Friday, March 29, 2013

A Note to All My Future Missionaries and-- Hasta Luego Utah!

Well, this is my last time emailing from the MTC. Next update will be coming from NEW YORK CITY! AHHHHH!!!! WOOOOOOO-WHHOOOOOO!!!!

I'm not really that excited or anything... (Haha.)

Thank you so much to Mom, Dad, Jaycee, Grandma Jeannette, Julie, Franklin, Drake and Cameron Palmer, Leslie Stilson, Tara and Savanah Poulsen, Kyle Martin, Elder Christensen (Thanks Sheila!), Miranda Champoux, Sis. Shelby Frampton, and.... Am I forgetting anyone? Lots of letters this week...Sorry if I didn't mention your name! I appreciated all the letters SOOOOOOO much!

Thank you also to Julie and Mom for the packages! SO much fun stuff. We all appreciated the treats and entertainment. Haha. :)

From this day forth start writing to my actual mission address... said address is off to the right, on the sidebar.

I can't believe it. I've been here for 6 weeks already? Really? No way...

I came through the door with a smile on my face, ready to work. And I'm leaving here with a smile on my face ready to work all over again.

This place really broke me down and built me into someone better. I know I will continue to change and be made better throughout the next 17 months (SEVENTEEN!).

A message to all my young friends... 

If anyone is wondering if a mission is right for you... I would like to be bold and say YES, it is. have been given the responsibility to serve a mission. I promise you, it will be one of the greatest things you will ever do. When the elders in my district came here to the MTC they were boys...Boys who had no idea how to teach a gospel lesson, let alone teach a gospel lesson in Spanish...Boys who didn't take anything seriously or even care about being taken seriously. Now they walk a little taller, and when they speak, people listen. They have a glow about them that is unmistakable. (That sounds cheesy, but it's true.) They've grown up so much even in just a few short weeks. I'm so proud of them. And to all you young men who are wary of serving a mission...Don't be afraid. Don't pass up this opportunity in the form of responsibility that you've been given. It will bless your life more than you can imagine.

Ladies...If you decide to serve a mission, GREAT!! The Lord needs you right now. The work is rolling forth quicker than ever. And we have been blessed to be on the earth right now, when many more of us have the opportunity to serve that may not have before. Don't doubt yourself, you can do this! The whole experience...everything from turning in your papers, to the MTC and being in the field (obviously...I'm assuming at this point...I know I've only been wearing a tag for 6 weeks...haha) will prepare you for other things you will undertake in your, marriage, motherhood, careers...everything! I've changed for the better. I hope you will find similar changes and similar happiness in your own mission experience.

Here are a few pieces of advice about the MTC for my future missionaries out there...

(These are things I wish I had figured out much earlier in my MTC experience.)

1.) If you are called to speak a different language, you might get here and feel like you are drinking out of a fire hydrant. May I recommend this...DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. You may not know if what you're saying is correct half the time...You might even mess up and testify that you ARE Jesus Christ rather than testify OF Jesus Christ. (Yes. I speak from experience...) It's OKAY. Don't worry about it. You'll learn. Give yourself time and have patience with yourself. The Lord will bless you as you try your hardest. You'll get the hang of it. You'll have to learn your language all over again when you get to the field anyway. So, just be patient and enjoy the language you're called to speak.

2.) Love your companion. Your companion needs your love, your support and your example. They will be with you 24/7 and they'll drive you crazy sometimes. But as you pray for them and love them (especially when they drive you crazy) the Lord will bless you and your companionship will be strengthened. My companion has taught me things I never knew I never knew… and our differences are what made our companionship so amazing.

3.) Love your district. Look for the specific strengths of those in your district and appreciate each person. Your district is your family. So, love 'em no matter what. :) 

4.) Stick to the wrap/salad bar if you find your digestive system being eaten BY what you’re eating. That's usually the safest option.

5.) Get to the laundry room at your assigned time or even a little earlier. Trust me, it's a mad house. People turn into blood-thirsty Lamanites when there is only one empty washer left.

6.) Trust your teachers...they are the best of the BEST. Learn as much as you can from them while you have the chance.

