Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sister Melan Lands in a Cornfield

Today, Tuesday, September 27, 2011 Sister Melanie left the MTC and flew to Omaha. She called us from the airport in Salt Lake City and was doing great. The next email we get will be from a cornfield somewhere in Nebraska.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photos from the MTC

Sister Melly and her companion Sister Pinchak

The district, the ladies and the home away from home.

Sister Melly with Sister Melly (Cookie Version)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sister Melly's Next Last P-Day in the MTC

Well, it has only been a couple of days since I last wrote, but it seems like it has been forever! We started Visitor's Center training on Wednesday and the days have suddenly slowed to almost a complete stop. But, even though the days seem to take forever, we still don't have enough time to get everything done that we want to. I think that it is from starting something new and having to adjust to a new schedule, new teachers, and new classmates. I miss the elders from my old district. We are always saying things like "The elders are probably out tracting right now" or "They probably have already baptized someone by now." It is weird to think that if we were not doing VC training, we would also be out in the field right now, but that is probably something I should get used to pretty quickly here since we are leaving in just a couple of days.

There are 11 sisters in my VC class. We only have class with them, unlike our previous class which was also our district for church and other things. Three of the sisters are going to temple square, two are going to San Diego, two are going to Washington D.C., and then there are the four of us going to Winter Quarters. We talk a lot about how to give tours and bring in gospel principles and using referral cards and not very much about the history of the sites, so I guess that is something that we will have to pick up when we are in Omaha.

We have also been training on how to chat with people through mormon.org. Yesterday, we started actually talking to people. Unfortunately, our first attempts were not very successful. We still work together in our companionships, so Sister Pinchak and I talked to two different people. The first was a 12-year old kid from the UK who just wanted to ask us questions like "How do magnets work?" The hard thing is that even when people are just playing a prank or being stupid, we are still supposed to keep talking to them and giving them opportunities to talk about gospel subjects. I totally understand that we always want to at least leave a good impression of the church with people, if nothing else, but it is really hard to talk to someone who is just trying to toy with you. We spent more than an hour trying to talk to this kid and all he did was make smart-aleck comments in response to everything we said. Eventually, it was probably past his bed time since we figured that it was after 11pm in the UK when we were talking to him. The second person that we chatted with was a guy from Tanzania who was a member of the church and was trying to apply for the perpetual education fund. The problem is that the fund is not available to people in Tanzania. He kept trying to convince us to give him our email address so he could send us his application so we could take care of it for him. I felt terrible, but there really was nothing that we could do to help him.

Overall, kind of a difficult couple of days, but two P-days in 4 days can't be a bad thing and we are going to Temple Square tomorrow, so I think that things will be looking better really quickly!

On Tuesday evening, we had a devotional with Russel M. Nelson. He talked about the Book of Mormon and the October Ensign. It thought that it was pretty confusing that we had M. Russell Ballard last week and now Russell M. Nelson this week.

Love, Melly

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cornfield in Just One Week or Sister Melan's Last email from the MTC

Wow. I really need to figure out how to type a lot faster than I am doing right now, because I never feel like I have enough time to type everything I want to say in the time I have to say it. Maybe that is all for the better though because you wouldn't want to hear everything I have to say. Ha ha! Seriously though, I sit and have to plan out everything for about ten minutes, then take a few deep breaths and log into my account and start typing!

Last Tuesday after I emailed, we had devotional with Elder M. Russell Ballard. He and his wife both spoke about all kinds of missionary things like keeping it simple, knowing the gospel, setting goals, accountability to the Lord, making commitments, etc. His wife talked about how people outside of the church don't understand why we do the things that we do because they don't know the things that we know. On Wednesday, my district was invited to host the new missionaries that were reporting to the MTC that day. It felt really strange to be on the other side of hosting/being hosted after only a couple weeks. But, it went pretty well. Sister Pinchak got two of her three sisters lost and they wandered around for awhile before they figured out where they were. :) Two of the three sisters that I hosted were learning languages. I felt really guilty when I dropped them off at their classroom and their teacher immediately started talking to them in only their mission language and they just looked a little confused and lost. But, I think that they turned out alright. The other sister that I hosted was really shy. She was so cute but when I first went up to greet her, I gave her a big hug and she just stood there, completely baffled. It was pretty funny but I kind of felt bad. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

This week we had our last TRC (teaching resource center) lessons. When we first got here, there was a huge debate as to if the investigators are actual investigators and less active members or not. I was convinced that they were all members of the church but after these last couple of lessons, I am pretty convinced that some of them are actual investigators. If they are not, they are pretty good actors. We taught a lesson to a kid who is a freshman at the U of U and was in Provo to go to the football game on Saturday. He was dressed up in red and for every question we asked him, his answers were flawless. I don't know if I hope that they are real because that would be pretty cool, or if they are pretending because I would feel bad for the people that we taught in our first couple of weeks teaching.

