Monday, June 27, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Missionary Training Center
Dear Mom and Dad and everyone else I love,
It is so true what everyone says here about time — the days drag on like weeks and the weeks go by like days! Thank you all for sending me letters — I will try to write you back today. I thought I would first answer some of the questions you asked me:
Have you met any other San Diego Missionaries?
Yes. Last week the new district came in and six of the elders are going to San Diego. It’s funny though; I’m the only sister. So we were laughing about how funny it will be at the airport in 2 weeks when I am walking around with six elders in black suits. They are all great though and I’m getting to know them all, and I can’t wait to be in San Diego with them!
Have you met your mission president?
Yes. This week has been mission president week; the First Presidency and 11 of the apostles have been on campus all week. There is a different spirit here on campus when they are here.
Elder Holland was driving up the other day and let Sis. Brandley and I cross the street on the way to gym. It was pretty fun to see him. Elder Bednar gave our devotional on Friday; I love him!
Anyway because of all that, I got to meet my new mission president, President (Paul N.) Clayton. They have 6 children, 8 grandchildren. He is an anesthesiologist for Alta View hospital. They are assigned Spanish speaking. Sis. Clayton’s father is Elder Ballard. (She didn’t tell me that, but my MTC supervisor did). President Clayton served his mission in either Peru or Paraguay (I can’t remember). They are so nice, and Sis. Clayton is the best mom/grandma ever, (Next to my mom) so it will be nice to have a friendly face. I did meet one Spanish-speaking sister going to the Mormon Battalion site, but so far I am the only English-speaking Sister here. There are only 20 sisters that work at the site.
Do you have some tips about teaching from Preach my Gospel?
I would say read through a lesson and then practice with someone who is pretending to be a real investigator. At first, it will seem like just a memorized script but as you practice, try to teach the person not the lesson.
Don’t do all the talking! President Holland says there should be a question, a break, or anything like that about every 2 minutes when teaching an investigator. Also, keep it simple as if you were teaching someone in primary.
The best piece of advice I would give you is to get to know your Heavenly Father. Don’t worry if you don’t know Preach My Gospel super well or if you cant teach very well: That is what the MTC is for. However, developing a relationship between you and Heavenly Father will be a constant support and comfort to you on your mission and throughout your life.
How is the language coming?
;-) Well, you know how hard this English can be — I don’t know why the Russian and Chinese Elders complain so much: They have it EASY! Just kidding. It is really nice to be able to speak English. I love that I can focus on teaching and not have to worry about that. I think Heavenly Father knew how frustrated I would be not being able to bear my testimony very well in another language. I know I was meant for San Diego, I can’t wait to get there!
What do you want to hear from home?
I want to hear everything! What’s going on? Have you learned anything from The Book of Mormon, any spiritual insights for me? Any jokes? Any questions? I promise, I am not homesick or anything Like that. I love you all and I want to hear how you are doing. DON'T HOLD BACK!
I thought for this letter I would write down a page out of my journal this week. If you ever want to know anything else, let me know. The schedule is always the same- class, study, class more study, class.... So things don’t change very much here.
Journal Entry for June 23, 2011
Missionary Training Center
I'm not sure I can even describe what happened today. Being at the MTC is like a roller coaster ride. It never slows down, it gives you ups and downs, twists and turns and lots of the unexpected, yet it is the most thrilling and joyful rides ever I have ever been on. I have to admit, this afternoon I was at one of the dips in this experience. I have been teaching four investigators: Dave, Tony, Hely, and Richard. Honestly Sis. Brandley and I walk out of each lesson not really knowing what happened. Heavenly Father has a certain way He wants us to teach His gospel that touches people's spirits and invites them to change. I feel like I am being forced to learn a dance and right now I am tripping over my feet A LOT and am not quite dancing to the beat of the music. However, Heavenly Father makes weak things become strong and I know He will do that for me.
As I was sitting in class tonight, tears kept coming to my eyes because I was so frustrated with my teaching and my inability to teach Heavenly Father’s gospel in His way. The funny thing is, the investigators are not even real. They are either actors at the Teaching Resource Center (TRC) or my teachers pretending to be a person they know from real life and yet, I still have so much love for them and desperately want them to have what I have. I realize that Heavenly Father has given me a big responsibility —Salvation is a BIG DEAL — and I don’t want to miss a single soul I am meant to teach.
Tonight we taught Richard again. Heavenly Father gave me a tender mercy and answered my prayers. Our lesson went so well. Sis. Brandley and I asked him if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. He said yes! Sis. Brandley and I are finally figuring out our "dance". My heart is so happy. No wonder no one ever wants to leave his or her mission. This is a gospel of happiness I wish I had time to share with the world!
I just want you to know how much I love it here. There are so many ups and downs and I am not going to lie: This is HARD WORK! But it wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t hard. I am Sister Newman, a daughter of Heavenly Father and I know that I can do hard things.
Before I go, I have a couple questions for all of you:
1. If you have time and can “dear elder” me the answer that would be great. (Editor’s Note: See dearelder.com or our "letters" page for instructions on how to send free same-day messages to the Provo MTC) One of my investigators asked all of us what makes us tick as a Mormon. What makes you get up every morning wanting to follow the gospel? I’m just interested in what you have to say.