7.) Learn to love sitting. You sit. And then eat. And then sit. And then sit. And then eat. And then sit. And then sit while eating. Sometimes the schedule varies slightly, and that's nice........

8.) Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. You will find yourself on your knees more than ever before. That's the best place to be

9.) Just enjoy it. The MTC is unlike any other place...You'll only go on a mission (for the first time) ONCE. So make the very most of your experience at the MTC. Soak it in!

10.) If you're wondering what you might do to better prepare yourself to start your papers, or if you are still trying to decide about a Preach My Gospel. Study the scriptures in the "scripture study" sections in LOTS of depth. You will find out a lot about the gospel, and it will bring you closer to Christ. Consult talks from general authorities about missionary work. I promise if you read scriptures and pray daily, along with the other two suggestions I just made you will find yourself more excited about missionary work and you'll have a clearer (Is that a word...?) vision of what kind of missionary you want to be. 


12.) Learn scripture references (I highly regret not doing this before I came to the MTC). 

13.) Prepare to go to through the temple... always be worthy of a temple recommend, and you'll never go wrong. Obviously depending on who is reading this you may be going through the temple to receive your endowment sooner rather than later, or vice versa... Read the Pearl of Great Price. (The whole thing.) That helped me a ton.

I thank you all for the support you have been to me at the beginning of my missionary adventure... and my journey as a Disciple. I know that there is no better work I could be doing right now. Even though I'm fairly terrified, I can't wait to be in New York finding those who so desperately need the truth. Carry on as missionaries wherever you are...We need all the help we can get.

Over and out!!

"Hasta ver para siempre Dios este con vos!"

Hermana Tara Franklin

Friday, March 22, 2013

He Lives


Thanks are in order:

1.) Thank you to Page Edwards, Elder Christensen, Julie Franklin, Mom and Dad for your letters! Keep 'em coming! (I hope I'm not forgetting anyone...)

2.) Thanks to Mom and Julie for the packages! SO GREAT. Julie, you should know that we play with the pirate puppets on a daily basis.... The Elders can't get enough. Haha. It was incredibly ironic that they were pirates because we talk in "pirate Spanish" quite frequently. My companion and I also used them in a lesson! So you're getting your money's worth out of those. :)

3.) Mr. Shelton- I absolutely am on the RIGHT side. Haha. But thanks for your support anyway.

Ummmm... It's snowing outside. Those poor tulips.

Wow. That's about all I can say. Wow.

This week ROCKED. I can't really pin point any one thing that was so wonderful... just a grand combination.

Coming off of last week was tough... but I started out by watching The Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. Unfortunately the MTC owns the rights to this talk... otherwise I would encourage EVERYONE to watch/read it. It put so many things into perspective for me. And it helped me realize why I'm really here. If we want to represent Christ we need to develop the characteristics of Christ. And essentially KNOW the character of Christ. Elder Bednar encourages us to put off the natural man by "turning out" when our natural instinct is to "turn in". I made a conscious effort this week to "turn out" and serve others instead of thinking of myself. It has made all the difference...every day just gets better and better.  I've made so many breakthroughs with Spanish and with teaching, and I've been able to help a lot of people along the way. My mind has been cleared of worries and doubts and that has made it possible for me to discern the promptings of the spirit and be able to allow the spirit to work through me. Let me tell you, the spirit teaches a lot better than I do. :)

My district is my family away from my family. We decided to make a "Strength Box" where we place anonymous notes (not really all that anonymous because we recognize each other's handwriting... Haha). Every time we recognized a strength in one of our district members we wrote them a note. It helped us to realize what a wonderfully diverse bunch of missionaries we are. I've certainly learned more than I ever could have imagined from these amazing people I spend every day with. :) I'll admit I might shed a tear or 200 when we have to go our separate ways. Luckily I'm taking six of them with me to New York.

I can't believe I'm coming up on my last week here at the MTC. It's been a wild ride. And I'm sure grateful for every moment I've had here...even the really though moments. In fact, I'm especially grateful for the tough moments. The tough moments are the ones where my testimony was strengthened. I promise you that if you exercise faith in the Savior, He will carry you in your times of need. I know this because He has carried me. And I know He will continue to do so throughout my mission and throughout my life. As we are approaching the Easter holiday I hope we will all think about the example that Christ has set for us. And remember that He, the only perfect man who ever lived allowed himself to be crucified for our sake. He never stopped to think of himself, He never ceased to do the will of the Father.

