Saturday, February 23, 2013

All the Wonders of the Missionary Training Center


Greetings from the MTC! Today is my first "P-Day"... It's not really a P-Day, we just have half the day to email family and do some laundry.

Well, first things is first. The MTC is GREAT! Well.... Actually, it's amazing, miraculous, terrible, wonderful, scary, awful and awesome all at the same time. That's really the best way I can explain it. Haha.
My companion is AMAZING her name is Hermana Julie Dean. She's funny and bubbly and quirky. We get along really well, and our personalities and teaching styles really mesh well. She is from Sacramento, CA... and I actually sort of knew her before this. She also went to BYU-I. LOTS of people up at school would ask me where I had been called to serve, and then ask, "Oh cool, do you know Julie Dean? She's been called to that same mission! Hopefully you meet her." Well, here we are, companions. :) Woo-Whooo! She is a native English speaker, speaks Japanese and Russian fluently, also knows sign language and speaks a little bit of Spanish. Haha. Yeah. How do you think I feel? "I'm Tara, and I can't do anything, and I'm a moron... I mean, Mormon."

We have 6 elders in our district and 4 sisters. Elder Johnson (District Leader) from Mesa, AZ going to Mexico City (So. East.), Elder Dearden from Bountiful, UT also going to Mexico City, Elder Burnham-Endicott from Alaska, also going to Mexico City, Elder Martherus from Gilbert, AZ, Elder Heywood from Riverton, UT, Elder Nielson from Highland, UT, Hermana Jensen from Woodland Hills, UT, and Hermana Laney from American Fork, UT, all going to NYCS! It's awesome to have so many of us going to the same mission. Our district is great, we're all super close already. We've got a district vision (which yours truly suggested last night....) it's 3 Nephi 5:13. GREAT scripture.

A few items of business about the MTC...

There were things I was pretty sure I would miss about home... Now that I'm here...

1.) My family....
I love you guys so much!! Muy mucho! (Haha. Yeah. Spanish. Not.)
And coming in as a VERY close second...

Sharing a bathroom with 100 other girls has been a very...... trying experience. There is heathen DARK HAIR EVERYWHERE. YUCK. And apparently people can't read the signs everywhere declaring "Hair must be cleaned out of the shower after you use the shower!" But no one seems to get it. *Sigh*... Oh well.  Hopefully the strong spirit here will help them learn how to read.

The FOOD. OH MY GOSH. People warned me it was dangerous. BOY were they right about that. Remember that one time I came to the MTC, and then never actually served a mission because the food they served here caused me a slow and very painful death? Yeah. (Haha... Just kidding, sort of.)

4.) My bed....
The beds here are, well they're made of metal bars welded together with a cardboard stuffed mattress on it. The sheets are made of lice and the blanket is made of sand paper. BUT I'm so tired by the time we go to bed, that I fall right to sleep anyway. :) So it's all good. (Plus there are lots of people in the world who don't have a bed at all. So I'll quit complaining about that.)

Now don't go gettin' the wrong idea, I really like it here. The comforts of home are just very much absent. Haha.

When I first arrived everyone kept saying, "Just get to Sunday, Sister. Just get to Sunday." And being completely clueless, I thought, "What? Every thing is great! What are they talking about." Then yesterday came...

Friday was interesting. I woke up in a cheery mood. Went to class in a cheery mood... And then I had to teach my first lesson in Spanish. Being the most experienced with the Spanish language in my district, and also being the makeshift teacher when we don't have one... I thought I would have no problem. WRONG. I forgot EVERYTHING I had studied. EVERYTHING. The only thing I could remember how to say was, "God loves you very much. My family is so important to me and I know yours is to you. I know families are forever." It was so humiliating. (My companion rocked the lesson.)

I walked out of the classroom and cried. Haha... I learned a lot though. I'm not used to not being able to do things. I'm at least decent at everything I do. So not being able to talk about something so dear to my heart, having so much to say, and not being able to say it WAS SO HARD. One of my teachers pulled me and my companion aside and reminded us why we're here and how much the Lord loves us. It made me feel a lot better. I know I want to be here, and I know I NEED to be here. The Spanish will come with time. I'm certain of that.

Well. My time is up. I'll email again next week. Things are good. And I'm enjoying the AMAZING spirit that can be felt here!
LOVE YOU ALL! If you're reading this, you probably have time to read your scriptures as well, so go do it. Haha.

Love Always,

Hermana Franklin

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Am a Disciple of Christ

I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, but my Guide is reliable, my goal is Heaven, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, back up, or let up, until I've preached up, prayed up, paid up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will recognize me. My colors will be clear for "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth..." (Romans 1:16)

-Dr. Bob Moorehead