(Speaking of Chinese, Travis taught me to say "Give me a kiss" in Mandarin and so I say it to all the Mandarin-speaking elders that I encounter. They love it.)
My last email was all about me and very scattered, neither of which is great. I attribute it to the fact that I had hardly any time to write, so I just threw down anything that came into my head. Hopefully this email will be a little more organized.
First of all, I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT KENDRA'S BABY AND THAT SHE SHARES MY BIRTHDAY! I forgot to express my excitement last time. I am SO excited for her. I keep dreaming about her and her new lil 'un. Tell Austin I never found the pina soda he was talking about...there's something here called cactus cooler, and that was the closest thing I could come up with.
Also, yesterday Sheri Dew came to speak during our relief society meeting and it was AWESOME! She's kind of a frightening lady (I think) but her message was really good.
FAVORITE MTC MEMORIES:
- On our very first night, we sang "Army of Helaman" but instead of singing "We will be the Lord's missionaries" we sang "We are now the Lord's missionaries." It was super cool and like a crazy moment of realization. Holy cow. I'm a missionary!
- Our very first teaching experiences. Oh boy. Sis. Hiatt and I taught our teacher Brother Lewis (although he was acting as his friend Ben) and it was such a mess. Sis. Hiatt kept giving me deer in the headlight looks and we stumbled through the whole first lesson and I don't even know if Ben understood anything. Besides, "Ben" was being super facetious. But it's a really funny memory to look back on now. Even funnier was Sis. Thomas and Sis. Haddock's first teaching experience. They walked up to the door and when "Joe" answered it, instead of saying something like, "We're representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ..." or "We're Sister Haddock and Sister Thomas," Sis Haddock just says "We're sisters!" and leaves it at that. Nothing about the church or Christ or anything. Just "were sisters!" Super funny.
- One day during gym time we played volleyball with one of the districts going to the Philippines and it was SO fun! Those elders are so wild. It's funny to see how people's personalities just seem to fit wherever they're going. I can totally see all of those elders going to the Philippines. They were ridiculously high energy, and some rounds they'd be like, "Okay, you can only hit the ball this round if you dive for it!" It was probably the most fun game of volleyball we played this whole time.
- Mine and Sister Thomas's crush on Bro. Widtfeldt. I have to admit, the crush has subsided a bit... But our crush was still a blast. There was this one time in particular where he was teaching an object lesson outside and I looked over at Sis. Thomas and said, "I just melted into a puddle. There is a puddle of Sis. Dougal at my feet." and she agreed that she had melted into a puddle, too. And sometimes he would do little dance moves in class and I wanted to die. Hmm. Maybe I still have a crush on him.
- A couple days after my birthday, Sister Rappleye said she had a belated present for me and gave me this little picture she'd picked up in the Bookstore. It was a picture of Jesus with this smiling little girl. She told me the picture made her think of me because the little girl was so happy, just like me...and I just started bawling. I realized in that moment that I was more stressed out than I thought, because seriously...why was I crying my eyes out? I swear it was the stress and all of a sudden it just all came out. But it was still super sweet of her.
- My beautiful new scriptures!! My old Book of Mormon was completely destroyed and I planned on buying a nice new quad here at the MTC Bookstore. But they were all out and they weren't getting anymore in for a long time. Are you kidding me?!?!? No scriptures at the MTC Bookstore?!?!?! Anyways, Sis. Thomas said her mom could pick some up for me at the distribution center (she's from around here) and so her mom got me these absolutely beautiful leather scriptures with my name engraved and had them dropped off. I was planning on paying her back (obviously) but she said not to worry about it! Wow. That was so kind of her. What a blessing!
- I love running into so many people I know here! People who work at the MTC, other missionaries...there's tons of people I know. A lot of them I see and think, "Hmm...I think we had dance together once...?" because I recognize their faces, but I've also seen a lot of people here that I'm friends with.
- For some reason, Elder Aiono one day started singing the chorus of "Tomorrow" from Annie...but in Spanish...and it was the funniest thing ever. And now he does it all the time and I love it. Seriously, though, try it out. "Manana, manana, te amo manana!!"
