Letter from Alyssa (while in the MTC)
So I have to tell you, when you send things to me over DearElder the MTC prints it and delivers it daily (though we can only respond on P-days which is Tuesdays in the MTC for us). On Friday, my district joked about how popular I am and how many "Dear Johns" I'll be writing over the next 18 months because I had just about 10 letters, almost all from you.
To start, the MTC is not hard. You have a focus, everything is clear, and you feel safe; physically, spiritually, and even just a safe place to learn. My companion is great, we're always getting better. She's pretty reserved so I'm still getting to know her. The district is awesome, we're like siblings. We look out for each other all the time. One of the best things about the MTC is that we move past all the "fluff" of the gospel and focus on the central doctrines and principles essential to us and applicable to the Atonement, a lot like Dad's classes that he teaches.
On Sunday after meeting the Branch Presidency, I was assigned to be the District Sister Training Leader. It's a lot on top of all I already have, but The Lord is already starting to show how He enables those He calls.
My entire zone +3 more Elders (11 Elders, 8 Sisters, 19 missionaries total) are all flying together to Irvine on Tuesday morning, the 26th. We'll meet the Mission President and his wife at the airport.
P-day is Tuesday (today), we got to go to the temple this morning. It was neat because the Provo temple is the first temple I ever went inside. We also get to walk up to the grounds on Sundays. This last Sunday our branch was assigned to conduct sacrament meeting for the cafeteria staff and he asked me to play the hymns. It was great to serve those that had been diligently serving us all week. I also played during our own sacrament meeting. Those Sisters and Elders departing this week (yesterday) asked me to accompany them singing a special number, I had about 15-20 minutes to learn an 8-page song. I did my best and when we all did it I mustn't have been the one playing because there's no way I could've played so beautifully with an entire week to practice on my own.
Mom and Dad Earl have Elder and Sister Palfreyman watching out for me. They're the best, and always have lots of stress medicine (candy).
My teachers are inspiring, they meet the needs of our class whether we verbalize them or not. I have been asked if I know Shumways that are members almost everywhere I go. But it's a positively revered name every time that I'm proud to bear.
For you future missionaries, my 2 pieces of recommended preparation:
1) live the 4th article of faith in everything you do. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End is all we teach. Even if we're teaching the restoration, plan of salvation, commandments, etc. we teach it through these things. To endure to the end = repeating the first 4 steps over and over continually.
2) Here is your MTC Scripture Mastery:
JSH 1:16-17 and only this much "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other - This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
and Your Purpose as a missionary, found on page 1 of Preach My Gospel "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.
I have compared getting to know my brothers to helping investigators who come to the MTC get to know Christ and trust Him. I've also brought up Casan's baptism when we teach about it and his faith. It's fun to hear updates, sounds like summer is just taking its own sweet time getting to Frisco. Push through though! To "hang in there" is not a principle of the gospel, so endure it and enjoy it well.
- Sister Shumway