My thought for this week is simply: I know that my Redeemer lives. He LIVES. He will return to the earth once again in all his glory. I hope that when He comes he will say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I know that through His grace my weakness will be made up, after all I can do. I hope one day I can be like Him.

He is Risen. He is Risen. He hath opened heaven’s gate! We are free from sin's dark prison, risen to a holier state. And a brighter Easter Beam... On our longing eyes shall stream.

I love you all SO SO much! Thank you for your prayers and support!

Hermana Franklin

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quit Taking the Hard Route


Week 3 completed. Can't believe I'm more than half way through my MTC experience! It's been a wild ride.

I would like give a vote of thanks to Torre, Laura, Julie, Franklin, Tristan, Cameron and Elder Christensen for the letters/emails! And of course thanks to Mom, Dad and Jaycee for your weekly love and support!

Julie, thanks for spoiling me once again with the package of treats!!

And thanks Mom for saving me from wearing the exact same thing AGAIN on P-Day. Haha...

If anyone would like my address, or email address... Please consult my beautiful Mother, Mrs. Jill Franklin for information. :) I'd love to hear from you! 

All of you Utah/Salt Lake County folk... How about this AMAZING WEATHER!!? Let's enjoy it while it lasts...It could snow any day now. Haha... Gotta love Utah.

This week was… well, it was hard. I'll just be honest.

First, I got sick. Of course. I was a fool thinkin' I would avoid the notorious plagues that hit us at the MTC.... but alas, I was wrong about that one. I came down with a sinus infection a little over a week ago and let me tell ya, health IS happiness. Being in a classroom for 9 hours a day is difficult as it is... but teaching and learning become somewhat impossible/miserable when you're sick. I finally gave up thinking it was a cold that would go away within a few days and decided to go see a doctor. I had a fairly high fever and my head was feeling like it was going to explode... So I decided it was time. Haha... Just call me Jon Franklin. Of course by the time I decided to go to the clinic it was Friday night and the doctors would not be back until 8:00 on Monday morning. Brilliant. But never fear they are prepared for just about any kind of crisis here at the MTC so they sent me down the road to the BYU emergency room. It was quite strange to walk around in the real world (BYU campus is SO "real world", I know....haha) for a few minutes wearing my missionary tag. People honked and waved and little kids pointed, "It's the missionaries, Mom!!" I felt pretty special. I highly doubt I'll be that popular in New York City... But it, like the weather, was fun while it lasted. They sent me down to the local Rite Aid pharmacy to pick up the Steroids and Antibiotics I'd been prescribed, and let me tell you, hearing music... Like regular world MUSIC, was SO weird. It surprised me at times how offensive some of the words were to me. I know that sounds hilarious to those of you who know what kind of stuff I listened to before I left, but I'm not kidding! I've become more sensitive to things like that, even in just 3 weeks. I would like to get on a soap box real quick and just encourage everyone to be selective about the music you listen to and any other form of entertainment you participate in. I know I wish I had been more careful about things I listened to and viewed on T.V. Anyway... Not trying to preach. It was just a great reminder to me that I shouldn't listen to or watch anything that takes the spirit away from me. :) 

Anyway... The drugs worked well and I'm on the mend! The only extremely unfortunate thing is that I gave the illness to almost everyone else in my district... despite the gallons of hand sanitizer we use daily. Haha... Almost everything has been cleared up, my cough is gone and I'm practically at 100% once again! Most of the other Elders/Hermanas are on the back end of the sickness too, so that's happy news. Thanks for your prayers and love, that always helps.

