Anyway, I don't even know how to pick what my favorite part was! It was all so amazing. It makes me regret not being a better member missionary. Sometimes we think there's nothing we can do, but as members we can do SO much!
         I also loved the repeating message of love. Our actions should be motivated by love. As a missionary, I know if I can forget myself and love,  then I will be just fine. I also love love love Elder Packer! He is so powerful. I love that he talked about us needing to go away from the script. We shouldn't live our lives according to the script. I know if we trust the spirit, it will be there. I love that he said, "It comes when you start." How can we expect to get anywhere if we don't start? LOVED it. I also loved when he said, "I don't know how much longer I'll be learning here, but after I will go to another realm and attend a new school" (or something like that). We should always be learning, even after this life.
         The biggest thing I took out of Sunday didn't even come from the broadcast though. It came from Relief Society. Sister Agostini (R.S. General Board) spoke. She talked about her son being in the army. She said each time she talked to him on the phone or skype, she always prepared herself for it to be the last time. I can't even imagine. But she related it back to Heavenly Father sending us into enemy's territory. He sent us here knowing it could be the last time he sees us, but He still did it. He did it so we could grow. The amazing thing about our Father in Heaven is that he has given us the weapons to win this battle. He wouldn't send us to battle without giving us a way to win. We need to not only face the world, but change the world. We need to live life on the offensive. Heavenly Father doesn't need us to do this work; He could do it by himself. It's a privilege to be doing His work. It was such an amazing talk!
         This week also had the best Tuesday devotional EVER. Janice Kapp Perry spoke! Yeah.. The one who wrote all those amazing Primary songs. No big deal or anything. ;) She had us sing a medley of Primary songs and ahhhhh SO great! In the song we sang A Child's Prayer, I Love to See the Temple, I Belong to the Church (of Jesus Christ... I don't know the title haha), I'm Trying to be Like Jesus, To Bring the World His Truth, (The Army of Helaman), and Love is Spoken Here. I wanted to keep singing them all night!
         Okay so the best part of the devotional=her husband's fist pump at the pulpit. It was a full on “Pitch Perfect/Breakfast Club” fist pump. She was talking about how they first met. She said one night before a clarinet recital he came up to her and said, "I can think of better things you could do with those lips than play the clarinet!" At this point her husband gets up, walks over to her, and plants one on her! Ya know on “She's the Man” when she's like, "You kiss her! Kiss the crap out of her!" He did just that. Full on, grabbed her face and kissed her lol. He then fist pumps to all of us missionaries, and of course we all stand up and clap so he does it again and bam! DOUBLE fist pump. How awesome does he sound? I am determined to marry someone like him haha. So after this, she finished her talk and we ended with singing the new As Sisters in Zion, and Helaman's Army. One Elder stood up, and we all followed and it was AMAZING. I don't think I've felt the spirit that strong before. I don’t even think there was a dry eye in the room.
         Later that night, as a District, we were talking about the one Elder who stood up. It only took one Elder to get all of us 4,000 missionaries to stand. We related that to our mission. It could only take us to change so many lives! It was an amazing night. I've been singing Primary songs all week! :) One last thing Sister Perry said was, "We know this work will go on with or without any of us, but what would become of us?" She's so right. I know that this work could easily go on without me. I could go home and no matter what, the Lord would fulfill his promises, but where would that leave me? Why not make something of myself in the process? :)
         Let's see.. What else happened this week.. Oh I can explain one picture. We had the challenge of "The Golden Disney Investigator." We do things like this every Sunday. Rapunzel won :) Because seriously.. Can you think of a more receptive Disney character than her? She needs the Atonement! Haha we seriously argued (Uhh... I mean discusssed) this for hours! Some of the characters were Simba, Tarzan, Marvin the Fish, the old man from Up, Bambi, and the Beast. There were a lot! It was fun though lol.
         One kinda cool thing happend this week with Ian, our investigator aka Hermano Haug. We went in planning on talking about families and all of a sudden he whips this question out of his butt, "How are prophets called? Like, do you vote like in politics?" We both just looked at each other like,  "Umm do you know how to answer in Spanish?" Lol. So Hermana Petersen starts trying to explain and our lesson was going downhill FAST. We couldn't think of any Spanish words! So as she's at least trying, I sit there. All of a sudden Articles of Faith five and six pop into my head and I hurry and find them and have him read them. I know it was the spirit! So he read them and had no more questions :) He was like oooh I get it. So now we have a great lesson planned for introducing him to the Priesthood and then to the ordinances, which means baptism! We'll see how it goes :) Carlos on the other hand... If he says “no se” one more time I'm gonna freak lol. That's his answer for everything, which means, “I don't know.” He kinda freaked out on us this week and was like "I don't believe in prayer!" and we were just kinda like well... That's a bummer lol. It's hard to figure out how to teach someone who doesn't want to try! We'll get him though, don't you worry ;)
         So mom, you would LOVE my companion. I know I do! She pulls dog jokes on me now... Hermana McChesney goes "Oh I'm just pullin your tail" and I was like "That's not even the saying? It's 'I'm just pulling your leg'" and Hermana Petersen says, "Well for you, it's tail since you're a dog." Not. Funny. She's pickin up your slack! I do love her so much though. Yesterday was bad, but she listened to me and was there for me and I love her for that :) Companionships are definitely meant to be! Yesterday was her birthday and I love birthdays and made a big deal out of hers :) Made her wear a birthday girl tag and everything haha. I even got a whole Chinese district to sing happy birthday to her in Chinese! It was fun :)
         So of course you know there's an embarrassing story of the week... Yep, you're right. I forgot to take my towel to the shower. Who does that?! I think I'm having bad luck with the bathrooms here or something lol. By the way.. Cleaning the showers=best thing ever! Who would've thought I'd love cleaning?? Anyway.. Yep. There I stood without a towel in the shower. I decided to speak up and was like "Umm hello? I forgot my towel." Thankfully a sister had two lol. Sheesh. I am so awkward.
         I think that's my only awkward story for the week though, so I'm improving right? Haha right! I'm so grateful to be here serving the Lord. This week has given me a new perspective on everything :) I'm so grateful for the support! I still get made fun of for getting packages almost every other day and letters every day and I LOVE it :) I have the best friends and family out there! No battle, can't top it :) I hope everyone has a great week!

