Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letter #2

Well, week 2 certainly has flown by fast! The first week felt pretty long, but this last week just disappeared. Mom, you commented that the first day probably felt pretty long. Actually, it really wasn't that bad. I think it's probably because I've been an EFY counselor and those days are even longer and more difficult (in some respects) than the MTC days.

Anyways, life is still going well here. I've sort of become the emotional support team of the 4 sisters in our district. The scripture I decided would be my mission "theme scripture" was Philippians 4:11, which says "I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content" or something like that. So I've decided just to be happy and have a good time and not let anything bug me while I'm gone. So I've ended up being the positive, optimistic one around here...which I think was important, because I think the other 3 sisters really needed that. It's so interesting for me to look around and see how perfectly everything just fits together...the timing that put me together with these sisters, the different companionship pairings in our district, etc. There's a quote from Neal A. Maxwell that says, "Coincidences are God's way of micromanaging the universe." coincidences. :)  These things happened the way they were supposed to! Sisters Thomas and Haddock had some companionship issues this last week, but they're doing better now. I got to be sort of the mediator in that whole thing, lovely. Good thing I'm a psych major...that's all we're good for, RIGHT? ;) My companionship is going fine. There are little things that could definitely get on my nerves and get blown out of proportion if I wanted to, but like I said...I'm gonna be content with this whole thing. So I'm not letting them get to me. Anyways, as a result of my contentness or mediationness or general sort of "taking-the-leader-role" in this group, I got called to be the Coordinating Sister for the zone. Our old coordinating sister, Sister Rappleye (who is a saint and acted as our mother) got cleared to go to the Philippines this Wednesday after being delayed for a knee injury, so that means the position was opening. Luckily I only have to do it for a week, as being in that position basically means I am stuck in meetings ALL DAY LONG on Sunday. (Everyone here talks about how great the Sundays are. Not gonna lie, Sunday is the worst day. They make me crazy. All you do is sit and listen in meetings allll day LONG. In my old life, Sundays meant "relax and take a nap." Gah. Sundays are the only day I really feel like I want to leave this place.) Anyways, coordinating sister is kind of like the girl version of a zone leader. (For those of you who don't know, there are districts...groups of 10-12ish that you take classes with. The pictures I sent with the elders are pictures of our whole district. Zones consist of lots of districts. Our zone has 7.) So it means I take care of the sisters in the zone, welcome in new elders and sisters, go to lots of meetings, etc. There are actually only 5 sisters in our entire zone (and only 4 when Sis. Rappleye leaves Wednesday), so it's not going to be a huge deal.
Also Sister Thomas told me that she'd like to meet my parents because she really looks up to me and that I've been a great example to her. I shared that only because I thought it might make Mom cry...but in a good way. Haha. :)

My birthday was fun. Thanks for the cupcakes...due to Labor Day, I actually didn't end up getting them until Wednesday, but oh well. They were still good. :) Also, we talk about how funny it is that everyone sends us treats. Food is like the one thing we actually DON'T need more of in the MTC, but yet everyone sends package upon package of treats. I'm not complaining, because that's great. But last week we had 24 cinnamon rolls, 6 cupcakes, and endless bags of candy that all came in. It's kind of amusing since when we're out in the field food is probably the one thing we'll wish people were sending us. The elders in our district made us 2 cards...they are so sweet. While we were in the laundry room my whole district actually came up and surprised me with a whole bunch of vending machine treats and sang happy birthday. Sister Haddock kept saying that she felt really bad that they couldn't do anything to make my birthday "special"...but I thought it was great! I even had Hostess cupcakes from the sack lunch line. So I thought the day was just wonderful. I wore my bright yellow skirt and everything. The only thing that would have made it better was if Brother Widtfelt would have been teaching that day....hahaha (unfortunately, NO that was not a joke. This crush has kind of gotten out of control to the point where I actually started blushing while we were teaching him one day.).

I get along with best with Sister Thomas. We really clicked and we have too much fun together. It's gotten to the point where I really can't even look at her in class because we both crack up laughing. We both kind of have the same sense of humor and we can be really goofy together. I sing songs from "Wicked" to her in the shower. (I tried to explain this in class one day to my district by saying "I sing Wicked to her in the shower" and all I got was a bunch of weird looks.) She's the blonde in the pictures that I sent. The tallest one is Sister Hiatt, my comp, and then Sister Haddock is the one with long brown hair. Hopefully all the pictures are fairly self-explanatory. The one with 3 of us wearing red was on red day. Our district likes to coordinate outfits--all the guys will wear a certain color tie and the sisters will match them.

So even though life is still fun, it was definitely harder this week. I actually got a little bit stressed out and as a result had a colony of zits pop on my nose. We do a lot of teaching--whether it's our teachers' personas or people in the TRC, which feels very real--and it can be stressful. It's also been harder than I thought. Even though I feel like I'm a fairly good teacher and I've had a lot of experience teaching, it's definitely harder to teach with another person and learn to work together as a team. The first couple times we taught every time I'd try to turn the lesson over to Sister Hiatt she'd just give me a deer in the headlights face. Luckily it's gotten better and we've had quite a few good lessons where the spirit was really strong.
My favorite part of the day is classroom instruction. We generally have 2 3-hour class blocks each day, and they actually go by really fast. They're so great! Our teachers are amazing. I also love gym time.
We got our travel plans this week and I have to be up at 3am. Shoot me. I will definitely not be ready to leave in a week...I want to stay in the MTC forevverrrrrr. (Okay, maybe not forever. But a few more weeks at least).

Oh boy, I've got to go. There were lots of things I wanted to write about but it looks like it's not going to happen! Last thing I'll write about is trying out for a musical number earlier this week. They have musical numbers for big meetings and you can try out. Anyways, I decided What the heck? Might as well. So I decided to try out with "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" seeing as it was one of only 2 songs I brought with me. And this is singing, mind you...which I've been terrified of doing in front of people ever since Mom tried to get me to sing at church when I was 9 years old and I just stood there and cried instead. So we go to the audition room and it's like the most terrifying thing of my life, since there are these 4 intimidating women (wives of the MTC presidency) sitting there at a table American Idol style. And then you would perform for them and they critique you afterwards! Then they give a "yes" to sing in one of the meetings or they tell you to come back later. I was very close to chickening out and not doing it at all. As it was, I know I looked terrified. But I did...and then waited to hear them tell me things like "You need to place your voice more forward" or "work on your breath control" or "Have you ever had vocal lessons before?" because that's what they were saying to other people. In fact, I was so distracted waiting to hear criticism that I didn't even hear what Sister Brown, the MTC pres's wife, said...Sister Rappleye told me later, haha. She said something along the lines of, "You have such a powerful voice! Don't be afraid to let it out. If you'll just sing, people will listen!" And then the scariest woman there who was giving most of the criticisms said, "You are so much better than you think you are." And then they mostly just talked to me about looking confident and not looking freaked out because my voice sounded fine. And they gave me a "yes!" So that's cool. I was really proud of myself. I don't know if I'll actually get to sing in a meeting, since I'm only here for another week and I know they already have most of the musical numbers lined up, but maybe I will.
Anyways, das all for today. Gotta go. Somehow we ended up having no time this p-day...maybe that's because we all took an hour-long nap...hmmmm
Elonga koko'mo! (That is "I love you!" in Sister Rappleye's obscure Filipino dialect, Hilaginen [sp?]).
Sister Kelli Dougal

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