2. Also, if you could I would love some quotes or inspirational sayings to write on the board every morning for our district. That is one of our goals, but I don’t have very many to write down.
Love you all to the moon and back, talk to you next week!
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Missionary Training Center
Dear Mom, Dad, and everyone else I love!,
These first few days at the MTC have been the best, most humbling, exciting, crazy days of my life! I thought I would kind of let you know how things work here at the MTC, especially for sisters.
A typical day starts out waking up at 5:50 a.m. to get to gym at 6. They do a special gym time for the sisters so we don’t have to do gym time with the Elders if we don’t want to. I just like it because it’s an exercise class and we have an instructor telling us what to do. You know how much I just hate running, so getting up earlier is definitely worth it! I've done Pilates and kick boxing so far. The rest of our day consists of about 6 or so hours of class, 45 minutes to an hour for meals, half an hour of planning for our day.
Companion study times and personal study times, and we get lots and lots of practice teaching the lessons to the investigators.
There is a new pilot program that the English missionaries are finishing up and then the real thing starts in August for the whole MTC. The brethren wanted us to get more practice teaching. They are concerned that the missionaries are teaching whatever they want in whatever order now that Preach My Gospel came out, so they want us to balance between teaching by the spirit and teaching the fundamental doctrines of the gospel in order and what not. Usually missionaries got to teach seven lessons at the MTC. With this new program we teach 22. I already have three investigators, (two are my teacher pretending to be someone he knows, but he never breaks character when we are teaching) and one real investigator. We have taught two lessons to the investigators and probably like 7-10 times each other. It is great. I LOVE it!
We also prepare a talk each Sunday and then they randomly pick who is going to talk on Sunday. They give us no notice, which is good practice I guess! Oh right now, I am learning the first lesson about the Restoration. I have memorized the First Vision, my missionary purpose and how to invite someone to baptism, its SO GREAT!
A little about my district: So my companion's name is Sister Brandley, from Alberta, Canada and she is going to the Oakland Temple Visitors Center. She is the sweetest, most caring girl I know. We get along like peanut butter and jelly!
Seriously though, you know how much I was praying for a great companion before I got here. Once again, Heavenly Father answered my prayers! The other two sisters are amazing too! Sister Murray is from Provo and Sister Humphries is from Enterprise, Utah and they are both going to San Antonio, Texas. It is just us four in our room — they seriously are a blessing to me. I hear that some sisters don’t get along, but we get along so great.
The Elders in our district are awesome as well! Elders Draper, Jones and Reynolds are going to Omaha, Nebraska and Elders Anderson and Hutchings are going to San Antonio, Texas. (They just got made DL's this Sunday. ) They really are stellar missionaries. The only time I remember they are 19 year old boys is when Sister Brandley and I listen to their conversation about girls and football and pretty much any other boy topics you can think of. It is actually very entertaining.
Some Random and Funnies:
· Our Old zone leaders are so funny. They are exactly the same height and even look alike. Our first time we met them they were wearing complimenting ties. They even act the same, I love it. Sister Brandley calls them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. It’s our District Inside joke:)
· We were fasting for one of the Elders (who actually had to go home to figure some things out), and Sis Brandley and I were talking about how weird it was that we had so much time on our hands that day. We figured it out- If you want time at the MTC just stop eating! (totally joking mom!)
· Ice cream is on Sundays and Wednesdays- SO SO good!
· My P-day is on Monday
· I get to go to the temple once a week and have temple walks on Sunday.
· We had our first fireside on Sunday and we sang Called to Serve. It was amazing to look up at the screen with the words and a picture of Helaman’s Army and look back at a room filled with two thousand missionaries singing that song. The spirit was so strong, and I feel so honored that Heavenly Father trusts me to be his warrior!
Anyway, That is all I can think of right now, let me know if you want to know anything else. Thank you for your love and support, I really appreciate it. Mom, don’t worry about me, I have everything I need. Heavenly Father is taking care of me. All I need is to hear how you and the family are!
I love you all much, I hope you know that! I will write you next Monday! You are all in my prayers.
Love you to the moon and back.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah
Dear Mom and Dad,
Today was an amazing, busy, hectic, humbling day. They asked us to write to tell you that we are doing okay, but usually I will only be able to write to you on P-Day. (I think P-Day is Tuesday)
Here is a reader's digest version of what happened today: After you dropped me off, they took us to get our packet and name badge and then the sisters took us to our room to drop off our stuff. My companion's name is Sister Brandley from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is the cutest thing ever and already we are good friends. Once again Heavenly Father answered my prayers. Then we had orientation, class, practicing teaching with investigators, meeting with the Zone leaders, and finally bed. Everyone can't believe how long this day has been, but I think nursing clinicals prepared me for it. I am just getting started–I love the long days! I know I need every minute of learning and practicing I can get in. Anyway, I swear I'll write better on my P-day. I love you both so so so much! Thank you for everything!
PS–I love being a missionary!