As the week progressed I was not only struggling with physical heath but spiritual health as well. I've just been down on myself about my "lack of progress" in Spanish, the tension in relationships within our district, and in my mind --my overall inadequacy.  I was relying far too much on my own abilities, and refusing to let the Lord help me. It's a pride thing. We all struggle with it. On Tuesday Elder Johnson of the Seventy came to speak to us. His talk was FOR me. I'm convinced he wrote it for me, actually. It was all about submitting our will to the Lord and its purpose was to set straight our false ideas about "perfection". My purpose as a missionary is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to 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." Nowhere in that sentence does it say "AND be perfect." We cannot be perfect on our own. It's just a simple fact. WE ARE NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE PERFECT. That is, not without the help of our Savior. After hearing his talk I decided I needed to take the opportunity to change... and to get rid of the chain that I carry around. It's a chain I made for myself... and it's a chain I've had for a long time. Long before I came to the MTC. I needed to quit taking the hard route. The hard route meaning, carrying a heavy chain and insisting I do it by myself. Honestly, how stupid is that? It's unnecessary and it's not the way to ultimate perfection anyway... All it is, is a waste of time. I woke up the next morning and I made a decision. I was only going to focus on the positive things about my experiences here. I was going to take notice of all of the blessings I received throughout the day. And you know what, it was the best day I've had here thus far. The sun was shining brighter than ever, we even did our studying outside. :) And our lesson went smoother than any lesson we've given. They even had my favorite thing for lunch! I have a good life. When I humbled myself and relied on Heavenly Father to prompt me I didn't worry about my Spanish being perfectly correct, I didn't worry about what others might think of me, I didn't worry about a thing. 

The spirit WILL lead and guide us. We all fall short, and we'll make small mistakes, and big mistakes. But it's okay. As long as we utilize the atonement fully, and think less about ourselves and more about others, we will never go wrong. :)

My scripture shares this week are 1 Peter 5:1-11 (Thanks Tanner).... "Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you."

And Ether 12:27... "I give to all men weakness that they may be humble... And if they will humble themselves before me I will make weak things strong unto them."

I love and THANK you all for your prayers and your support. I feel it daily.

Much Love Forever,

Your Missionary, Hermana Tara Franklin 

Friday, March 8, 2013


Hello! Hello! Hello!

Howdy y'all. I'm now beginning my third week here at the MTC. This week has been maravillosa! (Marvelous.... In case there was any question there.)

Just a few items of business:

a.) A huge thank you to Elder Tanner Christensen, Jaycee, Mom and Dad for the letters/emails! It really means the world to me! (WRITE ME EVERYONE! I love hearing about how things are going!)

b.) And of course, THANK YOU SO much to Aunt Julie for the box of treasures! The bubbles were a HUGE hit. We have extremely limited sources of entertainment here at the MTC. We truly take whatever we can get. Haha. Also, Milanos are another favorite treat. (You really do know everything don't you, Julie!)

c.) I mentioned in my last email, that I was called to be the Coordinating Sister for my Zone. There were some questions as to what that calling is, and what I do. As the Coordinating Sister, I'm a "Zone Leader", but for Sisters. All of the sisters in the zone report to me, and I report to the Branch President. (Here in the MTC the Branch President is kind of like our "Mission President".) There are 20 sisters in my zone.... So I have plenty to do. Haha. I get to work with new incoming missionaries a lot. I absolutely love it! .... And that's all I have to say about that. :)

Since SO many awesome things happened this week I'll just share some of my favorites...

1.) On Sunday the Provo Temple President, Pres. Robert Daines came and spoke for our devotional. (I saw him this morning at the Temple after doing a session, and he told me I was going to the best mission in the world. So there you go everyone, it's officially doctrine. NYC South is THE best mission. Haha.)  Pres. Daines... WOW. What an AMAZING MAN. He talked about how to fully take upon ourselves the name of Christ in the temple. We identify who we are and WHOSE we are. We consecrate ourselves unto Him and we must be truly converted by exercising faith in Him. Our conversion comes by acting upon the testimony we have gained through faith. I testify that the Savior truly does walk the halls of the temple, for it is His house. I know that in the temple we call down the powers of heaven. There are times in the temple where the veil is so thin that I feel the presence of those on the other side. The woman I went through for this morning has been waiting 150+ years for her Endowment day. I hope today was as special a day for her as my Endowment day was for me. I want to challenge everyone to go to the temple as often as you can. Once a week, once a month. Whatever you can do! It's a place of miracles. It truly is.