Hermana Roper :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Every Day Is A New Day!

Hola Everyone!

Another week down at the good ole MTC! The days are really long here, but it seems like the weeks fly by. I honestly get the days sooo confused! I learned so much this week though. My Spanish gets better everyday, and each day gets easier. I've learned that there's no such thing as a bad day. There's only such thing as bad hours. The days are so long that if a whole day was bad I don't think I could handle it lol. My days are like a roller coaster, up and down all the time! It's nice to know that every day is a new day, and has so much potential :)
We keep getting so many new missionaries! As of Monday my district will be the oldest, which is crazy! Some sisters in the new district have had 7 years of Spanish before though.. So I still feel like a baby! Remind me why I didn't take Spanish in high school?! Sheesh.
One thing I said in Spanish this week was that God forgives us of our fish. I meant to say “pecados” (sins) and ended up saying “pescados” or something that apparently means fish. Awesome L Oh and then in class we were learning the verb “Gustar” and for an activity everyone in the class asks another person a question and we answer it using “gustar”. Elder Keetch asked me, "Do you like being a missionary?" and instead of replying "Yes, I like being a missionary" I said, "Yes, missionaries please me." Epic fail. Even the teacher was laughing hysterically. (Hermano Haug's laugh is so contagious by the way!)
One quote I heard this week that goes along perfectly with both of those stories is from President Lindahl: "Misery+Time=Humor".  Right on, President, right on. Oh! President Lindahl is Gatlan's old mission president! How crazy is that? He said he was President of the Mendoza Argentina Mission so I just asked if he knew him and it turns out he absolutely loves him! He said he was such a hard working missionary and served him well. He told me to tell him hi for him. He's an awesome President. President Peer got released to move to a Russian-speaking branch. President Lindahl is just as inspired as President Peer was! One thing that's scary is that he told us when we get called on to speak on Sundays we aren't allowed to quote scriptures or use notes. On a good note, this Sunday is the broadcast, and the next is fast Sunday so I'm safe for two more weeks lol.
Before I forget, be sure to watch the missionary broadcast Sunday. It's at 4:00 and should be really great! I'll be in the choir of 2500 so listen close for my voice ;) The songs we're singing really give me chills! Choir is one of my favorite things at the MTC believe it or not haha. The zone leaders keep saying that the prophet has some huge announcement…But really, what could be bigger than changing the mission age?! The prophet will be there to speak along with the apostles.
To add on the excitement there's a mission president seminar going on at the MTC so the prophet and apostles will be HERE for a WEEK at the MTC! We aren't allowed to go talk to them or get pictures, but it's still mother flipping exciting. This week will be a lot crazier, but I'm really excited :)
This week I had my first TRC experience. TRC is when we teach actual members. There's no role-playing and we're just supposed to teach them. It was pretty scary! Hermano Sagers told us, "TRC is like a roller coaster. You get really nervous, but afterwards you'll be like that was the best thing EVER!!" Well.. That wasn't the right analogy to use with me because of the fact that I'm terrified of roller coasters! He was right though. I think we all came out of TRC learning way more than we taught them.
I actually met a girl from Peru and she said in Piura we'll get tan and love the food. I wonder if she knows that she had been eating guinea pigs all those years she lived there?? Haha she was really great though! Another brother we taught was from Juab and he just got back from his mission. He gave me hope because he said he had zero Spanish before his mission as well. Yay for people like him!
