First email: 10.1.2011

     I can't believe it's my turn to be the missionary and to write you e-mails! So last time you saw me, I was red-eyed and not looking all that happy. But I'll assure you that I am loving it here. It has definitely been an adjustment, but I know this is where I am supposed to be and am so grateful for this opportunity.
     Sister Vickers is so sweet and so smart, and I'm so excited to get to know her more and learn from her as we grow together as a companionship. I told you one connection in my letter we made, but there are two more. We both ran the 300 hurdles and loved them! And the next one is pretty crazy: we were sitting waiting for general conference to start, writing letters, and I looked over and she's writing to a "Sister Carrie Carlson." Well I totally know her! She was in my typography class last winter semester, and we actually became pretty good friends in that class. I knew she was serving a mission in Mesa, and she wanted me to write her, but I just never have. So yeah crazy that my companion was writing her because they were roommates and just really good friends! What are the odds! Then by making that connection we made a few other connections with mutual friends that we have through the art program! Crazy!
     Sister Vickers and I are the only sisters in our district. I think we have 8 elders in our district, maybe 10. Elder Hatch from Nibley is in my district, kind of a quiet kid so that's probably why I never got to know him when he was a sophomore and I was a senior at MC. Then we have two more sisters that are in our zone, Sister Westover and Sister Dennis. They are so fun! Sister Dennis played volleyball at a JC so we have fun in gym together. :)
Sister Dennis, Sister Miara, Sister Westover, & Sister Stromberg
Sister Allen & Sister Vickers
     I tried running on Thursday for gym time, and unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to run at the MTC. :( My knee hurt probably just as bad as it did while running the half marathon! But that's okay, I'll just have fun beating all the elders in volleyball and basketball. ;) I also used the bikes they have, and that was just fine.
All-Americans at the MTC?!?
     So we just got done watching the first session of General Conference and TEMPLE IN PROVO?!?! Isn't that just crazy! I bet you didn't see that one coming! But I'm excited. I hope it's done by the time I get back. I was thinking that'll be nice for baptisms, that's for sure. You won't have to wait 3+ hours to get baptized for 3 people! I loved L. Whitney Clayton's talk about how the Gospel will fill the world. It was powerful! I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk, when he talked about how he learned when he was in Texas, not knowing English very well and feeling alone and unimportant, that all he could do was his best and he would be just fine.
     I hate to admit it, but yesterday was quite the day of Tagalog. They just pounded us with it and shoved more and more Tagalog down our throats!! We taught our first investigator, which was... interesting. We challanged him to read the Book of Mormon, and he might have accepted that challange. I'm not really sure. We prayed with him... but in English. :) Yeah he looked a little confused. Then later on they took us to the TALL lab, and we started that. I  think TALL will be my best friend here in the MTC. Then in class they taught us to pray and to bear our testimony and yeah just a whole lot of Tagalog. When Ryan told us that they only speak to you in Tagalog the first day... well he failed to mention that your teacher only speaks to you in Tagalog for the first THREE days! Then he spoke 1 hour to us in English, which was heaven, and then back to only Tagalog. So yeah, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the language and didn't realize how hard that will be for me. You don't have to memorize paintings or drawings... so I haven't had to memorize things for quite some time. But then with the help of Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and Pres. Uchtdorf's talk, I know that if i just do my very best, I will be able to learn this language with the Holy Ghost and my Heavenly Father's help.
     But don't get me wrong I love this place. I was reading PMG, and I loved this section... "The setting apart may be taken literally; it is a setting apart from sin, apart from the carnal; apart from everything which is crude, low, vicious, cheap, or vulgar; set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity." And I know that is so true. Being a missionary and devoting your time to the Lord is such a blessing. There is so much peace here, and the spirit is with us everywhere we go. I just love it. General Conference was even more powerful, spiritual, and amazing being in a room full of missionaries of the Lord.
     AHHHH I have TWO minutes! My teacher is Brother Itri, and he is the man! He has taught here for like over 3 years so he definitely knows what he is doing! Ryan, if you ever run into him, give him a hard time and tell him to go easy on your sister. ;) Oh and I ran into some Hungarian sisters, but they said that Brother Erickson is their teacher. But they know you and that you were strong... well I think that's what they said. It was all in Hungarian, and they flexed when talking about you, so who knows, maybe they said you need muscles. ;)
     LOVE YOU so much! I have to go.

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