2.) For our Tuesday devotional we had a member of the seventy speak to us. His name is Marcos A. Aidukaitis. (Did I mention that last week it was M. Russell Ballard!? I am just so lucky.) Elder Aidukaitis is from Brazil and OH MY GOODNESS, he was SO funny. "Best Sense of Humor Award" for sure.

He talked about the kingdoms of glory and what kind of blessings go with each kingdom. He said, "Our destiny, or where we go, is what determines how we prepare." To me, this was very profound. Essentially it is ALL up to us. This life is our opportunity to make choices. We have the ability to determine our own destiny. The kind of preparation we do today, determines what will happen tomorrow. He asked all of us missionaries to go home after the devotional and write in our journals, in big bold letters, which kingdom we have decided to inherit. Once this choice has been made, all other decisions should be quite simple to make. Being accepted into the Celestial Kingdom is not really a matter of what you do, but a matter of what kind of individual you choose to become.

I went home and wrote, "ON THIS DAY MARCH 5TH 2013, I CHOOSE THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM AND EXALTATION." I look at that simple sentence about 6 times a day as a reminder that the decisions I make should be decisions that bring me closer to Christ and allow me to transform into someone worthy of the highest degree of glory. Obviously I'm not perfect, and I make mistakes ALL the time. We all do. But luckily we have a loving older brother who atoned for our sins so that we could be forgiven of those mistakes and continue progressing towards Godhood.

3.) Hermana Dean and I taught countless lessons this week. But there was one in particular that stands out in my mind. We went into the lesson meaning to talk about the restoration and we ended up talking about something completely different. It was one of the first moments in my teaching experiences where I felt as though the spirit was speaking THROUGH me. I hardly knew what I was saying half of the time... but I felt this burning in my heart that I've never really felt before. The gift of tongues is real, everyone.

4.) My journal got lost this week. It had been lost for 6 days.  I searched every lost and found on the entire campus (twice) and notified every head custodian to have them keep an eye out for it. On Wednesday Hermana Dean and I spent every second of our spare time looking for it. (a.) We don't have any spare time.... b.) My companion is a saint. I was on the verge of giving up. Actually, let's be real. I gave up. I decided that it was probably lost for good, and that I should just come to terms with the fact that all the treasures of my soul written it were lost and never coming back. (You know me, I'm a drama queen....... I'm workin' on it, okay?) As I was wallowing in self-pity, I looked over at my companion. Her head was bowed, her arms were folded and her eyes were closed. What a great example. :)

A thought came to my mind... "At least I get to go to the temple soon." Temple... Temple bag. My journal was indeed, in my temple bag. After all that searching is was right there in my apartment.

5.) I love you all so much. I know many of you pray for me and I feel your love and support daily. I could NOT do this without you.)

Scripture share: Alma 37: 6-7.... I KNOW that all the small successes are what make up the big success!

Much Love,

Your Missionary, Hermana Tara Franklin

Friday, March 1, 2013

Unexpected Miracles

Hola familia y amigos! Hello family and friends!!

A few items of business....

1.) THANK YOU so much for all the letters! Mary Stilson, Miranda Champoux, Torre Slaeker, Elder Parker Cressman (sorry if I forgot to mention anyone!)... I LOVE you all! And of course thank you Mom for your daily advice and love... I love you FOREVER! And a HUGE, gigantic thank you to Aunt Julie for the wonderful package. I attempted to make the treats last...Fail.

2.) My P-Days are on Fridays, which is the only day I have to write letters. If you're wondering why the heck it's taking me so long to get reply to you. That's why. :) (Are missionaries allowed to say "heck"? I guess it's not that "dignified" is it.... Haha, perdòn.)

3.) SEND LETTERS! I would appreciate any mail coming my way. :)

4.) Laura Andersen, if you read this please somehow notify me or my mom and let me know that you received your birthday package. :)

5.) DeAnn, Doug Dearden's son is INDEED in my district! He's great. He's absolutely, most certainly the class clown.

I've now been the MTC for a total of 8 days. After my first week here, I can honestly say I'm a new person. That sounds ridiculously clichè, but it's SO TRUE.

Here's a watered down version of my life here for the past few days...