One of my new favorite teachers is Hermano Ridge. He had to substitute a couple times for us this week. Maybe I liked him so much cause he never talked in Spanish? But really, I have so much written down from him!
·      " To be humble is to recognize where your true source of power comes from"
·      "Satan will do anything to make you feel inadequate; Satan's a liar. If you start to believe him, he has won"
·      "Ever seen a cat act like a dog? Why does it do that? Because it thinks it's a dog. When people act wicked, it's because they've forgotten they're sons and daughters of God"
·      "If Heavenly Father was here he'd give you the biggest hug and let you know how grateful he is for your service. Whenever you get discouraged, think of that."
He was really inspiring! Sadly, he's gone to teach seminary now :( But he taught me a lot.
Some other people I've heard from in devotionals lately is on Sunday Stephen B. Allen (managing director of the missionary dept.) and Robert C. Gay (of the seventy). Before I forget, we had the best musical number from an Elder here. I think it was called, "He knows that I know" and oh boy was it good! Anyway, Stephen B. Allen was really motivational. He told us that when everything says you can't, believe in the part of you that says you can and that we need to stop worrying about who we aren't and start noticing who we are. He told us to finish every race we start. We've now started the race of a mission and it's time to finish it.
Elder Gay was great as well. One thing that really hit home to me was that he talked about the army on the other side of the veil helping us. When he said that, I got the best feeling. I know we are being helped. We are fighting as much as we can here, and so is the army in Heaven. We literally have an army of angels around us. I know we do! We couldn't do it if we didn't. He asked us, “What is the power you have? The power you have is to astonish the world."
The other thing that stuck out in the Tuesday devotional was the hymn we sang. I've heard it a million times, but I love it. It was "More Holiness Give Me." I wrote down all the lyrics, but I don't wanna type them so look it up haha. Every single lyric is perfect.
Okay let's think of some funny things. Oh! Elder Keetch. So we're in a really serious discussion on Kolob and Elder Gonzalves says "Hermano Haug, is Kolob a place? Like, can we drive or walk there?" and Elder Keetch says under his breath, "No.. But you could hike there?..." Haha! Maybe you had to be there, or know Elder Keetch, but he's so funny. All the Elders in my district are.
So here.. EVERY sister sings in the shower. One will start and everyone joins. Well….I decided I had had enough of the church music so I started singing T-Swift. Yeah.. NOBODY joined. Aca-awkward right? Hahaha
         One other thing I love here is sand volleyball!! It's so much fun! Elder Fulton and I have this war going on.  I serve it to him every time and he can never get it.  And it's hilarious! That's all. But it's so much fun!
Gym time is the best. My companion hates running and exercising, but I make her run with me anyway. She told me her ankles are bad, but I didn't realize how truthful this was until this week. We're running to play volleyball and I turn around to see her getting up off the ground. She was like, "Did you see that?" Apparently she biffed it hard and was just getting up as I turned around. It was so funny to turn around and see her looking around to see if anyone saw haha! Good times at gym :)
Let everyone know how grateful I am for the support, letters, packages, and prayers! I'm so blessed, and couldn't do it without you. As hard as it is to be away, there's nothing more important I could be doing right now. I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I love you all so much!

Hermana Roper

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Week Down!