- I sing the sisters bedtime songs every night! Sister Thomas said it's the best part of her day.
- On Saturday night, Brother Widtfeldt ate dinner with our district and I realized how awkward I have become around boys. He sat right next to me and I was super giddy and super awkward and it was awesome. I didn't know what to say to him and I dropped my knife in my lap and fell up the stairs, plus Sis. Thomas was sitting across from me so we giggled and made faces at each other the whole time and at one point I pretended like I was going to reach over and grab his hand. I know, I know, I'm 12 years old.
- On Friday we had an all-day "In-field orientation" meeting. The guy in charge said "I went to the best mission in the church!" and before he even said what it was, I just KNEW he was going to say Fort Lauderdale! And he did!
- So remember how I auditioned to do a musical number? Well, last week they let me know that I would be singing today for the senior missionary orientation! (That means it was the orientation for all the cute senior couples that were coming in) So I went and sang today and it was THE MOST TERRIFYING THING OF MY LIFE. Even more scary than that audition, if you can believe it. The group was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, which for me is actually scarier than a big group, and I was singing into a mic and everything...anyways, it went really well. Hey, guess what, I think I actually have a pretty good singing voice. Sister Haddock came with me because we were on a companion exchange and afterwards she was just like, "You have a gift. That was so beautiful." I was super proud of myself, and all the senior missionaries seemd to like it.
- Our teacher Brother Lewis encouraged us to pray about the Book of Mormon one night. Even though most of us had prayed about it before to know if it was true, he talked about the importance of constantly having spiritual experiences and doing the things we'll be telling our investigators to do. I hadn't prayed about the Book of Mormon since I was like 13 but I recognized that it was a good idea for me, especially after one of my friends had placed some doubts in my mind this summer. So that night I got on my knees and prayed about it, and wow. Before I could even finish asking my Father in Heaven, "Is the Book of Mormon true?" I was just hit by an outpouring of His love, which reaffirmed to me that it definitely was. My heart was actually pounding because the feeling that washed over me was so strong. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, read it. If you haven't prayed recently about it, do it. If I'd had any doubts about the legitimacy of the book they were washed away in that moment because I could not deny the overpowering feeling that I was experiencing.
- Last Wednesday playing volleyball I went to set a really hard hit and ended up jamming my left thumb pretty hard. The next morning I played volleyball again and in an effort to compensate and try to avoid hitting my thumb, I accidentally jammed my right thumb. They still hurt SO BAD. So if you think of it, pray for my thumbs. I know that's weird but they are really bothering me. I don't think either one is broken but I can hardly do anything without them hurting. I sympathize with people who have arthritis.
- Everyone in the district has been sick. I have been coughing so much and I was really worried about being able to sing today. Sister Thomas has asthma and she practically has pneumonia and almost wasn't able to leave tomorrow with everyone else. Illnesses spread fast around here. Blech.
Okay, well I'm about out of time...I wanted to send you some more pictures but this computer doesn't have a card reader, so I guess they'll have to wait. Sorry. :(
Last things...family, there are a ton of people I know heading out to the Kennewick mission tomorrow. There are 25 of them headed out there, in fact! So who knows, you might have an elder in your mission who knew me from the MTC. Keep an eye out for an Elder Ewell...be nice to him, feed him dinner, because he has a crush on me. And he's a really happy person, so thats nice.
Also, I feel a little like I'm at EFY. All of a sudden all the elders have crushes on Sister Thomas and some of them have written her notes saying, "Hey, let's keep in touch!" And yesterday some of the elders in the other district brought me a slip of paper with Elder Ewell's email address on it. The poor kid didn't even know they'd done it. I was like, "Really? Are we in middle school right now?" But I secretly love it, since I never did get to go to EFY. Tee hee. :)
Okay well I've gotta go! Love you all!
Sister Kelli Dougal
PS- Look up the video "Missionary work and the Atonement." It is AMAZING! I think it's relevant to everyone, not just missionaries.