My companion and I have been improving immensely with our teaching and with our Spanish. I can't even believe how much I've been able to learn in such a short time. It's like I'm witnessing a miracle, yet the miracle IS ME! My teachers Hermano Gneiting, Hermano Painter, Hermano Loyd, and Hermano Nodameyer have truly been THE biggest blessing. They know exactly what to say and when to say it.

I mentioned how rough our first lesson was with our first investigator "Santiago" (Hermano Loyd)...  Well here's a comical story about our second lesson....

We were trying our best to explain the importance of prayer with our limited vocabulary and imperfect grammar. My companion, Hermana Dean has a nervous habit of pulling on her jewelry. She was tugging on a beautiful three strand pearl necklace throughout the lesson.... Well, you probably all know where this is going... Suddenly the necklace snapped and the pearls went all over the room. We all scrambled around the room picking up pearls. Haha. We examined the damage and saw that the string had torn in half. "Santiago" pulls a BOX OF MATCHES out of his pocket and says, "You could try melting the beads together to hold it in place..." Hermana Dean, picked up each end of the severed strand of beads, looked at Santiago and said (in Spanish), "This, (referring, to one end of the broken strands) is you. This (referring to the other strand) is God. These matches are PRAYER. The fire is the spirit. You need prayer and the spirit to mend your relationship with God."  Haha... Talk about turning an awkward disaster into an awesome object lesson.

Hermana Dean and I have grown so close as a companionship. She teaches me patience, that's for sure. Hahaha.... Our relationship has been compared to Bob Wiley and Dr. Marvin from the one and only "What about Bob."

The comparison is actually astoundingly accurate. Haha, in case there was any question, I'm Dr. Marvin. She keeps me laughing, and keeps my eyes rolling. (In a very kind loving way of course.) :) We constantly have to say, "Loud Laughter, Hermana." to remind ourselves where we are. We just have waaaaayyy to much fun. She sits up with me at night when I can't sleep and encourages me when I get frustrated with the language and tells me I look beautiful even when I know for a fact I look like I got hit by a bus. (The days are long, and the sleep time is short.... and exhaustion is just not beautiful. Haha.) Honestly, no one could ask for anything better in a companion. I just love her to death.

My district is growing and learning so quickly. It's amazing to see this young immature boys growing up! AHH, I just love it! 

This week there were many times where I felt somewhat... useless. I found myself praying quite frequently for opportunities to help others. When I was set apart I was asked to use my talents to share the gospel, and I've been praying often that opportunities might be opened up for me to use my talents.

Well my prayers have been answered in countless small ways, and two very obvious ways.

I was asked to sing in the Devotional this Sunday by the wife of the MTC president, Sister Nalley. (NERVE RACKING!) Guess who's playing the piano for me, the one and only, Sister Shelby Frampton!! WOO-WHOO! My last opportunity to sing with my best friend, as she is headed to Ohio this Tuesday! I feel nothing but gratitude for this wonderful opportunity.

I've been feeling like I needed to use my abilities as a leader more, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it. Yesterday my Branch President’s1st counselor, asked me if I would accept the calling to be the Coordinating Sister (in training) for my zone. Wow. Direct answer to my prayer. When I said the words, "Yes, I am honored to accept this calling." I felt a very, very strong sense of peace come into my heart and I felt stronger somehow. I know this feeling was the spirit telling me that Heavenly Father knows that I am qualified and capable of more than I think I am. And I know he expects a lot of me. "Where much is given much is required." I feel myself being refined and molded into the person the Lord expects me to be. And you know what, I'm really liking this new me. I know I am weak, but I feel strong and powerful because I have the Lord standing there with me every step of the way.

I want you all to know that the Atonement is not only for sins. It's for EVERYTHING. Take your cares, your burdens and your heartache to the Lord, he can and WILL take it from you. He is ready to bless you. You just have to trust in him and believe in the plan he has for you. We go through sorrow, we go through pain, and we see people we love suffer... but we do all of this so we can know the true meaning of joy. Do me a favor and read the words to the hymn "Reverently and Meekly Now".... Read it four times if you have to. Let the message sink in, and believe in it...For it is TRUTH.

"And be constant unto me, that thy Savior I may be."

I love you all. Never forget it!


Hermana Tara Franklin