          Hola! This week has been better. The “make it to Sunday” thing was SO true for me! I felt so overwhelmed the first few days that by Sunday I was ready for some spiritual upliftment. Tuesdays are also the best ever! This Tuesday Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the seventy and his wife spoke. It was so good! As you saw, we had to move to the Marriott Center for devotionals because there's so many of us. It's really powerful to be in the presence of so many missionaries! Singing in the MTC choir is awesome as well.
Anyway.. Elder Arnold taught us how to serve missions with no regrets.
1.) Understand who you are- each of us have a divine nature and destiny.
2.) Each of us have been given specific gifts and talents- magnify your talents. (Exodus 4: 10-12 is great!)
3.) Understand the sacredness of your call and what you covenanted when you accepted it.
4.) Understand and observe the law of obedience- one thing our Branch President, President Peer, stresses is "Obedience brings blessings; exact obedience brings miracles."
5.) Understand your purpose- our purpose is to bring others to Christ. "Others" isn't just investigators. "Others" is everyone! He said that we may feel like we don't know anything, but we know enough. Angels are round about us lifting us up. His wife also talked about having no regrets. She said to give our best efforts, and at the end of the day, whether good or bad, we will be satisfied with ourselves. She also told us that the Lord has something he NEEDS us to be. Although we don't know what it is, we need to prepare now. It was really a great devotional!
          So I never answered your question about how Sundays are here at the MTC. All the sisters meet for Relief Society (in English thank goodness) and then later our zone has Sacrament. The scary thing about Sacrament is that each week we are required to write a 3-5 minute talk in Spanish and President Peer chooses an Elder and Sister randomly to speak. Umm can you say scary?! Yes, yes you can.
          So our investigator, Carlos, became our teacher yesterday. Aca-awkward! He is the funniest teacher! His name is Hermano Sagers. He went to Honduras on his mission. The more awkward things is that we have to keep teaching "Carlos" and we know he's our teacher now for sure. Along with Carlos, we'll be teaching our other teacher, Hermano Haug, and he's going to be acting in the part of Ian. Oh man. I hope I never see them again after the MTC lol. Wait.. Actually I hope I do so I can prove to them I'm not a total loser and CAN learn Spanish someday! Haha it'll be funny to see how that goes.
          Some of the Elders in the District above us were really helpful this week. Elder Powell and Elder Moffitt. They had a prompting to pull Hermana Peterson and I aside and talk to us. We needed it! We both just feel so inadequate at times. In class everyone can speak Spanish and at least get their point across, and then there's us lol. We know words, but not how to connect sentences. Hermano Haug says, "Oh don't worry. It's not an English fast; it's a Spanish feast!" Yeah right, Hermano Haug. Anyway, we were both just feeling a bit stressed. They just took the time to speak to us and tell us that it will be okay. Elder Powell had no Spanish and he talked about how he's seen the mission change his life. He was about to get married at 19, but decided to go on a mission. The girl ended up dumping him, and he said he's so grateful the Lord had something different for him planned. He said, "If you ever want to make the Lord laugh, tell him your plans" lol I LOVED that! Seriously.. Who would've thunk I'd be here right now?! Not me! I'll never forget the kindness those Elders showed, and I'm so grateful they followed their prompting and helped us out.
          The MTC really is a great place. Hard, but I've already grown so much. In order to become what the Lord wants me to be I must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He's shaping for better things; he's shaping my future. As long as I remember that, I'll be okay :)
          I can't wait to hear how your week was. Thanks again for every single letter and package and just EVERYTHING! Tell dad and Ty I'll write them some had written letters tonight. I have the best family ever! Love you all more than you know!

Love your favorite missionary,
Hermana Roper

Friday, June 7, 2013

Greetings From The MTC!

                Hola! (That's about all the Spanish I know... Just kidding. But really, it's HARD!) It's your favorite missionary here! It's been a pretty great couple of days. The MTC is so great and everyone is so welcoming! Right from the moment I walked in people were helping me and so nice. I went and got nametags, dropped off my suitcases, and went to class. 900 missionaries reported Wednesday with me!! Crazy! Well..apparently I was late because my class left me! So my host missionaries led me to the opening meeting and said I'd be fine with no companion. Well..In the MTC, or being a missionary in general, it's weird to not have a companion, so I got so many weird looks! I tagged along with some other sisters till I found her later that night though :)