I keep running into an Elder Lamb. He is tall and skinny and from Idaho. That is about all I know, but I say hi to him every time that I see him and he looks confused every time.

On Saturday, it was obviously the BYU-U of U game. My first indication of this was that Elder Burt talked about it the whole day and teasing anyone who went to BYU (which here, is anyone who works here and a lot of the missionaries) that they were going to get creamed, which of course they did. The second indication was the smell. Starting at about 3 (remember the game didn't start until 7), we could strongly smell the food from the stadium. It was pretty strong. After that, we could hear the game and lots of the elders kept "taking breaks to get some fresh air" to go try and figure out what the score was.

Earlier today, I got to leave the MTC to go to the doctor. (I don’t know that going to the doctor is ever a privilege, but I will say it is for now). It was very strange to see the outside world, especially one that I am so familiar with. We drove right across BYU campus, by the Marriott center, past the RB, and down Bulldog Avenue, then down University Ave. The weirdest thing was to see people doing normal things like going to class. We are so closed in at the MTC that it feels like the outside world has just stopped completely, but it clearly has not.

The last of our elders left this morning at 4 am, so now it’s just the sisters left. We have to get our own mail now (a privilege that is typically done by the District leader). It’s a good thing that it is just our p-day today because it would seem very depressing to have to go to class with no elders. But, I guess that is what it will be tomorrow, at least we will be joining up with at least three other sisters for visitor center training.

I am out of time so I will let you know the rest in a letter.

Love, Sister Lamb

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sister Melly"s Email 9/13/2011

Dear Family,

This week has gone by so fast! They told us when we first got here that if we could just make it through Sunday of that first week, the time would go so much faster after that. I didn't believe them because time was moving pretty quickly to begin with, but it is definitely moving faster now!

Just love my district a lot. They are so funny, but sometimes it is hard for all of us to be focused, especially after one of them shares a scripture about women not talking in the church for the spiritual thought. Yeah. It happens. But they definitely make things more interesting. It will be hard to see them leave next week and then it will just be the Sisters all by our lonesome for another week. This last week, we had Elder Wilson with us. I think I mentioned him last week as well. His father died right before he entered the MTC and his cousin, who was like a sister to him, was killed in a car accident about a week ago, so they allowed him to stay in the MTC and attend her funeral last Saturday. He is such an amazing Elder. So humble and faithful. He bore his testimony on Sunday in Sacrament meeting and everyone was crying afterwards. I was really sad to see him leave on Monday. Our district feels really empty without him. He definitely made a great contribution to our district and had a great effect on the elders especially. Last Wednesday, Elder Mungia broke the record for most glasses of orange juice drank during one meal. He drank fourteen. I'm probably glad that I wasn't there to see it, but it's pretty obvious that the Elders need some entertainment, so if that's what they need to keep from going crazy, go for it I guess. One of the other elders, Elder Burt, is a sleep talker. One night, he was asleep and his roommates heard him say "I forgot to highlight my "Preach My Gospel!”. When his companion, Elder Mungia, told him that he was fine and that he was just confused, Elder Burt said "I'm fine. I know where I am. I'm at the MTC. I'm going to the Indianapolis mission. Obama is the president. And my companion is a jerk." And then went back to sleep. I hope that I get a companion who sleep talks. It would be so entertaining!

While Elder Mugnai was completing his orange juice challenge, Sister Pinchak and I were sitting at the place where our district normally sits and President Nally and President McIff, the two counselors in the MTC Presidency, came and sat across the table with us. The fist thing that President Nally said to us was "So which one of you has 2 Nephi 31 memorized?" We both said "What?" He stopped to say a prayer and luckily never brought it up again. I was pretty nervous. The next day, they came and sat with us again, only this time the other two sisters from our district were sitting with us. After President Nally started quizzing them, Sister Pinchak and I quickly found an excuse to sneak away. Ha ha! It was nice to talk to them, but I sure don't want to risk it again!

On Sunday, we were at the devotional and one of the ushers asked Sister Bown and Wilson if they wanted to sit in the front row and then invited Sister Pinchak and me to sit with them, so we were right there, right in front of the MTC President while he talked. We felt pretty special and the elders were a little jealous :)

This last week, we have been teaching an "investigator" and a "less active" in the TRC. Both experiences were pretty funny. When we taught the "less active", Courtney (an older man), we walked in, he told us his whole story, told us exactly what he expected us to do for him, and then committed himself to coming back to church, making up with people he had offended, and stopping drinking and other bad habits. It was great! All we had to do was tell him that we (and Heavenly Father) would be there for him and reassure him that he was not wasting our time by asking us to come visit with him. The investigator, Michael, was a similar story. His friend, who was also there, had to keep reminding him of his name. He was super straightforward with all of his feelings and believed everything that we said. It's nice to teach this kind of investigators because there is no way you can come away feeling bad about yourself, but it sure doesn't feel like its helping us either.

The mailroom is being moved right now, so we are not getting any mail or packages until Thursday.

Love you!

Sister Lamb