         My companion in Hermana Peterson, and she's great! She's from Texas. (She has no idea where Waller is though). She knows SO much Spanish and has helped me so much already. She's going to be sick of having to keep helping me lol.
         Pretty much everyone in my district has had years of Spanish and here I am.. With no Spanish at all! From day one our teacher has talked in nothing but Spanish. Intimidating much? Haha he is great though. His name is Brother Haug (you say it like how with a g). One thing he said that really stuck out to me was, "We aren't creatures of our circumstances... We're creators!" Whenever I get down I just have to remember that. He's a great teacher though. I'm pretty sure he just got off of his own mission not too long ago.
         The first day we went from room to room seeing what it's like to teach real investigators. It was so neat! First, a couple of the Elders who have been here for a few weeks would teach, and then they would turn it over to all of us and we'd take turns teaching (in English, thank goodness). I learned a lot about having to find investigators’ personal needs. We, as missionaries, can't simply teach out of Preach My Gospel and think it will work for every investigator. We need to get to know them and find out what is missing in their lives and which part of the gospel would help them the most. For some it was the knowledge of eternal families that got them interested, and for some it was forgiveness and the atonement. Some investigators wouldn't even give us the chance to speak to them or just shut every one of our comments down. It's all about teaching with the spirit though. If you don't have the spirit, you won't convert a single person. A quote I really liked was, "When you teach with the spirit, that's when the lesson ceases to be yours and becomes HIS." (Elder Holland) It was just a great experience and made me excited to teach real people when I get out there!
         So on the second day of class we had to teach an investigator... In Spanish! Thank goodness for Hermana Peterson! She spoke the entire time lol. I couldn't understand her or him so I wasn't much help. His name is Carlos. He's really a teacher here at the MTC (some of the other Hermanas in our zone let us know that) and he's acting the part of an investigator he converted on his own mission. They are such good actors! I would have busted up laughing at my Spanish if I was him. It was no bueno! After that experience I've been studying Spanish every chance I get. I can see how Hunter loved the MTC so much.. He only had to speak English! Lol I really do love it, just can't wait to get the language down a little more.
         Oh! So the first day Hermana Peterson and I got put in the Elder's living place! When they figured out where they had put us, they hurried and shoved us in another room. When we got there it was a mess and there were no empty beds so we ended up getting to move to the room with the other girls in my district. All four of them are going to Argentina. They're great! There's Hermana Stanley, Albright, McChesney, and Hafen. They're all good at Spanish, so hopefully that helps me catch on. I'm not even all the way unpacked yet. I think I have a lot of stuff ;) All the other girls have just as much though so oh well lol. There's also 6 Elders in my District and I don't know their names yet. Our Branch President is President Peer and everyone says he is amazing. He came and talked to us for a bit yesterday and we had interviews. He wasn't the one who interviewed me, but our Zone Leaders said when he interviews he'll like whip out stuff from their Patriarchal blessings because he's just that in tune with the spirit. I'll keep you posted on that haha.
         I've seen so many familiar faces here! I've seen Hermana Hannah Nelson, Sister Ivory, Sister Kearl and Sister Orrock (Girl's state), Elder Oliverson, Elder Benson, Elder Allinson, and Elder Robertson. I love seeing people I know! Elder Allinson has helped me a lot. He said he really struggled with Spanish and wanted to switch to an English mission, but he said God called us to our missions for a reason and he trusts that we can do it :) He's right! As long as we do our part He will help us. I've seen him every day at lunch along with Elder Robertson. I haven't seen Elder Huntington yet though. Maybe he's gone by now L
         Kinda cool story.. I woke up this morning at 6 so we could stake our claim on a washer and dryer (today's my P-day) and I was half awake, but heard the girls talking about someone sleep talking and was like oh jeez, that was me I'm sure. But then they started talking about someone sleep talking in Spanish in like full sentences and my first though was, "Whoever you are, I hate you" because I want to speak Spanish SO bad. So I didn't say anything and everyone just kept looking at me so I was finally like, "Wait who was sleep talking in Spanish?" and they were like, "YOU WERE!!" So apparently I can only talk in Spanish when I'm sleeping lol. I'm not sure I'll convert many people if I'm asleep during lessons though so I'll have to get this straightened out haha. It is pretty crazy how much I learn in a day though.
         Today we get to relax a bit (aka study some more Spanish) and go to the temple. We do have class later tonight, so I might be teaching Carlos again. Hopefully it goes better this time lol, we'll see.
         Thank you all for all of the support and letters! I'll try to reply to all of them soon. And hopefully you get the picture. Those are the girls in my district. Let me know if it works! Oh and my black watch broke again lol. I tried to beat it like you did, but I must not have the magic touch ;) If you could send me another that would be great! I love you all SO much! I'm so blessed and know this gospel is true! Have a great week! :)

Hermana Roper :)